Podcast Extra: I Was at the Capitol When the Siege Began. I Was Threatened for Being a Reporter.

Listen as our reporter recounts what it was like to watch the barricades fall.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier outside the Capitol on Wednesday.John Minchillo/AP

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On Wednesday, a mob of Trump supporters surged toward the US Capitol as the Senate was debating certification of Joe Biden’s election win. “No one gets out alive, not today!” a man brandishing a Trump flag shouted, according to MoJo reporter Matt Cohen, who was there when the barricades fell and the insurgency began in earnest.

“I remember hearing people shouting just before they took the first barrier, ‘This is it! We’re putting our lives on the line for this! No one gets out alive!” Matt tells Jamilah King, on a special edition of the Mother Jones Podcast. “I think it’s safe to say that a good number of the people there thought this their war, that this is the beginning of a battle for them.”

The rioters scaled the walls, smashed windows, and ran through the Capitol, ransacking and looting as they went, forcing unprepared police officers to issue tear gas and lockdown orders. Five people died. The Capitol rotunda was left littered with broken glass, as American democracy itself reeled from a spasm of extremist violence.

Having covered many protests over the years, Matt says this one was different: “This really felt like the first time that if I had been wearing my press badge, especially when things got hairy, I would have been a target.”

Listen to Matt share his firsthand account with our listeners below:

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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