Rioters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Alex Kent)
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will deliver a speech Thursday in the heart of the U.S. Capitol to mark the first anniversary of the insurrection there.
One year ago, former President Donald Trump incited a mob of his supporters, and encouraged them to storm the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the electoral votes for Biden’s 2020 presidential win.
Five people died, hundreds of law enforcement officers were injured — four later died by suicide — and congressional staff, lawmakers, police and journalists were traumatized. One woman was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer when she tried to breach the House speaker’s lobby.
On Thursday, Biden will also be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris at the Capitol. They will speak at 9 a.m. in Statuary Hall, which rioters walked through the day of the attack, shouting and waving flags, including a Trump campaign banner.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is also set to hold a private moment of reflection on the House floor with staff that were present on Jan. 6. She will also have a moment of silence on the House floor soon after.
Later in the day, Pelosi, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and several historians, will host a discussion in the Cannon Caucus Room about how to preserve the narrative of events that occurred on Jan. 6.
Some members of Congress are expected to relate their personal Jan. 6 experiences following the discussion, and a prayer vigil will end the day at 5:30 p.m. Most events are scheduled to be carried by C-SPAN.
The former president was set to issue a video statement on Thursday, but has now canceled it.
Trump was impeached for a second time, on the grounds of inciting the insurrection. Only 10 Republicans joined House Democrats in a 232-197 vote.
A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 3 in 10 Republicans say the attack on the Capitol was not violent, while 9 in 10 Democrats considered the day violent.
The Justice Department has opened hundreds of cases and directed prosecutors to issue a slew of sedition and conspiracy charges against pro-Trump rioters. Some of those insurrectionists are waiting for their trials in D.C. jails.
Congressional hearings and investigations into the attack on the Capitol have been ongoing for a year. Schumer on Wednesday spoke during a Senate Rules Committee oversight hearing about security improvements made by the U.S. Capitol Police.
“January 6th was not merely a senseless act of mob violence that sprung up spontaneously,” he said. “It was an attempt to reverse, through violent means, the outcome of a free and fair election.
“And make no mistake: the root cause of January 6th is still with us today,” he continued. “It is the Big Lie pushed by Donald Trump that is undermining faith in our political system and making our democracy, our country, less safe.”
Trump has continued to make false claims that the presidential election was stolen, and Republicans in state legislatures have used those claims to enact and introduce strict voting requirements. It’s a trend that has concerned Democrats as they struggle to pass voting rights legislation.
Pelosi established a special commission to investigate the attack — similar to one created in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Only two Republicans sit on the committee, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. The select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued subpoenas to former Trump aides, House Republicans and Fox News anchors.
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