2021 storming of the United States Capitol

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2021 storming of the United States Capitol
Part of 2020–2021 United States election protests and attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election
Top to bottom, left to right: crowds gathered outside of the Capitol; Donald Trump speaking to supporters at the "Save America" rally; tear gas being deployed against protesters outside the Capitol Building
DateJanuary 6, 2021 (2021-01-06)
Location
38°53′23.3″N 77°00′32.6″W / 38.889806°N 77.009056°W / 38.889806; -77.009056Coordinates: 38°53′23.3″N 77°00′32.6″W / 38.889806°N 77.009056°W / 38.889806; -77.009056
Caused byOpposition to the results of the 2020 United States presidential election
Goals
MethodsRioting,[1] vandalism,[2] looting,[2] assault,[3] arson,[4] and attempted bombings[5]
Resulted in
Casualties and arrests
Death(s)
Injuries
  • Unknown number of rioters injured, at least 5 rioters hospitalized[10]
  • 56 injured officers[11][12]
Arrested
  • 80+ rioters arrested[16]

On January 6, 2021, rioters supporting United States President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election stormed the U.S. Capitol.[17] After breaching multiple police perimeters, they damaged and occupied parts of the building for several hours.[18] The storming led to evacuations and lockdowns of the Capitol building, and it disrupted a joint session of Congress assembled to count the electoral votes and formalize Joe Biden's election victory. The rioters gathered in support of President Trump's persistent and false claims that the 2020 election had been "stolen" from him, which were part of his months-long effort to overturn his electoral defeat. Summoned by Trump,[19] thousands of supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. on January 5 and 6 to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden's victory.[20][21][22]

On the morning of January 6, protesters assembled on the Ellipse for a "Save America" rally.[23][24] in which Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and several members of Congress addressed the crowd.[25] Trump encouraged his supporters to "fight like hell" to "take back our country" and to march towards the Capitol,[26][27] while Giuliani called for "trial by combat",[28] and Trump Jr. threatened "we're coming for you."[29] Trump supporters overwhelmed security and stormed the Capitol building[30] during the Electoral College vote count. As the rioters entered the Capitol by breaking through windows and doors, Capitol security evacuated the Senate and House of Representatives chambers. Several buildings in the Capitol complex were evacuated, and all of them were locked down.[31] Rioters broke past security to occupy the evacuated Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers drew handguns to prevent entry to the evacuated House floor.[32][33][34] The evacuated office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was occupied.[35] Improvised explosive devices were found on the Capitol grounds during the riots; explosives were also found at offices for both the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, and in a nearby vehicle.

Five people have been confirmed dead from the events and others were seriously injured. One woman attempting to enter the House chamber through a barricaded door was shot by law enforcement and later died.[36][37][38] Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher.[3][15][39] Federal authorities launched a murder investigation to examine Sicknick's killing.[40] Three protesters suffered fatal medical emergencies during the event.

Trump reacted slowly to the storming, first resisting sending the National Guard to quell the mob,[41] and eventually praising the rioters as "great patriots" and telling them to "go home in peace" while reiterating false claims of election fraud.[42][43] The crowd was dispersed out of the U.S. Capitol later that evening. The process to certify Electoral College results resumed that evening and continued to its conclusion the following morning, with Pence declaring Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the victors and affirming that they will assume office on January 20. Under pressure from his administration, including many resignations, Trump committed to an "orderly transition" of power in a statement.[44][45][46]

The events prompted widespread condemnation by political leaders and organizations across the country. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the storming of the Capitol a "failed insurrection". House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Pence to formally invoke the 25th Amendment, while threatening to impeach Trump for a second time.[47] Facebook responded by locking Trump's accounts and removing posts related to the incident, and Twitter responded initially by locking his account for 12 hours, then permanently suspending his account on January 8, 2021.[48][49] The riots and storming of the Capitol were described as insurrection, sedition, domestic terrorism,[50] and as an "attempted coup d'état by Trump."[51][52]

Background[edit source | edit]

President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in 2020

On November 3, 2020, Democratic candidate Joe Biden won the 2020 United States presidential election, defeating the incumbent Republican president Donald Trump. Before, during, and after the counting of votes, Trump and other Republicans attempted to overturn the election, falsely alleging widespread voter fraud.[53]

With Congress scheduled to meet on January 6, 2021, to count the results of the Electoral College vote, Trump announced plans for a rally ahead of the event to continue his challenge to the validity of several states' election results. On December 18, Trump announced, "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"[54] 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. She wrote in her request 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.[55] Three days before the riots, the Pentagon twice offered to send in the National Guard, but were told by the United States Capitol Police that it would not be necessary.[56]

Trump had spent previous days suggesting that Pence should reject Biden's victory, an act that is not within Pence's constitutional powers as vice president, and he repeated this call in his speech on the morning of January 6.[57] The same afternoon, Pence released a letter to Congress in which he said he would not challenge Biden's victory.[57][58]

Planning of storming[edit source | edit]

The rioters had openly planned to disrupt the counting of Electoral College ballots for several weeks prior to the event, and had called for violence against Congress, Vice President Mike Pence, and law enforcement.[59] Many websites used to plan the events at the Capitol are regarded as "alt-tech" platforms, distinct from larger social media platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, and other sites that have implemented bans to censor violent language and images. Sites like TheDonald.win, founded after its predecessor was banned from Reddit; social networking service Parler; the chat app Telegram; Gab, and others were used to discuss previous Trump rallies and make plans for storming the Capitol.[60][61][62] At least one group, Stop the Steal, posted on December 23, 2020, their plans to occupy the Capitol with promises to "escalate" if they were met with opposition from law enforcement.[63] Many of the posters planned for potential violence prior to the event, with some individuals discussing how to avoid police on the streets and which tools to bring to help pry open doors.[64]

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said his media company paid $500,000 to book the Ellipse for the pro-Trump rally immediately preceding the riots and claimed that the Trump White House asked him to lead the march to the Capitol. Jones also told supporters that Biden would be removed from office "one way or the other".[65]

Events in Washington, D.C.[edit source | edit]

Thousands of attendees gathered in Freedom Plaza on January 5, 2021, in advance of protests planned for the week.[66] On the night of January 5 and into the morning of January 6, at least ten people were arrested, several on weapons charges.[33]

Participating groups[edit source | edit]

Supporters of the Three Percenters, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, QAnon, the Groyper Army, National-anarchism, and Black Hebrew Israelite devotees, among others, were reportedly present or wore emblematic gear or symbols during the riots. Neo-Nazi 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").[67][68][69] 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 [the] White Revolution in the United States".[70]

"Save America March"[edit source | edit]

Protesters at Union Station in the morning on January 6

On the morning of January 6, protesters surrounded the Washington Monument to rally. Trump, his lawyer and adviser Rudy Giuliani, and others gave speeches on the Ellipse. Giuliani addressed the crowd, repeating conspiracy theories that voting machines used in the election were "crooked" and calling for "trial by combat".[71] U.S. Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama told the crowd, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass." U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina said, "This crowd has some fight."[72][73]

Trump gave a speech from behind a glass barrier, 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.[57][74]

Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol, where Congress meets:

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. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard today.[75]

Trump also told his supporters to "fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." He declared they 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".[27] Trump's speech, replete with misrepresentations and lies, inflamed the crowd.[76]

Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric also spoke, verbally attacking Republican congressmen and senators who were not supporting the effort to challenge the Electoral College vote by name, and promising to campaign against them in future primary elections.[77] In the early afternoon, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley passed by the protest on his way to the joint session of Congress, and greeted protesters with a raised fist.[78][79]

Rioting in the Capitol building[edit source | edit]

Police release tear gas outside the Capitol

Around 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, hundreds of participants of Trump's rally, encouraged by his speech, left the rally and advanced on the Capitol building.[80] Alex Jones was a leader of the march to the Capitol that preceded the riots.[81]

The crowd became violent just after 2 p.m. after rally attendees arrived at the Capitol to meet other protesters already gathered there. They breached the barricades that were manned by police around the perimeter of the Capitol grounds.[1] After breaching the security perimeter,[82][83] most rioters walked into the Capitol on foot; others used ropes and makeshift ladders, and some broke windows to get in.[84] As rioters began to storm the Capitol and other nearby buildings, some buildings in the complex were evacuated, and rioters broke past security to enter the Capitol itself, including the National Statuary Hall.[33][34] The crowd swept past barriers and officers, with some members of the mob spraying officers with chemical agents.[1] Outside the building, the mob put up a gallows, punctured the tires of a police vehicle, and left a note saying "PELOSI IS SATAN" on the windshield.[1]

Several rioters carried plastic handcuffs, possibly with the intention of using them to take hostages.[59][85][86] Some of the rioters carried Confederate flags[1][87][88][89] or Nazi emblems,[90] while others wore riot gear, including helmets and military-style vests.

C-SPAN broadcast of the Senate going into recess after protestors infiltrate the Capitol

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 and endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz. Both chambers were roughly halfway through their two-hour debate on the motion.[91][92]

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 Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema to Senator James Lankford. Moments later, Pence was escorted out by members of the Secret Service, and banging could be heard from outside as people attempted to breach the doors. As Lankford was speaking, the Senate was gaveled into recess at 2:13 p.m.[93] A police officer carrying a semi-automatic weapon appeared on the floor and stood between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer.[94] With violence breaking out, Capitol security advised the members of Congress to take cover.[95][96]

People inside the Capitol being evacuated. Staff and reporters inside the building were taken by secure elevators to the basement, and then to an underground bunker constructed following the 2001 attempted attack on the Capitol. Evacuees were redirected after the bunker was also infiltrated by the mob.[97]

At 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done". Afterwards, Trump followers on far-right social media called for the vice president to be hunted down, and the mob began chanting, "Where is Pence?"[98][99] Outside, the mob chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!"[100] 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".[31]

At 2:30 p.m., the Senate chamber was evacuated.[97][101] After evacuation, the mob briefly took control of the chamber, with some armed and armored men carrying flex-cuffs and some posing with raised fists on the Senate dais that Pence had left minutes earlier.[1][102] A source close to the vice president subsequently told CNN that Trump and his top aides did little to check on Pence's safety during the crisis, and appeared unconcerned at the possibility that "an angry mob that he commanded to march on the Capitol might injure the vice president or his family."[103] Pence's wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, and brother Greg Pence (a member of the House) were in the Capitol at the time it was attacked.[103]

Video shot inside the House of Representatives chamber with armed security blocking the doors

Meanwhile in the House chamber around 2:15 p.m., while Representative Paul Gosar was speaking, Speaker Pelosi was escorted out of the chamber. The House was gaveled into recess, but would resume a few minutes later.[104][105] Amid the security concerns, Representative Dean Phillips yelled, "This is because of you!" at his Republican colleagues.[106] The House resumed debate around 2:25 p.m. Around 2:30, when Rep. 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.[107] Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks after law enforcement began using tear gas within the building.[108][104] Staff members removed boxes of sealed electoral vote certificates to prevent them from being damaged by rioters.[109][110][96] ABC News reported that shots were fired within the Capitol building.[108][111] After rioters broke into the Capitol, there was an armed standoff at the front door of the House chamber; as the mob attempted to break in, security personnel drew their guns inside the House of Representatives chamber[1] and pointed them towards the doors to the chamber, which were barricaded with furniture.[112] In a stairway, one officer fired a shot at a man coming toward him.[36]

Multiple protesters documented themselves occupying the Capitol and the offices of various representatives.[113][114][115] Rioters stormed the offices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi,[116][117] and the office of the Senate Parliamentarian was ransacked.[118]

Broken window

At least thirteen Republican current and former state legislators—including Nevada State Assemblywoman Annie Black, Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase, Alaska State Representative David Eastman, West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, Missouri State Representative Justin Hill, Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem, Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, and Tennessee Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, as well as outgoing Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones, outgoing Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern, and former Pennsylvania State Representative Rick Saccone—were present at the event. Weaver claimed to have been "in the thick of it," while Evans filmed himself entering the Capitol alongside rioters. All denied participating in acts of violence.[119][120] Evans was later charged by federal authorities with entering a restricted area.[121]

Improvised explosive devices[edit source | edit]

Security camera photo of the suspect behind the attempted bombing

Improvised explosive devices were found in several locations in Washington, D.C. A device suspected to be a pipe bomb was discovered adjacent to a building containing Republican National Committee (RNC) offices. A search of the nearby area found another suspected pipe bomb under a bush at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.[5] The devices were believed to have been planted prior to the riots.[122] Both the RNC building and the DNC headquarters are a few blocks from the Capitol.[123] The RNC and DNC devices were safely detonated by bomb squads, and police later said they were "hazardous" and could have caused "great harm".[5] The FBI distributed a photo of the person who they believe planted the devices and issued a reward of up to $50,000 for information.[122] Another suspected pipe bomb was found on the grounds of the Capitol complex.[124]

A vehicle containing a semi-automatic rifle and a cooler full of eleven Molotov cocktails was also found nearby.[125][126] Lonnie Coffman, who brought the rifle and Molotov cocktails, was arrested.[127] He also had three handguns.[128]

Law enforcement response[edit source | edit]

Armed guards walking through the halls of Congress after they were ransacked

About 2:31 p.m. on January 6, Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6:00 p.m. curfew to go into effect that night.[129] Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia also issued a curfew for nearby Alexandria and Arlington County in Northern Virginia.[130][131]

Northam sent members of the Virginia National Guard and 200 Virginia State Troopers to support D.C. law enforcement.[132] Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland also announced that he would send the Maryland State Police and Maryland National Guard.[133][134] Hogan and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's requests to authorize National Guard troops to be deployed at the Capitol initially were denied in multiple instances. 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 only engage with protesters 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.[135][136] Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Acting Defense Secretary Miller decided to deploy the entire 1,100-strong force of D.C. National Guard to quell violence.[137]

About 3:45 p.m., Miller spoke with Pence, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer, and directed the National Guard and other "additional support" to respond to the riot.[138][139] The order to send in the National Guard, which Trump initially resisted, was approved by Vice President Pence.[140][141] This bypassing of the chain of command has not been explained.[142]

File:Persons of interest Washington DC 6 January 2021.pdf
Photographs released by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department of events inside the Capitol

It took more than three hours for police to retake control of the Capitol, using riot gear, shields, and batons.[1] Capitol Police were assisted by the local D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.[1] Smoke grenades were deployed on the Senate side of the Capitol by Capitol Police working to clear rioters from the building.[143] 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.[144] FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents wearing riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30 p.m.[145]

Governor of New Jersey 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.[146] Shortly before 5:00 p.m., congressional leaders were reportedly being evacuated from the Capitol complex to Fort McNair, a nearby Army base.[147] At around 5:40 p.m., the Sergeant at Arms announced that the Capitol had been secured.[148]

Riot police and protesters outside the Capitol in the evening

As police continued to try to push rioters away from the Capitol, protests continued, 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".[109]

By 6:08 p.m., police had arrested at least thirteen people and seized five firearms during the day's events.[149] Although Mayor Bowser had ordered a 6:00 p.m. curfew, it went largely ignored, and hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators remained in the Capitol Hill area.[150]

It was reported that 2,700 troops of the D.C. National Guard and 650 troops of the Virginia National Guard would be sent to the city on the night of January 6.[151] Governor of New York 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.[152] On the night of January 6, Mayor 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".[153][154] 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 stated that New Jersey National Guard troops would be mobilized, as would as troops from the Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania National Guards.[7]

Completion of electoral vote count[edit source | edit]

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

Congress reconvened after the Capitol was cleared of trespassers, with the Senate resuming its session at around 8:00 p.m. on January 6 to finish debating the objection to the Arizona electors. At 9:58 p.m., the Senate rejected the objection 93–6, with only six Republicans voting in favor: Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Neely Kennedy, Roger Marshall and Tommy Tuberville.[155] At 11:08 p.m., the House of Representatives also rejected the motion by a margin of 303–121. All of the "yeas" came from Republicans while the "nays" were from 83 Republicans and 220 Democrats.[156]

Another objection was raised by Josh Hawley and Republican Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to the Pennsylvania slate of electors, triggering another two-hour split in the joint session to debate the objection.[157] At 12:30 a.m. on January 7, the Senate rejected this objection as well by a 92–7 vote, with the same people voting the same way as before with the exceptions of Senators Cynthia Lummis and Rick Scott voting in favor and John Kennedy voting against.[158] 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.[159]

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.[160][161][162][163]

Reactions[edit source | edit]

President Donald Trump[edit source | edit]

Donald Trump's statement during the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The video was originally posted on Twitter and shared on other social media before being removed from all platforms for violating various policies.

Actions during the riot[edit source | edit]

Trump, who had spent previous weeks promoting the "Saving America" rally,[164] was "initially pleased" when his supporters breached the Capitol and refused to intercede;[165] Republican Senator Ben Sasse said that senior White House officials told him that Trump was "delighted" to hear that rioters were entering the Capitol.[166] Shortly after 2 p.m., as the riot was ongoing and after senators had been evacuated from the Senate floor, Trump placed calls to Republican senators (first Mike Lee of Utah, then Tommy Tuberville of Alabama), asking them to make more objections to the counting of the electoral votes to try to overturn the election.[167]

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!"[168] 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."[168] 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 did not call upon the crowd to disperse.[168] By 3:40 p.m., a number of congressional Republicans called upon Trump to more specifically condemn violence and to call on his supporters to end the occupation of the Capitol: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that he had spoken to Trump to ask him to "calm individuals down"; Senator Marco Rubio 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, in a video message, told Trump to "call it off".[168] In contrast to Trump, who only called upon his supporters to "remain peaceful", Pence called for the occupation of the Capitol to end immediately.[168]

By 3:50 p.m., White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the National Guard and "other federal protective services" had been deployed.[168] 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 false claims of a 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."[42][168]

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!"[168][43][169][170]

At 7 p.m., Trump's attorney 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."[167]

Subsequent actions[edit source | edit]

Shortly after Congress certified Biden's victory, Trump's spokesman Dan Scavino issued a statement from Trump saying, "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!"[171]

In a video statement released on January 7, Trump 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.[172][173] White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had attempted to distance the administration from the rioters' behavior in a televised statement earlier in the day.[174]

Vice President Mike Pence[edit source | edit]

Pence tweeted at 3:35 p.m. on January 6, "This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".[175] He later spoke to the Senate when they reconvened on the night of January 6, saying, "Today was a dark day in the United States Capitol ... To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the People's House."[176][177]

Some aides to Pence felt that the vice president had been betrayed by Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows, and that they were setting Pence up as "a scapegoat" given Trump's unwillingness to admit defeat.[103]

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris[edit source | edit]

External video
Comments by President-elect Joe Biden, January 6, 2021, C-SPAN

On January 6 at 4:06 p.m., President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation from Wilmington, Delaware, calling the events an insurrection and borderline sedition, and said that "our democracy is under unprecedented assault".[178][179] He called upon Trump to go on national television and demand an end to the protests.[180][181] Minutes afterward, Vice president-elect Kamala Harris reiterated Biden's comments, writing that the protests were an "assault on the Capitol and our nation's public servants".[182] The following day Biden said the attack constituted domestic terrorism.[183]

Congress[edit source | edit]

Schumer's speech following the riot, during the reconvening of Congress later that evening.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke rank with the President and called the storming of the Capitol a "failed insurrection" and said "we are back at our posts, we will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation. And we're going to do it tonight."[184] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called upon Trump to "demand that all protesters leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately".[185] Schumer, in his speech following the resuming of Senate business, labelled those participating in the storming of the Capitol as "domestic terrorists" whose actions will be a "stain on our country not so easily washed away".[186] Pelosi later stated, following her announcement that the electoral vote count would proceed during the evening of January 6, "let us pray that this instigation to violence will provide an epiphany for our country to heal".[187]

Representative Cori Bush tweeted her intent to introduce a resolution calling for the expulsion of "Republican members of Congress who have incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election".[188][189] Almost one hundred Democratic Members of Congress called for Trump's removal from office, either through impeachment or the 25th Amendment.[190]

Republican U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger condemned the violence and described the events as a "coup attempt".[52] Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the Chair of the House Republican Conference, said "No question the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame."[191] Newly-sworn-in Representative Nancy Mace, who had worked for the President's 2016 campaign, stated that "everything that he's worked for ... all of that—his entire legacy—was wiped out" by the violence.[192] Representative Mike Gallagher remarked of the riots that he had "not seen anything like this since I deployed to Iraq".[193] Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who had planned to oppose the certification of the electoral vote, announced that she would no longer object to the Electoral College results after witnessing the "disgraceful and un-American" events of January 6.[194] She was joined by senators Kelly Loeffler, Steve Daines, James Lankford, Marsha Blackburn, and Mike Braun, all of whom reversed course on the issue of contesting the electoral vote after witnessing the violence of the mob.[195]

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah stated, "What happened at the U.S. Capitol today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States" and part of "an unprecedented attack on our democracy".[196] Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said, "This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president's addiction to constantly stoking division."[197] Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania took to the Senate floor to say, "We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans."[198] Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina said, "The President bears responsibility for today's events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point."[199] Senator Ted Cruz condemned the protest and said, "Violence is always unacceptable. Even when passions run high. Anyone engaged in violence—especially against law enforcement—should be fully prosecuted."[200] Cruz himself, as well as Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) were subsequently urged to resign by Democratic politicians.[201]

Former presidents[edit source | edit]

All four living former presidents—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—denounced the storming of the Capitol, with Obama and Clinton condemning Trump for inciting the violence.[202] Bush, who has infrequently commented on national matters since leaving office in 2009, released a statement saying "this is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic." Furthermore, he was "appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."[203] Obama wrote that "History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president, who has continued to lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation" but that the violence was unsurprising given the two-month campaign by "a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem" to promote a "fantasy narrative" that "has spiraled further and further from reality ... whipped up into a violent crescendo."[204]

Other domestic reactions[edit source | edit]

Against rioters[edit source | edit]

William Barr, Trump's former attorney general, denounced the violence, calling it "outrageous and despicable," adding that the president's actions were a "betrayal of his office and supporters" and that "orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable."[205][206] Trump's former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney urged the President to call a stop to the storming of the Capitol,[207] and later resigned from his post as the United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland.[208] Jim Mattis, a former Marine general and Trump's first secretary of defense, and Tom Bossert, Trump's first homeland security adviser, condemned Trump for enabling the storming and destroying trust in the election.[209][210]

Ivanka Trump, the president's eldest daughter, was criticized for addressing the rioters as "American patriots" in a now-deleted tweet publicly urging the cessation of violence.[211] Terry Gainer, a former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police and former Senate sergeant-at arms, described the protests as unprecedented in law enforcement, declaring that "this is a much more hateful crowd incited by the president himself. It's definitely something new in our business."[212]

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley condemned the pro-Trump riot as "wrong and un-American"[213] and, in a closed-door speech to Republican National Committee members the following day, criticized Trump's actions since Election Day.[214] MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, called for the arrest of President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Rudy Giuliani.[215]

Former acting CIA director Michael Morell (2010–2013) said, "We should be calling what happened [on January 6] domestic terrorism."[216] Similarly, national security expert Bruce Hoffman also determined that the attacks on the US Capitol constituted "domestic terrorism," as well.[217]

Many news outlets, including CNN,[218] USA Today,[219] The Guardian,[220] The Washington Post,[221] and CBS News,[222] criticized the police response to the storming of the Capitol in contrast to the police response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the previous year. In June 2020, 5,000 National Guard members guarded the White House during Black Lives Matter demonstrations,[220] however in an attempt to avoid inflaming tensions since those protests, Mayor Muriel Bowser opted not to call National Guard members from other states for the January 6, 2021, demonstrations, causing the law enforcement presence to be "relatively small" and "not prepared for rioters".[223][224]

Chuck Schumer stated: "What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer." Schumer called on Mike Pence to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that enables power to be transferred from the president to the vice-president if the president is deemed incapable of handling duties.[225]

Support for rioters[edit source | edit]

Trump's most fervent allies in Congress, media, and the conservative world defended his conduct through a blend of denial (denying Trump's role in prompting the storming of the Capitol); deflection and downplaying (such as justifying the rioters' behavior or making false equivalencies); and outright disinformation (asserting that the violence was actually caused by far-left antifa members).[226] Conservative media hosts including Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Greg Kelly and Mark Levin also sought to deflect responsibility from Trump supporters. Sinclair Broadcast Group provided a video segment to its owned and operated television stations in over 100 markets in which correspondent James Rosen reported "far-left infiltrators" had been involved, though he did not provide a source for the assertion.[227] Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh compared the rioters to the Founding Fathers of the United States.[228]

Coverage of the event on Fox News was mixed to positive. Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum initially supported the rioters after they breached the Capitol grounds, remarking on-air that "This is a huge victory for these protesters. They have disrupted the system in an enormous way!"[229] She later contradicted herself, calling the images "stark and so disturbing" but without apologizing or retracting her on-air statements.[230] Lou Dobbs criticized Capitol police for drawing guns "on American citizens, most of whom are patriots."[231] Host Pete Hegseth defended the rioters, saying "they just love freedom" and that "people feel like the entire system is rigged against them".[232]

Members of the far-right group Proud Boys posted messages boasting and taking credit for causing "absolute terror".[233] The sergeant-at-arms of the Republican Party of Texas was removed after expressing support for the rioters on Facebook.[234]

False flag conspiracies[edit source | edit]

Some Trump loyalists falsely claimed that the incident was a false flag operation staged by antifa to implicate Trump supporters. In an apparent effort to shift blame for any violence on antifa, leaders of the Proud Boys had requested in posts on conservative-leaning microblogging service Parler that members of the extremist group attend the rally incognito wearing "all black" clothing synonymous with anti-fascist activists.[235] A facial recognition company denied a report by Rowan Scarborough published in The Washington Times that its products had identified participants in the incursion as antifa members, which was promoted by Fox News host Laura Ingraham and congressman Matt Gaetz and went viral among Trump supporters. The Times removed the story from its website hours later and published a retraction. Similar baseless accusations of antifa false flag operations had circulated among Trump supporters since 2017.[236] The FBI said there was no evidence of antifa involvement in the mob incursion.[237]

Opinion polling[edit source | edit]

A YouGov poll of registered voters found that overall, 71% opposed the storming of the Capitol (while 21% supported it), and 62% believed that the storming should be considered a threat to democracy. Among Republicans, 45% of Republicans supported the storming, with 43% opposed. In contrast, 96% of Democrats and 67% of independents were opposed.[238]

An Ipsos poll conducted between January 7–8, 2021, found that 70% of Americans disapproved of Trump's actions leading up to the assault on the Capitol, and 57% of Americans wanted Trump to be immediately removed for his role in the riots.[239]

A PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted January 7, 2021, found that 18% of Republicans supported the riots.[240]

International reaction[edit source | edit]

Over 70 other countries and international organizations have all expressed their concerns over the protests and condemned the violence, with some specifically condemning Trump's own role in inciting the attack.[241][242] Multiple world leaders have made a call for peace, describing the riots as "an attack on democracy".[243]

Aftermath[edit source | edit]

Criticism of Capitol Police[edit source | edit]

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

Law enforcement's failure to prevent the mob from breaching the Capitol attracted scrutiny to the Capitol Police and other police agencies involved.[244] The Capitol Police, which has jurisdiction over an area of around two square miles, is one of the largest and best-funded police forces in the United States, with around 2,000 officers, an annual budget of more than $460 million, extensive access to military weaponry, and extensive experience of responding to protests and high-profile events; it has more than tripled in size since 1996.[59] Prior to the storming of the Capitol, the barriers erected were low and most officers were in regular uniforms rather than riot gear, aimed at managing a protest rather than deterring an attack.[244] Policing experts criticized the Capitol Police's preparation and initial response, stating that the agency had underestimated the potential threat from Trump supporters; unwisely allowed rioters to gather on the Capitol steps; and failed to immediately arrest the rioters, or otherwise respond to the disorder, after the forced entry.[244] The Washington Post reported that the Capitol Police was caught off guard by an overwhelming crowd, and did not have the personnel to immediately detain all the intruders; the Post further noted that "some officers were captured on video appearing to stand back as rioters streamed inside."[244] Some of the shortfall in staffing was attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, with officers who were quarantined after being infected with or exposed to the COVID-19 virus.[244]

Footage emerged on social media of police allowing rioters through barricades into the Capitol, and one officer was filmed taking a "selfie" with a rioter inside the building.[245][246][247] Representative Jim Cooper was concerned that Capitol Police could have been complicit in the breach, saying "At worst, [Capitol Police] let this protest proceed unlike any other".[248] U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren, who chairs a committee responsible for Capitol security, said Capitol Police chief Steven Sund lied to her before the event about the preparations he had made and the readiness of the National Guard.[249] Multiple European security officials, including two intelligence officials from NATO member countries, in interviews with Business Insider suggested the breach may have been abetted by "tacit support" of the attackers among members of Capitol Police and other federal agencies assisting with Capitol complex security.[250] Politico reported some rioters briefly showing their police badges or military identification to law enforcement as they approached the Capitol.[251]

Representative Tim Ryan, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch (which has budgetary authority over the Capitol Police), announced that he would begin an inquiry into security lapses that allowed the violent mob to overrun the Capitol and breach into the legislative chambers. Ryan indicated that he expected some officers in the Capitol Police to be fired, and cited a "lack of professional planning and dealing" and "strategic mistakes" ahead of "the insurrection and the attempted coup".[252]

On January 8, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee launched a joint investigation into the Capitol Police's security failures.[253]

The law enforcement failures that allowed the storming of the Capitol led the U.S. Secret Service to initiate a review of its security plans for the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021.[244]

Accusations of differential treatment[edit source | edit]

Police officers before the storming

Civil rights organizers and political commentators claimed that groups involved with racial injustice protests in D.C. during the prior summer had been subjected to much harsher tactics and treatment than had been used towards the protesters who stormed the Capitol.[254][255] Multiple media outlets covered posts from users on social media which made claims that due to white privilege and male privilege, the police treated the protesters with more leniency than they would people of color or disabled individuals,[256] with many citing a moment when a police officer took a selfie with a protester.[257] U.S. Representative Tim Ryan said: "If black people were storming the Capitol, they would have been treated so much differently than they were today. I don’t think there's any question that communities of color would have been handled much, much differently."[252]

Writer Roxane Gay said black protesters "would be lying dead in front of the Capitol building" if they had behaved in the same way as the Trump supporters.[258] The journalist Adam Serwer juxtaposed the Capitol Police's failure to prevent theft from the Capitol to Trump's use of the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" the previous year.[258] Phillip Atiba Goff of Yale University and the Center for Policing Equity described the mobilization of police around the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial while Black Lives Matter protesters walked past in 2020 as "more militaristic than when armed white supremacists told us they were going to storm the Capitol in order to interrupt democracy".[85] Others compared the treatment of the pro-Trump rioters to the Capitol Police's violent treatment of disabled protesters associated with ADAPT in 2017, and the serious injuries inflicted on peaceful protesters by other police forces using rubber bullets and tear gas during the George Floyd protests.[258]

Citing disparities in the use of force when compared to recent Black Lives Matter protests, Representative Jamaal Bowman proposed legislation to investigate whether members of the Capitol Police have ties to white supremacist groups.[259]

Resignations[edit source | edit]

Ken Cuccinelli, acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, touring the Capitol after the protests to survey damage

The day after the attack, Pelosi called upon Capitol Police chief Steven Sund to resign, citing a failure of leadership, and stated she had been unable to reach Sund since the attacks.[260] Sund announced his resignation that day, effective January 16.[261][249] On the same day, the resignation of Paul D. Irving, Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, was announced. Chuck Schumer stated that he would fire Michael C. Stenger, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, upon becoming majority leader later in January.[249] Shortly thereafter, outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received Stenger's resignation, effective immediately.[249]

Criticism of media coverage[edit source | edit]

On January 7, 2021, American radio and television host Laura Ingraham of Fox News on her show The Ingraham Angle criticized what she perceived as a double standard in media coverage on the Capitol storming compared to coverage of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020, claiming that "The violence, by the way, continued all summer long, with many of the thugs emboldened as the media pulled their cameras back".[262]

Also on January 7, David Bauder, a writer for the Associated Press, criticized conservative media coverage of the storming, saying that while "Media outlets that appeal to conservatives offered condemnations, explanations and deflections following the U.S. Capitol riot by President Donald Trump's supporters", they also offered "little introspection".[263]

Criminal investigation and prosecutions[edit source | edit]

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.[144] He said any Capitol Police officer found to have assisted the rioters would be charged,[86] and he further suggested that Trump could be investigated for comments he made to his supporters before they stormed the Capitol and that others who "assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role" in the events could also be investigated.[144] The day after the storming of the Capitol, the FBI and D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department requested the public for assistance to identify any of the rioters.[264][265][266]

On January 8, federal prosecutors announced charges against 13 people in connection with the Capitol riot, including Alabama man Lonnie Coffman, who allegedly parked a truck containing 11 homemade bombs, a rifle, and a handgun two blocks from the Capitol.[267]

Casualties[edit source | edit]

Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, was a 15-year veteran of the force and a former National Guardsman.

Fifteen police officers were hospitalized,[268] and more than 50 injured.[92] Members of the mob hit Capitol Police officers in the head with lead pipes and other weapons, some disguised as flag poles.[269] Five people died during or shortly after the event, including one police officer.[270]

Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, a 15-year veteran of the force and a former National Guardsman, was fatally injured by rioters. The specific cause of Sicknick's death was not initially released, though law enforcement officials told The New York Times that he had been struck in the head by a fire extinguisher.[3] Reuters reported that Sicknick suffered a stroke after sustaining head injuries,[271] and collapsed after returning to his division office. He was taken to a hospital and died the next day.[15][272][273] Federal authorities launched a murder investigation into Sicknick's death.[40] Pelosi, the House speaker, had the flags at the Capitol lowered to half-staff in Sicknick's honor;[274] the flag at the White House was not lowered.[275] After Sicknick's death was announced, Senator Ted Cruz received backlash for previous speeches that were perceived as calls for violence, with #TedCruzKilledACop being the top Twitter trend in the United States.[276]

During the riot, Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt,[277] a 35-year-old rioter from San Diego, died from a gunshot wound to the neck.[278] Babbitt and more than a dozen rioters were attempting to break through barricaded doors into the Speaker's Lobby, leading to the House chamber, shortly before 3:00 p.m.; Babbitt, who was wearing a Trump flag, climbed through a smashed portion of the door, just yards away from members of Congress, and was shot by a Capitol Police officer.[279][280][278] The incident was recorded on several cameras.[280][279] A law enforcement official told The Washington Post that the police believe she had been unarmed, but the officer who fired the fatal shot did not know that at the time, and officers were aware that many of the intruders were carrying concealed weapons.[36] The officer who shot her was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.[281] The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department launched an investigation into the death.[282] Babbitt was a follower of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, and had tweeted the previous day "the storm is here", a reference to a QAnon prediction that Trump will expose and defeat a global cabal of perceived Satan-worshipping pedophiles.[283][284][285]

Three other protesters also died, identified as Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia; Kevin Greeson, 55, from Athens, Alabama; and Benjamin Philips, 50, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.[286][287][288] Greeson died of a heart attack linked to accidental electrocution, Philips died of a stroke,[289] and Boyland was reportedly crushed to death.[290][291] The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that there was "no indication Philips himself participated in the raid on the Capitol."[292] Phillips started the social media site Trumparoo, intended for Trump supporters.[293] Greeson's family said he was "not there to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions."[294]

There were calls for Trump to be prosecuted for inciting the violence that led to the five deaths,[295][296] although it is not clear that the medical emergencies were due to violence. An article on Law & Crime discussed whether felony murder charges could be brought against others, either protesters, those who invaded the capital, or instigators of the rally. It concluded that such charges were very unlikely.[297]

Damage, theft, and impact[edit source | edit]

The rioters caused extensive physical damage, with Capitol Police officers reporting that the building had been "trashed".[143][1] Social media photos shared by protesters showed criminal activities such as theft and vandalism.[2] Rioters stormed the offices of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, flipping tables and ripping photos from walls;[298][299] the office of the Senate Parliamentarian was ransacked;[300] art was looted;[1] and urine and feces were tracked into several hallways.[301][302][143] Glass windows were smashed throughout the building, leaving the floor littered with glass and debris.[1][303] A 19th-century marble bust of President Zachary Taylor was defaced with what seemed to be blood, but the most important works in the collection escaped unharmed.[303] Some items of furniture were damaged, turned over, or stolen.[303] Rioters destroyed Associated Press recording and broadcasting equipment outside the Capitol after chasing away reporters,[304] and officers were injured in the violence at the Capitol.[305] Rioters also destroyed a placard honoring the life of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis.[306] The Architect of the Capitol has not yet released a full damage assessment.[303]

A laptop owned by Senator Jeff Merkley was stolen,[307] and the Justice Department noted in a briefing that "national security equities" may have been stolen. Representative Ruben Gallego noted that "we have to do a full review of what was taken, or copied, or even left behind in terms of bugs and listening devices."[251] 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.[308]

Trump administration resignations[edit source | edit]

Resignation letter of Education secretary Betsy DeVos

Matthew Pottinger, the Deputy National Security Advisor;[309] Stephanie Grisham, the chief of staff for First Lady Melania Trump; Sarah Matthews, the White House Deputy Press Secretary; and Anna Cristina "Rickie" Niceta Lloyd, the White House Social Secretary, resigned in protest on the day of the storming of the Capitol.[310][311][312] The next day, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao became the first cabinet member to announce her resignation, effective January 11.[313] She was followed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who also cited the Capitol Hill incident.[314] Mick Mulvaney, Trump's former chief of staff and the administration's special envoy to Northern Ireland; and Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, announced their resignations as well.[208][315] Upon his exit, Mulvaney stated, "I can't do it. I can't stay ... Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they're worried the President might put someone worse in." He also stated that Trump "wasn't the same as he was eight months ago."[208] Five senior officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) resigned in protest.[316] Julian Borger wrote that there was "no sign ... of a sweeping exodus or mutiny".[144] House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized DeVos and Chao for resigning rather than voting to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to remove Trump from office.[317]

CNN reported that several Trump aides were considering resigning, including Robert O'Brien and Chris Liddell.[318]

Proposals to remove Trump via constitutional processes[edit source | edit]

Representative Adam Kinzinger (Illinois' 16th district) became the first Republican lawmaker to call for Trump to be removed via 25th Amendment.[319]

The Democratic leaders in Congress—Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—called upon Vice President Pence to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment and indicated that they would pursue impeachment of Trump for a second time if he did not.[8][320] Pelosi said Trump "incited an armed insurrection against America" and instigated "the gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol [and] violence targeting Congress".[321] The never-before-invoked provision of the Twenty-fifth Amendment allows the vice president, with a majority of Cabinet secretaries, to declare Trump "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" by written declaration.[322][323] Within two days after the pro-Trump violence at the Capitol, 197 representatives and 37 senators publicly called for the invocation of the Twenty-fifth Amendment or Trump's impeachment and removal from office in inciting the riot. All were Democrats (including two independent Senators who caucus with the Democrats, Angus King and Bernie Sanders), except for a sole Republican, U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.[324] Those calling for Trump's impeachment spanned the party's ideological spectrum.[325] President-elect Biden did not take a position on a prospective fast-track impeachment of Trump, saying the matter is for Congress to decide.[326]

Among Democratic governors, calls upon Trump to step down or be removed from office were made by J. B. Pritzker of Illinois,[325][327] Andrew Cuomo of New York,[328] Roy Cooper of North Carolina,[329] and Jay Inslee of Washington state.[330] Three Republican governors who have been critical of Trump—Phil Scott of Vermont, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Larry Hogan of Maryland—also called upon Trump to resign or be removed from office.[331] Conversely, Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina, a Republican closely allied with Trump, opposed calls to remove Trump from office,[332] and Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio, opposed invocation of the Twenty-fifth Amendment on the grounds because he believed it "would cause more division than healing" and because there were less than two weeks remaining in Trump's term.[333]

Yoni Appelbaum of The Atlantic called for the impeachment of Trump a second time.[334] Several conservative commentators, including Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and John Podhoretz, expressed their support for the impeachment and removal of Trump.[335][336][337] The conservative editorial board of The Wall Street Journal wrote that Trump's behavior in the incident "crosses a constitutional line that Mr. Trump hasn't previously crossed. It is impeachable" and that the "best outcome would be for him to resign."[338] Senator Lisa Murkowski also called for Trump to resign.[339] Senator Ben Sasse said he would consider articles of impeachment from the House and that "the president has disregarded his oath of office."[340]

The National Association of Manufacturers also requested Pence to "seriously consider" invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment.[341] On the evening of January 6, some Cabinet members held preliminary discussions about the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare Trump "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" and thus transfer his powers and duties to Pence as acting president;[342][343][344] however, Pence reportedly rejected calls to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment.[345]

Calling the armed storming of the Capitol an "act of sedition", the Washington Post editorial board wrote that Trump's "continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy" as well as to public order and national security, and called for Pence to immediately begin the Twenty-fifth Amendment process to declare Trump "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" so that Pence could serve until Biden's inauguration on January 20.[346]

Calls for Trump to be prosecuted for inciting the crowd to storm the Capitol also were made in the aftermath of the event.[347] D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser stated: "We saw an unprecedented attack on our American democracy incited by the United States president. He must be held accountable. His constant and divisive rhetoric led to the abhorrent actions we saw today."[296]

Potential spread of COVID-19[edit source | edit]

For further information, see COVID-19 pandemic in Washington, D.C.

Public health experts have said that the storming of the Capitol was a potential COVID-19 superspreader event.[348] Few members of the crowd wore face coverings, with many coming from out of town, and few of the rioters were immediately detained and identified.[348] U.S. Representative Jacob LaTurner, Republican of Kansas, tested positive for COVID-19 after the lockdown was lifted on the evening of January 6; LaTurner—who began his freshman congressional term on January 3—did not return to the House floor when the Electoral College count proceedings resumed. As many as 200 congressional staffers reportedly sheltered in various rooms inside the Capitol, further increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.[348][349]

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said in an interview with WJLA-TV that the rioters "probably put themselves at an increased risk because they essentially did not adhere to the fundamentals of public health" to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as "universal wearing of masks, keeping physical distance, [and] avoiding crowds in congregate settings."[350] The day after the storming of the Capitol, Eric Toner, a senior scholar from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the storming of the Capitol was "extraordinarily dangerous" from a public-health perspective.[348]

American neo-Nazi and white supremacist activist Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet participated in the day's events, including storming the Capitol, despite a recent COVID-19 diagnosis.[351]

Social media crackdowns on conspiracies and incendiary content[edit source | edit]

The role of social media in the storming of the Capitol created pressure towards platforms to strengthen enforcement of moderation policies prohibiting extremist content to prevent further violence, albeit with the risk of promulgating unsupported accusations by conservatives that such policies promote an implicit ideological bias by specifically limiting their ability to express controversial or false speech.[352][353]

Shortly after Trump's January 6 video message was uploaded, the video was removed by Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for violating site policies on "civil integrity" and election misinformation.[354] Facebook executive Guy Rosen stated that the video was removed because "it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."[355] That evening, Twitter locked Trump's account for twelve hours and threatened a permanent suspension for "repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy." Twitter also required him to remove three of his tweets.[356][357] Snapchat indefinitely suspended Trump's account on the platform the same day,[358] while Shopify terminated shops that sold Trump campaign paraphernalia and merchandise from his personal TrumpStore brand.[359] The following day, Facebook and its platforms, including Instagram, announced they had banned Trump indefinitely, at least until he steps down from the presidency. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, "The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor."[360]

On January 7, Twitch announced it had disabled Trump's channel on the platform.[361] On January 8, Twitter permanently suspended Trump "due to the risk of further incitement of violence" from his tweets.[9] The company noted it was aware that "plans for future armed protests [had] already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021" and "there are multiple indicators that [Trump's recent tweets] are being received and understood as encouragement to do so." The ban extended to government-run and non-government accounts (such as the official presidential account, @POTUS, and his campaign's account, @TeamTrump), with subsequent posts to those accounts being subjected to deletion and any new accounts created for him to evade the ban being permanently suspended "at first detection."[362][363] Trump circumvented the ban at least twice that evening, and attempted to circumvent it through a third account. On @POTUS and @TeamTrump, he blasted Twitter's decision, baselessly accusing the platform of "coordinat[ing] with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing [his main] account," suggesting a "big announcement" of a possible new social platform for him and his supporters, and uploaded an image of Twitter's bird logo emblazoned with the Soviet flag to decry what he considered to be censorship of his speech. Twitter removed the posts from both accounts and suspended the @TeamTrump account due to his violations of the ban,[363] and subsequently suspended the account of Trump campaign digital director Gary Coby, who changed his avatar and account name to Trump's—while keeping the former's account handle eponym as he tried to forward it in a tweet to Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino—in an apparent attempt to use it as a sock puppet account.[363] Twitter also banned accounts deemed to be "solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content," including those belonging to former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son Michael Flynn Jr., attorneys Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood (both of whom brought failed lawsuits challenging the election results), and 8chan co-administrator Ron Watkins.[9][364]

Citing complaints that some of its users (including members of the Proud Boys) coordinated the storming of the Capitol through the platform, on January 8, Apple sent notice to the owners of microblogging platform Parler—which markets itself as a "pro-free-speech" platform with a userbase predominantly consisting of Trump supporters, conservatives, far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists—that its iOS and iPadOS apps would be removed from the App Store within 24 hours unless Parler implemented a more robust content moderation policy.[365] The same day, Google removed Parler's Android app from the Google Play Store, noting that Google was aware of "continued posting in the Parler app that seeks to incite ongoing violence in the US."[366]

Discord banned a pro-Trump server called, "The Donald", which had ties to the banned subreddit r/The_Donald. Discord cited the connection between the server and The Donald's online forum, which was used in planning the riot.[367]

Events outside the District of Columbia[edit source | edit]

State capitols[edit source | edit]

Multiple U.S. state capitols closed for safety reasons after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[368][369] Several states also experienced protests and riots.

Eleven people were arrested in Sacramento, California, for illegal possession of pepper spray. No injuries were reported, but there was at least one reported assault. Several roads were closed in downtown Sacramento and some bus lines were stopped, with over 200 police assigned to the demonstration. Some members of the crowd wore t-shirts supporting the far-right Proud Boys.[370][371] Militia members in Georgia also attempted to storm the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, leading to the evacuation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other officials.[372] By about 3:15 p.m on January 6, 2021, it was reported that the majority of the demonstration had disbanded outside of the Georgia Capitol.[373] Protests took place inside the Kansas State Capitol.[374] A capitol security guard stated that protesters were allowed in the rotunda, as they had a permit to protest there.[375][376]

A peaceful "Storm the Capitol" rally in St. Paul, Minnesota, was met by about 30 Minnesota State Patrol troopers and did not breach the state capitol. Demonstrators then marched to the governor's residence.[377] The protesters cheered upon learning that rioters in Washington had entered the U.S. Capitol.[378] Protesters in Lincoln, Nebraska, gathered outside the state capitol during the opening of the new session of the Nebraska Legislature.[379] Protesters and counter-protesters demonstrated at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. One brief violent incident was reported.[380] The Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City was the site of another protest. One arrest was made on charges of attempted arson as well as assault and battery for attempting to light other people's flags on fire.[381] The protest numbered in the hundreds and was otherwise peaceful.[382] There were also arrests in Salem after hundreds gathered outside the Oregon State Capitol.[383][384][385] A crowd also formed in Carson City, Nevada.[386] In Indianapolis approximately 100 people, including many members of the Proud Boys, gathered at the Indiana Statehouse; the Indiana crowd was peaceful.[387]

Two Tennessee lawmakers held a prayer rally at Legislative Plaza in Nashville. The crowd numbered roughly 150.[388][389] Protesters in Olympia, Washington, some of whom were armed, made their way onto the front lawn of the Washington Governor's Mansion at the Washington State Capitol Campus.[390][391]

Other U.S. cities[edit source | edit]

Several hundred protesters met outside the Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The protest extended onto Las Vegas Boulevard as protesters marched to the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse.[392][393] There were also protests in the Los Angeles area, including at the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, in Beverly Hills and Newport Beach. An incident was reported of a protester spraying a counter-protester with a chemical irritant.[394] During the Los Angeles protests, a mob of 30 to 40 Trump supporters physically assaulted a black woman who was walking down the street, shouting racial slurs and chanting "All Lives Matter" while shoving and striking her and ripping off her hair extensions.[395][396][397]

International[edit source | edit]

Internationally, Trump's false allegations of a "stolen" election found a small audience among conspiracy theorists and fringe groups.[398] In Canada, a few dozen people rallied in support of Trump in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary.[399] At the Vancouver rally, CBC photojournalist Ben Nelms was assaulted by one of the demonstrators.[400][401][402]

In Japan, a few hundred people rallied in support of Trump in Tokyo, with several people carrying the U.S. flag and the Rising Sun Flag, a controversial symbol in Asia due to its association with Japanese imperialism.[398] The gathering in Tokyo was backed by Happy Science, a new religious movement that has been described as a cult, and took place several hours before the rally in Washington, D.C.[398]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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  314. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  315. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  316. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  317. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  318. Ben Kamisar, Liz Brown-Kaiser, Melissa Holzberg & Ed Demaria, Over 200 lawmakers are calling for President Trump's removal. Here's who they are, NBC News (January 8, 2021, 5:17 PM EST).
  319. 325.0 325.1 Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  320. Michael Warren & Jamie Gangel, Multiple Republicans are considering supporting impeachment, sources say, CNN (January 8, 2021).
  321. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  322. Celine Castronuovo, Cuomo: 'I call on President Trump to resign', The Hill (January 8, 2021).
  323. NC Democrats, including governor, join call for Trump's removal from office, WRAL (January 7, 2021).
  324. Jim Brunner, Gov. Jay Inslee joins Washington state's congressional Democrats in calling for Trump's ouster, The Seattle Times (January 7, 2021).
  325. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  326. Zak Koeske, McMaster rejects calls for Trump's removal from office, confident he'll transfer power, The State (January 7, 2021).
  327. Dave "Dino" DeNatale, Gov. Mike DeWine on calls to invoke 25th Amendment to remove President Trump: 'It would cause more division than healing', WKYC (Januay 7, 2021).
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  337. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  338. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  339. Michael Stratford, DeVos resigned after believing 25th Amendment was off the table, Politico (January 8, 2021).
  340. Editorial Board, Trump caused the assault on the Capitol. He must be removed. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9"., Washington Post (January 6, 2021).
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  349. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  350. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  351. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
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  353. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
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  360. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  361. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  362. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  363. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
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  366. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  367. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  368. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  369. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  370. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  371. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  372. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  373. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  374. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  375. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  376. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
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  379. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  380. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  381. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  382. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  383. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  384. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  385. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  386. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  387. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  388. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  389. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  390. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  391. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
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  394. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  395. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".
  396. Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".

Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".

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