The pro-Trump mob took over the presiding officer’s chair in the Senate, the offices of the House speaker and the Senate dais, where one yelled, “Trump won that election.”They mocked its leaders, posing for photos in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one with his feet propped on her desk, another sitting in the same seat Vice President Mike Pence had occupied only moments before during the proceedings to certify the Electoral College vote.
Trump told his morning crowd at the Ellipse that he would go with them to the Capitol, but he didn’t.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a frequent Trump critic, said, “Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard.”
Heavily armed officers brought in as reinforcements started using tear gas in a coordinated effort to get people moving toward the door, then combed the halls for stragglers, pushing the mob farther out onto the plaza and lawn, in clouds of tear gas, flash-bangs and percussion grenades.
Video footage also showed officers letting people calmly walk out the doors of the Capitol despite the rioting and vandalism.
Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota surveyed the growing crowd on the grounds not long after Trump had addressed his supporters by the Ellipse, fueling their grievances over an election that he and they say he won, against all evidence.
It was about 1:15 p.m. when New Hampshire Rep. Chris Pappas, a Democrat, said Capitol Police banged on his door and “told us to drop everything, get out as quickly as we could.”
Shortly after 2 p.m., Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated from the Senate as protesters and police shouted outside the doors.
Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., told reporters he was in the House chamber when protesters began storming it.
Along with a group of reporters who had been escorted from the press area and Capitol workers who act as ushers, the members ducked on the floor as police secured a door to the chamber down below with guns pointed.
After making sure the hallways were clear, police swiftly escorted the members and others down a series of hallways and tunnels to a cafeteria in one of the House office buildings.
Describing the scene, Democratic Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut said “there was a point there where officers had their guns and weapons pointed at the door, they were obviously expecting a breach through the door.
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