New footage released by The New Yorker on Sunday provides the most graphically detailed look yet at the mayhem that unfolded earlier this month as hundreds of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, with rioters filmed leaving threats to Vice President Mike Pence on his desk at the head of the Senate and rifling through documents in a bid to find evidence of a stolen election.
The almost 13-minute edited video, shot by New Yorker correspondent Luke Mogelson, highlights the chaos of the event, as mob members alternated between reassuring police that they were on their side and threatening to kill them as they overpowered the outnumbered forces and burst into the US government sanctuary. (Mogelson also wrote at length in the New Yorker about the day’s events and their wider context.)
Inside, some initially sought to stop any disrespect to the House, but ultimately the scene saw self-styled “QAnon shaman” Jacob Chansley leading a group prayer from the Senate dais, thanking Jesus for allowing them to “to send a message to all the tyrants, the communists and the globalists.”
The video details the scene from the US Capitol on January 6, when far-right Trump supporters galvanized by his false claims that the election had been stolen from him overran the police and bashed their way into the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote.
The attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead. More than 125 people have been arrested over the insurrection.
Dozens of courts, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have all said there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential race.
The video opens with the scene of the mob erecting gallows outside the Capitol, before switching to footage of hundreds of people overpowering security forces, tearing down scaffolding erected for US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and smashing windows to surge into the building.
“Fuck you police,” one person can be heard yelling as the crowd swarms up the stairs.
“You’re outnumbered!” one rioter tells cops trying to stop them advancing further into the building “There’s a fucking million of us out there, and we are listening to Trump — your boss!”
“Let the people in,” yells another, as the outnumbered police slowly back away, although another tries to reassure the officers “We love you guys. Take it easy.”
Parts of the mob chant “treason, treason,” repeatedly as they march through the halls.
“Defend your liberty, defend your constitution,” shouts another demonstrator through a megaphone as protestors methodically open each door they pass.
Reaching the Senate, many seem disappointed to find it empty of lawmakers. “Is this the Senate? Where the fuck are they?” one man yells upon seeing the deserted Senate floor.
“While we’re here we may as well set up a government,” says another. “Where the fuck is Nancy,” shouts another, referring to Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
As they push their way in, a debate breaks out between some who call for respecting the place, telling people not to sit in the seat at the head reserved for Pence.
“Hey, get out of that chair,” shouts one man. “I love you guys, you’re brothers, but we can’t be disrespectful.”
“They can steal an election, but we can’t sit in the chair?” retorts another.
While they argue, others begin rifling through desks and sifting through documents, apparently looking for proof of a stolen election.
“There’s gotta be something in here we can fuckin use against these scumbags,” says one man flipping through the folder while filming the documents. “I think (Texas Sen. Ted) Cruz would want us to do this,” says another.” I think we’re good.”
As the crowd search through the Senator’s documents, Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has long been a fixture at Trump rallies, stands on a balcony above, chanting an unintelligible mantra, while rhythmically banging a US flag attached to a wooden pole topped with a spear.
QAnon is a far-right US conspiracy theory centered around the debunked belief that Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring they say is linked to Democrats.
Later, Chansley — also known as Jake Angeli — comes down to the Senate floor wearing his trademark fur hat with horns: “You guys are fucking patriots,” he says to the group of intruders.
“Look at this guy. He’s covered in blood. God bless you,” he says, pointing to a man lying propped against the foot of the dais, a few drops of blood on his shirt. “I got shot in the face with some kind of plastic bullet,” the supine man says, declining an offer of medical help.
As Chansley climbs to the vice president’s chair, a lone police officer delicately tries to get him and the others to leave.
“Is there any chance I can get you guys to leave the Senate wing?” he asks politely. “I just want to let you guys know this is like the sacredest place,” he says.
“I’m gonna take a sit in this chair because Mike Pence is a fucking traitor,” Chansley says, calling on another rioter to take a picture of him.
He then scrawls a note for Pence: “ITS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME / JUSTICE IS COMING!” it says, an apparent reference to claims by the mob that Pence betrayed Trump by intending to certify the election results.
He then places the pen neatly back in its stand.
Despite appearing to agree to leave, Chansley is soon back on the dais with several others, removing his fur and horned helm to offer a prayer.
“Thank you, heavenly father, for being the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into the building, to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the communists and the globalists,” says Chansley.
“This is our nation, not theirs,” he chants through a bullhorn. “Thank you for allowing the United States of America to be reborn.”
In the hall outside the Senate chamber, police officers are trying to shift the mob out of the building.
“We support you guys, OK?” one rioter can be heard telling an officer. “We support you and we know you’re doing your job.”
However, at a different entrance outside the building, hundreds are clashing with police, chanting “Fuck the blue! Fuck the blue!” as they surge in through broken windows and clouds of tear gas.
The footage then shifts to a group of people destroying a pile of equipment belonging to The Associated Press news agency, before setting it on fire and threatening to execute reporters.
“Start making a list and put all those names down and we start hunting them down one by one,” a man shouts as another claims to know where the local CNN offices are.
“Traitors to the guillotine,” he yells. “Mobilize in your own cities, in your own counties, storm your own capitols, take down every one of these motherfuckers,” he tells a cheering group. “Hang them.”
Chansley was arrested on January 9 on charges of “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.” His lawyer told CNN at the weekend that he should be pardoned because he was answering a “call” from Trump to go to the Capitol.