January 16, 2021

Politics and Commentary News Aggregator

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Resigns Following House’s Top Security Official Stepping Down

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Three top security officials on Capitol Hill are stepping down a day after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, congressional leaders said on Thursday.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced during her weekly news conference that Paul D. Irving, the House sergeant-at arms, intended to resign from his position, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said Thursday evening he had accepted the resignation of Michael C. Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms.

News of Mr. Stenger’s resignation came after Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said he would fire Mr. Stenger as soon as Democrats took the majority.

Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief, will also leave his position on Jan. 16 after Ms. Pelosi called for his resignation, saying “Mr. Sund, he hasn’t even called us since this happened.” Mr. Sund, in his letter of resignation, said he would use his remaining paid sick leave — 440 hours, about 55 days — after departing.

The swift departure of the top three security officials just two weeks before a presidential inauguration reflected bipartisan outrage over the law enforcement failure to prevent a mob of violent protesters from storming the Capitol as lawmakers debated the formal certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. The sergeants-at-arms are responsible for security in their respective chambers and related office buildings, while Mr. Sund oversaw more than 1,800 Capitol Police personnel.

It was unclear immediately who would replace Mr. Stenger and Mr. Sund. In his statement, Mr. McConnell said Jennifer Hemingway, the deputy sergeant-at-arms, would serve as acting sergeant-at-arms.

Lawmakers in both chambers and from both parties vowed on Thursday to find out how those responsible for Capitol security had allowed a violent mob to infiltrate the Capitol. House Democrats announced a “robust” investigation into the law enforcement breakdown.

Mr. McConnell said in a separate statement that “a painstaking investigation and thorough review” were needed after the events of Wednesday, which he described as “a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government.”

Mr. McConnell added that “the ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them.

“But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”

Emily Cochrane

2021-01-07 20:51:52

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