‘A hit man sent them.’ Police at the Capitol recount the horrors of Jan. 6 as the inquiry begins.

Daily Political Briefing

Aug. 3, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

Aug. 3, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET




‘Telling the Truth Shouldn’t Be Hard’: Officers Testify About Jan. 6 Riot

Four officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot testified to House lawmakers. The officers described in dramatic detail what they witnessed, and asked for a thorough investigation into what led to the attack.

“More than six months later, Jan. 6 still isn’t over for me. I’ve had to avail myself of multiple counseling sessions from the Capitol Police employee assistance program, and I’m now receiving private counseling therapy for the persistent emotional trauma of that day.” Lawmaker: “You hear former President Trump say, quote, ‘It was a loving crowd, there was a lot of love in the crowd.’ How does that make you feel?” “It’s upsetting, it’s a pathetic excuse for his behavior, for something that he himself helped to create.” “Telling the truth shouldn’t be hard. Fighting for — fighting on Jan. 6, that was hard. Showing up Jan. 7, that was hard. The 8th, the 9th, the 10th, all the way till today, that was hard.” “I just remember getting violently assaulted from every direction, and eventually found myself out — probably about 250, maybe 300 feet away from the mouth of the tunnel where the other officers were at.” “Once, we lost ground, I was unable to retreat. I was crushed up against the doorframe. And, and then my most vulnerable moments — the man in front of me took advantage and beat me in the head, ripped off my gas mask, straining my neck, skull.” “And normally in under any other circumstances, we just stay shut, we don’t talk about politics. We don’t talk about what happened to us. But this is bigger than that.” “That is what I am looking for, is an investigation into those actions and activities, which may have resulted in the events of Jan. 6, and also whether or not there was collaboration between those members, their staff and these terrorists.” “It was political. They literally were there to ‘stop the steal.’ So when people say it shouldn’t be political, it is, it was and it is — there’s no getting around that.” “You guys are the only ones we’ve got to deal with crimes that occur above us. I need you guys to address if anyone in power had a role in this.”

Four officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot testified to House lawmakers. The officers described in dramatic detail what they witnessed, and asked for a thorough investigation into what led to the attack.CreditCredit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — One officer described how rioters attempted to gouge out his eye and called him a traitor as they sought to invade the Capitol.

Another told of being smashed in a doorway and nearly crushed amid a “medieval” battle with a pro-Trump mob as he heard guttural screams of pain from fellow officers.

A third said he was beaten unconscious and stunned repeatedly with a Taser as he pleaded with his assailants, “I have kids.”

A fourth relayed how he was called a racist slur over and over again by intruders wearing “Make America Great Again” garb.

“All of them — all of them were telling us, ‘Trump sent us,’” Aquilino A. Gonell, a U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, said on Tuesday as he tearfully recounted the horrors of defending Congress on Jan. 6, testifying at the first hearing of a House select committee to investigate the attack.

One by one, in excruciating detail, Sergeant Gonell and three other officers who faced off with the hordes that broke into the Capitol told Congress of the brutal violence, racism and hostility they suffered as a throng of angry rioters, acting in the name of President Donald J. Trump, beat, crushed and shocked them.

More than six months after the assault, the accounts of the four uniformed officers — as precise as they were cinematic — cut through a fog of confusion, false equivalence and misdirection that Republicans have generated to try to insulate themselves politically and placate Mr. Trump.

They provided a set of gripping first-person narratives that brought home the harrowing events of Jan. 6, when Mr. Trump’s supporters, urged on by his lie of a stolen election, stormed the Capitol to disrupt the official counting of electoral votes to formalize President Biden’s victory.

House Republican leaders who have opposed efforts to investigate the assault boycotted the inquiry and dismissed it as a partisan ploy, so they were absent as the officers relived their trauma in a Capitol Hill hearing room.

“This nigger voted for Joe Biden!” Officer Harry Dunn of the Capitol Police told the panel a rioter had screamed at him, prompting a crowd to turn on him with shouts of “Boo! Fucking nigger!”

Later, Officer Dunn begged the lawmakers leading the inquiry to uncover the full extent of Mr. Trump’s role.

“There was an attack on Jan. 6, and a hit man sent them,” he said. “I want you to get to the bottom of that.”

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a leading critic of Mr. Trump and one of two Republicans named by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the panel, used the proceedings to chastise her G.O.P. colleagues for refusing to investigate the worst attack on Congress in centuries.

“Will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America?” Ms. Cheney demanded. “Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?”

The two top congressional Republicans later said they had been too busy with other work to watch.

The testimony, punctuated by video montages of the rampage — including some footage from the body cameras of police officers who testified — was a riveting reminder of the brutal reality of the day. In the hearing room and across Capitol Hill, officers, lawmakers and aides who lived through the riot were glued to cellphone or television screens watching it unfold.

“A violent mob was pointed toward the Capitol and told to win a trial by combat,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the panel, said as he opened the session. “Some descended on this city with clear plans to disrupt our democracy. One rioter said that they weren’t there to commit violence, but that, and I’m quoting, ‘We were just there to overthrow the government.’”

The refusal by most Republicans to participate in the hearing was just the latest indication of how a party that portrays itself as the champion of law enforcement has worked to thwart attempts to investigate the attack.

“We still don’t know exactly what happened,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the other Republican afforded a seat on the panel by Ms. Pelosi. “Why? Because many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It’s toxic, and it’s a disservice to the officers’ families.”

Fearing its political implications for their party, Republicans succeeded in blocking the creation of an independent, bipartisan panel in the style of the 9/11 commission to handle the inquiry and fiercely opposed the creation of the select committee. Then, after Ms. Pelosi refused to seat two Trump allies put forward by Republicans — both of whom had amplified the former president’s false claims of election fraud and disparaged the inquiry — the House Republican leader, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, said his members would simply not participate.




McCarthy Slams Democrats’ Handling of Jan. 6 Riot Investigation

In remarks before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot hearing, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, said Republicans wanted the focus of the inquiry to be on the lack of preparation for the violence and ways to prevent future attacks.

We’re not predetermining any questions. We’d like to be on the committee to ask them. You’ve got a committee chair that questioned the election of George Bush. You’ve got a committee chair of this who is suing the president. You’ve got a committee chair of this who believes Republican senators are equal to terrorists, and they should be on the terrorist watch list. You’ve got a member of Raskin — before the president was even sworn in, said he should be impeached, who questioned the election before and objected to the electors there. Two questions for this entire committee should be: Why were we so ill prepared for that day? And how can we make sure this never happens again? And that’s what should drive the committee. There may be buildup before that day that you’re going to have to investigate. Speaker Pelosi worked six months trying to make sure that would never happen. We had an officer killed on Good Friday, just across here. Based upon if you listen to who made the killing, of buying the knife — it was politically motivated, but we’re not going to investigate that. You have the F.B.I. doing investigations. Want to make sure nothing in this committee gets in the way of that. You have an architect of the Capitol that has been appropriated $10 million to make sure this is better prepared. Why wouldn’t we then ask the tough questions and make sure the Capitol Police have the resources, the training and the equipment? That is what’s being withheld and that’s what we complain about.

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In remarks before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot hearing, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, said Republicans wanted the focus of the inquiry to be on the lack of preparation for the violence and ways to prevent future attacks.CreditCredit…J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Instead, Mr. McCarthy called his own event in the shadow of the Capitol before the hearing to try to pre-empt the officers’ testimony and divert blame for the assault onto Democrats. Ignoring those who organized, encouraged and carried out the attack, he and other Republicans faulted Ms. Pelosi, who on Jan. 6 was forced to flee the Capitol as armed members of the mob roamed the corridors calling out, “Where are you, Nancy?”

“Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6,” said Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who became the House’s No. 3 Republican when the party ousted Ms. Cheney from the position for speaking out against Mr. Trump.

Congressional leaders hire the law enforcement personnel responsible for Capitol security, but are typically not involved in day-to-day decisions about security protocols. Security at the Capitol is controlled by the Capitol Police Board, which includes the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the architect of the Capitol.

While the hearing was underway, senators announced that they had reached a bipartisan deal on a supplemental spending bill to repay the National Guard for its deployment costs, pump $100 million into the embattled Capitol Police and allocate another $300 million to harden defenses at the Capitol.

Even as the police officers testified about having been brutalized by the rioters, a group of far-right Republicans was publicly siding with those who breached the Capitol. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Louie Gohmert of Texas held a news conference outside the Justice Department to object to the treatment of the rioters charged in connection with the attack, calling them “Jan. 6 prisoners” who had been mistreated because of their political beliefs.

Both Mr. McCarthy and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Senate Republican, said they had not watched the hearing. Pressed to address those within his party seeking to deny or distort the attack, Mr. McConnell merely pointed back to comments he made last winter, shortly after orchestrating Mr. Trump’s impeachment acquittal on the charge that he incited an insurrection, when he said Mr. Trump was “practically and morally responsible” for it.

“I don’t see how I could have expressed myself more forthrightly than I did on that occasion, and I stand by everything I said,” said Mr. McConnell, who later led the Republican effort to block an independent bipartisan investigation of the riot.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate Republican, called the officers “heroes,” and said, “We should listen to what they have to say.” Like Mr. McConnell, Mr. Thune helped marshal Republican opposition to the investigation.

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

The only two Republicans who appeared eager for answers about the assault were Mr. Kinzinger and Ms. Cheney, who greeted the officers warmly in the hearing room, gripping their hands and embracing them.

Ms. Cheney said the panel should move quickly to issue subpoenas to uncover any potential ties between the rioters and the Trump administration and campaign. Lawmakers must learn “what happened every minute of that day in the White House: every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack,” she said.

After the hearing, Mr. Thompson said that subpoenas would be issued “soon” and that another hearing could come within weeks.

But on Tuesday, the focus was on the nightmare experienced by the police officers who responded that day.

Michael Fanone, a Washington police officer who was beaten unconscious and subjected to repeated shocks with his own Taser by the mob, suffering a heart attack and a brain injury, said he heard rioters calling for him to be killed with his own gun.

Lawmakers played Officer Fanone’s body camera video, in which he could be heard pleading for mercy — “I have kids,” he muttered — before being carried off by fellow officers and losing consciousness.

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

“I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room,” Officer Fanone said. “But too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist, or that hell wasn’t actually that bad.”

“The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful,” he added, his voice rising to a shout as he pounded the witness table in anger.

Sergeant Gonell said what he went through on Capitol Hill that day had been more fearsome than any experience patrolling bomb-infested roads during an Army deployment in Iraq, denouncing what he called a “continuous, shocking attempt to ignore or try to destroy the truth of what truly happened.”

Officer Daniel Hodges, another member of the Washington police, described how the mob descended into “terrorism,” booing and mocking the police as they hoisted American, Christian and Trump flags. He said he had been crushed in a door, bashed in the head and nearly had an eye gouged out.

“To my perpetual confusion, I saw the thin-blue-line flag — the symbol of support for law enforcement — more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us,” Officer Hodges said.

Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson and Jonathan Weisman contributed reporting.


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Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger spoke out against members of their party during the first hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.CreditCredit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, issued a defiant challenge to her own party on Tuesday as a special House committee began its inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying that the riot would remain a “cancer on our constitutional republic” if Congress failed to hold accountable those who were responsible.

In stern opening remarks, Ms. Cheney, one of just two House Republicans willing to serve on the panel, dared her colleagues to support a full investigation into the worst attack on Congress in centuries.

“Will we be so blinded by partisanship that we throw away the miracle of America?” Ms. Cheney asked. “Do we hate our political adversaries more than we love our country and revere our Constitution?”

Her remarks underscored just how isolated she has become in her own party as one of the few Republicans willing to speak out against President Donald J. Trump and his role in inspiring the attack on the Capitol. Ms. Cheney, the daughter of a powerful conservative family, has already been ousted from Republican leadership for her insistence on calling out the former president and his election lies, and her participation in the inquiry has drawn scorn from party leaders.

Ms. Cheney focused her remarks on Tuesday on the former president’s role, urging lawmakers to find out “what happened every minute of that day in the White House.”

“Every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during and after the attack,” Ms. Cheney said.

Hoping to move past horrific political optics and fearful of invoking Mr. Trump’s wrath, just 35 Republicans in the House supported the creation of an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the attack. Only Ms. Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who is also serving on the select committee in defiance of his party, supported the creation of the panel led by lawmakers.

Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times

Mr. Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard, grew visibly emotional during his remarks on Tuesday, choking back tears as he angrily condemned conservative “counter narratives” and conspiracy theories designed to undercut the gravity of the Jan. 6 attack.

“Many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “It’s toxic and it’s a disservice to the officers and their families.”

Republican leaders are boycotting the proceedings, after Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to seat two of the five lawmakers they had recommended, citing their statements backing Mr. Trump’s false election claims, equating the riot to racial justice protests and disparaging the investigation.

“I’m here to investigate January 6 not in spite of my membership in the Republican Party, but because of it,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “Not to win a political fight, but to learn the facts and defend our democracy.”




Day of Rage: An In-Depth Look at How a Mob Stormed the Capitol

A six-month Times investigation has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” [cheering] They came from all 50 states out of some sense of patriotic duty … “It’s so much more than just rallying for President Trump. It’s really rallying for our way of life. The American dream, against fake news.” … to protest an election they believed had been stolen. “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” “We’re here, patriots. We’re in Washington D.C. Capitol building dead in front of us.” Their day of action would be Jan. 6 … “The House comes to order.” … when Congress would count electoral ballots and ratify the 2020 election results. For some, it was just a rally for their president. For others, it was a call to arms. “We have the power in numbers. March on Congress directly after Trump’s speech.” In the weeks beforehand, there were over a million mentions on social media of storming the Capitol. Maps were shared of the building’s layout. There was talk of bringing weapons and ammunition, and discussion over which lawmakers should be targeted first. This anger was based on a lie. “This election was a fraud.” A lie that had grown more frenzied after the election. “President Trump won this election.” “They were flipping votes.” “Steal the election in Philadelphia.” “When you win in a landslide and they —” “Steal the election in Atlanta —” “And it’s rigged —” “Steal the election in Milwaukee —” “It’s not acceptable.” “This is outrageous.” A lie spread by the president and his closest allies. “Let’s call out cheating when we find it.” Some of whom stoked calls for violence. “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.” “Everyone’s going to remember who actually stands in the breach and fights tomorrow. And who goes running off like a chicken.” “We bleed freedom.” “This will be their Waterloo.” “And we will sacrifice for freedom.” “This will be their destruction.” “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” What happened next was chaos. “They broke the glass?” Insurrection. “Take it now!” “Treason! Treason!” Death. Then, there began a campaign to whitewash history, starting at the top. “It was a zero threat. Right from the start, it was zero threat.” And spreading throughout the Republican Party. “Even calling it an insurrection, It wasn’t. By and large, it was peaceful protest.” One lawmaker, who helped barricade the House doors, now suggests there was barely any threat. “If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.” A tourist visit this was not. And the proof is in the footage. As part of a six-month investigation, The New York Times has collected and forensically analyzed thousands of videos, most filmed by the rioters themselves. We obtained internal police radio traffic … … and went to court to unseal police body-cam footage. Our reconstruction shows the Capitol riot for what it was, a violent assault encouraged by the president on a seat of democracy that he vowed to protect. We’ll chart how police leaders failed to heed warnings of an impending attack, putting rank-and-file officers in danger. We’ll track key instigators in the mob taking advantage of weaknesses in the Capitol’s defenses to ignite a wave of violence that engulfed the building. We’ll show, for the first time, the many simultaneous points of attack, and the eight breaches of what appeared to be an impenetrable institution of government. We’ll show how the delay to secure Congress likely cost a rioter her life. And how for some, storming the Capitol was part of the plan, all along. “In fact, tomorrow, I don’t even like to say it because I’ll be arrested.” “Well, let’s not say it. We need to go — I’ll say it.” “All right.” “We need to go in to the Capitol.” “Let’s go!” It’s the morning of Jan. 6, and thousands are filling the National Mall in Washington. Trump will speak here at the Ellipse, a large park near the White House and a half-hour walk to the U.S. Capitol where the election will be certified. Who is actually in this crowd? Most are ordinary citizens who believe Trump’s lie that the election was stolen. “It’s going to be a great day. It’s going to be wild, as Trump says.” But we also see more extreme groups who’ve gained a following during Trump’s presidency. There are followers of the QAnon conspiracy … “Drinking their blood, eating our babies.” … who believe that Trump is facing down a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles. Q posts often invoked notions of patriotism and predict a coming storm. And ahead of Jan. 6, some supporters call for violence. The Oath Keepers, a far-right paramilitary group, are also here. “We have men already stationed outside D.C. —” Their leader has said the group is ready to follow Trump’s orders and take members of what they call the “Deep State” into custody. They’re organized, staging their military-style equipment neatly on the ground. And later, they put on body armor, talk on radios, and chat with their supporters on a walkie-talkie app called Zello. “We have a good group. We got about 30, 40, of us who are sticking together and sticking to the plan. Y’all, we’re one block away from the Capitol, now. I’m probably going to go silent when I get there because I’m going to be a little busy.” Another group is the Proud Boys. They’re far-right nationalists who flashed white power signs throughout the day. “Check out all this testosterone.” They became a household name when Trump invoked them during a presidential debate. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.” And that’s what they did. They have a history of street violence and will be key instigators of the riot. We’ll return to them soon. Although the rally is billed as a political protest, some make calls to storm the Capitol even before Trump speaks. And later, when Trump does take the stage … “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.” … some hear his words as a call to action. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building.” Two hours before this, the Proud Boys were already heading for the Capitol. They’re clearly spoiling for a fight with far-left agitators like antifa, who they believe are in D.C. But there are moments that suggest another motive. “Come on, tighten up.” “Come on, boys. They’re organized, too. Many are marked with orange tape or hats. They’re wearing body armor, carrying baseball bats and using radios. “That’s affirmative. Jesse, this is Tucker” Leading them is Ethan Nordean, who’s been entrusted with so-called war powers. He’s joined by other well-known Proud Boys like Joe Biggs, an organizer from Florida, Dominic Pezzola, a former Marine, and Billy Chrestman. They will be among the first rioters inside the Capitol building. “Proud Boys.” As Trump is speaking, some of his other supporters also head to the Capitol. Chanting: “Whose streets? Our streets! Whose streets? Our streets!” And the tone is becoming menacing. “And we’re going to storm the [expletive] Capitol. [expletive] you, [expletive].” “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Just ahead, officers guarding the building are understaffed and ill-equipped for what’s coming their way. “You going to stop us?” The building is more than two football fields in length. And barricades erected on the east side are defended by just a few dozen officers. The west side, facing Trump’s rally, is even lighter. The fencing has been extended and on the northwest approach, only five officers stand guard. Around five also defend the southwest approach, a few more dot the lawn and about a dozen officers are behind them. Plans to storm the Capitol were made in plain sight, but the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security did not deem those threats as credible. “We will take that building!” “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Capitol Police leaders and Washington’s mayor were warned at least three times of violent threats, but also didn’t take them seriously or circulate that information. And they declined offers of security personnel from federal and other agencies. They could have enlisted several hundred more Capitol police for duty on Jan. 6, but did not. And none of the officers on the barricades have protective gear or crowd-control equipment. As a result, the Capitol is sparsely defended. “Whose House? Our House! Whose House? Our House!” It’s 12:50 p.m. and a large group of Proud Boys is with other protesters right by the Capitol Police line. Joe Biggs is rallying them. When he’s approached by Ryan Samsel, a Trump supporter from Pennsylvania. They chat, we don’t know about what. But a minute later, Samsel is the first to approach the police line. And it’s now that the protest turns violent. “U.S.A.!” Without hesitation, the crowd overpowers the police. Nearby, a second group breaks through on another approach. Others jump fences. And now hundreds of rioters rush forward on several fronts. “D.C. is a [expletive] war zone.” Police retreat to the Capitol building where it’s becoming more threatening. “This is what we came for! Yeah!” A mob mentality begins to take hold. Police are so outnumbered, they’re forced to retreat again to more tightly defend access points to the Capitol. It’s now five minutes into the siege that the Capitol Police chief calls for backup from local law enforcement, known as the Metropolitan Police, and asks other Capitol leaders to mobilize the National Guard. “You took an oath! Does that not mean a damn thing to you, does it?” Metro Police will arrive within 15 minutes. But for reasons we’ll explain later, the National Guard won’t arrive for over four hours. “Back up! Back up!” Meanwhile, more Capitol Police come to reinforce the line. It’s the first time we see officers in riot gear. But most are missing their shields because they had not prepared to unlock the storage area where that equipment is kept. Proud Boys like Billy Chrestman keep rallying the mob. And again, they start brawling with the police. Minutes later, reinforcements from the Metro Police arrive. A high-ranking Metro officer immediately calls for more backup. They struggle to subdue rioters who respond with their own chemical spray. And within 30 minutes, the police already have casualties. [shouting] This first wave of rioters battling police has paved the way across Capitol grounds for others to follow. And after Trump finishes speaking, thousands more now fill the space. Meanwhile, inside the Capitol, Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence have begun certifying the 2020 presidential election results. Certification will happen on both sides of the building, in the House and the Senate. And this is what the rioters want to stop. An hour into the assault, the mob is battling a police line here, along the west face of the Capitol. But that violence is now going to spread to multiple points of attack, as west side rioters stream around the Capitol and incite the crowd on the east. Here’s what that crowd looks like on the east. “Stop the steal! Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” They’re aware of the siege happening on the west side, and some are emboldened by it. But up until now, they’ve been kept behind the barricades. “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” Then this group from the west storms around to the building and pushes right through the barriers. The police here barely put up a fight. And it’s now that protesters, all along the east barricades, surge forward. [cheering] Officers are overwhelmed from several directions, and retreat to guard Capitol entrances. But these rioters believe they’ve been deputized by their president to stop a crime. And now, they start trying to get into the building itself. [shouting] [glass breaking] [pounding on door] The Capitol is now surrounded. Rioters haven’t made it inside yet, but around the time that the mob on the east pushed forward, rioters on the west were making a pivotal move. This scaffolding was erected for the upcoming inauguration of Joe Biden. It covers a staircase that gives direct access to an upper level, and dozens of doors and windows. Three police lines guard that route. But at ground level, officers are so overwhelmed that just a few cover this crucial access point. Several Proud Boys see the weakness. Proud Boys start fighting the police, and with others in the mob, they push through the line. Over several minutes, it’s a brutal fight on these steps. At one point, the rioters are held back. [groaning] But they make a final push up the flight of stairs. [cheering] At the top, they scuffle again with a small group of officers … … who give in after barely a minute. The mob now has direct access to Capitol entrances. “I can’t believe this is reality. We accomplished this [expletive].” And hundreds more protesters below, surge forward. “Let’s go! The siege is ours.” It’s utter mayhem, and it’s about to get worse. This scene is being filmed from countless angles allowing us to piece together, moment by moment, what comes next. Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola uses a police shield he stole to bash in a window. And at 2:13 p.m., the Capitol is breached. Michael Sparks, a Trump supporter from Kentucky, is the first person inside. A police officer seems unsure of what to do and backs off. Sparks is followed by Proud Boys and other far-right extremists, one carrying a Confederate flag, another armed with a baseball bat. When rioters break open the locked doors, hundreds more rush in. [shouting] [glass breaking] This is a critical moment. Officers must now defend the outside and inside of the building, stretching them even further. Simultaneous events now happen that are critical to lawmakers’ safety. Rioters head straight for the Senate, and will be at its doors in two minutes. Above them, the Senate is called into recess. “We’ll pause.” Members will evacuate down these stairs. In this hallway, directly overhead the rioters, Officer Eugene Goodman is sprinting to overtake them. He passes Mitt Romney, who he warns to turn around. Reinforcements are following behind. Goodman overtakes the mob, goes downstairs and intercepts them. He holds them off while backup arrives upstairs. Behind these rioters, and just feet away, is an escape route where the lawmakers and Senate staff are now fleeing. Just one officer stands guard. Keeping his composure, Goodman draws the mob away from that escape route to where reinforcements are waiting. Goodman: “Second floor!” He glances toward the Senate, and realizes the door is unguarded. Goodman shoves the protester again, lures the mob away, and brings them into that line of fellow officers. Again, the rioters here are convinced it’s their duty to defend democracy. “We’re not [expletive] around! Because we are mad!” [shouting] The officers hold them off here, for now. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol, a few political leaders are evacuated from the House of Representatives. But despite a lockdown alert, proceedings here will resume. “The House will be in order.” We’ll go there soon. First, we’ll go to the Crypt in the center of the Capitol below the Rotunda. The mob is already at its entrance. If they get through here, they will more easily fan out across the building. Rioters jostle with police here for six minutes, and then flood through. It’s now 2:24 p.m., some 90 minutes after the siege began, and the mob is about to overrun the building. “Stop the steal! Stop the steal!” As this is happening, and as thousands more swell outside, Trump composes a tweet. Not to calm his supporters, but to blame his vice president. He writes: At this very time, Pence and his family are being taken to safety, along with an aide who’s carrying the country’s nuclear launch equipment. “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave?” At 2:25 p.m., there’s another major breach on the opposite side of the building, the east side. Rioters have been battling a handful of officers at these doors for almost half an hour. The tide turns when rioters who came through the Crypt, reach these doors and pull them open. Then an active-duty Marine Corps officer, Christopher Warnagiris, keeps that door open for the mob to flood in. Just as elsewhere, this crowd is a mix of die-hard Trump supporters, but also more organized groups like the Oath Keepers, who move in formation here toward that east side entrance. The Oath Keepers and their supporters continue to update each other on the Zello chat app. The group enters the Capitol together. Proud Boys are near them, including Joe Biggs, the organizer we saw earlier. He’s entering the building for a second time. The Oath Keepers fill the Rotunda along with hundreds of other rioters. “Took over the Capitol. Overran the Capitol.” “We’re in the [expletive] Capitol, bro.” Now the police inside the building are completely outnumbered and call for backup. “It’s our House!” “Whose House?” “Our House!” Throughout the Capitol, staffers have barricaded doors to keep the mob out. In Nancy Pelosi’s chambers, staffers rush inside a conference room and lock two doors behind them. Just 12 minutes later, rioters outside head straight for her offices. “Nancy! Nancy!” And pile in. Huddled together under a table, Pelosi’s staff record what’s happening. One rioter tries to break into that same room. Inside, staffers are silent as they record him pounding. [loud banging] He gets through the first door, but the second door keeps him out. It’s a scene that, again, shows just how compromised the U.S. government has become. “I think I like my new dining room.” By 2:30 p.m., the Senate evacuation is well underway. But even though a lockdown was called over 15 minutes ago, the House is still in session. “Do not accept Arizona’s electors as certified.” Representative Jim McGovern is chairing. He told us he wanted to finish hearing objections to the election results by Paul Gosar. House staff and security gave McGovern the all-clear to continue. It’s a delay that likely cost someone their life. Suddenly, staff are now pointing at the chamber’s doors. Just outside, a mob of 100 or more is baying to get into them. These rioters pay little heed to the thin line of police. “They’re going. Yeah, I would just stop — bro.” And in moments, are pushing against the doors into the House. “Stop the steal!” On the other side, Capitol Police erect a barricade and draw their guns. “You’re a traitor.” On the floor, lawmakers are evacuated to the rear of the chamber, where in a few minutes a rioter will be shot and killed. Part of the mob outside now peels off in that direction to find a different way in. Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and QAnon supporter, is among the first to arrive at the rear of the House. “Open the door.” They see the lawmakers escaping. That lobby might have been clear had the House been evacuated sooner. But the rioters now become incensed. Zachary Alam, a Trump supporter from Pennsylvania, punches in the glass panels with his bare fists. [pounding on door] “Open the door.” Police are stretched extremely thin. Just three officers and a security staffer stand guard. None are wearing riot gear, and they keep their weapons holstered. “It’s going to get worse.” “Open the door.” When a team of heavily armed police now arrives, the three officers step aside. “Go! Let’s go! Get this.” This creates a crucial gap that allows rioters to smash in the glass. A warning — what happens next is graphic. It’s 2:44 p.m., and behind the door, a police officer draws his handgun. Babbitt vaults into the window and the officer shoots her once. [gunshot] “Oh! Oh!” It’s a fatal wound through the upper chest. Inside the chamber, the floor is clear, but lawmakers in the balcony are sheltering in place. [gunshot] “The [expletive]?” “Take your pins off.” “Pins off.” They now remove the breast pins that identify them as members of Congress. A group of rioters who almost made it to the balcony are held at gunpoint as it’s finally evacuated. Now Trump supporters have achieved their goal, stopping the election certification. And while the House is evacuated, at the other side of the building, the Senate is occupied. “Treason! Treason! Treason!” On the Senate floor, they leaf through lawmakers’ files. “There’s got to be something in here we can [expletive] use against these scumbags.” Mug for photos. “Jesus Christ —” Pray. “We invoke Your name. Amen!” “Amen!” And leave a message for Mike Pence. “It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.” As rioters inside have been rampaging throughout the Capitol, the crowd outside has grown. And that first battle has continued raging. [horn blowing] For almost two hours, officers face off with rioters who say they support the police … … but assault them, anyway. We’re going to show what happened here because it demonstrates, yet again, how failures by Capitol Police leaders to prepare put the safety of these officers at risk. “Leave him alone! Leave him alone!” Capitol Police had been ordered to withhold some of their stronger weapons. But as soon as Robert Glover, a Metro Police inspector arrives, he calls for his munitions team to help. When the building is breached, Glover knows he needs to retreat and seeks advice from Capitol leaders. [shouting] When Capitol don’t respond, he asks four times. “Push! Push! Push! Push!” Then, the police lose the line. “We the people, we are the storm!” Rioters knock an officer over, throw a fire extinguisher. “U.S.A.!” Glover issues a 10-33, the call of last resort. Crazed rioters hound the police even as they retreat to the upper level. Police now begin to guard this doorway, an iconic centerpiece of presidential inaugurations. But for another two hours, the same pattern will repeat. Rioters fill the terrace. Instigators trigger a frenzy. And tragically, someone will die. A brutal fight erupts in the doorway. The mob heaves in a coordinated scrum. [screaming] “Help!” When police finally push them out, they face even worse violence. They are tased, gassed and robbed of their equipment. They’re beaten with a crutch, a hockey stick and even an American flag. At least four officers are pulled into the crowd. One dragged by his own helmet, face down. And again, the frenzy turns fatal. Rosanne Boyland, a Trump supporter who has been swept up by QAnon conspiracies, is moving toward the door. But amid the scrum, she collapses and is lying unconscious beneath the mob. [crowd chants] “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” As the crowd sarcastically chants a Black Lives Matter slogan, Boyland’s friend, Justin Winchell, tries to pull her to safety. He screams for help. But instead, fellow rioters trample over Boyland and charge at the police again. Boyland will be pronounced dead at a local hospital in the evening. By the end of the day, rioters have breached and entered the building in at least eight locations. There’s the first breach, which we’ve seen, when rioters smashed through two windows and a door. Beside that, a rioter with a crowbar smashes in a second door, and then opens it to hundreds of people. Others smash a window next to the Inauguration door and climb inside. “Patriots, we need people to stand up for our country and our Constitution.” At this entrance, police stand aside and allow rioters to stream in, unchallenged. On the north side of the building, police in riot gear yield and let the crowd in. Another three breaches are on the east side, two by the central doors into the Rotunda, and this southeast door leading to the House chamber. It’s the arrival of more Metropolitan Police and other agencies that finally turns the tide. When those officers enter the Rotunda, they clear it in just 20 minutes. As the mob is pushed back through the east doors, their rage turns to Mike Pence, who Trump attacked earlier. Metro officers also stop other rioters from entering on the west side, where the mob first broke in. But here, too, we see a crowd empowered by the belief that they’re carrying out some patriotic duty. Over the course of the day, 150 police officers are injured. After 4 p.m., Metro and Capitol Police regain control of the upper levels. The final parts of the interior are cleared by other law enforcement, including federal agencies. Tear gas and flash bangs disperse the crowd on the Inauguration terrace. The Virginia State Police and Arlington County Police help to reclaim that area. Then rioters are swiftly pushed off Capitol grounds by a reinforced police line. Only now, more than three hours after Capitol police first called them, do National Guard soldiers arrive. “You can just do and turn down, right now.” Troops were staging just 20 minutes away. But a recent procedural change meant the highest level of the Pentagon had to approve deployment. And Pentagon officials delayed the decision, partially in fear of bad optics, even as the Capitol was being overrun. As calm returns, the president tweets again. He repeats that the election had been stripped away, calls his supporters great patriots, and says: The aftermath of Jan. 6 has been as divisive as the lie that launched it. Even as one arm of government has indicted hundreds of rioters, Republican lawmakers continue efforts to normalize what happened with a mix of denials and conspiracy theories. “Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters.” “I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law. And so I wasn’t concerned.” They include Paul Gosar, who’d been at the Trump rally. “The D.O.J. is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.” And Andrew Clyde, who we saw earlier, standing just a few feet from rioters. “There was no insurrection. And to call it an insurrection, in my opinion, is a bald-faced lie.” Republican leaders have blocked an independent investigation that could have brought new details to light. “I’ve made the decision to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January the 6th.” And in May, a top Republican was ousted from the party’s leadership after blaming Trump for inspiring the riot. “And I think that the party is in a place that we’ve got to bring it back from.” None of what happened on Jan. 6 would have been possible without a huge mass of ordinary people who were proud of what they achieved. “We made it!” “Yeah! We stopped the vote!” Millions around the country still believe the violence was not only justified, but necessary. And the forces that brought them there have not gone away. “Yeah, the patriots are coming back, y’all. Hopefully, y’all will be on our side when that happens.”

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A six-month Times investigation has synchronized and mapped out thousands of videos and police radio communications from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, providing the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.

A House panel charged with investigating the January riot on the U.S. Capitol gathered on Tuesday to hold its first hearing, with police officers testifying about their experiences holding back the mob of supporters of President Donald J. Trump that overwhelmed law enforcement and stormed the building. The New York Times has published several investigations into the events of that day.

  • Investigating the security response: How communication breakdowns, inaction and confusion over who had authority to call for the National Guard delayed a deployment of hundreds of troops who might have helped quell the violence that raged for hours.

Some Republicans are falsely blaming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, a tactic to deflect blame from former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

For months, Republican leaders have downplayed the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. But on Tuesday, ahead of the first hearing of a special committee to investigate the riot, they took their approach to new and misleading extremes, falsely blaming Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the violence.

“The American people deserve to know the truth that Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility as speaker of the House for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6,” said Representative Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York and the party’s No. 3 leader.

It amounted to an audacious attempt to rewrite the history of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries and pre-empt the damning testimony of four police officers who were brutalized by the mob of Donald J. Trump’s supporters. Here’s how Republicans twisted the facts.

Looking past the motivations of the mob or Mr. Trump, Republicans said it had been up to Ms. Pelosi and her leadership team to protect the Capitol from the attack, particularly given that intelligence gathered in the weeks before it occurred pointed to the potential for violence against Congress.

“On Jan. 6, these brave officers were put into a vulnerable, impossible position because the leadership at the top has failed,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader.

Ms. Pelosi has considerable influence as the speaker, but she is not responsible for the security of Congress. That is the job of the Capitol Police, an agency Ms. Pelosi only indirectly influences. Most decisions about securing the Capitol are made by the Capitol Police Board, a body that consists of the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the Architect of the Capitol.

Ms. Pelosi shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, who at the time was Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky. Republicans have made no attempt to blame Mr. McConnell for the security breach or for failing to prepare for attack.

That charge also contradicts a bipartisan report produced by a pair of Senate committees that found evidence of systematic failures across American intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies, which misjudged the threat leading up to Jan. 6 and were not properly trained to respond to it.

It also flatly contradicted congressional testimony, news reports and public accounts of that day, when Ms. Pelosi herself was one of the prime targets of the rioters, some of whom stalked the halls of the Capitol chanting ominously, “Nancy…Where are you Nancy?”

Mr. McCarthy and others said that Ms. Pelosi had refused pleas by the Capitol Police to provide backup, like the National Guard, ahead of Jan. 6.

But the speaker of the House does not control the National Guard. And while Congress could have requested support in advance, that decision lies with the Capitol Police Board, not the speaker.

Members of the Capitol Police board have provided conflicting accounts of a debate that occurred on Jan. 4 over whether to request the help in advance. Steven A. Sund, then the chief of Capitol Police, has said he asked the board for the pre-emptive assistance but was rebuffed.

Among the reasons cited, Mr. Sund said, was a concern by the House sergeant-at-arms, Paul D. Irving, about the “optics” of bringing in reinforcements. Ms. Stefanik falsely attributed that concern to Ms. Pelosi, whose aides have said she only learned of the request days later.

A Times investigation detailed why it took nearly two hours to approve the deployment on Jan 6. After rioters breached the Capitol, Chief Sund called Mr. Irving at 1:09 p.m. with an urgent request for the National Guard. Mr. Irving approached Ms. Pelosi’s staff with the request at 1:40 p.m., and her chief of staff relayed it to her at 1:43 p.m., when she approved it. But it would be hours more before Pentagon officials signed off on the deployment and informed the District of Columbia National Guard commander that he had permission to deploy the troops.

Republicans repeatedly said that Ms. Pelosi had been warned as early as mid-December that demonstrations were being planned for Jan. 6 around Congress’s joint session to count the electoral votes.

That appeared to be a reference to early intelligence reports and warnings that began to circulate inside the Capitol Police on Dec. 14, which were evidently never shared widely enough to be acted upon.

But Ms. Pelosi’s aides say she was not briefed at the time about the threat, and the Senate’s joint report found that the warning signs were mixed at best until just days before the attack.

Senators — Republicans and Democrats alike — instead said the blame was with the Capitol Police and intelligence agencies for failing to properly assess and warn about the threats.




Biden Administration May Require Vaccinations for Federal Workers

President Biden said a mandate requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus was under consideration, reflecting concern over the spread of the Delta variant.

Reporter: “Will you require all federal employees to get vaccinated?” “That’s under consideration right now, but if you’re not vaccinated, you’re not nearly as smart as I thought you were.” Reporter: “Are you concerned that the C.D.C.’s new mask guidance could sow confusion?” “We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated, an they’re sowing enormous confusion, and the more we learn, the more we learn about this virus and the Delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And there’s only one thing we know for sure: If those other 100 million people got vaccinated, we’d be in a very different world. So get vaccinated and if you haven’t, you’re not nearly as smart as I said you were — thanks.”

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President Biden said a mandate requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus was under consideration, reflecting concern over the spread of the Delta variant.CreditCredit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is considering requiring all federal employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or be forced to submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel, officials said Tuesday — a major shift in approach by President Biden that reflects the government’s growing concern about the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that a vaccine mandate for all federal workers was under consideration, but did not provide details. Administration officials said the idea being debated was similar to a plan announced by New York City, which would require any of the city’s 300,000 employees who refuse to be vaccinated to submit to weekly testing.

Officials said there was no consideration of simply firing employees who refuse to get vaccinated, but that the government could add additional burdens or restrictions on those who do not get the protections in an effort to convince more people to get the shot in the first place. They said there was evidence that making life inconvenient for those who refuse the vaccine works reasonably well to increase vaccination rates.

Around the country, mayors, business leaders, hospital administrators and college presidents are requiring Covid-19 vaccinations, even for those who have refused to voluntarily roll up their sleeves. So far, Mr. Biden has resisted. He has not yet required all federal workers to be vaccinated. He has not ordered members of the military to get shots. And he has not used his bully pulpit to call for a broader use of vaccine mandates.

But the president’s stance may be shifting quickly.

Inside the West Wing, his top public health experts are furiously debating the right path forward, according to administration officials, as the Delta variant surges in places where there are high numbers of unvaccinated Americans, posing a special threat to children, older people, cancer patients and others with weakened immune systems.

The White House will begin requiring staff to wear masks again as Covid cases surge.
Credit…Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The White House is masking up again, just over two months after President Biden and senior government officials shed their face coverings in the biggest sign to date that the country was moving toward normalcy.

The shift came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday that people vaccinated against the coronavirus should resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces in parts of the country where the virus is surging, amid growing reports of breakthrough infections of the more contagious Delta variant among people who are fully immunized.

An email to the White House staff with instructions to begin wearing masks again indoors arrived at 5 p.m. on the dot, an hour after the C.D.C. updated its county data online. The new data moved Washington, D.C., from yellow to orange, indicating that it has a “substantial” level of community transmission, senior officials said.

Over the past week, the city had a seven-day average of 52 cases per day, a 148 percent increase from the average two weeks ago (not 52 cases per 100,000 residents, as an earlier post said).

“As a result, the White House will require all individuals — regardless of vaccination status — to wear a mask at all times when on campus,” according to the email, which was obtained by The New York Times. The new policy begins on Wednesday morning.

The email said that masks could be removed only when “alone in an office with a door that closes, or when eating or drinking and maintaining at least 8-10 feet of distance.” The new guidance represents a return to the stringent masking rules that defined the early months of the Biden administration, when staff members were prohibited from gathering in large groups and conducted most of their meetings in offices with the doors closed, on Zoom.

The email also noted that “the vast majority of those working on campus are fully vaccinated.”

The White House Correspondents Association quickly followed the administration’s example, emailing reporters who cover the White House and work in the building that it was “reimposing its mask requirement for all indoor spaces at the White House.”

Because Washington is one county, the new C.D.C. guidance pertains to the entire city. In contrast, the new C.D.C.’s guidance means that states where transmission of the virus is relatively high could issue county-by-county mask requirements.

Earlier in the day, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, delivered the daily press briefing without a mask, and members of her staff sat in the room with their faces uncovered. The majority of journalists in the room also did not wear masks.

“We will be prepared to wear masks again,” Ms. Psaki said earlier in the day, when asked how new C.D.C. guidelines would affect the president and his staff.

Members of the U.S. National Guard patrolled outside the Capitol building in Washington in March.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Senate Republicans and Democrats struck a deal on Tuesday on a $2.1 billion in emergency spending bill to pay for increased security and costs related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, as well as the evacuation to the United States of thousands of Afghans who helped American diplomats and troops during the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

The deal, negotiated by Senators Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama, the top lawmakers on the Appropriations Committee, came as officials with the Capitol Police, battered and demoralized in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 assault, have warned about running out of money in the coming weeks without congressional action.

Senators and aides involved in the negotiations confirmed the emerging deal as four police officers who survived the Jan. 6 riot finished testifying before a House committee about their experiences, and asked for additional resources and support as their colleagues continued to recover from the physical and mental toll of the riot.

“This bipartisan agreement addresses these critical needs, and it addresses them now because they cannot wait,” Mr. Leahy said in a statement announcing the agreement.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said he hoped to hold a vote on the bill this week.

“It is essential that we provide the National Guard and Capitol Police the funding they require without further delay,” Mr. Shelby said in a statement. “It is also critical that we not leave behind those who helped us in Afghanistan once President Biden fully withdraws U.S. troops later this year.”

Lawmakers have spent weeks privately negotiating over the spending bill. According to a summary released by Mr. Leahy, it would provide about $521 million to reimburse the National Guard for the months spent deployed on Capitol Hill and just over $100 million for the Capitol Police.

Funds for the Capitol Police include $31.1 million to backfill overtime incurred by officers; $4.4 million for mental health support, including the hiring of six mental health counselors and wellness resilience specialists; $5.8 million to protect lawmakers facing increased threats; and money for riot gear and specialized training.

It also includes $300 million for the Architect of the Capitol, the agency in charge of maintaining the complex, to increase security on Capitol Hill, including hardening windows and doors and installing new security cameras. The legislation also contains additional funds to address the toll of the coronavirus pandemic, with $42.1 million set aside for Capitol Police and other legislative branch agencies.

Senators also included about $1.1 billion for visas and refugee assistance for Afghans who assisted the United States during the war and now face retribution from the Taliban as American troops withdraw. Of those funds, the Pentagon would receive $500 million and the State Department would receive $600 million to help process special visas. The Department of Health and Human Services would receive $25 million to help with refugee settlement.

The legislation also includes changes to the special visa program to streamline the process and expand the number of authorized visas, in line with a House-passed bill that would increase the number to 19,000 from 11,000.

The House passed a $1.9 billion emergency funding bill in May, but it was opposed by Republicans who called it too costly and liberal Democrats who argued that more funding would not have prevented the Jan. 6 riot.

“I look forward to carefully reviewing the legislation,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, in a statement Tuesday evening. “We must not delay in meeting the needs of the Capitol Police, who were brutally attacked, and the National Guard, who bravely responded.”

Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, gave an incendiary speech on Jan. 6 just before the Capitol riot.
Credit…Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

The Justice Department declined on Tuesday to defend a congressional ally of former President Donald J. Trump in a lawsuit accusing them both of inciting supporters at a rally in the hours before the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

Law enforcement officials determined that Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, was acting outside the scope of his duties in an incendiary speech just before the attack, according to a court filing. Mr. Brooks had asked the department to certify that he was acting as a government employee during the rally; had it agreed to defend him, he would have been dismissed from the lawsuit and the United States substituted as a defendant.

The Justice Department’s decision shows it is likely to also decline to provide legal protection for Mr. Trump in the lawsuit.

The Brooks decision ran counter to the Justice Department’s longstanding broad view of actions taken in the scope of a federal employee’s employment, which has served to make it harder to use the courts to hold government employees accountable for wrongdoing.

In a letter to staff members at the State Department about a swastika found in one of the building’s elevators, Secretary Antony J. Blinken said: “Anti-Semitism is not a relic of the past. It has no place in the U.S., at the State Department or anywhere else."
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken sent a letter to employees of the State Department on Tuesday saying that a swastika was found this week in an elevator at the department’s headquarters in Washington.

Mr. Blinken said that the graffiti had been removed and that an investigation was ongoing. Mr. Blinken said the department had no tolerance for the hateful images and reiterated the administration’s stance against anti-Semitism. The memo was first reported by Axios.

“Anti-Semitism is not a relic of the past. It has no place in the U.S., at the State Department or anywhere else,” Mr. Blinken said. “To our Jewish colleagues please know how grateful we are for your service and how proud we are to be your colleagues.”

The memo came on the day that testimony began on Capitol Hill about the postelection riot on Jan. 6, when an angry mob shouting racist and anti-Semitic messages stormed the seat of government.

Mr. Blinken’s stepfather, Samuel Pisar, survived two concentration camps as a child, and as an adult worked to promote Holocaust awareness in Europe. Mr. Blinken has said Mr. Pisar’s story helped to influence his belief that the U.S. must confront bigotry and atrocity around the world.

Mr. Blinken participated in a Holocaust awareness ceremony in Germany last month, where he announced a joint U.S.-German program to support public education about the Nazi era.

In a statement, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, called the swastika “a serious incident of anti-Semitic vandalism, which once again shows that anti-Semitism does not distinguish between Jews in Israel and Jews in America, and harms not only Israel but the entire world.

“We must fight together resolutely against anti-Semitism of any kind,” the statement said, “and bring to justice anyone who acts out of hatred for the Jewish people.”

Michael Crowley contributed reporting.

Chuck Hoskin Jr., the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, attended a hearing in Washington on Tuesday as a witness in support of equal tribal citizenship for the Freedmen, the descendants of Black people enslaved by some tribes.
Credit…Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

Members of Congress on Tuesday threatened to withhold tens of millions of dollars in federal funding from four Native American tribes in Oklahoma, adding to renewed public pressure to end policies that discriminate against descendants of Black people who were enslaved by the tribes before the Civil War.

The House Financial Services Committee is considering adding a provision to a bill reauthorizing federal housing funds that would withhold some or all of those funds from tribes found in violation of their treaty obligations to these Black Native Americans, known as the Freedmen.

“For one minority group to discriminate against a minority group, as the chair of this committee, I don’t intend for it to stand,” said Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Ms. Waters is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and has used her influence to advance racial equality measures. She has also previously attempted to aid the Freedmen through provisions added in her committee.

The provision was discussed during a subcommittee hearing on the treatment of the Freedmen. Under Reconstruction-era treaties signed with the federal government in 1866, they had been enrolled as members of their tribes, but were expelled more than a century later by changes in tribal constitutions that added “by blood” requirements for citizenship: descent from non-Black tribal citizens who were on the Dawes Rolls of 1906, a census.

Freedmen were listed separately from “by blood” tribal members in the census.

The Native tribes now face pressure from two branches of government to recognize the Freedmen. The Biden administration has encouraged the tribes to voluntarily restore their citizenship and grant them equal rights. In May, Deb Haaland, the first Native American secretary of the Interior, addressed the Freedmen in Oklahoma and acknowledged their rights as citizens of the tribes that had enslaved their ancestors.

The Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), Cherokee, Seminole and Chickasaw nations, which originally inhabited the Southeast, purchased enslaved Black people as laborers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and took them along when the federal government forcibly moved the tribes in a deadly ordeal known as the “Trail of Tears.”

Of these five tribes, only the Cherokee Nation grants the Freedmen equal citizenship by law, meaning that the four other tribes would likely be considered to be in violation of their treaty obligations. These four tribes received a combined $27.7 million in housing funds from the federal government this year.

Chuck Hoskin Jr., the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, attended the hearing as a witness in support of equal citizenship for Freedmen in the other tribes. Mr. Hoskin has been a longtime supporter of the Freedmen, and presided over a change to the Cherokee Nation’s constitution in February that eliminated the “by blood” requirement for citizenship, the biggest step by a tribe so far to resolve the issue.

During the hearing, he declared that the Cherokee Nation’s enslavement of Black people, and efforts to discriminate against their descendants — abetted by previous tribal chiefs — were “a stain on the Cherokee Nation.”

“I offer both an apology on behalf of the Cherokee Nation for these actions, and more importantly, I offer a commitment to reconciliation,” Mr. Hoskin said.

But he urged the committee to not hold housing funding hostage over the issue.

“I don’t believe Congress should condition federal housing policy and dollars on this type of public policy,” Mr. Hoskin said. “I think it breeds antipathy. I don’t think it breeds understanding.”

Ms. Waters countered that the other tribes had opposed calls for equal rights for Freedmen for years, and that “they have no intentions of doing it.”

Marilyn Vann, a Cherokee citizen and president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association, presented accounts of Freedmen denied housing assistance and even Covid vaccinations by their tribes, and offered her support for congressional efforts to deny funding to tribes that continued to refuse full rights to the Freedmen.

“Many of the descendants of Freedmen today are impoverished and in need of housing,” Ms. Vann said, “as a result of past and current systemic racism.”

Two Native American tribes had said in May they would consider reversing the expulsion of their Freedmen. But those two, the Choctaw Nation and Muscogee (Creek) Nation, stopped short of a commitment to grant citizenship to the Freedmen, instead saying they would open discussions about the issue.

Witnesses can give “unrestricted testimony” to panels investigating the Jan. 6 attack, the Justice Department said in a letter this week.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The Justice Department notified former officials this week that they could testify to the various committees investigating the Trump administration’s efforts to subvert the results of the presidential election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to a letter obtained by The New York Times.

Witnesses can give “unrestricted testimony” to the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, the department said. Both panels are scrutinizing the bid by officials in the Trump White House to force the Justice Department to undermine President Biden’s victory, as well as the events leading up to the Capitol riot, as Congress convened to formally tally the electoral results.

The officials learned in May that they could provide information about how the department planned for and responded to the vote certification on Jan. 6, according to the letter. The department determines whether current or former officials can respond to requests for testimony on a case-by-case basis, and the letters to former officials leaves unclear whether the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot has made such a request.

The Justice Department’s decision runs counter to the views of former President Donald J. Trump, who has argued that his decisions and deliberations are protected by executive privilege. It also sets up a potential court battle if Mr. Trump sues to block any testimony, which would force the courts to determine the extent to which a former president can be protected by privilege.

Mr. Trump’s supporters have argued that a president cannot function if privilege can be taken away by a successor, exposing sensitive decision-making and opening up the previous administration to scrutiny. But others say that the matter is settled law, and that privilege does not apply to extraordinary circumstances.

In his last weeks in office, Mr. Trump pressured Justice Department officials to overturn the results of the election, asking them to examine claims of vote tampering that investigators said they had already determined to be false.

“Department lawyers, including those who have left the department, are obligated to protect nonpublic information they learned in the course of their work,” the department said in its letter, which was signed by Bradley Weinsheimer, a top career official in the deputy attorney general’s office.

“The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to Congress,” he wrote, noting that the information sought by Congress was directly related to the question of whether Mr. Trump tried to use the Justice Department to advance his “personal political interests.”

The department told former officials that they could provide unrestricted testimony “so long as the testimony is confined to the scope of the interviews set forth by the committees” and does not reveal grand-jury information, classified information or pending criminal cases.

The Senate Judiciary and the House Oversight and Reform Committees have asked a few Trump-era Justice Department officials to disclose the pressures they faced to undermine faith in the election outcome or seek to overturn it in the courts, as well as how the department responded to the Jan. 6 attack.

Those negotiations were effectively stalled as the Justice Department decided how much former officials were allowed to reveal. Many of their conversations and actions were potentially covered by privileges that the department has long protected to keep executive branch deliberations confidential.

The Justice Department decided to let former officials testify after consulting with the White House Counsel’s Office, given that such an authorization could force current and future administrations to publicly reveal deliberative information, according to its letter.

In an unusual move, the White House Counsel’s Office said that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege because of the topics that the committees wished to explore, the department told the former officials.

While Mr. Trump’s lawyers invoked executive privilege to keep the officials from testifying, the White House Counsel’s Office noted that precedent indicated that such privilege was meant to be a benefit to the country, rather than the president as an individual.

The Justice Department said in its letter that the decision was “unique to the facts and circumstances of this particular matter.”

Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the chairwoman of the House oversight committee, said she was pleased with the Justice Department’s move and that she expected “prompt cooperation from these witnesses.”

“I am committed to getting to the bottom of the previous administration’s attempts to subvert the Justice Department and reverse a free and fair election,” she said in a statement.

Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who leads the Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that he was working to schedule interviews with the officials.

The Justice Department is still sending the committee documents related to its inquiry, according to a committee aide. Documents sent to the congressional panels this summer revealed that Mr. Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, were pressuring Jeffrey A. Rosen, the acting attorney general, to investigate claims of election fraud that investigators had found to be baseless.

In January, Mr. Durbin opened an investigation into involvement by Justice Department officials in efforts to reverse Mr. Trump’s election loss. This spring, he asked the National Archives for communications and records related to meetings between the White House and the Justice Department concerning those efforts.

In parallel with the congressional inquiries, the Justice Department’s inspector general is examining how Mr. Trump and the White House pressured former department officials during their final days in office. Mr. Trump has argued that executive privilege prevents former officials from cooperating with the inspector general, but those officials are likely to consider the Justice Department’s contrary view in deciding whether to provide information.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the lead Democratic negotiator on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, met with President Biden on Tuesday.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

President Biden met with Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the lead Democratic negotiator on a bipartisan infrastructure deal, on Tuesday as talks between a group of senators and White House officials continue to hinge on a handful of unresolved disagreements over funding levels and how to finance the agreement.

The meeting, first reported by Politico and confirmed by two people familiar with the plans, is expected to center on the ongoing talks. Other senators involved in the talks expressed different degrees of optimism, but most said negotiations are likely to continue deeper into the week.

“If it takes a couple of extra days, fine,” said Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware, who is fighting for more funds for clean-water infrastructure. “At the end of the day, I think it’s just critically important to meet our priorities.”

The White House meeting comes more than a month after Mr. Biden, Ms. Sinema and nine other senators triumphantly announced a deal on a framework for $1.2 trillion in spending, with nearly $600 billion of that in new funding for roads, bridges, highways and broadband.

Time is running short for negotiators ahead of a scheduled August recess. Democratic leaders are determined to vote before the break not only on the bipartisan agreement on infrastructure, but also on a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint that will unlock the party’s ability to use the fast-track reconciliation process and advance the remainder of Mr. Biden’s economic agenda.

Top Senate Republicans, speaking at their weekly news conference on Tuesday, said they discussed the infrastructure negotiations during a party lunch. But they directed most of their public comments toward plans for the $3.5 trillion plan, deriding it as a reckless spending spree that would fuel inflation concerns.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, made it clear that the parties are still arguing over transit funding. “There are still some other broad issues as well,” she added, “and there are minor issues throughout.”

It is not at all clear what impact a collapse of the bipartisan talks would mean to the larger package. Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia and a negotiator, told reporters on Tuesday, “If the bipartisan deal falls apart, then I think everything falls apart.”

He and Ms. Sinema, both key moderates, have not yet publicly committed to advancing a reconciliation package while negotiating the bipartisan deal.

But most negotiators struck a far more optimistic tone. Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, said a deal is “absolutely” in reach.

Negotiators are still haggling over a number of unresolved items, including how much money to pour into transit programs. But after a round of finger-pointing between the two sides on Monday after Republicans panned the latest offer from Democrats, officials in both parties appeared more optimistic about the possibility for a deal.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, on Tuesday continued to warn that lawmakers would have to work through the weekend to finalize the deal. Lawmakers have said they will likely try to wrap the new funding for infrastructure projects into the budget blueprint should the bipartisan talks collapse.

“We’re not there yet, but we’re making process,” Mr. Schumer said at his weekly news conference. “The number of issues has been narrowed significantly.”

Pressed repeatedly on the timing of a final agreement, he reiterated that he was optimistic about the chances for a deal and did not commit to a hard deadline for ending negotiations.

Andrea Dick poses for a portrait outside her home in Roselle Park, N.J., on July 19.
Credit…Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

A New Jersey woman can leave up several banners that use what local officials called an obscenity to express her hostility toward President Biden, a state court ruled on Tuesday.

“I feel amazing,” Andrea Dick, 54, said after the Superior Court of New Jersey dismissed the case, which was brought against her mother, Patricia Dilascio, who owns the home in Roselle Park, where the banners have hung since the Memorial Day weekend.

The ruling came after Ms. Dick enlisted the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey to fight a municipal judge’s order that she take the banners off a fence outside the house where she lives with her mother or face $250 a day in fines.

The A.C.L.U. hailed the court’s action as an “uncomplicated” victory for free speech.

In a statement, Jarrid H. Kantor, the borough attorney, said Roselle Park stood by the summons and agreed with Judge Bundy’s decision.

“However,” Mr. Kantor continued, “the borough feels that the continued attention garnered by the inappropriate display and the escalating costs to the taxpayers of continuing to litigate the matter causes far greater harm to the borough, as a whole, than good.”

The mayor, of Roselle Park, Joseph Signorello III, called it a “moral loss” for the borough.

Migrant families waiting to be taken into custody after crossing the southern border into Texas earlier this month.
Credit…Paul Ratje/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As the Biden administration continues to grapple with high numbers of migrant families streaming across the southwestern border, efforts taken earlier this year to relieve overcrowding at border stations are resulting in the unintended release of thousands of undocumented migrants into the country, some of whom are off the radar of immigration enforcement officers.

The situation has fueled Republican attacks on the administration for what they have declared a crisis on the border.

Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, fielded questions about those border policies, and the department’s funding request for the coming year, as he testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

During the hearing, the White House released a summary of all of the administration’s immigration policies, including plans to have asylum officers determine cases in order to more quickly address the flow without adding significantly to the backlog of about a million cases. In addition, migrant families who do not claim asylum will be sent back to their home countries. The administration also highlighted its use of a special court docket to prioritize certain asylum cases.

In March, Border Patrol agents in Texas cut in half the amount of time agents typically take to enter an undocumented migrant into the immigration court system. They did this by using a document not recognized by the courts that directs migrants to report to an immigration office within 60 days to be officially entered into the immigration court system.

Homeland security officials are now finding that many of the migrants who received this alternate document have missed the reporting window, leaving about 15,000 migrants — most of whom entered the country with family members — somewhere in the United States and largely under the radar of immigration enforcement officials, according to internal data shared with The New York Times.

Since March 19, when the new policy began, Border Patrol agents have issued these documents to about 50,000 migrants, the department said. That is compared to about 63,000 official charging documents the Border Patrol has issued between March and June, according to government data. Of the 50,000, the department said that as of July 16, 70 percent of the migrants have either checked in or are still within the 60-day window to do so. That leaves 15,000 migrants who have missed their 60-day window.

“The document an individual receives is dependent on facility space and resources available to process,” Marsha Espinosa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement Monday night. She said even with the alternate document, agents continue to run background checks and collect fingerprints and other information. She said many of the migrants who received these documents have been reaching out to ICE and checking in.

Immigrant advocates and legal advisers have said they are telling the migrant families to follow the instructions and check in with ICE regardless of which document they were handed by Border Patrol.

Still overwhelmed, Border Patrol agents continue to issue about 800 of the documents a day, according to the data shared with The Times.

Most of the migrant families have been arriving in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. Last week, a spokeswoman for Good Neighbor Settlement House, a soup kitchen in Brownsville, said the organization helped 268 migrants in one day, up from an average of 45 to 55 a day in June. “We are definitely seeing an increase,” she said.

Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, said the surge in migrants crossing into the country through the Rio Grande Valley comes as more Border Patrol agents are testing positive for Covid-19. He said one of the main nonprofit organizations that has been helping to provide shelter and support for migrants after they are released from Border Patrol has stopped accepting more people as of Monday, as cases in the region are on the rise.

More than half of the traffic on the southern border between February and June has been in Texas, where families and children from Central America have been entering the country in high numbers, according to Border Patrol data.

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott, Republican of Texas, directed law enforcement officials to start arresting migrants for trespassing to address illegal immigration.

“Texas has begun arresting illegal immigrants who are trespassing in Texas or vandalizing property & fences,” Mr. Abbott said in a Twitter post on Wednesday. He said the migrants were being sent to a detention center in Dilley, “rather than being released like the Biden Admin. has been doing.”

If the administration continues to use the alternate document while border stations see high numbers of migrants crossing illegally into the country, the number of undocumented immigrants living under the radar will continue to increase, Joseph Edlow, an immigration attorney and former deputy director for policy at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Trump administration, said in an interview on Monday.

“To use this in the way that it’s being used is akin to ending immigration enforcement and making it clear that the onus is essentially on the individual to report themselves if they want to,” Mr. Edlow said of the alternate document. The migrants who have legitimate asylum claims, for example, are not benefiting from the policy, either, he said. “It’s almost like a legal purgatory, where there is really nothing going on because they’re not legally here,” he said.

Miriam Jordan contributed reporting from Los Angeles.

Celebrating President Biden’s election victory in Philadelphia in November.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

For years, Latino activists and organizers complained that Democratic efforts to woo their community often seemed like an afterthought, a motley collection of Spanish-language advertisements, haphazardly translated campaign literature and a handful of outreach staff members tacked on to campaigns.

But after last year’s election, when Republicans peeled away significant amounts of Latino support across the country, Democratic leaders are trying a more aggressive approach.

Led by a White House that recruited top Latino organizers to high-level staff positions, and with the first lady, Jill Biden, taking a particular interest in reaching out to Latino voters, the new effort bridges the party, encompassing policy, communications and political organizing.

The efforts reflect how vital Latino voters are to the party’s success, but also the extent of the work needed to win back a group that makes up nearly 20 percent of the population. Democrats have long viewed these voters — a diverse group that includes dozens of countries of origin and a wide range of socioeconomic status — as a mostly monolithic bloc that could be taken for granted, operating as though the most important factor was simply turnout; if Latino voters cast ballots, the reasoning went, they will vote Democratic.

But 2020, with a record 18.7 millions ballots cast by Latino voters, proved just how wrong that theory was. Though roughly 60 percent chose President Biden, the movement toward President Donald J. Trump plunged Democrats into a period of soul-searching.

The Democratic Party is now trying to use data to better understand Latino voters, and to try to develop a more granular understanding of how different national backgrounds, economic status and other factors change voting behavior.

Senator Michael B. Enzi during a Senate Budget Committee hearing in 2015.
Credit…Drew Angerer for The New York Times

Michael B. Enzi, a long-serving United States senator from Wyoming who had a reputation as a low-key, consensus-seeking conservative and who led the Senate Budget Committee for several years before he retired in January, died on Monday, days after a bicycle accident. He was 77.

A former spokesman, Max D’Onofrio, confirmed Mr. Enzi’s death in a statement.

Mr. Enzi sustained serious injuries while riding a bicycle near his home in Gillette, Wyo., on Friday, Mr. D’Onofrio said. He was airlifted to the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, in Loveland, Colo., where he remained unconscious and was not able to recover from his injuries, Mr. D’Onofrio said.

Mr. Enzi was consistently conservative. He voted against marriage equality and abortion rights, and he regularly defended the energy industry, supporting off-shore drilling and opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other public lands to private oil companies. But he also sought compromise at times, and he occasionally opposed members of his own party — as when he supported efforts to impose a uniform tax on interstate commerce online.

He served four terms in office, overwhelmingly winning re-elections. He easily fended off a primary challenge in 2014 from Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, despite her national name recognition and greater fund-raising ability.

In May 2019, Mr. Enzi became the fourth senator to announce his intention to step down ahead of the 2020 election. His seat, in a state that Mr. Trump won by 43 points in last year’s election, remained in Republican hands. It was won by Cynthia Lummis, a Republican who was the only woman to have been newly elected to the Senate last year.

Lincoln House, the former U.S. consulate in Mumbai. For unknown reasons the Indian government has blocked the sale of the mansion to the Poonawala family.
Credit…Atul Loke for The New York Times

MUMBAI — Earlier this year, when Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was up for confirmation in Washington, he was hit with a strange question about a piece of property 8,000 miles away on the Arabian Sea.

Lincoln House, a former maharajah’s palace and U.S. consulate in Mumbai, was supposed to have been sold six years ago for $110 million. Ever since, the United States has been trying to transfer the property to one of the richest families in India, now among the major makers of Covid-19 vaccines, but for unknown reasons the Indian government has been blocking it.

The dispute is “an unnecessary irritant in bilateral ties,” Senator James E. Risch said in a written question to Mr. Blinken during the confirmation hearing. “Do you commit to making the resolution of the Lincoln House issue a priority with India, and to directing the U.S. Ambassador to India to do the same?”

“Yes,” Mr. Blinken said, and this week he will have a chance to prove his word.

On Tuesday, he is scheduled to arrive in India for his first trip to the country as secretary of state, and congressional and administration officials say he intends to bring up this moldering mansion that is becoming something of a diplomatic black hole.

Mr. Blinken has a full plate. He will be trying to quickly cover everything from cybersecurity, human rights and climate change to Covid assistance, the impending peril in Afghanistan and an elusive trade deal that could mean billions of dollars of new business for India and America, if it ever gets signed.

But Lincoln House has become an unexpected obstacle. High-level diplomatic correspondence reveals how much attention this single property has consumed, laying bare some of the tortuous twists and turns of the U.S.-India relationship, which many American officials hope will become their cornerstone in Asia.

Meanwhile, Lincoln House still sits unsold, its high walls crumbling, paint chipping off, rust streaks running down to the sidewalk, an American-owned eyesore. A rambling, haunted-looking, cream-colored building, it lies in one of Mumbai’s most desirable enclaves — Breach Candy — just a stone’s throw from where soft waves tumble into the shore.