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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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Riot suspects linked to Oath Keepers militia charged with conspiracy

WASHINGTON – In the days leading up to the January 6 riot, Thomas Edward Caldwell, an apparent far-right leader Oath Keepers, sent a message to the militiamen he had organized to mobilize against Congress: “This kettle is ready to boil. “

According to unsealed court documents Tuesday, Mr. Caldwell, a 66-year-old man from rural Virginia, advised others on Dec. 31: “It really starts on Jan. 5 and 6 in Washington DC when we mobilize in the streets. Let them try to certify crudités on Capitol Hill with a million or more patriots on the streets.

Mr. Caldwell and two Ohio associates – Donovan Crowl, 50, and Jessica Watkins, 38 – have been charged with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. All three had admitted to invading the Capitol to reporters and were also identifiable in videos posted on social media.

The case revealed the first evidence of planning within a militia known before the day of chaotic mob violence. Investigators said they were increasingly focusing on far-right groups to determine whether aspects of the attack on Capitol Hill had been planned in advance, even as most rioters had it. spontaneously stormed.

Mr Caldwell had advised militia members to stay at a Comfort Inn especially in the suburbs of Washington, according to messages cited in court documents, indicating that it offered a good base for ‘night hunting’ – apparently meaning looking for the left antifa style protesters to fight. Ms Watkins apparently rented a room there under a false name, an FBI agent said.

Mr Caldwell practically appeared in federal court in Virginia on Tuesday, pledging to fight the charges against him. In pleading for bail, Mr Caldwell highlighted his age as well as the underlying medical issues and the threat of the coronavirus, noting that he relied on a machine at night to fight sleep apnea. A judge refused the request.

Federal investigators also recovered audio recordings of Ms Watkins’ voice during the riot from the Zello mobile phone app, which acts like a walkie-talkie, speaking to others considered Oaths. Keepers. “We have a good group,” she said at the start of the riot, according to the indictment document. “We have about 30 to 40 of them. We stay united and stick to the plan. A stranger replied, “We’ll see you soon, Jess.” Airborne.”

An unidentified man later said: “You are carrying out the arrest of a citizen. Stop this assembly; we have probable reasons for acts of treason, electoral fraud. Ms Watkins replied that she and others were under the main dome of the Capitol, and another unknown male voice encouraged her to continue, saying that was what they were “training” for.

The group they are accused of being a part of, the Oath Keepers, is a far-right militia-style organization founded by veterans of the military and law enforcement that claims to believe that a dark globalist cabal is plotting to take away the rights of Americans.

Prosecution documents against the trio noted that in the midst of the generally chaotic scene as crowds began to make their way into the Capitol, a group dressed in paramilitary gear and Oath Keepers paraphernalia stood out. through its coordination. In one video, about 10 Oath Keepers wearing helmets “move in an organized and practiced fashion and make their way past the crowd gathered around a door on the US Capitol.”

Credit…Montgomery County Jail, via Associated Press

The scenes of people with military training walking side by side have horrified Pentagon leaders, who fear that the weapons and tactics training once provided by the armed forces has been co-opted. At least 12 members of the National Guard have been removed from their inauguration-related duties, two of them for possible links to far-right movements, Defense Ministry officials said on Tuesday.

Others arrested in the riots have been linked to the Oath Keepers, although they have not been charged with being part of an organized plot.

At a hearing in Texas last week for Larry Brock, who was pictured in the Senate with flexible handcuffs, a prosecutor cited a Facebook post linking him to the Oath Keepers. Mr Brock, a retired Air Force officer, told the New Yorker he found the flexible cuffs on the ground and did not intend to use them.

And a criminal complaint filed on Saturday against Jon Ryan Schaffer, a guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth, accused of being among the rioters who sprayed Capitol Police with “bear spray,” said he had long ago of “far-right extremist views” and suggested that he is a member of the Oath Keepers.

The Oath Keepers – named after members’ stated intention to uphold their oaths to protect the Constitution – have no geographic center, with chapters scattered throughout Oregon, Montana, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, New York and elsewhere. Part of its ideology intersects with the so-called Three Percenters, another paramilitary-style right-wing movement that seeks to attract veterans.

Oath observers have a more formal structure, including bylaws and dues. Although the organization claimed to have around 35,000 members, the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups, estimated several years ago that its membership was in the thousands.

The organization was founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, 55, a disqualified Montana lawyer who attended Yale Law School and previously worked as an assistant to former Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Libertarian. Its members tend to anticipate a new civil war to come.

“He was motivated by the perception that the federal government was tyrannical and that everyday Americans had to be prepared to stand up to this tyrannical government when it came to the door,” said Sam Jackson, who has published a book on organization last year and is a professor at the University of Albany specializing in homeland security issues.

The Oath Keepers have been involved in clashes with the federal government over land issues in the West, including the Bundy family’s confrontation with the federal government in Oregon in 2014.

And during the unrest that year after police murdered a black man in Ferguson, Missouri, heavily armed Oath Keepers patrolled the streets and claimed to protect businesses, but arrested after criticism from local law enforcement.

The group is also among those who have sent armed vigils to patrol the border with Mexico or who have encouraged such efforts by others.

In the weeks leading up to the assault on Capitol Hill, Oath Keepers issued impassioned calls to action. Shortly after the election, a long message attributed to Mr. Rhodes circulated on far-right websites urging volunteers to converge on Washington for a “Stop the Steal” rally. Oath Keepers, he said, would provide security, including “some of our most skilled Special Warfare veterans standing armed, just outside of DC”

While attendees were urged to remain disciplined, the message also included what he described as advice from an unidentified “patriot of Serbia” who said in a speech transcript that Americans must replicate the uprising. in his country 20 years ago who deposed Slobodan Milosevic:

“Millions of people gathered in our capital. There were no barricades strong enough to stop them, nor the police determined enough to stop them. The police and the army lined up with the people after a few hours of fighting. We have taken Parliament by storm. And burnt the fake state television! WE WON!”

By the time plans were announced for a large rally on January 6, the Oath Keepers’ pleas had taken on an urgent tone. A call for volunteers touted the event as a last chance to help “President Trump’s fight to defeat foreign and domestic enemies who attempt a coup.”

Followers were urged to “prepare for whatever may happen.” Prepare your mind, body and spirit for battle, and most of all, prepare to STAY!

Mr. Rhodes was in Washington on January 6 – a distinctive character with his eye patch because he lost one eye in a gun accident. We do not think he entered the Capitol himself.

According to the impeachment documents, Mr. Caldwell “played a leadership role” in the group. While Mr. Crowl addressed him as “commander” in a message cited in court documents, his precise role remains unclear.

Mr. Caldwell, however, seemed to think Mr. Rhodes was doing too little to organize himself for the day. “I don’t know if Stewie even got his call to arms, but it’s a bit late,” he wrote to Mr Crowl, according to court documents. “It’s the one we do on our own. We will connect with the North Carolina crew.

Other prosecution documents identified Ms Watkins, a bartender in Champaign County, Ohio, who was arrested Monday for being affiliated with the Oath Keepers. She said at the top of her account page on Speak, a social media network that drew a right-wing following, that she commanded “the regular Ohio State Militia,” whom the complaint identified as ” a local militia organization which is a subset of membership fee oath observers. “

The FBI identified Mr. Crowl, also from Champaign County, as a member of the same Ohio militia.

The FBI’s affidavit against the three described several sightings of them in a video of the Capitol riot and their own social media posts boasting of storming the building.

For example, according to the impeachment document, Mr. Caldwell sent a photo of the riot that evening to someone on Facebook Messenger, adding, “We’re storming the castle” and “I’m a such instigator! ” He also wrote: “We have to do this locally. Lets storm the capital of Ohio. Tell me when! “

A search of Ms Watkins’ home after the riot – she was not there, and investigators cited evidence that she and Mr Crowl had gone to live with Mr Caldwell – revealed paramilitary equipment like that used during of the riot and instructions for building a bomb using bleach as the main ingredient, according to the charge document.

Other well-known defendants in the attack on Capitol Hill were released on Tuesday pending trial in a series of five-hour hearings in Washington. Most have been charged with misdemeanors and federal prosecutors have not sought to keep them in detention.

Among those released were Adam Johnson, 36, of Florida, accused of stealing the lectern from President Nancy Pelosi, and Josiah Colt, 34, of Idaho, who was filmed in a viral image hanging from a balcony of the Senate chamber.

Two Virginia police officers accused of breaking and entering the Capitol, Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, have been released pending trial.

Reporting was provided by Alan Feuer, Mike McIntire, Rebecca Ruiz, Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum.

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More police on Capitol Hill test positive for coronavirus after riot.

At least 19 Capitol Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or have been discovered by contact tracing to have been exposed since a crowd of Trump supporters – most of them not wearing masks – attacked the Capitol on January 6, according to three people familiar with the matter.

These are the latest additions to a growing number of people infected since the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Seven members of Congress have tested positive since the attack; some House Democrats have singled out their fellow Republicans who did not wear masks as they took shelter from rioters and forced into hiding for hours.

One of the people, who was not authorized to speak officially on internal departmental matters, said Capitol Police officers were receiving rapid coronavirus tests to help determine which other officers may have contracted the virus. headquarters of the Capitol.

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Investigators observe right-wing militias in Capitol Riot

Federal authorities have prioritized not only militias, but also others involved in attacks on police officers. The FBI also arrested members of the Proud Boys, a far-right nationalist group.

On Sunday evening, Donovan Crowl, 50, a former US Navy, and Jessica Watkins, 38, an army veteran, surrendered to authorities in Ohio after posting photos of themselves on the media social workers wearing combat gear and saying they had stormed the Capitol. . They were indicted in a criminal complaint for illegal entry, disorderly conduct and obstruction of official proceedings.

The FBI said Ms Watkins considered herself the commander of the Ohio State Regular Militia, which is affiliated with the Oath Keepers. In a social media post by Ms Watkins, Mr Crowl was pictured with the caption: “One of my guys at the Stop the Steal rally today.”

Federal prosecutors also exposed the charges this weekend against Robert Gieswein, 24, of Woodland Park, Colo., Who they say is affiliated with the Three Percenters.

Mr Gieswein, who heads a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs, was among the first wave of invaders to cross the Capitol, according to court documents. Photographs of the attack show him dressed in a military-style vest, goggles and helmet, struggling with Capitol Hill police officers to remove metal barricades and wielding a baseball bat. In a criminal complaint, prosecutors cited a video of Mr Gieswein encouraging other rioters as they smashed a window on the Capitol with a plank of wood and a plastic shield, then climbed through the broken glass into the building. .

Mr Gieswein was pictured inside the building with another suspect, Dominic Pezzola, a former Marine and member of the Proud Boys, who was indicted last week.

After the assault, Mr Gieswein said in a documentary interview that he attacked the Capitol to ‘get the corrupt politicians to dismiss’, according to court documents, adding:’ They completely destroyed our country and sold them to the Rothschilds and Rockefeller. ”

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Key lawmakers were not told about police back-up demand ahead of riot, aide and others say

While his suit was colorful, prosecutors said his intentions were dark. In an 18-page document submitted to court on Thursday, prosecutors said Mr Chansley approached a Capitol Police officer and shouted that members of the crowd “were there to take the Capitol and look for the leaders of Congress ”.

Mr. Chansley, a member of the QAnon conspiracy movement known as “Q Shaman,” wrote a note to Mr. Pence, reading: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

Phoenix Federal District Court Judge Deborah M. Fine on Friday denied Chansley bail, saying he was “an active participant in a violent insurgency to overthrow the United States government “. When Mr. Chansley asked to speak, Judge Fine told him it was “not desirable”.

In Texas, a federal prosecutor said another suspect, Lt. Col. Rendall Brock Jr., was planning to take hostages in zipper cuffs when he stormed the Capitol last week, and the lawyer pointed to the violent online threats Mr Brock made in preparation for the mob attack.

Steven M. D’Antuono, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, said the public provided the FBI with about 140,000 digital tips, noting that friends and family had reported rioters and advised those involved in the violence to surrender before the FBI found them.

“If this investigation were a football game,” Mr. D’Antuono said, “we would still be in the first quarter.”

Reporting was contributed by Eileen Sullivan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Katie benner, Nicolas fandos and Hailey Fuchs from Washington, Simon romero Albuquerque and Alan feuer from New York.

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Federal watchdogs open a full investigation into the failures leading up to the Capitol Riot.

Inspectors General from various federal agencies launch a coordinated investigation into the catastrophic failures that led to the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, amid reports that officials ignored, downplayed and slowly responded to a deadly attack on major democratic institutions of the country. .

Government watchdogs, which are safe from political interference under federal law, said on Friday they plan to review protocols and policies that were in place before last week’s violation .

Their goal: to determine why the federal government was caught off guard when pro-Trump rioters attacked Congress, and to propose protocols to prevent similar failures in the face of a dramatic escalation of political violence in Washington and state capitals. .

The review will be conducted jointly by inspectors general from the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior, according to a statement from the office of Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector. General of the Ministry of Justice. .

In the days following the attack, it became clear that federal agencies, including the FBI, did not do enough to heed the alarms, raised within the office itself, that extreme extremists Right-wing allies of President Trump were planning to attack the Capitol. Several people on a terrorist watch list were also in Washington for Mr. Trump’s rally that culminated in the assault.

At the same time, questions have arisen about the Pentagon’s delay in sending National Guard troops to aid Capitol Hill police officers who have been overwhelmed and in some cases severely beaten by the mob.

The review will examine all information relevant to the that was available to the Department of Justice and the FBI before it took place, and the extent to which that information was shared with Capitol Hill Police and other federal, state and local agencies.

Mr Horowitz will also examine the role of Justice Department staff in responding to headquarters and whether weaknesses in departmental protocols led to the security failure.

The Department of Defense review “will examine the DOD’s requests for support leading up to the planned protest and its consequences at the US Capitol complex, the DOD’s response and whether the DOD’s actions were lawful,” the Inspector General wrote from the Pentagon in a statement Friday.

The new investigation comes after the announcement earlier this week that the Capitol Inspector General of Police will open a separate investigation into the force’s failures to contain the violence. The Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan federal watchdog, said it would examine what role, if any, members of Congress could have played in inciting the crowd.

Led by Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Democrat of New Jersey and former Navy pilot, more than 30 lawmakers on Wednesday called for an investigation into an increase in visits to the Capitol – possibly for monitoring and planning purposes – the day before the riot.

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Federal watchdogs open vast investigation into possible failures before the Capitol riot.

Government watchdogs said on Friday they plan to review the protocols and policies that were in place before Capitol Hill’s catastrophic breakup last week to try to determine why the federal government was caught off guard as it was pro-Trump. rioters attacked Congress.

The review will be conducted jointly by inspectors general from the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior, according to a statement from the office of Michael E. Horowitz, the inspector. General of the Ministry of Justice. .

The review will examine all information relevant to the January 6 riot that was available to the Department of Justice and the FBI before it took place, and the extent to which that information was shared with police. of the Capitol and other federal, state and local authorities. agencies.

Mr Horowitz will also examine the role played by Justice Department staff in the response at headquarters and whether weaknesses in departmental protocols led to a serious security failure.

The FBI’s guilt in the attack has become an open question as reports emerged that the office had intelligence showing that pro-Trump rioters wanted to attack Capitol Hill and that it had not sufficiently prepared for it. risk. Several people on a terrorist watch list were also in Washington for President Trump’s rally that culminated in the assault.

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Inaugural security is tightened in Washington as military, police ties riot

Mr Sanford’s arrest was unrelated to the death of Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick, who was allegedly hit in the head by a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials.

Later that day, charges were exposed against a man accused of beating a police officer on Capitol grounds with a flagpole displaying the American flag. According to a criminal complaint, the man, Peter Stager, claimed he believed the victim of the assault was a member of Antifa, the free collective of left-wing activists who often fought with extreme protesters. right, even though the words “Metropolitan Police” were clearly written on the officer’s uniform.

“Everyone in there is a traitorous traitor,” Mr. Stager said, in an apparent reference to Capitol Hill, according to a video obtained by the FBI “Death is the only cure for what’s in this building .

Even as they searched for new leads and new suspects, federal investigators also sought to verify an inflammatory charge raised this week by several lawmakers: that some members of Congress helped coordinate the attack.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat and former Navy pilot, on Wednesday called for an investigation, along with more than 30 of his colleagues, into what they described as “suspicious” visits by groups outside the United States. Capitol the day before the riot at a time when most tours were restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Another lawmaker on Thursday, Representative Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, said she personally attended a tour of the building before the Jan.6 attack by people who were “Trump supporters.”

A law enforcement official said investigators had yet to uncover any evidence that members of Congress were involved in planning the attack, and warned the investigation was broad and all leads had to be carefully considered.

The wave of arrests and investigations added an air of nervous activity to a city that already seemed under siege. On Thursday, the area around the National Mall was filled with military vehicles and cut off from its surroundings by towering lengths of metal fencing, creating what the Secret Service agent in charge of inaugural security called “a safe and secure bubble.” .

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Video: Ocasio-Cortez says she feared for her life during the Capitol riot

new video loaded: Ocasio-Cortez says she feared for her life during the Capitol riot

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Ocasio-Cortez says she feared for her life during the Capitol riot

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she and other members of Congress “were almost murdered” during the siege and felt that some of her colleagues would have put her in danger on purpose.

Wednesday was an extremely traumatic event. And it is no exaggeration to say that scores of MPs were nearly assassinated. We were very fortunate that things happened in a matter of minutes that allowed MPs to escape Cape Town – the floor of the House unharmed. But many of us have almost and narrowly escaped death. I didn’t even feel safe going to, that checkout point because there were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers and, frankly, white supremacist members of Congress, in that checkout point. , which I know and who I think would disclose my location and allow me to – which would create opportunities for me to be injured.

Recent episodes of United States and politics

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Amid riot chaos, some national security leaders are missing from sight

WASHINGTON – Amid the sea of ​​disturbing facts, arrests and iconic images that have emerged in the days following the attack on the Capitol, one element remains largely absent: the assurances of some of the most senior officials in the national security of the country.

Neither Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen nor FBI Director Christopher A. Wray appeared at the type of high-profile press conference that typically marks a major criminal investigation, releasing press releases instead. Mr Rosen also called for calm and vowed to thoroughly investigate the violence, but the comments came in a video posted by the Justice Department on YouTube around midnight.

Chad F. Wolf, the outgoing Acting Homeland Security Secretary, was in the Middle East during the siege and did not return until later in the week. He also issued a press release last week calling the riot “tragic and sickening”.

For the most part, officials have not said that President Trump himself instigated his supporters in the attack on Congress’ certification of the electoral college results. Mr Trump’s refusal to concede the election or acknowledge his role in stimulating his supporters has forced administration officials to choose between remaining relatively silent or speaking in a public setting where they could be pressured to. contradict him directly, according to two current government officials and two former national security officials.

Mr Wolf, who has resigned but remains in the department, told CNN on Wednesday he was “disappointed the president did not speak sooner.” In an interview with the New York Times, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the Acting Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security, agreed.

“I think that’s fair,” Cuccinelli said, adding that Mr. Trump’s comments last Thursday condemning the violence after the deadly siege were “complete and precise.”

“But we could have really used that” on the day of the attack, Cuccinelli said. “There’s a lot of talk about unity right now, and I hope we can find some prosecution unity.”

Both Mr Rosen and Mr Wray face job security risks at a time when their ouster could cause further chaos. In the weeks leading up to the riot, Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Rosen to find more evidence of electoral fraud, according to three people familiar with the discussions, doubling down on his baseless claims. He fears that being fired now could destabilize the Justice Department at a critical time for national security, according to one.

The President had long left Mr. Wray’s status unclear, previously telling other cabinet officials that he planned to fire the FBI Director before finally informing Mr. Wray after Election Day that he would allow him. to stay, according to administration officials aware of the conversation. .

To complicate matters, other national security officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have refused to criticize the president for his incitement to violence.

The justice and homeland security departments have also been besieged by staff turnover, complicating their efforts both to investigate the riot and to prepare for next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Former national security officials say it is normal for the president or a senior cabinet official to address the nation soon after a major attack. Without any senior administration official willing to reassure the public or deliver a cohesive message about responding to the attack or preventing future violence, disinformation has instead grown.

Some have called the lack of a forcefully communicated public response particularly irritating to a violent attempt to overthrow the government.

“When the national security of the United States is threatened, it is essential that the leaders of the nation reassure the public that the government is working and that anarchy will not be tolerated,” said John B. Bellinger III, a senior national security adviser to President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks and a former Justice Department official.

An FBI spokesperson declined to comment. But advocates for Mr Wray and Mr Rosen said they were quiet leaders and Mr Wray was reluctant to become the public face of the investigation because former Attorney General William P. Barr clearly had indicated that he was subordinate to justice. Heads of service.

Mr Cuccinelli sought to reassure the public on Wednesday.

“We’ll stay on what you might call more alert status,” Cuccinelli said. “The inauguration will be sure. I guarantee it.

Given that Mr Trump has intimidated and even fired national security officials for perceived disloyalty, Mr Bellinger said it was a good thing that the acting heads of the Department of Justice, the FBI and the army “were prepared to act independently of the whites. House ”, even though they have not taken a public position.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Wray also preferred to communicate behind the scenes with others about the investigation. A spokesperson for the Department of Justice pointed out that Mr. Rosen spoke with Congressional leaders during and after the attack, that he asked lower-level officials overseeing the investigation by the forces of the order to inform reporters and that his video message was a forceful statement condemning the riots.

Mr Wray personally gave leaders a security briefing on Monday, according to government officials. On Wednesday, Mr Wray and Mr Cuccinelli led an appeal with more than 5,000 local law enforcement officials to help them deal with threats leading up to the inauguration.

Department heads’ public messaging void underscores Mr. Trump’s politicization of federal law enforcement, former officials said, pointing to the administration’s lack of efforts to issue warnings about right-wing violence during Mr. Trump’s presidency, in contrast to his promotion of suspicion on left-wing extremists.

“I think the reason why so few people stepped up to follow normal protocol is also directly related to the president’s fear of retaliation,” said Elizabeth Neumann, who served as deputy secretary for counterterrorism and of threat prevention in the Department of Homeland Security under Mr. Trump. .

Mr. Trump has also undermined his administration’s own assessments of the threat to extremist groups that make up part of his base. The problem was particularly acute in the Department of Homeland Security, which was created after the September 11 attacks to improve coordination between national security agencies.

The department also suffered from a lack of leadership even before Mr Wolf stepped down days after the siege in part, he said, due to court rulings claiming he had been unlawfully appointed to his post. . Two of its largest branches, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are headed by acting officials. The Government Accountability Office also released a report indicating that Mr. Cuccinelli had been illegally appointed to the Department of Homeland Security.

Representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the timing of Mr Wolf’s departure “questionable” given the ministry’s responsibility to help secure the inauguration.

“He chose to step down during a time of national crisis and when domestic terrorists can plan additional attacks on our government,” said Mr. Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi.

Mr. Wolf has been replaced by Peter T. Gaynor, the highly respected former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Secret Service is leading security planning for the inauguration.

The top echelons of the Justice Department were also hollowed out in the days leading up to the Capitol attack. Under Mr Barr’s leadership, Senate-confirmed civil and criminal division heads left amid complaints that Mr Barr routinely excluded senior officials, including Mr Rosen, from key decisions and instead relied on a small circle of advisers in his office and a handful of privileged American lawyers, according to five current and former officials.

As Mr. Trump lambasted Mr. Barr for not helping to attempt to overturn the election, he resigned last month, leaving the department in the hands of Mr. Rosen, a white-collar lawyer who had never previously worked in the department and who had no experience as a prosecutor.

And although Mr. Wray was confirmed to lead the FBI in 2017, he was crippled by Mr. Trump’s poor vision of the office. Mr Trump’s decision to allow him to stay was influenced by advisers who said the president could run more legal risk with an FBI director appointed by Mr Biden than if Mr Wray continued, officials said administration.

“Especially now with cabinet departures, the Titanic has not only hit the iceberg, it’s underwater and people are going to get the lifeboats,” said Michael Chertoff, homeland security secretary under Mr. Bush.

The face of the law enforcement response have been two career officials: US lawyer in Washington, Michael R. Sherwin, and deputy director of the FBI’s Washington field office, Steven D’Antuono. The two appeared at a televised press conference on the investigation on Tuesday.

And Mr Chertoff noted that Mr Wolf’s departure allowed a veteran Mr Gaynor’s emergency manager and Secret Service officials to take the lead in securing the inauguration.

“What this demonstrates is the resilience of the operators, the people who actually do the work,” Chertoff said. “What Trump still describes as the ‘deep state’, but they are actually the backbone of our security.”

Maggie Haberman contribution to reports.