Come Election Day, he doesn’t win. So all these people go, “Wait, it can’t be. How could Trump possibly lose an election that everyone I know knew he was going to win?” I could just see a certain reality catching up with [them], and it would have to be on that day [of the certification]. And once they saw Trump saying to his supporters, come to DC on that day, I could see it going the wrong way.

You could see the discussion become less abstract. By last week, these people were sharing maps of D.C. They were talking about having enough of them that they would be able to erect basically their own cadre around the entire area of Congress. They had a map of the tunnels [in the basement of the Capitol], and they were talking about how they’re going to be able to stop Congress from leaving. They imagined that this was the day there were going to be mass executions of Congressmen.

But a lot of them also just imagined they were going to be there for this historic time when Trump pulled away the curtain and revealed that all of Congress were traitors and then took his just and equal revenge. There were a variety of characters: people who were there to watch Trump gain control and people who thought Trump would win, but only by activating the military, [with] a proper military coup that they supported. They thought they were there to go and purge Congress. They were there to stop the certification. They were there to punish those who went against Trump. When you put them all together, you get this explosive mixture.

The only thing that surprised me was that it was not the army I expected it to be.