DOD Acted Appropriately in Jan. 6 Riot Response, Pentagon Watchdog Says

National Guardsmen arrive at the Capitol one month after the Jan. 6 riot / Getty Images
November 17, 2021

The Department of Defense acted appropriately in its response to the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, an investigation by the Pentagon's chief watchdog found on Wednesday, countering allegations from Democrats that the Trump administration intentionally delayed deploying the National Guard to the scene.

According to the department's inspector general, the investigation "determined that DoD officials did not delay or obstruct the DoD's response to the [U.S. Capitol Police's response for assistance] on January 6, 2021."

It also found that the response before and after the Jan. 6 riot was "appropriate, supported by requirements, consistent with the DoD's roles and responsibilities for [Defense Support of Civil Authorities], and compliant with laws, regulations, and other applicable guidance."

The report from the Department of Defense's inspector general comes ahead of the Senate's potential consideration of a Democratic proposal that would shift control of the D.C. National Guard from the president to the city's mayor, currently Muriel Bowser (D.).

Democrats and news outlets have suggested that former president Donald Trump ordered military leadership to hold up the National Guard for over two hours after the Capitol Police chief requested assistance, with the New York Times reporting that "Trump initially rebuffed and resisted requests to mobilize the National Guard to quell violent protests at the Capitol, according to a person with knowledge of the events."

But the 153-page IG report found that Pentagon leadership's actions on the day of the riot "were reasonable in light of the circumstances that existed on that day and requests from D.C. officials and the [Capitol Police]" and found no indication that Trump spoke on Jan. 6 with then-acting secretary of defense Christopher Miller.

In response to the assault on the Capitol, congressional Democrats have pushed for legislation that would hand over command of Washington, D.C.'s National Guard to the city's mayor, an office that has been held exclusively by Democrats since it was first established in 1975.

The amendment passed the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and is one of many amendments that could face consideration as the Senate takes up the defense bill.

"Given the unprecedented attack against our hallowed halls of Congress on January 6, we must ensure that the Mayor of the District of Columbia is granted the appropriate authorities to mobilize and deploy the National Guard," said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D., N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, in a statement in August.