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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:40 p


"Light Crude Clears $63"

by Bloomberg | Andres Guerra Luz

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

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(Bloomberg) -- Oil surged to the highest in more than a year as the market looks ahead toward an accelerating decline in global inventories and a comeback in demand.

Futures in New York climbed 2.5% Wednesday, rising to the highest since January 2020.

Energy Information Administration data showed crude output fell to 9.7 million barrels a day last week amid an unprecedented polar blast, tying for the low reached last summer when Hurricane Laura sent production plummeting.

Globally, supplies are declining with stockpiles at a major European storage hub falling to their lowest level since September.

Key players in the oil market have been talking up the rising prices in the coming months, with some even floating the prospect of $100 crude in the next year or two as the global economy recovers from the pandemic.

“All indications are that we’re going to see better demand,” said Rob Thummel, a portfolio manager at Tortoise, a firm that manages roughly $8 billion in energy-related assets.

“Inventories are going to continue to fall, both in the U.S. and globally."

"Big picture, that’s going to be positive for prices moving higher.”

Still, the report showed crude inventories climbed by 1.29 million barrels last week as the cold weather shut most Texas refineries, while stockpiles at a key U.S. storage hub rose for the first time in six weeks.

Despite the U.S. build, confidence that a meaningful demand rebound will accompany widening vaccination availability by this summer has supported prices.

The underlying market structure for global benchmark Brent futures remains in backwardation, where nearer contracts trade at a premium to following months, indicating tightening supplies as OPEC+ maintains production curbs.

Market movements in the coming weeks are likely to be driven by the legacy of the U.S. cold weather, an upcoming OPEC+ meeting and the ongoing reflation trade across global markets.

“Stockpiles are going to continue to fall, and everyone has that OPEC meeting circled on their calendar,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp.

“That’s going to be the next big thing for crude, there’s not much else besides the short-term trajectory of Covid cases that will really dictate the next path.”


West Texas Intermediate for April delivery rose $1.55 to settle at $63.22 a barrel.

Brent for April settlement climbed $1.67 to $67.04 a barrel.

U.S. drillers in the Permian Basin have already restored about 80% of crude output after the big freeze, although refiners are finding a return to normal more tricky.

Impacts from the cold blast have also hit Asia, where plastic makers are facing surging prices for key feedstocks after American processors were shuttered.

The EIA report also showed inventories at nation’s largest storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, rose for the first time in six weeks.

However, distillate inventories fell by roughly 5 million barrels last week, helping lead a decline in total petroleum stockpiles and U.S. crude imports fell to 4.6 million barrels a day, the lowest since February 1996.

Other oil-market news:

The world’s oil giants have lost their leadership of U.K. North Sea production, usurped by small drillers and private equity firms that most people have never heard of.

A planned overhaul of how the world’s most important benchmark crude price is calculated has caused a surge in trading of swaps used to hedge North Sea oil prices.

One in every seven Texas gas stations is without fuel a week after the historic freeze crippled refineries and trucking, and the second-largest U.S. state may need to seek outside help.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline is sparking renewed interest in shipping Canadian oil-sands crude by rail, and that comes with its own environmental risks.

--With assistance from Sheela Tobben, Jeffrey Bair and Michael Roschnotti. ... 5-article/

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:40 p


"Texas Governor Addresses Skyrocketing Energy Bills"

by Andreas Exarheas | Rigzone Staff

Monday, February 22, 2021

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Sunday that he is working with members of the legislature to address “skyrocketing” energy bills that resulted from a temporary spike in the energy market.

The governor said they are working quickly to calculate the total cost of these bills and find ways that the state can help “reduce this burden”.

The governor noted that the Public Utility Commission has issued a moratorium on customer disconnections for non-payment and will temporarily restrict providers from issuing invoices.

“This pause will ensure that the state has time to address these bills and develop a solution for Texans,” Abbott’s office said in a statement posted on the governor’s website.

On February 19, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) said it was keeping tabs on the potential for hikes in gas bills and outlined that it was working with utilities, consumer groups and others to avoid situations where customers may get unusually high bills in the coming weeks.

“As Texans recover from the devastating effects of Winter Storm Uri, I am committed to utilizing all of the tools available to this agency to assist in the coming weeks,” RRC Chairman Christi Craddick said in an organization statement.

“The Railroad Commission will be exploring all options in order to reduce the financial burden on Texans as we tackle the challenges that lie ahead together,” Craddick added.

Commenting on the matter, commissioner Wayne Christian said, “Texans have gone through enough hardship during this winter storm without having to worry about unexpected additional energy costs”.

“Our agency will do everything in our power to ensure utilities have plenty of time to get caught up on these unexpected expenses, so consumers are not unduly burdened,” he added.

The RRC highlighted that utilities have been purchasing gas to deliver to customers in a commodities market in which prices “dramatically increased” due to the “extremely high demand” brought on by the prolonged storm.

To contact the author, email ... 9-article/

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:40 p


"10-year Treasury yield tops 1.4%, highest since February 2020"

Maggie Fitzgerald @mkmfitzgerald Vicky McKeever @vmckeevercnbc

Published Wed, Feb 24 2021

Key Points

* Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is due to speak to the House Committee on Financial Services at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

* Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida is also set to speak about the central bank’s economic outlook for the U.S. and its monetary policy, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Committee meeting at 1 p.m. ET.

U.S. Treasury yields rose on Wednesday morning, with the 10-year Treasury topping 1.4% for the first time since February 2020.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.4% at around 4:15 p.m. ET, its highest level since February 2020.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose to 2.25%.

Yields move inversely to prices.

Treasury yields edged higher early on Wednesday, even after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a congressional hearing Tuesday that inflation was “soft” and that the U.S. economy was “a long way from our employment and inflation goals.”

“The economy is a long way from our employment and inflation goals, and it is likely to take some time for substantial further progress to be achieved,” he said on Tuesday.

Powell spoke again to the House Committee on Financial Services at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida is also set to speak about the central bank’s economic outlook for the U.S. and its monetary policy, at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Committee meeting at 1 p.m. ET.

Clarida is then scheduled to speak again on the U.S. economy and its monetary policy, to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia at 4 p.m. ET.

Auctions will be held Wednesday for $30 billion of 119-day bills, $61 billion of 5-year notes and $26 billion of 1-year 11-month floating-rate notes.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

Data also provided by Reuters ... imony.html

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:40 p


"Fed's Clarida is 'bullish' on U.S. outlook, policy setting"

By Ann Saphir

February 24, 2021

(Reuters) - Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida said on Wednesday that he’s “bullish” on the outlook for the U.S. economy and sees inflation at the Fed’s 2% goal by year’s end, after what he expects to be a temporary rise above that level before then due to “base effects.”

The Fed’s current monetary policy settings are appropriate now and “for the rest of the year” Clarida said in a virtual appearance before the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.

The biggest risk to the outlook, he said, is the course of the coronavirus.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; editing by Jonathan Oatis ... SS0N2JQ00Y

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Feb 24, 2021 1:40 p


"TREASURIES-Yields rise but Fed Chair Powell's patience tempers gains"

By Ross Kerber

February 24, 2021

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Traders sent longer-term U.S. Treasury yields higher and steepened the yield curve on Wednesday but then pulled back some of those increases as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell continued signaling the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged for a long time.

The benchmark 10-year yield was up 1.8 basis points at 1.3824% in afternoon trading.

It had reached as high as 1.435% in the morning, its first time above 1.4% since a year ago, before settling as Powell gave a second day of testimony in Washington.

The bond selloffs pushed up a closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes, seen as an indicator of economic expectations.

It went as wide as 130 basis points, the most since late 2016, then narrowed and last traded at 126 basis points, up 3 from Tuesday's close.

Other parts of the yield curve also reached milestones as investors sold longer-term U.S. debt along with some sovereigns.

Analysts said the trading reflected a range of factors including Powell's message since Tuesday that the Fed would continue to provide economic support.

Speaking to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Powell said it may take more than three years to reach the Federal Reserve's inflation goals.

The Fed has said it will not raise interest rates until inflation has exceeded 2%.

Patrick Leary, chief market strategist and senior trader at Incapital, said the morning trading could be seen as a sign of investor skepticism about Powell's reassurance.

"The reality is that the market is not believing what the chairman is saying... the market either doesn't believe what he's saying or it thinks that inflation could be a bigger problem," Leary said.

But the later pullback in yields suggested the initial rise was also driven by quantitative strategies before traders decided the increase was overdone and lacked a main catalyst, said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

"The morning move got out of hand," Moya said, especially since Powell's testimony to the House on Wednesday was little different than his message the day before to the Senate's equivalent committee.

"Did we learn anything new from Powell today?"

"No," Moya said.

The U.S. Treasury sold $61 billion worth of five-year notes at a high yield of 0.621%, with a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.24.

The results were called "a bit soft" by BMO Capital Markets analyst Ben Jeffery in a note to investors, who noted the average bid-to-cover ratio was 2.45.

The U.S. secured overnight financing rate (SOFR), which measures the cost of borrowing cash overnight using Treasury securities as collateral, dropped to 0.01% on Wednesday, the lowest since May 2020.

SOFR has replaced the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) as an interest rate benchmark for banks.

The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was up less than a basis point at 0.125%.

The yield on 30-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities was at 0.112% after reaching as high as 0.14%.

The 10-year TIPS yield was at -0.796% and the breakeven inflation rate was at 2.183%. ... SL1N2KU2TT

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 p


"Biden rushes to address global computer chip shortage via latest executive order"

By Nandita Bose, Steve Holland

February 24, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday aimed at addressing a global semiconductor chip shortage that has forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production and alarmed the White House and members of Congress, administration officials said.

The scarcity, exacerbated by the pandemic, was the subject of a discussion between Biden and a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday.

Administration officials said Biden’s executive order, to be signed at 4:15 p.m. EST, will launch a 100-day review of supply chains for four critical products: semiconductor chips, large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles, rare earth minerals and pharmaceuticals.

The order will also direct six sector reviews, modeled after the process used by the Defense Department to strengthen the defense industrial base.

It will be focused on the areas of defense, public health, communications technology, transportation, energy and food production.

The United States has been besieged by supply shortages since the onset of the pandemic, which squeezed the availability of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment, hurting frontline workers.

The chip shortage, which in some cases is forcing automakers to take employees off production lines, is the latest example of supply bottlenecks.

“Make no mistake, we’re not simply planning to order up reports."

"We are planning to take actions to close gaps as we identify them,” the administration official added.

Democratic lawmakers present at Wednesday’s meeting were Senators Mark Warner, Tammy Baldwin, Tammy Duckworth and Maggie Hassan along with Representative Doris Matsui.

The Republicans comprised Senators John Cornyn, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Rob Portman and Representatives John Joyce and Michael McCaul.

A group of U.S. chip companies earlier in February urged Biden to provide “substantial funding for incentives for semiconductor manufacturing” as part of his economic recovery and infrastructure plans.


Ford Motor Co recently said a lack of chips could cut the company’s production by up to 20% in the first quarter.

General Motors said it was forced to cut output at factories in the United States, Canada and Mexico and would reassess its production plans in mid-March.

Ford praised Biden’s plan on Wednesday and said in a statement that it was “incredibly important for our labor force, our customers and our business that we have a commitment to end this shortage as soon as possible.”

Other trade groups also came out in support.

“We urge the president and Congress to invest ambitiously in domestic chip manufacturing and research,” the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said.

U.S. semiconductor firms account for 47% of global chip sales but only 12% of production because they have outsourced much of the manufacturing overseas, according to SIA.

In 1990, the United States accounted for 37% of global semiconductor production.

Biden has been under pressure from Republican lawmakers to do more to protect American supply chains from China by investing in domestic manufacturing of next-generation semiconductor chips.

“I strongly urge Biden administration to prioritize protecting emerging and critical technologies, like semiconductors, from the grasp of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party),” Representative McCaul said in a recent letter.

Under Biden’s order, the White House will look to diversify the country’s supply chain dependence for certain products, by developing domestic production and partnering with other countries in Asia and Latin America when it cannot produce products at home.

The review will also look at limiting imports of certain materials and training U.S. workers.

Biden vowed in January to leverage the purchasing power of the U.S. government, the world’s biggest single buyer of goods and services, to strengthen domestic manufacturing and create markets for new technologies.

Reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland in Washington; Additional reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Leslie Adler, Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall ... SKBN2AO13D

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 p


"Wall Street finishes up as Fed's Powell soothes inflation fears"

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

February 24, 2021

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares on Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday, as a selloff in technology-related stocks eased and a rotation into cyclical shares continued after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments calmed inflation worries.

The Nasdaq index, which traded as much as 1.3% lower earlier in the session, regained its footing by early afternoon and closed up.

The Dow hit a record high earlier in the session.

GameStop Corp stock, which was at the center of volatile moves in late January by shares talked about on a Reddit forum, more than doubled with no obvious catalyst.

Volume was more than two times the 10-day moving average.

Powell told lawmakers on Wednesday it may take more than three years to reach the central bank’s inflation goals, a sign the Fed plans leave interest rates unchanged for a long time to come.

“What’s driving the stock market is the fiscal stimulus, the dovish Fed, the real strong, strong earnings that we’re seeing, as well as the fact that we’re going to have a third vaccine,” said Richard Saperstein, chief investment officer at Treasury Partners.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine appeared safe and effective in trials, paving the way for its approval for emergency use as soon as this week.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.3% following the news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 424.51 points, or 1.35%, to 31,961.86, the S&P 500 gained 44.06 points, or 1.14%, to 3,925.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 132.77 points, or 0.99%, to 13,597.97.

All three main indexes were on track to post strong monthly gains, with the Dow and the S&P 500 set for their best month since November.

Investors have focused on rising U.S. yields and their potential impact on growth stocks.

Saperstein said higher yields could pressure stocks but would not derail the upward trend.

“I don’t believe that the 10-year yield going from 1% to 1.5% is going to alter the calculus of owning large technology stocks,” said Saperstein.

Value-oriented stocks have enjoyed a bit of a bounce recently, and the S&P 500 Value index rose for a fourth straight day.

The S&P 500 financial sector hit an all-time peak, while other cyclical stocks including industrials, energy and materials also rose.

The S&P 500 Growth index, which includes most of the high-flying technology-related stocks, has come under pressure in the last few days due to valuation concerns, elevated Treasury yields and an investment shift into more economy-sensitive parts of the market.

Microsoft Corp, Inc and Apple Inc were down 0.4% to 1.1%, while Facebook, Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc reversed earlier declines.

Growth-oriented stocks are particularly sensitive to rising yields as their value rests heavily on future earnings, which are discounted more deeply when bond returns go up.

Tesla Inc gained 6.2% after star investor Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest fund bought a further $171 million worth of the company’s shares in the wake of a sharp fall in the electric-car maker’s stock.

Lowe’s Cos Inc slid 3.7% as it stuck by its 2021 outlook of a $4 billion to $8 billion drop in revenue, even after reporting blow-out fourth quarter results.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.10-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.62-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 102 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 282 new highs and seven new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.68 billion shares, compared with the 16.01 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Cynthia Osterman ... SKBN2AO1F8

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 p


"Five big takeaways on the Capitol security hearings"

By Scott Wong and Mike Lillis

February 23, 2021 - 07:32 PM EST

Former Capitol security officials clashed publicly on Tuesday over the events surrounding last month's deadly assault on the Capitol complex, casting blame at the intelligence community and the Pentagon while delivering conflicting accounts of how the tragedy unfolded.

Here are five takeaways from the day's proceedings.

Congress will need to probe contradictions

There were major discrepancies between former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund and former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving as they recounted their actions before and during the Jan. 6 attack.

The two officials couldn't even agree whether a phone call had taken place between them as rioters were breaking into the building.

Sund testified that two days before the attack, he approached both Irving and then-Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger to request aid from the National Guard.

Irving said he was concerned about the "optics" of a military presence at the Capitol and didn't feel the intelligence supported it, according to Sund.

Irving rejected Sund's account, testifying that Sund's impression was "categorically false" and that it was the "collective judgment" of the three men that the intelligence did not warrant calling in the Guard.

With the attack underway on Jan. 6, Sund testified that he had called Irving at 1:09 p.m. to seek approval from the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms to request help from the National Guard.

Sund said other officials in his department personally witnessed him make the call.

But Irving said he was on the House floor at that time and doesn't remember getting a call from Sund at 1:09.

He also testified that his phone records do not show him receiving a call or text from Sund around that time.

The first time he spoke to Sund that hour was at 1:28 p.m., said Irving.

Irving then alerted Stenger and top aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about the need to call in the Guard.

Irving said Sund did not make a formal request until after 2 p.m.

The alleged 1:09 phone call is of importance because some officials and lawmakers believe an earlier request could have prevented injuries or deaths.

Other House and Senate committees probing the attack could request or subpoena phone records that could clear up the discrepancy, shedding more light on the credibility of the two officials.

FBI warning of 'war' never reached police chiefs

There were numerous intelligence failures on Jan. 6, but one of the most glaring is the fact that the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and D.C. Metro police chiefs had not seen an FBI report sent Jan. 5 warning that pro-Trump protesters were preparing for "war" at the Capitol.

The FBI's field office in Norfolk, Va., had issued a Jan. 5 bulletin detailing specific calls for violence at the Capitol, including urging protesters go to the Capitol "ready for war."

Sund testified that he only learned in the past 24 hours that Capitol Police had received the bulletin.

An officer assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force with the FBI received the report, which then was forwarded to an official at the Intelligence Division at U.S. Capitol Police headquarters.

But it was never sent up the chain of command.

Acting D.C. Metro Police Chief Robert Contee and the two sergeants-at-arms also had not seen the FBI memo.

Contee said his department did receive an email from the FBI, but that he believed "something as violent as an insurrection at the Capitol would warrant a phone call," noting that he leaves his mobile phone on 24 hours a day so he can be available.

The attack was highly coordinated

The insurrectionists came to the Capitol wearing tactical gear and carrying firearms, bats, shields, bear spray and other weapons.

They brought climbing gear so they could get past some of the Capitol's security features.

And they communicated with handheld radios and hand signals.

The security officials testified that is all evidence of a highly coordinated and planned assault, and not a spontaneous act.

And they suggested, as a result, it was not a failure of planning that led to the anarchic scene at the Capitol.

"The breach of the United States Capitol was not the result of poor planning or failure to contain a demonstration gone wrong."

"No single civilian law enforcement agency - and certainly not the USCP - is trained and equipped to repel ... an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent and coordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs," Sund said.

He also testified that pipe bombs discovered outside the Republican and Democratic headquarters near the Capitol were likely planted to draw officers away from the building.

Dozens of those charged in the Jan. 6 riot are members of the right-wing militant groups Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters.

The witnesses Tuesday "may have disagreed on some details, but there is clear agreement this was a planned insurrection," said Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who noted it involved white supremacists and extremist groups and could have been even worse.

Controversy swirls around 'The Ragin' Cajun'

When Pelosi tapped Russel Honoré to lead an assessment of the Capitol's security apparatus, it was seen as a safe and savvy bet.

Honoré, a retired Army lieutenant general, had coordinated the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and had won acclaim from both sides of the aisle in doing so.

But at Tuesday's hearing, several Senate Republicans hammered Honoré, citing his recent comments declaring that a significant portion of the Capitol Police force are "Trumpsters," while suggesting that leaders of the force were "complicit" in the Jan. 6 attack.

Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), who led the Republican effort to overturn the presidential election results on Jan. 6, was quick to highlight those comments, asking Sund, Stenger and Irving if they were complicit.

All of them were adamant in their denials, and Sund went a step further to criticize Honoré for the remarks.

"I think it's disrespectful to myself and to the members of the Capitol Police Department," Sund said.

Capitol security fence is universally unpopular

If there is one issue that unites all sides almost two months after the attack, it's that the imposing security fence equipped with coils of barbed wire surrounding the Capitol complex should come down.

Republicans have hammered the fencing as a Democratic ploy to create the impression that Trump supporters pose a severe and ongoing threat to the Capitol and its occupants, while Democrats say it limits access and makes a fortress of the country's most celebrated emblem of democracy.

"This is a public building."

"And you want the school groups, and you want the veterans, and you want people to be able to visit here," Klobuchar said.

She called for "some smart security changes to the complex" but added that "no, it does not have to be barbed wire."

John Bowden and Rebecca Beitsch contributed. ... arings?amp

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 p

The Hill

"Law enforcement officials lay out evidence Capitol riot was 'coordinated' attack"

By John Bowden

02/23/21 11:57 AM EST

Top current and former law enforcement officials testifying Tuesday before a joint Senate hearing on the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol told lawmakers that evidence pointed to coordination and planning behind the mob of people that overwhelmed Capitol Police officers during the attack.

Asked by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chair Gary Peters (D-Mich.) about what nonclassified evidence he could point to that led him to determine the attack was "coordinated," former Capitol police chief Steven Sund pointed to rioters coming prepared with "climbing gear" and "chemical spray," which he argued had no place at a legitimate demonstration.

"I'm able to provide you a quick overview of why I think it was a coordinated attack."

"One, people came specifically with equipment."

"You're bringing in climbing gear to a demonstration."

"You're bringing in explosives."

"You're bringing in chemical spray ... you're coming prepared," he told the senators.

"The fact that the group that attacked our west front [did so] approximately 20 minutes before [former President Trump's rally] ended, which means that they were planning on our agency not being at what they call 'full strength,' " Sund added.

Sund also pointed to the discoveries of pipe bombs outside of the Republican and Democratic party headquarters, which he said were likely used to draw police resources away from the Capitol during the riot.

Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee III agreed, telling the senators that he saw "hand signals being used by several of the insurrectionists," as well as radio communication by others.

The statements are some of the clearest evidence yet that officials believe right-wing militia groups were primarily responsible for the violence that occurred on Jan. 6, during which five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.

A number of individuals linked to various right-wing groups, including the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, have been arrested in the weeks following the attack in connection to the violence, while the FBI's D.C. field office is currently searching for dozens of other people present during the attack. ... oordinated

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Feb 25, 2021 1:40 p

Yahoo News

"Security officials testify Capitol rioters 'came prepared for war'"


Tue, February 23, 2021, 8:40 PM

US Capitol security officials who were ousted in the wake of the 6 January attack on Congress have blamed intelligence failures for the breach.

Testifying to a Senate committee, the officials said that the rioters "came prepared for war" with weapons, radios and climbing gear.

Ex-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said he had prepared for a protest, not "a military-style coordinated assault".

Four people died after pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol.

Three of the four officials testifying on Tuesday to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee resigned in the immediate wake of the attack, in which one Capitol Police officer was killed.

Acting Washington DC police chief Robert Contee III told lawmakers, who are holding the first public hearing into the attack, that he was "stunned" by how long it took for the Pentagon to deploy National Guard troops to help quell the riots.

Democrats charge that the attack amounted to an insurrection, and impeached former President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting the mob.

He was later acquitted by the Senate, becoming the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

What did officials say?

All three officials agreed that there appeared to be a level of co-ordination and planning from the crowd.

Mr Sund said that pipe bombs that were placed at the edge of the security perimeter appeared to be intended to draw law enforcement away from the Capitol building.

"When the group arrived at the perimeter, they did not act like any group of protesters I had ever seen," said the 30-year police veteran.

"A clear lack of accurate and complete intelligence across several federal agencies contributed to this event and not poor planning by the United States Capitol Police," he added.

Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza described the clashes, telling lawmakers that she has chemical burns on her face from attackers that still have not fully healed.

"Of the multitude of events I've worked in my nearly 19-year career in the department, this was by far the worst of the worst," she said.

"We could have had 10 times the amount of people working with us, and I still believe the battle would have been just as devastating."

The officials also said that an FBI report, warning that protesters had been preparing for "war", had failed to reach security officials on the eve of the attack.

Former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving said that despite media reports, "optics played no role in my decision around security".

He denied reports that officials did not want military troops at the Capitol out of concern that it would generate bad publicity.

His account appeared to be in direct conflict with Mr Sund, who testified that Mr Irving had "stated he was concerned about the 'optics' of having National Guard present".

"We all agreed the intelligence did not support" calling in the troops, said former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger.

Mr Sund added that no civilian police force would have been equipped that day to repel the massive crowd.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is leading the hearing, said Pentagon officials will be called next week to testify about the deployment of National Guard troops.

Senators say the hearings will help determine new security measures - including a permanent fence - being considered for the Capitol in the wake of the attack.

What happened in the riot?

At the time, US lawmakers were meeting inside the Capitol to certify Joe Biden's presidential victory.

There was a pro-Trump rally that day on the National Mall, at which the former president spoke.

He repeated unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him, and told those gathered: "If you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore."

He also told them to protest peacefully but encouraged them to go to the Capitol and have their voices heard.

Thousands of his supporters then made their way to the seat of government, overwhelmed the security and smashed their way into the building.

At least 200 people have been charged for their role in the Capitol breach.

Over 140 Capitol police officers and 65 Washington DC police officers were injured in the hours-long melee.

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a 12-year veteran of the force, was killed in clashes with protesters.

Two more Capitol Police officers took their own lives in the weeks after the riot. ... 41659.html

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