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AP

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an opthamlogist who is one of about 15 physicians in Congress, gave this account in a phone interview with "Fox & Friends":

"I was in the right-field batting cage, outside of the field, and the first thing we heard was a loud gunshot. ... I grew up in the South, so it wasn't that uncommon to hear like a shotgun go off — a random shotgun. And then we got to thinking, 'Well, guys, we're not really in the South, and we're actually in the city.' ... [N]obody really dove for the dirt with the first shot. ... [T]here was a couple of seconds [after the first shot], but then there was a succession of maybe five or 10 shots in a row, and people began to drop."
Representative [Steve] Scalise [the House majority whip, who was hit ] was out at second base, probably about 50 yards from me. But there was, in between he and I, about a 10-foot fence. So there was no way ... for me to get to where he was. ... [A]nd it was also sort of a killing field. It was wide open ... Then there's probably a burst of 50 to 60 shots ... "I'm probably 75 yards [from the gunman]. ... I was lucky in the sense that I had just been at home plate, taking batting practice, and I was was walking out, and sometimes [Sen.] Jeff Flake [R-Fla.] goes home with me, and he said, 'Can I have a ride?' I said, 'Yeah. I'm going to do one more turn in the batting cage.' So I went to the batting cage, which turns out to be the farthest point from where the shooter was. I was 20 steps from him ... [J]ust the luck of happenstance, I happened to be walking away and it was at the farthest point. "
So, when the gunshots came in rapid succession, there was a big oak tree right behind the batting cage. I thought the shots were coming from the third-base side. But it took ... another 10 or 20 shots ... and then I was still guessing that they were coming from that side. I didn't know which side of the tree to stand on. And so, inside the right-field fence there, a couple of staffers had raced around the track. But there's a 20-foot fence. I can't get to them; they can't get to me."But, at some point, you gotta decide whether to stay and if the gunman advances — you have no chance, or you gotta run. So one of the staffers quickly climbed, in about 2 seconds, climbed the 20-foot fence, hopped down beside me, and we're behind the tree. Still gunshots are ... ringing out."
Representative Scalise goes down. We can see him, but we can't get to him because really nobody could get to him until the gunman was brought down. There's probably five or 10 congressmen hunkering down in the first-base dugout. The gunman's ... behind the third-base dugout ... And so, at this point, the gunman's reloading. There's probably been 50 or 60 shots. ..."We can't really see that well, but my gut feeling was, 'I've got to stay — I've got to decide to stay or run.' And, at this point, I think he's advancing towards us. People are moving behind different buildings. ... Most everybody is closer to the gunman than I am. I'm at a distant point. ... But the staffer that made it over the fence, we were trying to decide to stay or go. And, at this point, ... the Capitol Police began returning fire."
I do believe that without the Capitol Hill Police, it would have been a massacre. ... We had no defense. ... We had no defense at all ... I think we're lucky that Scalise was there because this was his security detail. Without them, it would have been a massacre. There would have been no stopping this guy. And we were like sitting ducks. We had no place to run. ..."I was outside the ballfield in the batting cage. Everybody else was inside the fence, in the dugout. So you got a wide-open field. It's a killing field. And they've got to run to an exit. So they were hunkering down. The dugouts are somewhat submerged, so they're below ground level, trying not to get shot."
And they've got someone wounded in there, and they're applying a tourniquet in the dugout, and then they're trying then to make a decision also: Do we stay or do we go? And it's a difficult decision because ... you've got ... weapon fire coming towards you. You've gotta decide whether to stay or go."
At some point when we felt like he might be advancing towards us, we decided we were [going] to make a run for it. We ran out the right-field fence and climbed a couple fences. A staffer was driving by in a car, and we actually got in the car of a staffer who took us to the Capitol."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
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  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”