2021 storming of the United States Capitol
Part of the 2020–21 United States election protests and Attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election
Clockwise from top:
  • Protesters gathering outside the Capitol
  • President Trump speaking to supporters at the "Save America" rally
  • A gallows erected outside the building
  • Crowd retreating from tear gas
  • Tear gas being deployed
  • Crowd pressing into the Capitol's Eastern entrance
DateJanuary 6, 2021; 4 months ago (2021-01-06)
Location
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Caused by
Goals
Methods
Resulted in
Casualties and criminal charges
Death(s)5[13] (4 rioters,[14][15][16] 1 police officer)[17][18]
Injuries
  • Unknown number of rioters injured, at least 5 rioters hospitalized[19]
  • At least 138 police officers (73 Capitol Police officers, 65 Metropolitan Police Department officers)[20] including at least 15 hospitalized[21]
DamageExtensive physical damage;[22][4][23] offices and chambers vandalized and ransacked; property stolen[24]
Charged237[25][26]

The storming of the United States Capitol was a riot and violent attack against the 117th United States Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Part of the 2020–21 U.S. election protests, it was carried out by a mob of supporters of Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. president, in a failed attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.[2] The Capitol was placed under lockdown while lawmakers were evacuated. Five people died and more than 140 were injured.[27]

Called to action by Trump,[28] thousands[29] of his supporters had gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 in support of his false claims that the 2020 election had been "stolen" from him,[30][31] and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Joe Biden's victory.[32] On the morning of January 6, at a "Save America" rally on the Ellipse, Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities[33] and said, "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore".[34][35]:01:11:44 At his encouragement,[36] thousands of protesters then walked to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was beginning the Electoral College vote count to formalize Biden's victory.

Many in the crowd at the Capitol breached police perimeters and stormed the building,[37][38] occupying, vandalizing, and looting[39] for several hours,[40] assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, erecting a gallows on the Capitol grounds, and attempting to locate lawmakers to take hostage and harm. They chanted "Hang Mike Pence",[41] blaming him for not rejecting the Electoral College votes, although he lacked the constitutional authority to do so.[42] The rioters targeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA),[43][44] vandalizing and looting[45] her offices, as well as those of other members of Congress.[46]

Upon security being breached, Capitol Police evacuated the Senate and House of Representatives chambers. Several buildings in the Capitol complex were evacuated, and all were locked down.[47] Rioters occupied and ransacked the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers drew handguns to defend the evacuated House floor.[48][49] Pipe bombs were found at the offices of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol.[50][51]

Trump resisted sending the D.C. National Guard to quell the mob.[52] In a Twitter video, he called the rioters "very special" and told them to "go home in peace" while repeating his false election claims.[53][54] The Capitol was cleared of rioters by mid-evening,[55] and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and was completed in the early morning hours of January 7. Pence declared President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victors, and affirmed that they would assume office on January 20. Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and numerous resignations, Trump later committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.[56][57]

The assault on the Capitol was widely condemned by political leaders and organizations in the United States and internationally. Mitch McConnell (R–KY), then–Senate Majority Leader, called the storming of the Capitol a "failed insurrection"[58] and said that the Senate "will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation".[59] Several social media and technology companies suspended or banned Trump's accounts from their platforms,[60][61] and many business organizations cut ties with him. A week after the riot, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice.[62] Speaker Pelosi announced an independent commission modelled after the 9/11 Commission to investigate the attack.[63]

Opinion polls showed that a large majority of Americans disapproved of the storming of the Capitol and of Trump's actions leading up to and following it, although many Republicans supported the attack or at least did not blame Trump for it.[64] As part of investigations into the attack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) opened more than 400 subject case files and more than 500 grand jury subpoenas and search warrants were issued.[65] At least 237 people were charged with federal crimes.[25][26] Dozens of people present at the riot were later found to be listed in the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, most as suspected white supremacists.[66] Members of the anti-government paramilitary Oath Keepers and neo-fascist Proud Boys groups were indicted on conspiracy charges for allegedly staging planned missions in the Capitol.[67][8][68]

BackgroundEdit

President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in 2020

While there have been other instances of violence at the Capitol in the 19th and 20th centuries, this event was the most severe assault on the building since the 1814 burning of Washington by the British Army during the War of 1812.[69][70][71]

In the November 2020 presidential election, Democratic candidate Joe Biden defeated the incumbent Republican president Donald Trump in both the popular vote (Biden received 81.3 million votes, or 51.3%, to Trump's 74.2 million, or 46.8%) and the electoral college vote (Biden won 306 to 232).[72][73][74] The results became clear four days after Election Day, after the vote had been tallied.[75] Before, during, and after the counting of votes, Trump and other Republicans attempted to overturn the election, falsely claiming widespread voter fraud in five swing states that Biden won: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.[76] These attempts to overturn the election have been characterized by some as an attempted coup d'état[77] and an implementation of the "big lie".[7]

After the election, Trump waged a 77-day campaign to subvert the election, first through legal challenges and then (once those failed) through an extralegal effort.[31] Although Trump's lawyers concluded within ten days after the election that legal challenges to the election results had no factual basis or legal merit,[31] Trump sought to overturn the results by filing at least 60 lawsuits, including two brought to the Supreme Court, that sought to nullify election certifications and void votes cast for Biden in each of the five states; these challenges were all rejected by the courts for lack of evidence or standing.[76] Trump then mounted a campaign to pressure Republican governors, secretaries of state, and Republican-controlled state legislatures to nullify results, by replacing slates of Biden electors with those declared to Trump, or manufacturing evidence of fraud; and demanding lawmakers investigate supposed election "irregularities", such as by conducting signature matches of mail-in ballots (regardless of efforts already undertaken). Trump also personally inquired about invoking martial law to "re-run" or reverse the election, which would be illegal and unconstitutional,[76][78] and appointing a special counsel to find incidences of fraud (even though federal and state officials have concluded that such cases were very isolated or non-existent); Trump ultimately undertook neither step.[76]

The 117th Congress was scheduled to meet jointly on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, to count the results of the Electoral College vote and certify the winner, typically a ceremonial affair.[79][80] Trump had spent previous days suggesting that Vice President Mike Pence should stop Biden from being inaugurated, which is not within Pence's constitutional powers as vice president and president of the Senate. Trump repeated this call in his rally speech on the morning of January 6.[81] The same afternoon, Pence released a letter to Congress in which he said he could not challenge Biden's victory.[81][82]

Planning of the rallyEdit

On December 18, four days after the Electoral College voted, Trump called for supporters to attend a rally before the January 6 Congressional vote count, to continue his challenge to the validity of several states' election results. Trump tweeted, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"[9][83] The "March to Save America" and rally that preceded the riots at the Capitol were initially organized by Women for America First, a 501(c)(4) organization chaired by Amy Kremer, co-founder of Women for Trump.[84] On January 1, 2021, they obtained a permit with an estimated attendance of 5,000 for a first amendment rally "March for Trump".[85] In late 2020 and early 2021, Kremer organized and spoke at a series of events across the country as part of a bus tour to encourage attendance at the January 6 rally and support Trump's efforts to overturn the election result.[86] Women for America First invited its supporters to join a caravan of vehicles traveling to the event.[84] Event management was carried out by Event Strategies, a company founded by Tim Unes, who worked for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.[84]

On January 2, Trump retweeted a post by Kremer promoting the January 6 rally, adding that he would be there. From that point, although Kremer still held the permit, planning essentially passed to the White House.[86] According to The New York Times, Trump discussed the speaking lineup and the music to be played at the event. Although the initial plan for the rally called for people to remain at the Ellipse until the counting of electoral slates was complete, the White House said they should march to the Capitol, as Trump repeatedly urged during his speech.[31]

Ali Alexander, a right-wing political activist who took part in organizing the rally and expressed support for the storming as "completely peaceful", was reported as saying in December that Representatives Paul Gosar (RAZ), Andy Biggs (R–AZ) and Mo Brooks (R–AL) were involved in the planning of "something big".[87] "We're the four guys who came up with a January 6 event," he said.[88] According to Alexander, "It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change hearts and minds of Congress peoples who weren't yet decided or who saw everyone outside and said, 'I can't be on the other side of that mob.'" His remarks received more scrutiny after the events of January 6, causing Biggs to respond with a statement denying any relationship with Alexander.[89][90][91] The Washington Post wrote that videos and posts revealed earlier connections between Alexander and the three members of congress.[92]

The rioters openly planned to disrupt the counting of Electoral College ballots for several weeks prior to the event, and called for violence against Congress, Pence, and law enforcement.[93] Plans were coordinated on "alt-tech" platforms distinct from larger social media platforms such as Reddit or Twitter, which had implemented bans to censor violent language and images. Websites such as TheDonald.win (a successor to the Reddit forum r/The_Donald), social networking service Parler, chat app Telegram, Gab, and others, were used to discuss previous Trump rallies and made plans for storming the Capitol.[94][95]

Many of the posters planned for violence prior to the event, with some individuals discussing how to avoid police on the streets, which tools to bring to help pry open doors, and how to smuggle weapons into Washington D.C.[95] There was also discussion of their perceived need to attack law enforcement.[83] Following clashes with Washington D.C. police during protests on December 12, 2020, the Proud Boys and other far-right groups turned against supporting law enforcement.[83] At least one group, Stop the Steal, posted on December 23, 2020, its plans to occupy the Capitol with promises to "escalate" if met with opposition from law enforcement.[96] Multiple sites graphically and explicitly discussed "war", physically taking charge at the event, and killing politicians, even soliciting opinions about which politician should be hung first, with a GIF of a noose.[94]

One comment−cited in the FBI memo−advocated for Trump supporters going to Washington and getting "violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die...[I]t is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights."[97]

Funding and donationsEdit

Rioters outside the Capitol

Organizations that participated in the event include: Black Conservatives Fund, Eighty Percent Coalition, Moms For America, Peaceably Gather, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, Rule of Law Defense Fund, Stop The Steal, Turning Point Action, Tea Party Patriots, Women For America First, and Wildprotest.com.[98][99] Rule of Law Defense Fund, which is a 501(c)(4) arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, also paid for robocalls to invite people to "march to the Capitol building and call on congress to stop the steal".[100] Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's media company paid $500,000 to book the Ellipse for the event,[101][102] of which $300,000 was donated by Publix heiress and prominent Trump donor Julie Jenkins Fancelli.[102] Jones claimed that the Trump White House asked him to lead the march to the Capitol.[101]

Charlie Kirk said on Twitter that its political action committee Turning Point Action and Students For Trump had sent over 80 buses to the Capitol.[103] Roger Stone recorded a video for Stop The Steal Security Project to raise funds "for the staging, the transportation and most importantly the security" of the event.[104] Other people attempted to raise funds in December via GoFundMe to help pay for transportation to the rally, with limited success.[1] An investigation by BuzzFeed News identified more than a dozen fundraisers to pay for travel to the planned rally. GoFundMe subsequently deactivated several of the campaigns after the riot, but some campaigns had already raised part or all of their fundraising goals prior to deactivation.[105]

Prior intelligence and concerns of violenceEdit

In the days leading up to the storming, several organizations that monitored online extremism had been issuing warnings about the event.[106] On December 21, 2020, a U.K. political consultant who studies Trump-related extremism tweeted a forecast of what the planned event of January 6 would become, including deaths.[107] In an internal "situational information report" dated December 29, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Minneapolis field office warned of armed protests at every state capitol, orchestrated by the far-right boogaloo movement, before Biden's inauguration.[108][109][110] Prior to January 6, 2021, the local Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified by the FBI of possible impending violence at the Capitol.[111] The Washington Post reported an internal FBI document on January 5 warned of rioters preparing to travel to Washington, and setting up staging areas in various regional states. The document used the term "war" to describe the rioters' motive, which mentioned specific violence references, including the blood of Black Lives Matter and Antifa members.[112] However, the FBI decided not to distribute a formal intelligence bulletin.[111][113] Some security specialists later reported they had been surprised that they hadn't received information from the FBI and DHS before the event. Later reflections about the intelligence failures revealed that surprise that no threat assessments had been issued, with possible causes for the failure related to DHS personnel changes and law enforcement biases.[114]

The Anti-Defamation League published a January 4 blog post warning about violent rhetoric being espoused by Trump supporters leading up to the Electoral College vote count, including calls to violently disrupt the counting. The post said that the league was not aware of any credible threats of violence, but noted that "if the past is any indication, the combination of an extremist presence at the rallies and the heated nature of the rhetoric suggests that violence is a possibility."[106][115] Also on January 4, British security firm G4S conducted a risk analysis, which found that there would be violent groups in Washington, D.C., between January 6 and Inauguration Day based on online posts advocating for violence.[106][116] Advance Democracy, Inc., a nonpartisan governance watchdog, found 1,480 posts from accounts related to QAnon that referenced the events of January 6 in the six days leading up to it, including calls for violence.[106]

After the event members of the Oath Keepers anti-government paramilitary group were indicted on conspiracy charges for allegedly staging a planned mission in the Capitol.[67][117][118]

January 5 planning meetingEdit

The evening of January 5, Trump's closest allies had a meeting at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.[119] Attendees included Donald Jr and Eric Trump, Michael Flynn, and Corey Lewandowski. Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has since stated that he did not attend the meeting[120] but evidence appears to show otherwise.[121][122]

Police preparationsEdit

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser requested on December 31, 2020, that District of Columbia National Guard troops be deployed to support local police during the anticipated demonstrations. In her request, she wrote that the guards would not be armed and that they would be primarily responsible for "crowd management" and traffic direction, allowing police to focus on security concerns. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller approved the request on January 4, 2021. The approval activated 340 troops, with no more than 114 to be deployed at any given time.[123] Three days before the riots, the Department of Defense twice offered to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol, but were told by the United States Capitol Police that it would not be necessary.[124]

Three days before the storming, a 12-page report from the Capitol Police's intelligence unit described that Congress would be the target on the day of the Electoral College vote counting.[125]

Two days before the storming, Bowser announced that the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) would lead law enforcement for the event, and would be coordinating with the Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, and the Secret Service.[126] (Jurisdictionally, MPD is responsible for city streets of the National Mall and Capitol area, whereas the Park Police are responsible for the Ellipse (the site of Trump's speech and rally that day), the Secret Service is responsible for the vicinity of the White House, and the Capitol Police is responsible for the Capitol complex itself).[126] "To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway," Bowser wrote in a letter to the United States Department of Justice, and reproduced this language in a Tweet.[126]

Also on January 4, Capitol Police chief Steven Sund was refused additional National Guard support by House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger.[127][128] The FBI spoke to over a dozen known extremists and "was able to discourage those individuals from traveling to D.C.", according to a senior FBI official. The FBI shared information with the Capitol Police in advance of the protest.[129]

Robert Contee, the acting Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, said after the event that his department had possessed no intelligence indicating the Capitol would be breached.[130] Capitol Police chief Sund said his department had developed a plan to respond to "First Amendment activities" but had not planned for the "criminal riotous behavior" they encountered.[130] As a result, Capitol Police staffing levels mirrored that of a normal day and officers did not prepare riot control equipment.[131] U.S. Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said law enforcement agencies' estimates of the potential size of the crowd, calculated in advance of the event, varied between 2,000 and 80,000.[124] On January 5, the National Park Service estimated that 30,000 people would attend the "Save America" rally, based on people already in the area.[132]

National Guard restrictedEdit

Days after the 2020 election, on November 9, Donald Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, replacing him with Christopher C. Miller.[133] In a January 4 memo, Miller prohibited deploying D.C. Guard members with weapons, helmets, body armor or riot control agents without his personal approval.[134] On January 22, Miller disputed the criticism that the Pentagon had delayed deployment of the Guard, calling it "complete horseshit".[135]

On January 5, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy issued a memo placing limits on the D.C. National Guard.[134] Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, explained the change, saying: "All military commanders normally have immediate response authority to protect property, life, and in my case, federal functions — federal property and life. But in this instance I did not have that authority."[134]

Events in Washington, D.C. on January 5–7Edit

Events before the "March to Save America"Edit

On January 5, several events related to overturning the election took place in or around the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Cindy Chafian, who founded the Eighty Percent Coalition, organized the "Rally to Revival",[85] which was permitted to take place at Freedom Plaza including a "Rally to Save America".[136] On the same day, the "Save the Republic Rally" was organized by Moms for America in the early afternoon at Area 9 across from the Russell Senate Office Building;[137] and the "One Nation Under God" rally, which was organized by Virginia Women for Trump, Stop the Steal, American Phoenix Project, and Jericho March, took place near the United States Supreme Court.[138]

"The Silent Majority" rally was organized by James Epley and permitted in the North Inner Gravel Walkway between 13th and 14th Streets within the National Mall.[85] Epley's events took place on January 5 and 6. At least ten people were arrested, several on weapons charges, on the night of January 5 and into the morning of January 6.[139]

On January 6, the "Wild Protest" was organized by Stop The Steal and took place in Area 8 across from the Russell Senate Office Building.[140] On the same day, the "Freedom Rally" was organized by Virginia Freedom Keepers, Latinos for Trump, and United Medical Freedom Super PAC at 300 First Street NE, across from the Russell Senate Office Building.[141]

"Save America" rallyEdit

Protesters at Washington Union Station in the morning on January 6

The "Save America" rally (or "March to Save America", promoted as a "Save America March"[142]) took place on January 6 in the Ellipse within the National Mall. The permit granted to Women for America First showed their first amendment rally "March for Trump" with speeches running from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and a further hour for conclusion of rally and dispersal of participants.[85] Trump supporters gathered there to hear speeches from Trump, his lawyer and adviser Rudy Giuliani, and others, such as Chapman University School of Law professor John C. Eastman.[143] Around 9:00 a.m., Representative Mo Brooks told the crowd, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass."[144] Giuliani repeated conspiracy theories that voting machines used in the election were "crooked" and at 10:50 a.m. called for "trial by combat".[145][146] At 10:58, a Proud Boys contingent left the rally, and marched toward the Capitol Building.[147]

Representative Madison Cawthorn (R–NC) said, "This crowd has some fight."[148] Amy Kremer told attendees "it is up to you and I to save this Republic" and called on them to "keep up the fight".[86] Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, also spoke, naming and verbally attacking Republican congressmen and senators who were not supporting the effort to challenge the Electoral College vote, and promising to campaign against them in future primary elections.[149]

In a court filing in February, Jessica Watkins, a member of the Oath Keepers, claimed that she acted as "security" at the rally prior to the storming. Watkins further claimed that she was provided with a "VIP pass to the rally where she met with Secret Service agents."[150] The U.S. Secret Service denied that any private citizens had coordinated with it to provide security on January 6.[150] On February 22, Watkins changed her story and said she only interacted with the Secret Service as she passed through the security check before the rally.[151]

Donald Trump's speechEdit

Starting at 11:58 a.m., Trump gave a speech, declaring he would "never concede" the election, criticizing the media and calling for Pence to overturn the election results, something outside Pence's constitutional power.[81][152] His speech contained many falsehoods and misrepresentations that inflamed the crowd.[153] Trump did not overtly call on his supporters to use violence or enter the Capitol,[154] but his speech was filled with violent imagery,[155] and Trump suggested that his supporters had the power to prevent Biden from taking office.[154]

Stop the Steal signs seen in front of the Capitol

Trump called for his supporters to "walk down to the Capitol" to "cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them." He told the crowd that he'd be going with them. As to the counting of Biden's electoral votes, Trump said, "We can't let that happen" and suggested that Biden would be an "illegitimate president."[154][155] Referring to the day of the elections, Trump said, "most people would stand there at 9:00 in the evening and say, 'I want to thank you very much,' and they go off to some other life, but I said, 'Something's wrong here. Something's really wrong. [It] can't have happened.' And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don't fight like Hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."[35]:01:11:44 He said the protesters would be "going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give [Republicans] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country".[156] Trump also said, "you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated."[154][155]

File:BBN films unidentfied agitator for march on -USCapitol prior to Donald Trump speech -MarchForTrump.webm He denounced Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), stating that "We've got to get rid of the weak Congresspeople, the ones that aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world."[157] He called upon his supporters to "fight much harder" against "bad people";[155] told the crowd that "you are allowed to go by very different rules";[155] said that his supporters were "not going to take it any longer";[154] framed the moment as a last stand,[154] suggested that Pence and other Republican officials put themselves in danger by accepting Biden's victory;[155] and told the crowd that he would march with them to the Capitol (although he did not do so).[155][154] In addition to the twenty times he used the term "fight", Trump once used the term "peacefully", saying, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."[155]

During Trump's speech, his supporters chanted "Take the Capitol": "Taking the Capitol right now"; "Invade the Capitol"; "Storm the Capitol"; and "Fight for Trump."[158][159] Before Trump had finished speaking at 1:12 p.m., an estimated 8,000 supporters had begun moving up the National Mall, with some shouting that they were storming the Capitol.[160] By then, rioters had broken through police barriers onto the Capitol grounds.[147]

Rioting in the Capitol buildingEdit

Pennsylvania Avenue marchEdit

Proud Boys marching in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building

On January 6, the "Save America" rally of Trump supporters filled The Ellipse, which is just south of the White House grounds and about 1.6 miles from the Capitol.[161] Signs around the stage carried the slogan "Save America March". Speeches began at 9:00 a.m. and, while they continued, a Proud Boys contingent left the rally at 10:58 a.m. to march toward the Capitol Building. As they set off, Ethan Nordean used a megaphone to issue instructions, and said "if you're not a Proud Boy, please get out of the way". Another leader, Joe Biggs, used a walkie-talkie for communications.[147]

At about noon, Trump arrived at The Ellipse from the White House, and addressed the rally. At intervals, he encouraged the crowd to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. Before he had finished speaking, members of the crowd began walking toward the Capitol "in a steady stream".[161] Around 12:30 p.m. a mostly peaceful crowd building up to the east of the Capitol numbered around 300. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), a leader of the group of lawmakers who vowed to challenge the Electoral College vote, greeted these protesters with a raised fist as he passed by on his way to the joint session of Congress in the early afternoon.[162][163]

The Proud Boys contingent reached the west perimeter of the Capitol grounds, which was protected by temporary fences in front of a sparse line of police, and other Trump supporters arrived, forming a growing crowd. At 12:51 p.m. a man (later identified as Ryan Samsel, with no known Proud Boys affiliation) spoke to Biggs. The crowd, headed by Samsel, rushed the fences and clashed with the police. At 12:53 p.m. rioters, including Proud Boys, broke through the barriers, and onto the Capitol grounds for the first time. The police struggled to contain them. Meanwhile, at The Ellipse, Oath Keepers wearing black hoodies with prominent logos left the rally at 12:52 p.m. and changed into Army Combat Uniforms, with helmets, on their way to the Capitol.[147]

Around 1:00 p.m. EST, hundreds of Trump supporters clashed with officers and pushed through barriers along the perimeter of the Capitol.[38][164] The crowd swept past barriers and officers, with some members of the mob spraying officers with chemical agents or hitting them with lead pipes.[4][165] Although many rioters simply walked to the doors of the Capitol, some resorted to ropes and makeshift ladders.[166] Representative Zoe Lofgren (D–CA), aware that rioters had reached the Capitol steps, was unable to reach Steven Sund by phone; House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving told Lofgren the doors to the Capitol were locked and "nobody can get in".[167] A short time afterward, the Capitol Police requested reinforcements from the DC Metropolitan Police, who arrived within 15 minutes.[168]

Meanwhile, Sund, at 1:09 p.m., called Irving and Stenger and asked them for an emergency declaration required to call in the National Guard; they both told Sund they would "run it up the chain". Irving called back with formal approval an hour later.[169]

When Trump had finished his speech around 1:12 p.m., he returned to the White House.[161]

A reliable estimate of the total size of the crowd cannot be ascertained, seeing that aerial photos are not permitted in Washington, D.C., for reasons of security. The crowd was estimated to be in the thousands.[29]

At 1:50 p.m., the on-scene Capitol Police commander declared a riot.[168] At 1:58 p.m., Capitol Police officers removed a barricade on the northeast side of the Capitol.[170]

Capitol breachEdit

Trump supporters crowding the steps of the Capitol after displacing the police shield wall preventing access

Just before 2:00 p.m., rioters reached the doors and windows of the Capitol, and began attempts to break in. Around 2:11 p.m. they used a piece of lumber to break through a window, and a minute later began climbing through it into the building.[171] Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, who had seized a Capitol Police plastic shield, used it to smash through another window at 2:12 p.m. and entered, followed by more rioters.[147] The mob streamed into the National Statuary Hall.[4][172][173][174]

As rioters began to storm the Capitol and other nearby buildings, some buildings in the complex were evacuated.[49] Outside the building, the mob constructed a gallows and tied a noose to it, punctured the tires of a police vehicle, and left a note saying "PELOSI IS SATAN" on the windshield.[4] Politico reported some rioters briefly showing their police badges or military identification to law enforcement as they approached the Capitol, expecting therefore to be let inside; a Capitol Police officer told BuzzFeed News that one rioter told him "[w]e're doing this for you" as he flashed a badge.[130]

Concerned about the approaching mob, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) called Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who was not on Capitol grounds but at the police department's headquarters. When asked what the Capitol Police were doing to stop the rioters, Sund told Waters, "We're doing the best we can" before the line went dead.[167]

A gallows erected outside the Capitol

Federal officials estimate that about 800 people entered the building.[175] More than 800 videos and audio files—including D.C. Metropolitan Police radio transmission, Capitol Policy body-worn camera footage, and Capitol surveillance surveillance camera footage—was later obtained as evidence in Trump's impeachment trial.[176] The evidence showed that the assailants launched a large and coordinated attack; for example, "Security camera footage near the House chamber shows the rioters waving in reinforcements to come around the corner. Another video shows more than 150 rioters charging through a breached entrance in just a minute-and-a-half."[176] While assaulting the Capitol, the crowd chanted "Fight, Fight"; "Stop the steal"; and "Fight for Trump."[177] As they were overrun by a violent mob, the police acted with restraint and pleaded for backup.[176] Many of those who stormed the Capitol employed tactics, body armor and technology (such as two-way radio headsets) similar to those of the very police they were confronting.[178] Some rioters wore riot gear, including helmets and military-style vests. A pair of rioters carried plastic handcuffs, which they say they found on a table inside the Capitol.[179][180]

Some of the rioters carried Confederate battle flags[4][181][182][183] or Nazi emblems.[184][185][186][187] For the first time in U.S. history, a Confederate battle flag was displayed inside the Capitol.[188][189][181][190] Christian imagery and rhetoric was prevalent. Rioters carried crosses and signs saying, "Jesus Saves", and "Jesus 2020". On the National Mall, rioters chanted, "Christ is king." One rioter who stormed into the building carried a Christian flag. Rioters referred to the neo-fascist Proud Boys as "God's warriors".[191][192] These were mainly neo-charismatic, prophetic Christians who believed that Trump was prophesied to remain in power and anointed by God to save Christian Americans from religious persecution.[193]

Although a few evangelical leaders supported the riots,[191] most condemned the violence and criticized Trump for inciting the crowd.[194] This criticism came from liberal Christian groups such as the Red-Letter Christians as well as evangelical groups who were generally supportive of Trump.[195][191] This criticism did not affect evangelical support for Donald Trump. Investigative journalist Sarah Posner, author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump, argues that many white evangelical Christians in the U.S. create an echo chamber whereby Trump's missteps are blamed on the Democratic Party, leftists, or the mainstream media, the last of which being viewed as especially untrustworthy.[196]

Senate adjourned and evacuatedEdit

File:US Senate goes into recess after protestors breach the Capitol.webm

At the time, the joint session of Congress – which had already voted to accept the nine electoral votes from Alabama and three from Alaska without objection – was split so that each chamber could separately consider an objection to accepting Arizona's electoral votes that had been raised by Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Both chambers were roughly halfway through their two-hour debate on the motion.[197][198]

Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman received the Congressional Gold Medal on February 12 for slowing the mob inside the Capitol.

While debate over the Arizona electoral college votes continued, an armed police officer entered the Senate chamber, positioned facing the back entrance of the chamber. Pence handed the floor from Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to Senator James Lankford (R-OK). Moments later, Pence was escorted out by members of the Secret Service. The rioters began to climb the stairs towards the Senate chamber. A lone Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, worked to slow the mob down as he radioed that they had reached the second floor. Just steps from the still-unsealed Senate chamber doors, the rioters instead followed the Capitol Police officer, leading them back away from the Senate. Banging could be heard from outside as people attempted to breach the doors. As Lankford was speaking, the Senate was gaveled into recess, and the doors were locked at 2:15 p.m. A minute later, the rioters reached the gallery outside the chamber.[167][199] A police officer carrying a semi-automatic weapon appeared on the floor and stood between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).[200] Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) exasperatedly threw up his hands and directly criticized several fellow Republicans who were challenging President-elect Biden's electoral votes, yelling to them, "This is what you've gotten, guys."[201] Several members of Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough's staff carried the boxes of Electoral College votes and documentation out of the chamber to hidden safe rooms within the building.[202][203]

Due to security threat inside: immediately, move inside your office, take emergency equipment, lock the doors, take shelter.

—Capitol Police alert[167]

Trump tweeted that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done" at 2:24 p.m. Afterwards, Trump followers on far-right social media called for Pence to be hunted down, and the mob began chanting, "Where is Pence?" and "Find Mike Pence!"[204][205][206] Outside, the mob chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!",[207] which some crowds continued to chant as they stormed the Capitol;[208][207] at least three rioters were overheard by a reporter saying they wanted to find Pence and execute him as a "traitor" by hanging him from a tree outside the building.[209] All buildings in the complex were subsequently locked down, with no entry or exit from the buildings allowed. Capitol staff were asked to move into offices and lock their doors and windows; those outside were advised to "seek cover".[47]

As the mob roamed the Capitol, lawmakers, aides, and staff took shelter in offices and closets. Aides to Mitch McConnell, barricaded in a room just off a hallway, heard a rioter outside the door "praying loudly", asking for "the evil of Congress [to] be brought to an end".[167] The rioters entered and ransacked the office of the Senate Parliamentarian.[210]

File:US Congress Breached by Protesters (Source) (1).webm With senators still in the chamber, Trump reached Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) by phone and told him to do more to block the counting of Biden's electoral votes. The call had to be cut off when the Senate chamber was evacuated at 2:30 p.m.[212][213][211][214] After evacuation, the mob briefly took control of the chamber, with some armed and armored men carrying plastic handcuffs and some posing with raised fists on the Senate dais that Pence had left minutes earlier.[4][215] Pence's wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, and brother Greg Pence (a member of the House; R–IN) were in the Capitol at the time it was attacked.[216] As Pence and his family were being escorted from the Senate chamber to a nearby hideaway, they came within a minute of being visible to rioters on a staircase only 100 feet away.[171]

Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate Michael C. Stenger accompanied a group of senators including Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) to a secure location in a Senate office building. Once safe, the lawmakers were "furious" with Stenger; Graham asked him, "How does this happen? How does this happen?" and added that they "[are] not going to be run out by a mob."[167]

House recessed and evacuatedEdit

Meanwhile, in the House chamber around 2:15 p.m., while Gosar was speaking, Speaker Pelosi was escorted out of the chamber. The House was gaveled into recess, but would resume a few minutes later.[217][218] Amid the security concerns, Representative Dean Phillips (D–MN) yelled, "This is because of you!" at his Republican colleagues.[219] The House resumed debate around 2:25 p.m. Around 2:30, when Gosar finished speaking, the House went into recess again. The rioters had entered the House wing and were attempting to enter the Speaker's Lobby just outside the House chamber. Lawmakers were still inside and being evacuated, with Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy and a few other individuals being taken to a "secure location".[220][221] With violence breaking out, Capitol security advised the members of Congress to take cover.[222][223] Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks, as law enforcement had begun using tear gas within the building.[217][224][223][225][226]

File:Video shot by Congressman Dan Kildee D-Flint - via Michael Moore on Facebook Watch.webm ABC News reported that shots were fired within the Capitol.[224][227] An armed standoff took place at the front door of the chamber of the House of Representatives: as the mob attempted to break in, federal law enforcement officers drew their guns inside[4] and pointed them towards the chamber doors, which were barricaded with furniture.[228] In a stairway, one officer fired a shot at a man coming toward him.[229] Photographer Erin Schaff said that, from the Capitol Rotunda, she ran upstairs, where rioters grabbed her press badge. Police found her, and, as her press pass had been stolen, they held her at gunpoint before her colleagues intervened.[201]

The chief of staff for Representative Ayanna Pressley (D–MA) claimed that when the congresswoman and staff barricaded themselves in her office and attempted to call for help with duress buttons that they'd previously used during safety drills, "[e]very panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit".[230] Subsequently, a House Administration Committee emailed Greg Sargent of The Washington Post claiming the missing buttons were likely due to a "clerical screw-up" resulting from Pressley's swapping offices.[231] Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) tweeted that there were no duress buttons in his office, but acknowledged he was only three days into his term and they were installed a week later.[232]

Multiple rioters, using the cameras on their cell phones, documented themselves occupying the Capitol and the offices of various representatives,[233][234][235] storming the offices of Speaker Pelosi,[236][237] accessing secure computers and stealing a laptop.[238]

Planting of pipe bombsEdit

Two pipe bombs, planted the previous night around 8 p.m.,[239] were found within a few blocks of the Capitol.[240] One of the bombs was discovered next to a building containing Republican National Committee (RNC) offices at around 12:45 p.m. About 30 minutes later, the second pipe bomb was found under a bush at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.[241][242] The devices were of a similar design – about one foot in length, with end caps and wiring apparently attached to a timer, and containing an unknown powder and some metal.[242][243] They were safely detonated by bomb squads; police later said they were "hazardous" and could have caused "great harm".[241]

The FBI distributed a photo of the person who they believe planted the devices and offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information;[243] by the end of the month, they doubled the amount of the promised reward.[239][244] Sund told The Washington Post on January 10 that he suspected the pipe bombs were intentionally placed to draw police away from the Capitol;[169] Representative Tim Ryan (D–OH) echoed the sentiment in a virtual news conference on January 11, who said "we do believe there was some level of coordination ... because of the pipe bombs ... that immediately drew attention away from the breach that was happening".[245][246]

Participating groupsEdit

Among the many flags flown by rioters were the Gadsden flag and Women for Trump.

The mob that stormed the Capitol consisted of some of Trump's longtime and most fervent supporters, coming from across the United States.[247] The mob included Republican Party officials and political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists[247] and conservative evangelical Christians.[248] Some individuals came heavily armed. Included in the group were some convicted criminals, including a man who had been released from a Florida prison after serving a sentence for attempted murder.[247] Supporters of the boogaloo movement, the Traditionalist Worker Party, the Three Percenters, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, QAnon, the Groyper Army, and national-anarchism, as well as neo-Confederates and Holocaust deniers, among others, were present during the riot, with some wearing emblematic gear. Neo-Nazi and Völkisch-inspired neopagan apparel was also worn by some participants during the riots, including a shirt emblazoned with references to the Auschwitz–Birkenau concentration camp and its motto, Arbeit macht frei (German for "work makes you free").[249]

Christian imagery, including a large "Jesus saves" banner, was seen in the crowd of demonstrators. Before the demonstrators entered the building, activist Jake Angeli called out for them to pause and join him in prayer saying, "Thank you for allowing the United States to be reborn. We love you and we thank you. In Christ's holy name, we pray." During the prayer many of those present removed their hats and shouted "amen" when he finished.[248]

After the storming of the Capitol, two white nationalists known for racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric streamed to their online followers a video posted on social media showing a man harassing an Israeli journalist seeking to conduct a live report outside the building.[250] Some participants wore shirts bearing the abbreviation 6MWE, standing for "6 Million Wasn't Enough", a reference to the number of Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust.[251] According to the FBI, the majority of individual participants in the riot who appeared on its terrorist watchlist "are suspected white supremacists."[252] Following the event, members of the Nationalist Social Club, a neo-Nazi street gang, detailed their participation in the storming and claimed the acts were the "beginning of the start of White Revolution in the United States".[253]

A row of flags lining the Capitol grounds

An academic analysis reported in The Atlantic found that of the 193 people so far arrested for invading the Capitol, 89 percent had no clear public connection to established far-right militias, known white-nationalist gangs, or any other known militant organizations. "The overwhelming reason for action, cited again and again in court documents, was that arrestees were following Trump's orders to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the presidential-election winner."[254] They were older than participants in previous far-right violent demonstrations and more likely to be employed, with 40% being business owners. The researchers concluded that these "middle-aged, middle-class insurrectionists" represented "a new force in American politics—not merely a mix of right-wing organizations, but a broader mass political movement that has violence at its core and draws strength even from places where Trump supporters are in the minority."[254]

The Associated Press reviewed public and online records of more than 120 participants after the storming and found that many of them shared conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election on social media and had also believed other QAnon and "deep state" conspiracy theories. Additionally, several had threatened Democratic and Republican politicians before the storming.[247] The event was described as "Extremely Online", with "pro-Trump internet personalities" and fans streaming live footage while taking selfies.[255][256]

Rioters outside the Capitol shortly after Congress was evacuated

Some military personnel participated in the riot;[247] the Department of Defense is investigating members on active and reserve duty who may have been involved in the riot.[257][258] An analysis by National Public Radio showed that nearly 20% of defendants charged in relation to the attack served in the military; in the general population, 7% of all American adults are veterans.[259] Police officers and a police chief from departments in multiple states are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the riot.[260] As of January 25, at least 39 law enforcement officers are suspected of participating in Trump's pre-riot rally, or joining the Capitol riots, or both.[261] Two Capitol Police officers were suspended, one for directing rioters inside the building while wearing a Make America Great Again hat, and the other for taking a selfie with a rioter.[262][263]

Court charges filed by federal prosecutors against members of the Oath Keepers militia who stormed the capital indicated that the militiamen were updated via Facebook messages on the location of lawmakers as they were evacuated, and relayed communications such as "We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan" and "All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas".[264][67][265]

Anti-vaccine activists and conspiracy theorists were also present at the rally.[266] Most notably, members of the right-wing Tea Party Patriots-backed group America's Frontline Doctors, including founder Simone Gold and communications director John Strand, were arrested in connection with the assault on the Capitol.[267][268]

A poll released in February 2021 by the American Enterprise Institute found that 30% of Americans (including 50% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats) believe that Antifa was mostly responsible for the violence that happened in the riots at the U.S. Capitol.[269][270] However, the FBI, among others, claim that reports that Antifa staged the incident as a false flag operation to implicate Trump supporters are false.[271][272][273][274] A number of Trump supporters who participated in the riot, including some who were later arrested and charged, also pushed back on the claims, reportedly upset that the events were being misattributed as the work of Antifa groups or the Black Lives Matter movement.[275][276]

State lawmakersEdit

At least eighteen Republican current and former state legislators were present at the event, including West Virginia State Senator Mike Azinger, Nevada State Assemblywoman Annie Black, Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase, Maryland Delegate Daniel L. Cox, Alaska State Representative David Eastman, West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, Colorado State Representative-elect Ron Hanks, Missouri State Representative Justin Hill, Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem, Virginia State Delegate Dave LaRock, Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, Illinois State Representative Chris Miller,[277] Rhode Island State Representative Justin K. Price,[277] and Tennessee Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, as well as outgoing Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones (a former Democrat who announced at the rally that he had joined the Republican Party), outgoing Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern, and former Pennsylvania State Representative Rick Saccone. Weaver claimed to have been "in the thick of it" and Evans filmed himself entering the Capitol alongside rioters. All denied participating in acts of violence.[278][279][280][281]

Evans was charged by federal authorities on January 8 with entering a restricted area;[282] he resigned from the House of Delegates the next day.[283] Amanda Chase was censured by the Virginia State Senate for her actions surrounding the event;[284] in response she filed a federal lawsuit against that body.[285]

Trump's conduct during the riotEdit

File:Trump remarks on Capitol storming, January 6 2021 0417PM EST.webm Trump was in the West Wing of the White House at the time. A close adviser to Trump said the president was not taking many phone calls. When Trump watches television, the adviser explained, he will pause a recorded program to take a phone call, but "if it's live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold."[286]

Trump, who had spent previous weeks promoting the "Save America" rally,[287] was "initially pleased" when his supporters breached the Capitol; he refused to intercede,[288] but also "expressed disgust on aesthetic grounds" over the "low class" appearance of the supporters involved in the rioting.[289] Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) said that senior White House officials told him that Trump was "delighted" to hear that rioters were entering the Capitol.[290] Staffers reported that Trump had been "impossible to talk to throughout the day", and that his inability to deal with his election loss had, according to one staffer, made Trump "out of his mind."[291] Concerned that Trump may have committed treason through his actions, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone reportedly advised administration officials to avoid contact with Trump and ignore any illegal orders that could further incite the attack to limit their prosecutorial liability under the Sedition Act of 1918.[292]

Pence was evacuated by the Secret Service from the Senate chamber around 2:13 p.m EST. At 2:46 p.m. EST, as the rioting continued and after senators had been evacuated from the Senate floor, Trump phoned Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) intending to speak to Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), asking him to make more objections to the counting of the electoral votes to try to overturn the election.[213][293] At 2:47 p.m., as his supporters violently clashed with police at the Capitol, Trump tweeted, "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"[294] The Washington Post later reported that Trump did not want to include the words "stay peaceful".[295]

By 3:10 p.m., pressure was building on Trump to condemn supporters engaged in the riots; Trump's former communications director, Alyssa Farah, called upon him to "Condemn this now" and wrote "you are the only one they will listen to."[294] By 3:25 p.m., Trump tweeted "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue," but he refused to call upon the crowd to disperse.[294] By 3:40 p.m., a number of congressional Republicans called upon Trump to more specifically condemn violence and to tell his supporters to end the occupation of the Capitol: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R–CA) said that he had phoned Trump to ask him to "calm individuals down" but that Trump had defended the rioters, saying, "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are" provoking McCarthy to yell "Who the fuck do you think you're talking to?";[296][297] Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a tweet telling Trump that "it is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down"; and Representative Mike Gallagher (R–WI), in a video message, told Trump to "call it off".[294] In contrast to Trump, who called upon his supporters to "remain peaceful", Pence called for the occupation of the Capitol to end immediately.[294]

Lindsey Graham later told The Washington Post that "it took [Trump] awhile to appreciate the gravity of the situation ... [he] saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen".[295]

By 3:50 p.m., White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the National Guard and "other federal protective services" had been deployed.[294] At 4:06 p.m. on national television, President-elect Biden called for President Trump to end the riot. At 4:22 p.m., Trump issued a video message on social media that was later taken down by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In it, he praised his supporters and repeated his claims of electoral fraud, saying: "This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace."[53][294]

At 6:25 p.m., Trump tweeted: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long" and then issued a call: "Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"[294][54][298] At 7:00 p.m., Rudy Giuliani placed a second call to Lee's number and left a voicemail intended for Tuberville urging him to make more objections to the electoral votes as part of a bid "to try to just slow it down". Giuliani said: "I know they're reconvening at 8 tonight, but it ... the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow – ideally until the end of tomorrow."[213]

Congressional conduct during the riotEdit

During the riots Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) posted on Twitter some information about the police response and the location of members, including the fact that Speaker Pelosi had been taken out of the chamber, for which she has faced calls to resign for endangering members.[299][300] Boebert responded that she was not sharing private information, since Pelosi's removal was also being broadcast on TV.[232]

Representative Ayanna Pressley left the congressional safe room for fear of other members there "who incited the mob in the first place".[232]

While sheltering for hours in the "safe room" – a cramped, windowless room where people sat within arms' length of each other – some Republican Congress members refused to wear facemasks, even when their Democratic colleagues begged them to. During the following week, three Democratic members tested positive for the coronavirus. An environmental health expert described the situation as a "superspreader" event.[301]

Law enforcement and National Guard responseEdit

File:US Congress Breached by Protesters (Source).webm Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund joined a conference call with D.C. government and Pentagon officials at 2:26 p.m. where he "[made] an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance", telling them he needed "boots on the ground". However, Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, Director of the Army Staff, said he could not recommend that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approve the request, telling Sund and others "I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background".[169] Piatt later told The Washington Post that he "did not make the statement or any comments similar to what was attributed to me by Chief Sund".[302] Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, brother of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was also on the phone call. (The Army initially denied Charles Flynn's participation but confirmed it on January 20, when Flynn himself told The Washington Post that he "entered the room after the call began and departed prior to the call ending.")[302]

About 2:31 p.m. on January 6, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6:00 p.m. curfew to go into effect that night.[303] Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also issued a curfew for nearby Alexandria and Arlington County in Northern Virginia.[304][305]

Armed DHS agents were on standby near the Capitol in case of unrest, but were not deployed until after the violence had subsided.[306]

Pentagon officials reportedly restricted D.C. guard troops from being deployed except as a measure of last resort, and from receiving ammunition and riot gear; troops were also instructed to engage with protesters only in situations warranting self-defense and could not share equipment with local police or use surveillance equipment without prior approval from Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller.[307][308] McCarthy and Miller decided to deploy the entire 1,100-strong force of D.C. National Guard to quell violence.[309][310] About 3:04 p.m., Miller spoke with Pence, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer, and directed the National Guard and other "additional support" to respond to the riot.[311][309][312] Early reports indicated that the order to deploy the National Guard was initially resisted by Trump, but approved by Pence.[309][313] Miller has disputed this, stating that Trump had already given authorization to use the National Guard prior to January 6.[135] Around 3:30 p.m., Northam said that he was working with Bowser and Congress leaders to respond and that he was sending members of the Virginia National Guard and 200 Virginia State Troopers to support D.C. law enforcement, at the mayor's request.[314] At 3:45 p.m., Stenger told Sund he would ask Mitch McConnell for help expediting the National Guard authorization.[169]

Rioters outside the Capitol

It took over three hours for police to retake control of the Capitol, using riot gear, shields, and batons,[4] and up to eight hours to fully clear the Capitol and its grounds.[315] Capitol Police were assisted by the local D.C. Metropolitan Police Department,[4] which sent 850 officers (over a quarter of the total force) to the Capitol during the event, along with an additional 250 officers to the Capitol grounds.[315] Smoke grenades were deployed on the Senate side of the Capitol by Capitol Police working to clear rioters from the building.[23] Black officers employed with Capitol Police reported being subjected to racial epithets (including repeated uses of "nigger") by some of the rioters.[316] Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said his officers' slow response to the rioting was due to their being preoccupied by the improvised explosive devices found near the Capitol.[317] FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents wearing riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30 p.m.[318]

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced at 4:57 p.m. that elements of the New Jersey State Police were being deployed to the District of Columbia at the request of D.C. officials, and that the New Jersey National Guard was prepared for deployment if necessary.[319] Shortly before 5:00 p.m., congressional leaders were reportedly being evacuated from the Capitol complex to Fort McNair, a nearby army base.[320] Around 5:20 p.m., Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he would send the Maryland State Police and Maryland National Guard, after speaking to the Secretary of the Army.[321][322] Hogan's requests of the Defense Department to authorize National Guard troops to be deployed at the Capitol initially were denied in multiple instances.[323] At around 5:40 p.m., the Senate Sergeant at Arms announced that the Capitol had been secured.[324]

Riot police and protesters outside the Capitol in the evening

As police continued to try to push rioters away from the Capitol, protests continued, with some moving out of the Capitol Hill area. Some verbal and physical attacks on reporters were reported, with attackers denigrating media outlets as providing "fake news".[225] One rioter told a CNN crew as they were being harassed by others, "There's more of us than you. We could absolutely fucking destroy you!"[325] A video on social media recorded a man harassing an Israeli journalist covering the events live.[326]

By 6:08 p.m., police had arrested at least thirteen people and seized five firearms.[327] Although Bowser had ordered a 6:00 p.m. curfew, it went largely ignored by the pro-Trump rioters, hundreds of whom remained in the Capitol Hill area two hours after the curfew went into effect.[328]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to deploy a thousand members of the New York National Guard to D.C., in addition to the resources promised by other states.[329] On the night of January 6, Bowser issued an order extending the public emergency in Washington, D.C., for 15 days, writing in the order that she expected some people would "continue their violent protests through the inauguration".[330][331] The following day, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy announced that a fence would be built around the Capitol, and remain in place for at least 30 days; construction of the fence began that same day. McCarthy also said New Jersey National Guard troops would be mobilized, as would troops from the Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania National Guards.[332]

By the end of the day, police had arrested 61 people for "unrest-related" offenses, with about half of these arrests occurring on the Capitol grounds.[333]

A vehicle containing a semi-automatic rifle and a cooler full of eleven Molotov cocktails was also found nearby.[334][335] The driver was subsequently arrested.[336] He also had three handguns in his possession at the time of his arrest.[337]

D.C. Metro Police incurred significant costs, preliminarily estimated to be $8.8 million, responding to the attack on the Capitol and securing downtown D.C. the week after.[315]

Completion of electoral vote countEdit

File:Senate Debate on Arizona Electoral College Vote Challenge Part 2 2021 program.587294.MP4-M20.webm

Congress reconvened in the evening of January 6 after the Capitol was cleared of trespassers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reopened the Senate's session around 8:00 p.m. EST, saying that the Senate refused to be intimidated, and that it would count the electors and declare the president "tonight", after two hours of debate on the objection to the Arizona electors. He called the vote the most consequential in his 30-plus years of congressional service. At 9:58 p.m., the Senate rejected the objection 93–6, with only six Republicans voting in favor: Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), John Neely Kennedy (LA), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).[338]

Congressional staffers removed the Electoral College certificates from the Senate floor as it was evacuated.

At 11:08 p.m., the House of Representatives rejected a similar motion to dispute the Arizona vote by a margin of 303–121.[339] All of the "yeas" came from Republicans while the "nays" were from 83 Republicans and 220 Democrats.[340] A planned objection to the Georgia slate of electors was rejected after co-signing Senator, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), withdrew her support in light of the day's events.[341] Another objection was raised by Hawley and Representative Scott Perry (R–PA) to the Pennsylvania slate of electors, triggering another two-hour split in the joint session to debate the objection.[173] At 12:30 a.m. on January 7, the Senate rejected this objection by a 92–7 vote, with the same people voting the same way as before with the exceptions of Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Rick Scott (R-FL) voting in favor and John N. Kennedy voting against.[342]

At 3:08 a.m., the House of Representatives similarly rejected the motion to sustain the objection by a margin of 282–138. Again, all of the votes in favor were Republican, while this time, only 64 Republicans voted against and 218 Democrats voted against.[343] Representative Peter Meijer (R–MI) said that several of his Republican colleagues in the House would have voted to certify the votes, but did not out of fear for the safety of their families,[344] and that at least one specifically voted to overturn Biden's victory against their conscience because they were shaken by the mob attack that day.[345]

At 3:41 a.m., Congress confirmed the outcome of the Electoral College vote, Biden's 306 votes to Trump's 232, with Pence declaring that Biden and Harris would take office on January 20.[346][347][348]

Casualties and damageEdit

Deaths and injuriesEdit

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died of a stroke the day after the riot.[349]

Five people died or were fatally injured during the event: one was a Capitol Police officer, and four were among those who stormed or protested at the Capitol.[350] At least 138 police officers (73 Capitol Police officers, 65 Metropolitan Police Department officers) were injured,[20] including at least 15 who were hospitalized, some with severe injuries.[21] All had been released from the hospital by January 11.[351] Additionally, rioters injured more than 58 D.C. Metro police officers during the attack, including one who remained hospitalized five days after the attack.[351] Some rioters beat officers with pipes,[2] and some officers sustained head injuries from being struck with lead pipes.[21] Rioters injured other police officers by using chemical irritants and stun guns, hitting them with fists, sticks, poles and clubs; trampling and stampeding them; pushing them down stairs or against statues; and shining laser pointers in their eyes. One D.C. Metro officer was hit six times with a stun gun and suffered an apparent heart attack, as well as losing the tip of one of his fingers.[351] According to the chairman of the Capitol Police officers' union, multiple officers sustained traumatic brain injuries; one officer suffered two cracked ribs and two smashed spinal discs; and another officer would lose an eye.[352] Another would be impaled with a metal fence stake, and another officer would lose three fingers.[353] One officer was crushed between a door and a riot shield while defending the west side of the Capitol with other officers against a mob of violent rioters; he later suffered a concussion.[354]

One of the most intense of the many violent incidents occurred shortly after 2 p.m., as a swarm of rioters attempted to breach a door on the West Front of the Capitol. There, rioters dragged three D.C. Metro police officers out of formation and down a set of stairs, trapped them in a crowd, and assaulted them with improvised weapons (including hockey sticks, crutches, flags, poles, sticks, and stolen police shields) as the mob chanted "police stand down!" and "USA!"[355] At least one of the officers was also stomped upon.[356]

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attend the viewing for Officer Sicknick's remains at the U.S. Capitol on February 3, 2021

During the riot, Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, a 35-year-old from San Diego,[357][220][358] was fatally shot by Capitol Police as she attempted to climb through a shattered window in a barricaded door leading into the Speaker's Lobby, through which House members were escaping.[357][220][359] The incident was recorded on several cameras.[359][220] Babbitt was unarmed when she was shot and killed.[229] The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department launched an investigation into the death,[360] and the officer who shot her was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.[361] Babbitt was a follower of QAnon, and had tweeted the previous day "the storm is here", a reference to a QAnon conspiracy theory.[362][363][364] Since the event, Babbitt has been described as a martyr by some far-right extremists who view her as a freedom fighter.[365] Other QAnon supporters, including lawyer L. Lin Wood, have claimed that Babbitt is still alive and that her apparent death was a "false flag" operation.[366]

Three others also died: Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia; Kevin Greeson, 55, from Athens, Alabama; and Benjamin Philips, 50, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.[367][368][369] Boyland was trampled to death by people rushing to breach a tunnel entrance on the west side of the Capitol;[370] she was a radicalized follower of QAnon whose family had begged her not to attend.[371][372] Greeson had a heart attack outdoors on the Capitol grounds, and was declared dead at 2:05 p.m., shortly before the breach of the Capitol.[373][374] His family said he was "not there to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions".[375] Philips died of a stroke at the hospital after splitting from his group at 10:30 in the morning.[374] The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that there was no indication that Philips participated in the raid.[16][376] A family member of Boyland said that "the president's words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night".[377]

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, a 13-year veteran of the force,[378] suffered a thromboembolic stroke the day after the riot[349] and was placed on life support,[6] but soon died.[17][379] Sicknick was lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, before being interred at Arlington National Cemetery.[380][381] His death is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department's Homicide Branch, the USCP, and federal authorities.[379]

Morale among the Capitol Police plummeted after the riots. The department responded to several incidents where its officers threatened to harm themselves; one officer turned in her weapon because she feared what she would do with it.[18] Two police officers who responded to the attack died by suicide in the following days:[382] one Capitol Police officer, Officer Howard Liebengood, three days after the attack,[383][384] and a D.C. Metro Police officer, Officer Jeffrey Smith, who had been injured in the attack, afterward.[382][385] Some members of Congress and press reports have included these deaths in the casualty count, for a total of seven deaths.[386][387][388][389][390]

Damage, theft, and impactEdit

A damaged window in the Capitol

Rioters stormed the offices of Nancy Pelosi, flipping tables and ripping photos from walls;[236][237] the office of the Senate Parliamentarian was ransacked;[210] art was looted;[4] and feces was tracked into several hallways.[23][391] Windows were smashed throughout the building, leaving the floor littered with glass and debris.[4][392] Some items of furniture were damaged, turned over, or stolen.[392] One door had "MURDER THE MEDIA" scrawled onto it.[393] Rioters damaged Associated Press recording and broadcasting equipment outside the Capitol after chasing away reporters.[394] Rioters also destroyed a display honoring the life of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.[395][396] A photo of Representative Andy Kim (D–NJ) cleaning up the litter in the rotunda after midnight went viral.[397] Multiple sources noted that Federal Prison Industries, as a "mandatory source" for government agencies, would receive priority when the government begins purchasing goods FPI manufactures such as office furniture to replace what was damaged in the riots.[398][399][400]

The rioters caused extensive physical damage.[4][23] The Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), which maintains the Capitol and preserves its art and architecture, released an initial damage assessment on January 9. The AOC reported interior damage from the riot (specifically broken glass, broken doors, and graffiti), and also reported that some statues, paintings, and historic benches "displayed the residue of various pepper sprays, tear gas and fire extinguishers deployed by both rioters and law enforcement personnel."[22] Items, including portraits of John Quincy Adams and James Madison, as well as a marble statue of Thomas Jefferson, were covered in "corrosive gas agent residue"; these were sent to the Smithsonian for assessment and restoration.[401] A 19th-century marble bust of President Zachary Taylor was defaced with what seemed to be blood, but the most important works in the Capitol collection, such as the John Trumbull paintings, were unharmed.[392][22] On the Capitol's exterior, two 19th-century bronze light fixtures designed by Frederick Law Olmsted were damaged.[22] Because the Capitol is not insured against loss, taxpayers will pay for damage inflicted by the siege.[393]

ABC News reported that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had recovered several improvised explosive devices intended to cause serious harm, and were looking at those in the mob that were trained perhaps in the military and more intent on causing serious harm, including harming Vice President Pence. ABC analyst and retired CIA officer Mick Mulroy said the FBI would likely be conducting a full counterintelligence sweep on all those who participated in the assault to determine possible foreign intelligence ties, as they may have taken sensitive information from the congressional offices.[402][403] The presence of several military veterans who took part in the assault has created growing concern among former military members.[404]

Technology theft and cybersecurity concernsEdit

A laptop owned by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was stolen.[405] A laptop taken from Speaker Pelosi's office was a "laptop from a conference room ... that was only used for presentations", according to Pelosi's deputy chief of staff.[406] Representative Ruben Gallego (D–AZ) said "we have to do a full review of what was taken, or copied, or even left behind in terms of bugs and listening devices."[130] Military news website SOFREP reported that "several" Secret‑level laptops were stolen, some of which had been abandoned while still logged in to SIPRNet, causing authorities to temporarily shut down SIPRNet for a security update on January 7 and leading the United States Army Special Operations Command to re-authorize all SIPRNet-connected computers on January 8.[407][408]

Representative Anna Eshoo (D–CA) said in a statement that "[i]mages on social media and in the press of vigilantes accessing congressional computers are worrying" and that she had asked the Chief Administrative Officer of the House (CAO) "to conduct a full assessment of threats based on what transpired".[409] The CAO said it was "providing support and guidance to House offices as needed".[406]

One protester was arrested on charges of theft. It was alleged that she had stolen a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi's office with the intention of sending it to a friend in Russia for sale to the country's foreign intelligence service.[410]

Conservation of items damaged or left behindEdit

Signs, flags, stickers, Pelosi's damaged nameplate, and other items left behind from the riot will be preserved as historical artifacts in the collections of the House and Senate and those of national museums.[401] Anthea M. Hartig, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, said that the Smithsonian would seek to collect and preserve "objects and stories that help future generations remember and contextualize Jan. 6 and its aftermath", a statement echoed by Jane Campbell, president of the Capitol Historical Society.[411][412]

ReactionsEdit

Domestic reactionsEdit

Pro-Trump protesters around the Capitol on the evening of January 6

After drawing widespread condemnation from Congress, members of his administration, and the media, Trump released a video-taped statement on January 7 to stop the resignations of his staff and the threats of impeachment or removal from office. In the statement, he condemned the violence at the Capitol, saying that "a new administration will be inaugurated", which was widely seen as a concession, and that his "focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly, and seamless transition of power" to the Biden administration.[413][414] Vanity Fair reported that Trump was at least partially convinced to make the statement by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who told Trump that a sufficient number of Senate Republicans would support removing him from office unless he conceded.[415] White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had attempted to distance the administration from the rioters' behavior in a televised statement earlier in the day.[416] On January 9, The New York Times reported that Trump had told White House aides that he regretted committing to an orderly transition of power and would never resign from office.[417]

In another unusual move, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and all of the other Joint Chiefs[lower-alpha 1] issued a statement on January 12 condemning the storming of the Capitol, reminding personnel of their sworn obligation to support and defend the Constitution, that Biden was about to become their commander-in-chief and stating that "the rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection."[418] They said, "As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civilian authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."[419][420] On January 19, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said "the mob was fed lies" and "they were provoked by the president and other powerful people."[58]

The U.S. flag at the Capitol at half-staff in honor of Brian Sicknick, January 12

House Speaker Pelosi had the flags at the Capitol lowered to half-staff in Sicknick's honor.[421][422] Trump initially declined to lower flags at the White House or other federal buildings under his control, before changing his mind four days later.[423][424][425] Biden, Pence, and Pelosi offered condolences to Sicknick's family; Trump did not.[421][426] After Sicknick's death, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) received backlash for previous speeches that were perceived as calls for violence.[427]

A survey by the Hobby School of Public Affairs at the University of Houston taken between January 12 and 20 showed that nearly one third (32%) of Republicans in Texas supported the protest and storming of the Capitol, although overall 83% of those who expressed an opinion were opposed to it.[428]

International reactionsEdit

Over 70 other countries and international organizations expressed their concerns over the protests and condemned the violence, with some specifically condemning Trump's own role in inciting the attack.[429][430] Multiple world leaders have made a call for peace, describing the riots as "an attack on democracy".[431] The leaders of some countries, including Brazil, Poland, Hungary, and Mexico, declined to condemn the situation, and described it as an internal U.S. affair.[432]

Several NATO intelligence agencies outside the United States also briefed their governments that it was an attempted coup by President Trump which may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials.[433]

Terminology used to refer to eventEdit

The events have variously been described as treason,[434] insurrection, sedition, domestic terrorism,[435] an attempt by Trump to carry out a coup d'état[436][437] or self-coup,[438] and the biggest challenge to American democracy since the American Civil War.[439] Some newspapers described the storming as "anarchy".[440][441]

The phrase "Storm the Capitol" was mentioned 100,000 times in the 30 days preceding the events;[by whom?] many of these were in viral tweet threads which included details on how to enter the building.[1] The term storm has particular resonance in QAnon discourse; adherents have often referred to a coming "storm" in which the cabal that allegedly controls the U.S. will be destroyed.[1]

The Washington Post spoke to political scientists who said the event was a self-coup, where the head of government attempts to strongarm the other branches of government to entrench power.[442] Fiona Hill, former National Security Adviser under Trump, also analyzed the events and described Trump's actions going back several months or more as all constituting a failed self-coup.[443] On January 27, the storming was classified as an "attempted dissident coup" by the Coup D'état Project, an initiative of the University of Illinois's Cline Center that catalogs attempted coups,[444][445] although their 2013 coup typology only includes "dissident actions" and "attempted coup".[446]

AftermathEdit

National Guardsmen at the Capitol building on January 12, 2021, in preparation for Biden's inauguration

Twitter made an assessment that two of Trump's tweets on January 8 could be mobilized by different audiences to incite violence and replicate the criminal acts perpetrated at the Capitol on 6 January, and suspended Trump's main account first for 12 hours and then permanently.[447] Following this, Trump attempted to access alternate accounts, such as the official President of the United States (@POTUS) account, on the platform to continue tweeting and to bemoan the suspension of his account, but all tweets were subsequently deleted and the accounts either suspended or banned.[448] Furthermore, Trump was banned from other major social media outlets including Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat.[449] In the days following the riots, multiple social media companies began suspending or permanently banning several accounts and users that spread or aided the conspiracy theories that led the storming of the Capitol. In total Twitter banned over 70,000 QAnon-related accounts.[450]

Law enforcement's failure to prevent the mob from breaching the Capitol attracted scrutiny to the Capitol Police and other police agencies involved.[451][452][453] Several members of the Trump administration resigned,[454] as did three top security officials for Congress.[455]

In the wake of the Capitol attack and members of Congress being increasingly harassed at airports, additional security was assigned to them for air travel. Through the inauguration of Biden on January 20, Capitol Police were to be stationed at D.C.-area airports (Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington, and Dulles),[456] and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) increased its screening of D.C.-bound air passengers.[457] Security was also put on high alert at the Capitol itself; a "non-scalable" security fence was placed around the Capitol,[332] and up to 25,000 National Guard members were deployed to secure Washington, D.C., in advance of Inauguration Day.[458] A new security perimeter was created for the inauguration, blocking off large portions of the city near Capitol Hill.[459] The Washington Metro announced it would be closing 11 to 13 subway stations from January 15 to 21, and re-routing buses around the security zone to discourage people from travelling to the area.[460][461][462] Many motels in and around D.C. ceased taking reservations and canceled preexisting ones in the days leading up to inauguration.[463]

Many participants in the Capitol attack planned and coordinated their actions using alt-tech microblogging service Parler.[464][465] Apple and Google subsequently removed the service's mobile app from their respective app stores, citing its hosting of posts inciting violence and its failure to adopt more robust content moderation.[466][467][468] Amazon also terminated the cloud services that it had been providing to Parler,[469] causing it to go offline.[470] A researcher scraped roughly 80 terabytes of public posts from the service, which included more than 1 million videos with GPS metadata. The researcher said her intention was to make a public record of "very incriminating" evidence against those who took part in the storming.[471][472] Videos scraped from Parler were used as evidence during Trump's second impeachment trial.[473]

Public health experts have said that the storming of the Capitol was a potential COVID-19 superspreader event.[474]

Questions have been raised in the media regarding the discrepancy in police response to Black Lives Matter and white supremacist protesters, including the rioters who stormed the US Capitol.[475][476][477] According to an analysis by The Guardian of statistics collected by the US Crisis Monitor, "Police in the United States are three times more likely to use force against leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters", regardless of whether the protest is peaceful or violent.[478][479]

Investigations and prosecutionsEdit

FBI poster seeking information on violence at the Capitol

On January 7, Michael R. Sherwin, the interim United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, said rioters could be charged with seditious conspiracy or insurrection.[317] Regarding calls for the president to be prosecuted for inciting the violence that led to the five deaths,[480][481] Sherwin suggested that Trump could be investigated for comments he made to his supporters before they stormed the Capitol. He also said that others, including any Capitol Police officers, who "assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role" in the events could also be investigated.[482][317] Federal prosecutors were also considering whether to pursue charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is typically used to prosecute organized crime syndicates, against groups such as Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.[483]

The FBI opened more than 400 subject case files in connection with the attack, and more than 500 grand jury subpoenas and search warrants were issued.[65] The FBI has received more than 200,000 digital media tips from the public.[484][65] By January 31, 2021, the number of people arrested and charged with federal crimes amounted to less than a quarter of those involved in the attack on the Capitol.[485] By February 9, the number of people criminally charged reached 200.[486][487] As of February 12, 2021, at least 237 people have been arrested and charged with crimes.[25][26]

Acting U.S. Attorney Sherwin said that "almost all" of the cases charged in federal court have involved "significant federal felonies" with sentences between five and twenty years.[25] Approximately 40 people have been charged with assault on law enforcement officers, and 83 people charged with "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol ground";[25] others have been charged with trespassing, disrupting Congress, theft or other property crimes, weapons offenses, making threats, and conspiracy.[485] Some criminal indictments are under seal.[484] The majority of cases are in federal court, while others are in D.C. Superior Court.[484]

Though the number of people arrested is large enough to defy generalization, at least 17% were tied to extremist or fringe movements,[486] including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and Patriot Front,[488] as well as the Texas Freedom Force.[25] The majority were not affiliated with a specific far-right group and had been more informally radicalized by right-wing Internet, social media, or television.[488][489] At least 15% had ties to the military or law enforcement.[486] Many clearly expressed a belief in the QAnon conspiracy theory,[485] and at least 27 had previous criminal records.[489] In February, four top Capitol security officials testified before the Senate that "white supremacists and extremist groups" had participated in the attack.[490]

Notable arrests include: West Virginia state lawmaker Derrick Evans, who later resigned from office;[491] Klete Keller, a former U.S. Olympic swimmer;[492] the leader of a Proud Boys group in Hawaii;[493] Jake Angeli, also known as the "QAnon Shaman";[494] far-right activist Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet;[495] and the 34-year-old son of a Brooklyn judge.[496][494] Others arrested include: Richard "Bigo" Barnett, the leader of an Arkansas gun rights organization who stole a letter from Pelosi's desk; Larry Rendell Brock, a retired Air Force Reserve officer from Texas who roamed the Senate chamber in a green tactical vest with a white flex cuff; Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, whose truck was found two blocks from the Capitol containing 11 homemade bombs, an assault rifle, and a handgun; Douglas Jenson, who led a mob of rioters chasing Officer Goodman; Robert Keith Packer, who wore a "Camp Auschwitz" T-shirt; William Merry Jr, who ripped off a chunk of Pelosi's nameplate above her office; and Adam Johnson from Florida, who allegedly stole Pelosi's lectern.[497]

Impeachment of Trump and trialEdit

President pro tempore Patrick Leahy presides over the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump

On January 11, 2021, Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Ted Lieu (D-CA) introduced to the House a single article of impeachment against Trump, which they had written, for "incitement of insurrection" in urging his supporters to march on the Capitol building.[498][499][500][501] Nancy Pelosi named impeachment managers, led by Raskin and followed in seniority by Diana DeGette, Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean, and Joe Neguse.[502] Trump was impeached for the second time on January 13. He is the only federal official in United States history to have ever been impeached twice.[503][504]

Senate Democrats asked to begin the trial immediately, while Trump was still in office, but McConnell blocked the plan.[505] On February 13, following a five-day Senate trial, Trump was acquitted when the Senate voted 57–43 for conviction, falling ten votes short of the two-thirds majority required to convict; seven Republicans joined every Democrat in voting to convict, the most bipartisan support in any Senate impeachment trial of a president.[506][507] Most Republicans voted to acquit Trump, though some held him responsible but felt the Senate did not have jurisdiction over former Presidents. Included in the latter group was McConnell, who said, "There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," but added, "former President Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction."[508][509]

Proposed independent commission to investigate the attackEdit

On February 13, Pelosi announced plans to create a commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol, modeled after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), an independent panel that investigated the attacks of September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission was created in 2002 by Congress and, fifteen months later, issued a detailed report on its findings.[510][511]

LawsuitsEdit

On February 16, 2021, Trump was sued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on behalf of the House Homeland Security chairman, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, for conspiring to incite the violent assault at the Capitol.[512] Included in the federal civil lawsuit as defendants are Trump's former personal lawyer Giuliani, the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers. The lawsuit alleges that by preventing Congress from carrying out its constitutional duties "by the use of force, intimidation, and threat", Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. The law was first passed following the Civil War to combat the Ku Klux Klan violence and allow African Americans to take action against hate groups who use "force, intimidation, or threat" to prevent leaders from doing the duties of their office.[513][514][515]

Events outside Washington, D.C.Edit

State capitols and citiesEdit

Trump supporters and police at the Texas State Capitol on January 6

A number of states experienced demonstrations and armed protests at the state capitols or in the streets on January 6, numbering in dozens or hundreds of participants. The pro-Trump events remained without incident in Indiana,[516] Minnesota,[517] Nevada,[518] Nebraska,[519] Ohio,[520] Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.[521] Precautionary measures, such as closures of state capitols and evacuation of members and staff, were taken in several of the states in response to the events in Washington D.C.[522][523] In California,[524] Georgia,[525] Oklahoma,[526] Oregon,[527] and Washington[528] the events were marked by incidents or particular security concerns.

Protests were again being held at state capitols in the week before inauguration.[529]

InternationalEdit

Internationally, Trump's allegations of a "stolen" election found a small audience among conspiracy theorists and fringe groups.[530] In Canada, there were small pro-Trump rallies during the riots in Washington, D.C. in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver.[531] At the Vancouver rally, CBC photojournalist Ben Nelms was assaulted by one of the demonstrators.[532] In Japan, a few hundred people in Tokyo rallied in support of Trump hours before the rally in Washington, D.C; with several people carrying the U.S. flag and the Rising Sun Flag, a controversial symbol in East Asia because of its association with Japanese imperialism. The gathering in Tokyo was backed by Happy Science, a new religious movement that has been described as a cult.[530] In New Zealand, a week after the riot, about 100 participants attended a "freedom rally" outside the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington. The "freedom rally" was organized by conspiracy theorist and New Zealand Public Party leader Billy Te Kahika and featured several participants with pro-Trump banners and flags.[533][534]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Barry, Dan; McIntire, Mike; Rosenberg, Matthew (January 9, 2021). "'Our President Wants Us Here': The Mob That Stormed the Capitol". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Reeves, Jay; Mascaro, Lisa; Woodward, Calvin (January 11, 2021). "Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared". Associated Press. Retrieved January 12, 2021. Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump's name, the Capitol's attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd. "Hang Mike Pence!" the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: "Where are they?" Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity. ... The mob got stirring encouragement from Trump and more explicit marching orders from the president's men. "Fight like hell," Trump exhorted his partisans at the staging rally. "Let's have trial by combat," implored his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to throw out election results in trial by courtroom failed. It's time to "start taking down names and kicking ass," said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. Criminals pardoned by Trump, among them Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, came forward at rallies on the eve of the attack to tell the crowds they were fighting a battle between good and evil.
  3. Multiple sources:
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Paybarah, Azi; Lewis, Brent (January 7, 2021). "Stunning Images as a Mob Storms the U.S. Capitol". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lakritz, Talia (January 6, 2021). "Shocking photos show pro-Trump rioters in the Capitol stealing memorabilia and breaking into the desks of lawmakers". Yahoo News. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
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  7. 7.0 7.1 Multiple sources:
  8. 8.0 8.1 Savage, Charlie; Goldman, Adam; MacFarquhar, Neil (January 20, 2021). "'This Kettle Is Set to Boil': New Evidence Points to Riot Conspiracy" – via NYTimes.com.
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  12. WABC (January 10, 2021). "Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'We came close to half of the House nearly dying' during riots". ABC7 New York. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  13. Kutlu, Ovunc (January 8, 2021). "Death toll rises to 5 at Capitol riots in US capital". Anadolu Agency.
  14. Kates, Graham; Albert, Victoria; Freiman, Jordan; Carissimo, Justin; Jones, Zoe Christen (January 7, 2021). "Capitol secured after assault from Trump supporters". CBS News. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  15. Multiple sources:
  16. 16.0 16.1 Terruso, Julia (January 7, 2021). "He organized a bus of Trump supporters from Pa. for 'the first day of the rest of our lives.' He died in D.C." Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Dartunorro, Clark; Thorp V, Frank (January 8, 2021). "Capitol Police officer dies from injuries after clashing with pro-Trump mob". NBC News. Archived from the original on January 11, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  18. 18.0 18.1 kaplan, Michael (January 11, 2021). "Morale deteriorates among Capitol police after assault on Capitol". CBS News. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  19. Melendez, Pilar; Bredderman, William; Montgomery, Blake (January 6, 2021). "Woman Shot Dead as Mob Overran Capitol ID'ed as Air Force Vet". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Schmidt, Michael S.; Broadwater, Luke (February 12, 2021). "Officers' Injuries, Including Concussions, Show Scope of Violence at Capitol Riot". The New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 ArLuther Lee (January 11, 2021). "2 Capitol Hill police officers suspended over riot". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on January 2021.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Bahr, Sarah (January 8, 2021). "First Inventory of Damage to U.S. Capitol Building Released". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Wilson, Kristin; Barrett, Ted; Raju, Manu; Zaslav, Ali; Fortinsky, Sarah (January 6, 2021). "Smoke grenades being deployed on Senate side of the US Capitol". CNN. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021.
  24. Miller, Maggie (January 8, 2021). "Laptop stolen from Pelosi's office during Capitol riots". The Hill. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Clare Hymes, Cassidy McDonald, Eleanor Watson (February 12, 2021). ""Unprecedented" in FBI history: What we know about the Capitol riot arrests". CBS News. Retrieved February 14, 2021.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Axon, Rachel; Pulver, Dinah; Stassen-Berger, Rachel; Fraser, Jayme; Salman, Josh; Penzenstadler, Nicholas; Wedell, Katie; Hines, Morgan; Baratz, David (February 14, 2021). "Capitol riot arrests: See who's been charged across the U.S." USA Today.
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