JThe more we learn about the storm on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the darker the picture becomes. The first photos gave the wrong impression: You saw people, some in strange costumes, taking selfies.
Some moved as if in a trance. Some looked slightly manic. But then the first videos appeared – now you can get one on the Internet self-made short film see where the insurgents gather in a room and plan who should go through which entrance to get inside the building.
We now also have evidence that the mob tried to storm the rooms where the senators were – they beat a glass door with everything on hand. That was when Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter who believed in the QAnon conspiracy religion, was shot dead.
We also know that the mob was shockingly brutal – we see that in that film sequence where a crowd with flags and hockey sticks beat a policeman who had been dragged down a staircase by his feet. Policeman Brian Sicknick was killed with a fire extinguisher while he was on the ground; He was also a Trump supporter privately, but he did his duty and tried to defend the Capitol from the intruders.
There are now recordings of the gallows that had been erected for the Vice President, there is the sound recording of the Nancy Pelosi staff, who crouched under a table in an adjoining room for two hours and heard the crowd pounding on the door from outside. And there were the plastic straps that masked people carried with them – probably to tie prisoners.
The Vice President almost got killed in front of the cameras
We don’t know everything yet, more details will come to light in the next few weeks and months. But a preliminary overall impression can be put together from testimony and documents: The United States was perhaps a minute away from a major disaster. Police officer Eugene Goodman and his colleagues gave the senators just as much time as they needed to get to safety.
We could now find ourselves in a world where the Vice President, House Speaker, and other American officials would have been murdered on camera and the electoral college’s formal vote could not have continued.
We also know that Trump did not take calls from MPs and Senators in hiding asking for protection to be sent to them: Trump saw the pictures of the attack on television and witnesses said he was delighted. The National Guard came so late because Trump couldn’t be persuaded to send it; the vice-president had to give the marching orders almost behind his back.
Further terror attacks are planned. The office of the Vice President was militarily cordoned off; Soldiers were stationed in the Capitol rotunda. The last time it happened was during the American Civil War.
In this situation questions arise: Were there helpers from within? Did the mob have allies? Two members of the Capitol Police Department have meanwhile been suspended: one had politely shown members of the mob the way inside, the other had put on a red “MAGA” cap. The investigations continue. But there is still a burning question: were there perhaps supporters among the representatives of the House of Representatives?
The alarm buttons had all been ripped out
Sarah Groh, chief of staff for Congressman Ayanna Pressley, who represents the Seventh District in Massachusetts, described in an interview how she, Pressley and her husband barricaded themselves in their office – they barricaded all entrance doors with pieces of furniture. Then she wanted to press all the alarm buttons. Groh said she had used these alarm buttons before, but they had all been torn out.
That must have happened before the attack. Of course it could be a mistake, but it seems like wanton will. Even more shocking is the testimony of Mikie Sherrill, a congresswoman for the Eleventh District in New Jersey. She posted a video on Facebook explaining in detail why she would vote for Donald Trump’s impeachment.
In the twelfth minute of that video, she reports that on January 5, members of the House of Representatives led a group of visitors through the Capitol, who then attended the assault the next day. Mikie Sherrill referred to that visit to the Capitol literally as a “scout mission”. If that’s true, the United States has a big problem.
From Europe we know the phenomenon of terrorist organizations, which also have a political wing: While the Basque ETA murdered and bombed, the Batasuna played loyal opposition in the Spanish parliament; the Irish IRA was just the illegal side of a party called Sinn Fein.
And with Marjorie Taylor Greene, there is a QAnon supporter in the House of Representatives who, if she takes her ideology seriously, believes that her democratic colleagues are secretly drinking children’s blood.
Will the FBI’s investigation reveal that the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party was secretly linked to the insurgents? Did individual Republicans approve of Democrats falling into the hands of an angry mob?