It was January 6th. Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate gathered in the House Chamber of Capitol Hill to acknowledge and verify Joe Biden’s victory officially.
It was supposed to be a well-organized joint session. Instead, it turned into a violent, uncontrollable protest, come riot, come insurrection, which left our country and the world embarrassed, shocked and frightened.
We all know that something very serious happened there, but how could protesters breach into the Capitol Hill? Will they face any charges following their violent actions?
Let’s have a look at the detailed timeline of one of the most shocking events in recent history.
How everything started
It may seem like everything started on December 6th, but in fact Donald Trump has been instigating his supporters long before the joint session.
In a tweet posted on December 19th, 2020, Trump told his followers to get ready for January 6th because something ‘wild’ will be coming. Here’s the tweet:
Peter Navarro releases 36-page report alleging election fraud ‘more than sufficient’ to swing victory to Trump https://t.co/D8KrMHnFdK. A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020
The New York Times also reports that the 8,000 members of the Red-State Secession, a pro-Trump Facebook group, have been planning the protest a night ahead.
Facebook has banned the page since Wednesday when it was confirmed as one of the main virtual tools used to plan the Capitol Hill riot. However, we do have information that group owners have posted the following message on Tuesday night:
‘If you are not prepared to use force to defend civilization, then be prepared to accept barbarism.’
This Thomas Sowell quote was followed by a series of comments where group members showed photos of the weaponry they prepared for the January 6th protest – including assault rifles. Some comments also referred to ‘occupying’ the Capitol to pressure the Congress into overturning the Election results in Trump’s favor.
According to Renee DiResta, online movement researcher at Stanford Internet Observatory, the January 6th riot was definitely not spontaneous. In fact, the movement was planned in detail using social media such as closed groups and private pages.
We may even look at these closed social media networks as an oasis where Trump’s lies feel like reality. Here, people have encouraged one another to believe everything Donald Trump has been tweeting and saying for the past three months, from election fraud to injustice and stolen rights.
Now, they were ready to attack.
The Capitol Hill security problems
Fast-forward to January 6th, the House of Representatives and the Senate had already begun their joint session for 50 minutes.
That’s when the chaos begun.
At this moment, hundreds of Trump supporters were seen marching directly towards Capitol Hill. A quick look at their appearance, their flags and chanting should have let everybody know this was not going to be a peaceful protest.
But did the police ask or even accept backup from FBI agents when the situation was clearly going to be critical?
As we’ve already seen in numerous footage from the scene, the Capitol Hill security on January 6th was prepared for a free speech demonstration at most.
While hundreds of Trump supporters angered beyond measure were threatening to enter Capitol Hill (which they eventually did), the Justice Department leaders offered up FBI agents for maximum protection in case of a riot.
The Capitol Hill security denied the request twice.
This information, reported by the US News, is confirmed by senior defense officials, as well as two witnesses from the scene.
All of these decisions have led to chaos: 90 minutes into the joint session, Trump supporters stormed into the Capitol Hill unimpeded. They broke into officials’ offices, vandalized conference rooms and even took a couple of selfies in the meantime, some Capitol police officers were even filmed taking part in those selfies with the rioters.
In a photo that will probably enter history books, a man is waving the Confederate flag inside the building.
However, the police were overwhelmed to say the least. This video, which has circled the virtual world in no time, shows a police officer quite literally running for his life as Trump rioters threaten him:
Despite being overwhelmed, there is worrying footage of some officers appearing to open the barricades to let the rioters into the Capitol Building grounds:
During the riot, multiple officers have been injured (some requiring hospitalization) with a total of five fatalities.
There have been gunshots, smoke grenades and broken glass windows as politicians were hiding under their desks or improvising barricades inside their offices.
Vice-President Mike Pence was escorted out quietly during the riot. More disturbingly, some of the rioters were heard shouting ‘Where’s Mike Pence?’ as they swept through the Capitol Building, frightening the vice president and his family.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the President and his top aides barely lifted a finger to check in on Pence to make sure he and his family were unharmed.
At one point, Donald Trump posted a video on Twitter asking the crowds to ‘go home.’ However, if you listen to the full message, it’s quite clear that all he’s doing is to instigate the rioters even more by continuing to repeat the widely debunked ‘stolen election’ theory.
Take a look:
By 3:30 p.m., the Senate floor was finally cleared of the invaders. Rioters were reportedly escorted out of the building and only 26 of them were arrested on the spot. Until now, a total of 69 rioters have been arrested by the DC Police.
The FBI is looking for any information that could help the investigation on the January 6th riot. If you have photos, videos, if you recognize anybody who was there or have any other descriptive information, you can submit it on FBI’s official website right here.
As I’m writing this post, more and more lawmakers are calling for impeachment or the 25th Amendment to have Donald Trump removed from his presidency immediately.
Although most of the requests are issued by Democrats, there are quite a few Republicans calling for the same action as well. One such representative is GOP Rep. Adam Kizinger from Illinois, as he requested the invoking of the 25th Amendment saying that ‘the President must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.’
This situation puts even more pressure on Vice-President Mike Pence who seems to have magically (or better said, immaturely) disappeared.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reported calling Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. However, Schumer says they were put on hold for 25 minutes, then a secretary told them Pence would never come to the phone.
Donald Trump, whose Twitter account has been banned for 12 hours following the riot, posted a video message on the social platform saying that he now accepts Biden’s victory at the White House. Watch it here:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021
He begins his speech by accusing the January 6th rioters, saying that those who used violence ‘do not represent our country.’
But do these words erase the fact that, only two days before, he told those same rioters ‘I love you, you’re very special?’
Does it erase how kindly he has treated these violent citizens compared to how he invoked the National Guard troops during the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests?
I’ll let you answer these questions in the comment section, along with any experiences you’ve had during the past few days.