Donald Trump's administration restricted the powers of the Washington, D.C., National Guard ahead of the January 6 riots that followed the president's controversial rally, The Washington Post reported.
According to the publication, the Pentagon restricted Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, ahead of trump's Stop the Steal protest. This restriction allegedly prevented Walker from initiating an immediate rollout of troops when he learned that rioters were about to breach the Capitol.
"All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life," Walker said. "But in this instance I did not have that authority."
The riots ultimately left five people dead and sparked the second article of impeachment against Trump. Notably, the military took hours to respond to the scene, and Walker was only notified of the need for backup until approximately 25 minutes before the Capitol was breached.
According to The Washington Post, the restrictions placed on Walker had a significant impact on the response time to the incident.
"He needed to wait for approval from McCarthy and acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller before dispatching troops, even though some 40 soldiers were on standby as a quick reaction force. That standby force had been assembled in case the few hundred members deployed that day on the District's streets to assist police with traffic control and crowd management needed help, Walker said."In one instance, Walker asked Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund — who has since resigned — for help ahead of the January 6 rally. Sund said he could have the National Guard on standby, but only with permission via a formal request, which Walker said he received "after the fact."
According to Walker, he could have dispatched troops to the historic American building much sooner if his powers were not restricted. Nevertheless, The Washington Post underlined that it's "unclear" how much the National Guard could have helped the situation due to the last-minute nature of the riots and the large size of the group that infiltrated the structure.
As The Inquisitr reported, the Pentagon also allegedly placed broader limits on the National Guard to curb the use of military force. In particular, the guardsmen were prohibited from receiving ammunition or riot gear, sharing equipment with law enforcement, and interacting with protestors unless required for self-defense.
Ultimately, Mike Pence helped mobilize the National Guard, while Trump allegedly returned to the White House and refused to take action until he was warned of possible legal repercussions.