The 1/6th Insurrection on the Capitol and the attempt to throw away the election results by the R’s/Trump is one of the worst days in America’s history. If it goes unchecked, and the Big Lie continue to be a viable tool to keep the Republican base voting towards all things Trump, then we are all in a heap of trouble.
Here’s a huge undertaking by The Washington Post to describe what went on in the planning stages of 1/6th (who was involved, paid for it etc) and who took part in the day, and who might be penalized for it. The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol wasn’t a spontaneous act.
Will be posting this HUGE article in sections under this banner…
BEFORE section below
- Red flags were everywhere, but law enforcement officials failed to respond with urgency, a new Post investigation found.
- Who raised the alarm? Local officials, FBI informants, social media companies, former national security officials, researchers, lawmakers and tipsters. The FBI was also limited by a change in its social media monitoring service just before 2021.
- Early flares that day warned of what would come: Hundreds of Trump supporters clashed with police at the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial on the morning of Jan. 6, some with shields and gas masks.
President Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy began in the spring of 2020, when he issued a flurry of preemptive attacks on the integrity of the country’s voting systems. The doubts he cultivated ultimately led to a rampage inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob came within seconds of encountering Vice President Mike Pence, trapped lawmakers and vandalized the home of Congress in the worst desecration of the complex since British forces burned it in 1814. Five people died in the Jan. 6 attack or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.
The consequences of that day are still coming into focus, but what is already clear is that the insurrection was not a spontaneous act nor an isolated event. It was a battle in a broader war over the truth and over the future of American democracy.
Since then, the forces behind the attack remain potent and growing. Trump emerged emboldened, fortifying his hold on the Republican Party, sustaining his election-fraud lie and driving demands for more restrictive voting laws and investigations of the 2020 results, even though they have been repeatedly affirmed by ballot reviews and the courts. A deep distrust in the voting process has spread across the country, shaking the foundation on which the American experiment was built — the shared belief that the nation’s leaders are freely and fairly elected.
As Trump propelled his supporters to Washington, law enforcement
agencies failed to heed mounting warnings about violence on Jan. 6.
Oct. 31, 2021
The head of intelligence at D.C.’s homeland security office was growing desperate. For days, Donell HarvinDonell Harvin As the head of intelligence at D.C.'s homeland security office, Harvin led a team that spotted warnings that extremists planned to descend on the Capitol and disrupt the electoral count. and his team had spotted increasing signs that supporters of President Donald Trump were planning violence when Congress met to formalize the electoral college vote, but federal law enforcement agencies did not seem to share his sense of urgency. On Saturday, Jan. 2, he picked up the phone and called his counterpart in San Francisco, waking Mike Sena before dawn.
Sena listened with alarm. The Northern California intelligence office he commanded had also been inundated with political threats flagged by social media companies, several involving plans to disrupt the joint session or hurt lawmakers on Jan. 6.
He organized an unusual call for all of the nation’s regional homeland security offices — known as fusion centers — to find out what others were seeing. Sena expected a couple dozen people to get on the line that Monday. But then the number of callers hit 100. Then 200. Then nearly 300. Officials from nearly all 80 regions, from New York to Guam, logged on.
In the 20 years since the country had created fusion centers in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Sena couldn’t remember a moment like this. For the first time, from coast to coast, the centers were blinking red. The hour, date and location of concern was the same: 1 p.m., the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 6.
Harvin asked his counterparts to share what they were seeing. Within minutes, an avalanche of new tips began streaming in. Self-styled militias and other extremist groups in the Northeast were circulating radio frequencies to use near the Capitol. In the Midwest, men with violent criminal histories were discussing plans to travel to Washington with weapons.
Forty-eight hours before the attack, Harvin began pressing every alarm button he could. He invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, military intelligence services and other agencies to see the information in real time as his team collected it. He took another extreme step: He asked the city’s health department to convene a call of D.C.-area hospitals and urged them to prepare for a mass casualty event. Empty your emergency rooms, he said, and stock up your blood banks.
Harvin was one of numerous people inside and outside of government who alerted authorities to the growing likelihood of deadly violence on Jan. 6, according to a Washington Post investigation, which found a cascade of previously undisclosed warnings preceded the attack on the Capitol. Alerts were raised by local officials, FBI informants, social media companies, former national security officials, researchers, lawmakers and tipsters, new documents and firsthand accounts show.
This investigation is based on interviews with more than 230 people and thousands of pages of court documents and internal law enforcement reports, along with hundreds of videos, photographs and audio recordings. Some of those who were interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions or sensitive information.
While the public may have been surprised by what happened on Jan. 6, the makings of the insurrection had been spotted at every level, from one side of the country to the other. The red flags were everywhere.
One of the most striking flares came when a tipster called the FBI on the afternoon of Dec. 20: Trump supporters were discussing online how to sneak guns into Washington to “overrun” police and arrest members of Congress in January, according to internal bureau documents obtained by The Post. The tipster offered specifics: Those planning violence believed they had “orders from the President,” used code words such as “pickaxe” to describe guns and posted the times and locations of four spots around the country for caravans to meet the day before the joint session. On one site, a poster specifically mentioned Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) as a target.
An FBI official who assessed the tip noted that its criminal division had received a “significant number” of alerts about threats to Congress and other government officials. The FBI passed the information to law enforcement agencies in D.C. but did not pursue the matter. “The individual or group identified during the Assessment does not warrant further FBI investigation at this time,” the internal report concluded.
The paralysis that led to one of the biggest security failures in the nation’s history was driven by unique breakdowns inside each law enforcement agency and was exacerbated by the patchwork nature of security across a city where responsibilities are split between local and federal authorities.
While the U.S. government has been consumed with heading off future terrorist plots since 9/11, its agencies failed to effectively harness the security and intelligence infrastructure built in the wake of that assault by Islamic extremists to look inward at domestic threats.
Intelligence officials certainly never envisioned a mass attack against the government incited by the sitting president.
Yet Trump was the driving force at every turn as he orchestrated what would become an attempted political coup in the months leading up to Jan. 6, calling his supporters to Washington, encouraging the mob to march on the Capitol and freezing in place key federal agencies whose job it was to investigate and stop threats to national security.
For months, the president had been priming his supporters to believe that the election was rigged, that he was the rightful winner, and that Joe Biden’s victory was illegitimate and the product of a conspiracy by Democrats and the media. Throughout the fall and winter, Trump leaned on election officials in states such as Georgia and Arizona with a blizzard of tweets and personal phone calls, trying to get them to undo the results of the election.
When that failed, he turned his focus to Jan. 6, historically a pro forma ritual by Congress.
His words triggered rapid action by angry supporters who made plans to go to the nation’s capital, fusing together in a dangerous call-and-response.
Come to Washington, Trump tweeted to his supporters on the Saturday before Christmas, issuing a clarion call for them to gather and protest on Jan. 6: “Be there, will be wild!”
Donald J. Trump
Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump https://washex.am/3nwaBCe. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
His supporters immediately responded on the pro-Trump forum TheDonald.win under a thread titled “TRUMP TWEET. DADDY SAYS BE IN DC ON JAN. 6TH.”
It was the first time since Election Day that the president had urged his backers to turn out in Washington and protest. His message immediately began to shift the intelligence landscape, with the volume of threatening messages about Jan. 6 expanding by the hour.
As Jan. 6 neared, Trump ratcheted up his calls for action on that day – and the pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, whose role was to preside over the joint session. The president embraced a cast of renegade lawyers who argued that Pence could reject electors from a handful of states and, ultimately, nullify Biden’s victory.
The plan was far-fetched and, according to legal experts, unconstitutional. To Trump, Pence appeared open to the legislative maneuvers the president was demanding, soliciting detailed legal analyses to determine how far he could bow to Trump’s wishes.
Trump primed his base to view Pence as either a would-be hero or villain, depending on the path the vice president took.
“I hope Mike Pence comes through for us,” he declared at a rally in Georgia two days before the joint session, adding: “If he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him as much.”
Trump’s supporters not only knew where the president wanted them to gather on Jan. 6. They knew whom to target.
Again and again, as the pivotal day approached, top law enforcement officials fielded warnings of what was to come, but failed to respond in kind.
The FBI, the nation’s primary domestic intelligence agency, received numerous alerts of people vowing to violently confront Congress, but largely regarded social media posts about planning for Jan. 6 — even those discussing bringing firearms, arresting lawmakers and shooting police — as protected First Amendment speech. The bureau hampered its own understanding of how far-right extremists and Trump supporters were mobilizing at a key juncture when the FBI switched over its social-media monitoring service a week before the attack.
Politics was also at play. After months of the president threatening to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, the agency’s senior leaders worried that any public statements by the director might be “asking for a desperate president to come after him,” as one person familiar with the discussions said.
At the Pentagon, leaders had acute fears about widespread violence, and some feared Trump could misuse the National Guard to remain in power, new accounts reveal.
Military officials took fateful steps to avoid being entangled in domestic unrest, scarred by the president’s efforts months earlier to use the military to quash racial justice protests. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy sought to require that only senior Pentagon leaders could approve changes to missions for National Guard soldiers. In the end, that posture contributed to the hours-long delay in getting the Guard to the Capitol to help restore order.
At one point, Milley suggested locking down the city and revoking permits for protests, and acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller said he feared a bloody “Boston Massacre-type” altercation that could be exploited by extremists to claim they were under attack by the government.
Miller was particularly frustrated with Justice officials, who he thought should be taking charge, and described one call he organized with key security officials and Cabinet members as “a s— show.” “There was not the acceptance by the other departments and agencies writ large that this was going to be an event that needed to be synchronized and coordinated and talked through,” he said. “It was like, ‘Permit’s good.’ ‘Fencing’s up.’ ‘We got extra Park Police.’ ‘Okay, we’re done. Have a nice day.’ That was the tone.”
Department of Homeland Security officials received sobering assessments of the risk of possible violence on Jan. 6, including that federal buildings could be targeted by protesters. One senior official was on the call with the fusion centers organized by Sena that prompted D.C. to begin preparing for a mass casualty event. The agency flew in hundreds of Border Patrol and other agents to protect its D.C. offices. But it did not issue a security bulletin — the department’s most readily recognized warning to law enforcement agencies, as well as to the public, regarding possible violence. Agency leaders also never moved to put the Secret Service in charge of security planning for an event that would bring together all members of Congress, the vice president and the vice president-elect, a move that could have elevated intelligence sharing and security coordination.
The U.S. Capitol Police, tasked with guarding a key branch of government, had been tracking threatening social media posts for weeks but was hampered by poor communication and planning. The department’s new head of intelligence concluded on Jan. 3 that Trump supporters had grown desperate to overturn the election and “Congress itself” would be the target. But Chief Steven Sund did not have that information when he initiated a last-minute request to bring in National Guard soldiers, one that was swiftly rejected. So unprepared was the police force that some shields, helmets and other crowd-control gear were locked away and hundreds of officers were either stationed away from the Capitol or allowed to remain on previously scheduled leave.
In response to The Post’s findings, Capitol Police leaders said they have already instituted many reforms to correct the mistakes that led to Jan. 6. “The Department expected and planned for violence from some protesters with ties to domestic terrorist organizations, but nobody in the law enforcement or intelligence communities imagined, on top of that threat, Americans who were not affiliated with those groups would cause the mayhem to metastasize to a volume uncontrollable for any single law enforcement agency,” the department said in a statement. “The world should never forget our officers fought like hell on January 6 and at the end of the day nobody they were charged with protecting was hurt and the Legislative process continued.”
DHS said in a statement that it is participating in ongoing investigations about the security failings and “leveraging lessons learned to enhance its ability to prevent future acts of violence.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Defense Department “continues to cooperate with the Congress as they examine the events of that day.”
Senior FBI officials defended the bureau’s work leading up to Jan. 6 as proactive and aggressive. In interviews and statements, they insisted much of the alarming online chatter agents saw was largely “aspirational” and therefore protected First Amendment free speech — not the detailed evidence of planning needed to launch an investigation or foresee a mass attack on the Capitol.
In a handful of cases, the FBI engaged with people who were already under investigation to discourage them from traveling to Washington for Jan. 6, officials said. A bureau official said in one instance, investigators received a tip about a person espousing violence toward police officers on Jan. 6 and sent agents and local police to interview the subject. Nationwide, the bureau also instructed field offices to be on the lookout for information on threats in the Washington region before the joint session.
FBI Assistant Director Cathy Milhoan said the bureau “was actively engaged in gathering intelligence, disrupting travel, and sharing information with our partners. The FBI specifically warned state, local, and federal partners about the potential for violence at the January 6 events.”
The Justice Department said it is awaiting the findings of ongoing investigations into its preparations for that day, adding that the Capitol attack “was a heinous event that sought to interfere with the cornerstone of our democracy—the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another. Holding accountable those who committed criminal acts on January 6th is a top priority.”
In a statement, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich disputed The Post’s investigation as “fake news” and falsely cast people who entered the Capitol that day as “agitators not associated with President Trump.”
102 days to go
The violent events of Jan. 6 had been months in the making.
Trump’s first allusion to the notion that Congress could determine the winner of the presidential race came more than a month before voters went to the polls, on Sept. 26, at a rally outside Harrisburg, Pa.
After rattling off his usual tropes about voter fraud, the president offered a new line: “I don’t want to go back to Congress either, even though we have an advantage if we go back to Congress. Does everyone understand that? I think it’s 26 to 22 or something because it’s counted one vote per state.”
A few people hollered, but some behind the stage looked puzzled. Trump was describing an obscure process for settling an election when neither candidate receives a majority of electoral college votes — a situation Congress hadn’t faced since 1876.
While the line didn’t register in Harrisburg, congressional Democrats in Washington took note.
In early August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had quietly instructed members of her leadership team to begin contingency planning should Trump attempt to overturn the election in Congress in the case of a tie or dispute in the electoral college. In such a case, each state’s delegation in the House would be allotted one vote to determine the president. Ahead of the election, Republicans held the advantage, controlling 26 state delegations to the Democrats’ 22.
Recognizing this possibility, Democrats had begun targeting six races across Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Montana and Alaska, a list that would grow to more than a dozen. If a handful of those changed hands, it would give Democrats control of more than 25 state delegations when the new Congress was seated on Jan. 3 — enough to ensure that Biden would win a contested vote in the House on Jan. 6.
Trump’s remark in Pennsylvania confirmed Democratic suspicions. The next day, Pelosi sent a letter to her caucus revealing that a backup plan was already underway.
“The Constitution says that a candidate must receive a majority of the state delegations to win,” Pelosi wrote. “We must achieve that majority of delegations or keep the Republicans from doing so.”
Three days after the Harrisburg rally, Trump made a more menacing declaration at the first presidential debate.
Asked by moderator Chris Wallace whether he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups for their part in compounding deadly violence that had beset U.S. cities during the summer of 2020 — including a 17-year-old who allegedly fired on protesters in Kenosha, Wis., killing two and wounding a third — Trump insisted that the violence was coming from the left, not the right.
Biden pressed Trump to specifically condemn the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for street brawls with liberal protesters. When Wallace sought an answer, Trump said, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”
On Parler, the social media network popular with conservatives and hate groups, the leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, responded almost immediately:
Enrique [email protected]
So Proud of my guys right now.
Enrique [email protected]
Standing by sir.
Enrique [email protected]
I will stand down sir!!!
Trump’s message wasn’t just stirring far-right extremists to action. In Tampa, a 38-year-old crane operator named Paul HodgkinsPaul Hodgkins The 38-year-old crane operator from Tampa traveled to Washington to show his support for Trump after absorbing false claims that the election was rigged — a decision that would drastically upend his life. was captivated by the president’s encouragement.
To a man who felt that the homeownership his parents had achieved would always be out of reach, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan had struck a chord. The son and grandson of union elevator mechanics, Hodgkins had worked at factories, driven delivery trucks, sold firewood and scrapped metal, and until recent years had a side gig as a wrestler, sometimes making just $25 a match. For the past seven years, he had worked late-night shifts at a manufacturing facility, moving large steel coils.
His political affiliations were equally nomadic — he had backed Republican George W. Bush in 2000, independent Ralph Nader in 2004 and Democrat Barack Obama in 2008. In 2012, he wrote in his own name. But since 2016, he had been all-in for Trump.
“Ever since I was a kid, I remember many people saying they would love to see someone who wasn’t a politician, who hadn’t been bought and sold through the levers of Washington, become president. I saw that in Donald Trump,” Hodgkins said. “It seemed like both sides of the aisle didn’t want him, and that made me and a lot of other people want him all the more.”
Hodgkins volunteered for Trump phone banks, but what he really loved was a kind of performance art version of campaigning. In the weeks before Election Day, Hodgkins donned a pair of star-spangled MAGA tights and stood along busy intersections in Tampa, waving Trump campaign flags.
As Trump made misleading and false claims warning about voter fraud, Hodgkins grew concerned. He had never heard of tactics like “vote harvesting” or seen so much voting by mail.
“Previous elections we didn’t have that kind of thing go on,” he said.
Holding a paper with vote tallies, Trump speaks as election night draws to a close. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
63 days to go
In the wee hours of the morning after the election, as it appeared that he could be in danger of losing, Trump stepped before supporters in the East Room and falsely claimed that the election was rigged.
The next day, Trump tweeted that he “claimed” a win in Pennsylvania, falsely asserting that the state wasn’t allowing vote observers.
Donald J. Trump
We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead. Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact,…
The tweets and other social media posts by Trump, his son Eric Trump and members of his campaign began to activate his supporters, especially in the must-win battleground states that he was on track to lose. Mentions of “stop the steal” exploded online. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh claimed without evidence that there were shenanigans at a ballot-processing center in Detroit preventing Trump’s votes from being counted fairly. By that afternoon, the president’s supporters had converged on the facility. By nightfall, protesters had also congregated outside government offices in Maricopa County, Ariz., where over 300,000 ballots remained to be counted.
At his computer in Colorado, Graham Brookie, who had served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council and was now tracking domestic extremism as part of a group called the Digital Forensic Research Lab, watched “a million misinformation flowers blooming.”
Brookie and his lead researcher, Jared Holt, took note as extremists shared small scraps about the election and prominent figures rapidly amplified them, snowballing rumors into conspiracies and then discussions of action. “You get a little piece of information. ‘They just shut down all the voting machines in X.’ ” Brookie said. “Someone adds to that. Someone adds to that. Then you have them talking about what they can do.”
On the messaging app Telegram, users identifying as Proud Boys posted a rumor that officials in Maricopa, which encompasses Phoenix, were not counting all the votes because some people had used Sharpie pens to mark their ballots. County officials had debunked the rumor, but that didn’t matter.
Holt felt his first pang of worry about where it would all lead when he was monitoring video from Maricopa on Nov. 4. He could see some protesters openly brandishing rifles and handguns.
“You had folks with very extreme views armed,” Holt said. “It wasn’t just an airing of grievances, but some went with intention to intimidate.”
Protests organized under the hashtag #StopTheSteal soon spread to Atlanta, Harrisburg and Las Vegas. The movement was being promoted on a website called stopthesteal.us, which listed all of the protests in each state. The site was run by Ali Alexander, a far-right activist who had been invited to the White House social media summit in 2019 after questioning whether then-Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) should be called a Black American.
On Nov. 7, major news organizations called the race in Pennsylvania for Biden, putting him above the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory. As Democrats celebrated, members of the self-styled militia group the Three Percenters, as well as followers of the QAnon extremist ideology, and others converged on state capitals. In Harrisburg, hundreds of supporters of an assortment of anti-government self-proclaimed militias stood alongside Republican lawmakers on steps to the statehouse, chanting “Donald Trump won” and “hold the line.”
That day, an FBI intelligence analyst in Alabama issued a warning over email to other agents. The analyst cited threats spotted on TheDonald.win and other Internet forums by the SITE Intelligence Group, a private service that monitors online extremism and counts employees in the FBI among its subscribers. An FBI agent in Seattle received the warning and blasted it out to dozens of his contacts, including local and state law enforcement officials.
One section was particularly alarming: “Death Threats: Militia groups are espousing increasingly violent rhetoric, expressing a new level of escalation by declaring, ‘The fight is now.’ On a popular militia forum, users called to execute Biden, Democrats, tech company employees, journalists, and other ‘rats.’”
“Waves of ‘#StopTheSteal’ and similar hash-tag events are being organized across the country as various voter fraud theories gain momentum among Trump supporters,” the agent continued, adding: “Please stay focused and safe.”
As the vote counting continued, the results were changing the calculus for Pelosi and House Democrats. Although Trump had lost, he had done better than they expected, and Republicans gained seats in the House. That allowed Republicans to keep their edge in the number of state delegations they controlled — and provided Trump a path to win a vote in the House on Jan. 6 if somehow the electoral college vote could be challenged.
53 days to go
As Trump refused to concede, angry supporters and self-styled militias geared up to fight. Quickly, plans for a “Million MAGA March” in Washington on Nov. 14 galvanized figures known for their hard-edge rhetoric.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the anti-government Oath Keepers, who declared in September that “civil war is here, right now” because of violence rattling Portland, Ore., said he was prepared to engage in violence on Trump’s command should he invoke the Insurrection Act — a rarely used law that gives the president the power to use the military to suppress uprisings and civil disorder that the police alone cannot control.
Days before the march, Rhodes appeared at a Stop the Steal rally in Northern Virginia. Live-streaming the event on the Oath Keepers’ YouTube channel, Rhodes told the audience that Trump supporters “must declare that Joe Biden is not … anyone’s president. He’s a usurper.”
Rhodes urged all citizens to be ready to fight while Trump “is commander in chief and has a narrowing window” to act.
“He must call up all of us, not just the veterans, but all of us to serve as the militia to suppress it while he is commander in chief and has a narrowing window to suppress the insurrection …. You no longer have a functioning representative government without clean elections. We must fight this.”
Extremists associated with the Three Percenters planned to join the Oath Keepers on Nov. 14. Nicholas Fuentes, leader of the white-nationalist “Groyper” movement, and who was present at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, called on his allies to join him in Washington.
At Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, Mary McCord watched the plans for the protest with growing apprehension. A former acting assistant attorney general for national security, she had begun coordinating with Brookie’s lab. She shared what his researchers had found in Nov. 11 letters to D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and federal prosecutors in Washington. Based on public and private social media posts, she wrote, it appeared that groups with “track records of violent activity” were heading to D.C. and were likely to be met by counterprotesters, “increasing the potential for conflict.”
Racine would go on to pass the information to the mayor and other elected D.C. officials, and asked McCord to keep his office updated. The prosecutors flagged it for the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Inside Capitol Police headquarters, officials beefed up numbers of available patrol officers and made plans to station civil disturbance units — which use shields, helmets and other protective crowd-control gear — along the east side of the Capitol, where protesters were expected.
One of the units was led by Capt. Carneysha MendozaCapt. Carneysha Mendoza A 19-year veteran of the Capitol Police, Mendoza led officers battling rioters in the Rotunda of the Capitol on Jan. 6., a former soldier known for arriving at the office as early as 3 a.m. to run flights of stairs.
Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the force, had a knack for finding herself in the middle of disaster. She had been stationed at the Pentagon on 9/11, and was the watch commander in 2017 when a gunman opened fire on members of Congress practicing in Virginia for an exhibition baseball game.
On Nov. 14, Mendoza and her team lined up outside the Capitol near dusk and watched as Proud Boys and other protesters paraded across the Capitol grounds. It seemed to her that they were eyeing her officers, sizing them up as they walked past.
As night dragged on, the extremists and groups of counterprotesters began to scuffle — they were soon brawling in the street between the Capitol and the Supreme Court.
There and across the city, the fighting went on for hours. Near midnight, members of the Proud Boys managed to take over the newly dedicated Black Lives Matter Plaza north of the White House and unfurl a massive banner that read “Trump Law and Order.”
By the time it ended, one person was stabbed, four officers were injured, police took eight firearms off protesters, and more than 20 people had been arrested, many for inciting violence.
The fighting was so intense that Mendoza could barely move when she awoke the next morning. The next night, she texted a colleague who had been there: "My whole body is sore, but…knees and thighs hurt the most. Nov 15 2020 11:24p by Mendoza