Inside the Capitol siege: How barricaded lawmakers and aides pleaded for help

Back in the barricaded room with McConnell aides, one staffer began snapping photos through a window. They could see Trump supporters streaming toward the building — and just four police officers.


Outside the door, the intruders kept coming, as if running laps, trying to open doors. The McConnell aides heard a woman praying loudly outside their door for “the evil of Congress be brought to an end.”

Calls for help were going out as fast as people could text and dial.

The senior McConnell adviser reached a former law firm colleague who had just left the Justice Department: Will Levi, who had served as Attorney General William P. Barr’s chief of staff.

They needed help — now, he told Levi.

From his home, Levi immediately called FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich, who was in the command center in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Capitol police had lost control of the building, Levi told Bowdich.

The FBI official had been hearing radio traffic of aggressive protesters pushing through the perimeter, but Levi said it had gone even further: The mob had already crashed the gates and lives were at risk.

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