Late Monday night, during an hour and half livestream on Instagram, New York Democratic Representative Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez gave a harrowing account of the January 6 fascist assault on the US Capitol.
Describing the view from her office on January 6, Ocasio-Cortez recalled “hearing the yells of these people...and it just feels like it’s a matter of seconds when these doors are going to break through and they’re going to get in,” she said.
Aware that pipe bombs had been discovered less than a block away from the Capitol moments earlier, she began preparing herself for a mass casualty event, “I’m preparing for one of the wings of the building to explode,” she said. “We’re sheltering and I’m thinking what do we do if the building explodes?... What do we do if they break in?”
Ocasio-Cortez spoke of running and hiding with her legislative director Gerardo Bonilla Chavez in her office as the mob made its way into the building. As the pair waited in her office, she described hearing “huge violent bangs” on the door. She recalled Bonilla Chavez telling her to “run and hide” in response to what they thought was a potential assassin or kidnapper.
Her fears are well founded. Last week, federal prosecutors charged 34-year-old Garret Miller with multiple crimes for his role in the Capitol siege, including making threats. Prosecutors referred to a trove of social media postings in which Miller bragged about breaking into the Capitol and threatened to “Assassinate AOC.” In a January 3 post, Miller wrote that he was bringing, “a grappling hook and rope and a level 3 vest,” to the Capitol. Days after the siege, Miller bragged on Instagram that he had, “a rope in [his] bag on that day.”
“I thought I was going to die,” Ocasio-Cortez recalled. “I have never been quieter in my entire life.” She said it sounded like “someone was trying to break the door down,” and that whoever was banging was remaining anonymous, “There were no voices, no yells, no one identifying themselves.”
Bonilla Chavez eventually opened the door to find that the person banging was a single Capitol Police officer. Cognizant of the “insider” fascist threat, Ocasio-Cortez and her staffer were leery of the cop, unsure if he was there to help, or hurt her.
“It didn’t feel right because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Did he not identify himself as Capitol Police on purpose? Did he lose himself in that moment?” Ocasio-Cortez wondered. “Just the very uncertainty that you don’t know if this person is trying to protect you or not is very unsettling.”
Ocasio-Cortez said the cop told her that she needed to leave her office and to head to a separate building. According to Ocasio-Cortez, the cop didn’t tell them where they needed to go in the other building and didn’t escort them. After leaving her office, Ocasio-Cortez sought shelter in Democratic Representative Katie Porter’s office.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Porter verified Ocasio-Cortez’s account of the events, recalling that when Ocasio-Cortez first came into her office she began searching for “somewhere to hide.” Porter surmised that the pair spent hours barricaded in her office.
They eventually moved to Representative Ayanna Pressley’s office, where Ocasio-Cortez stayed until 4 a.m. Ocasio-Cortez said she didn’t feel safe going to the designated safe room with other lawmakers because she didn’t trust the police tasked with protecting her, nor her Republican colleagues.
Ocasio-Cortez also revealed that she had been receiving messages from her colleagues warning her to come up with a “security plan” because they had heard she would be a target of far-right violence a week before the attack. This once again exposes the lie proffered by high-ranking Pentagon and intelligence officials, who alleged following the events of January 6 that there was “no intelligence” regarding an assault on the Capitol.
If lawmakers were aware of the threats against themselves a week before the assault, it is completely implausible that the Capitol Police, the Department of Defense and the various spy agencies that make up the sprawling “intelligence community” were unaware of the threat of fascistic violence.
Far from demanding an immediate and public investigation into the events of January 6, the Democratic Party has worked to cover-up for those involved in the conspiracy. In particular, the Biden administration has rejected calls for the resignation of Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and others.
Solidarizing themselves with Trump’s coup attempt, Cruz, Hawley, and Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville joined Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and 41 other Republican senators in supporting a motion put forward last week by Kentucky libertarian Rand Paul to quash the Senate impeachment trial. While the measure failed, the overwhelming support it received among the Republican senators signals that impeachment stands no chance of success.
In response to the Robinhood app preventing users from trading their GameStop stock last week, Ocasio-Cortez called for a hearing, noting that she is a member of the Financial Services Committee. Cruz retweeted Ocasio-Cortez, “Fully agree,” to which Ocasio-Cortez replied “you almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out.”
In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to work with Cruz, Texas Republican representative, Chip Roy, who previously served as Cruz’s chief of staff, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring Ocasio-Cortez’s comments “completely unacceptable” and demanding that Pelosi call on her to issue a retraction.
Roy added, “if Representative Ocasio-Cortez does not apologize immediately, we will be forced to find alternative means to condemn this regrettable statement.”
Speaker Pelosi, along with the rest of the Democratic leadership in the Congress has yet to respond to Roy’s menacing threats. This reporter attempted to get a statement from the offices of Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer regarding the ongoing threats to their members, but was unable to get a response.