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HomeSportFBI, Homeland Security, White House Advisers Foresaw Possible Riots, Looked the Other...

Pro-Trump mob seizes Capitol
Members of the National Guard and the Washington D.C. police keep a small group of demonstrators away from the U.S. Capitol on January 6 in Washington, DC. A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

They knew it could happen. They feared that Donald Trump would pull a “Samson,” bringing down the whole house on top of him in the two weeks before he left the White House. Officials from the FBI, the Secret Service, Homeland Security, the District of Columbia government, the Pentagon, the National Guard, and the Joint Task Force–National Capital Region who spoke to Newsweek last weekend on condition of anonymity, all talked about the potential for protesters and militias and paramilitary goons—egged on by the president—to storm Capitol Hill and even the Capitol building itself.

A half-dozen sources spoke openly about this very scenario: that the mob would take over the “People’s House” and that somehow the system would break down. They speculated that this could occur because of the president’s treasonous behavior, because of leadership deficiencies in the federal government and Congress, because of the extreme partisanship of the moment, and because everyone was looking the wrong way.

The blame was spread around, with the FBI dismissing the Department of Homeland Security as a bunch of amateurs and thugs; the military shaking their heads about President Trump and an absent White House leadership; Homeland Security department members mocking the District of Columbia’s mayor, Attorney General, and police; and everyone making clear that “the problem” was someone else’s.

It was clear that the very law enforcement and security people who in theory were responsible for maintaining order in our capital city weren’t ready, weren’t well led, weren’t organized properly, and weren’t impartial.

How did we get here? There are multiple causes for this historic failure.