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The House on Thursday narrowly approved $1.9 billion to bolster security at the Capitol after the Jan. 6 insurrection, as Democrats pushed past Republican opposition to harden the complex with retractable fencing and a quick-response force following the most violent domestic attack on Congress in history.

The bill’s 213-212 passage came a day after the House approved the formation of an independent commission to investigate the deadly mob siege by President Donald Trump’s supporters, who battled police to storm the building in a failed attempt to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election.

The two measures now face an uncertain outcome in the evenly divided Senate as most Republicans objected to both — and as some liberal Democrats opposed the security money.

“We have a major political party in the country that’s ignoring it — we’re trying to solve a problem, they clearly don’t want to sit down and talk about it,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, chairman of an appropriations subcommittee handling legislative branch security.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro recalled her own experience being trapped in the House gallery that day as the attackers tried to break in, calling her husband to tell him she was OK after Capitol Police told her to duck on the floor.

“This bill is not about politics, it’s not about settling scores,” DeLauro said. “It’s about ensuring that every person who comes into the Capitol is safe and is protected.”

Though some Republicans supported the measure, most voted against it, arguing that it is too expensive and that no fencing is needed. Many of them said they should be spending money on border security, not Capitol security.

Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, argued that Democrats would rather spend money on a wall “around this building in D.C.” than they would on finishing a border wall advocated by Trump.

Some Democrats opposed the added security measures as well. Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said just before the vote that she had “not been convinced of the importance of the money.”

Months in the making, the emergency spending package incorporates the recommendations from an outside panel of experts to beef up security after the violent mob attack.

Already, National Guard troops have been protecting the building for months and public access is severely limited. Though razor-wire-topped fencing that stood as a stark reminder of the siege has been removed, an extended perimeter fence remains in place, cutting off access to the lush grounds that have been popular with visitors.

The bill includes money for new fencing — either retractable or “pop in,” according to Democrats — that would protect the grounds while removing the current perimeter. The legislation says the money cannot be used to install permanent above-ground fencing, reflecting the wishes of most members of Congress that the area should be open to the public.

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Other improvements would be to better secure windows and doors, install new security vestibules and cameras, and protect members with increased security at home and in Washington, as threats against them have doubled in the last year. There is also money to protect federal judges who are prosecuting the rioters and have received threats, and to repay the Capitol Police and other federal agencies for their efforts on Jan. 6.

The legislation renames a wellness program for Capitol Police as the Howard C. “Howie” Liebengood Center for Wellness and adds mental health counselors and resilience specialists for trauma support. Liebengood was a Capitol Police officer who took his own life shortly after the attack.

Some lawmakers have raised objections to the proposal for the National Guard to maintain a “quick response force” nearby — an effort to improve response time after it took hours for Guard troops to arrive on Jan. 6 as officers were being brutally beaten by the rioters.

Leading Republicans on the armed services committees in the House and Senate oppose relying on the troops for the work of protecting the Capitol, a sentiment shared by many members who have pushed to open the reopen the Capitol grounds immediately.

Democrats said they, too, are uneasy with many of the military-like measures, but say they have little choice but to protect the building. The delays in sending the Guard to the Capitol have been blamed in part for the failure to contain the violence. Five people died, including a Trump supporter shot and killed by police as she tried to climb through a broken window to access the House chamber, and a police officer who fought off the mob and died later.

“We’ve never had a quick response for us here, you know, we’ve never had an insurrection either,” Ryan said. “So thinking has to evolve in order to try to solve some of these problems.”

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Capitol siege

FBI had informant in crowd during Capitol riot: report

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The FBI had an informant in the crowd during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, The New York Times reported Saturday, citing confidential records it obtained.

The informant’s name was not revealed in the records, though he was affiliated with a Midwest chapter of the far-right group the Proud Boys, according to the newspaper.

Based on an account of the informant’s activities detailed in the records, the informant described meeting up with men from other Proud Boys chapters at 10 a.m. at the Washington Monument and eventually entering the Capitol.

The informant entered after debating whether to do so, the Times reported. He left through a window after police told him that someone had been shot – likely Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, the newspaper noted.

The informant has since denied that the Proud Boys intended to use violence on Jan. 6 but rather were consumed by a herd mentality. He has also denied that the group planned to attack the Capitol in interviews, the Times reported. 

In a statement to The Hill, an FBI spokesperson said the agency’s “mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States, and intelligence gathering is essential to those efforts.” 

“While the FBI’s standard practice is not to discuss its sources and methods, it is important to understand that sources provide valuable information regarding criminal activity and national security matters,” the statement said. 

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More than 600 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly attack, according to the Justice Department, and more than 50 have pleaded guilty.

The Times noted that 15 members of the Proud Boys have been charged with conspiracy in four separate cases.

Reuters reported in early August that the FBI has found little evidence to suggest that the attack was largely coordinated. 

While groups such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers were intent on entering the Capitol, officials told Reuters that there appeared to be no coordinated plans regarding what they would do once they broke into the building.

The Hill

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Capitol siege

FBI releases new footage of suspects assaulting police in January 6 Capitol attack

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The FBI is asking the public for help in identifying suspects seen attacking police officers in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack in newly released video.

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Capitol siege

New Videos of Assaults on Officers at U.S. Capitol Released, FBI Seeking Suspects

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The FBI’s Washington Field Office has released 11 new videos of suspects in violent assaults on federal officers during the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and is seeking the public’s help to identify them. The 11 new videos depict suspects seen forcefully attacking law enforcement officers.

nvestigating the violent assaults on law enforcement officers committed during the January 6 attack on the Capitol has been a priority for the FBI. With the assistance of hundreds of thousands of tips from the American people, the FBI has arrested more than 500 individuals who took part in the Capitol riots. Of those, more than 100 were arrested for assaulting law enforcement officers. However, some of the most violent offenders have yet to be identified, including the 11 individuals seen assaulting officers in the video footage we are releasing today.

“As we mark six months since the violence at our nation’s Capitol, we continue to encourage the public to send tips to the FBI. As we have seen with dozens of cases so far, the tips matter,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “Tipsters should rest assured that the FBI is working diligently behind the scenes to follow all investigative leads to verify tips from the public and bring these criminals to justice. To date, the FBI has arrested more than 500 individuals for criminal activity on January 6. The public has provided tremendous assistance to this investigation, and we are asking for additional help to identify other individuals for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

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To view photos and videos of additional individuals the FBI is seeking to identify, visit fbi.gov/capitolviolence. If you have any information on the individuals depicted in the videos or the photo gallery, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Please reference the AFO number when calling or submitting information online.

Suspects in previously released videos have been arrested because of valuable assistance from the public. They are Reed Christensen (AFO #191), Jonathan Munafo (AFO #170), Nicholas Brockhoff (AFO #255), and Geoffrey Sills (AFO #153). More information on those arrested and charged is available at the Department of Justice’s Capitol Breach Cases site.

Follow the FBI’s Washington Field Office on Twitter at @FBIWFO for updates.

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