The Washington Post’s chief fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, on Monday fact-checked a claim by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the National Guard to stand down ahead of January’s Capitol riot.
“Capitol Police requested National Guard help prior to January 6th,” Jordan wrote on Twitter in a post dated Feb. 15. “That request was denied by Speaker Pelosi and her Sergeant at Arms. During the attack, Capitol Police made the request again. It took over an hour to get approval from Pelosi’s team!”
Capitol Police requested National Guard help prior to January 6th.
That request was denied by Speaker Pelosi and her Sergeant at Arms.
During the attack, Capitol Police made the request again.
It took over an hour to get approval from Pelosi’s team! https://t.co/ctOWZ4PExw
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) February 15, 2021
Kessler rated the post false with four Pinocchios, citing a Feb. 1 letter to Pelosi in which Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund merely approached the two congressional sergeants at arms in both the House and Senate with a request for additional security.
“There is no indication that Pelosi was at all involved,” Kessler wrote. “It appeared to have been a joint decision” by Capitol security staff to hold off on the preemptive deployment of the National Guard.
Kessler also pointed to Senate testimony from House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, who resigned in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, saying he never approached congressional leadership for reinforced security at the complex until the day of the riot.
“It was not until the sixth that I alerted leadership that we might be making a request,” Irving said.
Finally, Kessler pointed to a statement from the speaker’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill, who said no dicussions between Irving and Pelosi on the National Guard took place prior to Jan. 6.
“We expect security professionals to make security decisions, Hammill said.
Kessler, however, completely omitted new reporting from the Daily Caller, published Saturday, which cited three sources with direct knowledge of Irving’s talks with House admin where he recalled discussions with Pelosi and her staff on the matter.
According to the Daily Caller, Irving told House officials that previous talks with Pelosi — in which the speaker had pressed against National Guard troops on complex grounds as Democrats at the time remained hostile to troop presence in D.C. — had factored into his “blender of decision making.” The three sources who spoke with the Daily Caller remained anonymous, “citing the fear of putting a chill on further witnesses to how the security situation unfolded Jan. 6.” One source familiar with the discussions with the Daily Caller verified their substance to The Federalist.
The sources also highlighted Irving’s testimony before Senate lawmakers that offered a contradictory timeline.
The Caller reported:
The New York Times previously reported that the Speaker’s office confirmed that the National Guard was approved around 1:43 pm. Sund said he sent a request for help from the National Guard to Irving around 1:09 pm, according to CNN. Irving said he was contacted about the matter after 2:00 pm, Axios reported. Sources questioned how Irving got the request after 2 pm but Pelosi approved the request at 1:43 pm.
“If you believe Irving’s timeline that he testified under oath to, how could he ask for permission from the Speaker 20 minutes before he got the request?” a source familiar with the details of the discussions told the Caller.