Clockwise from top: protesters gathering outside the Capitol; Donald Trump speaking to supporters at the "Save America" rally; a gallows that was erected by pro-Trump protesters outside the United States Capitol building; crowd is appearing to retreat from tear gas; tear gas being deployed outside the Capitol building; a crowd pressing in to the Capitol at the Eastern entrance
Many of the crowd at the Capitol, some of whom had gathered earlier, breached police perimeters and stormed the building. These rioters occupied, vandalized, and looted parts of the building for several hours. Many became violent, assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, erecting a gallows on the Capitol grounds, and attempting to locate lawmakers to take hostage and harm. They chanted "Hang Mike Pence", blaming him for not rejecting the Electoral College votes, although Pence lacked authority, under the Constitution, to do so. The rioters targeted House SpeakerNancy Pelosi (D-CA), vandalizing and looting her offices, as well as those of other members of Congress. Dozens of individuals in Washington D.C. that day were later found to be watch-listed in the FBITerrorist Screening Database, most being suspected white supremacists.
Trump initially resisted sending the D.C. National Guard to quell the mob. In a Twitter video, he called the rioters "very special" and told them to "go home in peace" while repeating his false election claims. Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and numerous resignations, Trump committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement. The crowd was dispersed from the Capitol later that evening, and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and was completed in the early morning hours. Pence declared President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris victors and affirmed that they will assume office on January20.
The events were widely condemned by political leaders and organizations in the United States and internationally. Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell (R-KY) called the storming of the Capitol a "failed insurrection" and said that the Senate "will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation". Several social media and technology companies suspended or banned Trump's accounts from their platforms, and many business organizations cut ties with him.
Actions undertaken by Trump to try to overturn the results included filing at least 60 lawsuits, including two brought to the Supreme Court, that sought to nullify election certifications and void votes cast for Biden in each of the five states (all but one being defeated for lack of evidence or standing); mounting campaigns to pressure Republican-controlled state legislatures to nullify results, by replacing slates of Biden electors with those declared to Trump, and/or manufacture evidence of fraud (which would likely violate election tampering statutes enacted by the states); and demanding lawmakers investigate supposed election "irregularities", or conduct signature matches of mail-in ballots (regardless of efforts already undertaken). Trump also personally inquired about, but did not act upon, invoking martial law to "re-run" the election in the swing states that Biden won (which would violate federal law prohibiting election oversight by the U.S. military, and likely be considered an unconstitutional suspension of civil liberties) and hiring a special counsel to find incidences of fraud (even though federal and state officials have concluded that such cases were very isolated or non-existent).
Trump announced plans for a rally before the January6 vote count to continue his challenge to the validity of several states' election results. On December18, Trump announced on Twitter, "Big protest in D.C. on January6th. Be there, will be wild!" The "Save America March" and rally that preceded the riots at the Capitol were largely organized by Women for America First, a 501(c)(4) organization chaired by Amy Kremer. In late 2020 and early 2021, Kremer organized and spoke at a series of events across the country as part of a bus tour to encourage attendance at the January 6 rally and support Trump's efforts to overturn the election result. Women for America First invited its supporters to join a caravan of vehicles traveling to the event.Event management for Trump's speech was carried out by Event Strategies, a company founded by Tim Unes, who worked for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Ali Alexander, a right-wing political activist who took part in organizing the rally and expressed support for the storming as "completely peaceful", was reported as saying in December that Representatives Paul Gosar (R–AZ), Andy Biggs (R–AZ) and Mo Brooks (R–AL) were involved in the planning of "something big". "We're the four guys who came up with a January 6 event," he said. According to Alexander, "It was to build momentum and pressure and then on the day change hearts and minds of Congress peoples who weren't yet decided or who saw everyone outside and said, 'I can't be on the other side of that mob.'" His remarks received more scrutiny after the events of January6, causing Biggs to respond with a statement denying any relationship with Alexander.The Washington Post wrote that videos and posts were shown earlier connections between Alexander to the three members of congress.
The rioters openly planned to disrupt the counting of Electoral College ballots for several weeks prior to the event, and called for violence against Congress, Pence, and law enforcement. Plans were coordinated on "alt-tech" platforms distinct from larger social media platforms such as Reddit or Twitter, which had implemented bans to censor violent language and images. Websites such as TheDonald.win (a successor to the Reddit forum r/The_Donald), social networking service Parler, chat app Telegram, Gab, and others, were used to discuss previous Trump rallies and made plans for storming the Capitol. Many of the posters planned for violence prior to the event, with some individuals discussing how to avoid police on the streets, which tools to bring to help pry open doors, and how to smuggle weapons into Washington D.C. There was also discussion of their perceived need to attack law enforcement. Following clashes with Washington D.C. police during protests on December 12, 2020, the Proud Boys and other far-right groups turned against supporting law enforcement. At least one group, Stop the Steal, posted on December23, 2020, its plans to occupy the Capitol with promises to "escalate" if met with opposition from law enforcement. Discussions on multiple sites talked very graphically and explicitly about "war", physically taking charge at the event, and killing politicians, including a request for opinions about which politician should be hung first (with a GIF of a noose).
Funding and donations
Protesters outside the Capitol
Women for America First, the 501(c)(4) organization chaired by Amy Kremer which organized the "Save America March", is funded by America First Policies, a pro-Trump dark money group chaired by Linda McMahon, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration. 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.Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, said on Twitter that Turning Point had sent over 80 buses to the Capitol. Other people attempted to raise funds in December via GoFundMe to help pay for transportation to the rally, with limited success. An investigation by BuzzFeed News identified more than a dozen fundraisers to pay for travel to the planned rally. GoFundMe subsequently deactivated several of the campaigns after the riot, but some campaigns had already raised part or all of their fundraising goals prior to deactivation.
Prior intelligence and concerns of violence
In the days leading up to the storming, several organizations that monitored online extremism had been issuing warnings about the event. On December 21, 2020, a U.K. political consultant who studies Trump-related extremism tweeted a forecast of what the planned event of January6 would become, including deaths. On December 29, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued at least one bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, warning of the potential of armed protesters targeting legislatures. Prior to January 6, 2021, the local Joint Terrorism Task Force was notified by the FBI of possible impending violence at the Capitol.The Washington Post reported an internal FBI document on January 5 warned of rioters preparing to travel to Washington, and setting up staging areas in various regional states. The document used the term "war" to describe the rioters' motive, which mentioned specific violence references, including the blood of Black Lives Matter and Antifa members. However, the FBI decided not to distribute a formal intelligence bulletin. Some security specialists later reported they had been surprised that they hadn't received information from the FBI and DHS before the event. Later reflections about the intelligence failures revealed that surprise that no threat assessments had been issued, with possible causes for the failure related to DHS personnel changes and law enforcement biases.
The Anti-Defamation League published a January4 blog post warning about violent rhetoric being espoused by Trump supporters leading up to the Electoral College count, including calls to violently disrupt the counting process. The post said that it was not aware of any credible threats of violence, but noted that "if the past is any indication, the combination of an extremist presence at the rallies and the heated nature of the rhetoric suggests that violence is a possibility." Also on January4, British security firm G4S conducted a risk analysis, which found that there would be violent groups in Washington, D.C., between January 6 and Inauguration Day based on online posts advocating for violence. Advance Democracy, Inc., a nonpartisan governance watchdog, found 1,480 posts from accounts related to QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory, that referenced the events of January6 in the six days leading up to it, including calls for violence.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser requested on December 31, 2020, that District of Columbia National Guard troops be deployed to support local police during the anticipated demonstrations. In her request, she wrote that the guards would not be armed and that they would be primarily responsible for "crowd management" and traffic direction, allowing police to focus on security concerns. Acting Secretary of DefenseChristopher 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. Three days before the riots, the Department of Defense twice offered to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol, but were told by the United States Capitol Police that it would not be necessary.
Three days before the storming, a 12-page report from the Capitol Police's intelligence unit described that Congress would be the target on the day of the Electoral College vote counting, but the report was apparently not shared widely.
Two days before the storming, Bowser announced that the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD) would lead law enforcement for the event, and would be coordinating with the Capitol Police, the U.S. Park Police, and the Secret Service. (Jurisdictionally, MPD is responsible for city streets of the National Mall and Capitol area, whereas the Park Police are responsible for the Ellipse (the site of Trump's speech and rally that day), the Secret Service is responsible for the vicinity of the White House, and the Capitol Police is responsible for the Capitol complex itself). "To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway," Bowser wrote in a letter to the United States Department of Justice, and reproduced this language in a Tweet.
Sund said after the event that he had repeatedly requested National Guard assistance, but that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant-at-ArmsMichael C. Stenger were reluctant to do so. The FBI spoke to over a dozen known extremists and "was able to discourage those individuals from traveling to D.C.", according to a senior FBI official. The FBI shared information with the Capitol Police in advance of the protest.
"The Silent Majority" rally was organized by James Epley and permitted in the North Inner Gravel Walkway between 13th and 14th Streets within the National Mall. Epley's events took place on January 5 and 6. At least ten people were arrested, several on weapons charges, on the night of January 5 and into the morning of January 6.
"March to Save America" was organized by Women for America First and permitted to take place on January 6 in The Ellipse within the National Mall. Others gathered about a quarter-mile north on the Ellipse, where Trump, his lawyer and adviser Rudy Giuliani, and others, such as Chapman University School of Law professor John C. Eastman, gave speeches. Giuliani repeated conspiracy theories that voting machines used in the election were "crooked" and called for "trial by combat". Representative Mo Brooks told the crowd, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass." Representative Madison Cawthorn (R–NC) said, "This crowd has some fight." Amy Kremer told attendees "it is up to you and I to save this Republic" and called on them to "keep up the fight".
Trump's sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, also spoke, naming and verbally attacking Republican congressmen and senators who were not supporting the effort to challenge the Electoral College vote, and promising to campaign against them in future primary elections.
Donald Trump's speech
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. His speech contained many falsehoods and misrepresentations that inflamed the crowd. Trump did not overtly call on his supporters to use violence or enter the Capitol, but his speech was filled with violent imagery, and Trump suggested that his supporters had the power to prevent Biden from taking office.
Stop the Steal signs seen in front of the Capitol
Trump incited his supporters to "walk down to the Capitol" to "cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them." He told the crowd that he'd be going with them. As to the counting of Biden's electoral votes, Trump said, "We can't let that happen" and suggested that Biden would be an "illegitimate president." Referring to the day of the elections, Trump said, "most people would stand there at 9:00 in the evening and say, 'I want to thank you very much,' and they go off to some other life, but I said, 'Something's wrong here. Something's really wrong. [It] can't have happened.' And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore." He said the protesters would be "going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give [Republicans] the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country". Trump also said, "you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated."
He attacked Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), stating that "We've got to get rid of the weak Congresspeople, the ones that aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world." He called upon his supporters to "fight much harder" against "bad people"; told the crowd that "you are allowed to go by very different rules"; said that his supporters were "not going to take it any longer"; framed the moment as a last stand, suggested that Pence and other Republican officials put themselves in danger by accepting Biden's victory; and told the crowd that he would march with them to the Capitol (although he did not do so). In addition to the twenty times he used the term "fight", Trump once used the term "peacefully", saying, "I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." Before Trump had finished speaking, some supporters began moving up the National Mall, telling others that they were storming the Capitol.
On January 6, by 11.00 a.m. and concurrent with events happening in and around the U.S. Capitol, the Ellipse was filled with a rally of Trump supporters, near the White House approximately 1.6 miles from the Capitol. Coming from the White House Trump addressed the rally at the Ellipse, from 12 p.m. to 1:10 p.m., encouraging this crowd to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol; members of the crowd began walking toward the Capitol "in a steady stream" before he finished speaking. At the end of his speech, Trump returned to the White House. Meanwhile, another crowd of Trump supporters that had gathered outside the Capitol began clashing with the police and pushing forward to the building. The crowd walking up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Ellipse arrived at the Capitol and merged with the previous crowd. It is difficult to get a reliable estimate of the total size of the crowd because aerial photos are not permitted in Washington, D.C., for reasons of security. It is loosely estimated to be in the thousands.
On the Capitol grounds, Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), a leader of the group of lawmakers who vowed to challenge the Electoral College vote, greeted protesters with a raised fist as he passed by on his way to the joint session of Congress in the early afternoon.
Around 1:00p.m. EST, hundreds of Trump supporters clashed with officers and pushed through barriers along the perimeter of the Capitol. The crowd swept past barriers and officers, with some members of the mob spraying officers with chemical agents or hitting them with lead pipes. Although many rioters simply walked to the doors of the Capitol, some resorted to ropes and makeshift ladders. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D–CA), aware that rioters had reached the Capitol steps, was unable to reach Steven Sund by phone; House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving told Lofgren the doors to the Capitol were locked and "nobody can get in". A short time afterward, the Capitol Police requested reinforcements from the DC Metropolitan Police, who arrived within 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, Sund, at 1:09p.m., called Irving and Stenger and asked them for an emergency declaration required to call in the National Guard; they both told Sund they would "run it up the chain". Irving called back with formal approval an hour later.
At 1:50p.m., the on-scene Capitol Police commander declared a riot.
At 1:58p.m., Capitol Police officers removed a barricade on the northeast side of the Capitol.
Trump supporters crowding the steps of the Capitol after displacing police shield wall preventing access
Just after 2:00p.m., windows were broken through, and the mob breached the building and entered the National Statuary Hall. As rioters began to storm the Capitol and other nearby buildings, some buildings in the complex were evacuated. Outside the building, the mob constructed a gallows and tied a noose to it, punctured the tires of a police vehicle, and left a note saying "PELOSI IS SATAN" on the windshield.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.
Concerned about the approaching mob, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) called Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who was not on Capitol grounds but at the police department's headquarters. When asked what the Capitol Police were doing to stop the rioters, Sund told Waters, "We're doing the best we can" before the line went dead.
In many cases, those who stormed the Capitol appeared to employ tactics, body armor and technology such as two-way radio headsets that were similar to those of the very police they were confronting. Several rioters carried plastic handcuffs, possibly with the intention of using them to take hostages. Some of the rioters carried Confederate battle flags or Nazi emblems. Some rioters wore riot gear, including helmets and military-style vests. For the first time in U.S. history, insurrectionists displayed a Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol. Christian imagery and rhetoric was prevalent in the mob of insurrectionists who seized the Capitol. Rioters carried crosses and signs saying, "Jesus Saves", and "Jesus 2020". On the National Mall, rioters chanted, "Christ is king." One rioter who stormed into the building carried a Christian flag. Rioters referred to the neo-fascist Proud Boys as "God's warriors". These were mainly neo-charismatic, prophetic Christians who practice their faith outside of mainstream denominations, who believe that Trump is the Messiah, or that he was anointed by God to save Christian Americans from religious persecution.
Although a few evangelical leaders supported the riots, most condemned the violence and criticized Trump for inciting the crowd. This criticism came from liberal Christian groups such as the Red-Letter Christians as well as evangelical groups who were generally supportive of Trump. This criticism did not affect evangelical support for Donald Trump. Investigative journalist Sarah Posner, author of Unholy: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump, argues that many white evangelical Christians in the U.S. create an echo chamber whereby Trump's missteps are blamed on the Democratic Party, leftists, or the mainstream media, the last of which being viewed as especially untrustworthy.
Senate adjourned and evacuated
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 (R-TX). Both chambers were roughly halfway through their two-hour debate on the motion.
C-SPAN broadcast of the Senate going into recess after protesters infiltrate the Capitol
While debate over the Arizona electoral college votes continued, an armed police officer entered the Senate chamber, positioned facing the back entrance of the chamber. Pence handed the floor from Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to Senator James Lankford (R-OK). Moments later, Pence was escorted out by members of the Secret Service. The rioters began to climb the stairs towards the Senate chamber. A lone Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, worked to slow the mob down as he radioed that they had reached the second floor. Just steps from the still-unsealed Senate chamber doors, the rioters instead followed the Capitol Police officer, leading them back away from the Senate. Banging could be heard from outside as people attempted to breach the doors. As Lankford was speaking, the Senate was gaveled into recess, and the doors were locked at 2:15 p.m. A minute later, the rioters reached the gallery outside the chamber. A police officer carrying a semi-automatic weapon appeared on the floor and stood between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) exasperatedly threw up his hands and directly criticized several fellow Republicans who were challenging President-elect Biden's electoral votes, yelling to them, "This is what you've gotten, guys." Several members of Senate parliamentarianElizabeth MacDonough's staff carried the boxes of Electoral College votes and documentation out of the chamber to hidden safe rooms within the building.
Due to security threat inside: immediately, move inside your office, take emergency equipment, lock the doors, take shelter.
Trump tweeted that Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done" at 2:24p.m. Afterwards, Trump followers on far-right social media called for Pence to be hunted down, and the mob began chanting, "Where is Pence?" and "Find Mike Pence!" Outside, the mob chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!," which some crowds continued to chant as they stormed the Capitol; at least three rioters were overheard by a reporter saying they wanted to find Pence and execute him as a "traitor" by hanging him from a tree outside the building. 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".
As the mob roamed the Capitol, lawmakers, aides, and staff took shelter in offices and closets. Aides to Mitch McConnell, barricaded in a room just off a hallway, heard a rioter outside the door "praying loudly", asking for "the evil of Congress [to] be brought to an end". The rioters entered and ransacked the office of the Senate Parliamentarian.
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 while en route after the bunker was also infiltrated by the mob.
With senators still in the chamber, Trump reached Senator Tommy Tuberville by phone and told him to do more to block the counting of Biden's electoral votes. The call had to be cut off when the Senate chamber was evacuated at 2:30p.m. After evacuation, the mob briefly took control of the chamber, with some armed and armored men carrying plastic handcuffs and some posing with raised fists on the Senate dais that Pence had left minutes earlier. Pence's wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte Pence Bond, and brother Greg Pence (a member of the House; R–IN) were in the Capitol at the time it was attacked. It was later reported that as Pence and his family were leaving the Senate chamber for a nearby hideaway, they came within a minute of being visible to rioters on a staircase only 100 feet away.
Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate Michael C. Stenger accompanied a group of senators including Lindsey Graham and Joe Manchin to a secure location in a Senate office building. Once safe, the lawmakers were "furious" with Stenger; Graham asked him, "How does this happen? How does this happen?" and added that they "[are] not going to be run out by a mob."
House recessed and evacuated
Meanwhile, in the House chamber around 2:15 p.m., while Gosar was speaking, Speaker Pelosi was escorted out of the chamber. The House was gaveled into recess, but would resume a few minutes later. Amid the security concerns, Representative Dean Phillips (D–MN) yelled, "This is because of you!" at his Republican colleagues. The House resumed debate around 2:25 p.m. Around 2:30, when Gosar finished speaking, the House went into recess again. The rioters had entered the House wing and were attempting to enter the Speaker's Lobby just outside the House chamber. Lawmakers were still inside and being evacuated, with Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy and a few other individuals being taken to a "secure location". With violence breaking out, Capitol security advised the members of Congress to take cover. Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks, as law enforcement had begun using tear gas within the building. Staff members removed boxes of sealed electoral vote certificates to prevent them from being damaged or stolen by rioters.
Video shot inside the House of Representatives chamber with armed security blocking the doors
ABC News reported that shots were fired within the Capitol. An armed standoff took place at the front door of the chamber of the House of Representatives: as the mob attempted to break in, federal law enforcement officers drew their guns inside and pointed them towards the chamber doors, which were barricaded with furniture. In a stairway, one officer fired a shot at a man coming toward him. Photographer Erin Schaff said that, from the Capitol Rotunda, she ran upstairs, where rioters grabbed her press badge. Police found her, and, as her press pass had been stolen, they held her at gunpoint before her colleagues intervened.
Panic buttons in at least two Representatives' office were found to have been torn out. Staffers for Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D–MA) barricaded themselves in Pressley's office. They attempted to call for help with panic buttons that had been previously installed and even used in safety drills, but "[e]very panic button in my office had been torn out — the whole unit", Pressley's chief of staff told the Boston Globe.
Multiple rioters, using the cameras on their cell phones, documented themselves occupying the Capitol and the offices of various representatives, storming the offices of Speaker Pelosi, accessing secure computers and stealing a laptop.
The Associated Press reviewed public and online records of more than 120 participants after the storming and found that many of them shared conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election on social media and had also believed other "QAnon" and "deep state" conspiracy theories. Additionally, several had threatened Democratic and Republican politicians before the storming. The event was described as "Extremely Online", with "pro-Trump internet personalities" and fans streaming live footage while taking selfies.
Some military personnel participated in the riot; the Department of Defense is investigating members on active and reserve duty who may have been involved in the riot. Police officers and a police chief from departments in multiple states are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the riot. As of January 14, at least 28 law enforcement officers or officials are suspected of participating in Trump's pre-riot rally, or joining the Capitol riots, or both. Two Capitol Police officers were suspended, one for directing rioters inside the building while wearing a Make America Great Again hat, and the other for taking a selfie with a rioter.
At least sixteen Republican current and former state legislators were present at the event, including West Virginia State Senator Mike Azinger, Nevada State Assemblywoman Annie Black, Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase, Maryland Delegate Daniel L. Cox, Alaska State Representative David Eastman, West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, Colorado State Representative-elect Ron Hanks, Missouri State Representative Justin Hill, Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem, Virginia State Delegate Dave LaRock, Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock, Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano, and Tennessee Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, as well as outgoing Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones (a former Democrat who announced at the rally that he had joined the Republican Party), outgoing Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern, and former Pennsylvania State Representative Rick Saccone. Weaver claimed to have been "in the thick of it" and Evans filmed himself entering the Capitol alongside rioters. All denied participating in acts of violence. Evans was charged by federal authorities on January 8 with entering a restricted area; he resigned from the House of Delegates the next day.
Alleged foreign involvement and payments
On December 8, 2020, a French national gave around $500,000 in bitcoin payments to alt-right figures and groups, with about half of these funds going to Nick Fuentes (leader of the online Groyper Army), who denied breaching the building. The day after the transfer, the Frenchman killed himself. The FBI is launching an investigation as to whether any of this money went toward the financing of illegal acts.
The FBI is also investigating whether foreign adversaries of the U.S. – governments, organizations or individuals – were involved in the attack. The FBI believes that state actors and media (as well as proxy actors and media) working on behalf of the Russian, Iranian, and Chinese governments used the riots to promote violence, extremism and hypocrisy in the United States, and in some instance promote conspiratorial claims.
Donald Trump's statement during the conflict, two hours after the building was breached. The video was originally posted on Twitter at 4:17 p.m. and shared on other social media before being removed from all platforms for violating various policies.
Trump, who had spent previous weeks promoting the "Save America" rally, was "initially pleased" when his supporters breached the Capitol and refused to intercede, but also "expressed disgust on aesthetic grounds" over the "low class" appearance of the supporters involved in the rioting. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) said that senior White House officials told him that Trump was "delighted" to hear that rioters were entering the Capitol. Staffers reported that Trump had been "impossible to talk to throughout the day", and that his inability to deal with his election loss and displeasure that his supporters were unsuccessful in overturning the result by force had, according to one staffer, made Trump "out of his mind." Concerned that Trump may have committed treason through his actions, White House CounselPat Cipollone reportedly advised administration officials to avoid contact with Trump and ignore any illegal orders that could further incite the storming to limit their prosecutorial liability under the Sion Act of 1918.
Shortly after 2:00p.m. EST, 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. At 2:47p.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!" The Washington Post later reported that Trump did not want to include the words "stay peaceful".
Trump was in the West Wing of the White House at the time. A close adviser to Trump said the president was not taking many phone calls. When Trump watches television, the adviser explained, he will pause a recorded program to take a phone call, but "if it's live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold."
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." By 3:25p.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. 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 (R–CA) said that he had spoken to Trump to ask him to "calm individuals down"; Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a tweet telling Trump that "it is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down"; and Representative Mike Gallagher (R–WI), in a video message, told Trump to "call it off". In contrast to Trump, who only called upon his supporters to "remain peaceful", Pence called for the occupation of the Capitol to end immediately.
Lindsey Graham later told the Washington Post that "it took [Trump] awhile to appreciate the gravity of the situation... [he] saw these people as allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen".
By 3:50 p.m., White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the National Guard and "other federal protective services" had been deployed. At 4:06 p.m. on national television, President-elect Biden called for President Trump to end the riot. At 4:22p.m., Trump issued a video message on social media that was later taken down by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In it, he praised his supporters and repeated his claims of electoral fraud, saying: "This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace."
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!" At 7:00p.m., Rudy Giuliani placed a second call to Lee's number and left a voicemail intended for Tuberville urging him to make more objections to the electoral votes as part of a bid "to try to just slow it down". Giuliani said: "I know they're reconvening at 8 tonight, but it... the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow – ideally until the end of tomorrow."
Members' conduct during the riot
During the riots Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) posted on Twitter some information about the police response and the location of members, including the fact that Speaker Pelosi had been taken out of the chamber, for which she has faced calls to resign for endangering members. Boebert responded that she wasn't sharing private information, since Pelosi's removal was also being broadcast on TV.
Representative Ayanna Pressley left the Congressional safe room for fear of other members there "who incited the mob in the first place".
While sheltering for hours in the "safe room" - a cramped, windowless room where people sat within arms' length of each other - some Republican Congress members refused to wear masks even when their Democratic colleagues begged them to. During the following week, three Democratic members tested positive for the coronavirus. An environmental health expert described the situation as a "superspreader" event.
Armed guards walking through the halls of Congress after they were ransacked
Sund joined a conference call with D.C. government and Pentagon officials at 2:26p.m. where he "[made] an urgent, urgent immediate request for National Guard assistance", telling them he needed "boots on the ground". However, Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, Director of the Army Staff, said he could not recommend that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy approve the request, telling Sund and others "I don't like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background".
Armed DHS agents were on standby near the Capitol in case of unrest, but were not deployed until after the violence had subsided.
Pentagon officials reportedly restricted D.C. guard troops from being deployed except as a measure of last resort, and from receiving ammunition and riot gear; troops were also instructed to engage with protesters only in situations warranting self-defense and could not share equipment with local police or use surveillance equipment without prior approval from Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller. McCarthy and Miller decided to deploy the entire 1,100-strong force of D.C. National Guard to quell violence. About 3:04p.m., Miller spoke with Pence, Pelosi, McConnell and Schumer, and directed the National Guard and other "additional support" to respond to the riot. The order to send in the National Guard, which Trump initially resisted, was approved by Pence. This bypassing of the chain of command has not been explained. Around 3:30p.m., Northam said that he was working with Bowser and Congress leaders to respond and that he was sending members of the Virginia National Guard and 200 Virginia State Troopers to support D.C. law enforcement, at the mayor's request. At 3:45p.m., Stenger told Sund he would ask Mitch McConnell for help exping the National Guard authorization.
Protesters gathered outside the United States Capitol
It took over three hours for police to retake control of the Capitol, using riot gear, shields, and batons. Capitol Police were assisted by the local D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.Smoke grenades were deployed on the Senate side of the Capitol by Capitol Police working to clear rioters from the building. Black officers employed with Capitol Police reported being subjected to racial epithets (including repeated uses of "nigger") by some of the rioters. 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. FBI and Department of Homeland Security agents wearing riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30p.m.
Riot police and protesters outside the Capitol in the evening
As police continued to try to push rioters away from the Capitol, protests continued, with some moving out of the Capitol Hill area. Some verbal and physical attacks on reporters were reported, with attackers denigrating media outlets as providing "fake news". One rioter told a CNN crew as they were being harassed by others, "There's more of us than you. We could absolutely fucking destroy you!" A video on social media recorded a man harassing an Israeli journalist covering the events live.
By 6:08p.m., police had arrested at least thirteen people and seized five firearms. Although Bowser had ordered a 6:00p.m. curfew, it went largely ignored by the pro-Trump rioters, hundreds of whom remained in the Capitol Hill area two hours after the curfew went into effect.
New York GovernorAndrew 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. On the night of January 6, Bowser issued an order extending the public emergency in Washington, D.C., for 15 days, writing in the order that she expected some people would "continue their violent protests through the inauguration". The following day, Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy announced that a fence would be built around the Capitol, and remain in place for at least 30 days; construction of the fence began that same day. McCarthy also said New Jersey National Guard troops would be mobilized, as would troops from the Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania National Guards.
By the end of the day, police had arrested 61 people for "unrest-related" offenses, with about half of these arrests occurring on the Capitol grounds.
Improvised explosive and incendiary devices
Two improvised explosive devices, believed to have been planted before the riots, were found within a few blocks of the Capitol. A device suspected to be a pipe bomb was discovered next to a building containing Republican National Committee (RNC) offices at around 12:45 p.m. About 30 minutes later, another suspected pipe bomb was found under a bush at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters. The devices were of a similar design – about one foot in length, with end caps and wiring apparently attached to a timer, and containing an unknown powder and some metal. The devices were safely detonated by bomb squads; police later said they were "hazardous" and could have caused "great harm". 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. Sund told The Washington Post on January10 that he suspected the pipe bombs were intentionally placed to draw police away from the Capitol; Representative Tim Ryan (D–OH) echoed the sentiment in a virtual news conference on January11, who said "we do believe there was some level of coordination... because of the pipe bombs... that immediately drew attention away from the breach that was happening".
A vehicle containing a semi-automatic rifle and a cooler full of eleven Molotov cocktails was also found nearby. The driver was subsequently arrested. He also had three handguns in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Congress reconvened in the evening of January 6 after the Capitol was cleared of trespassers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reopened the Senate's session around 8:00 p.m. EST, saying that the Senate refused to be intimidated, and that it would count the electors and declare the president "tonight", after two hours of debate on the objection to the Arizona electors. He called the vote the most consequential in his 30-plus years of congressional service. At 9:58 p.m., the Senate rejected the objection 93–6, with only six Republicans voting in favor: Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), John Neely Kennedy (LA), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).
Congressional staffers removed the Electoral College certificates from the Capitol as it was evacuated.
At 11:08 p.m., the House of Representatives rejected a similar motion to dispute the Arizona vote by a margin of 303–121. All of the "yeas" came from Republicans while the "nays" were from 83 Republicans and 220 Democrats. A planned objection to the Georgia slate of electors was rejected after co-signing Senator, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), withdrew her support in light of the day's events. Another objection was raised by Hawley and Representative Scott Perry (R–PA) to the Pennsylvania slate of electors, triggering another two-hour split in the joint session to debate the objection. At 12:30 a.m. on January 7, the Senate rejected this objection by a 92–7 vote, with the same people voting the same way as before with the exceptions of Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Rick Scott (R-FL) voting in favor and John N. Kennedy voting against.
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. Representative Peter Meijer (R–MI) said that several of his Republican colleagues in the House would have voted to certify the votes, but did not out of fear for the safety of their families, and that at least one specifically voted to overturn Biden's victory against their conscience because they were shaken by the mob attack that day.
At 3:41a.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.
Deaths and injuries
Five people died or were fatally injured during the event: one was a Capitol Police officer, and four were among those who stormed or protested at the Capitol. Sixty Capitol Police officers were injured in the riot, of whom 15 were hospitalized and one was in critical condition; all had been released from the hospital by January 11. Additionally, rioters injured more than 58 D.C. Metro police officers during the attack, including one who remained hospitalized five days after the attack. Some insurrectionists beat officers with pipes, and some officers sustained head injuries from being struck with lead pipes. Rioters injured other police officers by using chemical irritants and stun guns, hitting them with fists, sticks, poles and clubs; trampling and stampeding them; pushing them down stairs or against statues; and shining laser pointers in their eyes. Many police officers were attacked with bear spray, a highly concentrated form of pepper spray stronger than the tear gas typically carried by officers. One D.C. Metro officer was hit six times with a stun gun and suffered an apparent heart attack.
One of the most intense of the many violent incidents occurred shortly after 2 p.m., as a swarm of rioters attempted to breach a door on the West Front of the Capitol. There, rioters dragged three D.C. Metro police officers out of formation and down a set of stairs, trapped them in a crowd, and assaulted them with improvised weapons (including hockey sticks, crutches, flags, poles, sticks, and stolen police shields) as the mob chanted "police stand down!" and "USA!" At least one of the officers was also stomped upon.
Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick died from injuries sustained in the riot.
In a separate incident during the riots, Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, a 15-year veteran of the force, was mortally wounded by a rioter who hit him in the head with a fire extinguisher.Reuters reported that Sicknick suffered a thromboembolicstroke after sustaining head injuries, and collapsed after returning to his division office. He was later placed on life support, but died the following day. Sicknick's death is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department's Homicide Branch, the USCP, and federal authorities.
During the riot, Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, a 35-year-old from San Diego, was fatally shot by Capitol Police as she attempted to climb through a shattered window in a barricaded door leading into the Speaker's Lobby, which has direct access to the House floor. The incident was recorded on several cameras. Babbitt was unarmed when she was shot and killed, however officers were aware that many rioters and intruders could be carrying concealed weapons. The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department launched an investigation into the death, and the officer who shot her was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Babbitt was a follower of QAnon, and had tweeted the previous day "the storm is here", a reference to a QAnon conspiracy theory.
Three others also died: Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia; Kevin Greeson, 55, from Athens, Alabama; and Benjamin Philips, 50, of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Boyland was trampled to death by people rushing to breach a tunnel entrance on the west side of the Capitol; A radicalized follower of QAnon, her family had begged her not to attend. Greeson died of a heart attack. His family said he was "not there to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions". Philips died of a stroke.The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that there was no indication that Philips participated in the raid. Phillips had started the social media site "Trumparoo", intended for Trump supporters. A family member of Boyland said that "the president's words incited a riot that killed four of his biggest fans last night".
House Speaker Pelosi had the flags at the Capitol lowered to half-staff in Sicknick's honor. Trump initially declined to lower flags at the White House or other federal buildings under his control, before relenting four days later. Biden, Pence and Pelosi offered condolences to Sicknick's family; Trump did not. After Sicknick's death, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) received backlash for previous speeches that were perceived as calls for violence.
There were calls for Trump to be prosecuted for inciting the violence that led to the five deaths. An article on Law & Crime discussed whether felony murder charges in relation to Babbitt's death could be brought against protesters, those who invaded the Capitol, or instigators of the rally. It concluded that such charges were very unlikely.
Morale among the Capitol Police plummeted after the riots. The department responded to "a couple of incidents" where officers threatened to harm themselves; one officer turned in her weapon because she feared what she would do with it. Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood, who was on duty at the riot, died by suicide three days later.
Damage, theft, and impact
A damaged window in one of the rooms in the Capitol
Rioters stormed the offices of Nancy Pelosi, flipping tables and ripping photos from walls; the office of the Senate Parliamentarian was ransacked; art was looted; and feces was tracked into several hallways. Windows were smashed throughout the building, leaving the floor littered with glass and debris. Some items of furniture were damaged, turned over, or stolen. One door had "MURDER THE MEDIA" scrawled onto it. Rioters damaged Associated Press recording and broadcasting equipment outside the Capitol after chasing away reporters. Rioters also destroyed a display honoring the life of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. A photo of Representative Andy Kim (D–NJ) cleaning up the damage at the Rotunda after midnight went viral.
The rioters caused extensive physical damage. The Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), which maintains the Capitol and preserves its art and architecture, released an initial damage assessment on January 9. The AOC reported interior damage from the riot (specifically broken glass, broken doors, and graffiti), and also reported that some statues, paintings, and historic benches "displayed the residue of various pepper sprays, tear gas and fire extinguishers deployed by both rioters and law enforcement personnel." Items, including portraits of John Quincy Adams and James Madison, as well as a marble statue of Thomas Jefferson, were covered in "corrosive gas agent residue"; these were sent to the Smithsonian for assessment and restoration. A 19th-century marble bust of President Zachary Taylor was defaced with what seemed to be blood, but the most important works in the Capitol collection, such as the John Trumbull paintings, escaped unharmed. On the Capitol's exterior, two 19th-century bronze light fixtures designed by Frederick Law Olmsted were damaged. Because the Capitol is not insured against loss, taxpayers will pay for the damage inflicted by the siege.
ABC News reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had recovered several improvised explosive devices that were intended to cause serious harm, and were looking at those in the mob that were trained perhaps in the military and more intent on causing serious harm, including harming Vice President Pence. ABC analyst and retired CIA officer Mick Mulroy said the FBI would likely be conducting a full counterintelligence sweep on all those who participated in the assault to determine possible foreign intelligence ties, as these individuals may have taken sensitive information from the congressional offices they ransacked. The presence of several military veterans who took part in the assault has created growing concern among former military members.
Technology theft and cybersecurity concerns
A laptop owned by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was stolen. A laptop taken from Speaker Pelosi's office was "[a] laptop from a conference room... that was only used for presentations", according to Pelosi's deputy chief of staff. Representative Ruben Gallego (D–AZ) said "we have to do a full review of what was taken, or copied, or even left behind in terms of bugs and listening devices." 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 January7 and leading the United States Army Special Operations Command to re-authorize all SIPRNet-connected computers on January8.
Representative Anna Eshoo (D–CA) said in a statement that "[i]mages on social media and in the press of vigilantes accessing congressional computers are worrying" and that she had asked the Chief Administrative Officer of the House (CAO) "to conduct a full assessment of threats based on what transpired". The CAO said it was "providing support and guidance to House offices as needed".
In the weeks after the riots at least one protestor was arrested, with allegations by a former romantic partner that she had stolen a laptop or hard drive from Pelosi's office with the intention of sending the device to a friend in Russia for sale to the countries foreign intelligence service. The individual as of January 19 has not been charged with theft.
Conservation of items damaged or left behind
Signs, flags, stickers, Nancy Pelosi's damaged nameplate, and other items left behind from the riot will be preserved as historical artifacts in the collections of the House and Senate and those of national museums.Anthea M. Hartig, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, said that the Smithsonian would seek to collect and preserve "objects and stories that help future generations remember and contextualize Jan. 6 and its aftermath", a statement echoed by Jane Campbell, president of the Capitol Historical Society.
Pro-Trump protesters around the Capitol on the evening of January 6
After drawing widespread condemnation from Congress, members from his administration and the media, Trump released a videotaped statement to stop the resignations and threats of impeachment or removal. In a video statement released on January7, 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.Vanity Fair reported that Trump was at least partially convinced to do so by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who told Trump that a sufficient number of Senate Republicans would support removing him from office unless he conceded. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had attempted to distance the administration from the rioters' behavior in a televised statement earlier in the day. On January 9, The New York Times reported that Trump had told White House aides that he regretted committing to an orderly transition of power and would never resign from office.
In another unusual move, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and all of the other Joint Chiefs[a] issued a statement on January 12 condemning the storming of the Capitol, reminding personnel of their sworn obligation to support and defend the Constitution, that Biden was about to become their commander-in-chief and stating that "the rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sion and insurrection." They said, "As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civilian authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Over 70 other countries and international organizations expressed their concerns over the protests and condemned the violence, with some specifically condemning Trump's own role in inciting the attack. Multiple world leaders have made a call for peace, describing the riots as "an attack on democracy". The leaders of some countries, including Brazil, Poland, Hungary, and Russia, declined to condemn the situation, and described it as an internal U.S. affair.
Many media outlets worldwide described the storming as "anarchy", including British newspaper i and Canadian newspaper Ottawa Sun.
Several NATO intelligence agencies outside the United States also briefed their governments that it was an attempted coup by President Trump which may have had help from federal law-enforcement officials.
Donald Trump was criticized by a range of his encouraging supporters, both national and international. However, chairman real-estate developer of DAMAC Properties in Dubai, Hussain Sajwani stated that he was interested in expanding the business with the Trump Organization, despite Trump’s role in the riots. DAMAC and Trump are partners on an 18-hole golf course and club in Dubai. Besides, the two were collaborating to build a second 18-hole golf course in Dubai, called the Trump World Golf Club. Sajwani said he was “very, very happy" with the business ties he had with the Trump Organization.
Calls for Trump to be prosecuted for inciting the crowd were also made in the aftermath of the event. Because Trump continued to claim that the presidential election was rigged without any proper evidence and inciting violence, the social media platform Twitter suspended Trump's main account first for 12 hours and then permanently. Following this, Trump attempted to access alternate accounts on the platform to continue with the tirade but all tweets were subsequently deleted and the accounts either suspended or banned. Furthermore, Trump was banned from other major social media outlets including Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat; meaning he has been essentially removed from most major social media platforms.
Law enforcement's failure to prevent the mob from breaching the Capitol attracted scrutiny to the Capitol Police and other police agencies involved. In the wake of the violence at the capitol, several members of the Trump administration resigned.
Questions have been raised in the media regarding the discrepancy in police response to Black Lives Matter and white supremacist protesters, including the rioters who stormed the US Capitol. According to an analysis by The Guardian of statistics collected by the US Crisis Monitor, "Police in the United States are three times more likely to use force against leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters", regardless of whether the protest is peaceful or violent.
Multiple U.S. state capitols were temporarily closed or evacuated after the storming of the U.S. Capitol. Several states also experienced protests and riots.
Eleven people were arrested for illegal possession of pepper spray at a demonstration near the California State Capitol in Sacramento. 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. About 60 pro-Trump activists gathered outside the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, including armed militia movement members. A courthouse complex and two other government buildings were closed as a precaution. Chester Doles, a former Ku Klux Klan member who leads the far-right group American Patriots USA, attempted to enter the state capitol to deliver a "redress of grievances" about the election to Georgia Secretary of StateBrad Raffensperger; however, Raffensperger and his staff evacuated early as a precaution. A pro-Trump demonstration took place inside the first-floor rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol; the organizers had a permit and no incidents were reported.
In an internal "situational information report" dated December 29, 2020, the FBI's Minneapolis field office warned of armed protests at every state capitol, orchestrated by the far-right boogaloo movement, before Biden's inauguration.
^ abcdeReeves, Jay; Mascaro, Lisa; Woodward, Calvin (January 11, 2021). "Capitol assault a more sinister attack than first appeared". Associated Press. Retrieved January 12, 2021. Under battle flags bearing Donald Trump's name, the Capitol's attackers pinned a bloodied police officer in a doorway, his twisted face and screams captured on video. They mortally wounded another officer with a blunt weapon and body-slammed a third over a railing into the crowd. 'Hang Mike Pence!' the insurrectionists chanted as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's whereabouts, too. They hunted any and all lawmakers: 'Where are they?' Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity. ... The mob got stirring encouragement from Trump and more explicit marching orders from the president's men. 'Fight like hell,' Trump exhorted his partisans at the staging rally. 'Let's have trial by combat,' implored his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, whose attempt to throw out election results in trial by courtroom failed. It's time to 'start taking down names and kicking ass,' said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. Criminals pardoned by Trump, among them Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, came forward at rallies on the eve of the attack to tell the crowds they were fighting a battle between good and evil.
^Massimo, Rick; Vitka, Will (January 8, 2021). "Trump condemns Capitol riot; DeVos, US Capitol Police chief to resign". WTOP. Today, First Amendment protests turned violent. Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction. They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns.
^"This is what Trump told supporters before many stormed Capitol Hill". ABC News. 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.
Pitzke, Marc (January 7, 2021). "Ein amerikanisches Verbrechen". PolitiFact. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021. Der Putschversuch der Wahlverlierer ist das grotesk anmutende, aber erschütternde Finale eines vierjährigen, autokratischen Fiebertraums, dessen unheimlicher Regisseur Donald Trump war, der selbst ernannte Law-and-Order-Präsident, assistiert von der zusehends radikalisierten Republikanischen Partei und rechtsextremen Propagandamedien. [The attempted coup by the election losers is the grotesque but harrowing finale to a four-year autocratic fever dream whose sinister director was Donald Trump, the self-styled law-and-order president, assisted by the visibly radicalized Republican Party and far-right propaganda media.]
^Holpuch, Amanda (January 6, 2021). "US Capitol's last breach was more than 200 years ago". The Guardian. For the first time on Wednesday, it was the site of an armed insurrection incited by the sitting president....Not since 1814 has the building been breached. Then, it was by British troops who set fire to the building during a broader attack on Washington in the war of 1812.
^Puckett, Jason; Spry Jr., Terry (January 6, 2021). "Has the US Capitol ever been attacked before?". Tegna Inc. VERIFY – via WXIA-TV. While this is the first large-scale occupation of the U.S. Capitol since 1814, there have been several other instances of violence at the U.S. Capitol, particularly in the 20th century.
^Smith, Clint (January 8, 2021). "The Whole Story in a Single Photo". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 13, 2021. During the Civil War, the Confederate Army never reached the Capitol. The rebel flag, to my knowledge, had never been flown inside the halls of Congress until Wednesday. Two days ago, a man walked through the halls of government bearing the flag of a group of people who had seceded from the United States and gone to war against it.
^ abcdeBiesecker, Michael; Kunzelman, Michael; Flaccus, Gillian; Mustian, Jim (January 10, 2021). "Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover". Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2021. The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president's behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals. Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.
^Bates, Josiah (January 14, 2021). "At Least 28 Active Police Officers Now Linked to U.S. Capitol Riots". Time. Retrieved January 14, 2021. According to a tracker on The Appeal, as of Jan. 14 a total of 28 law enforcement officers or officials are suspected of participating in President Trump's Jan. 6 rally, and/or joining the crowds storming the U.S. Capitol later that day.