A Reporter’s Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege

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When Luke Mogelson attended President Donald Trump’s speech on the National Mall, in Washington, D.C., on January 6th, he was prepared for the possibility that violence might erupt that day. Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and a contributing writer at The New Yorker, had spent the previous ten months reporting on the radical fringe of Trump supporters, from anti-lockdown militias to fascist groups such as the Proud Boys. After Election Day, he interviewed Trump supporters who showed up at ballot-tabulation sites, and who believed the President’s lies that the results had been “rigged” and his victory “stolen.” At one post-election pro-Trump rally in D.C., Mogelson witnessed racist violence against Black residents of the nation’s capital. At another event, he watched the host of the white-supremacist Web program “America First” declare, “Our Founding Fathers would get in the streets, and they would take this country back by force if necessary. And that is what we must be prepared to do.”

After Trump’s incendiary speech, Mogelson followed the President’s supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone’s camera as a reporter’s notebook. What follows is a video that includes some of that raw footage. Mogelson harnessed this material while writing his panoramic, definitive report, “Among the Insurrectionists,” which the magazine posted online on Friday. (It appears in print in the January 25th issue.) His prose vividly captures how the raging anger and violence of the initial breach of the Capitol was followed by an eerily quiet and surreal interlude inside the Senate chamber, where Mogelson watched people rummaging through desks and posing for photographs. Although the footage was not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson’s probing, illuminating report.

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