Riot shields, rifles and naps: Photos show National Guard filling Capitol as impeachment hearings begin

Christal Hayes

Nicholas Wu

Ryan W. Miller
 
| USA TODAY

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How rioters passed police lines and gained access to the Capitol

How rioters passed police lines and gained access to the Capitol

Ramon Padilla and Stephen J. Beard, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – The District of Columbia National Guard was on hand at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as the House moves forward with hearings on impeaching President Donald Trump.

A tall metal fence surrounded the building as dozens of National Guardsmen stood at the perimeter cradling their rifles. Police officers and large dump trucks obstructed intersections for blocks surrounding the building, a stark contrast to security in the area last week when a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

Inside, the parts of the Capitol open to tourists instead were home to sleeping National Guardsmen – some of whom used camouflage blankets to block the sun coming in through the window.

Lawmakers, staff and members of the press tip-toed past the snoozing guardsmen, including some who were snoring. Groups of troops made a home in the massive rotunda and near two entrances of the building, including an entrance typically used by the president-elect on inauguration day but was targeted by rioters last week.

Live impeachment updates: Heightened security at Capitol as House reconvenes to debate Trump impeachment

The remnants of last week’s attack, which left five people dead, could be seen throughout the building. Plywood covered several windows on the first floor of the building where pro-Trump protesters broke in. In the basement, a large memorial was erected to thank Capitol Police for their service. Flowers, along with large and colorful posters from lawmakers, staff and children lined the walls of an underground tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol to House office buildings.

“Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid,” reads one poster from 8-year-old Syd in Virginia.

“We are forever indebted to our Capitol Police officers for making the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. Thank you for keeping us safe,” reads another message from Rep. Nancy Mace’s office.

Here are some striking images from the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday:

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