Publisher's Note: Thank you to these five concerned citizens who provided their candid and first-person perspectives about a day that many would have live in infamy. Below are short bios on each participant, followed by each person's response to our 12 questions. [Related: One Year Later: Media and Congressional Political Agendas Continue to Gaslight the Increasingly Implausible January-6-Was-an-Insurrection Narrative]
Clyde Cleveland was the Iowa Libertarian candidate for Governor in 2002 when he also published the book Restoring the Heart of America. In 2007, Clyde published “Common Sense Revisited,” a modern-day tribute to Thomas Paine's original. Learn more about Clyde at CommonSenseRevisited.com.
Corey Eib is a California native, photographer, small business owner, and, along with Reader publisher Todd McGreevy, co-hosted and co-produced the podcast Agenda31 from 2013 to 2017. More info at Agenda31.org.
Jason Bermas is a documentary filmmaker who recently moved to the Iowa Quad Cities from New York. His films Loose Change, Fabled Enemies, Invisible Empire, and more have been watched by tens of millions. Jason generates new content daily at Rokfin.com and his coverage of January 6 is available at RCReader.com/y/bermas4, and RCReader.com/y/bermas5.
Pat Miletich lives in Scott County, Iowa, and is a former UFC world champion, Hall of Fame inductee, coach of 12 world champions, and has 25 years of training law enforcement and military personnel. Pat has 15 years broadcasting experience on Showtime, ESPN, and AXS TV.
Sarah Ford is a mother of three and a freelance reporter with 13 years of work in print media. She lives in rural Rock Island County and enjoys life on a farm, traveling, and rock-hounding.
1) What motivated or inspired you to go to D.C. on January 6, 2021?
Clyde Cleveland: I have never been more disgusted in my life by the obvious voter fraud in the 2020 election. That was clearly my number-one motivation to attend the rally in D.C. I also wanted to show my support to President Trump for all the deep-state attempts to destroy his presidency.
Corey Eib: I knew this was going to be a large event and something potentially historical. I’ve seen pictures of past rallies in D.C. that showed huge crowds, and I always wondered what it would be like to be at an event with so many people.
Jason Bermas: Many aspects of the election and the media coverage, even before Trump, but especially with Trump, were not only disingenuous but extremely corrupt. It was something I knew I had to go cover. I knew it was going to be historic. Whitney Webb and I discussed the possibility of false flags or the demonization of people who attended. She warned me not to go. With today's climate there was no doubt I was going to cover this.
Pat Miletich: Conversations with two Quad Cities' friends. We felt that something historic was going to take place because election integrity was being violated. I did not go in support of Donald Trump. Not one of us wore a single thread of Trump clothing.
Sarah Ford: When Trump announced the “Stop the Steal” rally, I was hoping I could go, though I didn’t have extra cash for a trip at that time. When I woke up on January 1 with stimulus funds in my bank account, I decided to answer this “calling” I felt to go to D.C. I’m also a freelance journalist and figured something historic could happen, but I had no expectations.
2) What was the particular rally, speaker, or event that you wanted to attend if any?
Clyde Cleveland: The morning event with all the speakers.
Corey Eib: I wasn’t there to actually listen to any particular speaker. In fact, I really couldn’t hear the presenters from where I was near the Washington Monument. The public address system just didn’t have the capability to reach that far.
Jason Bermas: None. I wanted to be in D.C. to get a feel for everything going on. The main event was at the Ellipse. I didn't even know I would be going to the Capitol. There were events all over and people were talking about the event that actually had a permit behind the Capitol that was going on after Trump's speech. I was at the main area in the Ellipse before security. This was the event most of the people were there for.
Pat Miletich: We just wanted to witness the crowd and take in the atmosphere. We listened to Trump talk for five minutes and then left to walk to the Capitol while he was still talking.
Sarah Ford: I wanted to see Trump, and I was proudly there in my long blue tie-dyed skirt with crystals and homegrown sage in my coat pockets. I’m an Independent, tired of the D.C. swamp, and that’s why I like Trump. He exposed the corruption and hypocrisy of D.C., and he worked for the American people – for free!
3) What message did you want to send, and to whom, with your presence in D.C. that day?
Clyde Cleveland: We need to support honest elections and support the first president in my lifetime that was a real businessman and not a politician bought and paid for by lobbyists.
Corey Eib: Before the event, I had read that the purpose was to hear a number of speakers including the President, then walk to the Capitol building. The crowd would then make a lot of noise while walking around the capitol to let Congress know of the amount of dissatisfaction with questions about the election. I was fine participating in that, as I felt there was enough election irregularities reported that Congress should not certify the election until further legal process was done to ensure the accuracy of the vote.
Jason Bermas: I am there to cover it, but at the same time I want full accountability. And this isn't about right and left. I want one person, one vote, audits, and a real electoral system of checks and balances. I want a justice system. And if we don't have free and fair elections on any level and you can gaslight the public and then criminalize the public for thinking a certain way afterward it becomes extremely dangerous.
Pat Miletich: I actually care about my children's freedoms I should be present and do something and take part in the process. There's a lot wrong with our freedoms being stripped for decades and this has gone far enough with recent election-integrity issues.
Sarah Ford: My message was to the D.C. swamp – the crooked career politicians, the fake news, the liars and deceivers, the cheaters and projectors. Everything they accuse Trump of doing, they actually do. We know they cheated, they know we know they cheated, and they’re scared and showing it.
4) Where did you spend most of your time and how many attendees do you estimate were on hand?
Clyde Cleveland: Most of our time was spent at the morning rally. I have solid video proof that there were over 2 million attendees.
Corey Eib: I spent the first half of the day near the Washington Monument, then when the speaking portion of the event was over, I walked to the Capitol building and walked one complete loop around the building counter clockwise. I would guess there were at least 400,000 people there. By far, it was the largest crowd I have even seen.
Jason Bermas: I went from the Ellipse all the way through the Trump speech. The initial things happening at the Capitol had already started to take place … people were leaving as Trump was speaking, which is very odd. I am not saying everyone who left was an FBI provocateur, but it certainly seems like there was a movement to get those people there before Trump was even done. And there was really not a large police presence. You could safely say there were a hundred thousand people there. I don't know if a million people were in D.C. that day. You'd have to go to the official numbers. But certainly tens of thousands. And I was amongst what felt like at least ten thousand people at the Capitol itself.
Pat Miletich: We spent part of our time by the Washington Monument early on and then we walked down to the Capitol. We were at the front of the crowds at the barricades at the bottom of the hill by the Capitol building. We stayed there for hours and when the barricades were moved and the mass crowds went up the hill to the Capitol, we shook our heads and said there's something too obvious about this and did not follow the masses up to the Capitol. There was at least 500,000 people and more likely one million people in attendance.
Sarah Ford: The first few hours were spent near the White House and Washington Monument, just watching the crowds and waiting for Trump’s speech. There had to be a quarter of a million people, at least. After Trump’s speech, we started walking along Constitution Ave. When we got to the Capitol, the crowd was massive, so we stopped by the reflecting pool. I heard a couple booms and not long after, the emergency vehicles started sounding. I needed food and a phone charge, so we walked half a mile to Ollie’s Trolley, one of a handful of places open that day. It was here that I found out what was going on at the Capitol and, being a reporter, we walked back to the Capitol, arriving at 4:17 p.m. and staying until six when curfew went into effect. The militarized police were also showing up, so it was definitely time to go.
5) How would you describe the atmosphere or general vibe amongst those in attendance?
Clyde Cleveland: It was a true love fest and the feeling level was ineffable. It was love of family, love of country, love of freedom. Most of us were experiencing spontaneous tears of joy all morning long.
Corey Eib: It was a concerned but happy vibe. People were very friendly and polite. The mayor of D.C. had ordered bathroom facilities closed, and banned selling food to people staying in D.C. for less than a week. I saw people sharing food, water, etc., and there were no supplies for people. There were far to few trash cans provided, and the few that the City did provide were quickly filled. People were very conscientious and placed trash near the cans in one location. This is were I saw what appeared to be a news producer kicking trash that had been stacked near the can so a more dramatic video shot could be taken.
Jason Bermas: It felt mostly like a concert. There were so many grandmas, moms and dads, and blue-collar people. You look around and yes, there's a lot of Trump stuff and Americana, but the media always try to make it about the Confederate flag. It certainly wasn't one of hate. It was almost a party-like atmosphere by the time I had got to the Capitol and ventured up the stairs. I can't speak to the people that first encountered the police and got violent or the people that went into the Capitol. If you look at the publicly available footage even the people that went into the Capitol are extremely peaceful. The idea that this was a “violent insurrection” in any way is absolutely laughable. The only person that was shot and killed was Ashlee Babbitt and she was unarmed and in no way, shape, or form should have had force like that used against her, especially with no warning. The fact that that shooter was not revealed and not only not prosecuted but exonerated by the media is grotesque.
Pat Miletich: The whole thing was like a love fest. There were Chinese-Americans, there were Latin-Americans and African-Americans. It was a huge diverse mix of cultures. There were even people there from Israel that I spoke to.
Sarah Ford: It was epic and amazing! There was such a positivity early in the day, and it’s shameful that attendees have since been demonized. We had as much a right to protest as any other protest that’s ever happened in D.C. There was just a sea of patriotic people – all ages, races, and backgrounds – with signs and flags and good vibes. I got videos of the “QAnon Shaman” in two different locations before Trump’s speech, I couldn’t believe that he became the face of the “insurrection.” I also smoked up in front of the White House with E-Dawg from New York City. That’s a cool memory.
6) If you've been to one or more other rallies in D.C., how was this one the most different from the other(s)?
Clyde Cleveland: I have not been to previous rallies in D.C.
Corey Eib: I’ve never been to any other rallies in D.C.
Jason Bermas: Only the impact after the fact. Anybody who committed a crime that day should be charged with that crime. It's not no bail, it's not solitary confinement. It's not you tried to take over the government. That's all laughable. The publicity after the fact. As far as the amount of people, I 've been to rallies in D.C. and G8 rallies in Pennsylvania and New York City rallies. Not much of a different feel. The slogans were a bit different. I was immersed in MAGA land. For me, it was a mixture of people who were fed up with people who believe in superheroes and fantasies and Trump could do no wrong, and other people who want to trust a plan that was not there and the Q-anonsense. It was a hodgepodge. But at the same time, it's a good feeling to be amongst a bunch of people who want accountability and do truly want the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, even if they might be a little naïve or ignorant on some of the issues.
Pat Miletich: Never been to any rally in D.C. before. This rally seemed like Americans were uniting in a very peaceful way over what we believe is about as corrupt a government you can get.
Sarah Ford: I was at the Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on October 30, 2010, with a group from the Quad Cities. I was more of a liberal at that point, but we were protesting the same idea: the D.C. swamp. It still baffles me that the left is so into “trusting the government” now when I witnessed their anger against the system back then.
7) Describe any encounter(s) you had with attendees who were encouraging you and/or others to enter the capitol building.
Clyde Cleveland: I didn’t see anything strange going on. It was just a big Love Fest. President Trump was the last speaker and he went through all the major fraudulent findings that we knew happened from eyewitnesses, cameras, and written testimony. He emphasized how important it was for all Americans to demand audits and demand that their state legislatures investigate all credible claims of the fraud that had occurred. I remember him saying that if you go to the capitol building, be peaceful and let them see your signs so they get the message that people of this country want honest elections. He never in any way encouraged people to break into the Capitol building or do anything violent or disrespectful. We all walked toward the Capitol and enjoyed the fellowship and meeting people from all over the country. The crowd broke up to some degree because it was getting windy and cold. When we got to about half a mile from the capitol building, we stopped and did not go further. We all had the feeling that it might not be wise to move closer. I left the group for a while and walked closer to the Capitol and then saw something very interesting. A fleet of what looked like brand-new vans that each held about 12 people drove up all in a line. I saw the drivers get out and they were in uniforms. I couldn't tell whether they were city police, federal, or private, but the people coming out of the vans were younger and did not look or feel like Trump supporters. All I can say is that I had a very bad feeling about these people.
Corey Eib: There wasn’t anyone that directly encouraged me to enter the building or even get on the steps. I was very concerned personally from what I saw of people on the Capitol building steps was illegal. I didn’t actually see anyone go in, and I made sure I stayed off the steps of the building.
Jason Bermas: Nobody. Prior to this event, I was telling people to go to their local state capitols and “storm” them in the sense that when they had a meeting, go and take over the meeting, and then peacefully non-comply and assemble there and say, “We want our constitutional rights back.” This wasn't even to do with the election; this was to do with these mandates and lockdowns. When I was in D.C., I didn't witness anybody that was even talking about going into the Capitol. I was not even going near the Capitol building until I got word that someone had been shot in the Capitol. The footage I took on the way from the Ellipse to the Capitol shows a very peaceful vibe.
Pat Miletich: We observed several people dressed all in black with backpacks with baseball bats sticking out of them. They were obviously there to incite violence and not to protest election integrity. The crowd kept asking them, “Where's the baseball game?” They did not respond and kept moving through the crowds. I observed what appeared to be Proud Boys members in their uniforms becoming aggressive.
Sarah Ford: I wasn’t encouraged at all, but we arrived late. We did come across two guys playing Trump’s recorded speech over and over through a megaphone, where he’s asking people to go home.
8) Did you have an opportunity to go inside the Capitol building? Why or why didn't you go in?
Clyde Cleveland: I did not go closer to the Capitol building after witnessing this. It is my feeling that these were paid forces there to cause trouble and carry out a plan to make this event look like an insurrection. The next morning, as we were driving home, we began to hear the news reports and we were furious by how it was being portrayed by the media.
Corey Eib: It never crossed my mind to enter the building or even climb the steps. That wasn’t part of the advertised protest plan, and seemed to be a minor illegal act to me.
Jason Bermas: I would not even have thought to go in. I slowly went up to the highest point. I wanted to see who was up there and what was going on. You could smell the smoke bombs that had gone off from the concussion grenades. Some people had gotten gassed and sprayed and they were coming through. I am there to get the footage. I clearly get violence on tape, mostly on the second level. It was never even a thought in mind that we were going to go inside the Capitol. There were people trying to waive people in and smash windows.
Pat Miletich: We went nowhere near the Capitol steps. After a while, we went on the grass of the Capitol and had no idea any so-called breach had happened. We were not there to break into the building, we were there to protest and have conversations with people about freedom.
Sarah Ford: We got fairly close to the Capitol in the late afternoon, and I noticed a back door was open and people were streaming in and out. I’d briefly talked to my dad while at Ollie’s Trolley and he told me not to go in the building, so I heeded his advice.
9) What were the most prevalent reasons other attendees told you as to their goal or motivation for attending?
Clyde Cleveland: I believe most of the people there had the same motivations that I had.
Corey Eib: Election irregularities.
Jason Bermas: They felt that the election had been stolen and they wanted accountability. And I agree with them 100 percent. I don't think the election was “fortified” like Time magazine said. I think they stole it on many levels. One person, one vote should be an easy thing. No, they want fractional voting. They want black-box voting. Issues I've been talking about since 2003. Dominion is the name now. Diebold is the name of old. They are all the same thing.
Pat Miletich: Really similar. Everyone was frustrated with what had gone on with the election which had obvious illegal activities. A guy who had close to a million attendees at his rallies was beat by a guy who stayed in his basement and did not campaign?
Sarah Ford: Trump is the people’s President, and we were there to let it be known that he has the support of the American people, despite the media’s lies and the left’s hatred toward him and his supporters. Also, the election was stolen, and Democrats cheated.
10) What visible or audible evidence did you witness that the crowd was there to execute an insurrection?
Clyde Cleveland: There were actors there that were clearly not Trump people that were there to create the narrative that there was an insurrection. Trump people were actively taking people away from the Capitol building that were breaking windows etc. These were bad actors.
Corey Eib: I witnessed the exact opposite. The crowd was there, by and large, to make noise so that Congress would hear the people. The relatively few people who were on the Capitol Building steps and went in the building weren’t following the protest plan that had been published.
Jason Bermas: Zero. Zero.
Pat Miletich: Nobody said anything of any plans of going into the building that I heard from anybody. The only reason people went up the hill to the Capitol was because the barricades were removed by the police officers who waived everyone in to come up to the Capitol building. People took them at their word and followed the police officer's invites.
Sarah Ford: I wasn’t close enough to the Capitol during the breach, so I didn’t witness anything firsthand. I never really felt in danger, though. It was a surreal experience, like seeing the Capitol while the crowd sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” as it was getting dark. It was history in the making and that’s why I had to get close to the building – so I could bear witness and take photos. When I saw the “insurrection” narrative that the mainstream media was pushing, I was not surprised, since the media generally lies about everything Trump-related.
11) What, if any, violence did you witness?
Clyde Cleveland: I did not get close enough to the Capitol building to see any violence. That came later and there is plenty of video evidence of these anti-Trump people creating havoc.
Corey Eib: I did not witness any violence, but was exposed to a very small amount of tear gas.
Jason Bermas: You can watch the tunnel violence of the police being bombarded by people. Someone tried to pass a sledgehammer that was given to the police. You can see someone breaking a window with a gas canister. I want those people identified. Who are they? Have they all been arrested? Are these some of the Federal informants or provocateurs? The people who committed violence should be charged with those crimes.
Pat Miletich: The violence that I witnessed was when the crowd was going up the hill to the Capitol a lot of riot-gear police starting hitting the crowd with batons, shields, rubber bullets, and OC spray.
Sarah Ford: The only violence I witnessed was against the people. I saw an elderly Chinese man being led away by bystanders, his eyes closed and watering from tear gas. I saw another guy who’d been hit in the cheek with a projectile spitting out blood (I later found out he was arrested for entering the Capitol.) I saw many dealing with close contact with tear gas, and watched two guys carry a lady away from the zone after she was overcome. I got to taste and feel the burning sensation of tear gas myself, though I was able to quickly take cover.
Publisher's Note: Listen to the crowd audio in the background of this short video above. Video courtesy of Corey Eib.
12) What's your summary take-away(s) on this event one year later?
Clyde Cleveland: It was an incredible event. I am so glad I attended and I pray the truth about the actors that tried to create the phony insurrection get the justice they deserve.
Corey Eib: This event was perfectly hijacked into a political-theater weapon one party can use against the other, by demonizing hundreds of thousands of people for the actions of hundreds, or perhaps a few thousand people.
Jason Bermas: It is another talking point and tool of a predatory class to further demonize the American people and criminalize their legal lawful and constitutional behaviors while getting past any type of due process, accountability, checks or balances and moving us towards a security state where political dissents or lower could be considered domestic terrorists and just be put away and locked in a black hole in this new techno-fascists great-reset agenda.
Pat Miletich: It seemed to be that in many ways it was orchestrated to end in people breaching the building and for the government to use the narrative that this was an insurrection. Anybody knows if 500,000 people wanted to take over a building it would have resulted in rubble, which did not happen. Many of the people that took part in the violence took part in Antifa and BLM protests causing violence at those rallies. Which suggests to me they are paid actors and agitators.
Sarah Ford: Despite the Democrats’ and mainstream media’s insistence that it was an insurrection, their evidence is weak, and their panic is palpable. The real insurrection was on November 3, and we the people had every right to rally on January 6. What gets me is the hypocrisy – we watched the left’s “summer of love” with riots and violence, but the right is demonized for expressing our Constitutional right to protest that day? It’s upside-down world. But like everything these corrupt politicians do to try and take down Trump, they will fail again. The truth takes time, but it ultimately prevails. Propaganda and false flags have no power when evidence is presented, and we’re still in that unraveling process.