By Esme Murphy
Ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called a hearing Wednesday to ensure an attack does not happen again.
The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and Capitol Police are warning that extremists might take advantage of the upcoming anniversary of the attack. Because of that, security is being beefed-up around the U.S. Capitol.
As the mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, inside a column of senators was being evacuated. Seen from a distance among those being hurried along was Sen. Klobuchar.
“Literally the people that invaded the Capitol at some points had better gear than the police officers,” Klobuchar said.
She is chair of the bipartisan Senate Rules Committee, which is holding a hearing to review Capitol security. Since the attack, there is new funding for Capitol police and new security leadership. The committee will review whether that is enough to avoid a repeat.
In her opening remarks Wednesday, Klobuchar said that the changes made since Jan. 6 “started at the top.” She, along with Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Robert Portman (R-OH) authored 20 recommendations for agencies across the federal government to soon be implemented.
The hearing with Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger is set to highlight the security improvements implemented since the attack last year.
“There were the haunting words of one of the officers on the police radio when he said in the middle of it ‘Does anyone have a plan?'” Klobuchar said in an interview with WCCO-TV Tuesday.
The senator says she is concerned that some Americans still support the attack. Among the more than 700 charged in the attack are four members of the Westbury family from Lindstrom. One was captured inside the Capitol.
A website raising money for the families justifies their actions, saying “they had done what the President of the United States requested.”
“We believe in the peaceful transition of democracy. That angry mob that invaded the Capitol, that was against the law, and when people break the law they have to be held accountable,” she said.
WCCO reached out to the Westbury family and heard back from their attorney, John Pierce. He says the family has received a lot of support from around the country, and he plans to take these cases to court and win.
Five law enforcement officers who reported for duty on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol have since died.