Ryan Grim speaks with two reporters who were on Capitol grounds Wednesday afternoon when Trump supporters stormed the building.
AT 2:18 WEDNESDAY afternoon, Capitol Police sent out an ominous warning to congressional staffers and members of Congress in Washington, D.C. “Internal security threat: move inside office/lock doors, seek cover, and remain silent.”
The warning was a bit late. Insurrectionists were already at the door of the congressional staffer who sent me an image of the text alert. About an hour earlier, Donald Trump supporters intent on stopping Joe Biden from becoming president had smashed into the U.S. Capitol and the surrounding offices, unleashing violence across the complex. One woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police.
The fallout from this assault, which is ongoing as we record this, will be unfolding for a very long time. There will be plenty of time in the days, weeks, and months ahead to talk about what this all means. But for today, we want to talk about what happened. On Wednesday afternoon, a handful of Capitol Hill reporters caught in the melee were shepherded to a secure location along with about 200 members of Congress as the rampagers breached the gates.
One of them was Matt Fuller: a friend and a former longtime colleague of mine back when I was at the Huffington Post. He spoke to me from that secure location in the Capitol complex.
Matt was in the press gallery overlooking the House floor as the mob tried to smash its way in. His beat the last decade has been the far-right wing of the House Republican conference, known as the Freedom Caucus, which is inextricably linked with this violence and was also, it turns out, sheltered in place with Matt.
But first we talk with Jon Farina, who was shooting camera footage of a rally earlier in the day, then recorded the assault on the Capitol, for the independent media organization Status Coup.
An increasing number of Democrats are already calling for Trump’s immediate impeachment and removal — a step that would prevent him from pardoning those who stormed the Capitol, prevent whatever else he might be planning (our previous episode on his designs on Iran covers more on that) — and would make future presidents think twice before inciting insurrection after the loss of an election. Twitter, meanwhile, has temporarily locked his account; it’s a boon, no doubt, to the right-wing media ecosystem that fueled today’s insanity.
The Capitol, as we record this, has been cleared, and Matt tells me he has returned to the press gallery, where he’s watching what should have been a perfunctory Electoral College ceremony stumble toward its conclusion, over the continued objection of Republican after Republican, after Republican.
— Ryan Grim
First aired on Deconstructed.
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