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Manchin: When protesters first entered Capitol 'my intention was to stay and fight'

West Virginia Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Biden to go one-on-one with Manchin There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course MORE (D) revealed in a new interview that he wanted to “stay and fight” during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 before the situation escalated and he was ushered away by law enforcement officials.

“My intention was to stay and fight: 'Let ‘em in. Let’s go at it.’ But I didn’t know what was going on,” Manchin told USA Today. "You had a lot of people chanting. I didn’t think anything of that. But within 10 or 15 minutes, a SWAT team comes in with all of their gear and says ‘You guys are out of here. Just go now. Don’t even stop.' "

A violent mob of pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in an effort to disrupt Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote in the race for the White House between former President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE and President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE.

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Five people died in the wake of the riot, including Capitol Police Office Brian Sicknick.

The riot resulted in members of Congress, former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority GOP is consumed by Trump conspiracy theories McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE, staff and reporters scrambling for safety on Capitol Hill.

Manchin noted in the interview with USA Today, released Sunday, that he previously “got along well” with Trump, saying that “He called me all the time. We talked back and forth.”

But Manchin added that Trump “liked conflicts and he liked that turmoil. And that’s fine if you’re in business. But for public service, it doesn’t work. The whole principle of public service is to bring people together to get a consensus. And Donald Trump’s not made that way.” 

“So when I started coming to that conclusion, I’m thinking that’s just a lot of rhetoric. I didn’t know there was that type of fever and pent-up hatred in people he allowed them to unleash,” Manchin continued.

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The West Virginia lawmaker, a staunch centrist in the upper chamber divided 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans, said the Capitol riots also motivated him from a policy perspective.

He told USA Today that the insurrection “gave me more determination” to fight for the legislative filibuster.

“If you want to lose it completely and you want to be a government that was not how we were formed to try to form a more perfect union — not perfect, but more perfect — this is not the way to do it,” Manchin told the outlet.

Many Democratic lawmakers have called for ending the Senate’s legislative filibuster, a 60-vote threshold for bills, to pass major legislation, including voting rights bills and more. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaThere will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning Democrats hit crucial stretch as filibuster fight looms MORE (D-Ariz.) are both on the record opposing getting rid of the filibuster.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed a “nuclear war” that would bring the Senate to a halt if Democrats get rid of the filibuster.