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Claudia Grisales

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

Before joining NPR in June 2019, she was a Capitol Hill reporter covering military affairs for Stars and Stripes. She also covered breaking news involving fallen service members and the Trump administration's relationship with the military. She also investigated service members who have undergone toxic exposures, such as the atomic veterans who participated nuclear bomb testing and subsequent cleanup operations.

Prior to Stars and Stripes, Grisales was an award-winning reporter at the daily newspaper in Central Texas, the Austin American-Statesman, for 16 years. There, she covered the intersection of business news and regulation, energy issues and public safety. She also conducted a years-long probe that uncovered systemic abuses and corruption at Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the largest member-owned utility in the country. The investigation led to the ousting of more than a dozen executives, state and U.S. congressional hearings and criminal convictions for two of the co-op's top leaders.

Grisales is originally from Chicago and is an alum of the University of Houston, the University of Texas and Syracuse University. At Syracuse, she attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she earned a master's degree in journalism.

Updated May 14, 2021 at 12:44 PM ET

House lawmakers have reached a deal on a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and to recommend changes to protect the complex further.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the panel's ranking member, will introduce legislation Friday to set up the commission.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told senators on Thursday that in the midst of a surge of migrants trying to enter the U.S., the number of unaccompanied minors in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody continues to fall dramatically.

A U.S. Capitol Police watchdog told a congressional committee on Monday that the agency was not equipped to handle the flow of intelligence ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the complex, and he focused his testimony on a suggestion that the force create a dedicated counterintelligence unit.

In a breakthrough for an 8-year-long effort, two senators behind legislation to revamp the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other serious crimes say the bill has the bipartisan votes to gain passage.

Traditionally, a presidential joint address to Congress is marked by a packed House chamber with a guest list that can total 1,600 people, including members, high-ranking officials and their guests.

That won't be the case Wednesday night.

"This administration is very conscious of COVID and wants to set an example for the country," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. "So we're going to be indoors and I'm sure there will be strong social distancing."

Dr. Jim Gordon of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., says one of the first steps to addressing trauma is breathing.

"Slow, deep breathing, in through the nose," Gordon says, modeling the practice, "and out through the mouth with our bellies, soft and relaxed."

The psychiatrist is sharing this concentrated meditation technique with U.S. Capitol Police as part of a new program to address the upheaval they have seen in recent months.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 4:16 PM ET

Updated at 3:55 p.m.

Members of Congress heard for the first time on Thursday public testimony from the U.S. Capitol Police inspector general on the most extensive findings yet in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says during his 30 years in Congress, and years earlier as a U.S. Capitol Police officer, a fencing system for the Capitol was not top of mind.

"That was never, ever considered when I was the leader, or when I served on the Capitol Police force — never considered," said Reid, who served in various congressional roles from 1983 to 2015 and as a Capitol Police officer in the 1960s while attending law school.

Michigan congresswoman Elissa Slotkin says the end date for America's singular focus on threats from foreign terrorists has come and gone.

"January 6, for me, kind of capped the end of the post-9/11 era," says the former CIA analyst who served in Iraq and personally briefed both George W. Bush on Barack Obama on foreign terror threats.

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET

The Jan. 6 insurrection exposed major Capitol security failures, and a review by a task force led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré is urging Congress to revamp its security apparatus by adding hundreds of new police officers, creating a quick reaction force and installing a new fencing system.

Honoré and other members of the task force hosted three bipartisan briefing sessions for lawmakers on Monday at the Capitol to discuss their findings and draft recommendations.

As a House panel is set to meet on new spending to ramp up Capitol security, military and federal officials will testify in a Senate hearing that is part of several congressional probes into what fueled the deadly Jan. 6 riot.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, is testifying before Congress about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He's taking questions from a committee chaired by Democrat Dick Durbin.

(SOUNDBITE OF HEARING)

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, testifying remotely through a video link, told a House committee that her agency head had requested military backup about a half-dozen times in the first hour after the Capitol complex was breached on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection.

Pittman based her assessment on phone records her agency obtained for then-Chief Steven Sund showing he reached out to the Capitol's top security officials starting shortly before 1 p.m. in the first of six calls requesting the National Guard to respond.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Updated 12:59 p.m. ET

Former U.S. Capitol Security officials told Congress during a joint hearing on Tuesday they did not have sufficient information ahead of Jan. 6 to accurately predict the scale of the attack.

Congressional Democrats unveiled a sweeping immigration bill Thursday that includes setting up a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

The U.S. Capitol police union issued an overwhelming no-confidence vote for the force's top leaders, including acting Chief Yogananda Pittman and a half-dozen other agency leaders.

The news comes as the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules committees announced plans for a February 23 joint oversight hearing to examine security failures.

Pittman drew a 92% no-confidence vote, while Capitol Police Captain Ben Smith received the highest rebuke from 97% of voting members, the union said.

House impeachment managers will focus on the harm and damage left behind by the insurrection in the second day of their presentations for the Senate impeachment trial, senior aides to the team said ahead of the proceedings.

The aides said they will also focus on what they say is former President Donald Trump's lack of remorse in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in this final day of opening statements.

House impeachment managers will present new evidence during Wednesday's session of the Senate impeachment trial, including video footage from Capitol security cameras, senior aides to the team said ahead of the proceedings.

The aides said the new video footage hasn't been seen publicly before and will provide new insight into the extreme violence at the Capitol the day of the insurrection.

The board of the U.S. Capitol police union said it will move forward with plans to hold a no-confidence vote for the force's top leaders, including acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.

The vote will be held by week's end, a little more than a month after the Jan. 6 insurrection that left several people dead, including a Capitol police officer.

The Capitol's top three security officials, including the former police chief, Steven Sund, resigned in the days following the attack.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

Rep. Ron Wright, a Texas Republican, died Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus, his campaign announced in a statement on Monday.

He is the first sitting member of Congress to die after being diagnosed with the virus.

Wright, 67, said last month he began a quarantine on Jan. 15 after coming into contact with an individual who had the virus a week earlier. He said he tested positive for the virus the following week, on Jan. 21.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 5:34 p.m. ET

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has broken his silence on Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, condemning her incendiary remarks but stopping short of naming any party disciplinary action toward her. The Democratic-led House announced earlier on Wednesday that it would move forward with a resolution to punish Greene.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took aim Thursday at Republican leadership, saying the GOP had ignored a wave of threats and comments by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., a promoter of QAnon and other conspiracy theories, and placed her on the House Education Committee despite her questioning of school shootings.

"What could they be thinking?" Pelosi told reporters. "Or is 'thinking' too generous a word for what they may be doing?"

The House of Representatives and Senate approved a waiver Thursday for retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to serve as President Biden's defense secretary. Both votes were overwhelming and bipartisan.

Normally the House has no role in confirming Cabinet secretaries. But Austin retired from the military four years ago, short of the seven years required by law to take the civilian job without a waiver from both houses of Congress.

A Senate vote on Austin's confirmation is expected as soon as Friday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

As thousands of National Guard troops now buttress security in Washington, D.C., and the nation, former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is standing by his actions, and those of his agency, on Jan. 6 — the day pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol under his watch.

In an interview with NPR, Sund says he had already planned to have 1,400 to 1,500 officers on duty, "all hands on deck." He said Capitol Police expected a large crowd but said nothing prepared them for what actually happened.

Updated at 2:58 p.m. ET Saturday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is warning that the House could vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump next week as Democrats fume about the stunning attack by a mob of pro-Trump extremists on the Capitol on Wednesday. Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol police officer, and offices were ransacked, including top leaders' suites, as lawmakers and the vice president were evacuated from the House and Senate chambers.

Updated at 9 p.m. ET:

A day after an insurrection that overtook the U.S. Capitol, the Capitol's three top security officials resigned from their posts amid building pressure from lawmakers and others over failures that allowed the dramatic breach.

The House and Senate's top protocol officers and the U.S. Capitol Police chief are now all expected to be replaced following a series of resignations in the wake of the security failures.

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