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January 6 Security Footage of Capitol Southwest Lawn
Note: The purpose of my first post containing January 6 security video is to provide a timeline and context rather than in-depth analysis. This represents the longest segment of January 6 footage released since Republicans took control of the House six months ago.
There’s plenty to see in these four separate videos totaling nearly 40 minutes. My goal here is to make this particular camera’s undisturbed footage publicly available to allow others to produce specific clips and offer independent analysis of what happened during this selected time period.
In the minutes before Congress convened a joint session on January 6, 2021 to debate the results of the electoral college count, a few crucial events occurred.
Almost as if coordinated.
Around 12:45 p.m., a woman walking to do her laundry noticed a device she believed to be a pipe bomb sitting near a garbage bin in an alley between her apartment and the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.
Karlin Younger, at the time working for a public-private partnership partially funded by the FBI, alerted a security guard at the RNC about the potential explosive. The guard immediately notified Capitol police, prompting orders to evacuate nearby streets and House office buildings. (Police located a second pipe bomb outside the Democratic National Committee shortly thereafter.)
Just as police were responding to the call, a group of protesters—including Ryan Samsel, Ray Epps, members of the Proud Boys, and at least a few FBI informants—engaged police at the northwest perimeter of the Capitol grounds. After a brief confrontation, protesters pushed down metal racks staged to protect the area, bounded past a handful of Capitol police officers, and made their way to the western terrace.
At nearly that precise moment, a separate group of individuals confronted a weak police line stationed near the southwest lawn; officers had left their post around 12:45 p.m., apparently to attend to another incident, leaving the entrance unprotected. As the Samsel/Epps crew advanced toward the building, the group to the south also tore down metal racks. Officers fled the scene with a crowd of men running behind them. Suspicious individuals are present and appear to motion to others.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled in the joint session at 1pm—her movements beforehand coincidentally recorded by her filmmaker daughter—individuals gathered on the western front of the Capitol. Police did not restore the protective barrier at the entrance to the southwest lawn allowing people to continue streaming in.
Donald Trump finished his speech around 1:10 p.m. at the Ellipse located about two miles away. As Trump wrapped his remarks, an unidentified man systematically removed light fencing on the southwest lawn. What appeared to be a white piece of paper is visible from his back pocket; after he disassembled the mesh in between the stakes, he walked back up the fence line to remove the mesh to allow Trump speech-goers to enter Capitol grounds without any indication the property was restricted.
There is no record that the individual responsible for dismantling the fence has been identified or charged:
By the time Trump speech-goers arrive at Capitol grounds around 2 p.m., no police presence at the exterior perimeter is visible. The first physical breach of the building occurred shortly thereafter; the House was evacuated followed by the Senate.
So, who was the mystery man tearing down the fencing at the exact same time Trump concluded his speech? Who were the men, and small groups of men, responsible for the southwest lawn breach? Who were all the suspicious actors signaling to each other and those who appeared to collaborate as they advanced toward the west terrace?
The footage again demonstrates the egregious lack of security around the Capitol, which is particularly inexplicable considering advanced intelligence warnings related to the potential for violence and the number of law enforcement agencies available to respond.
And the timing of this breach—conveniently coinciding with two other animating events that afternoon—looks less like unfortunate happenstance and more like part of an orchestrated effort.