Lindsey Graham told police to shoot 6 January rioters on the spot, report says

‘We give you guns for a reason. Use them’

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 01 November 2021 15:54
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Senator Lindsey Graham allegedly asked Capitol Hill Police to fire on protesters on 6 January

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Republican senator Lindsey Graham reportedly told law enforcement officials to fire on rioters who breached the Capitol on 6 January.

A three-part investigation by The Washington Post reconstructed the events that transpired before, during and after the attack on Capitol Hill.

On Sunday the second part of the Post’s investigation, titled Bloodshed, was released. The piece detailed the events inside and outside the Capitol during the attack and showed how lawmakers were taken to safety or evacuated once rioters stormed the building.

At 2.19pm on 6 January, when rioters were reportedly already inside, Senate and House leaders had been evacuated and taken to an undisclosed location, said the report.

But many lawmakers stayed back in their chambers before they were taken to safety. It was during this time that the Republican Senator from South Carolina allegedly asked US Capitol Hill police personnel to use their guns against the mob.

“Lindsey O Graham was irate that senators were forced to flee their own chamber,” said the report.

“He yelled at the Senate sergeant-at-arms. ‘What are you doing? Take back the Senate! You’ve got guns. Use them.’ The South Carolina senator was adamant. ‘We give you guns for a reason,’ he repeated. ‘Use them.’”

The report also said that around an hour into the attack, Mr Graham was one of several Republican senators who tried to get through to Donald Trump to convince him to get his supporters to retreat.

Mr Graham reportedly called Ivanka Trump and told her that “this thing is going south”.

“Graham, the South Carolina senator who was one of Trump’s closest friends in Congress, called Ivanka Trump repeatedly with suggestions for what the president should say. ‘You need to get these people out of here,’ he told the president’s daughter. ‘This thing is going south. This is not good. You’re going to have to tell these people to stand down. Stand down’,” the report said.

Mr Trump had direct warnings of the risks, according to the report. But he stood by for more than three hours before asking his supporters to go home.

He was persuaded to film a video at the White House in which he told the rioters “We love you, you’re very special”, adding: “I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace.”

It was also reported that there were warning signs hours before the riot, but these signs did not lead to a heightened security response.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was later forced to improvise a plan to take back control of the building, the report said.

A spokesperson for Mr Trump told the Post that the newspaper’s investigation was “fake news” and said that those who had marched to Capitol Hill were “agitators not associated with [former] President Trump”.

The 6 January attack was one of the darkest hours in the recent history of American democracy. Rioters, mostly comprising of Mr Trump’s supporters, marched from a rally for the former president to Capitol Hill to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The attack left at least five people dead and several hundreds injured.

Later on 6 January, after rioters had been cleared from the chambers, lawmakers gathered to finish certifying Joe Biden’s victory, at which point Sen Lindsey distanced himself from Mr Trump, saying they had had “a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh, my God, I hate it”.

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