Reporter’s Notebook: Inside of the US Capitol for the duration of the Jan. 6 riot

“Be harmless,” my father texted me late Tuesday night time.

“I’ll be fantastic,” I dismissively wrote back again, recognizing I’d be inside the Capitol, just one the most secure destinations in the planet.

Just just before 11 a.m. Wednesday, I arrived at the Capitol, and all was quiet and peaceful. I explained to my Uber driver to stay protected and went to perform.

“It feels like a model new day,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., gushed at a push meeting in the Capitol shortly ahead of midday. Schumer was celebrating the Senate Democrats’ victories in Georgia the past night, which can make the Senate now even at 50-50, Republicans and Democrats.

I then went downstairs to the 2nd floor outside the house the Senate chamber to uncover Republican senators to problem about the benefits in Ga and to observe the mahogany bins holding the Electoral College certificates be paraded to the Household chamber.


Following the bins departed the Senate, a U.S. Capitol Law enforcement officer I know prompt I get a look out the West Entrance home windows.

I scurried about and took a image, imagining that all those protesters appeared a little bit much too close to the setting up. But it just did not register with me, mainly because I figured the law enforcement would halt them right before they obtained any closer.

Popping again upstairs, I was making ready to go into the Senate chamber when Fox News showed stay pictures of the protesters breaching the West Front.

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Picture/Jose Luis Magana)

However, I was not involved. It was unfathomable they would ever get remotely shut to entering the creating.

With a several Republicans planning to object to Arizona’s electoral slate, I understood the Senate would return to session any minute for debate.

As opposed to the House chamber, you’re not authorized to have electronics in the Senate chamber, so I collected my pen and pad to consider notes all through Senate The vast majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech at the major.

COVID-19 Publicity Possible FOR CONGRESSIONAL Users All through CAPITOL RIOT, Medical doctor Claims

The cameras in the Senate chamber are managed by the Senate recording studio. 

Reporting from inside the chamber lets you to grab color and describe compact specifics you wouldn’t see on Television set.

For instance, in advance of the speeches began, I could overhear Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, telling Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, “Which is what’s heading on appropriate now … outside the house,” as Romney showed Portman his telephone display. I didn’t know what particularly they were chatting about, but I’m guaranteed it was the circumstance outside the Capitol.

The discussion sooner or later commenced. McConnell spoke, followed by Schumer. I remaining halfway via Schumer’s speech to return to my place of work to variety up my notes.

Then I get a text from the pool of Hill journalists that the protesters designed it inside of the Capitol.

Trump supporters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber after breaching the halls of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump supporters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outdoors of the Senate chamber just after breaching the halls of the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Image/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

I imagined, O.K., a tiny handful bought within the setting up. No way the Capitol of the United States of The us would be overrun by a violent mob.

Then the online video feed from the Senate flooring abruptly stopped.

A colleague from a different community popped his head into my place of work inquiring if I noticed what took place. “No,” I replied, saying that it just went off.


A staffer was caught on a warm mic telling Senate President Professional Tempore Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who took around presiding for Vice President Mike Pence, “The protesters are in the building.”

Our evacuation issue was supposed to be the Senate chamber, but it was far too late. We experienced to lock the doorways and hunker down in our workplaces.

Soon just after, a shelter-in-position announcement blared over the speakers.

I was fearful about a single of my colleagues who was reporting from within the Dwelling chamber. A report of a gunshot frightened all of us.

Luckily, another coworker, Kelly Phares, and I understood our other colleague was O.K. mainly because she texted us whilst continuing to report the information in actual time that the violent mob was attempting to break down the Dwelling chamber doorways.

Thanks to heroic colleagues like her, we started to see visuals of what was occurring inside the constructing. It was head-boggling. The Capitol had been overrun by insurrectionists.

Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Trump supporters gather outdoors the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Picture/Jose Luis Magana)

Seeing images of smoke bombs heading off in the Ohio Clock Corridor outdoors the Senate chamber, rioters on the flooring of the Senate and clashes in the Capitol Rotunda, we suddenly heard a loud commotion. The mob was downstairs. 

I advised Phares and an additional coworker, Jared Halpern, to pack up every thing they essential in situation we required to make a operate for it.

I did not want to scare them, but I later explained to them that night I had planned an escape route if we desired it. Thankfully, the rioters under no circumstances identified us.

Shortly soon after, Capitol Law enforcement evacuated us to an “undisclosed locale.” We have been risk-free up coming doorway to the place the place all the senators and their staff were located.

But I will never neglect the wander to the undisclosed locale, the odor of pepper spray and tear gas outside the Chamber, and seeing garbage and particles strewn on the floor. 

As we bought to the Capitol basement, the smell was even even worse and produced it difficult to breathe. At the evacuation site, scores of FBI officers ended up there preserving us. I felt safe once again.

I just cannot even imagine what my journalist colleagues in the Residence chamber or Capitol Rotunda went via. They are brave and heroic, dedicated to showing the globe what went on inside of the Capitol.


One congressional aide barricaded alone inside of his Capitol place of work described to reporters how rioters tried and unsuccessful to crack down his locked doorway for 20 minutes.

My phone constantly buzzed with fearful good friends asking if I was O.K. I definitely should have texted my father back faster, but you shed all feeling of time in the instant. Furthermore, I nevertheless had to report on the tale.

Some senators would sometimes stroll earlier us. I had to preserve reporting.

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Sick., Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and other folks, spoke to reporters.

But when I tried using asking Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, if President Trump’s rhetoric brought on what took place right now, he ignored me. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., disregarded me as well. These have been two of the senators foremost the demand to item to Electoral School certification.

Right after about two-and-a-50 percent hours, police escorted every person – as well as the mahogany Electoral Faculty boxes – back to the Capitol.

Birds fly around the Peace Monument, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Birds fly all around the Peace Monument, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

They informed us not to contact nearly anything due to the fact pepper spray and tear gas residue blanketed the halls of Congress. It lined every little thing: floors, railings, statues, partitions, and far more. There were also damaged glass, furniture and rubbish strewn about within the Capitol.

The Senate and Household sooner or later retuned to session, and I continued to function interviewing senators and shouting questions at Pence, who ignored them.

Just before 4 a.m., Congress ultimately qualified the Electoral School.

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I caught Speaker Nancy Pelosi leaving the Residence ground and requested her what she was pondering now that this day was ultimately in excess of.

Pelosi, who seemed absolutely exhausted, replied it was almost 4 a.m. and mentioned she didn’t want to do any interviews.

I didn’t blame her. We just survived an insurrection. I was fatigued, also.