Trump-incited mob attacks Capitol, testing boundaries of speech and resilience of American democracy

First posted January 21, 2021 2:41pm EST
Last updated October 23, 2023 2:44pm EDT

All Associated Themes:

  • Hate Speech
  • Identity
  • Legal Action
  • National Security
  • Professional Consequences
  • Protest Politics
  • Social Media
  • Violence / Threats

External References

3rd Member Of Congress Tests Positive For Coronavirus, Blames Capitol Attack Lockdown, NPR

147 Republican lawmakers still objected to the election results after the Capitol attack, Vox

2022 PGA Championship leaving Trump National, ESPN

About 20,000 National Guardsmen could arrive in Washington, officials say, in swelling inauguration security effort, The Washington Post

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf stepping down, Axios

Alex Azar resigns as Health and Human Services Secretary, citing Capitol mob, NBC News

All the platforms that have banned or restricted Trump so far, Axios

Amazon, Apple and Google Cut Off Parler, an App That Drew Trump Supporters, The New York Times

Amazon suspends Parler, threatening to take pro-Trump site offline indefinitely, The Washington Post

As Inauguration Nears, Concern Of More Violence Grows, NPR

At Least 10,000 National Guard Troops to Be Deployed in DC, NBC Washington

Backlash to riot at Capitol hobbles Trump’s business as banks, partners flee the brand, The Washington Post

Calls grow louder to remove Trump under 25th Amendment, The Hill

Capitol attackers have long threatened violence in rural American west, The Guardian

Capitol Police Officer Dies From Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage, The New York Times

Capitol Police officer who was on duty during the riot has died by suicide, his family says, The Washington Post

Capitol siege was planned online. Trump supporters now planning the next one., The Washington Post

Days After Capitol Siege, Police Officer Who Protected Senate Dies Off Duty, The New York Times

Dear Colleague on Events of the Past Week

Democrats introduce article of impeachment against Trump, Vox

Democrats Ready Impeachment Charge Against Trump for Inciting Capitol Mob, The New York Times

Deutsche Bank won’t do any more business with Trump, CNN

DeVos resigned after believing 25th Amendment was off the table, Politico

Donald Trump – Twitter,

Facebook and Twitter suspend Trump’s accounts after Capitol insurrection, Vox

Facebook bans Trump from posting for 24 hours, Axios

FBI warns ‘armed protests’ being planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington DC, CNN

GOP lawmakers object to Arizona electors, launching futile bid to undo Biden’s victory, Politico

Here Are The Republicans Who Objected To The Electoral College Count, NPR

Here are some of the people charged since a mob breached the Capitol, The Washington Post

House article of impeachment against Donald Trump, CNN

House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday to impeach Trump, CNN

House hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with GOP support, The Washington Post

House Members To Be Fined For Not Wearing Face Masks, HuffPost

How the U.S. Capitol Police were overrun in a ‘monumental’ security failure, The Washington Post

‘Inside job’: House Dems ask if Capitol rioters had hidden help, Politico

Inside the Capitol, the Sound of the Mob Came First, The New York Times

Inside the Capitol siege: How barricaded lawmakers and aides sounded urgent pleas for help as police lost control, The Washington Post

The insurrection is happening at state capitols, too, Vox

Insurrectionists Openly Planned for Weeks to Storm the Capitol. Why Were Police So Easily Overwhelmed?, Time

Jordan calls on Cheney to step down from House leadership, The Hill

Key arrests so far from the Capitol riot, CNN

Liz Cheney, No. 3 House Republican, to vote to impeach Trump, CNN

Man who allegedly broke into Pelosi’s office charged with 3 federal counts, ABC News

McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment, believing it will be easier to purge Trump from the G.O.P., The New York Times

National Association of Manufacturers suggests Pence invoke the 25th Amendment, Axios

National Guard activated for D.C. protests, with more restraints than in June, officials say, The Washington Post

On Far-Right Websites, Plans To Storm Capitol Were Made In Plain Sight, NPR

Parler: Everything you need to know about the banned conservative social media platform, CNN

Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op, NPR

Pelosi, calling Trump ‘an unstable president,’ seeks to prevent his access to nuclear launch codes, ABC News

Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Ordering Military Action, The New York Times

Pence, Not Trump, Gave Order to Activate National Guard: Report, New York Magazine

Pence opposes 25th Amendment efforts to remove Trump following Capitol riot, VP advisors tell Insider, Business Insider

Pence opposes removing Trump under 25th Amendment: reports, The Hill

Pence to attend Biden inauguration; Trump never called him in the Capitol bunker, sources say, NBC News

Permanent suspension of @realDonaldTrump, Twitter

Planning and Execution Timeline for the National Guard’s Involvement in the January 6, 2021 First Amendment Protests in Washington, D.C.

Police chief and two security officials resign over Capitol assault, The Guardian

Police departments across the U.S. open probes into whether their own members took part in the Capitol riot, The Washington Post

The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration, FiveThirtyEight

POTUS Cut Off from Supporters as Even Email Company Suspends Trump’s Service, The Western Journal

The President Is Losing His Platforms, The New York Times

Reddit bans r/The_Donald and r/ChapoTrapHouse as part of a major expansion of its rules, The Verge

Republicans consider drastic options to stop Trump, Axios

The right-wing conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol siege are going to instigate more violence, Business Insider

Sen. Josh Hawley becomes a pariah on Capitol Hill, NBC News

Shopify Takes Trump Organization and Campaign Stores Offline, The Wall Street Journal

Snapchat locks President Donald Trump’s account, TechCrunch

Stripe Stops Processing Payments for Trump Campaign Website, The Wall Street Journal

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin involved in discussions about the 25th Amendment, but is unlikely to pursue Trump’s removal, The Washington Post

The Trump Administration Officials Who Resigned Over Capitol Violence, The New York Times

Trump asks those who believe in his ‘agenda’ to ‘help promote peace in our country’, Yahoo News

Trump banned from Facebook indefinitely, CEO Mark Zuckerberg says, The Washington Post

Trump is banned on Facebook and Instagram at least until his term is over., The New York Times

Trump pressures Pence to throw out election results — even though he can’t, Politico

Trump Sparks a Crisis for His Business Empire Just Before Returning to It, Bloomberg

Trump Told Crowd ‘You Will Never Take Back Our Country With Weakness’, The New York Times

Trump vow to ‘never concede’ incites mob of supporters, Los Angeles Times

Trump’s Internet Is Celebrating, The Atlantic

Trump’s speech that ‘incited’ Capitol violence: Full transcript, Al Jazeera

Trump’s ‘stop the steal’ message finds an international audience among conspiracy theorists and suspected cults, The Washington Post

Twitch disables Trump’s account indefinitely, The Verge

Twitter and Facebook are taking baby steps toward banning Trump, Quartz

Twitter bans accounts for Trump campaign, digital director, The Hill

Twitter bans Trump’s account, citing risk of further violence, The Washington Post

Twitter Locks Trump’s Account After Violence on Capitol Hill, The New York Times

Utah BLM protesters could get life in prison for splashing paint, The Guardian

What is the 25th Amendment, and how does it work?, The New York Times

Woman fatally shot as pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol identified as Air Force veteran, The Washington Post

On Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress met to certify then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election by counting the Electoral College votes, an angry throng of supporters of President Donald Trump — emboldened by a speech he had just concluded near the White House — marched down Pennsylvania Avenue and gathered outside the Capitol. Seemingly motivated by the conviction that they were saving American democracy — a conviction fed by lies and distortions — a mob overwhelmed paltry police defenses and stormed the building. During the deadly incursion, rioters plundered Capitol offices, ambled through both the House and Senate chambers, and skirmished with police officers. Five people died as a result of the riot, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. Another police officer who was on duty during the riot also died by suicide Jan. 11. The president did not attempt to diffuse the situation, instead posting a video in which he called the rioters “special” and said he “loved” them. A coalition of city and federal police eventually wrested control of the building by early evening, and legislators returned to their chambers to certify the election results by the middle of the night. For many, the attack — labeled by countless politicians and media pundits as an insurrection — was a bleak commemoration of a presidency that weakened the foundations of the country’s government, laws, and values.

Key Players

Donald Trump was elected to be the 45th president of the United States in 2016. After losing his reelection bid to Biden in November 2020, he repeatedly rejected the legitimacy of the results, peddling unfounded conspiracies that the election was somehow stolen and unsuccessfully exhausting every legal option to overturn the count in his favor. Trump indirectly conceded the election for the first time in a video published several hours after the Capitol riots, in which he acknowledged a new administration would enter the White House on Jan. 20, 2021.

Mike Pence was elected along with Trump, becoming the 48th vice president of the United States. In the days leading up to Congress’s pro forma certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory, Trump pressured Pence to reject the results, erroneously arguing the vice president possessed the constitutional right to replace allegedly fraudulent electors. Pence refused Trump’s demand, provoking the ire of both the president and the violent rioters, a group of whom were heard shouting “Hang Pence!” as they strolled through the Capitol.

Further Details

The buildup

On the morning of Jan. 6, thousands of Trump supporters — including far-right groups such as the Proud Boys and anti-government militias like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters — descended on Washington, D.C., and state capitol buildings in Arizona, California, Kansas, and other states, to take part in a so-called Save America Rally. The pro-Trump attendees sought to install Trump undemocratically as president for a second term, because of the misguided belief that the election had been unfairly “stolen” from him. This demonstration, the latest of the “Stop the Steal” rallies that had been occurring nationwide since Trump’s loss, took place on the same day Congress met to certify the Electoral College count and Biden’s victory. 

In speeches headlining the event — which Trump had persistently publicized on his Twitter account and at rallies in Georgia, where he campaigned on behalf of Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler in their runoff races — Trump and his allies made use of rhetoric that was controversial at best and seditious at worst. Addressing a crowd in front of the White House, Rudy Giuliani — Trump’s personal lawyer and a former mayor of New York City — called for a “trial by combat” against Democrats in order to win the election for Trump. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., warned Republican members of Congress who refused to acquiesce to the effort to overturn the election, saying, “We’re coming for you.”

In his National Mall speech, Trump vowed never to concede an election “stolen by emboldened radical Democrats.” He expressed faith that Pence would throw out the results from swing states like Arizona and Pennsylvania that ultimately cast their electoral votes for Biden, even though Pence’s role in counting electoral votes was known to be entirely administrative and ceremonial. Trump also referenced “brave senators,” a nod to the group including Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who attempted to block the election certification by objecting to state electoral counts. Finally, he urged his supporters to walk to the Capitol, promising to go with them but ultimately returning to the White House via motorcade.

The Breach

Meanwhile, in a joint session of Congress, multiple Republican lawmakers initiated their objection to the counting of Arizona’s official electoral votes, and both the House and Senate retreated to their respective chambers to debate the state’s votes for up to two hours. At approximately 1:30 p.m., as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned other Republicans in a speech that their efforts to overturn a legitimate election would send American democracy into a death spiral, a large group of Trump supporters broke through police barricades surrounding the Capitol. By 2:15 p.m., rioters had breached the building, smashing windows and barging through doors to gain entry.

Noise from the mob could be heard within the chamber. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) called out that gunshots had been fired, as Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) yelled for the doors to the chamber to be locked, according to The New York Times. Security officers eventually ordered senators to leave, and aides snatched the boxes containing the Electoral College certificates. By 2:19 p.m., both the House and Senate chambers had been evacuated.

Pandemonium in the Capitol

Chaos quickly ensued inside the building. Overpowered Capitol police officers skirmished with rioters in the halls. Trump supporters broke into the Senate chamber, sitting at the dais and chanting in support of the president. Some of the president’s violent acolytes broke into the offices of legislators, making off with personal belongings and posing for photos in their desk chairs, as others paraded the halls of the legislature with Confederate flags and navy blue Trump banners.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11695261g) Supporters of U.S. President Donald J. Trump outside the Senate chambers after breaching Capitol security in Washington, D.C., USA, 06 January 2021. Protesters entered the U.S. Capitol where the Electoral College vote certification for President-elect Joe Biden took place. Protesters enter U.S. Capitol, Washington, USA – 06 Jan 2021

At 2:24 p.m., Trump tweeted that “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country,” incorrectly arguing that Pence had the constitutional ability to throw out electoral votes from specific states.

At around 3 p.m., the chaos took a deadly turn when a Capitol Police officer shot and killed 35-year-old rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was attempting to trespass a barricade blocking off entrance to the House chamber. An Air Force veteran, Babbitt fervently supported Trump on social media platforms like Twitter, where she echoed his baseless theories of election fraud and referred to Biden as a “kid raper.”

More than an hour after rioters had entered the Capitol building and after initial hesitation from Pentagon officials, the Department of Defense activated the D.C. National Guard. 

Just after 4 p.m., in a televised address to the nation, President-elect Biden called for an end to the siege and demanded Trump use his influence to stop it. “This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end,” Biden said in his address. 

Seventeen minutes later, Trump tweeted a one-minute video of himself standing outside the White House, repeatedly claiming the election had been stolen from him, before urging his supporters to go home for the sake of peace and law and order. He concluded the video by saying, “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.”

Finally, at 6:01 p.m. — one minute after the curfew D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) instituted in the District and after the D.C. National Guard and the Virginia National Guard had arrived to support the Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department — Trump returned to Twitter, noting that “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.” After again instructing supporters to go home, he wrote rather ominously, “Remember this day forever!”

Later that night, Congress came back into session and formally certified Biden’s victory, and multiple Republicans — including Loeffler, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) — abandoned plans to object to certain states’ electoral votes. In addition to the objection to the Arizona challenge — which failed 93-6 in the Senate and 303-121 in the House — the only other state whose results were officially disputed on both sides of the Capitol was Pennsylvania. Between the two states, a total of 147 members of Congress objected to states’ electoral votes.


Social media companies deactivate Trump accounts, citing concerns of further violence

After initially attaching a warning to Trump’s tweets during the riot that his claims of election fraud were disputed and preventing users from replying to, retweeting, or liking the tweet, Twitter removed the three tweets from the platform because of their violation of the company’s civic integrity policy. At 7:02 p.m., Twitter cited the “unprecedented and ongoing violent situation” and wrote that Trump’s account would be locked for 12 hours following the removal of the tweets. If the tweets were not removed, the account would remain locked, according to the Twitter Safety account.

Trump ultimately removed the three offending tweets, and Twitter restored his account in the early hours of Jan. 7.

However, at 6:21 p.m. on Jan. 8, Twitter Safety announced the permanent suspension of Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” Twitter cited Trump’s last two tweets — in which he asserted that the “75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for [him] … will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future” and that he would not attend Biden’s inauguration — as evidence that Trump was “likely to inspire others to replicate the violent acts that took place on January 6,” according to Twitter’s official statement.

Later in the evening, Trump took to the @POTUS account, the official Twitter page of the president. He tweeted baseless claims that Twitter had coordinated with “Democrats and the Radical Left” and declared he was examining the possibility of “building out our own platform in the near future.” Twitter deleted those tweets within minutes.

Trump posted the exact same tweets on the Trump campaign’s official account (@TeamTrump), which was swiftly suspended. Later, the account of Gary Coby, digital director of the Trump campaign, was also suspended after he changed his display name to Donald J. Trump and his profile picture to one of Trump. A Twitter spokesperson cited the platform’s ban evasion policy as the basis of these suspensions, according to The Hill.

Upon Trump’s suspension, focus shifted to Parler, a social media network known for its absolutist stance on Free Speech. The platform — which was the most-downloaded app on the weekend of Nov. 8, 2020, when media outlets officially called the presidential election for Biden, according to CNN — has become a favorite of Trump supporters and far-right extremists, who have openly used it to call for violence against Democratic lawmakers, largely without moderation from Parler.

On Jan. 9, Amazon announced it had suspended Parler from its website-hosting service, effectively killing the app until it finds a new host. Amazon cited inadequate content moderation services for the removal. John Matze, the chief executive of Parler, announced the disruption would likely cause the app to be offline for up to a week, according to The Washington Post.

Apple and Google also removed Parler from their app stores, citing the proliferation of posts encouraging and glorifying violence and crime on the platform. On the morning of Jan. 11, Matze announced Parler would “likely be down longer than expected,” according to a statement from his own Parler account. He noted that most of Parler’s vendors had also dropped their support for the platform.

On Jan. 6, Facebook also banned Trump from posting for 24 hours, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the situation in D.C. an emergency. Facebook said it had been and would continue to remove videos posted by those who broke into the Capitol, which contained calls to bring weapons around Washington and attempted to foment further violence, according to Axios.

On the morning of Jan. 7, Zuckerberg announced Facebook had banned Trump indefinitely, marking the most aggressive sanction a social media company had placed on him, according to The Washington Post. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

The ban was set to last at least through Jan. 20, the end of Trump’s term, The New York Times reported.

Trump’s social media exile extended beyond Twitter and Facebook. Snapchat announced it had indefinitely locked Trump’s account. The livestreaming service Twitch also announced it had disabled Trump’s account following the riot. Though his archived videos and profile were still available, he could not stream video, according to The Verge.

Campaign Monitor, one of the Trump campaign’s emailing services, also cut off the president’s access. A statement from the company, acquired by the Financial Times, noted political campaigns often use multiple providers for email services, so this suspension “is likely a very small portion of total email activity from the campaign.”

Online stores run by the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign were also taken offline by Shopify, an e-commerce software provider, on Jan. 7. A Shopify spokesperson said Trump violated company policies by promoting violence, according to The Wall Street Journal. In addition, the financial technology company Stripe — which handles card payments for online businesses and e-commerce platforms — announced it would no longer process payments for the Trump campaign’s website, The Journal said.

Members of Congress, political groups, and newspapers call for Trump’s removal from office; Trump impeached for the second time

Since losing the November 2020 election, Trump has consistently amplified baseless conspiracy theories that ultimately culminated in violence and a disruption to the peaceful transition of power. After the riots, multiple publications called for Trump to be removed from office. Less than 30 minutes after Twitter first removed his tweets, The Washington Post published an editorial arguing that responsibility for the mob’s violence lies solely with the president, and, accordingly, he should be removed from office. The Atlantic published a piece in favor of an immediate impeachment. The Las Vegas Sun similarly argued Trump “defiled his oath of office” by inciting violence and that he should resign immediately.

Numerous advocacy groups also called for an early termination of Trump’s term as president. The NAACP tweeted to “get this disgraceful man out of our office.” North America’s Building Trades Unions also called for Trump to step down immediately. The board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union voted unanimously to call for his impeachment.

The National Association of Manufacturers, the nation’s largest manufacturing trade group, urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in order to preserve democracy, according to Axios. The amendment gives the vice president — plus a majority of the cabinet — the ability to remove a president determined to be unfit for office.

The amendment stipulates that Pence and a majority of the cabinet could submit a written declaration of Trump’s unfitness to the president pro tempore of the Senate, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), which would make Pence the acting president. Trump could then submit his own declaration to Grassley and Pelosi maintaining his fitness, which would allow him to resume his duties. If Pence and the cabinet, however, reasserted that Trump was unfit, two-thirds of both the House and the Senate would be required to vote him permanently out of office. If either chamber were to fall short of the two-thirds threshold, Trump would remain president, according to The New York Times.

Rumors related to the invocation of the 25th Amendment began circulating the night of Jan. 6. By the next afternoon, both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Pelosi had embraced that means of cutting short Trump’s presidency and ensuring a peaceful transition of power to Biden on Jan. 20. Other members of Congress joined them; Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) became the first Republican to call for the removal of Trump in this manner.

“Sadly, yesterday, it became evident that not only has the president abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people’s house, he invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection that we saw here,” Kinzinger posted in a video on Twitter. “It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — one of Trump’s most loyal supporters in the cabinet —also discussed the 25th Amendment, according to The Post. However, it soon became clear that Mnuchin was highly unlikely to pursue that option. 

Advisers to Pence categorically rejected the possibility that the vice president might invoke that means of removing Trump, according to Business Insider, and the vice president himself disavowed an effort by the House to press him to do so.

Members of Congress rapidly began to consider what would be Trump’s second impeachment. By the end of Jan. 6, at least 44 House members publicly supported impeaching Trump, according to The Intercept. Within four days, articles of impeachment drafted by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) had garnered 210 co-sponsors, according to a tweet from Lieu.

Momentum continued to swell as more members called for Trump’s term to end, one way or another. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, tweeted Jan. 7 that Trump should be impeached, convicted, and removed immediately, constituting the first such insistence from a member of the House leadership.

On Jan. 8, Pelosi publicly threatened to impeach Trump a second time if he did not resign immediately because of his role in inciting the mob. After a three-and-a-half hour call with Democrats, Pelosi instructed the House Rules Committee to move forward either with articles of impeachment or legislation proposed by Raskin to establish a body under the 25th Amendment that would investigate Trump’s fitness, according to The New York Times.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter — a form of official correspondence that is widely distributed to congressional offices — Pelosi argued that Republicans must call on Trump to depart his office just as Republicans had done to Richard Nixon almost 50 years earlier.

On Jan. 11, House Democrats formally introduced their impeachment resolution, with one article titled “Incitement of Insurrection.”

Pelosi also revealed she had spoken to Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to discuss “available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” according to the “Dear Colleague” letter. A spokesperson for Milley confirmed that the call had taken place, according to ABC News.

Pelosi effectively requested Pentagon leadership relieve Trump of his authorities as commander in chief, which could be accomplished by ignoring his orders or impeding their implementation. But multiple Department of Defense officials resented Pelosi’s request, according to The New York Times. Removal of the president from the chain of command, absent an impeachment or invocation of the 25th Amendment, would amount to a military coup, they said, and as long as Trump remained president, the military would be legally bound to follow his orders, unless they were perceived to be illegal.

Pelosi’s actions were not unprecedented, however. In the waning days of Nixon’s presidency, then-Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger surreptitiously ordered that any potential actions from Nixon related to moving or using nuclear weapons be rerouted to him or to then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, according to The New York Times.

On Jan. 13, the House impeached Trump by a vote of 232-197, making him the first president in American history to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans voted for impeachment, indicating more bipartisan support for Trump’s removal than for his first impeachment.

The comparatively swift impeachment process contrasts with the three-month impeachment from 2019 on charges of abuse of power and contempt of Congress, according to The Washington Post.

Violence deepens schisms in Republican Party

The violence of Jan. 6 and the impeachment proceedings initiated in response has intensified profound schisms in the Republican Party, testing the loyalty of GOP lawmakers who largely condoned Trump’s behavior and catered to his whims over the course of his tenure. Unlike Trump’s first impeachment — in which Republicans presented themselves as a unified bloc wholeheartedly in opposition to the proceedings — this impeachment divided Republicans, including leadership. 

Republicans are not lobbying their members to vote against removing Trump from office; instead, House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — the third-ranking Republican in the House — described each legislator’s decision as a “vote of conscience.” 

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” she said. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Multiple Republicans condemned Cheney’s announcement and called for her removal from leadership. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) have circulated a petition calling for Cheney to be ousted, according to The Hill.

Privately, McConnell told associates he believed Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he was pleased Democrats were impeaching him. According to people familiar with his logic, McConnell believed it would be easier to purge Trump from the Republican Party if he were impeached again, according to The New York Times.

Though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had publicly come out against impeachment, he asked other Republicans whether he should call on Trump to resign. He privately reached out to House Democrats to see if the House would be willing to censure Trump, but Pelosi had already ruled out that option, according to The New York Times.

Many Trump officials resign in the direct aftermath of the violence

Multiple Trump administration officials resigned because of the president’s role inciting the violent mob. Sarah Matthews, a deputy White House press secretary; John Costello, deputy assistant secretary at the Commerce Department; and Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to Melania Trump and former White House press secretary, all resigned Jan. 6. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao became the first members of the cabinet to resign, on Jan. 7, when Mick Mulvaney, special envoy to Northern Ireland and Trump’s former acting chief of staff, stepped down as well.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf left Jan. 11, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar resigned Jan. 15, effective Jan. 20 — the day of Biden’s inauguration.

According to a Politico report, DeVos submitted her resignation after learning that Pence opposed the use of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.

Other officials to resign include Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband, Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger, and Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Elinore F. McCance-Katz.

Questions arise surrounding seemingly unprepared security, slow police response, and subdued reaction compared to Black Lives Matter protests throughout 2020

The ease with which Trump supporters were able to breach police lines and enter the Capitol, threatening the lives of lawmakers and aides, prompted questions about the lack of security preparedness for Congress, despite many prior indications of possible violence.

Members of Congress, it was revealed, had begun to inquire about the Save America Rally two weeks before the event took place. At a meeting before Christmas, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had asked where people would be allowed to gather, specifically if they would be permitted on the grounds of the Capitol plaza.

On New Year’s Eve, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told Waters and others his team had established procedures to keep protesters far from the building when the vote to certify Biden’s victory took place. However, Sund made clear he did not know how large the crowd would be, according to The Washington Post, worrying Waters.

In the days leading up to the rally, the U.S. Park Police adjusted the permit it had previously issued for the event, allowing for 30,000 protesters rather than the initial 5,000 it had authorized. On Jan. 5, Sund reassured Congress his force was large enough to handle that many protesters and that he had backup plans with the National Guard for further support. However, on Jan. 3, Capitol Police told the Pentagon it did not need National Guard support, according to a memo sent to the Department of Defense.

After rioters breached the Capitol and members of Congress were corralled to secure locations, it was clear they were stranded without immediate help. Pelosi, Schumer, and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) began calling anyone they thought might be able to help, including acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Bowser, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), according to The Washington Post.

Federal agencies were slow to respond to pleas for assistance. As the mob gained entry into the Capitol, the D.C. National Guard could not quickly deploy because it did not have authorization to do so, according to Time. In addition, unlike in the case of other major government events, like inaugurations, Justice Department officials did not create a multiagency command center and no large-scale security zone was established around the Capitol, according to The Washington Post.

Sund, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving all resigned from their posts following the riot after intense pressure from lawmakers.

Evidence from the insurrection — such as a video of a police officer willfully opening the gates to Trump supporters and another of an officer posing for a selfie with a rioter inside the Capitol — prompted speculation from House Democrats as to whether rioters had help from sympathetic police officers. Police departments in Washington state, California, and Texas have also opened investigations into whether some of their officers traveled to D.C. and were involved in the violence.

The generally delicate treatment of these rioters, it was widely noted, contrasted starkly with the militarized force used during national Black Lives Matter protests months earlier against police brutality. Whereas U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops used tear gas to clear away peaceful protesters near the White House for a photo opportunity for Trump in June, critics of the Jan. 6 police response said police officers responded far less aggressively to the right-wing mob’s violent, anti-democratic activity, even helping one insurrectionist down the Capitol steps after illegally after illegally entering the building.

The police’s relatively lax response serves as just one example of a wider trend related to right-wing protest in the United States. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which documents armed conflict and protest, authorities were more than twice as likely to attempt to disperse a left-wing protest than a right-wing one. In addition, they were also more likely to use force, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Charges against members of this mob were notably less severe than those against Black Lives Matter protesters during the summer. Richard Barnett, an Arkansas man who was photographed lounging in Pelosi’s office chair with his feet on the House speaker’s desk, was arrested and charged with entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and stealing public property, according to ABC News. However, a statement from the Department of Justice confirmed that his maximum punishment, if convicted, would be a year in prison. In contrast, Black Lives Matter protesters in Salt Lake City faced up to life in prison after being arrested in July for splashing red paint and smashing windows during a protest, according to The Guardian.

Trump supporters, far-right energized by Capitol siege, vow more violence

Much of the planning for the violence Jan. 6 occurred in plain sight on websites popular with Trump supporters and far-right domestic extremists. Websites such as Gab, MeWe, and — the last of which became the new home of Trump supporters in June — have hosted conspiracy theories, disinformation, and explicit calls for violence.

Of the top posts on TheDonald on Jan. 6, more than 80% featured comments calling for violence, according to NPR. Conversations included plans to surround the Capitol with detailed maps of the complex, marked with the locations of tunnels and entrances.

Many Trump supporters celebrated the insurrection, some vowing to resort to more extreme action to derail the transition of power. Calls for violence on and around the day of Biden’s inauguration proliferated online, according to The Washington Post. The Federal Bureau of Investigation received information indicating armed protests were being planned at all 50 state capitol buildings as well as in D.C. on Jan. 20, according to CNN.

One post cited by the Alethea Group, which monitors disinformation online, called for an armed march on Capitol Hill and all state capitols Jan. 17. A Parler user wrote that many “will return on January 19, 2021, carrying Our weapons, in support of Our nation’s resolve,” according to NPR. A user on TheDonald wrote that Trump would be sworn in for a second term and vowed to not let the “communists” win, “even if we have to burn DC to the ground.”

To protect the Capitol, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson — chief of the National Guard Bureau — announced Jan. 11 that at least 10,000 National Guardsmen would be deployed in Washington by Jan. 16 and that as many as 15,000 could be authorized, according to NBC Washington. On Jan. 13, The Washington Post reported an additional 5,000 National Guardsmen could arrive in Washington to support security efforts at the inauguration, bringing the total number of troops to 20,000.

Security tightened around the Capitol in advance of the inauguration. The National Mall and other National Park Service areas nearby were closed proactively, and fencing surrounded a large perimeter outside the Capitol and the White House.

On Jan. 13, the White House Twitter account posted a video of Trump stating that he unequivocally condemns the violence from the week before. He also said he is “asking everyone who has ever believed in our agenda to be thinking of ways to ease tensions, calm tempers, and help to promote peace in our country.”

Authorities made dozens of arrests stemming from the riot and could eventually apprehend hundreds, according to The Washington Post. Extensive video and photographic records from both photojournalists and rioters themselves helped federal authorities track down the participants in the attack on the Capitol.

Those arrested include Larry Rendell Brock Jr., a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel pictured in the Senate holding white zip ties; Jacob Anthony Chansley, an Arizona conspiracy theorist known as the QAnon Shaman because of his ties with the extremist movement; and Derrick Evans (R), a former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates who resigned after being in office for just one month a day after being taken into custody.

Trump’s businesses threatened as banks and partner organizations distance themselves

Because of Trump’s role in the incitement of violence, companies and institutions have announced they will cut ties with him, threatening his businesses and financial vitality. 

Deutsche Bank — a major source of loans that funded the Trump Organization’s golf courses and hotels — announced it would no longer do business with Trump. Signature Bank also said it would close Trump’s personal accounts in which he held about $5.3 million, and it called on him to resign. The bank also said it would refuse to do business with members of Congress who objected to states’ electoral votes, according to CNN.

New York City will also cut its business ties with the Trump Organization, according to the Financial Times. The organization has contracts to run two skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx, which generate a combined $17 million in annual revenue for the company, according to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America also announced it would move the 2022 PGA Championship scheduled at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City, according to ESPN. The PGA had awarded the tournament to the Trump-owned club in 2014. 

Given that the Trump Organization was already struggling because of “political backlash and coronavirus-related closures,” according to The Washington Post; these consequences threaten the future of the firm. The Trump Organization could also lose its hotel in the capital if government landlords in Washington reevaluate existing contracts with Trump, according to The Washington Post.

Hawley’s political future in peril after emboldening mob

After objecting to the certification of Biden’s Electoral College votes and raising a fist toward a crowd of Trump supporters outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, Hawley has become an outsider on Capitol Hill, facing backlash from colleagues and businesses. The largest newspapers in Missouri – The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch – both called for him to be removed from Congress.

Simon & Schuster announced it would cancel the publication of Hawley’s upcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, in response to the events of Jan. 6. The book was set to be published in June.

Hawley claimed the cancellation was a “direct assault on the First Amendment.” But legal scholars pointed out that the First Amendment forbids the suppression of Free Speech by a governmental entity, not a private organization.

Members of Congress test positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in room with Republicans who refused to wear masks

During the hours-long lockdown of the Capitol complex, members of Congress sheltered in place in a crowded room, and at least three Democratic members of Congress — Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), and Bonnie Coleman (D-N.J.) — have tested positive for the coronavirus since Jan. 6. More than 100 people were in the room together for as long as several hours, according to HuffPost.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Jayapal announced that “many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution” and chose not to wear masks. Schneider shared a video showing multiple Republican members refusing masks given to them by Democratic colleagues.

On Jan. 12, the House adopted a rule docking lawmakers hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars from their pay if they refuse to wear a mask on the floor.

In another change to protocol in the House, everyone entering the chamber – including members of Congress – will go through metal detectors. However, multiple Republican members pushed past Capitol Police officers and refused to comply with the metal detectors, according to HuffPost.

This is a developing story.