The Reffitt family had been expecting a visit from police, but they did not think heavily armed officers would almost break down their door in the middle of the night.
An arrest warrant had been issued for 48-year-old Guy Reffitt, who had travelled to Washington DC to attend then-president Donald Trump‘s rally on January 6.
Guy had been caught on camera on the steps of the US Capitol, washing his eyes out with water after being pepper sprayed.
“He felt like that banging on the Senate doors, to have the voices of the American people heard, was important,” Guy’s wife Nicole Reffitt told 7.30.
“He never once wanted a window broken, he never even tried to break a window.
“He went there, because we believe that liberty once lost is lost forever.”
But Guy and Nicole’s 18-year-old son, Jackson, tipped off the authorities that his father had been at the riot. He told the FBI that Guy threatened his family with violence when he returned home to Wylie, Texas.
Court documents allege Guy told his children that: “Traitors get shot.”
“His voice wasn’t raised,” Guy’s daughter Peyton Reffitt, 16, said.
“He wasn’t in Jackson’s face. The statement is out of line, but I feel out of the tone of voice, he was using it in figurative language.”
When the FBI arrived, guns drawn, it became clear to Guy’s wife Nicole that he was not being arrested for solely standing on the steps of the US Capitol.
“It just really sunk in that Jackson premeditated turning his dad in,” she recounted, tearfully.
Guy remains behind bars, charged with trespassing on restricted federal property. Court documents also allege he is a member of an extremist militia group, the Texas Freedom Force.
The first moment Nicole, Peyton and Guy’s other daughter Sarah learned what Jackson had done was when they saw him on Fintech Zoom.
“I’ve been working and walking around the restaurant, and I look up at the TV, and it’s just Jackson’s face talking on the television, on every single one,” Sarah said.
Guy’s daughters do not share the political views of their parents, but they argue the family home has always been a safe space for spirited debate.
Jackson has not been home since the arrest, apart from collecting some clothes from his bedroom.
He told the ABC there was no way his father’s comments could have been interpreted as anything other than a threat to his safety.
The Reffitts’ story is just one example of family members and friends turning people who were at the Capitol riots in to authorities. Others who 7.30 spoke to refused to be interviewed, citing death threats.
“Do we have a Gestapo out there?” Nicole Reffitt said.
“Is this what is happening … where friends and family are turning in their relatives and their colleagues because their political ideology is different?”
Constitutional argument over impeachment trial
Former president Donald Trump is charged with “high crimes and misdemeanours” for inciting the angry mob which stormed the US Capitol on January 6, resulting in the death of five people.
His lawyers argue pursuing the former president through an impeachment trial is unconstitutional, as he is now a private citizen.
One of the consequences of an impeachment conviction is removal from office, and the Trump legal team argue that is now a moot point.
“It’s certainly true that Trump can no longer be removed, but he certainly can be barred [from holding public office],” Paul Schiff Berman, a constitutional law professor at George Washington University, said.
“If you could never prosecute in an impeachment trial someone who was no longer in office, it would allow someone to resign before they could be barred from future office.
“They have to be held accountable, and the idea that you could bar someone from holding future office is a serious part of the impeachment clause of the Constitution.”
Professor Schiff Berman also criticised the former president’s argument that his speech at the rally prior to the riot, where he repeatedly claimed the election was stolen from him, was protected under freedom of speech.
“We have never had a president who has fomented an insurrection against the democracy, against the Capitol, against the entire federal government,” he said.
Impeachment numbers may not stack up
As the impeachment trial began in Washington DC, the Democrat impeachment managers tried to take the jurors back to that dark day on January 6.
The jurors, the 100 senators of the US Congress, were on Capitol Hill as the mob tore through the building, and were rushed to safety.
“The only honourable path at that point was for President Trump to accept the results and concede his electoral defeat,” the trial brief drafted by the impeachment managers said.
“[Donald Trump] summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy, and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue.
“President Trump endangered our Republic and inflicted deep and lasting wounds on our Nation.
“His conduct resulted in more than five deaths and many more injuries. The Capitol was defiled. The line of succession was imperilled. America’s global reputation was damaged.”
The former president’s lawyers have accused Democrats of suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome”, obsessed with trying to take him down.
As it currently stands, it does not look like enough Senate Republicans will side with the Democrats to convict the former president — 17 of them would need to break with their party for that to happen.
A fortnight ago, only five voted with Democrat counterparts to press ahead with the trial, as Republican senator Rand Paul called for a vote to scrap the process on the grounds it was unconstitutional.
“There are simply not a lot of moderate Republicans left in the Senate caucus who are even on record saying that they’re considering convicting President Trump,” Daniel Bush, senior political reporter with the PBS NewsHour, said.
“Yes, those numbers could shift, maybe we might get as many as 10 Republicans voting ‘yes’. There’s been some rumour of that.
“But it does not seem that 17 Republicans will end up doing so.”
Late last week more than 370 staffers, from both the House and Senate, signed an open letter to senators pleading with them to convict Donald Trump over the riot.
“As Congressional employees, we don’t have a vote on whether to convict Donald J Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our Senators do,” the letter stated.
“And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again.”
The signatories were all Democrat staffers. Republicans avoided joining the public plea.
Congressional staffer Remmington F Belford believes Republicans may have shied away from signing the letter for fear of retaliation.
“It wasn’t targeted to Democrats, it was: ‘Staffers, this is the letter, if you are comfortable signing on.’ It wasn’t a partisan experience,” he told the ABC.
He said he hoped senators would take note of the letter and consider the staffers’ serious concerns.
“I’m an eternal optimist,” Mr Belford said.
“I had friends who were hiding behind desks, behind barricaded doors in fear of their lives.
“Staffers are notoriously quiet … and we pray and hope that you will take our voice into consideration when you cast your vote.”
Fear of reprisal stretches to the ballot box
Daniel Bush says some Republicans have found themselves in a difficult position — not wanting to endorse Donald Trump‘s behaviour, but fearing their voting base will turn on them if they are seen to desert him.
“That’s the sort of pickle that Republican lawmakers are in. How much do they distance themselves from Trump?” Mr Bush said.
“And how much does that risk angering his supporters, the very people that are going to be voting for them in the midterm elections next year?
“No-one has the answer.”
Trump backers are already promoting their efforts to kick out House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president, and Senate Republicans who have spoken out against him.
One group has launched a “Make America Great Again Sellout Tour”, to find Trump-friendly candidates to challenge sitting Republicans.
Some local Republican members have voted to censure their representatives. One who copped such treatment is Nebraska senator Ben Sasse.
“If that president were a Democrat, we both know how you’d respond — but, because he had ‘Republican’ behind his name, you’re defending him,” Senator Sasse said in a video on social media.
“Something has definitely changed over the last four years … but it’s not me.
“You are welcome to censure me again, but let’s be clear about why.
“It’s because I still believe, as you used to, that politics is not about the weird worship of one dude.”