What it was like inside the Capitol when the mob came

It was unclear at first whether those in the Capitol were facing an active-shooter situation. There was an accurate report of gunfire at the other end of the building. (We learned much later in the day that a protester who was climbing through a smashed out window in the House Speaker’s Lobby was shot and killed by Capitol police.) A photo posted on Twitter showed several Capitol police on the House floor who had drawn their pistols and pointed them at a shattered window.

In the Senate periodical press gallery, we sat on the floor behind a desk in the dark and listened to the deep and repetitive BANG BANG BANG of rioters somewhere in the distance trying to break through a locked door (perhaps to the Senate chamber).

There didn’t seem to be any police nearby, as rioters could be heard shouting and roaming freely. If the mob broke through our door, I thought the five of us would probably be okay. They wanted the senators, right? Then it occurred to me that — as a member of the press sitting inside a room marked “press” — even QAnon believers would be smart enough to identify me as a credentialed “enemy of the people.” I thought of the QAnon lunatic who burst into the D.C. pizzeria with an AR-15 in 2016 and discharged his weapon as he sought to liberate children that he believed were being held captive and raped by prominent Democratic officials.

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