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tv   Washington Journal Lt. Gen. Russel Honore Ret.  CSPAN  August 4, 2021 1:36pm-2:25pm EDT

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podcast wherever you get your podcasts. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by the television committees and more, including buckeye broadband. buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, getting you a front row seat to democracy. next we are joined by retired lt. gen. russel honore, who was the lead investigator in the capitol security review task force shortly after january 6. welcome to washington journal. guest: good morning, it is good to be with you. host: remind our viewers how
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that task force came about after january 6 and what your role was in it. guest: the task force was formed from the house, speaker pelosi. they requested assistance in providing a security review of the capitol. with the perspective that the more in-depth commission and/or committees would be formed inside the capitol from the house and senate to dig into who did what, when and how. what they wanted was an immediate review of the operational procedures, training and in operability and security of the capitol. so that immediate steps could be taken to secure the capitol
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prior to what happened on the sixth to have the capitol open back up to the public. we spent six weeks, myself and 16 others, members of the task force, we call ourselves tax force -- task force 16. we report back to the house in the process of creating that report area we went -- report. we went into dialogue that went into equities for security of the capitol in conjunction with capitol police, which we engaged all members of capitol police force as well as the capitol police themselves and making our assessment.
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that report concluded a 12 page exec at of summary that many have seen -- executive summary that many have seen in a more extensive report with all of our recommendations. host: you mentioned an immediate review, and it was immediate. your group started that review while the national guard was still on campus. much of that fencing was still up around the u.s. capitol. guest: absolutely. we arrived, there were so much when he 5000 national guard -- 25,000 national guard. many of the members we spoke to in committee and through many virtual meetings who were still affected emotionally by what happened on january 6 were all
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made witness and had their own perspective. but they all were appreciative of the fact the capitol police and the d.c. police held the line, keeping them from getting injured. that being said, they all wanted to know what needed to be done to harden the capitol, training or equipment the capitol police needed. that is what we did over that six week. -- over that six week period. host: in that report is available at the key recommendations that came out of your task force include increasing or having available mobile fencing, streamlining the decision-making to avoid delays in crisis, to create a mounted police unit at the capitol and asking the national guard to backup capitol police when requested to respond
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to these types of emergencies and higher hundreds more capitol police officers to fill in the personnel shortfalls. in terms of decision-making, let me focus on that. where were the shortfalls in decision-making on january 6? guest: the significant piece was the assessment. that is where most of the police force operate, threat assessment. that was severely flawed, as we have all seen. the fbi director as well as the capitol police commander who resigned shortly after and the senate. it was what was seen as
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intelligence -- as if it may refer to it, would come to the capitol and create violence. there is an assumption they wouldn't as opposed to listening what was happening on chatter. in retrospect, there is a lot of indications they would. a big failure in intelligence, which caused failure for those to be prepared by having additional officers on-site that day. there could have been more from the shift going off into the shift going on, coming early. that did not happen. as well as the training of capitol police and a civil disturbance and equipment they had was inadequate. properly stored in the proper place for they had access to it.
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the d.c. metropolitan police coming in and working in support of the capitol police to a mutual agreement, and many people still sorting through is what happened between communications between the capitol police and the d.c. guard, and could that have been done quicker? our assessment and recommendation was that -- on that issue, to give the authority to capitol police to go directly to the pentagon and request assistance as opposed to getting approval from the capitol police. on that day, it was confusing and that's not help the decision-making -- that did not help the decision-making. as capitol police were tried to get approval, both house and senate was under duress trying
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to protect their members. we put in that the capitol police chief, when he sees high risk come he can go directly to the pentagon. that would shorten the timeline which would approve the use of the d.c. national guard because they go to the pentagon through executive order to deploy the d.c. national guard. host: retired lt. gen. russel honore is our guest. we welcome your calls, comments and questions. (202) 748-8000 for eastern and central time zones. (202) 748-8001, mountain and pacific. i want to focus on threat assessment. senator ron johnson wisconsin
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has been critical of the preparation and knowledge beforehand of the january 6 attack, saying recently that he suggested the fbi knew or has said in terms of before the attack. did you have any indication the fbi had more information prior to the january 6 attack? guest: when we did the intelligence assessment, we do know a reporter came from the field office the day before, indicating the probability of some actions being taken. direct action or civil disturbance as opposed to peaceful demonstration was possible. we go to the task force in washington dc -- washington, d.c. and it was documented that a member of the capitol police did not receive that report.
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that report did not get the special handling it should have gotten because it threatened the capitol, both the senate and house. the location where the vice president was going to be. and the president of the united states all within a couple miles of each other outside of the security of the white house. they were going to be exposed by this large group of demonstrators who were going to be on the mall with the intention of moving toward the capitol. that report did not get the attention it should have. in retrospect, everyone we talked to has agreed that information should have been handled as intelligence as opposed to just chatter. they could have been better prepared, and that did not happen. in our review, we recommended it
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has been funded through legislation to provide additional intelligence people as well as special equipment to be able to process intelligence. our government did not work that day. the fbi, under their own admission -- he said he did not know about the report to after-the-fact. that was a failure. we all watch this happen -- watched this happen and this has to be fixed. we need to have measures in place to make sure that doesn't happen again into the additional funding provided by the senate and house will take care of that problem. host: part of this centers
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around the availability of the national guard to act as backup. your report calls for the capitol police to be backed up by the national guard. who gets to make that call? who requests the national guard, if needed, on capitol hill? guest: that is the response ability of the national guard in each state. the relationship in washington is somewhat different since it operates directly with the pentagon as opposed through a governor. that is the procedure that has worked for a couple hundred years. it did not work that day. the day we needed it most. when the bridge attacked the capitol. it did not work that day -- british attacked the capitol. it did not work that day. it could've been done quicker. it didn't work. that whole system is being reviewed by the department of defense now and how that will be
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done in the future. it is unfortunate that the national guard unit d.c. has responded to, over the years, several times a year when called on by the capitol police or other agencies to assist. the d.c. national guard is not a standing force. they are mobilized as required. one of the recommendations we made was have mobilized soldiers available 24/7 at the d.c. armory in support of the capitol area so something happened at 3:00 in the morning, we could have mps that could reinforce. that recommendation was not accepted and was not approved by the senate review. but i think the procedures are in place to be able to call the
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d.c. guard -- 80% of them do not live in d.c.. so when you call them up, you have to do that 12 to 18 hours ahead of time. the situation on 16, the d.c. guard that was -- on the sixth -- there is much dialogue in the committee investigating as to what happened and who knew what. i believe it to them to get into the details about that, because that is still being deeply investigated by the house. host: a question from washington. is nancy pelosi responsible for lack of security on capitol hill on january 6? guest: i wouldn't say that, because nancy pelosi and at the time speaker mcconnell had equal responsibility to supervise.
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the sergeant and arms that represent the house and senate on the capitol police were to do that. but that is a bumper sticker that many are putting out there. but their job is to secure the floor. the physical security of the capitol is in the hands of the capitol police both of which the speaker and leader of the senate at the time, speaker mcconnell, points the house sergeant at arm in the senate sergeant at arms. he is appointed by the prison of the united states. there is issues with the capitol police form that we did make some recommendations on how they request assistance and the decision-making process and the frequency of how they communicate. many of those procedures are in
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place to make sure the lack of communication and misunderstanding -- point-blank, i would say no to that answer of when you look at the scenario that developed on the sixth. the response of the speaker into the leaders to make sure the capitol police have the resources they need to secure the capitol. that is there is possibility. they did the operational by the threat level is, how many police are going to be there. that is the response ability of the capitol police force in capitol police chief. -- was possibility -- rsponsi bility. -- responsibility. $2.9 billion of the mental --
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supplemental that the senate recently reworked and has published just this past week for approval of money to help protect the capitol and provide additional please come additional intelligence assets into the hardening of the capitol -- police, additional intelligence assets and the hardening of the capitol. host: the senate passed the plan and the president signed it. it would include three did million dollars to bolster safeguards to the capitol -- $300 million. then there is the establishment of the select committee of the house now taking testimony and the first hearing was last week. what is your impression of this review of what caused the
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january 6 attack? guest: when one of the things i looked at over six weeks -- it was the liberate. -- deliberate. it became obvious from the attempt to create a commission, which was rejected in the senate than the recommendation to create a bipartisan commission -- then the recommendation to greet a bipartisan commission did not work. to develop a commission inside the house, we saw one unfold in the disagreement between the speaker and minority leader and we got what we got. there will still be grounds for people to come forward and answer the hard questions as well as committees are still doing their investigations. but this house investigation is
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what we have right now as well as the department of justice continuing who broke the law and when, who is physically involved and what was involved from the just and other aspects. at the end of the day, it is carrying a big stick and what happened that day. guest: in terms of that committee, there are two republican members. as you mentioned, the minority leader pulling five of the republicans. do you think the proceedings will be viewed as legitimate with just the two republican members on there? guest: it is what it is right now. i do think the two republican members have an interest in finding out what happened, who knew what and when, and that mutual agreement, we will watch unfold live on television. the testimony and people will be able to draw their own conclusion. it is the process we got in it
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is democracy. host: our guest, retired lt. gen. russel honore. let's go to mary. good morning. caller: hello. my question is, somebody had to organize this event we before -- way before and possibly on social media. do we know anything about who his response before putting it together? -- who is responsible for putting it together? host: thanks, mary. guest: thank you. i think we all share your observation. but how do we take that intern into fact -- and turn it into fact and were any laws broken? that is the job of the dod --
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doj in the house committee will be questioning people about that. we have to go from opinion to what we see in what we hear to fax and what laws were broken -- facts and what laws were broken. if anybody broke laws to enable this to happen and the power they had in the government that were involved in planning, resourcing and the execution of this attack on the capitol. it is up to doj and the house committee determined. host: next is mike calling from florida. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. if you will dose -- -- just indulge me. [indiscernible] donald trump is friends with
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cuomo. the hypocrisy, there are people who still think trump is president and will come back this month to be president. they are willing to put an accused rapist -- inappropriate touching and contact. i just wanted to say i am puzzled as to why he was nominated for this role because it somebody has to come in after disasters to clean up -- [indiscernible] so if you could say why the speaker of the house nominated him for this role.
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it didn't seem like a good fit. thank you. host: your thoughts on that question. guest: the leader had the opportunity to bring experts in intelligence and security to the district of washington and capitol police on our team as well as the senate sergeant. along with other members -- sergeant at arms along with other members. i did have experience in the pentagon under joint chiefs of staff of suit -- providing military support. that was one of the skill sets. the security of the capitol
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region and the security at the capitol doing a national security event at the capitol during the time as in the pentagon -- i was in the pentagon. i'm sorry -- i hope we didn't do our job. we had the experts -- we did do our job. we had the experts we needed to do it. we provided a report, we talked through multiple committees on the senate and the house side multiple times. the recommendations got great input from both house and senate committees that are responsible for resourcing and policy. host: it strikes me that there are similarities between your role in overseeing the task
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force and the one on january 6. to break down civil authority and in both cases there was a certain amount of civil unrest. guest: well, yes. the ability to pull together all of the assets to complete the effectuation -- evacuation insecure the collaboration and the states of louisiana and mississippi in collaboration with local governments. that experience did help and it doing the capitol review to come up with what the fixes are. many of the fixes we put in were regulations from the people we were talking to. we didn't go make stuff up.
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everything had to follow some sort of procedure of law, doctrine. as well as meeting the requirements of everybody in the capitol, everyone we talked to to get the capitol back to where it could be open to the public again. that was a demand from everyone. don't make the capitol look like the green zone. we want it opened back up to the public. tell us what we need to do. from the people we talk to, we pulled the recommendation to the house. host: let's hear from new york. go ahead. caller: hi. after all of your decades of service for this nation, even in your retirement, a straight shooter which is becoming a rare thing these days.
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you tell it like it is. is not always comfortable hearing the truth. -- it is not always comfortable hearing the truth. i would like to salute each and every one of those capitol police officers. their bravery. we almost went into a dictatorship. it is how close we came. general honore, do you think it is coincidental that on november 7, so she did that joe biden was the -- associated press announced joe biden was the winner of the election and on the ninth since secretary of defense -- the secretary of defense was fired by trump and was replaced by a gentleman named christopher miller as
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acting department secretary of defense. he was in charge on january 6. i was like -- i would like to know if he was told to turn his head and not allow [indiscernible] guest: i think that would be opinion and that is the job of the commission right now in the house to get that determined. as well as investigations by the department of justice. we all have perceptions about that, but i best leave that to the investigators to sort that out. we do know command and control, there was a lot of confusion. we all sought unfold on television, almost life. where's the national guard? where's the national guard? government did not work that day. we did work was the police
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coming together and holding the line. -- what did work. host: largely former members of the military and law enforcement pegs that number at 50 two in their report. -- 52 in their report. what are your thoughts? guest: i will share with you, if i may, my perception. our veterans are very subject to call to action on internet and networking and groups. the fact they have served, they are subject to be an influence that the end of the day, the
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patriotism by their service and skills that they will have to save the nation. that call to duty leaves them subject to repeated requests of let's go save the nation. i think that call to duty their internet networks and through groups -- through internet networks and groups make them vulnerable because people are leaning in on what is perceived as unquestionable patriotism to the country. however, i, like most people, think that is a misplaced use of the patriotism to trained over the government. host: let's hear from summerville, south carolina. good morning. caller: i just wanted to say to the general, i am so proud of him and his work.
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i just admire you. that's it. guest: thank you, sir. that is a good change. host: to florida. you are on. caller: yes. i have a question. back in 2020, donald trump was evacuated from the white house because of a black lives are protest. -- matter protest. it seems that during this protest, he was sitting in the white house gleefully watching on television. do you have any response to that? guest: no, sir. i saw groups of that. i watched that protest on television. but i am not familiar enough with that to give any analysis on what was happening. i'm sorry. host: a question from twitter.
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in your investigation, do you talk to the capitol police chief or the board for information concerning security? was there a request for more security? i assume he means ahead of time. guest: there is some dispute as to when that happened. that is part of the committee to sort that out. i did not speak to the former capitol police chief because he had resigned by the time we arrived in washington. we didn't have subpoena authority or nothing else to talk to people who were there. but i think information in the hearing, the when he testified in -- one he testified in. it had been requested and was denied. we will leave that to the committee to sort that out.
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it was flawed in a not executed the way it should have been. -- and not executed. host: the new chief took over recently. heavy had a chance to speak with them? has he been receptive to recommendations the task force has put forward was to mark -- put forward? guest: congratulations to the new chief. he has awesome responsibility. he did indicate he was studying the recommendations we made to the house and we know for fact some of those recommendations have been viewed and improved in the security of the capitol. many of them are being worked on now as far as training and equipping of the capitol police and training of the civil disturbance unit. much of that is being done.
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host: olympia, washington. go ahead. caller: hello. i have a question for general honore as to whether you might ever have an opinion as to the professional action that was done by a certain miller. that is something that was reported on and i have been waiting for months for an answer. that is all, think very much. -- thank you very much. guest: i assume you are talking about the secretary of defense? host: i think. he is off-line now. guest: we have seen miller come before committee within the last few months. i think he left more questions unanswered than he answered.
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he can expect to be called back before the committee, i would suspect. but we looked at the process and procedures into did not work the way it should have. i will leave it at that and let the committee sorted out. i think we are all waiting for the total picture of who knew what, when. host: how different was your impression shortly after january 6 and after you had a chance to meet with the task force to do the review? how did your opinion of what had been changed, or did it? guest: it didn't change much for my perspective. we saw what happened, i have a better understanding of how it happened. as a result of the failures in intelligence, the issues with
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command and control, using the command system it weight -- the way it should be used, the reception of incoming officers from other districts. that whole process needed to be significantly improved to deal with worst-case scenario like we had. we didn't have the authority to do much work in a sorting out the role the secret service had with security -- was securing the president on the mall and securing the vice president. it appears something could have been done in collaboration between them on what these two groups were doing and where was the fbi? with that many people on the mall, we expect a lot from the interagency process. that is what we put the joint terrorism task force in washington, d.c.
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and where was homeland security? by their name, that is their job. to protect the homeland. government did not work that day. but those details were not in our form, that will have to be sorted out through department of justice as well as committed to try and shedding light on who knew what and when. host: you touched on the d.c. national guard earlier. a question from carol in wisconsin may be a little more specific. one is someone calls the pentagon to get help from the national guard for the capitol, does the army have to get permission from the president? guest: that is the way it works. host: simple answer. take you very much. willie is up next. go ahead. caller: good morning.
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first, i would like to say, general i am so proud to get to speak to you. i am tickled pink, and i am a man. it sounds like you are dealing with a lot of bureaucracy, one particular agency didn't speak to the other agency into the other agency -- and the other agency -- it sounds -- who knew what -- if you follow the dots, it might go somewhere you don't want it to go. my other question was, man, i am just so proud to speak to you. i love you, sir. i really do.
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my name is ricky brown. guest: thank you. you made my day. host: piling on ricky's question. you said in an earlier interview that you saw the white house was complicit in planning the insurrection. has anything changed to change your view? is that still your opinion? guest: i want to make clear that is my personal opinion. watching the whole thing unfold, before the rally started, watching the rally form, watching the meeting in the senate and house -- my perception, in retrospect and watching what i saw on the news -- there is a whole one-liner you learn in the army.
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i put that into perspective. my personal opinion is i think the executive branch was complicit in what happened on january 6. host: from the main. -- from maine. caller: i feel very thankful to be able to talk to a national treasure when it comes to issues like this. i just wondered if your particular investigation is going to result or could result in possibly criminal charges concerning those who may or may not have been complicit in the insurrection, if you will. or if you just want to call it a riot, it got out of control in
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washington. and whether or not we really can deal with this thing by having some kind of a standing course or should we look at washington as the weight was originally designed, to be a place where people can come and speak freely about what is going on. i will take my answer off the air. thank you, sir. guest: thank you. let me take to your last piece for security of the capitol. the capitol is a target. it was a target on 9/11 that did not get executed for the great work of the citizens that were on that plane. the capitol was targeted repetitively because it is the seat of our democracy. without the capitol, the democracy does not work. it makes the laws and provides the funds to make those laws
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work. it approves principal members for the executive branch to execute that through agencies. the capitol is significant to the operation of our democracy. it has to be secured. over time, the security we have been accustomed to was dealing mostly with civil disturbances with the exception in recent history where officers had been killed at the capitol. that being said, -- surprised at what we saw happened on 16 -- january 6. we missed the chatter to be properly prepared. we took action after 9/11 that we were trying to replicate for january 6. but we took after 9/11 was he
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put in washington, d.c. don't ask me where we are, i won't tell you. we also put f-15s in washington dc in the air force base to protect the air. rmd soldiers are not fully mobilized everything that the capitol is a target for those who want to do harm. not just harm, but the mystic terrorism. it has risen to -- domestic terrorism has risen to the point we need to be able to mobilize immediately. that is a notion in creating a standing military police unit inside the d.c. guard that will be available 20 47. congress has decided they do not want that. senate decided they do not want that.
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now they will have to work agreements with other police officers and inherent response ability is hopefully the department of offense -- response ability -- res ponsibility and hopefully the permit of defense. -- department of defense. they can only employ if they are requested by the local. this notion that we can't do nothing until we are asked is bs. they can be repaired, be in position, and if asked -- be prepared, be in position and if asked, read the same report as everyone else. i hope i answered your question. host: $35 million and that bill that passed, the emergency
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measures will be earmarked for the mutual aid agreements. let's go to a call or two more, one from connecticut. caller: good morning, general. as we all now know, trump said to top officials, just say the election was fraudulent and i and the republican congress will take care of the rest. this was a horrific crime. will disgraceful trump go to jail? your thoughts. guest: ma'am, i don't know. that is up to the justice department to get that sorted out. it is most unfortunate all that happened. i think people want answers, and the answers will not come quick. that is going to have to be resolved in the justice department. future elections will determine
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whether the american people believe that or not. post: general honore, it has been a pleasure having you on. look forward to seei >> today, a hearing on theft of -- watch this intelligence hearing live at 2:45 eastern on c-span, online at, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> sunday, see spans series -- c-span's series continues. three members of congress speak about what they saw, heard, and experienced that day, including hakeem jeffries. >> we didn't have the highest degree of information because
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being on the house floor, we didn't get to see the images and the real-time footage of the ongoing assault on the capital. however, once we arrived in the secure location we were able to get some understanding of that, and could only imagine how our loved ones were feeling watching it unfold in real time. it was a great comfort to myself and every other member to be able to communicate with our family members back at home. one of the communications i received that was disturbing was my brother reached out to me to indicate that -- to check to see if we were ok, and of course responded and indicated that i was ok, and then sort of as an aside, let me know, by the way, he and his family had received a threatening message from someone
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indicating that they knew when my brother and his wife and his three girls -- where my brother and his wife and his three girls lived and that they had people in the neighborhood and if me, meaning his brother, the congressman, didn't stop telling lies about the election, something bad was going to happen. >> this week, you will also hear from two texas representatives, colin allred and ronny jackson. "january 6, views from the house," sunday on c-span,, or on the c-span app. ♪


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