After a week, the follow-up to the Capitol riots in the United States is still fermenting. U.S. media revealed that the distress button in the congressional office of a Democratic congresswoman was found to have been damaged in advance.
Democrats also suspect that Republican lawmakers are “insiders” to help protesters “step on points” in advance.
On the day protesters stormed the Capitol, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Ayana Presley and her staff were forced to take refuge in the office.
They tried to use the alarm device to ask for help, but found that all the panic buttons were “flying away”.
Presley’s chief of staff Sarah Gloch revealed that the button was removed without explanation, which made her feel “unbelievable”.
All the buttons in my office have been torn off, and the whole (SOS) system is gone.
Presley was the first African-American congresswoman in Massachusetts, and was called “the team” with three other left-wing Democratic congresswomen.
They have been attacked by Trump’s racist words on many occasions, and even sent death threats from Trump supporters. To this end, congressional police installed more than one distress button in the office in Presley in 2019.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Gloch revealed that the office had not been changed and the buttons were used normally in previous exercises.
She described that during the evacuation that followed, it was not only the protesters but also the congressional police who had to worry about “untrusted”.
The interview did not explicitly mention who removed the SOS button, and some angry social media users asked for a thorough investigation of the “mole”.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, one of the members of the team, tweeted that even if there was a management oversight, why didn’t the department responsible for dismantling the alarm device (referring to the congressional police) not notify the lawmakers and her employees in advance?
Due to the weak security response, U.S. Congress Police Commissioner Sander resigned the day after the riot. Social media also showed that some police “released” or even led the way to demonstrators on the same day, and some people took selfies at the scene.
At present, two police officers have been suspended from duty, and more than 10 people are facing internal investigation.
A spokesman for Priceley said on the 13th that the issue had been reported to the relevant agencies and an investigation was under way.
After the riots, the security officer in charge of House security reinstalled the distress button in her office.
CNN said that claims of “internal” assistance in the impact on the Capitol are spreading, and Democrats accused Republican lawmakers of “leading demonstrators into Congress” and demanding an investigation.
On the evening of the 12th, Democratic Representative Mickey Cheryl, a Democrat from New Jersey, made explosive allegations in the live video, saying that she had “see it with her own eyes” that some Republican lawmakers invited demonstrators into the Capitol the day before the January 5 riots to “investigate” the next day’s activities.
CNN said that there was no way to confirm the statement, because Cheryl did not disclose more details and repeatedly refused to interview.
She said on the 13th that she had proposed an investigation to “some departments” and launched a joint letter, with the support of more than 30 Democratic congressmen, to call on the House of Representatives to announce the “suspected people” on the January 5 list of congressional visitors and who invited them.
The letter mentioned that Congress has cancelled foreign visits since last March due to the epidemic, and the appearance of these tourists is “very unusual”. Someone was suspected to appear at the White House rally organized by Trump the next day.
Moreover, the attackers of Congress seem to have an “unusual detailed understanding” of its internal structure.
U.S. media also found that Ali Alexander, the organizer of the “Stop Stealing of the Election” protest, revealed in videos several times last December that he and three Republican congressmen planned the January 6 protest to “create momentum and pressure” and force lawmakers to change their positions when certifying the election results.
The three congressmen include: Paul Gossa from Arizona, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks from Alabama.
Brooks attended Trump’s speech on the 6th and encouraged supporters to “start taking names and do things”, implying that they would “pay blood and sweat and even lives like their ancestors”.
After the riots, Brooks issued a 2,800-word statement to justify his behavior.
A spokesman for Biggs said that he did not know Alexander at all. Gossa did not respond to the media comments.
At present, more than 70 people have been accused of federal crimes for participating in congressional riots, most of which involve clashes with the police, violent threats to Democratic lawmakers, or breaking into Congress with guns and bombs.
In addition to the congressional police, the U.S. military is also investigating the active and retired soldiers involved in the incident.