As America watched live television in horror last week as a mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol, hiding House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy appealed to Jared Kushner, Sen. Lindsey Graham phoned Ivanka Trump for help, and Kellyanne Conway dialed an aide she knew was standing at the president's side.
They were all trying to reach the president to beseech him to call off the mob, to tell the rioters to stop and go home. He didn't, of course. Not for hours.
But those snippets, provided from interviews and reporting in The Washington Post on Monday in an article headlined "Six Hours of Paralysis," provides a look inside Donald Trump's failure to act after the mob he invited to the Capitol stormed inside and violently roamed the halls from just before 2 p.m. until the building was declared secure around 8 that evening.
Trump, in the West Wing, watched the same alarming images, but took no action for more than two hours other than to berate Vice President Mike Pence and ask the mob to be nice to Capitol Police who are "truly on the side of our country." It would be still another two hours before he told the mob to go home, adding "We love you. You're very special."
Now we learn that the FBI thinks we may face similar unrest and fear this weekend and next week as more armed demonstrations are planned. This time, it's fair to say that concerns are heightened by the fact that some of the very security — even the FBI — we and our states rely on may be part of the problem.
This week, several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the demonstration that turned deadly.
Former Capitol police chief Steven Sund, who resigned after the attack, told The Washington Post that congressional security officials rebuffed his efforts to put the D.C. National Guard on standby before the joint session of Congress began to certify Joe Biden's presidential win. Those officers also have since resigned — at the insistence of House and Senate leadership.
But they weren't the only roadblock to getting help against the insurrection. Pleas from Sund to those officials and others higher in the Pentagon hierarchy were rejected not once, but six times. Five of those rejections came as they and we watched the violence unfold.
Multiple European security officials have told Business Insider that the rampaging Trump supporters appeared to have at least tacit support among U.S. federal agencies responsible for securing the Capitol complex, according to a report published Thursday.
"We train alongside the U.S. federal law enforcement to handle these very matters, and it's obvious that large parts of any successful plan were just ignored," one French official told Insider.
And despite Friday's FBI statement that "there was no indication" of anything planned for the day of Trump's rally "other than First Amendment-protected activity," we learned on Tuesday about the existence of an FBI memo, which was briefed to leading FBI officials before last week, that said extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and "war."
House and Senate lawmakers have called for investigations into all of these security failures, as well they should. But concerns of "tacit" law enforcement, security and even lawmaker support for insurrection becomes more troubling by the day. Across the country, police officers and at least one police chief are facing termination, suspension or other discipline for their own alleged involvement in the D.C. mob. And what of outward GOP support from members like Sen. Josh Hawley, who raised his fist in support of mob members last week?
This GOP and law enforcement involvement in D.C. was not a one-off.
When a right-wing group of rioters stormed the Oregon state capitol in Salem on Dec. 21, the locked doors kept the armed mob at bay only until Republican state Rep. Mike Nearman coolly walked through an exit and held the door open wide while demonstrators raced inside, attacking officers, damaging property and unsettling other legislators.
And it wasn't just Nearman. The video shows a small group of state police and at least one Salem police officer rousting the first handful of intruders. But then another group of officers — some wearing face shields and gas masks — briefly appeared in the vestibule then retreated, leaving the outside door standing wide open with an intruder clearly watching. As soon as the last officer disappeared, the mob rushed inside again.
Security experts say we should think of Oregon and a similar incident earlier in Maryland as dress rehearsals for the Jan. 6 insurrection from increasingly violent "accelerationists" groups — groups like the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Boys, Q-Anon and any number of other so-called militia groups — all largely white supremacists at their cores.
Social scientists say accelerationists believe that through direct action and spectacles of violence they can increase the speed of polarization in society, fomenting a race war or at least a war between those who firmly support the cause of the white race over "others," according to investigators at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
They also warn that we should think of all of this as practice runs for another anticipated insurrection attempt in the days leading up to and during the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
And, of course, Trump is still making excuses for the accelerationists. The danger for our country is not over yet.