Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern's memory of the Capitol Hill insurrection in Washington is still fresh, one year after rioters stormed the building: smashing windows, destroying offices and assaulting Capitol police. Rep. McGovern relived the day with GBH News' Mary Blake, sharing the “hate” he saw in rioters’ eyes and the efforts since to unravel what led to the insurrection. This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

Mary Blake: Jim, what do you remember about the attack?

Rep. Jim McGovern: I was the last person, one of the last people, to leave the House floor. I was in the Speaker's chair. I took over for Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she was evacuated. At the time, she didn't know she wasn't coming back and neither did I. But in any event, once we were able to get people off the House floor on their way to a safe location, I walked off into the Speaker's lobby and I came face to face with this angry mob. And if you asked me to define what hate looks like, it is what I saw in the eyes of these people that were there with their bare fists, banging on the glass window, breaking it and trying to get access to me and my colleagues.

But in addition to them coming to threaten the people who work here and to desecrate this building, this was an attack on democracy — and they came close to succeeding. And as we're learning from the Jan. 6 committee, this was well-planned. There were memos talking about how to nullify the election, how to overturn the will of the American people. And I think it's terrifying.

But I also want people to know that the attempted coup is ongoing. They're not done. They're trying to figure out ways to still achieve their objective, which is to seize power at all costs and to undermine our democracy.

Blake: A lot of people have been looking and pointing fingers at Donald Trump. Do you think it plays beyond that?

McGovern: Well, you know, clearly Trump is the main instigator here. I mean, he's a wannabe dictator who didn't want to give up power, knew he lost the election. He was upset and his ego couldn't take it. And some of his supporters who are contemptuous of democracy figured, “Well, you know, let's do whatever we can to hold onto power.” And that's what they tried to do, and that's what they're still trying to do.

They're trying to undermine our election laws, trying to put political people in nonpolitical positions, overseeing our elections and trying to pass voting laws in states that will actually make it more difficult for people to vote. And so this is a moment that I think we all have to be reengaged in activism, demanding that we protect voting rights, that we protect our democracy because if not, people are going to lose their voice, they'll have no power and that's not the America we want.

"Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, we should all want to ensure that our democracy survives."

Blake: It's been 12 months. What are your thoughts as you hit the anniversary?

McGovern: You know, people ask me, “A year ago, were you frightened?” I said I wasn't frightened. And it's not because I'm a particularly brave person. It's because I was mad. I couldn't believe this was happening. You know, this building means a lot to me. My first kind of political job was as a paid intern for Sen. George McGovern back in the late 1970s. I worked with Joe Moakley for many years. I met my wife, who worked for Congressman Gerry Studds here in the Capitol, and I've been a member of Congress since 1986.

After they cleared the mob out, I went back to finish the voting of the Electoral College certification and I remember walking over broken glass and still smelling the remnants of tear gas and seeing spots of blood on the floor. I just couldn't believe that this would happen, not to mention the bigger issue of them trying to take away our democracy. And I'm really frustrated by the fact that I serve with people who continue to embrace “the big lie,” that somehow the election was stolen from them. It is so destructive to our system.

Blake: And do you think that people are paying attention?

McGovern: I think we need to establish the facts. We have a committee that is doing that. It is now going to move to a more public phase. So more and more people will understand the enormity of what happened and realize that this wasn't some spur-of-the-moment thing. People were planning this for a while. I want people to understand that the people who launched that attack, who masterminded that attack, are already learning from their mistakes to try to figure out how to come back and do it again.

But we need to fight like hell back. We need to pass federal legislation to protect people's voting rights. We need to abolish the filibuster, or at least amend the filibuster so that voting rights and civil rights issues are not held hostage to the filibuster. We need to look at the Electoral College, which I think is outdated. We need to look at reforming how we draw congressional districts and get rid of gerrymandering. And whether you're a Democrat or Republican, we should all want to ensure that our democracy survives.