Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, who was in charge of Capitol security on Jan. 6, 2021, died suddenly on Monday morning, a day before the Jan. 6 inquisition was set to call a surprise session to introduce new evidence.
Stenger was 71 years old. The cause of death has not been released yet.
Following the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, Stenger was accused of failing at his job to ensure security at the Capitol. Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged he would fire Stenger if he was not out of office by the time Democrats assumed the majority on January 20, 2021. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), then-Senate Majority Leader, “requested and received the resignation” of Stenger the day after the riot. He had held the post from 2018 to 2021.
“The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them,” McConnell said at the time. “But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”
Michael Stenger, Senate Sergeant at Arms on January 6th, was found dead today..
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) June 28, 2022
Stenger served in the United States Marine Corps and was in the Secret Service for 35 years. He was a captain in the Marines before joining the Secret Service. Stenger held the position of chief law enforcement officer and head of protocol for the chamber since April of 2018.
He served as an assistant director for the Office of Investigations and then in the Office of Protective Research. At the end of his time with the Secret Service, he was third in command, according to Roll Call.
Stenger first took a position at the Senate in 2011. He served as Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for protective services and continuity. A longtime aide to former Democratic leader Harry Reid, Drew Willison, became Sergeant-at-Arms in 2014 and made Stenger his deputy.
“Mike and I are definitely planning to work as a team,” Willison commented in 2014, during an interview with Roll Call. Stenger was expected to “naturally gravitate” toward security.
“Security is going to be critically important, but I want to continue to focus on the back half of it, which is going to be everybody’s day-to-day interaction on the customer service end,” Stenger said.
He also served as deputy to Frank Larkin, who served as Sergeant-at-Arms from 2015 through 2018. When Larkin stepped down, McConnell appointed Stenger as his replacement.
“I appreciate Mike stepping up to this critical role,” McConnell remarked at the time. “He is extremely well-qualified and will continue to serve the Senate and our nation well.”
Stenger will be replaced by Karen Gibson, who took over on March 22, 2021, after a 33-year military career.
Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who was in charge of securing the Capitol on January 6th, has suddenly died.
This news comes just hours after the @January6thCmte announces an “urgent hearing due to newly obtained evidence.”
— Alex Bruesewitz (@alexbruesewitz) June 28, 2022
Stenger testified in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee in February 2021 that the role of “professional agitators” needed to be further investigated.
“There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of January 6,” he testified. “Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators.”
“First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with professional investigations,” he added.
Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant of Arms, responsible for security on J6, has “suddenly died.”
He resigned last year, a day after J6, unhappy w Pelosi for not calling in the Guards, but criticism was directed towards him.
I smell something…
— 🇺🇸ProudArmyBrat (@leslibless) June 28, 2022
The Washington Post is reporting that the hearing was kept secret due to security threats involving a witness.
The committee is set to “present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony” during the surprise meeting, according to the Daily Mail. Many believe it is more hype that is being put on display simply to further smear those on the right.
Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, will testify on Tuesday.
Hutchinson allegedly said in a private meeting that Meadows was warned in advance that there could be trouble on January 6. Her testimony was used by the committee to level charges that a number of Republicans later sought presidential pardons. There is reportedly no solid, definitive proof of any of that.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top adviser to Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, is expected to testify Tuesday before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the Capitol attack, sources tell me & @MLevineReports
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) June 28, 2022
“We had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th,” Hutchinson asserted. Her testimony was revealed via a transcript shared in court documents that surfaced in April.
“And Mr. Meadows said: ‘All right. Let’s talk about it,'” she claimed.
Hutchinson is stating that she was present during meetings that took place between Meadows and a number of House Republicans. She also accused Meadows of burning documents.
“I know that he was on several calls during the rally,” she testified. “And I went over to meet with him at one point, and he had just waved me away, which is out of the ordinary.”
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