Politico

Capitol Police turned attention from ’200’ Proud Boys gathered on Jan. 6, lawmaker says


The U.S. Capitol Police identified about 200 members of the Proud Boys assembling on the morning of Jan. 6, but officials sent the department’s intelligence resources elsewhere, a key lawmaker said on Monday.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), chair of the House Administration Committee, said at a hearing that the department’s timeline made no further reference about the Proud Boys, many of whom breached the Capitol later that day. Less than half an hour later, the timeline said, the department opted to monitor three to four counterdemonstrators who had been “setting up props,” she said.

She asked Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton whether countersurveillance had been assigned to the Proud Boys she referenced.

“Why did the department decide to monitor the … counterdemonstrators but apparently, according to this timeline, not to monitor the Proud Boys?” Lofgren asked Bolton. “What happened to these 200 Proud Boys over the course of the day?”

Bolton said he didn’t have the answer to Lofgren’s questions, but said he hoped to have answers after his next report.

“We have the same kind of concerns,” Bolton said.

He also questioned the timeline’s accuracy and said these questions were part of why he moved up a report on command and control and radio traffic to June from later this summer.


A spokesperson for Capitol Police told POLITICO that the department did have “countersurveillance teams … reporting on the Proud Boys” and that its intelligence operations team did get information about the hundreds of Proud Boys from the Metropolitan Police Department.

“USCP pushed that information out to the intelligence distribution,” the spokesperson said. “The department was on the lookout for any and all potential threats on January 6.”

Evidence filed by the Justice Department suggests coordination between groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, an anti-government militia network, ahead of then-President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 rally. In a debate in September, when asked to condemn white supremacists, Trump called on the Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group, to “stand back” and “stand by.”

The department’s highest-ranking on-the-ground commander, Eric Waldow, urged officers to look out for anti-Trump demonstrators among the sprawling pro-Trump crowd, POLITICO previously reported. Lawmakers have expressed fears that the department didn’t take seriously enough the threat that pro-Trump extremists posed to Congress.

Bolton issued a report in April that found the department’s unit for responding to violent protests is antiquated enough that officers “actively find ways to circumvent getting assigned there.”

Bolton also said on Monday that the department didn’t “adequately” put out guidance for countersurveillance and threat assessment, and had communications procedures that could have “led to critical countersurveillance information not being appropriately communicated” in the department.

Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.

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