By Andria Carter
Sesh Digital Correspondent
January 6 remains a day that we will remember forever. One year ago, when the year 2021 was barely in its infancy, our country suffered a significant dent to our democracy. The onslaught of rioters on the U.S. Capitol remains burned in our minds, in replay on various streaming platforms and helped deepen the political divide our country suffers from.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will say a prayer and hold a minute of silence along with a prayer service on the Capitol steps. According to ABC News, the House will hold a discussion where lawmakers, historians and others will recount their time on January 6 and contemplate what’s next.
In a letter to his colleagues, Senator Chuck Schumer described January 6, “One year ago this week, we experienced great sorrow; mere hours after the dawn of a new Congress and a new Majority, our beloved Capitol was attacked. It was attacked in a naked attempt to derail our Republic’s most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power. Domestic violent extremists sought to inflict chaos and violence. Fueled by conspiracy and the ravings of vengeful former president, they sought destroy our Republic.”
“Our Democracy held – for now,” he added.
Over the past year and now, various media outlets are keeping Americans abreast on what is happening with the investigation conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives January 6 Committee, and the FBI investigation. Weekly we hear of the arrests, guilty pleas or convictions of those who participated in the “Save American Rally” that turned into the January 6 riot. Many regret their participation, others are giving up what they know. The more the January 6 Committee and the FBI learn the closer we get to who planned the event.
To date, the Special House Committee led by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has interviewed over 300 witnesses. Drips and drabs of information have been released by the committee. Although the group plans to move to a more public gathering of information by holding hearings. In various media interviews, Thompson said the Committee are not shrinking violets and are looking at all facts and circumstances that pulled together January 6.
Despite the several ongoing investigations, former president Donald Trump has not paid a legal or political price for his involvement of January 6. The House determined Trump incited the riot and impeached him for a second time., which the U.S. Senate did not convict him for a second time. As more is uncovered the Committee has not referred information over to the Department of Justice for criminal charges or prosecution.
We do know that participants in the “Save America” rally and the U.S. Capitol riot included the actions and inactions of Trump allies, far right anti-government extremist groups such as the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and Three Percenters.
What Happened on January 6
On January 6, 2021, a joint session of the House and Senate just began to count the Electoral College votes to solidify the Presidential election in which now, President Joe Biden won. In response to the joint session pro-Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. for a “Save America” rally to protest the counting of the Electoral ballots. Former president Trump had charged that the election had suffered from voter fraud and Biden had won it illegally. To this day, Trump continues to declare the election was stolen from him. Trump’s charges and arguments have been debunked in the courts system and by the national election and security officials stating the 2021 national elections were the most secured elections in its history.
Prior to the start of the joint session of Congress, Trump was urging then Vice President Mike Pence to not count certain electoral ballots. He wanted Pence to reject Biden’s election and send the counts back to the states. Pence in response released a letter saying that his role in the process was merely ceremonial and would not do Trump’s bidding.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the joint session into order, Trump told rally participants to go to the U.S. Capitol. Trump in his speech urged his supporters to show Congress their pride and boldness. While the supporters began marching, objections to the count were introduced and the joint session was suspended for debate to occur in both the House and Senate.
Around 1:30 p.m., rioters began protesting on the back steps of the U.S. Capitol. In fact, those rushing the stairs overwhelmed the Capitol Police. Soon after, America witnessed, via the news media as the rioters climbed that stairs and other parts of the part of the Capitol building breaking windows, doors and forcing their way into the building.
Congressman not escorted from the House floor had to barricade themselves in council room, others in their offices listening as rioters raged past or pounded on their doors. Those in the House chambers watched as Capitol police protected them by barricading the doors, and when the windows were broken, shots were fired. One woman lost her life.
Around the country, Trump supports also rallied at States capitols some also suffered damaged from protestors.
According to news reports and Committee reports, Trump was urged to stop the riot. He did not. He later Tweeted urging people to remain peaceful. Two hours after the protest began, Trump ordered the National Guard to the U.S. Capitol.
Trump later tweeted a video urging people to home. In the video, he said, “We love you. You are special people. You’ve seen what happens. You seen how others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.”
Trump never went on national television to denounce the rioters’ actions or to refute the claims that the election was stolen.
The impact of January 6 continues to be fled in 2022. State legislators are approving stringent voters laws restricting people’s ability in free elections, almost guaranteeing Republican-led state governments. In response to the intense restrictions being introduced the U.S. Senate is expected to vote rights bills in the coming weeks after they change the filibuster rules that have prevented debate and votes on voting rights bills.