There are two major points of confusion about the timeline of the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. But at the same time, both timelines have a three-hour-plus gap between calls for help came and it ultimately was approved, depending on which testimony is to be believed.
A Washington Post timeline shows the contrasting perspectives on the time that the first calls came in and the disputes in the time that the actual authorization was given to the National Guard.
The first dispute came from Capitol Police chief Steven Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving. Sund claimed that he called Irving at 1:09 p.m. and then called back later to check on the status.
Irving, however, was seen on the House floor at 1:09 p.m. He did look at his phone, but he wasn't talking on it. So, he couldn't have been talking to Sund.
Paul Irving is seen on the House floor at 1:09 pm on Jan. 6 and briefly glances at what appears to be his phone.
Steven Sund said he called Irving to request National Guard troops at 1:09 pm.
Irving said the request was not made until after 2 pm.
(H/t @heatherscope) pic.twitter.com/gpxgTu7mNB
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) February 23, 2021
Irving's account was that Sund didn't call him until about 1:30 p.m. The approval, he said, didn't come until 2 p.m.
"I did not receive a request for approval for National Guard until shortly after 2 p.m. when I was in Michael Stenger's office," Irving testified.
Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified that she checked her phone records and they show that "the first request actually came earlier from Sund." Her records showed the first contact was at 12:58 p.m. and "he made the same request to Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael Stenger shortly afterward, at 1:05 p.m."
But it's when the National Guard was actually sent that has become the biggest question, because there is a hefty space of time where the Pentagon seemed asleep at the wheel.
The Post timeline cited D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. William J. Walker testifying that Sund's "request for the Guard wasn't received from the Defense Department until 5:08 p.m."
Defense Department representative Robert Salesses said that the Guard was told to go in at 4:32 p.m. He then appeared to walk that back a little. the Guard didn't arrive at the Capitol until 5:20 p.m.
"The approval for Chief Sund's request would eventually come from the acting secretary of Defense [Christopher Miller] and be relayed to me by Army senior leaders at 5:08 p.m., about three hours and 19 minutes later," said Gen. Walker.
Former acting Secretary Christopher Miller said that "all available forces of the D.C. National Guard were required" at 2:30 p.m. But he didn't order "the full mobilization of the Guard" until 3:04 p.m.
"The secretary of the Army received the acting secretary of defense's approval at 4:32 p.m. and ordered the D.C. National Guard forces to depart the armory for the Capitol Complex." Salesses said, noting that the Guard was also told they could move forward at that time.
Gen. Walker disputed the claim, saying that he wasnt given approval until a little after 5 p.m. and it was from the Secretary of the Army.
"Army senior leaders told me, at about 17:08, 5:08 p.m., that the [acting] secretary of Defense has authorized our approval to support the Capitol," Gen. Walker testified.
Salesses "allowed" that perhaps Gen. Walker wasn't told right away that he could mobilize the troops.
Even if the Department of Defense authorized the Guard to go in at 4:32, and no one thought to tell Gen. Walker until after 5 p.m., there's still a big gap between the time that the call first came in and approval was given. The latest possible time that the Pentagon got the request would be 2 p.m. and the earliest time the approval came in was 4:32 p.m. There is still a 2.5 hour gap where no one knows what the Department of Defense was doing while lawmakers, their staff, and police officers were terrified for their lives.
While the Post timeline goes into greater detail about the disputes between both timelines, they too are stumped for the missing hours at the Pentagon.