Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared

Protesters walk as U.S. Capitol Police officers watch in a hallway near the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, near the Ohio Clock. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The full extent of the assault on the U.S. Capitol is coming into sharper focus, with scenes of violence so vast they are difficult to grasp.

Posted: Jan 11, 2021 9:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump's name, the Capitol's attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd.

“Hang Mike Pence!" the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: “Where are they?” Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity.

Only days later is the extent of the danger from one of the darkest episodes in American democracy coming into focus. The sinister nature of the assault has become evident, betraying the crowd as a force determined to occupy the inner sanctums of Congress and run down leaders — Trump’s vice president and the Democratic House speaker among them.

This was not just a collection of Trump supporters with MAGA bling caught up in a wave.

That revelation came in real time to Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who briefly took over proceedings in the House chamber as the mob closed in Wednesday and Pelosi was spirited to safer quarters moments before everything went haywire.

“I saw this crowd of people banging on that glass screaming,” McGovern told The Associated Press on Sunday. “Looking at their faces, it occurred to me, these aren’t protesters. These are people who want to do harm.”

“What I saw in front of me," he said, “was basically home-grown fascism, out of control."

Pelosi said Sunday “the evidence is that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people.” She did not elaborate on that point in a ”60 Minutes" interview on CBS.

The scenes of rage, violence and agony are so vast that the whole of it may still be beyond comprehension. But with countless smartphone videos emerging from the scene, much of it from gloating insurrectionists themselves, and more lawmakers recounting the chaos that was around them, contours of the uprising are increasingly coming into relief.

___

THE STAGING

The mob got stirring encouragement from Trump and more explicit marching orders from the president's men.

“Fight like hell,” Trump exhorted his partisans at the staging rally. “Let’s have trial by combat,” implored his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to throw out election results in trial by courtroom failed. It's time to “start taking down names and kicking ass,” said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.

Criminals pardoned by Trump, among them Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, came forward at rallies on the eve of the attack to tell the crowds they were fighting a battle between good and evil. On Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri gave a clenched-fist salute to the hordes outside the Capitol as he pulled up to press his challenge of the election results.

The crowd was pumped. Until a little after 2 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was at the helm for the final minutes of decorum in partnership with Pence, who was serving his ceremonial role presiding over the process.

Both men had backed Trump's agenda and excused or ignored his provocations for four years, but now had no mechanism or will to subvert the election won by Biden. That placed them high among the insurrectionists' targets, no different in the minds of the mob from the “socialists.”

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral," McConnell told his chamber, not long before things spiraled out of control in what lawmakers call the “People’s House."

Far-right social media users had openly hinted for weeks that chaos would erupt at the Capitol when Congress convened to certify the election results. As the attack unfolded, they urged followers to “trust the plan” and “hold the line.” Just what the plan might have been is central to the investigation.

The FBI is investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage. Authorities are particularly focused on why some in the mob were seen carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had apparently accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate.

___

THE ASSAULT

Thousands had swarmed the Capitol. They charged into police and metal barricades outside the building, shoving and hitting officers in their way. The assault quickly pushed through the vastly outnumbered police line; officers ran down one man and pummeled him.

In the melee outside, near the structure built for Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, a man threw a fire extinguisher at the helmeted head of a police officer. Then he picked up a bullhorn and threw it at officers, too.

The identity of the officer could not immediately be confirmed. But Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was wounded in the chaos, died the next night; officials say he had been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Capitol Police sent an alert telling workers in a House office building to head to underground transportation tunnels that criss-cross the complex. Minutes later, Pence was taken from the Senate chamber to a secret location and police announced the lockdown of the Capitol. “You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors,” said the email blast. “If you are outside, seek cover.”

At 2:15 p.m., the Senate recessed its Electoral College debate and a voice was heard over the chamber's audio system: “The protesters are in the building.” The doors of the House chamber were barricaded and lawmakers inside it were told they may need to duck under their chairs or relocate to cloakrooms off the House floor because the mob has breached the Capitol Rotunda.

Even before the mob reached sealed doors of the House chamber, Capitol Police pulled Pelosi away from the podium, she told “60 Minutes.”

“I said, ‘No, I want to be here,’”she said. “And they said, ‘Well, no, you have to leave.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not leaving.' They said, ‘No, you must leave.’” So she did.

At 2:44 p.m., as lawmakers inside the House chamber prepared to be evacuated, a gunshot was heard from right outside, in the Speaker's Lobby on the other side of the barricaded doors. That's when Ashli Babbit, wearing a Trump flag like a cape, was shot to death on camera as insurrectionists railed, her blood pooling on the white marble floor.

The Air Force veteran from California had climbed through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby before a police officer's gunshot felled her.

Back in the House chamber, a woman in the balcony was seen and heard screaming. Why she was doing that only became clear later when video circulated. She was screaming a prayer.

Within about 10 minutes of the shooting, House lawmakers and staff members who had been cowering during the onslaught, terror etched into their faces, had been taken from the chamber and gallery to a secure room. The mob broke into Pelosi's offices while members of her staff hid in one of the rooms of her suite.

“The staff went under the table, barricaded the door, turned out the lights and were silent in the dark,” she said. “Under the table for two and a half hours.”

On the Senate side, Capitol Police had circled the chamber and ordered all staff and reporters and any nearby senators into the chamber and locked it down. At one point about 200 people were inside; an officer armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon stood between McConnell and the Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Authorities then ordered an evacuation and rushed everyone inside to a secure location, the Senate parliamentary staff scooping up the boxes holding the Electoral Collage certificates.

Although the Capitol's attackers had been sent with Trump's exhortation to fight, they appeared in some cases to be surprised that they had actually made it in.

When they breached the abandoned Senate chamber, they milled around, rummaged through papers, sat at desks and took videos and pictures. One of them climbed to the dais and yelled, “Trump won that election!” Two others were photographed carrying flex cuffs typically used for mass arrests.

But outside the chamber, the mob's hunt was still on for lawmakers. “Where are they?" people could be heard yelling.

That question could have also applied to reinforcements — where were they?

At about 5:30 p.m., once the National Guard had arrived to supplement the overwhelmed Capitol Police force, a full-on effort began to get the attackers out.

Heavily armed officers brought in as reinforcements started using tear gas in a coordinated fashion to get people moving toward the door, then combed the halls for stragglers. As darkness fell, they pushed the mob farther out onto the plaza and lawn, using officers in riot gear in full shields and clouds of tear gas, flash-bangs and percussion grenades.

At 7:23 p.m., officials announced that people hunkered down in two nearby congressional office buildings could leave “if anyone must.”

Within the hour, the Senate had resumed its work and the House followed, returning the People's House to the control of the people's representatives. Lawmakers affirmed Biden’s election victory early the next morning, shell-shocked by the catastrophic failure of security.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 483790

Reported Deaths: 6543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1003791583
Ramsey42945800
Dakota36091387
Anoka33200384
Washington21986254
Stearns18703200
St. Louis14746262
Scott13209107
Wright12489115
Olmsted1176188
Sherburne869772
Carver765240
Clay688887
Rice667191
Blue Earth591035
Kandiyohi578474
Crow Wing518381
Chisago496844
Otter Tail481370
Benton444890
Winona416649
Mower402731
Douglas392268
Nobles386547
Goodhue384468
Polk342262
McLeod338349
Beltrami336751
Morrison323547
Lyon312444
Itasca311646
Becker309941
Isanti305354
Carlton299848
Steele299211
Pine281916
Freeborn279823
Nicollet256041
Todd246330
Brown243537
Le Sueur233920
Mille Lacs226747
Cass219124
Waseca208617
Meeker206934
Martin188228
Wabasha18613
Roseau179617
Hubbard160640
Houston157114
Dodge15154
Renville149040
Redwood146527
Fillmore13708
Chippewa135935
Cottonwood134520
Pennington131816
Wadena130220
Faribault122716
Aitkin118733
Sibley117110
Watonwan11708
Rock115614
Kanabec107319
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93310
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77615
Stevens7398
Lake73518
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68216
Wilkin66910
Koochiching61711
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5052
Grant4908
Norman4768
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3025
Lake of the Woods2161
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 361499

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58007549
Linn20606312
Scott18279207
Black Hawk16223290
Woodbury14924211
Johnson1380473
Dubuque13522194
Dallas1132690
Pottawattamie10762143
Story1018945
Warren553474
Clinton542484
Cerro Gordo532781
Webster517687
Marshall495572
Sioux493469
Buena Vista472736
Des Moines457061
Muscatine450691
Wapello4314108
Jasper416266
Plymouth394277
Lee374752
Marion358469
Jones294354
Henry293037
Carroll285348
Bremer279154
Crawford273435
Boone259130
Washington253747
Benton252054
Mahaska223846
Jackson221138
Dickinson217238
Tama212965
Kossuth208154
Clay193125
Hamilton191942
Delaware188639
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan184629
Fayette184335
Page182619
Hardin180839
Wright179531
Harrison179469
Cedar177023
Clayton168053
Butler165831
Mills162820
Floyd162740
Madison154018
Poweshiek153630
Cherokee153535
Hancock146729
Lyon145941
Allamakee144946
Iowa144223
Grundy138830
Appanoose138647
Jefferson138232
Winnebago137730
Calhoun133311
Cass133351
Mitchell130640
Louisa128341
Union126331
Chickasaw124813
Sac124218
Emmet120940
Shelby120433
Franklin118419
Humboldt117225
Guthrie116228
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard102821
Clarke100320
Unassigned9850
Keokuk97829
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida90832
Pocahontas85219
Davis82523
Monona81527
Greene76910
Lucas73221
Osceola70314
Worth6947
Taylor66312
Fremont5869
Decatur5749
Van Buren56018
Ringgold51820
Wayne48721
Audubon4869
Adams3264
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 13°
Mason City
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 7°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 11°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 9°
Tracking a cool start to the work week then a big warm-up!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Grizzlies clinch playoff spot

Image

Sex trafficking bill

Image

Vigil for Rochester crash victim

Image

Sara's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Sara's Sunday Evening Forecast

Image

Cardboard sled race

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

Bleu Duck local food market

Image

Aaron's Saturday Forecast

Image

Lake City athlete inspires community, experiences unforgettable senior night

Community Events