Aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol

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The aftermath of the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol prompted criminal investigations, public health concerns, and various political repercussions.

Background[edit source | edit]

The storming of the United States Capitol was a riot and violent attack against the 117th United States Congress on January 6, 2021, carried out by a mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump an attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.[1] After attending a pro-Trump rally, thousands[2] of his supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, and many stormed the building in an effort to disrupt the Electoral College vote count by a joint session of Congress, and prevent the formalization of President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.[3][4] Breaching police perimeters, rioters then occupied, vandalized,[5][6] and looted[7] parts of the building for several hours.[8][9][10] The assault[11] led to the evacuation and lockdown of the Capitol, as well as five deaths.[12][13]

Criminal investigations 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.[14] He said any Capitol Police officer found to have assisted the rioters would be charged,[15] 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.[14]

The day after the storming of the Capitol, the FBI and D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department asked the public for help identifying the rioters.[16][17] Within days, members of the public sent the FBI more than 70,000 photo and video tips.[18]

Also on January 7, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said that any rioter who entered the Capitol should be added to the federal No Fly List.[19] Former FBI director Andrew McCabe and David C. Williams argued Trump could face criminal charges for inciting the riot.[20]

On January 8, the Justice Department announced charges against 13 people in connection with the Capitol riot in federal district court; many more have been charged in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.[21][22]

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said that he is specifically looking at whether to charge Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Mo Brooks with inciting the violent attack on the Capitol, and indicated that he might consider charging Donald Trump when he has left office.[23]

The FBI and the Department of Justice were working to track down over 150 people for prosecution by January 11, with the number expected to rise. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen instructed federal prosecutors to send all cases back to DC for prosecution, in a move that prosecutors across the county found "confounding".[18]

In a press conference on January 12, Steven D'Antuono from the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it expected to arrest hundreds more in the coming months, while it sorted through the vast amount of evidence it was being given. The charge brought against most of these would most likely include an accusation of sedition and conspiracy.[24]

Calls for Trump to be prosecuted for inciting the crowd to storm the Capitol also were made in the aftermath of the event.[25] D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, "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."[26] Legal experts have stated that charging Trump with incitement would be difficult under Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Supreme Court ruling which established that for speech to be considered criminally inciting, it must have been intended to incite "imminent lawless action" and "likely to incite or produce such action".[27]

Notable arrests and charges[edit source | edit]

A 70-year-old resident of Falkville, Alabama, who allegedly parked a pickup truck two blocks from the Capitol containing eleven homemade incendiary devices (described as "Mason jars filled with homemade napalm" intended to "stick to the target and continue to burn" in court filings),[28] an M4 assault rifle, a shotgun, two pistols, a crossbow, a stun gun, and camo smoke canisters, was arrested and charged under a 17-count indictment.[29][30][31] Court documents said that upon being stopped by police, the man "asked officers whether they had located the bombs", and prosecutors also "suggest[ed] an intent to provide [weapons] to others".[29] Authorities also found handwritten notes listing "purported contact information" for Ted Cruz (R), Fox News host Sean Hannity, and radio host Mark Levin, as well as a list of "bad guys" including Seventh Circuit judge David Hamilton and Rep. AndrΓ© Carson (D–IN), who was referred to as "one of two Muslims in the House".[31]

Another arrested rioter from Georgia allegedly brought a compact Tavor X95 assault rifle, two handguns, a "vial of injectable testosterone", and about 100 rounds of armor-piercing ammunition. He allegedly texted acquaintances that he was "gonna run that cunt Pelosi over while she chews on her gums" or "[put] a bullet in her noggin on [l]ive TV", adding that he "predict[s] that within 12 days, many in our country will die" and later texting a photo of himself in blackface.[28][30] He had previously protested outside of Georgia governor Brian Kemp's home.[28]

Two men seen carrying plastic handcuffs as they moved through the Capitol were arrested on January 10. The first man, who was wearing a tactical vest and a green combat helmet, had previously identified himself to The New Yorker. A 53-year-old retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Grapevine, Texas, he claimed he "found the zip-tie handcuffs on the floor"; he was charged with one count of entering a restricted building and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct. The second man, a 30-year-old pictured in a black cap and holding a fistful of zip ties as he jumped over railing in the Senate gallery, attended the riot with his mother. He told the Sunday Times the Capitol storming "was a kind of flexing of muscles" and that "the point of getting inside the building is to show them that we can, and we will." He was arrested in Tennessee and charged with the same crimes.[32]

A 60-year-old man from Gravette, Arkansas, who was photographed with his feet on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk during the storming of the Capitol, was arrested on January 8 on federal charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry, and theft of public property.[33][34][35][36] He will be extradited to DC to face trial.[21][37][38]

A 36-year-old man from Parrish, Florida, who was photographed carrying a lectern from Nancy Pelosi's office, was arrested on the night of January 8[39][40][41] and charged with entering a restricted building, stealing government property, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. The Miami Herald reported he had posted on social media comments that "disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement" and police "who defend First Amendment protected rights".[42]

Jake Angeli, also known as the "QAnon Shaman" and pictured in many widely shared photos shirtless, wearing facepaint and a horned fur headdress, and carrying a spear, was arrested on January 9 and charged with one count of entering a restricted building and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct.[21]

A man seen in video aggressively leading a mob up the stairs to the second floor of the Capitol was arrested by the FBI on January 9.[21] The leader of a Proud Boys group in Hawaii was taken into custody on January 7.[43] A 34-year-old man from Boise, Idaho, photographed hanging from the Senate balcony during the rampage, was listed as a person of interest by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia on January 8;[44][45][46] he deleted his social media accounts following the riots, and issued an apology.[44] On January 12, the 34-year-old son of a Kings County Supreme Court judge was arrested in Brooklyn; he had been seen carrying a Capitol Police riot shield and also told the New York Post "the election was stolen".[47]

Crowdsourced investigations[edit source | edit]

Wired magazine has reported that numerous crowdsourced open-source intelligence efforts at tracking participants in the storming were underway, including an investigation by the investigative journalism network Bellingcat and the open source intelligence database Intelligence X.[48][49] According to Gizmodo, almost the entire contents of the alt-right social media site Parler have been archived online, including large numbers of photos and video with GPS metadata, and that analysis of the GPS coordinates suggested that numerous Parler users had been involved in the storming of the Capitol.[50]

Criticism of the 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.[51][52][53] 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, access to a substantial arsenal, and extensive experience of responding to protests and high-profile events; it has more than tripled in size since 1996.[54] 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.[53] Policing experts criticized the Capitol Police's preparation and initial response, saying 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.[53]

The Washington Post reported that the Capitol Police were caught off guard by an overwhelming crowd whose size more than doubled the FBI's prediction and that the police lacked enough 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."[53][55] 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.[53] Police units were not asked by management to bring protective equipment (such as gas masks) that were issued to them, which left officers ill-prepared to fend off the rioters – among them, a "heavily trained group of militia terrorists" armed with bear spray and stun grenades and equipped with two-way radios and earpieces – and some having to resort to engaging in hand-to-hand combat to defend themselves.[56]

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.[57] Representative Maxine Waters said she had raised concerns with Sund on December 31, and was assured by him that "he had it under control".[58] Representative Tim Ryan (D–OH), 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 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".[59] Representative Anthony G. Brown (D–MD) called for the establishment of a civilian oversight board for the Capitol Police.[60] On the January 7 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough excoriated the Capitol Police response and accused some officers of enabling the rioters to successfully breach the building with little resistance.[61]

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.[62] Ed Davis, the former commissioner of the Boston Police Department, suggested Capitol Police leaders may have felt "that well, these are a bunch of conservatives, they're not going to do anything like [the ensuing riot]", leading to "a lack of urgency or a sense that this could never happen with this crowd".[63]

Accusations of member involvement in riot[edit source | edit]

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.[64][65][66] Footage also showed two Capitol Police officers exchanging a handshake and an elbow bump with a rioter inside the Capitol.[67] Representative Jim Cooper (D–TN) was concerned that Capitol Police could have been complicit in the breach, saying "At worst, [Capitol Police] let this protest proceed unlike any other".[68] One participant in the riot said he and his friends had been given directions to the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by a Capitol Police officer.[69][60] Representative Pramila Jayapal (D–WA) said she believed the rioters were aided in planning, and guided once inside the Capitol, by Capitol Police officers.[60] 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.[70]

Accusations of differential treatment[edit source | edit]

Police officers before the storming

News outlets fact-checked[71] and described harsher tactics and differential treatment of racial injustice protests in D.C. during the prior summer by law enforcement compared to those used against the protesters who stormed the Capitol.[72][73][74][75] According to CNN, police had arrested 61 people on the day of the storming; in comparison, they had arrested 316 Black Lives Matter protesters on June 1, 2020.[76] Protesters who were arrested after the storming tended to be charged with less serious crimes than those arrested in racial injustice protests.[76][77]

The tone, vocabulary, and tactics used by Trump and the White House were highlighted by news outlets. Trump referred to racial injustice protesters as "thugs", "agitators", and "looters" and threatened violence,[78] but expressed his "love" for the Capitol protesters.[79] In 2020, Trump had encouraged states' governors to more aggressively target protesters and used violent rhetoric such as "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".[78] News outlets noted how the White House had used forceful tactics to clear protesters for Trump's photo op at St. John's Episcopal Church but did not employ similar tactics during the Capitol protest.[75][77][80] Similarly, Capitol Police responded aggressively to disabled protesters associated with ADAPT in 2017.[78] During 2020, Trump ordered tough federal law enforcement responses to racial injustice protesters in Washington DC.[71]

Multiple media outlets covered posts from users on social media which made claims that due to white privilege[78] and male privilege,[74] the police treated the protesters, who were mostly white men,[81][82][83][84] with more leniency than they would people of color,[85] with many citing a moment when a police officer took a selfie with a protester.[86]

Many news outlets, including CNN,[87] USA Today,[88] The Guardian,[89] The Washington Post,[90] and CBS News,[91] 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, during Black Lives Matter demonstrations, 5,000 National Guard members guarded the White House;[89] 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 demonstrations, causing the law enforcement presence to be "relatively small" and "not prepared for rioters".[92][93]

Politicians and officials commented on the differential treatment as well. Joe Biden said, "No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, there wouldn't have been – they would have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol".[80] Representative Tim Ryan, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine all noted the differential treatment.[80][59] Representative Bennie Thompson (D–MS), the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said "if the 'protesters' were Black they would have been shot with rubber bullets, tear gassed, and killed".[60] Citing disparities in the use of force when compared to recent Black Lives Matter protests, first-year Representative Jamaal Bowman (D–NY) proposed legislation to investigate whether members of the Capitol Police have ties to white supremacist groups.[94]

Investigations[edit source | edit]

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.[95] 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.[53]

On January 11, Representative Ryan disclosed that two Capitol police officers had been suspended and at least ten were under investigation following the events of the riot.[96]

Resignations[edit source | edit]

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

The day after the attack, Pelosi called upon Capitol Police chief Steven Sund to resign, citing a failure of leadership, and said she had been unable to reach Sund since the attack.[97] Sund announced his resignation that day, submitting a letter to the Capitol Police Board saying the resignation was effective January 16.[98][57][99] However, on January 8, Sund resigned with immediate effect.[99]

Also on the day after the attack, Paul D. Irving announced his resignation as Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives. Chuck Schumer said he would fire Michael C. Stenger, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, upon becoming majority leader later in January.[57] Shortly thereafter, outgoing Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received Stenger's resignation, effective immediately.[57]

Trump administration resignations[edit source | edit]

Matthew Pottinger, the Deputy National Security Advisor;[100] 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.[101][102][103] CNN reported that evening that several Trump aides were considering resigning, including National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Chris Liddell.[104] Some senior officials, however, decided against resigning in order to ensure an "orderly transition of power" to the incoming Biden administration, out of concern that Trump would replace them with loyalist lower-level staffers who they feared could carry out illegal orders given by him.[105]

The next day, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao became the first cabinet member to announce her resignation, effective January 11.[106] She was followed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who also cited the Capitol Hill incident.[107] House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D–SC) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) criticized DeVos and Chao for resigning rather than voting to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.[108] The acting, unlawful United States Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf also resigned as a result of the protests.

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.[109][110] Upon his exit, Mulvaney said, "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 said Trump "wasn't the same as he was eight months ago."[109] Five senior officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) resigned in protest.[111] Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf resigned on January 11, saying it was "warranted by recent events, including" recent court decisions ruling that Trump's appointment of Wolf as acting secretary violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.[112]

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

Calls for resignation, invocation of 25th Amendment, or removal from office[edit source | edit]

Representative Adam Kinzinger (Illinois's 16th district) became the first Republican lawmaker to call for Trump to be removed via 25th Amendment.[113]

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 25th Amendment, indicating that they would pursue impeachment of Trump for a second time if he did not.[114][115] Pelosi said Trump "incited an armed insurrection against America" and instigated "the gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol [and] violence targeting Congress".[116] The never-before-invoked provision of the 25th 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.[117][118]

After the storming of the Capitol, the vast majority of House Democrats (208 Representatives), as well as 38 Democratic Senators, called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment or Trump's impeachment and removal from office in inciting the riot.[119][lower-alpha 1] A single House Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL), also called for Trump's removal.[119] Among Senate Republicans, only three expressed support for Trump resigning or being removed from office: Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE) and Pat Toomey (PA).[lower-alpha 2] President-elect Biden did not take a position on a prospective fast-track impeachment of Trump, saying the matter is for Congress to decide.[124]

Among Democratic governors, calls for Trump to step down or be removed from office were made by J. B. Pritzker (IL),[125][126] Andrew Cuomo (NY),[127] Roy Cooper (NC),[128] and Jay Inslee (WA).[129] Three Republican governors who have been critical of Trump – Phil Scott (VT), Charlie Baker (MA), and Larry Hogan (MD) – also called upon Trump to resign or be removed from office.[130] Conversely, two other Republican governors expressed opposition to Trump's removal: Henry McMaster (SC), who is closely allied with Trump,[131] and Mike DeWine (OH), who opposed invocation of the 25th Amendment, saying that he believed it "would cause more division than healing" and because there were less than two weeks remaining in Trump's term.[132]

Yoni Appelbaum of The Atlantic called for the impeachment of Trump a second time.[133] Several conservative commentators, including Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and John Podhoretz, expressed their support for the impeachment and removal of Trump.[134][135][136] 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."[137] Calling the armed storming of the Capitol an "act of sedition", The Washington Post's 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 25th 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.[138]

The National Association of Manufacturers also requested Pence to "seriously consider" invoking the 25th Amendment.[139] 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.[140][141][142]

Impeachment[edit source | edit]

On January 11, House Representatives David Cicilline (D–RI), Jamie Raskin (D–MD), and Ted Lieu (D–CA) introduced a four-page article of impeachment against Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection. The article states that Trump "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law"; "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government"; "inciting violence against the government of the United States"; "threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government"; and "thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."[143] The article cites Trump's role in inciting the Capitol riot as well as "his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election" including the efforts to pressure Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and other state officials and lawmakers. As permitted by the Constitution, the article also seeks to permanently disqualify Trumpβ€”who has reportedly considered running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024β€”from holding any federal office.[143]

On January 12, the House passed, on a 223–205 vote, a resolution formally calling upon Vice President Pence to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, declaring Trump "incapable of executing the duties of his office" and immediately assuming powers as acting president until Biden is sworn into office on January 20. The resolution passed on a mostly party-line vote, with all Democrats voting yes and all Republicans (except for Adam Kinzinger of Illinois) voting no. The resolution stated that unless Pence responded within 24 hours, the House would proceed with impeachment proceedings against Trump. Ahead of the January 12 vote, Pence sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi saying that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment. Pence's refusal ensured that an impeachment vote would take place. If passed, Trump would become the first president to be twice impeached.[144][145]

An impeachment vote is set for January 13.[146][147] The impeachment resolution is co-sponsored by 160 Democratic representatives.[143] By January 12, a total of 213 Representatives (208 Democrats and 5 Republicans) and 37 Senators (all Democrats or independents who caucus with the Democrats) expressed support for Trump's impeachment.[148] Every Democrat is expected to vote to impeach Trump, joined by potentially up to two dozen Republicans.[145]

Unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Schumer both agree to an emergency reconvening of the chamber under Senate rules, a trial will likely begin in the Senate as early as January 19, the day before Trump's presidential term ends.[146][149] McConnell did not call on Trump to resign or be removed from office, but McConnell reportedly told associates that he believed Trump had committed impeachable offenses and that Trump's impeachment would make it easier for him to be purged from the Republican Party.[150]

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.[151] Activist Tim "Baked Alaska" Gionet participated in the riot despite a recent positive diagnosis,[152] and few members of the crowd wore face coverings, with many coming from out of town.[151] Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and lead member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that the rioters' failure to "adhere to the fundamentals of public health" to prevent the spread of COVID-19β€”such as "universal wearing of masks, keeping physical distance, [and] avoiding crowds in congregate settings"β€”placed them at risk.[153] The day after the event, 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.[151]

As many as 200 congressional staffers reportedly sheltered in various rooms inside the Capitol, further increasing the risk of transmission.[151][154] Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, reported that members of Congress who were in protective isolation during the attack, some for several hours, may have been exposed to others with COVID-19; Monahan advised members to take protective measures, monitor for symptoms, and take a precautionary RT-PCR test.[155][156]

A video of members of Congress sheltering in place shows a group of maskless Republicans, including Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, Michael Cloud (R–TX) and Markwayne Mullin (R–OK), refusing masks offered by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE); Blunt Rochester later wrote that she was "disappointed in my colleagues who refused to wear a mask" but "encouraged by those who did."[155] On January 12, a bill was introduced in the House to impose a $500 fine the first day members refuse to wear a mask on the floor and a $2,500 fine for the second time. The money would be deducted from the offending members and staffers pay.[157]

Representative Jacob LaTurner (R–KS) tested positive after the lockdown was lifted, and, as a result, was absent from the House floor when the Electoral College certification resumed. Starting January 11, three members of Congress, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman (D–NJ), Pramila Jayapal (D–WA), and Brad Schneider (D-IL), tested positive after being exposed to maskless members of Congress during the lockdown. Both had gone into isolation while awaiting testing results. Jayapal condemned Republican colleagues who, while sheltering in place during the riots, "not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one."[158][159] After sheltering in the same room on January 6, Conan Harris, husband of Representative Ayanna Pressley, tested positive on the night of January 12, putting both Harris and Presley into quarantine.[160]

Corporate crackdowns on extremist content and Trump connections[edit source | edit]

The role of social media in the storming of the Capitol created pressure for platforms to strengthen enforcement of moderation policies prohibiting extremist content to prevent further violence. The response of social media platforms renewed accusations by some conservatives that their policies and enforcement promote an implicit ideological bias by limiting the expression of conservative political and social viewpoints even through controversial or false statements. The First Amendment, however, only restricts government-sanctioned limits on speech, and its protections do not apply to private entities and to obscene or defamatory speech.[161][162]

Corporate suspensions of Trump's social media, content, and connections[edit source | edit]

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.[163] Facebook executive Guy Rosen said the video was removed because "it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."[164] 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.[165][166] Snapchat indefinitely suspended Trump's account on the platform the same day,[167] while Shopify terminated shops that sold Trump campaign paraphernalia and merchandise from his personal TrumpStore brand.[168]

The following day, Facebook and its platforms, including Instagram, announced they had banned Trump indefinitely, at least until the end of his presidential term. 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."[169] On January 7, Twitch announced it had disabled Trump's channel on the platform.[170] TikTok announced it would restrict videos of the Capitol attack and Trump's January 6 address, other than those providing factual information, criticism or journalistic value.[171] Pinterest began limiting hashtags related to pro-Trump topics such as #StopTheSteal since around the November election.[172]

On January 8, Twitter permanently suspended Trump "due to the risk of further incitement of violence" from his tweets, writing that specific tweets by Trump that "are likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and that there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so."[173] The company also noted that "Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021."[173] Twitter said it would not ban government accounts like @POTUS or @WhiteHouse, but would "take action to limit their use";[173] the company and that sock puppet accounts created for Trump in an attempt to evade the ban would be permanently suspended "at first detection."[174] Circumventing the ban, Trump blasted Twitter's decision in threads posted from the @POTUS account and @TeamTrump (his campaign account), accusing Twitter without evidence of "coordinat[ing] with the Democrats and the Radical Left in removing my account from their platform to silence me" and uploaded an image of Twitter's bird logo emblazoned with the Soviet flag. Twitter removed the @POTUS posts and suspended @TeamTrump for repeated violations of its block evasion policy.[174] Twitter also suspended Trump campaign digital director Gary Coby's account after he forwarded his account information to Trump's deputy chief of staff, Dan Scavino, in an attempt to transfer it for Trump's use.[174]

On January 10, the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) exercised its contractual right to terminate its arrangement to host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, which had been awarded the tournament in 2014.[175] The PGA said that it had "become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand"; Trump had spent years trying to land a golf championship at one of his resorts.[176] The next day, the R&A followed suit, saying it would not hold any of its championships "in the foreseeable future" at Trump Turnberry in Scotland.[177] Also on January 10, Stripe announced it would stop processing online card payments to Trump's campaign for violating its terms of service against encouraging violence.[178] Other companies reportedly seeking to cut ties with Trump include Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank.[179]

On January 12, YouTube announced that it had temporarily banned Trump's channel for seven days, restricting it to upload any new videos or live-streams. Youtube said the decision came after the president violated the platform's policies by posting content that incited violence. All the previous content on the channel was removed. YouTube also said that the ban could be extended.[180]

Corporate suspensions of other social media accounts[edit source | edit]

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 former 8chan administrator Ron Watkins.[181][182] Twitter's ban of Trump and others was criticized by some Trump allies, as well as some foreign leaders.[lower-alpha 3]

Also on January 8, 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.[188] Parler removed several posts from Wood espousing conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric, including a call for Vice President Pence and others to be subjected to firing squads, for violating community rules on speech encouraging violence.[189] YouTube terminated two accounts belonging to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, including one hosting his "War Room" podcast, for repeated community guidelines violations pertaining to misinformation about widespread fraud or errors that affected the 2020 election's outcome.[190]

On January 12, Facebook and Twitter announced that they were removing content related to the "Stop the Steal" movement and suspending 70,000 QAnon-focused accounts, respectively.[191]

Removal of services from Parler[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Parler#Shutdown by service providers

Parler, a microblogging and social networking service similar to Twitter, rose to prominence during the 2020 presidential campaign and found renewed attention after the riot. The site, which bills itself as a "free speech social network", has a significant user base of Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists, including some who have been banned from Facebook and Twitter.[192][193][194][195] After Twitter permanently suspended Trump, there was a sharp one-day increase in the number of Parler downloads on the Apple App Store[196] and some prominent right-wing politicians advertised their Parler accounts.[197] Apple and Google removed the Parler app from their App Store and Google Play Store, respectively, citing usage of the site to plan and coordinate the insurrection, its hosting of posts inciting violence, and its failure to adopt more robust content moderation.[198][199][200] Amazon also terminated the cloud services that it had been providing to Parler through Amazon Web Services.[201] As a result, Parler's website and apps ceased to be operational at 11:59 p.m. PST on January 10.[202] Amazon said it had sent reports of 98 instances of posts that "clearly encourage and incite violence" to Parler in the weeks preceding the decision.[203] Parler's COO Jeffrey Wernick said that Parler would return in some form.[204] Parler sued Amazon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, raising antitrust and breach of contract claims; the company sought a court order forcing Amazon to reinstate service.[205]

Governmental suspensions of Trump connections[edit source | edit]

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a video conference stated that Trump committed a "criminal act" and as such the city would terminate all contracts with the Trump Organization and would not do any business with them any longer. Specifically, New York City would take steps to terminate contracts with the Trump Organization to operate the Central Park Carousel, the Wollman & Lasker skating rinks, as well as the Ferry Point Golf Course. Blasio stated that the city was working to find new vendors to take over the facilities to continue to provide services to customers. Blasio ended that Trump would "not longer profit" with his relationship with New York City.[206]

Security measures[edit source | edit]

Following the storming of the Capitol and increased incidents of harassment, members of Congress received additional security as they travel through airports. Through Biden's inauguration, Capitol Police were to be stationed at D.C.-area airports (Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington, and Dulles)[207] and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was to increase its screening of DC-bound air passengers.[208]

Security was also heightened at the Capitol itself; a "non-scalable" security fence was placed around the Capitol and 6,200 members of the National Guard were deployed to the national capital region.[209] On January 12, acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett informed lawmakers that anyone entering the House chamber (including members of Congress) would have to pass through metal detectors.[157] Up to 15,000 National Guard members will be deployed in time for Inauguration Day,[210] and they will have access to lethal force through January 20.[211]

In response to calls for further protests and violence in Washington, D.C., and states across the U.S., the FBI and state law enforcement agencies began conducting threat assessments and tracking extremist rhetoric online.[212]

CNN reported on January 11 that an internal FBI bulletin warned that "Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the US Capitol from 17 January through 20 January," continuing, "an identified group calling for others to join them in 'storming' state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings in the event POTUS is removed as President prior to Inauguration Day. This identified group is also planning to 'storm' government offices including in the District of Columbia and in every state, regardless of whether the states certified electoral votes for Biden or Trump, on 20 January."[213][214]

In a January 11 briefing, Capitol Police informed House Democrats they were prepared for "tens of thousands of armed protesters" in the coming days, and that they were aware of and monitoring three separate plots: one in honor of killed rioter Ashli Babbitt, another promoted as the United States' "largest armed protest ever", and a third "would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House[,] and the Supreme Court" before "blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government". A House lawmaker told HuffPost that insurrectionist groups, now left without sites like Parler, were "purposely trying to get the media to report" on planned demonstrations or attacks, and another said the group discussed having members of Congress pass through metal detectors for Biden's inauguration, noting concern about "all these [Congress] members who were in league with the insurrectionists who love to carry their guns".[215]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. ↑ The 38 senators include two independent Senators who caucus with the Democrats, Angus King (ME) and Bernie Sanders (VT).[119]
  2. ↑ Murkowski called for Trump to resign.[120] Sasse said he would consider articles of impeachment from the House and that Trump "disregarded his oath of office."[121] Toomey said he thought Trump "committed impeachable offenses"[122] and later called on Trump to resign.[123]
  3. ↑ Critics of social media companies who banned Trump included his political allies, such as his Donald Trump Jr.; Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL), Republican Representatives Lauren Boebert (CO) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley,[183][184] as well as foreign political figures, specificially German chancellor Angela Merkel,[185] Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Russian dissident Alexey Navalny, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov,[186] and Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro.[187]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ↑ "Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared". Associated Press. January 11, 2021. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. 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.
  2. ↑ Steve Doig, "It is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the size of the crowd" Archived January 13, 2021, at the Wayback Machine, The Conversation, January 8, 2021.
  3. ↑ Leonnig, Carol D.; Davis, Aaron C.; Hermann, Peter; Demirjian, Karoun (January 10, 2021). "Outgoing Capitol Police chief: House, Senate security officials hamstrung efforts to call in National Guard". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  4. ↑ Barrett, Ted; Raju, Manu; Nickeas, Peter. "Pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol as armed standoff takes place outside House chamber". CNN. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  5. ↑ "Trump supporters storm Capitol; DC National Guard activated; woman fatally shot". The Washington Post. January 7, 2021. Archived from the original on January 6, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  6. ↑ Pallini, Thomas (January 7, 2021). "Photos show the aftermath of an unprecedented and destructive siege on the US Capitol that left 4 rioters dead". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
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  8. ↑ Landale, James (January 7, 2021). "Capitol siege: Trump's words 'directly led' to violence, Patel says". BBC News. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  9. ↑ Dozier, Kimberly; Bergengruen, Vera (January 6, 2021). "Incited by the President, Trump Supporters Violently Storm the Capitol". Time. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  10. ↑ "This is what Trump told supporters before many stormed Capitol Hill". ABC News. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. 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, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country, our country. Our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four year period.
  11. ↑ MacCharles Tonda; Toronto Star: "Two days after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Trudeau blames Trump fpr 'an assault on democracy'" 2021 January 8 [1] Archived January 13, 2021, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  12. ↑ "Capitol Riot Death Toll Rises to 5; Police Hunt for Suspects". NBC4 Washington. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
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  16. ↑ Kashino, Marisa M. (January 7, 2021). "The FBI Wants Your Help Identifying Capitol Rioters". Washingtonian. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  17. ↑ Paul P. Murphy, The FBI and DC police want the public to help identify Capitol rioters Archived January 8, 2021, at the Wayback Machine, CNN (January 7, 2021).
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  19. ↑ Duncan, Ian (January 7, 2021). "Airlines, airports in D.C. area tighten security after Capitol riot as union cites 'mob mentality' among passengers". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
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  22. ↑ "Thirteen Charged in Federal Court Following Riot at the United States Capitol: Approximately 40 charged in Superior Court". United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Press release). United States Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs. January 8, 2021. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
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  27. ↑ Yaffe-Bellany, David; Van Voris, Bob (January 12, 2021). "Trump May Be Shielded From Riot Charges by Klan Speech Case". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on January 13, 2021. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
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