The Department of Homeland Security looked the other way. So did the Pentagon. The FBI collected reports of violence and criminal activity but took no action. The U.S. Capitol Police wrote a threat assessment that President Trump's supporters were disappointed and desperate, that they might become violent. They were all monitoring social media. But only the District of Columbia government and police went on alert; no one else otherwise prepared. That's because government and military officials were afraid.
To understand the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Newsweek meticulously reconstructed what happened that day and interviewed dozens of government and military officials, most of whom requested anonymity in order to be candid. They almost unanimously agreed that behind the stunning inaction is a hidden story of an insurrection caused by the very fear that Donald Trump, crazed and unpredictable in his final days in office, might provoke an insurrection.
Fear of what President Trump might do—order the armed forces into action to hold on to power, federalize the National Guard under his control, or even declare martial law—was so palpable and threatening to many that they became paralyzed.
And what is more, in two years of domestic-threat reports distributed by Homeland Security to State and local partners, some 5,600 reports exclusively obtained by Newsweek, never once is the term "Trump supporters" used. "Domestic violent extremists" of every possible variety are scrutinized and monitored, including "white supremacists." But the idea that the threat to America might be the president's own militia? Officials say that to issue such a report, to have one show up in the news media—or worse, on Donald Trump's desk—would risk a storm of retribution.
Multiple homeland security and intelligence officials tell Newsweek that such a threat was never codified. The effect, these officials admit, is that while the FBI might have been focused on "Proud Boys" or specific individuals threatening violence, the big picture was unseen. By fearfully silencing any reference to partisan politics, the U.S. national security apparatus ensured its own failure.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff were so intent on keeping the military out of the election and the transition that it didn't even follow its own contingency plans for defense of the capital. And then it stood in the way of the D.C. Guard being directly involved, foiling the last hope that someone would prepare.
Response to a threat everyone knew existed was further weakened by the status of three of the central national security officials: the Attorney General, the Defense Secretary, and the Secretary of Homeland Security. All were only "acting" in their jobs—unconfirmed by the Senate—and two were so new to their departments that they hadn't even met many of their own subordinates.
And what about the U.S. Capitol Police, a sovereign force of Congress and not even under Donald Trump's control? When Chief Steven Sund asked permission to request that the DC Guard be put on standby, he was told to informally seek help, to not go through the White House. His bosses were partisan too, beholden to the Republican majority in the Senate and answerable to an angry collective in the House.
And so when well over 100,000 Americans protested in Washington that day and as many as 1,000 forced their way into building, there were 9/11-like errors and blind spots that fed a preventable disaster. The 2,100-strong Capitol police didn't go on alert and didn't erect sufficient defenses, such was the denial that the usually over-cautious national security guardians displayed.
Already, blame and suspicion is swirling from top to bottom—from President Trump to Capitol police officers on the beat—that insiders colluded with the insurrectionists, that dots weren't connected, that partisan actors intentionally looked the other way because they too wanted to overturn the people's will. And because they could not conceive that thousands of white people, many dressed in military garb, could seek to overthrow their government, they couldn't move.
'Why fuel the fire?'
"There's a general rule of security, that once they're inside the perimeter, it's all over," one senior military officer told Newsweek, referring to mob control. Congress shouldn't have been taken by surprise by the size of the crowd and the willingness of the mob to attack America's seat of democracy, the officer says. But he, and many others, are sympathetic with the Capitol Police. Once the rioters were inside, he says, their focus on protecting Vice President Mike Pence and some 500-plus members of Congress, as well as thousands in the Congressional workforce and even dozens from the news media, rather than protect a "building," was the right course of action.
"Yes there was a massive failure," he says, "by why fuel the fire with more oxygen." He says we are lucky that only five people died, and that even more physical damage wasn't done.
Despite another impeachment and investigations that now seek to place blame somewhere, lawmakers have issued a torrent of words thanking the Capitol Police (and the other forces that finally showed up, most from the Justice Department and local police). Both parties have now denounced the violence and both have labeled the crowd domestic terrorists, many even directly condemning white supremacy—all part of the narrative that "this is not who we are."
But it is who we are—the violence and the noise, the division and the extremes, the belief in conspiracies, the injustices of race and power and their effects, the questionable competence of our own government, the perilous idealization of the military.
It would be easy to lay all of the blame at Donald Trump's doorstep, blaming too the 147 members of Congress who voted against accepting the Electors ballots. And of course one can blame the protestors, denying that they represent America or excusing them as peaceful citizens hijacked by a few instigators and criminals.
Though the top three officials responsible for Congressional security (including Chief Sund) have resigned, the official reaction is strikingly similar to 9/11. No doubt the mistakes will be shown to be a combination of inscrutable official strategy and the same-old-same-old smorgasbord of leadership and communications, and even structural failures.
And like 9/11, we are now at war—turning Capitol Hill and the District of Columbia into an armed camp, over-relying on the military and cracking down throughout the country, restricting protests of all sorts.
Instead, we should be asking tough questions.
Why is the District of Columbia not a state? The District government was the only bright spot, declaring an emergency before January 6th, going on full alert, agitating for its Guard—uniquely under the control of the president because DC isn't a state—to be activated. But it was also constrained, because ultimately a dysfunctional White House and a reluctant Pentagon treated the mayor like a cranky subordinate.
Why do we even have a Department of Homeland Security? Created with fanfare in the aftermath of 9/11 as the agency that would fill all of the domestic gaps, DHS was virtually absent. Only the semi-autonomous Secret Service was ready, but the rest, government officials agree, stayed immobile (in contrast to their intervention around the country against racial justice protestors and leftist anarchists). Several Newsweek sources say the Department had become partisan and compromised during the Trump presidency and that other agencies distrusted them.
What is the proper role of the armed forces at home? The military enjoyed all of the privileges of being America's most respected institution while also being driven by its own priorities. "There's no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said this past summer and has repeated ever since. It was a statement that signaled to those in uniform that the military should get out of politics and even get out of the way. And so, despite its own homeland defense apparatus created out of 9/11, it pursued its anti-political mission single-mindedly, not preparing. Not doing the one thing it does so well. It carried out an exercise of how it should respond to a national emergency, at 11:00 AM on the morning of January 6th.
We now know that in the run-up to January 6th and the Constitutionally mandated Joint Session of Congress, that the domestic intelligence apparatus—FBI, Secret Service, Joint Terrorism Task Forces, the Current and Emerging Threats Center of homeland security, DC-area military commands, the Metropolitan Washington area fusion centers, even the Capitol Police's own threat-warning cell—had ample reports and were actively monitoring social media, both publicly available pages and private and encrypted channels.
But this same prodigious machine has struggled for years with the lexicon of domestic terrorism, acquiring and then throwing away labels, and hardening and softening official language to match both the threat and politics of the day. Domestic violent extremists, Black supremacist extremists, Black identity extremists, anarchist extremists, militia extremists, Sovereign Citizen extremists, racially motivated violent extremists, white supremacist extremists. The terminology is fraught (neo-Nazis or anti-fascists) or so anodyne (words like protestors and even patriots) that it conveys almost nothing.
Into all of this, a Save America Rally was organized. It was widely promoted on social media and tens of thousands were expected. Starting in the morning, Donald Trump and his warm-up acts repeatedly urged the crowd to march on the Capitol—to be strong—and by the time the U.S. Capitol Police's defenses were breached at about 2:00 PM in the afternoon, the crowd was fully pumped up. But by then as well, it was clear that in addition to mere protestors, selfie-takers, hangers-on, conspirators and mischief-makers, not only were there criminals but also a large cadre of military-clad commandos intent on insurrection and political terror. Their willingness to break the law and use force surprised officials. And the fact that this crowd had no love for law enforcement now forces many to reassess who exactly they were dealing with. And who we have to deal with in the future.
Years from now, America will still be debating what happened on January 6th when an insurrectionist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and threatened the nation's political being. In the coming months, the four hours of mayhem will be dissected, minute-by-minute, in the courts, in commissions of inquiry and Congressional hearings, and in news media investigations, all striving to answer the questions all of us now wrestle with: How and why the protestors did it, how the government was so blind and unprepared, and what we should do next.
As this 25,000-word reconstruction of the events shows though, the skeleton of that day is already formed. In compiling this timeline, social media—the tweeting of a handful of reporters that were there on that day—emerges as the dominant source.
So finally it is social media, the adrenaline-fed artery that created and sustained Donald Trump and reaches almost everyone in our society, dominating our lives, that is one of the central protagonists of the day. It segments and feeds countless barely touching circles in our society, our conceptions of what happened on that day limited to our own personal "feeds," each of us on our own voyage of discovery, too absorbed in our own news sources to see the bigger picture. But here it is.
Chapter 1: Save America
12:08 AM: President Trump tweets: "Just happened to have found another 4000 ballots from Fulton County. Here we go!"
President Trump will tweet 13 more times before he appears to speak at the Ellipse stage at noon, complaints about the vote in Georgia and his belief that Pennsylvania will somehow flip to Trump, and finally before 1:00 AM, tweeting: "If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency."
6:25 AM: Drew Hernandez of The Tatum Report tweets: "MASSIVE line to get into The Ellipse to where President @realDonaldTrump will be speaking at the "March For Trump Rally." It is 6:25am ET and the line is already wrapping around the Washington Monument. It is still dark out, images to come."
Hernandez is the host of "Lives Matter" on YouTube.
7:11 AM: Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the daughter of former Vice President Cheney, tweets: "We have sworn an oath under God to defend the Constitution. We uphold that oath at all times, not only when it is politically convenient. Congress has no authority to overturn elections by objecting to electors. Doing so steals power from the states & violates the Constitution."
7:15 AM: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweets: "Might as well have served Georgia up on a silver platter and spoon fed sliced peaches to the Socialists Democrats! @GaSecofState enabled the steal. #GA legislatures never convened, but some tried. @BrianKempGA did nothing. All while GA people screamed to #StopTheSteaI..."
Rep. Greene has repeatedly endorsed QAnon conspiracy theories, a melange of claims that a deep state cabal has destroyed the presidency of Donald Trump. She will tweet 19 more times during the day and evening. On Sunday January 17, Twitter locked Rep. Greene account, citing violations of a company policy that it recently used to remove thousands of QAnon-related accounts.
8:17 AM: President Trump tweets: "... All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!"
8:20 AM: Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweets: "Buckle up!"
8:27 AM: CSPAN begins live coverage of the "March to Save America" rally, the so-called Save America Rally (hosted by Women for America First).
8:30 AM: DC Police tweets: "First Amendment Activity ... demonstrations are scheduled to occur in DC. There will be parking restrictions & potential street closures that motorists should take into consideration."
8:30 AM: Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley meet to review the Pentagon plan for defense support to civil authorities (DSCA) in the case of an emergency in the District of Columbia. They request that commanders and decision-makers conduct a table-top exercise covering potential contingency response options.
The exercise is held at 11:30 AM, but no military forces would be placed on the streets of Washington on January 6.
8:35 AM: The U.S. Secret Service, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, tweets: "Individuals attending today's event on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. are reminded of items prohibited by the U.S. Secret Service."
The prohibitions – on backpacks, body armor, mace/pepper spray, etc. – is ignored and never enforced. This is the first and last public dispatch by the Secret Service on January 6. Vice President Pence's protective detail accompanied to the Capitol and may have been present to evacuate the two others Constitutional successors to the presidency – Speaker Pelosi and President pro tempore of the Senate Grassley, but other than that, a heavily armed and black clad Secret Service special operations team would not arrive at the Capitol until mid-afternoon.
Sen. Harris does not show up on Capitol Hill on January 6.
9:01 AM: Michael Brice-Saddler of The Washington Post tweets: "It's difficult to illustrate just how dense this crowd of Trump Supporters is in downtown D.C. hours before President Trump is expected to speak."
Emily Davies of The Washington Post tweets at 9:03 AM from rally: "... One man in the crowd turned to his friend and said, "they can come take my gun one bullet at a time." Another marched with a large camouflage backpack and a flag that said: "Come and take it."
9:09 AM: Republican Policy Committee Chairman Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) tweets and issues a statement. "I have concerns about how several states conducted the 2020 election. So, I've joined many colleagues in an intent to reject some electors, where we think a constitutional violation occurred."
9:16 AM: At the official opening of the Save America Rally, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) speaks: "Today is a time of choosing and tomorrow is a time of fighting. Today is also a day of revelation and separation...Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."
Aaron Rupar of Vox News tweets: "Mo Brooks begins the Trump "Save America Rally" on a profane and angry note."
The Boston Globe later reports: "The streets outside the White House took the shape of a Trump campaign rally, with diehard fans railing against Democrats, communists and Antifa and chanting 'Stop the Steal.'
'We don't want to lose our country,' said John Waynesboro, 50, a mill operator from Pennsylvania who walked near with friends from Pennsylvania and waved a bright yellow, 'Don't Tread on me' flag. He said he knew it was stolen because 'you never see this kind of love pouring out for a president as you do for President Trump.'
Fly-by-night preachers preached from megaphones and portable, makeshift sound systems — speakers tethered to rolling carts and handi-movers — against socialism, communism and abortion, calling for people to support Trump and Jesus Christ. One man simply shouted conspiracy theories as he made his way to the rally, calling Chief Justice Roberts "a pedophile" and "a wolf in sheep's clothing."
Many, like Jan Sheffield, 55, a stay-at-home mom from Georgia, arrived on buses after riding through the night. Decked out in Trump buttons and holding Trump flags attached to a fishing pole, she said she was in Washington 'to take our country back.'
When asked who she and other protesters were taking the country back from, Sheffield fought back tears as answered. 'From the wicked,' she said, those who want a socialist nation and those that sold the US to China – 'D and R alike.'
'I'm from Georgia, and they stole our two Senate seats,' said Sheffield ... 'We are here to make sure that what happened in the presidential election doesn't happen in Georgia, too.'"
9:44 AM: Mark Segraves, an NBC 4 Washington reporter, tweets a video: "Federal Bureau of Prison[s] officers [in tactical gear] deployed in DC streets around DOJ HQ."
At 9:50 AM, Mark Balsamo of the AP responds: "The Bureau of Prisons said yesterday the group of about 100 officers sent to supplement the Justice Protective Service officers at DOJ HQ "will remain in a reserve capacity unless needed by the existing DOJ security teams."
The camouflage clad team was clearly in place to protect the Department but there is no evidence that BOP officers assisted at the Capitol on January 6.
9:51 AM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets "Gonna be a long day", posting a picture showing protest signs prepositioned outside the front of the Capitol Building, waiting for protestors.
Chapter 2: Low Drama
Donald Trump Jr. says: "If you're gonna be the zero and not the hero, we're coming for you."
Rudy Giuliani says: "If we're right, a lot of them will go to jail. So let's have trial by combat ... I'll be darned if they're going to take our free and fair vote ... We're going to fight to the very end to make sure that doesn't happen."
10:02 AM: Manu Raju of CNN tweets: "Pelosi and her team are conveying to their caucus that they should keep today low drama ... let GOP embarrass themselves, per sources on call.
"We are dignified in opposition to them," she said, per source."
10:06 AM: Richie McGinniss of the Daily Caller tweets a video: "I have lived in DC for 12 years. Not the biggest crowd I have ever seen on The National Mall, but it's up there..."
10:09 AM: Brendan Gutenschwager tweets a video: "Massive line waiting to go through security to get into The Ellipse for this morning's speeches...."
"Tens of thousands of Trump supporters are out ... packing The Ellipse and now filling up much of the space near the Washington Monument as an overflow area to watch the rally..."
"Chants of "Christ is King!" on the National Mall as this morning's speeches get underway ..."
10:12 AM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets a video from the front of the Capitol building, where thousands have already congregated: "Several thousand Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol. Many have the Trump gear—flags, caps, tshirts—and the vast majority are unmasked."
10:22 AM: Drew Hernandez of The Tatum Report tweets: "... Patriots will MARCH to the capital building directly after Trump speaks."
10:24 AM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Romney on Georgia results: "It turns out telling voters the election is rigged is not a good way to turn out your voters".
10:29 AM: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks into Senate side of the Capitol and gives a wave but does not answer questions.
10:46 AM: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser tweets that she has issued Mayor's Order 2021-003, Extension of Public Emergency, extending a public emergency for a total of 15 days.
11:05 AM: Manu Raju of CNN tweets: "Blame game: A senior Republican official involved in both Georgia Senate races says of Trump: 'Not since General Sherman has one man done as much damage, to as many people, in as little time. No one in the history of our country turns out voters like Donald Trump' ..."
11:06 AM: Mike Balsamo of the AP tweets: "The current crowd down near the Washington Monument right now."
11:24 AM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets from the front of the Capitol: "Republican senators are being swarmed by Trump protesters ..."
11:30 AM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets: "... Lots of chants of 'Stop the steal' ..."
11:30 AM: The Pentagon tabletop exercise begins to evaluate contingency response options.
11:39 AM: Rachel Chason of The Washington Post tweets a video from the front of the Capitol: "Big crowd ... shouting "1776", "whose streets, our streets", and "fuck antifa."
Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets a video: "A rowdier crowd has arrived at the Capitol. Camo gear, vests, helmets. Groups have thrown up the OK hand gesture — a recognized symbol of white supremacy."
11:42 AM: Minority Leader Schumer holds a press conference. Referring to Democrat victories in Georgia and the prospects of leadership in the Senate turning over to his party, he says: "It feels like a brand new day. For the first time in 6 years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate." He says he has not spoken to outgoing Senate Majority leader McConnell today.
11:50 AM: President Trump starts speaking at about 11:50 AM (for about one hour) and says:
"... I would love to have if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed the military, the Secret Service and we want to thank you and the police and law enforcement great you're doing a great job, but I would love it if they could be allowed to come up with us.
... We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn't happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved.
... You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.
... So we are going to–we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give—the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote but we are going to try—give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help, we're try–going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
... I'll be there with you, we're going to walk down ... to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them."
11:55 AM: Harrison Smith of The Washington Post tweets: "... thousands of Trump supporters chanting "stop the steal" and waving flags. Pretty calm so far, as one woman walks by saying "shoot the politicians! use your weapons!" Chuckles in the crowd."
12:00 PM: At the House is called to order, Chaplain Rev. Margaret Grun Kibben offers the following prayer:
"O God, our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of discord and trouble. Mountains crumble, waters rage, nations roar, and yet we need not be afraid, for even now You abide with us in these times of great discord, uncertainty, and unrest.
We, who have pledged to defend our Constitution against all enemies, we pray Your hedge of protection around this Nation. Defend us from those adversaries, both foreign and domestic, outside these walls and perhaps within these Chambers, who sow seeds of acrimony to divide colleagues and conspire to undermine trust in Your divine authority over all things.
The journey of this experiment in democracy is perilous and demanding, fraught with anger and discontent. But wise rulers still seek You.
So help us, God, to find You in the midst of us.
So help us, God, to see Your gracious plan even in the events of these days.
So help us, God, to serve You and this Nation with Godliness and dignity...."
12:04 PM: The DC National Guard (DCNG) releases a statement on Facebook:
"... Capital guardsmen have been requested by Mayor Muriel Bowser ... on behalf of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Fire and Emergency Services."
It will be four hours before the DCNG actually makes any appearance at the Capitol.
12:09 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets a video: "A march including Proud Boys passes Capitol as President Trump's speech begins..."
12:24 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video: "... Groups of people waving Trump flags. People selling Trump merch left over from the 2020 presidential campaign on street corners. Fly-by-night preachers preaching from megaphones and portable, makeshift sound systems."
12:27 PM: Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweets of President Trump's speech: "'That's what happens in a communist country,' the president says of not being able to have his falsehoods repeated by the media without a fact check.
Two minutes later, she tweets: "... I've listened to many many Trump speeches and this one is ... a little different."
Chapter 3: A Calm before the Storm
12:28 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets a picture that shows a fairly sparse crowd on the east side of the Capitol in front of the Library of Congress: "... scene outside Capitol 10 minutes from VP Pence's expected arrival to preside over joint session. Any heckling will be hard for Pence to hear due to security buffer."
12:30 PM: Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg tweets a video of people moving in the direction of the Capitol: "Floods of people left in the middle of Trump's remarks at the Ellipse and are now headed to the US Capitol."
12:30 PM: Senate President pro tempore Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) calls the Senate to order.
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate, after the Vice President, and is generally the senior senator serving in the Congress. He is the fourth in line to succession of the Presidency, under the Constitution.
12:30 PM: Shortly after 12:30 PM, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a believer in voter fraud, arrives at the front of the Capitol building. He gives a thumbs up, a fist pump and waves as the crowd cheered.
12:36 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets: "Trump still talking but a sizable number heading [to the Capitol] now. I'm following along."
12:40 PM: Some confrontations begin between protestors and police at the base of the west side of the Capitol building, on the street level nearest to the National Mall.
12:45 PM: At least a dozen SUVs park in front of the Capitol building.
It is unclear who is arriving, whether it is FBI or Secret Service. Three of the four top Constitutional successors to the Presidency – Vice President Pence, Speaker of the House Pelosi and President pro tempore of the Senate Grassley – are present in the Capitol.
12:49 PM: U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) respond to a report of a possible explosive device at the Republican National Committee headquarters. Shortly afterwards, a second pipe bomb is reported at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. A parked vehicle in the area is also found to hold an M4 assault rifle, a handgun, and components for 11 Molotov cocktails with what is described as homemade napalm.
According to the DHS TRIPwire report published on January 7: "On 6 January 2021 ... officers discovered two IEDs outside the Republican National Committee (RNC) Headquarters and Democratic National Committee Headquarters, respectively, several blocks from the Capitol. Both devices were described as pipe bombs, and the RNC device was wired with an analog timer. The USCP Hazardous Materials Response Team examined the IEDs, determined they were viable, rendered them safe, and turned them over to the FBI for additional analysis. Authorities also discovered a cooler filled with improvised incendiary devices (IIDs) described as Molotov cocktails near the Capitol."
12:51 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets a video from around the Washington Monument: "... There are at least 100,000+ people just in the overflow for the event. Videos can not [sic] describe the size of the crowd. This is wild."
12:51 PM: After conducting routine business, the Senate, preceded by the Secretary of the Senate, Julie E. Adams, and the Deputy Sergeant at Arms, Jennifer Hemingway, direct the procession of the Senators to the Hall of the House of Representatives for the purpose of counting electoral ballots.
12:53 PM: Vice President Pence releases a statement from a "Dear Colleague" letter that says he lacks the authority to reject electoral votes. "My oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority," he says. The two-and-a-half page letter says:
"After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.... Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design ... No Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority."
"It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."
"I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of the Electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we count the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a matter consistent with our Constitution, laws, and history. So help me God."
12:55 PM: The House is called to order by Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). She says that, due to Covid restrictions, each side, House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, are allowed to have 11 Members present on the floor (44 total). Others have to be in the gallery, and practice social distancing.
12:57 PM: Harrison Smith of The Washington Post tweets: "Marching down Constitution, past the American History Museum. "We live under a criminal cartel," man says on loudspeaker. "Time we put an end to it."
12:59 PM: A Joint Session of the House and the Senate "held pursuant to the provisions of Senate Concurrent Resolution 1" is called to order, and House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving announces the Vice President and the Senate joining the House chamber as Mike Pence and the Senators arrive.
Chapter 4: No Perimeter Defense
1:00 PM: An initial wave of protesters arrives at the outer barricades below the west side of the Capitol as thousands more march towards the building.
Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze later tweets a video: "This is exact moment the siege of the Capitol building began as the two men in front ripped down a preliminary barrier & rushed officers who were behind a 2nd barrier They then encouraged others to follow their lead. Officers appeared to be taken completely off guard."
1:00 PM: USCP Chief Steven Sund calls Acting DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee, requesting officers for the protection of the Capitol complex itself.
Contee later says he arrived at the Capitol around 1 p.m. and saw pepper spray and munitions being used. He says he then called Mayor Bowser ... He later went to the Police Command Center to orchestrate DC police response. Contee said the first goal, after the police were formally invited by USCP to the Capitol, was to help clear the building.
There are already many DC Police on duty and battling protestors on the National Mall to the west and below the Capitol Complex, which is Congressional property. The United States Capitol Building is located at the eastern end of the National Mall on a plateau 88 feet above the level of the Potomac River, commanding a westward view across Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument 1.4 miles away.
1:03 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets: "... Never seen anything like this. Insane. Thousands occupying."
1:03 PM: Vice President Mike Pence calls the Joint Session of Congress to order in the House of Representatives chamber.
"After ascertainment has been had that the certificates are authentic and correct in form, the tellers will count and make a list of the votes cast by the electors of the several States."
He receives the certificate of the electoral vote of the States of Alabama and Alaska, without objection.
1:04 PM: Slate's Jim Newell tweets: "In the House. No social distancing on the GOP side, and there are many more Republicans in the chamber to begin with. But just about everyone is masked."
1:05 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "Protesters are charging toward the Captiol [sic] steps. Some tried to scale the construction structures [started for the January 20 Inauguration] and have been tackled by police.... Capitol police trying to hold them back."
1:09 PM: USCP Chief Sund says he asks House Sergeant at Arms Paul D. Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael C. Stenger to declare an emergency and call for deployment of the DC National Guard.
Irving and Stenger state that they will forward the request up their chains of command. According to The Washington Post, soon afterwards, aides to Congressional leaders arrive in Stenger's office and are outraged to learn that he has not yet called for any reinforcement.
The Sergeant at Arms is the chief law enforcement and protocol officer for each house of Congress, each responsible for maintaining order on their sides. The Sergeant at Arms is also responsible for coordinating with the U.S. Capitol Police and various federal intelligence agencies to assess threats against Members of Congress and the Capitol complex.
1:10 PM: As the crowds continue to arrive at the Capitol by the thousands, protesters continue to fight with police at the foot of the Capitol steps.
The Washington Post writes: "Very quickly, the crowd outnumbered the Capitol Police, who had expected a far smaller gathering, according to law enforcement officials. Police had set up barricades outside the building as a show of police presence, but the protesters simply ignored them — easily knocking them over and hopping over them. Dozens of protesters pushed onto the steps and ledges of the building on all sides. On the grand staircase opposite the Library of Congress [on the east, or other side of the building], there were only a handful of officers ..."
Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets a frightening video: "... Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are attempting to occupy the building — fighting federal police who are overrun This is the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can't stop them."
1:11 PM: President Trump's speech on the Ellipse ends. The President had told the crowd that he would be there with them at the Capitol. (He never joins the crowd.)
At the conclusion of his speech, tens of thousands of more protestors begin their walk to the Capitol.
The U.S. Park Police initially estimates that 8,000 walk from the rally to the Capitol. This proves to be a vast undercount of those present in Washington and on the Mall that day.
1:12 PM: Speaker Pelosi again reminds members of the House of her "decorum requirements ... in accordance with the guidance of the Attending Physician" that they should only remain in the chamber if they are participating in debate ...
1:12 PM: As the electoral vote certification continues, Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) object to certifying Arizona's electoral college votes.
Gosar says he is speaking for himself and 60 colleagues. When asked by Vice President Pence if their objection is in writing and signed by a Senator, he answers yes, by Sen. Cruz.
Slate's Jim Newell tweets: "Democrats groan, Republicans give standing ovation to Ted Cruz and Paul Gosar when they object to Arizona."
Vice President Pence announces that each house will deliberate separately on the pending objection. The chambers split up into House and Senate groups.
1:14 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "WOW Hill staff just got this alert "Madison [Building]: EVACUATE. Proceed to your designated assembly area. USCP."
At 1:16 PM, Melanie Zanona of Politico tweets: "... Not uncommon for building evacuations and false alarms, but everyone on high alert with all the protests today."
1:18 PM: Acting DHS Secretary Wolf tweets from the U.S. Navy base in Bahrain, where he is finishing up a European and Middle East trip, but nothing about what is happening in Washington.
The Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, though a vociferous Trump booster, is strangely absent from Washington on January 6, testament to either how poorly prepared his department was, or intentionally. Either way, the Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for the lead in the National Security Special Event (NSSE) slated to begin on January 15 for the Inauguration of Joe Biden, barely shows up on January 6. The Secret Service, a semi-autonomous agency eaten up by DHS after its creation following 9/11, seems the only sentient agency, odd given how many law enforcement officers of DHS components – Customs and Border Protection, ICE, TSA, Homeland Security Investigation, Federal Protective Service, Federal Air Marshalls – were active throughout the summer and fall of 2020, intervening wherever they felt necessary regardless of governors and local laws.
1:21 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets from the west side of the Capitol: "Police are firing what appear to be paintballs into the crowd."
Hall is first to report that: "Some sort of flash bang just went off above crowd."
1:22 PM: Casey J. Wooten of National Journal tweets: "Lots of Cap police on first floor of the [Capitol] building. I walked by two in riot gear washing out their eyes in a fountain and asked them if they're all right. "Nah," one said."
1:22 PM: USCP officially orders the evacuation of outer buildings of the Capitol Complex, including the Library of Congress, the Madison Building annex of the Library, and the Cannon House Office Building on Independence Avenue.
Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "Cannon House office building -- which is massive -- is ... being evacuated, per multiple sources. Capitol police just went door by door, running down hallways." There are rumors of "a suspicious package."
1:26 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video: "No comment from senators on the walk back from the House chamber ..."
1:30 PM: As the crowd on the west side of the Capitol get closer and closer to the building as USCP retreat up the steps, tens of thousands more protesters are marching up Constitution Avenue.
At 1:28 PM, Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets a video from the ground at the base of the temporary Inauguration platform on the west side of the Capitol: "They've stormed the steps. Hundreds are climbing over each other ..."
At 1:29 PM, Casey J. Wooten of National Journal tweets: "They have not breached the building. There are no protestors in the Capitol. They're pushed back a temporary fence."
1:30 PM: The New York Times reports that USCP Chief Sund requests assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.
1:33 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK), reporting from the base of the west side of the Capitol, tweets: "Police now spraying the front [of the crowd] with something."
According to The New York Times, President Trump is reportedly "initially pleased" by events at the Capitol as he watches them unfold, and "disregard[s] aides pleading with him to intercede."
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) later says that White House aides say that President Trump is "delighted," while "walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team [are]n't as excited."
1:34 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy has a phone call with Mayor Bowser in which she requests permission to use National Guard forces. DOD says that she asked for "an unspecified number of additional forces."
The comment by the Pentagon, that the DC Mayor asked for an "unspecified number," is clearly intended to shift responsibility when it is not Mayor Bowser's responsibility to know how many soldiers are needed.
1:35 PM: Senate Majority Leader McConnell says, at the opening of the Senate debate, that failing to certify the results of the presidential election under false pretenses would push democracy into a "death spiral."
"The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken ... If we overrule them it will damage our Republic forever."
1:41 PM: Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times later writes that she received a text message from a House staffer forwarding an alert from Capitol Police. "I had been following events on Twitter and was aware that protesters were outside the Capitol. The alert unnerved me, but this is the Capitol, and threats are common."
1:44 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets from inside the Capitol Rotunda: "... we could hear Trump's supporters cheering outside after senators walked back to their chamber from the House ..."
1:44 PM: Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweets: "Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat..."
1:45 PM: Sarah Fortinsky of CNN tweets a video taken from a Capitol building third floor window looking west, with protestors now at the top of the steps and thousands more covering Pennsylvania Avenue beyond the National Gallery of Art – East Building, spilling out onto the National Mall: "As protestors began storming the Capitol."
1:49 PM: Commander of the DC National Guard Maj. Gen. William J. Walker speaks to USCP Chief Sund, who requests immediate National Guard assistance.
Despite being commander of the DC Guard, Gen. Walker does not have the authority, nor does Mayor Bowser, to activate their troops. That authority legally rests with the President, who uniquely commands the DC National Guard.
1:53 PM: Slate's Jim Newell tweets of still contained crowds in front of the Supreme Court in front of the Capitol, seemingly held back by barriers: "Not bad on east side ..."
1:55 PM: David Begnaud of CBS News tweets: "Small number of Trump supporters try to storm the U.S. capitol and get stopped. Quickly."
1:57 PM: The National Security Council (NSC) tweets a routine meeting that White House National Security Advisor has with U.S. Southern Command head Adm. Craig Faller. It says they discuss importance of Latin America and the Caribbean, ongoing regional missions, counter-narcotics operations, promoting democracy, and outcompeting America's adversaries." (Emphasis added)
1:58 PM: House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweets: "Thank you to Capitol Police for protecting the People's House. Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful."
Chapter 5: Capitol Breach
2:00 PM: According to WUSA9, the CBS-affiliated television station in Washington: "It was around 2:00 p.m. when the gates on the east and west sides of the Capitol were breached. On the east side, there were about 10 U.S. Capitol Police officers that kept the chanting crowd at bay at the bottom of the steps. For four minutes, that's where they stayed, until they were joined by more U.S. Capitol Police officers, some in full riot gear."
"Two minutes later, the insurrectionists overtook the Capitol Police forcing them to turn around and retreat toward the doors of the Capitol. Seconds later, one insurgent stood at the top of the Capitol stairs waving a Trump flag. For them, it was a sign that they had seized control of the steps."
There were some U.S. Capitol Police officers near those stairs, but they stood aside, as pro-Trump rioters snapped selfies and continued to cheer."
2:00 PM: The Pentagon says that at around 2 PM, DC Mayor Bowser requested "more assistance." It claims that Acting Secretary Miller immediately called up 1,100 members of the DC Guard."
Not so immediately. There would be another two hours of deliberations before DC National Guard actually arrived, and many internal discussions about the mission of the Guard: first, that it would only support the DC Police, until Miller and others relented in providing direct support to the U.S. Capitol Police and then authorizing Guardsmen to be armed and use force if necessary.
2:02 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Press gallery staff alerting reporters to the plan in the event that protesters get into the Capitol...."
2:03 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets: "EMTs just rolled out a man in serious distress. Unclear if connected to protests or medical emergency. Other protesters cleaning eyes from what they said is tear gas from police."
2:03 PM: Slate's Jim Newell tweets that crowds, seeing the capture of the front steps, are now breaking through distant barricades in front of the Supreme Court and Library of Congress and rushing the Capitol building: "Things have changed."
2:04 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "Audio message plays in Capitol building: Stay away from windows and doors. Kind of unsettling."
2:05 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "... Apparently they just closed the iron doors at the front of the Capitol."
2:08 PM: Leigh Ann Caldwell of NBC News tweets a video taken from a north facing window in the Cannon House Office Building of the Capitol front, where the crowd has now taken control of the plaza and mounted the steps: "This is what's happening at the steps of the Capitol, which isn't allowed to have people."
2:09 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Here's the view from the east side of the Capitol."
2:10 PM: The Washington Post reports: "After 2:10 p.m., a man in the crowd swung a clear plastic riot shield to break through first-floor windows on the Capitol's south side, making a hole big enough to climb through. A stream of protesters pushed in. Police said those first trespassers then opened one or more doors to let more of the swelling, chanting mob inside. Police tried to disperse the group with pepper balls and smoke bombs, but more people came in behind those at the front."
2:10 PM: The Washington Post reports that House Sergeant at Arms Irving calls USCP Chief Sund and provides formal approval to him to seek assistance from the DC National Guard.
2:11 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets: "... Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security ... fighting federal police who are overrun. This is the craziest thing I've ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can't stop them."
2:11 PM: Vice President Pence is removed from the Senate chamber by his Secret Service detail, under personal protection protocols and Continuity of Government rules.
Grace Segers of CBS News writes: "Senate gallery staffers were shouting 'lock the doors,' and it was clear that the situation was serious. Reporters were ushered into the press gallery above the Senate chamber, and the doors were locked. We could hear the muffled sound of the rioters outside."
PBS reports: "At first the commotion outside the Senate chamber sounded like a routine disturbance to the members inside, the kind of small-scale protest that often takes place at the Capitol.
Then a Senate aide burst through a door into the chamber.
As senators seated at their desks watched with surprise, the aide raced down an aisle towards the dais, where Vice President Mike Pence was presiding ... In a matter of moments, the vice president gaveled a recess and was whisked away."
USCP Chief Sund accompanies Pence to a "secure location" within the Capitol complex.
Though Vice President Pence would be held and protected in a secure location, he never left Capitol Hill on January 6.
2:14 PM: Speaker Pelosi, third in line to the Presidency, is removed from the House chamber, under Continuity of Government rules, and rushed to a secure location.
2:14 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "Oh my goodness we are sheltering in place in the Senate."
Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets: "The Capitol is on lockdown -- we are staying in place inside."
2:15 PM: Matt Laslo of @TheNews_Station tweets a video: "They breached the Capitol".
2:15 PM: Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times later writes: "... I headed up the stairs and into the [House side] press offices to see if I could learn more. The office's emergency radio crackled to life. Then came a woman's voice, one that seemed panicked: "Due to an external security threat located on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building, no entry or exit is permitted at this time. ... stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover."
... It was 2:15 p.m. After typing out an update for my editors, I looked over the railing into the chamber and noticed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... second in line to the presidency, was gone...
... Then police shut and locked the doors. Police interrupted the proceedings to announce that tear gas had been deployed in the rotunda."
2:16 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets scenes of protestors inside the Capitol building. A number of USCP officers are seen, as are members of the news media.
2:16 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video: "Protestors have entered the Capitol." The video shows protestors walking up the stairs, with Capitol Police getting out of their way.
2:16 PM: Slate's Jim Newell tweets: "Door on the east front. They [the protestors] are right here."
He tweets again at 2:21 PM, video of people of people now banging on the doors.
2:18 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets a video of protestors spraying police with pepper spray or something equivalent: "revolution in process as Trump supporters break into the Capitol building, attacking police, breaking windows, and knocking down doors. ... The people have pushed through & are storming to main chambers."
2:18 PM: As Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) is speaking, the House is declared in recess.
2:19 PM: As Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) is speaking, the Senate is declared in recess: "The Senate will stand in recess until the call of the chair. ... Protesters are in the building."
"CQ Roll Call reporter Chris Cioffi, seated in the press gallery ... overlooking the Senate floor, noticed someone rush into the chamber and head for Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a Republican who also holds the constitutional office of president pro tempore.
"Someone rushed in, and it felt like they were running down to Grassley and saying he needed to get up to the presiding officer's desk," Cioffi said. "They kind of jerked him up there."
Cioffi couldn't see it, but the constitutional Senate president, also known as Vice President Mike Pence, was being rushed out of the chamber.
"Lankford, he stopped talking, and then Grassley gaveled out and said there'd be a 10-minute recess," Cioffi said.
"... Shortly after the recess was called, Grassley also was escorted from the chamber, and the senators were locked in, Cioffi said. A veteran Capitol officer stood at the president's podium and told members to take their seats and clear the aisles."
Members of the Senate are instructed to evacuate the chambers.
2:19 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets more video of protestors coming up the stairs inside the Capitol building: "Trump protesters are demanding to see senators."
2:20 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets at the front of the Capitol: "... They are banging on the door. They have broken the glass window."
2:20 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "JUST NOW on the floor: Capitol Police officer addressing the House floor: "We had a breach of the Capitol building"
2:22 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy has a phone call with Mayor Bowser and other DC leaders. They request additional DC National Guard support.
2:23 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets a dramatic video: "Trump protesters just discharged a fire extinguisher outside Senate chamber."
2:23 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video: "A dense group of protestors has shattered the windows of the Capitol. We can hear roaring chants of "USA" outside."
2:24 PM: Daniella Diaz of CNN tweets: "ALL Capitol staff (as well as reporters) are being asked to lock themselves in their offices due to a security threat inside the building, immediately."
2:24 PM: Ashan Benedict, head of the Washington field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (part of the Department of Justice) says: "They had apparently more bear spray and pepper spray and chemical munitions than we did. ... We're coming up with plans to counteract their chemical munitions with some of our own less-than-lethal devices, so these conversations are going on as this chaos is unfolding in front of my eyes."
2:24 PM: President Trump tweets: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"
2:24 PM: The Washington Post reports that on Parler and Gab, right-wing friendly social media sites, Trump followers urge the crowd in Washington to find and accost Vice President Pence ... Within minutes, the chant arose from factions of the mob at the Capitol: "Where is Pence?"
2:26 PM: DC Mayor Bowser, Acting Police Chief Contee, and city government officials, together with USCP Chief Sund have a conference call with the commander of the DC National Guard Maj. Gen. Walker.
According to The Washington Post: Maj. Gen. Walker patches in the Office of the Secretary of the Army. Director of the Army staff Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt says that DOD needs U.S. Capitol Police authorization to operate within the area controlled by Congress. The conference call discussion becomes "unintelligible" amidst the cacophony of voice.
Contee asks for clarification from USCP Chief Sund: "Steve, are you requesting National Guard assistance at the Capitol?"
Sund replies, "I am making urgent, urgent, immediate request for National Guard assistance."
Lt. Gen. Piatt states, "I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background." He says that he prefers that the Guard relieve police around other parts of the District to allow more DC Police at the Capitol.
Contee pleads with Lt. Gen. Piatt to send the Guard, but Lt. Gen. Piatt says he will take it up with Army Secretary McCarthy, but that he would not recommend that approval for direct assistance.
DC officials are described as "flabbergasted". McCarthy would later state that he was not in this conference call because he was busy in a meeting with Acting Secretary Miller.
2:26 PM: After hearing that the Pentagon was refusing the DC National Guard from providing assistance, Virginia Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran decides to dispatch Virginia State Police to the Capitol, under mutual aid agreements with the District.
2:28 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Looks like a lot more protesters walking through the Rotunda toward the House chamber."
2:30 PM: Acting Defense Secretary Miller, JCS chairman Gen. Milley, and Army Secretary McCarthy again meet to discuss Mayor Bowser's request for DC National Guard forces.
2:31 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "That's the confederate flag flying outside the Senate chamber."
2:31 PM: Michael Brice-Saddler of The Washington Post tweets from the west side of the Capitol: "... people are talking about breaching the building to "tell them how we feel."
2:31 PM: Mayor Bowser tweets: "Today, I'm ordering a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 7."
2:32 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "Inside the House chamber, starting to get slightly frantic. Capitol police warning people they may need to go behind theirs seats..."
"... They are now as close as in the rotunda area."
2:33 PM: Former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney tweets: "Now is the time for the President to be presidential."
2:33 PM: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) office sends out a fundraising email. He asks people to "stand with" him in his fight to "reject electors." An aide to Cruz later told Politico that the email was an automated message and that he was "dismayed" by what was happening. "He would not send this out," the aide said.
2:35 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video from a Capitol window looking southeast: "We've been told rioters have breached the third floor of the Capitol. Here's the view from the windows."
Ulloa later wrote: "... a guard was telling us the rioters had breached the third floor near where we stood and told us to find a place to hide. But there was no room to hide in, so we wandered from hallway to hallway until we found our way back to the Senate gallery and another reporter let us in. We grabbed our things, as security officers swept us alongside senators to a secure undisclosed location.
McConnell lumbered just inches in front of me, walking with the help of a security officer."
2:36 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "Masks being distributed to members and press "We had a dispersement [sic] of tear gas in the rotunda."
2:38 PM: President Trump tweets his first acknowledgement of the riots: "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"
At 2:39 PM, Brendan Gutenschwager tweets a video of protesters breaking first floor Capitol windows and climbing up into the building.
2:39 PM: Sen. Seth Moulton (D-MA) tweets: "We are being told to shelter in place not because of a foreign terrorist attack but because of a domestic coup attempt. I expected this as a US Marine in Iraq. I never imagined it as a US Congressman in America."
Grace Segers of CBS News writes: "Senators were on their phones, presumably calling loved ones, as police officers eyed the locked doors [in the Senate Gallery]. At one point, Senator Amy Klobuchar shouted that there had been shots fired, urging her colleagues to stay away from the doors and take the situation seriously ..."
Suddenly, senators began filing out to be evacuated. Reporters were initially stuck in the gallery on the third floor overlooking the chamber. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker called up to the reporters on the balcony, asking how we were doing. I laughed, probably with a tinge of hysteria. 'We're doing great,' I called back down.
Reporters were shuffled out of the chamber and guided by Capitol police officers alongside the senators to a secure location after the Senate went into recess."
2:40 PM: Townhall.com reporter Julio Rosas tweets a video from outside the Capitol: "Trump supporters chase away the outnumbered Capitol Police and throw objects at them."
2:40 PM: Additional Justice Department ATF agents enter the Capitol Complex. ATF Washington Field Office director Ashan Benedict, who was at one of the pipe bomb scenes, activated the special response team that was standing by and called in every other available ATF agent to assist.
2:41 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "Two US Capitol Police were just taken toward Schumer's office. They are coated in a white substance. It appears they were shot by fire extinguishers...."
2:44 PM: Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times later writes about the situation at the House chamber at around this time: "... A few lawmakers assisted plainclothes officers grappling with a massive bookcase and shoved it in front of the chamber's main double doors, the same one the president enters for the State of the Union address.
Pounding on the door began. The officers drew their guns.
One looked up and saw the reporters and about two dozen representatives and staff scrambling over railings in the upper gallery to get toward the doors.
"Crouch on the floor!" he shouted. "Get as low as you can!"
I slid behind a row of chairs and looked up as a female representative started to pray. Another member was talking loudly into his cellphone, providing a play-by-play. Several lawmakers were crying.
I heard the glass of the main door in the chamber crack. I peeked into the chamber as Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) attempted to reason with those attempting to push their way inside.
A loud crack split the air. It sounded like a gunshot. And then it got quiet.
Officers yelled to the lawmakers in the gallery to leave, but no one present had a key to the door. Lawmakers and police officers argued about opening the door and making a run for it. Police wanted lawmakers to make a dash for it.
Members disagreed. "Don't open that door!" a representative shouted as an officer in the hallway fumbled with the door. "We don't know who is behind it!"
... Moments later, Capitol Police wrenched open the gallery doors. They told us to get out quickly. They were taking us to a secure location. As we walked toward the third-floor stairs, I could see several police officers standing over a half-dozen rioters lying face down on the marble, hands behind their heads."
2:45 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Protesters are on the third floor of the Senate, walking door to door, shouting "Where the fuck are they?"
"They're in the [Senate] gallery."
2:45 PM: Casey J. Wooten of National Journal tweets: "Cap police trying to talk to intruders in the other side of the door, gunshots appear to be fired into the House."
"This is our America," I can hear from the holes in the House floor window."
At 2:50, officials confirm that a shot was fired inside the building, later reporting that a woman was shot and critically injured.
2:46 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "There is a fight between Trump protesters and Capitol Police outside [Senator] McConnell's office. It resembles a last stand, but problem is that protesters coming from all directions."
Chapter 6: Deliberating While Rome Burns
2:49 PM: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam decides to activate all available assets of the Virginia State Police plus military police of the Virginia National Guard (the Manassas-based 229th Military Police Company) for immediate dispatch to the Capitol.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that DOD authorization for deployment of the Guard in the District was not granted.
2:50 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets: "... One Capitol security officer said he wasn't sure if rioters had weapons but he said they had plenty of bear spray, pepper spray, — and "lots of sharp objects." His face had been doused with pepper spray."
2:51 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "'No justice, no peace!' is new pro-Trump chant at Senate clock. McConnell's office surrounded now."
2:52 PM: Casey J. Wooten of National Journal tweets from the Gallery of the House Chamber: "There's a standoff between cap police and intruders."
At 3:07 PM: Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) tweets and posts another photo from inside the House chamber: "This is what it has come to."
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) spoke to PBS, "We were being told by the Capitol Police to get down in the event that there was an active shooter and to pull out our gas masks in case there was tear gas that they had to use to disperse" the crowd.
"I was with some [House] members that were calling their families, and so then I called my husband to assure him I was Ok," Sherrill says.
2:52 PM: Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) tweets: "I am in the House Chambers. We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks. Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber..."
2:53 PM: Jonathan Martin of The New York Times tweets: ".@MittRomney summoned me as lawmakers and press arrived at a secure location "This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection," he said w fury in his voice."
2:57 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets a video: "Several people got on to a scaffolding outside Senate, took it to second floor, which looked like the area where McConnell's office is located, and started banging on windows."
2:57 PM: DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) tweets: "... citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6pm on Wednesday, January 6, until 6am on Thursday, January 7. A Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) message was sent to cell phones pinging in the District of Columbia this afternoon."
2:58 PM: The Tulsa World publishes an interview with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).
"I've known Mike Pence forever," Inhofe said. "I've never seen Pence as angry as he was today.
"I had a long conversation with him," said Inhofe. "He said, 'After all the things I've done for (Trump).'"
He says that there were "at least 1,000 people inside the Capitol."
2:58 PM: Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times later writes of her experience being evacuated from the House Gallery at about this time:
"Police told us to follow them. We walked for several minutes, hustling down a warren to hallways and a winding staircase. I have worked in the Capitol for eight years, and I can't tell you the path we took. As lawmakers, reporters and staffers streamed ahead, I slowed so I could speak with a visibly shaken Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles). He was livid. I pulled out my phone and hit record. He took a second to find his words.
"This shouldn't happen in the United States," he said, his eyes rimmed with tears.
We reached a secure room. That's all I can say about it at this moment. It was large and filled with leather chairs and walnut tables, and you've seen it on TV. It was already filled with lawmakers, staffers and other journalists. As members typed on their phones and were updated by security officials on the status of the riots, staff handed out Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks and little bottles of water.
A member led a prayer. Another, a former ER doctor, reminded me to stay hydrated. A group of Democrats grumbled about Republicans not wearing masks."
2:59 PM: Bill Clark of Roll Call tweets from the front of the Capitol: "Protesters stand on top of the US Capitol Police armored vehicle as other protesters take over the Capitol steps."
At 2:59 PM, Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets a photo of a protester with a combat helmet, body armor, and a set of zip ties (that would be used to take hostages) as he emerges from Senate floor. "We didn't destroy a damn thing," the man says.
At 2:59 PM, Rep. David Trone (D-MD) tweets a picture of himself in the House Chamber wearing the inflatable 'gas masks,' the protective masks issued to Members of Congress. "I am safe. We have been evacuated...", he says.
3:00 PM: The Pentagon says that Acting Secretary Miller approves all available DC National Guard (DCNG) forces to reinforce Capitol and DC Police positions to reestablish control. Secretary McCarthy directs the DCNG to move from the DC armory in Southeast Washington to the Capitol complex. The DCNG prepares to move the initial 150 personnel, pending final approval by Miller.
"The process took about an hour," Military Times reported, from the time McCarthy received it around 2 p.m. on Wednesday. "We wanted to make sure, based off what we saw developing, that that was an acceptable use, all the way up to the SECDEF, which didn't take long," a defense source told the newspaper, "including about half an hour spent relaying the request to" Acting Secretary Miller.
3:01 PM: House Minority Leader McCarthy tweets: "What is unfolding is unacceptable and un-American. It has got to stop."
It is later reported that McCarthy spoke to President Trump on the phone and urged him to make a statement denouncing the rioters. When Trump refuses, there is reportedly a "screaming match" between the two.
3:02 PM: Mike Baker of The New York Times tweets: "After a summer spent on the streets of Portland, I just keep thinking ... 'Where is DHS?' ..."
3:04 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "Photo of Senate right now. 'Where's Pence, show yourself!' protester shouts."
3:04 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets an unbelievable video showing the west side of the Capitol, with hundreds entering the building and many thousands more on the steps, terraces and extending west to the National Mall and beyond the Reflecting Pool. In the video, police are standing to the side as protestors pour into the Capitol Building: "Here's Washington DC right now."
3:04 PM: Acting Secretary Miller provides verbal approval for full activation of the DC National Guard (DCNG) (1,100 total personnel), according to the DOD, "in support of the MPD". Secretary McCarthy transmits the order to the DCNG to move prepared forces and undertake a full mobilization.
According to the Pentagon's timeline, the DCNG starts redeploying soldiers from Metro stations and mobilizes all available non-support and non-command and control personnel to support the DC Police.
Note that the Pentagon, in its own words, said that the DCNG would support the DC police (MPD) and not the U.S. Capitol Police. It wasn't a typo. The Army didn't like the "optics" of the military—even the Guard—appearing to police civilians and initially restricted what they could be used for. Later the Pentagon would expand its support to allow guardsmen to actually be involved in protecting the Capitol.
3:06 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets from the west side of the Capitol: "... They've raised the confederate flag outside the Capitol."
3:07 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a photo of protestors inside and outside the west side of the Capitol and a broken window.
3:08 PM: Mike Baker of The New York Times tweets: "... some inside the Capitol are chanting "Police are traitors."
3:08 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets a video of protestors completely occupying the center steps on the front of the Capitol: "Scene in front of the Capitol right now. A group is saying they want a civil war. Another is chanting the pledge of allegiance. Very chaotic all around."
3:08 PM: House Minority Leader McCarthy, appearing on Fox News, confirms reports of "shots fired" and says he called the president, urging him to call for calm.
3:12 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets from the crowd inside the Capitol: "Protesters got inside. Tear gas fired inside the building and forced them out."
3:13 PM: President Trump tweets: "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"
3:15 PM: Shortly before 3:15 PM, according to The Washington Post, protestor Ashli Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran from San Diego, California is shot by Capitol Police while attempting to force entry into the Speaker's Lobby adjacent to the House chambers through a broken window.
(A graphic video is posted at 3:19 PM by Tayler Hansen, "independent journalist.").
3:15 PM: Speaker Pelosi calls Virginia governor Ralph Northam, who tells her that Virginia State Police and National Guard are being sent to the Capitol.
At about this time, the first Virginia State Police enter the District. National Guard from Virginia will not come to the Capitol until January 7, under Pentagon orders.
3:15 PM: The AP reports that a Defense official says the District of Columbia government has requested an additional 200 National Guard members. According to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military at the Capitol. Instead, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol. Pentagon officials insist that any request for additional National Guard troops has not been rejected.
3:17 PM: Daniella Diaz of CNN tweets a Getty photo from inside the Capitol.
3:18 PM: Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, still in the Middle East, tweets: "Violence in any form is unacceptable. NO one has the right to attack ANY federal institution regardless of motivation. Violent opportunists at the US Capitol grounds must be held accountable. We have a proud history of resolving our differences through peaceful means."
3:19 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy speaks with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Schumer about the DC Mayor's request for DC National Guard troops. He tells them he has approved "full" DCNG mobilization.
3:21 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets another video of protestors streaming into the Capitol.
3:24 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets the crowd swarming through the door on the west side of the Capitol.
3:24 PM: CBS News is the first to report that a woman is in critical condition after being shot in the neck inside the Capitol.
3:26 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy has a phone call with Mayor Bowser and DC Acting Police Chief Contee to reiterate that there had been no denial of their request for National Guard forces. He conveys Acting Secretary Miller's verbal approval of full activation of the DC National Guard.
3:27 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets: "The Senate floor has been cleared of protestors, and an officer reports to CNN that they have successfully squeezed protestors away from the Senate wing of the building and towards the Rotunda, and they are removing them out the East and West doors of the Capitol..."
3:29 PM: Jonathan Martin of The New York Times tweets: "The Virginia National Guard and 200 state troopers are being sent to DC, per a top Va official." (Emphasis added)
3:29 PM: Virginia governor Ralph Northam tweets: "... Per the Mayor's request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers."
3:30 PM: Tom Williams of Roll Call tweets a photo of an entrance to the Capitol.
3:31 PM: Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen makes statement: "The violence at our Nation's Capitol Building is an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy. From the outset, the Department of Justice has been working in close coordination with the Capitol Police and federal partners from the Interior Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard, as well as the Metropolitan Police and other local authorities. Earlier this afternoon, the Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service to assist the Capitol Police in addressing this unacceptable situation, and we intend to enforce the laws of our land."
"Sent" is the key word here. The bulk of armed FBI and homeland security forces are not thought to have arrived on Capitol Hill until about an hour later.
3:31 PM: The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) tweets that it has "raised the State Activation Level (SAL) to PARTIAL as of 3:30 p.m. ... in response to the ongoing events in Washington, D.C."
Partial is defined as "Incident or event requires significant monitoring or resources. Additional EOC staffing from agencies, functions, and supporting organizations." It is one step below Full, about Enhanced and Normal.
3:32 PM: The Pentagon says that "Virginia Governor orders mobilization of a military police company of his National Guard forces."
3:32 PM: The Pentagon says that "Maryland Governor Larry Hogan orders mobilization of the state's National Guard "rapid response force."
Later Hogan says he had earlier received a "frantic call" from House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) urging him to deploy Maryland National Guard troops. Hogan said he was "repeatedly" told that he lacked the authority to deploy his state's National Guard into the District.
"I was actually on the phone with Leader Hoyer who was pleading with us to send the guard," Hogan said. "He was yelling across the room to Schumer and they were back and forth saying we do have the authorization and I'm saying, 'I'm telling you we do not have the authorization.'"
He says the commander of the Maryland National Guard got turned down by the Pentagon. 'The general . . . kept running it up the flagpole, and we don't have authorization,' he told The Washington Post.
The result was a 90-minute delay, he later says.
The Maryland National Guard does not deploy anyhow until January 7, until Pentagon orders.
3:33 PM: Dan Lamothe of The Washington Post tweets: "Defense official denies that DOD denied the request from D.C. officials for more support at Capitol, but acknowledges it has not yet been acted upon."
"Some 340 D.C. guardsmen already were activated in anticipation of unrest, with a support role for police. Half on duty at a time. Defense officials, smarting from outcry to military's heavy involvement in June protests, sought limited role and to shield military from politics."
3:35 PM: Vice President Pence tweets: "Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Vice President Pence retweets: "The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building."
3:35 PM: Mile Balsamo of the AP tweets: "Homeland Security sending additional federal agents to US Capitol to help quell violence." A spokesperson told the AP that DHS officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents are being sent to the scene ...
3:36 PM: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweets: "At President @realDonaldTrump's direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services. We reiterate President Trump's call against violence and to remain peaceful."
The New York Times later reports that President Trump initially refuses requests for him to give the order to mobilize the DC National Guard. "... Defense and administration officials said it was Vice President Mike Pence, not President Trump, who approved the order to deploy."
There is no evidence that President Trump actually gave any direction or order, or that Acting Defense Secretary Miller ever spoke to Trump on January 6. Vice President Pence gave proxy permission for employment of the DC National Guard, though it is probably not within his legal authority to do so.
3:37 PM: The New York Times publishes the iconic photo of a protestors sitting at a desk in Speaker Pelosi's offices, flipping over tables and pulling photos off the walls.
3:38 PM: The Council of the District of Columbia releases a statement: "Today, the Department of Defense denied a request by Mayor Muriel Bowers to expand the responsibilities of the District of Columbia National Guard so that they would be authorized to protect and restore order at the Capitol Building. That request was denied."
3:39 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "Trump supporters are banging on the doors at the north side of the Capitol, chanting 'let me in!' There's virtually no law enforcement around."
3:39 PM: DJ Judd of CNN tweets: "Pence, from his personal, non-governmental account, does what the President won't and tells people who've rushed the Capitol to "leave the building," pledging, "those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
3:43 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "There are mobs on all sides of the Capitol. They're banging against the doors and cheering whenever someone makes it into the building. Still about 2 more hours to curfew."
3:44 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "Police are now banging on doors in the Senate, seemingly trying to make sure no one is in the building that shouldn't be."
3:44 PM: BuzzFeed first reports that a tweet by Ivanka Trump is deleted: "American Patriots – any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful".
3:46 PM: Alerted that the Virginia National Guard may have been mobilized, Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Daniel Hokanson calls Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams to make sure that no Virginia military forces would move without Pentagon okay.
The NGB is an administrative coordinator (but not commander) of National Guard forces. By the end of the evening, Virginia National Guard personnel began mustering, their orders to report to the District the next day. Soldiers arrived in the District over the next four days. Virginia Guard sources said that they would remain under the control of the Virginia governor for up to 31 days.
3:47 PM: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweets: "At my direction, the @MDSP [Maryland State Police] is sending in troopers to assist the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police. I have instructed the Adjutant General of the @MDNG to call up a rapid response force to support law enforcement and restore order."
"All Americans should be outraged by this attack on our nation's Capitol. This is a heinous and violent assault on the heart of our democracy. I will not stand for this, and neither should any American."
3:48 PM: Andrew Harnik of the AP posts picture from inside the House Chamber of Members of Congress in the House Gallery, prepared for tear gas or chemical agent use. "Members of Congress and staff shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber".
3:48 PM: A Getty image circulates of a gallows set up some distance from the west side of the Capitol, on the far side of the reflecting pool.
3:48 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy leaves the Pentagon for DC police headquarters in the Henry Daly Building at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW.
3:50 PM: Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi release a joint statement, calling on President Trump "to demand that all Protesters leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately."
3:52 PM: DOD spokesmen Jonathan Hoffman tweets: "The DC Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District. Acting Secretary Miller has been in contact w Congressional leadership and Secretary McCarthy has been working w DC government. The law enforcement response will be led by DOJ [the Department of Justice]."
Hoffman tries to explain any confusion regarding the DC National Guard as the fault of the White House because the Pentagon did not want to speak before them.
3:55 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets from the west side of the Capitol, amidst what he says appears to be tear gas emanating from the building: "3:55 pm appears protestors just breached capitol again."
It is unclear what "fully supporting" and "is" mean. There are fewer than 100 DHS officers at the Capitol, mostly from the Secret Service and some from the Federal Protective Service. Others are sequestered in House and Senate office buildings adjacent to the Capitol awaiting order to participate in the clearing of the building and the return of 500-plus members of Congress.
3:55 PM: Kerri Kupec, former spokesmen for Attorney General William Barr tweets: "From former Attorney General Bill Barr: "The violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable. Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it."
3:55 PM: National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Hokanson calls Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, head of the Maryland National Guard to make sure that no Maryland forces would move without Pentagon approval.
According to the Pentagon, Hokanson "confirmed their governor had activated the Maryland National Guard response force and 100 service members would be able to make it to D.C. in 8-10 hours. Additionally, they would have a follow-on element of 150-200 personnel available at a later time."
3:56 PM: John Myers of The Los Angeles Times tweets: "Just got off a call of top Los Angeles Times editors, agreeing that we should not call those who stormed the U.S. Capitol 'protesters.'"
3:57 PM: Manu Raju of CNN tweets: "The Senate floor has been cleared of rioters, officers say, and they have successfully squeezed them away from Senate wing of the building and towards the Rotunda..."
4:00 PM: Billy House of Bloomberg tweets: "'The first time I ever had to draw my gun on the House floor,' says a veteran Capitol cop."
4:00 PM: Emily Davies of The Washington Post tweets a video from the north side of the Capitol: "It is just before 4pm and another mob has broken through law enforcement and filed into the U.S. Capitol building."
Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times also tweets a video: "This was 4pm today at the North entrance of the Capitol. Protestors trying to enter building and cops opening door and spraying what could have been tear gas. Lots of smoke."
4:00 PM: The AP reports that Acting Secretary Miller, in coordination with Vice President Pence (not President Trump), has activated the DC National Guard.
4:02 PM: Daniella Diaz of CNN tweets: "... A source said Liz Cheney & Hakeem Jeffries (House conference counterparts) told the members in an undisclosed location the national guard is on the way ..."
4:02 PM: Virginia National Guard tweets: ".@GovernorVA has approved Virginia National Guard support to law enforcement to Washington, D.C. For operational security reasons, we will not release details on the number of personnel, staging locations or timelines."
4:03 PM: Evan Perez of CNN tweets: "Wild scene. Crowd is at turns celebratory and angry at ... you name it. One sample of conversation I heard as I walked by: "Pence screwed us." "Yeah, Pence is a punk."
4:03 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a photo of two fully clad USCP officers lounging outside the west side of the building: "Saw it from a couple hundred feet away and ran over. Really captured the mood in the moment."
4:05 PM: President-elect Joe Biden addresses the nation, calling the actions of Trump supporters "an insurrection." "Our democracy is under unprecedented assault," he says.
He calls on President Trump to "demand an end to this siege."
"At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault...an assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself...
The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best the words of a president can inspire, at their worst they can incite."
4:06 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets from the west side of the Capitol as a line of police with shields make a stand to constrain further crowds from mounting the steps.
4:10 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy arrives at DC police headquarters from the Pentagon.
4:11 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets: "Many of these patriots were calling for gallows for Nancy Pelosi as they were breaking into the Capitol."
4:14 PM: Former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tweets: "Many of these folks are nothing but domestic terrorists. And many are criminals and trouble makers [sic] all acting in a manner opposite of patriotism. These violent people have no respect for democracy. Pure insanity and disgusting."
4:15 PM: The NSC tweets, attributing a statement to White House National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien: "Violence has absolutely no place in our democracy. I applaud the men and women of law enforcement and the National Guard, who are working to restore order and protect our institutions. Our country is better than what we saw today at our Capitol."
Of course, there are no National Guard at the Capitol yet, not to any fault of the DC National Guard, which has been constrained by the Pentagon.
4:16 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets: "... Capitol Police say the Senate won't be in session in this building today or anytime soon – bc the building is "trashed."
4:18 PM: House Minority Leader McCarthy says on ABC News that he "called the President and explained to him what is going on ... I begged him to go talk to the nation." He says that the president is recording some video message right now.
4:18 PM: Pentagon leaders have another conference call to discuss National Guard force support from outside the District. Acting Secretary Miller gives voice approval for out-of-state forces to muster and be prepared to deploy to DC. By 7:00 PM, the Pentagon says, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware had offered forces "and the fastest timeline they could be in the National Capitol Region."
Chapter 7: Clear? All Clear?
4:24 PM: Leigh Ann Caldwell of NBC News tweets a video from inside the Canon House Office Building – "FBI SWAT team in Capitol complex" – she shows a 12 man armed tactical team in military fatigues with FBI markings.
At 4:35 PM, Mike Balsamo of the AP responds: "An FBI spokeswoman said agents were being deployed to "assist our U.S. Capitol Police partners as requested in protection of federal property and public safety."
4:24 PM: U.S. Marshals Service, an element of the Department of Justice, tweets: "The U.S. Marshals Service is joining with other law enforcement agencies in supporting the U.S. Capitol Police during operations in Washington, DC."
4:30 PM: Julian E. Barnes and Mark Mazzetti later write in The New York Times: "A column of F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security agents in riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and officers from Washington's police force headed to the Capitol in a show of force to end violent protests, looting and vandalism."
"The F.B.I. has been deployed to assist our U.S. Capitol Police partners, as requested, in protection of federal property and public safety," the FBI said.
4:32 PM: Acting Secretary Miller provides verbal authorization for a change in mission for the DC National Guard so that they can conduct perimeter and "clearance operations" in support of the USCP, not just the DC Police. He directs Secretary of the Army McCarthy to "provide public notification of support."
4:33 PM: Townhall.com reporter Julio Rosas tweets a video from outside the Capitol, showing tear gas being used as protestors use a now stolen police barricade to try to break through another door: "Rioter uses a metal barricade to try to break open a Capitol building door."
4:36 PM: CNN Decision Desk projects that Jon Ossoff will win the Senate runoff in Georgia, giving Democrats control of the Senate.
4:40 PM: President Trump, in a video message posted on Twitter, tells supporters to "go home." Trump says "I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now." He also went on to call the supporters "very special." He also said, "we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You're very special."
4:40 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy first speaks with Maryland Governor Hogan. According to the Army: "He thanked him and accepted his offer. Secretary McCarthy assured him his service members will be taken care of and provided a point-to-point contact."
Hogan later told The Washington Post that he got approval 90 minutes after deployment was turned down when Secretary McCarthy called him. Maryland forces are approved to arrive in DC on January 7.
4:42 PM: Will Sommer of the Daily Beast tweets: "So many reporters covering the protest today were able to find plenty of evidence, in advance, that some Trump protesters planned to flood the Capitol. Incredible that police, who have far more capabilities than we do, weren't better prepared."
4:44 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a video from the north side of the Capitol: "Protestors being pushed back. North side of the capitol. Police are using flash bangs."
Kristin Wilson of CNN tweets a video of police inside the Capitol: "USCP guarding broken Capitol windows keeping protestors from getting in. Smoke grenades and smell of gunpowder in the hallways."
4:46 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets a video: "Law enforcement regaining some semblance of control here. They've pushed back the mob away from the north side of the Capitol, eliciting calls of "traitor! traitor!" One woman's yelling "f*ck the blue!"
4:46 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "... I passed hundreds of law enforcement officers streaming into Capitol via subway tunnel. FBI, DHS police and Fairfax county (Va.) among those arriving now."
4:52 PM: Former Trump White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah tweets: "Dear MAGA- I am one of you. Before I worked for @realDonaldTrump, I worked for @MarkMeadows & @Jim_Jordan & the @freedomcaucus. I marched in the 2010 Tea Party rallies. I campaigned w/ Trump & voted for him. But I need you to hear me: the Election was NOT stolen. We lost."
"There were cases of fraud that should be investigated. But the legitimate margins of victory for Biden are far too wide to change the outcome. You need to know that. I'm proud of many policy accomplishments the Trump Admin had. But we must accept these results."
"It's time to regroup, organize, & campaign for political leaders we believe in, and let our democracy work. It is NOT and NEVER will be a time for violence. If you believe in America first, you believe in our Constitution, the rule of law, & our first principles."
4:54 PM: The Confederate Flag image (by Mike Theiler) is tweeted.
4:54 PM: DC National Guard (DCNG) tweets: "The DCNG has been mobilized to provide support to fed law enforcement in the District. Acting SecDef Christopher Miller has been in contact w/Congressional leadership, and @SecArmy has been working with the D.C. government. Law enforcement response will be led by @TheJusticeDept."
4:56 PM: Krysta Louise of the AP tweets: "DC police chief says protesters deployed 'chemical irritants on police' to gain access to US Capitol."
4:56 PM: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweets: "Electoral college ballots rescued from the Senate floor. If our capable floor staff hadn't grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob."
4:58 PM: Rachel Chason of The Washington Post tweets a video: "Police now here in much larger numbers, pushing rioters away from the doors."
"Traitors, traitors," rioters are chanting as police try to protect the US Capitol. "Fuck the blue," a woman just yelled ..."
4:58 PM: Townhall.com reporter Julio Rosas tweets a video from outside the front of the Capitol: "Rioters just mobbed [news media] camera crews and destroyed their equipment."
5:00 PM: Emily Davies of The Washington Post tweets: "... It's now just after 5pm and the Capitol is much quieter. Police in riot gear are positioned at the North side of the Capitol. Most demonstrators have cleared the area."
5:00 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets: "Seeing lots of FBI SWAT roaming the Capitol."
5:00 PM: CNN reports: "As US Marshals, ATF, and US Park Police joined the efforts to secure the Capitol, the Department of Defense recognized the need for a solid perimeter and put in a request for secure fences from the Department of Homeland Security. The 7-foot fences, made to be impossible to scale, had to be brought in from Maryland. By Thursday afternoon, 95% of the fence was complete."
5:01 PM: President pro tempore Grassley tweets: "Today's violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was an attack on American democracy itself. I condemn today's violence in the strongest terms & perpetrators deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I also thank Capitol Police for protecting our Capitol & staff."
5:02 PM: The first of 154 DC National Guard leave the DC Armory to support USCP. The Pentagon says: "They are armed to operate in support of reestablishing control of the Capitol."
5:03 PM: Harrison Smith of The Washington Post tweets: "... still hundreds of people on the west side of the Capitol, where a few men with military-style helmets and camo seem set on turning barricades into a fortress for "patriots."
5:07 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets: "We're still in a secret location inside the Capitol. No word yet on when we'll be allowed to leave ... doesn't seem like anytime soon..."
Grace Segers of CBS News writes: "Shortly before 5 p.m., Capitol staffers wheeled in trays of food and drink for lawmakers and the reporters sitting in the anteroom outside of where the senators were gathered. I sat on the floor, charged my phone, and wondered what would happen next.
At one point, Senator Ted Cruz emerged from the room filled with senators. A reporter asked him if he felt any responsibility for the day's events, given his support for objecting to the Electoral College results. Cruz did not answer, but turned and walked back into the room."
5:11 PM: Kamala Harris tweets: "I join President-elect @JoeBiden in calling for the assault on the Capitol and our nation's public servants to end, and as he said, "allow the work of democracy to go forward."
5:14 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets: "Sen. Joe Manchin [D-WV] says he hopes that Congress can get the Electoral College certification done tonight. "We'll stay whatever it takes.. these thugs aren't running us off."
He said the mood is "ok" in the undisclosed location where all the senators are being held... "a lot of prayers."
5:18 PM: Harrison Smith of The Washington Post tweets from the west side of the Capitol: "Police have forced most of the crowd from bleachers with flash bangs and gas. It's stopped for now. Folks seem to be reassembling. Chanting: "Traitors."
5:22 PM: Acting Secretary Miller makes a statement on full activation of the DC National Guard and the change in mission from indirectly supporting the DC police to direct support at the Capitol:
"Chairman Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation ... We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation. We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly."
5:28 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets from the north side of the Capitol building.
5:29 PM: Jonathan Martin of The New York Times tweets: "This is a nation which has been a model for the world in terms of democracy and we have a president who is encouraging an insurrection against the democracy which he took an oath of office to defend," [Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT)] ... tells me, calling it "a tragic day" for America."
5:30 PM: Sarah D. Wire of The Los Angeles Times later writes: "Just after 5:30 p.m., the sergeant at arms, the House's top security official, announced the Capitol had been secured but urged members to stay in place. He wanted a bit more time, he said, to guarantee their safety."
The Pentagon later says that the U.S. Capitol Police declared the Capitol Building "secure" at 8:00 PM.
5:31 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets a video showing protestors backing up from the Capitol: "Police are now pushing protesters back, moving them away from Capitol. Sending off loud smoke grenades. People responded, "this is our house" and "we're gonna hunt antifa tonight"
5:32 PM: Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweets that he is declaring a 6 PM to 6 AM curfew in Arlington and Alexandria. He also says he is issuing a State of Emergency in Virginia.
5:36 PM: Marissa J. Lang of The Washington Post tweets: "Federal police pushing protesters back with batons & stun grenades chanting, "move back!" Some officers are flinging folding chairs left on the Capitol grounds as protesters retreat. The crowd is calling the cops traitors and yelling about curfew: "it's only 5:30," a lady yelled."
5:36 PM: Drew Hernandez of The Tatum Report tweets: "... Many rumors going around saying Antifa possibly infiltrated in MAGA gear to spark this today. I cannot confirm nor deny that at the time of this tweet."
5:40 PM: The first DC National Guard soldiers arrive at the Capitol and are sworn in as law enforcement officers by the USCP.
At 6:26 PM, CSPAN shows DC National Guard troops in formation next to a bus on First Street in front of the Supreme Court and marching (slowly) towards the Capitol building.
5:41 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets: "Police have cleared protesters hundreds of feet away from Capitol ahead of curfew ... "They would never do this to BLM" said a woman."
At 5:42 PM, William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets from the front of the Capitol: "Police starting to close down the capitol" showing that protestors have been pushed away from the building.
5:45 PM: USCP announces that the woman shot inside the Capitol building has died.
5:45 PM: Acting Secretary Miller signs a formal order authorizing out-of-state National Guard forces to muster in support of Capitol security. The includes mobilization of up to 6,200 National Guardsmen from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania."
5:46 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "With 15 mins to curfew, the vast majority of rioters have left the Capitol. The few still here are taunting news crews. Police re establishing barricdes [sic]."
5:46 PM: Townhall.com reporter Julio Rosas tweets a video from outside the west side of the Capitol: "Police are clearing the Capitol grounds as the crowd has gotten much smaller here."
5:46 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets and posts a video of what appears to be blood on the floor of the Capitol building, but is in fact blood outside on the west side from earlier: "lots of blood was spilled today by both the Capitol police & occupiers. Very serious injuries occurred, including a shooting. Many officers injured, some appeared to be hurt very badly as Trump supporters were throwing projectiles & in some cases violently assaulting them."
5:49 PM: Marissa J. Lang of The Washington Post tweets a video from the darkness in front of the Capitol, as the sun has gone down: ".. plenty of folks are still milling around on the sidewalk outside the Capitol. Fifteen minutes till curfew."
5:49 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "In Capitol complex, announcement says anyone that doesn't leave by 6 p.m. will be arrested."
5:49 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets: "... officers were very aggressive and violent with the occupiers. It was very intense."
5:50 PM: Emily Davies of The Washington Post tweets: "To be clear, there are still scuffles unfolding across the city. Police are reinstalling barricades around the Capitol. 10 minutes to curfew."
5:53 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a quote from a USCP officer: "We were just not prepared. They got through four levels of our security."
5:54 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "Senators holding a closed door meeting now."
5:56 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "A PSA from @MayorBowser was broadcast just now on Capitol Hill: leave or experience arrest."
5:57 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets: "Andddd three minutes before curfew, people are blasting "All you need is love" by The Beatles"
5:58 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a video, now in the dark, of unmarked buses arriving at the Capitol: "Five buses of law enforcement officers, some in riot gear, just drove into the Capitol."
Chapter 8: Curfew
6:00 PM: District of Columbia curfew takes effect.
6:01 PM: President Trump again tweets, this time not admonishing protestors but ascribing blame to a stolen election:
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long," he says. He then tells them to "Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
6:03 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets a video from the front of the Capitol: "Armored vehicles entering the Capitol just now."
6:03 PM: White House National Security Advisor Robert C. O'Brien tweets: "I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him."
6:04 PM: A Statement by former President George W. Bush is released: "... To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety..."
6:10 PM: Betsy Klein of CNN tweets: "A current WH aide tells CNN many of his colleagues worked remotely today ahead of anticipated protests + road closures in DC, and like former colleagues, is casting blame on President Trump. "It's a complete shitshow and is indefensible. The blame lies squarely w/ the President."
"The aide doesn't plan to go to work tmw and hasn't decided whether to resign or stick out the next 2 weeks until inauguration. "I haven't made a decision. Problem is, if I resign, it looks disingenuous -- you were willing to stick around for 4 years, but this is what did you in?"
6:14 PM: The Pentagon says that the DC National Guard joins Capitol and DC Police to establish a perimeter on the west side, the last area still occupied by hundreds of protestors.
6:20 PM: Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says the violent pro-Trump protest was an "intolerable attack on a fundamental institution" of democracy. Rosen said that the Justice Department has been working with USCP and other federal law enforcement agencies to secure the Capitol. He says hundreds of federal agents from Justice Department agencies were sent to assist. He called it an "unacceptable situation" and said federal prosecutors "intend to enforce the laws of our land." (The statement is tweeted at 6:31 PM).
6:22 PM: U.S. Marshals Service tweets: "The U.S. Marshals Service was tasked, along with other federal law enforcement agencies, with supporting the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Capitol Police during operations to clear and secure the U.S. Capitol and other federal facilities in Washington, D.C."
"USMS has deployed approximately 100 Deputy Marshals to the scene from Maryland, Virginia, and DC."
6:28 PM: William Turton of Bloomberg News tweets from the front of the Capitol, of a line of soldiers, pushing protestors away: "Wearing patches that say "U.S. Army"
6:30 PM: Speaker Pelosi "Dear Colleague" announces that "in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use."
"Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden."
6:31 PM: Rachel Chason of The Washington Post tweets: "The level of conspiracy theories/ disinformation being espoused by the rioters today cannot be underscored enough. "I know antifa was involved," one woman told me..."
6:33 PM: U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, co-chair of the Department of Justice Taskforce on Violent Anti-Government Extremism, releases a statement: "Forcibly storming a government building is a reprehensible betrayal of the rule of law. Those who committed violence in Washington today are anarchists, not patriots. They should [be] prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
6:56 PM: Evan Perez of CNN tweets: "Everyone seemed to know. US Capitol Police were surprised, overwhelmed."
7:00 PM: Facebook removes President Trump's posts from both Facebook and Instagram: "We removed from Facebook and Instagram the recent video of President Trump speaking about the protests and his subsequent post about the election results. We made the decision that on balance these posts contribute to, rather than diminish, the risk of ongoing violence."
Later, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-CA) tweets: "Silicon Valley Cartel is trying to shut down and censor [sic] our President."
Two minutes later, Twitter locks President Trump out of his account for at least 12 hours over "repeated and severe violations" of its civic integrity policy. In order to unlock the account, he must delete the offending tweets, including the video he tweeted earlier.
7:11 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Press and Senate staff, with boxes containing affidavits, are now heading back to the Capitol now. Lawmakers are expected to restart the electoral certification tonight."
7:12 PM: Devin O'Malley, Press Secretary to Vice President Mike Pence tweets: "Vice President @Mike_Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol. @VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress..."
7:14 PM: Jazmine Ulloa of The Boston Globe tweets a video as reporters walk through the Capitol subway from the 'secure location' back to the Capitol building: "... One of the federal officers told us to watch the walls once we get to the Capitol building because of the tear gas."
7:15 PM: Secretary of the Army McCarthy says that both chambers and leadership offices are cleared. He says that after Mayor Bowser asked for more assistance at around 2 PM, the 300 DC Guard who were conducting traffic control around the district were sent back to the DC Armory to refit for a crowd control mission. "Guardsmen started flowing into the area of the Capitol soon after and reinforced Metro Police on the perimeter of the Capitol. This allowed the police and FBI personnel to clear the chambers and offices of the U.S. Capitol."
"Soon after" is more two hours later, at least at the Capitol building itself.
7:24 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets from the basement of the Capitol complex: "FBI and USCP preparing for senators to move."
7:24 PM: Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner tweets: "I've been out talking to the protesters who busted into the Capitol. One thing I'm hearing: They believed they had a right to be in a public building and did not expect cops to block their access (some were allowed in!). A subset of this group, they said, got out of control."
She later writes that protestors she talked to said that they planned a peaceful occupation. "It just got crazy, that's all I can say," a protester from Michigan told the Washington Examiner as he walked away from the Capitol hauling a Trump flag."
Another protestor from Texas said that the crowd at first acted peacefully, but disorder escalated when Capitol Police moved to prevent them from mounting the East Front stairs and entering through the center door. "From moment one, there was resistance from the police officers to allow us to access a public building," the protester said.
While the Capitol siege was described by many as a coup, the dozen protesters interviewed by The Washington Examiner denied it and said their demonstration was intended to be akin to demonstrations in which activists occupy public buildings."
7:25 PM: Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweets: "We just had a violent mob assault the Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty. There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame."
7:26 PM: Sean Davis, co-founder of @FDRLST tweets: "I've talked to multiple people today who arrived at the Capitol and believed it was open. They thought they were allowed to be in there, which might explain why you saw so many people carefully staying inside the velvet rope line in several pictures."
Dave Weigel of The Washington Post responds: "Just an incredible post by one of the most dishonest people ..."
Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner responds: "Were you there? It's what protesters said: That they were in Capitol but not part of the big wrecking crew. Sorta like when we interview the people 'near' the people burning down stores who just showed up to peacefully protest. Same dynamic, inconceivable to some."
7:29 PM: Marissa J. Lang of The Washington Post tweets a video: "DC police seem to be kettling some of the remaining Trump supporters near the reflecting pool by the Capitol. "They're putting us in a pen — like animals!" a man was yelling. There are a lot of cops here now. Crowd still yelling, "traitors!"
7:30 PM: K. Tully-McManus of Roll Call/CQ Now tweets: "... [Rep.] Tim Ryan [D-OH, chairman of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee] ... is mad as hell about USCP response today (his committee funds USCP). "There were clearly enormous strategic and planning failures by the Capitol Police, by the Sergeant at Arms and anybody else who was part of coordinating this effort."
"There was enough time to prepare. I had a number of conversations with the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police as recently as last night and there was not supposed to be anybody near the Capitol."
"You can bet your ass we're going to get to the bottom of it," said Ryan. His subcommittee is in charge of funding Capitol Police (which is currently funded at $515.5 million for FY2021)"
7:33 PM: Ali Zaslav of CNN tweets a video: "Heavy law enforcement detail escorting senators to the Capitol..."
The video shows U.S. Capitol Police, camouflage clad tactical teams from the FBI and other agencies, as well as plain clothes FBI agents (wearing protective gear).
7:36 PM: Alan He of CBS News tweets another video of Senators returning to the Capitol through underground passageways.
The video shows a diverse crew of police and federal officers accompanying them, with dozens of different colors of uniforms and types, some in regular uniforms, some in special ops black gear, some in camouflage tactical gear, some carrying weapons, some dressed in suits, some in normal civilian clothes with flak jackets over polo shirts and jeans. Identifiable are USCP, DC police, FBI and U.S. Secret Service.
7:36 PM: Acting Secretary Miller provides voice approval for DOD to lease fences.
7:37 PM: Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis blames President Trump for the violence at the Capitol. Mattis says the violence was fomented by Trump, who has used the presidency "to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens." His written statement concluded, "Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country."
7:41 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets an interview with "Aaron," a protestor from Brooklyn. He said he came to Washington because "the election was stolen."
"We were cheated. I don't think 75 million people voted for Trump — I think it was close to 85 million," the protester, who gave the name Aaron, told The Post while standing inside the Capitol building. "I think certain states that have been red for a long time turned blue and were stolen, like New York."
He added, "[I did it] to express my opinion as a free American that this election was stolen."
7:43 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "Sense of normalcy returning in the House. Press has been escorted back to our desks, thanks to very hardworking Cap police and gallery staff."
7:44 PM: Burgess Everett of Politico tweets: "OK ... now the Capitol is secure"
7:45 PM: Statement from former President Bill Clinton is released: "I have always believed that America is made up of good, decent people. I still do. If that's who we really are, we must reject today's violence, turn the page, and move forward together ..."
7:48 PM: Mayor Bowser and Acting Police Chief Contee provide a situational update. The mayor says: "I urge anyone who is not in place in your home or your hotel ... If you mean to cause trouble in the streets of Washington D.C., you will be arrested. The DC Police Department will enforce tonight's curfew."
7:49 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "Nearly two hours past curfew, officers are making arrests on the west side of the Capitol. Guardsmen are here, along with at least 3 police buses."
7:51 PM: Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweets and post pictures of Senators returning to the Capitol building.
7:55 PM: Rebecca Tan of The Washington Post tweets: "*Now* we see hundreds of law enforcement officers — Guardsmen, FBI, MPD. This is more reminiscent of the summer BLM protests."
7:56 PM: Statement from former President Barack Obama is released: "I've been heartened to see many members of the President's party speak up forcefully today.... We need more leaders like these – right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics..."
7:58 PM: Erin Schaff off The New York Times tweets: "The Senate is back in the Capitol, now with armed federal guards."
7:58 PM: Elijah Schaffer of The Blaze tweets: "While some reports say Antifa was present, and it is possible anarchists would take advantage or encourage a situation like thi.s Most of the violence appeared to come from strong, heated young men & police. I also spoke to a DC Antifa organizer & he denied their presence."
"IMPORTANT: I witnessed the start & violent escalation of the Capitol building siege. Reports that all the violence was started by Antifa comes from people who either naive or don't realize how frustrated many Trump supporters are. You can't blame Antifa for every violent clash."
Chapter 9: Democracy Inaction
8:00 PM: House Majority Leader Hoyer tweets and encloses his Statement on the Joint Session of Congress Reconvening for the Electoral College Certification:
"Today's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol complex was a direct attack on our democracy. It is shameful and despicable, but it will not prevent us from carrying out our Constitutional duties. Tonight, the House and Senate will reconvene in a Joint Session of Congress to continue the Electoral College certification. We will fulfill our duty to the Constitution and the American people.
"This is a dark day in our nation's history, but our democracy will prevail. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be confirmed as the next President and Vice President of the United States. When they are sworn into office on January 20, I hope that day will mark the beginning of a new era for the American people in which we can come together as one nation and heal."
8:06 PM: Vice President Pence reopens the Senate, saying, "Let's get back to work."
8:09 PM: Jonathan Martin of The New York Times tweets: "An extraordinary scene just outside the Senate. Lawmakers determined to meet and police have surrounded chamber, bomb-sniffing dogs prowling."
8:10 PM: Vice President Pence speaks on Senate floor:
"To those who wreaked havoc today: You did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins, and this is still the people's house. As we reconvene, the world will again witness the resilience of our democracy."
"Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol...We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms."
8:21 PM: Rachel Chason of The Washington Post tweets: "A few Trump supporting stragglers, a whole lot of law enforcement and media outside the Capitol now ..."
8:22 PM: Sarah Ferris of Politico tweets: "There's a police dog here inspecting parts of Capitol building that is wearing booties, which is apparently to protect his paws from the glass."
8:35 PM: Senate Majority Leader McConnell speaks: "The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness of intimidation. The United States and the Senate will not be intimidated. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution for our nation. And we are going to do it tonight."
8:46 PM: Maj. Gen. Omar J. Jones IV, Commanding General, Joint Force Headquarters - National Capital Region & US Army Military District of Washington, tweets for the first and last time of the day: "I am not the commanding general for DC National Guard. I am a regular Army officer and currently command the Military District of Washington. Thank you."
The tweet is misleading, for he is the joint force commander for the overall military command responsible for "defense support of civil authorities" in the District and commander of Joint Task Force–National Capitol Region (JTF-NCR), which was activated in March 2020 to prepare for all military contingencies in Washington, DC.
8:47 PM: Marissa J. Lang of The Washington Post tweets: "Just witnessed another arrest, though this crowd has thinned out substantially. We are nearing 3 hours post curfew now. The man who was arrested had a megaphone and had been berating the cops for hours. Didn't get a photo but seemed he walked past the police line & got grabbed."
8:51 PM: U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick of the Southern District of Texas tweets: "What happened today in Washington was despicable and illegal. Storming a government building is not a protest, it's anarchy. Arrest them, charge them, and incarcerate them."
"And if these clowns today don't think the capitol police, FBI, FPS and others won't be pouring over open source and other video to make cases, they're wrong. If any of these leads points to SDTX [Southern Texas], we're on it."
8:55 PM: K. Tully-McManus of Roll Call/CQ Now tweets a statement from Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chair of the Committee on House Administration: "The breach today at the U.S. Capitol raises grave security concerns. I intend to have the Committee on House Administration work with the bipartisan House and Senate leadership to address these concerns and review the response in coming days."
8:55 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "Every senator is going to speak because of course they are."
8:58 PM: Senate Minority Leader Schumer tweets: "Those who performed today's reprehensible acts were rioters, insurrectionists, thugs, domestic terrorists. They don't represent America. They were violent extremists who tried to take over the Capitol They must be prosecuted to the full extent. But tonight Democracy will triumph."
9:02 PM: Speaker Pelosi brings the House back into session.
"Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. For that reason, Congress has returned to the Capitol.
We always knew that this responsibility would take us into the night, and we will stay as long as it takes. ...
... To those who stoked deterrence from our responsibility, you have failed. To those who engaged in the gleeful desecration of this, our temple of democracy, American democracy, justice will be done.
... despite the shameful actions of today ... We will be part of a history that shows the world what America is made of, that this assault, this assault is just that. It shows the weakness of those who have had to show through violence what their message was."
9:10 PM: Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News tweets: "... Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien, O'Brien's deputy Matt Pottinger and Trump deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are considering resigning, sources tell me..."
Later it was learned that Deputy National Security Advisor Pottinger resigned Wednesday afternoon, dismayed by President Trump's role in inciting violence. Pottinger said he had intended to resign election day, regardless of the outcome, but stayed on at O'Brien's request.
9:15 PM: Richard Hall of The Independent (UK) tweets his article, "Surrounded by men dressed for war, I saw Trump's fascism at the heart of American democracy."
"The crowd started to move before he had finished talking. I walked behind a group of men in military fatigues who held a radio up to a megaphone so they could continue listening to Trump. There were many groups like them wandering around: militias, Proud Boys, men wearing knee-pads and stab vests. Men dressed as if they were going to war."
"... I arrived at the foot of the Capitol building to find that several thousand protesters had already trampled over the small outer security fences and were stationed at the bottom of the steps. They took their place in front of a thin line of Capitol police who, it was clear from the beginning, were disastrously ill-prepared.
"As the crowd swelled from the back, it became more violent at the front. Perhaps a few dozen of the mob were pushing and testing the police."
"... Men in camouflage gear acted as if they were generals in some foreign battlefield. "Soldiers forward! Soldiers forward," shouted one man. As a handful of men retreated from the front with watering eyes, they were admonished for leaving by the crowd.
"Why are you leaving?"
"We got tear gassed"
"They're shooting us with paintballs."
"That's what we're here for. It's gonna be bullets before too long, so hold the friggin' line."
Two meters away from the men playing war, families were taking selfies. For some, it was an exciting day out, democracy in action, a story to tell their friends. For others, it was the first shot of a long-brewing civil war."
9:15 PM: House Minority Leader McCarthy speaks on the House floor:
"I rise to address what happened in this Chamber today and where do we go from here.
The violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-American. It was the saddest day I have ever had serving as a Member of this institution.
The Capitol was in chaos. Police officers were attacked. Guns were drawn on this very floor. A woman tragically lost her life.
No one wins when this building and what it stands for are destroyed. America, and this institution, is better than that.
We saw the worst of America this afternoon. Yet, in the midst of violence and fear, we also saw the best of America. It starts with our law enforcement—the Capitol Police, the National Guard, the FBI, and the Secret Service—who faced the most difficult challenges but did their duty with confidence and strength. Many of them are injured right now.
... Looking back on the past few hours, it is clear this Congress will not be the same after today, and I hope it will be the better. I hope not just this institution, but I hope every American pauses for that moment and thinks among themselves that we can disagree with one another but not dislike each other; we can respect the voices of others.
... nobody has a right to become a mob. And we all should stand united in condemning the mob together. ...
By returning here to complete the work we were sent to do, we are proving that our democracy cannot be disrupted by criminal behavior ...
Let me be very clear: Mobs don't rule America. Laws rule America. It was true when our cities were burning this summer, and it is true now.
When Americans go to bed tonight, their lasting memory should not be a Congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress conducting healthy debate.
We may disagree on a lot in America, but tonight we should show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly, carry out the most basic duties of democracy."
9:17 PM: The Carter Center releases a statement from former President Carter. "We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal ..."
9:21 PM: Billy House of Bloomberg tweets: "So, help me out. Have Capitol Police spokespeople provided the public any details of today's events -- number of arrests, those injured or worse, numbers of officers hurt? A description of what happened? Maybe I missed it."
9:22 PM: Christal Hayes of USA Today tweets: "I'm inside the Capitol ... The aftermath of Trump rioters storming the building is jarring Glass everywhere, dust blankets the ground, broken benches turned on their side, used medical kit with an IV & AED machine that was used on a woman who was squeezed in the chaos."
9:33 PM: Perry Stein of The Washington Post tweets: "Big difference from a few hours ago in front of Capitol. Just a dozen or so Trump supporters left in front here. Officers have mostly left or backed away."
9:34 PM: Marissa J. Lang of The Washington Post tweets a video from the west side of the Capitol: "... a handful of Trump supporters linger and continue to heckle them and declare victory. Plenty of those who left did so promising, "we'll be back!"
10:16 PM: Jill Colvin of the AP tweets from the White House: "It is quieter than I've ever heard it outside the White House tonight. Without cars and foot traffic, I could hear the hum of generators on the driveway."
10:20 PM: Aaron Ruper of Vox tweets: "Holy shit. [Rep.] Matt Gaetz just said, "some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa."
10:29 PM: Manu Raju of CNN tweets: "Weary senators are sitting down quietly and having dinner in the ornate LBJ room off the floor. It's rare both parties dine together. And remnants from the riots: The floors are slippery and gray because the rioters grabbed the fire extinguishers and sprayed them in the building."
10:36 PM: Richard Engel of NBC News tweets: "Police seemed very chummy with the protesters who also seemed to know exactly where to go."
Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner tweets in response: "Protesters told me same AND Cap Police have a long, long history of handling protesters in a friendly manner without much resistance. This caught them off guard. Protests are common on Capitol Grounds. Storming the building is unprecedented."
"I think the Police were cool with the protesters at first and it suddenly went far beyond what they were expecting. In the summer, they were more on defense during those protests and had the cops lined up in greater numbers. This caught them off guard."
"I wouldn't say protesters knew where to go, though. A lot of them wandered in and were steered into the Rotunda, or as one protester told me, "The big round room."
At 10:48 PM, she adds: "Many of them WALKED RIGHT IN. They were not stopped by police. ... There were a mix of people in the Capitol and a lot of confusion. They felt they had the right to be there and bunch of them got violent when they were not allowed access."
At 11:58 PM, she adds: "There are many doors to get into the Capitol. People were walking in different doors and police were allowing them inside. The front east steps are NEVER used by the public and that is where the protesters who broke past the police headed."
10:49 PM: Major Bowser and DC police officials hold live public safety update. She says: "Despite having zero representation, having no votes, in the same Congress where this siege took place today, to the Metropolitan Police Department of DC Police, Chief Contee, the entire command staff and our officers who performed admirably, you made us proud. You are the patriots, not the people we saw storm the building."
10:56 PM: DC Police announces that they have made 52 arrests so far, had recovered pipe bombs from both the Republican and Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill and had found a vehicle with weapons and Molotov cocktails.
In addition to Ashli Bobbitt, shot and killed by USCP, three other individuals died due to "medical emergencies."
11:07 PM: Henry Rodgers of Daily Caller tweets: "SOURCE tells me: [Marc Short] Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence is being denied entry back into the White House. Working to confirm."
11:08 PM: After more than two hours of debate, the House takes a vote on the motion to disqualify electors from Arizona: "Shall the objection to the Arizona electoral college vote count submitted by the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Gosar) and the Senator from Texas (Mr. Cruz) be agreed." The vote is 121 Yea, 303 Nay, and 7 not voting. The objection was not agreed to.
The Clerk of the House notifies the Senate of the action of the House, informing the Senate that the House is now ready to proceed in joint session with the further counting of the electoral votes.
11:21 PM: Jenny Gathright of WAMU Radio tweets: "USCP has not responded to any of my repeated inquiries today. It was the Mayor's office who confirmed the fatal police shooting in the Capitol for me earlier, and the D.C. police chief who addressed it in a presser tonight."
11:26 PM: Daniella Diaz of CNN tweets a video of law enforcement officers, exhausted, sitting in the Capitol rotunda, catching their breaths.
11:28 PM: Igor Bobic of Huffington Post tweets: "I still can't believe today actually happened. I'm trying to process but it's just not happening. I'm thinking of my family in Bosnia watching these scenes and can't help but feel ashamed where we are now."
11:34 PM: Steven Nelson of The New York Post tweets: "Sen. Josh Hawley tells me 'yes' he will still object to Pennsylvania electors, despite intense peer pressure within GOP after today's break-in."
11:35 PM: House Sergeant at Arms Irving announces the Vice President and the Senate of the United
States are joining the Joint Convention of the two Houses.
The Secretary of the Senate read the order of the Senate, as follows: "Ordered, That the Senate by a vote of 6 ayes to 93 nays rejects the objection to the electoral votes cast in the State of Arizona
for Joseph R. Biden, Jr., for President and Kamala D. Harris for Vice President."
From there, the certificate of the State of Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, and Florida are accepted. Then an objection is raised on the electoral votes on the State of Georgia. However, Senators have removed their support ("following the events of today") and the objection is not entertained.
11:56 PM: Elizabeth Landers of Vice News tweets: ".@MarkWarner just told me that he's been in contact with Trump Cabinet members and said, "I would so wish that every fricking Cabinet member would walk through the halls of this Capitol right now, see the destruction and then make a judgment whether Donald Trump should stay."
11:57 PM: Burgess Everett, Marianne Levine, and Melanie Zanona write in Politico:
"Republicans started the day losing the Senate. They ended it with President Donald Trump's supporters losing their minds..."
Jeff Walters, a member of the Carpentry Shop of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), responsible for the physical plant, later says: "There's not a whole lot that surprises us anymore, but seeing the overall condition of the building that night, that, I would have to say, was a bit shocking. I've been with the Architect of the Capitol for maybe 22, 23 years. So I've seen a lot of the things that have gone on here, but I've never seen the building in such disarray" he said.
There was lots of debris and broken glass, some broken furniture, broken windows and broken doors, some of the interior, historic doors, damaged beyond repair.
The Joint Session will deliberate on. An objection was raised on the State of Michigan, but the rules require that it be in writing and endorsed by a Senator. But there is no supporting Senator, and the objection is not entertained. An objection wass raised on the State of Nevada, but again there is no supporting Senator, and the objection is not entertained. An objection is raised on the State of Pennsylvania and there is debate before the motion fails. At 3:40 AM, Vice President Pence announces that the electors final vote is 306 for Joe Biden and 232 for Donald Trump.
"This announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January, 2021, and shall be entered, together with the list of the votes, on the Journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives," Vice President Pence says.
At 3:48 AM, the House was adjourned.