How the Attack on Capitol Hill Folded

With the heinous attacks at Capitol Hill from Jan 6, 2021, numerous lawmakers and political leaders across the nation called for Trump to be impeached a second time, despite the expiration of his term in two weeks.

They issued a statement saying that Vice President Mike Pence should consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy, referring to the constitutional provision that allows a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president incapacitated. But he failed to act. A vote to impeach the President will now be held.

The Capitol has seen frequent protests and some previous acts of violence — including a bombing in 1915 and shooting in the House Gallery by four supporters of Puerto Rican independence in 1954 — but no riot comparable to last Wednesday’s has ever taken place on its grounds.

Here is what happened:

  • The day’s events began in mid-morning when Trump, who had called on supporters to protest and urged them to march to the Capitol.
  • The violence broke out in the early afternoon, shortly after the House and Senate began separate debates on challenges by a minority of Republicans to the electoral college slate from Arizona
  • It began shortly after 1 p.m. as some members of the crowd of Trump backers began scuffling with police and broke through security barricades set up around the Capitol. They quickly overwhelmed a seemingly unprepared Capitol Police force and climbed up the steps on both sides of the building, which are normally off-limits to civilians.
  • The extraordinary breach of democratic order forced members to flee the House and Senate floors
  • About 2 p.m., the mob, having gotten into the Capitol Building, broke the glass door of the chamber of the House floor, prompting police officers inside to draw their guns. Members of Congress and Capitol Police barricaded the door with a large bookcase.
  • Debate resumed in the evening, with some senators who had planned to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s electors saying that the attack on the Capitol had caused them to change their minds.
  • Biden, labeling the events an “insurrection,” demanded that Trump go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution, and demand an end to the siege
  • Similar calls came from across political parties in the USA and worldwide
  • Four people died — a woman who was shot by U.S. Capitol Police and three others who perished in medical emergencies, several police officers were injured
  • About three hours after the initial attack on the building, Trump responded with a video in which he professed “love” for the rioters, called them “very special” and repeated his false claims that he won the November election.
  • In late afternoon, additional law enforcement officers began arriving at the Capitol, and the Pentagon announced that national guard units would assist. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared nighttime curfews in the city and its suburbs.
  • As dusk approached, the vastly reinforced contingent of police began clearing the Capitol steps and sweeping the building. About four hours after the riot began, the House Sergeant at Arms announced that the building was once again secure.
  • President-elect Joe Biden has been certified the winner of the 2020 Presidential election by the House and Senate
  • President Donald Trump has released a statement promising an orderly transition of power to Biden, despite disagreeing with the election results.
  • More than 90 people of the members of the mob have been arrested and more arrests are likely.