LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Southern Nevada’s congressional delegation was among the hundreds of congresspeople and their staff who hid in their offices or inside a U.S. Capitol bunker during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The 8 News Now I-Team spoke with Nevada Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen to mark the one-year anniversary of the Capitol attack.
Rosen was in her office and was planning to head to the Senate Chamber as the electoral votes were being counted.
She happened to have the TV on, which was showing live images of the Capitol break-in.
“Having the television on saved my life,” Rosen said. “I would have been going down to the Capitol and coming up the elevator just about the time the Senate was breached, and I shudder to think what would have happened.”
After several hours and as reinforcements moved in, police finally got control of the crowd, allowing Congress to finish its job of certifying the election.
Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto recalled this when she spoke to the I-Team on Jan. 7, 2021. As rioters broke in, every senator shared a common thought: “We’re going back and doing our job. They’re not going to stop us.”
Cortez Masto was on the floor of the U.S. Senate when armed protesters breached the building. The senator was about to give a speech about the validity of the election when everything suddenly stopped.
“They said, ‘move, move, move,’ and they opened the doors on the other side of the chambers, and they moved all of us out,” Cortez Masto said. “It’s one of those things where your adrenaline is going, you’re hearing all this information, you’re just going and moving. It wasn’t until we got to our secure location, and they started giving us briefings, and then we started to be able to see what was going on around us, because you know, you’re inside, you can’t see how they are breaching the Capitol.”
Cortez Masto shared photos of the aftermath, showing a disheveled and looted office.
Democratic Rep. Susie Lee was in her office when rioters stormed the building.
“It was very scary,” Lee told 8 News Now while in a secure location during the lockdown. “Not only were you seeing our Capitol being overwhelmed on TV across the street, but then knowing there were other instances that were requiring some attention, and not knowing if someone could have breached the building that I was in.”
Some members of Congress sheltered in place while others were moved to a secure location in the basement, sources told the I-Team. No member of Congress was injured.
The vast complex includes several office buildings on either side of the Capitol for members of Congress and their staff. Lee was in her office, watching what was unfolding.
About six hours after the incident began, Congress got back to work, counting the vote.
Nevada’s delegation issued statements calling for those who organized and took part in the insurrection to be held accountable.
“Despite the lies from some of my Republican colleagues, we know the insurrectionists did not come to the Capitol to protest peacefully,” Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford said in a statement. “Their goal was to invalidate the votes of their fellow Americans, overthrow a democratic election, and install a tyrant as the leader of the free world.”
“This assault serves as a reminder that our democracy is not guaranteed–it requires us all to protect and preserve it,” Democratic Rep. Dina Titus tweeted. “We must continue to conduct a full and fair accounting of what occurred that day to ensure that this never happens again.”
No widespread election fraud has been found in the United States.
A review at the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office found that of the two dozen votes under review, one ended in a guilty plea last year.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who oversees elections, is a Republican. Her party censured her for defending the election, which she oversaw.
Republican Nevada Assemblywoman Annie Black attended Trump’s Stop the Steal rally and was near the Capitol. Democrats had called for her to resign after identifying her as one of at least 13 Republican state lawmakers who were at the Capitol that day.
Black told 8 News Now she was far away from the group that swarmed the Capitol.
She acknowledged she attended the “Stop the Steal” demonstration, but said: “… Thanks to a small contingent of boneheads, who accomplished nothing more than undermining the 99% of us who were there for the sole purpose of shining the light on real problems with how the 2020 elections were conducted, things went tragically wrong.”
In late January 2021, the FBI in Nevada took two men into custody for their alleged roles in the insurrection.