WASHINGTON — Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump’s name, the Capitol’s attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd.
“Hang Mike Pence!” the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: “Where are they?” Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity.
Only days later is the extent of the danger from one of the darkest episodes in American democracy coming into focus. The sinister nature of the assault has become evident, betraying the crowd as a force determined to occupy the inner sanctums of Congress and run down leaders — Trump’s vice president and the Democratic House speaker among them.
This was not just a collection of Trump supporters with MAGA bling caught up in a wave.
That revelation came in real time to Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who briefly took over proceedings in the House chamber as the mob closed in Wednesday and the speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was spirited to safer quarters moments before everything went haywire.
“I saw this crowd of people banging on that glass screaming,” McGovern told The Associated Press on Sunday. “Looking at their faces, it occurred to me, these aren’t protesters. These are people who want to do harm.”
“What I saw in front of me,” he said, “was basically home-grown fascism, out of control.”
Pelosi said Sunday “the evidence is that it was a well-planned, organized group with leadership and guidance and direction. And the direction was to go get people.” She did not elaborate on that point in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS.
The scenes of rage, violence and agony are so vast that the whole of it may still be beyond comprehension. But with countless smartphone videos emerging from the scene, much of it from gloating insurrectionists themselves, and more lawmakers recounting the chaos that was around them, contours of the uprising are increasingly coming into relief.
The mob got explicit marching orders from Trump and still more encouragement from the president’s men.
“Fight like hell,” Trump exhorted his partisans at the staging rally. “Let’s have trial by combat,” implored his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to throw out election results in trial by courtroom failed. It’s time to “start taking down names and kicking ass,” said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.
Criminals pardoned by Trump, among them Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, came forward at rallies on the eve of the attack to tell the crowds they were fighting a battle between good and evil and they were on the side of good. On Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri gave a clenched-fist salute to the hordes outside the Capitol as he pulled up to press his challenge of the election results.
The crowd was pumped. Until a little after 2 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was at the helm for the final minutes of decorum in partnership with Pence, who was serving his ceremonial role presiding over the process.
Both men had backed Trump’s agenda and excused or ignored his provocations for four years, but now had no mechanism or will to subvert the election won by Biden. That placed them high among the insurrectionists’ targets, no different in the minds of the mob than the “socialists.”
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral,” McConnell told his chamber, not long before things spiraled out of control in what lawmakers call the “People’s House.”
Thousands had swarmed the Capitol. They charged into police and metal barricades outside the building, shoving and hitting officers in their way. The assault quickly pushed through the vastly outnumbered police line; officers ran down one man and pummeled him.
In the melee outside, near the structure built for Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, a man threw a red fire extinguisher at the helmeted head of a police officer. Then he picked up a bullhorn and threw it at officers, too.
The identity of the officer could not immediately be confirmed. But Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was wounded in the chaos, died the next night; officials say he had been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Capitol Police sent an alert telling workers in a House office building to head to underground transportation tunnels that criss-cross the complex. Minutes later, Pence was taken from the Senate chamber to a secret location and police announced the lockdown of the Capitol. “You may move throughout the building(s) but stay away from exterior windows and doors,” said the email blast. “If you are outside, seek cover.”
At 2:15 p.m., the Senate recessed its Electoral College debate and a voice was heard over the chamber’s audio system: “The protesters are in the building.” The doors of the House chamber were barricaded and lawmakers inside it were told they may need to duck under their chairs or relocate to cloakrooms off the House floor because the mob has breached the Capitol Rotunda.
Even before the mob reached sealed doors of the House chamber, Capitol Police pulled Pelosi away from the podium, she told “60 Minutes.”
“I said, ‘No, I want to be here,’ ”she said. “And they said, ‘Well, no, you have to leave.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not leaving.’ They said, ‘No, you must leave.’ ” So she did.
At 2:44 p.m., as lawmakers inside the House chamber prepared to be evacuated, a gunshot was heard from right outside, in the Speaker’s Lobby on the other side of the barricaded doors. That’s when Ashli Babbit, wearing a Trump flag like a cape, was shot to death on camera as insurrectionists railed, her blood pooling on the white marble floor.
The Air Force veteran from California had climbed through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby before a police officer’s gunshot felled her.
Back in the House chamber, a woman in the balcony was seen and heard screaming. Why she was doing that only became clear later when video circulated. She was screaming a prayer.
Within about 10 minutes of the shooting, House lawmakers and staff members who had been cowering during the onslaught, terror etched into their faces, had been taken from the chamber and gallery to a secure room. The mob broke into Pelosi’s offices while members of her staff hid in one of the rooms of her suite.
“The staff went under the table barricaded the door, turned out the lights, and were silent in the dark,” she said. “Under the table for two and a half hours.”
On the Senate side, Capitol Police had circled the chamber and ordered all staff and reporters and any nearby senators into the chamber and locked it down. At one point about 200 people were inside; an officer armed with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon stood between McConnell and the Democratic leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Authorities then ordered an evacuation and rushed everyone inside to a secure location, the Senate parliamentary staff scooping up the boxes holding the Electoral Collage certificates.
Although the Capitol’s attackers had been sent with Trump’s exhortation to fight, they appeared in some cases to be surprised that they had actually made it in.
When they breached the abandoned Senate chamber, they milled around, rummaged through papers, sat at desks and took videos and pictures. One of them climbed to the dais and yelled, “Trump won that election!” Two others were photographed carrying flex cuffs typically used for mass arrests.
But outside the chamber, the mob’s hunt was still on for lawmakers. “Where are they?” people could be heard yelling.
That question could have also applied to reinforcements — where were they?
At about 5:30 p.m., once the National Guard had arrived to supplement the overwhelmed Capitol Police force, a full-on effort began to get the attackers out.
Heavily armed officers brought in as reinforcements started using tear gas in a coordinated fashion to get people moving toward the door, then combed the halls for stragglers. As darkness fell, they pushed the mob farther out onto the plaza and lawn, using officers in riot gear in full shields and clouds of tear gas, flash-bangs and percussion grenades.
At 7:23 p.m., officials announced that people hunkered down in two nearby congressional office buildings could leave “if anyone must.”
Within the hour, the Senate had resumed its work and the House followed, returning the People’s House to the control of the people’s representatives. Lawmakers affirmed Biden’s election victory early the next morning, shell-shocked by the catastrophic failure of security.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Ca., told AP on Sunday it was as if Capitol Police “were naked” against the attackers. “It turns out it was the worst kind of non-security anybody could ever imagine.”
Said McGovern: “I was in such disbelief this could possibly happen. These domestic terrorists were in the People’s House, desecrating the People’s House, destroying the People’s House.”
A post-holiday spike in COVID-19 infections resulted in a record number of new cases last week in Kentucky including an outbreak among inmates at the Carroll County Regional Detention Center in Carrollton.
Carroll County Jailer John Proctor issued a statement on the detention center outbreak on the jail’s Facebook page Friday night, noting that so far the infection involves only a few of the jail’s current 169 inmates, symptoms are mild and the staff is working with the local Three Rivers District Health Department to contain the outbreak.
“Unfortunately, the Carroll County Detention Center has had an outbreak with the COVID-19 virus. The Three Rivers Health Department is involved and are guiding us through the monitoring of all inmates in the facility,” Proctor wrote in his statement. “There has been only minor symptoms with only a small portion of the rather large number of inmates testing positive with most showing NO symptoms at all but we will closely monitor all inmates until we get through this.”
Proctor went on to add that as of Friday night “all inmates have been tested with the results of today’s test to arrive within a couple of days. I went to all cells today personally checking temps on each inmate and assuring them that the health department, myself, and the staff are there to get them through this. Just know if your loved ones are in there they are getting the medical care they need. As you pray please include the inmates and my staff in your prayers.”
Kentucky saw a spike in COVID numbers statewide last week with all but one of the state’s 120 counties — remotely isolated Hickman County, the least densely populated county in the state, along the Mississippi River in far western Kentucky — now in the “red” critical zone in terms of community infection.
Carroll County reported a single day record of 60 news cases on Friday — due in part to the detention center infection — to now have 676 cases and seven deaths throughout the pandemic. Neighboring Trimble County has reported 435 cases and five deaths and is now accepting appointments for residents age 70 and over to get the COVID-9 vaccine.
Kentucky reported a one-day record of 5,742 new cases last Wednesday — including 34 new deaths statewide— and a second highest 4,911 new cases Thursday with another 37 deaths.
The Commonwealth followed up with 4,750 new cases and 13 more deaths on Friday to top out at more than 15,000 new cases in just three days as the state’s overall case load climbed to 303,625 since the pandemic began in March 2020 with 39,006 residents recovered and 2,901 total deaths.
“We are now seeing a real and significant increase in cases and positivity rate from people’s gatherings over the holidays,” Gov. Andy Beshear said during a briefing in which he urged the public to follow health guidelines.
Dr. Steven Stack, the state’s public health commissioner, said a third virus surge was halted before the holidays, but over Thanksgiving and Christmas, “people socialized and they spread disease in ways that are now resulting in an increase in our positivity rate.”
Beshear said vaccinations in the state have accelerated, with more than 47,000 doses administered over three days with a total of 107,799 doses administered through Friday.
Meanwhile in Indiana, 5,127 new cases and 18 new deaths were reported Saturday to up the state’s overall infection numbers to 563,653 positive cases and 8,613 deaths.
It was reported that Jefferson County had 21 new cases and no new deaths with 2,362 infections overall and 38 deaths. Switzerland County had nine new cases and no new deaths with 574 cases overall and five deaths. Both counties are listed in the “red” critical zone in terms of community infection rate.
A Madison man has been charged with possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia and resisting law enforcement after he attempted to run from Hanover Police Officers Thursday at a local business.
Hanover Police were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Taylor Lane Madden, 24, at Bentley & Son Auto Sales, 3250 West Clifty Drive on Madison’s hilltop, when Madden attempted to run from the officers.
The officers contacted Madden at the entrance of the business at about 5:30 p.m., to serve the warrant, but he walked away and then fled by running into another area of the building.
The officers were able to apprehend Madden in the garage area of the business and a subsequent search of the area discovered a fanny pack that contained methamphetamine and other illegal drug-related items.
Madden, who is not an employee of Bentley and Son, was charged with dealing in methamphetamine, a Level 2 felony, and resisting law enforcement.
He was later lodged in the Jefferson County Jail on preliminary charges of possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, possession of paraphernalia and resisting law enforcement, both Class A misdemeanors, as well as on the original bench warrant for Jefferson County.
Bond was set at $10,000 cash.
ROME — Pope Francis changed church law Monday to explicitly allow women to do more things during Mass, granting them access to the most sacred place on the altar, while continuing to affirm that they cannot be priests.
Francis amended the law to formalize and institutionalize what is common practice in many parts of the world: that women can be installed as lectors, to read the Gospel, and serve on the altar as eucharistic ministers. Previously, such roles were officially reserved to men even though exceptions were made.
Francis said he was making the change to increase recognition of the “precious contribution” women make in the church, while emphasizing that all baptized Catholics have a role to play in the church’s mission.
But he also noted that doing so further makes a distinction between “ordained” ministries such as the priesthood and diaconate, and ministries open to qualified laity. The Vatican reserves the priesthood for men.
The change comes as Francis remains under pressure to allow women to be deacons — ministers who perform many of the same functions as priests, such as presiding at weddings, baptisms and funerals. Currently, the ministry is reserved for men even though historians say the ministry was performed by women in the early church.
Francis has created a second commission of experts to study whether women could be deacons, after a first one failed to reach a consensus.
Advocates for expanding the diaconate to include women say doing so would give women greater say in the ministry and governance of the church, while also helping address priest shortages in several parts of the world.
Opponents say allowing it would become a slippery slope toward ordaining women to the priesthood.
Phyllis Zagano, who was a member of the pope’s first study commission, called the changes important given they represent the first time the Vatican has explicitly and through canon law allowed women access to the altar. She said it was a necessary first step before any official consideration of the diaconate for women.
“This is the first movement to allow women inside the sanctuary,” said Zagano. “That’s a very big deal.”
Noting that bishops have long called for such a move, she said it opens the door to further progress. “You can’t be ordained as deacons unless you’re installed as lectors or accolytes,” said Zagano, a professor of religion at Hofstra University.
Lucetta Scaraffia, the former editor of the Vatican’s women magazine, however, called the new changes a “double trap.” She said they merely formalize what is current practice, including at papal Masses, while also making clear that the diaconate is an “ordained” ministry reserved for men.
“This closes the door on the diaconate for women,” she said in a phone interview, calling the change “a step backward” for women.