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Former Jan. 6 Key Witness Unexpectedly Dies Hours Before Special Hearing, Had Warned of ‘Professional Agitators’

The U.S. Senate sergeant-at-arms who oversaw Senate security during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion died Monday at 71. News of former U.S. Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger’s death was first reported by Politico. Stenger, a veteran of the Marine corps, had served for 35 years in the Secret Service before joining the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms team in 2011, according to Politico. During his time with the SAA team, Stenger had worked on matters related to security and continuity before his promotion as former Sergeant-at-Arms Drew Willison’s deputy. In 2018, Stenger became Sergeant-at-Arms. Stenger helped ensure the smooth functioning of the Senate during the last three years of former President Donald Trump’s administration. His responsibilities ranged from overseeing the technological needs of the upper chamber of Congress and also serving as its chief law enforcement officer tasked with managing its security. Stenger resigned from his duties as Sergeant-at-Arms a day after Jan. 6, 2021,  Daily Mail reported. During the time of his resignation, Stenger faced criticism over how he managed the situation during the time of the incursion, according to the outlet. When the New York Post had reached out to Stenger’s home in Falls Church, Virginia, on Tuesday morning, a woman answered the call. “The family is not here, it’s nobody’s business,” the lady said, refusing the Post’s request for comment on Stenger’s death. “It has nothing to do with Jan. 6 at all.” Stenger’s death came a day before the Jan. 6 Committee’s Tuesday surprise witness hearing, where the committee heard Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, testify. During the hearing, Hutchinson, among her other claims, alleged that Trump knew that some among the crowd at the Capitol were calling for former Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged, according to reporting from NPR. Hutchinson claimed that she heard Meadows respond to reports of the crowd calling for violence against Pence by saying that Trump thought Pence deserved it. Other allegations Hutchinson made included claims that Trump grabbed the steering vehicle of the presidential limousine and demanded that he be taken to the Capitol when the incursion was occurring, NPR reported. Stenger had also testified before Congress on the events that transpired on Jan. 6, 2021. During a February 2021 hearing with the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Stenger had called for the investigation of the role of “professional agitators” during the incursion, Daily Mail reported. “There is an opportunity to learn lessons from the events of Jan. 6,” Stenger told the committee, according to the outlet. “Investigations should be considered as to funding and travel of what appears to be professional agitators,” Stenger said. “First Amendment rights should always be considered in conjunction with professional investigations.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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