WASHINGTON — Two years ago, a mob of rioters who believed former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election viciously assaulted police, smashed out windows, stormed into an office, flipped over a giant conference table and barricaded themselves inside the U.S. Capitol, readying themselves for a fight with police inside a suite of "hideaway" offices for senators.
One of the offices, federal prosecutors recently disclosed, belonged to Republican Jim Risch, the 79-year-old junior senator from Idaho, where Trump is tremendously popular.
Video shows a rioter — who has pleaded guilty to driving a stun gun into a police officer's neck, nearly killing him — smashing out Risch's window overlooking the Washington Monument and the national mall in an attempt to let more rioters into the building. Additional video released this week shows Risch's trashed desk, including what looks like a framed campaign image bearing his last name.
A review of Risch's public statements on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot show no indication that he has ever mentioned what happened to his office that day. Asked this week about his office's being trashed and told about the new video of rioters in his hideaway, Risch demurred.
“I don't do interviews on Jan. 6, but thanks," Risch said.
Asked again whether he had a response to the newly released video, the senator said only: “Thanks for asking.”
His office didn’t respond to follow-up emails seeking comment on his hideaway office being raided by pro-Trump rioters.
On the evening of Jan. 6, after the rioters were cleared out of the Capitol, Risch voted to certify President Joe Biden’s victory and condemned the attack as “unpatriotic and un-American in the extreme.”
He added in a statement that evening: “We are grateful to the law enforcement officers that placed themselves in harm’s way and kept those working at the Capitol safe today. I was proud to join my colleagues and reconvene at the Capitol tonight to prove that mob rule never prevails.”
Earlier that day, video shows, a remarkable and disturbing scene unfolded inside three rooms: ST2M, ST4M and ST6M, which is part of a two-level suite of offices overlooking the western terrace. Rioters entered on the mezzanine level through a window after fighting their way up the stage that had been set up for Biden's inauguration. An FBI affidavit in a recent case disclosed that the office, ST4M, “was assigned to Senator James Risch on January 6, 2021.”
Daniel "D.J." Rodriguez, seen in other Jan. 6 video driving a stun gun into the neck of Officer Michael Fanone of the Metropolitan Police Department, is seen in the new video inside the office suite around the time first responders were rushing Fanone to the hospital after he lost consciousness.
Realizing rioters were inside the building, officers who had been fighting at the adjacent tunnel where some of the most violent scenes of Jan. 6 took place rushed over to the door that led into the office suite and stacked whatever items they could find to block the rioters from creating a new entry point into the Capitol, recently released body camera video shows.
In his admitted statement of offense, Rodriguez said that he had used several objects to try to smash Risch's window before telling other rioters that he had used a stun gun on Fanone's neck.
"Omg I did so much f---ing s--- rn and got away tell you later," Rodriguez wrote in a Patriots 45 MAGA Gang Telegram group after leaving Risch's office. "Tazzed the f--- out of the blue."
The new video featuring Risch's office was introduced as evidence in the case against one of Rodriguez's co-defendants, Ed Badalian, who had his case heard at a bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson.
Gina Bisignano, another Capitol riot defendant who testified in the case as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, said under oath that rioters had defecated in one of the offices adjacent to Risch's on Jan. 6.
Many in the Republican Party have been hesitant to speak plainly and clearly about what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6. After Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired deceptively edited video that made the Capitol attack seem less severe, some Senate Republicans condemned the false portrayal.
“I think that breaking through glass windows and doors to get into the United States Capitol against the borders of police is a crime," Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said. "I think particularly when you come into the chambers, when you start opening the members’ desks, when you stand up in their balcony — to somehow put that in the same category as, you know, permitted peaceful protest is just a lie."