One Year Later: How Has January Sixth Went Down in History Thus Far?

Christian Movick, Multimedia Editor & News Writer

It has been just over a year following the events of January 6, where thousands of protestors stormed the United States Capitol building. Yet, tensions in the U.S. remain high. Some view it as an insurrection that nearly toppled our democracy, while others view it as a protest event blown out of proportion. So, what truly happened that day, and what have we discovered about that day since?
In recent news, just this month the RNC has officially labeled the Capitol attack “legitimate political discourse,” while Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell disagreed with the RNC with how it was labeled, saying, “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was.” What’s also new is that according to The New York Times, the House committee has found gaps in President Trump’s phone records from January 6 day. They have not, however, discovered any evidence to suggest that the call logs were deleted or otherwise tampered with. Given that they know the President was making numerous phone calls that day and at certain times that are not there, they currently suspect that the President used other ways to communicate other than the normal channels of Presidential communication. It is also believed that the former President flushed official documents down the toilet, or at least tried to, and also took some classified documents home with him after his Presidency was over.
For months leading up to the election, former President Donald Trump continuously made claims that the 2020 Presidential election had been “stolen” and that he was the rightful winner against his opponent, current President Joseph Biden. After January 6, opposing sides argued over the severity of the attack and the intent of those who stormed the Capitol. What we do know is that on January 6, at approximately noon eastern time, President Trump held a rally where he and others spoke to his supporters. Donald Trump Jr. said at the rally, “You have an opportunity today: You can be a hero, or you can be a zero. And the choice is yours, but we are all watching.” Former U.S. associate Attorney General Rudy Giuliani was also at the rally that day, where he stated, “If we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, a lot of them will go to jail. So, let’s have trial by combat.” Several others also shared some words at Trump’s rally that day that many viewed as questionable, which can be viewed here. The former President then gave a speech with the main topic also being the claim that he had won the election. Some of the words he used included the following: “We will stop the steal… We will never give up. We will never concede… If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore… Peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” and arguably one of the most impactful, “We are going to the Capitol.”
After that speech, Trump’s supporters then began marching down to the Capitol building. At roughly 1:30 P.M. E.T., protesters began making their way up the steps, overtaking capitol police. Around that time, pipe bombs were then found at both the Democratic National Committee headquarters and Republican National Committee headquarters. Finally, at 2:15, the protestors were able to breach the Capitol, which then caused public officials in the Capitol to evacuate. President Trump then shortly after tweeted saying that Vice President Mike Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”
Presences in the Capitol varied greatly, such as people dressed in military gear, with one carrying around zip-ties and others wearing gas masks, for example. Some began yelling “hang Mike Pence,” while others began asking where certain congressmen and women were and saying to find them. A noose was also set up in front of the Capitol. There were many people there that day, some seeming to be dangerous while others didn’t seem to have much of a clue as to what was going on. For example, one man standing over the notes of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz pointed to where Senator Cruz had written “objection to Arizona,” implying that he was going to object to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes for President Biden. However, the supporter of Trump then said, “look: ‘objection’ he was gonna sell us out all along.” Another protester then corrected him, saying, “No, that’s a good thing.” Raw footage of the events that day can be viewed here.
Donald Trump then released a video at roughly 4:15, speaking to the rioters where he said, “You have to go home now. We have to have peace.” He then continued to try and sympathize with his supporters, saying that he understood but that there couldn’t be violence. “Go home; we love you; you’re very special,” he continued. He ended his one-minute video by stating, “But go home, and go home in peace.”
All that being said, there is still a lot more we have learned that occurred that day, as well as what had led up to that day. On July 1 of last year, the House voted to form a committee to investigate the events of January 6. Since the incident, over 700 rioters have been charged for their role in the event, according to ABC News, with roughly 25% of those that were charged pleading guilty. Some that chose not to plead guilty claimed they were simply doing as they thought the former President and some senators would have wanted. Roughly 60 of the charged rioters were members of white supremacist groups such as the Oath Keeps and Proud Boys or members of “The Three Percenters,” an anti-militia group. According to ABC, the FBI is still looking into roughly 350 individuals that attended the event, as well as investigating those that planted pipe bombs at both the DNC headquarters and RNC headquarters. In addition, 50 subpoenas were issued as the committee requested individuals to testify regarding the events of January 6, 19 of which were former Trump officials. In terms of how much damage was done to the Capitol, according to an estimate by the Architect of the Capitol, approximately $1.5 million in damage was done.
The January 6 panel has also obtained roughly 9,000 pages of documents that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows turned over, according to Time. Some of the things uncovered in the documents included text messages, which have shown how some truly felt about those events. According to NPR, media anchors, Trump officials, and Democrat and Republican congressmen and women were texting Meadows just as the protesters began storming the Capitol:

  • “Hey, Mark, protestors are literally storming the Capitol. Breaking windows on doors. Rushing in. Is Trump going to say something?”
  • “We are under siege up here at the Capitol.”
  • “They have breached the Capitol.”
  • “There’s an armed standoff at the House Chamber door.”
  • “We are all helpless.”
  • “POTUS has to come out firmly and tell protestors to dissipate. Someone is going to get killed.”
  • “Mark, he needs to stop this. Now.”
  • “POTUS needs to calm this s— down.”
  • “Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home…this is hurting all of us…he is destroying his legacy.”
  • “Please get him on tv. Destroying everything you have accomplished.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity texted Meadows, writing, “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.” However, perhaps the most surprising of texts came from the President’s son himself, Donald Trump, Jr. He texted the President saying, “He’s got to condemn this s— Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.” Trump Jr. was referring to a tweet Trump put out shortly prior, where the President stated, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” Trump Jr. kept texting the former President again and again, another text he sent to him being, “We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.” Some time went by as things continued to escalate, however the former President had still not condemned the breaching of the Capitol. Many also found it strange that the President did not call down the national guard until several hours later.

Perhaps one of the more controversial topics includes if there were any that died due to the events of January 6. Some deaths of Donald Trump’s supporters revolved around the event include two individuals who suffered a heart attack from the day of the event, one who died from an accidental overdose, and another that was shot and killed by Capitol police when she began breaching the Capitol. Those that died that were Capitol police officers include an officer that suffered a stroke and collapsed when he returned to his division later that day and four suicides following the days and months of the attack, all according to
In addition to all that has been found, in July of last year, four Capitol police officers present at the Capitol at the time of the breach gave testimonies. One of the officers, Michael Fanone, said that he felt members of congress were downplaying what happened and also stated, “I feel like I went through hell and back to protect them.” Another one of the officers, officer Daniel Hodges, said that he was confused as he “saw the ‘thin blue line’ flag, the symbol of support for law enforcement, more than once being carried by the terrorists as they ignored our commands and continued to assault us.” Sergeant Aquilino Gonell described how he recounted the days of January 6:

“My fellow officers and I were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved, sprayed with chemical irritants, and even blinded with eye-damaging lasers by a violent mob who apparently saw us law enforcement officers, dedicated to ironically protecting them as U.S. citizens, as an impediment in their attempted insurrection… I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘This is how I’m going to die, trampled defending this entrance.’”
– Sergeant Aquilino Gonell

The final officer to have testified was Officer Harry Dunn, who was repeatedly referred to as the n-word by the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol that day. One individual that day said that “no one voted for Joe Biden” and suggested that Donald Trump is still the President and that he invited them there. When Officer Dunn told them that he voted for Joe Biden, he asked them, “Does my vote not count?” Someone in the crowd then exclaimed, “You hear that, guys? This n—– voted for Joe Biden.” The mob then continued to refer to him as the n-word. Officer Dunn stated, “No one had ever, ever called me a n—– while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.” Later in the hearing, he stated that telling the truth shouldn’t be hard, saying, “Fighting on January 6 – that was hard. Showing up January seventh — that was hard.”
Additionally, according to Reuters, the FBI has found little evidence that the insurrection was coordinated prior to the Capitol attack. According to the FBI, the most significant evidence that suggests it may have been planned was from findings suggesting that a Proud Boy leader had been recruiting people and encouraging them to gather military-grade equipment, such as bulletproof vests, and break into the Capitol at multiple different entrances. The January 6 committee continues to investigate the incident, with the central question they are focusing on being how much involvement President Trump or his aides had in the Capitol attack, if any at all.
The Capitol attack on January 6 continues to be a very controversial topic. It has been called a peaceful tourist visit, simply a bunch of unintelligent people doing unintelligent things, an attack on democracy, an insurrection, and even an attempt to overthrow the government. Despite the mixed feelings, most Americans agree that what happened that day was not okay. Although it has been a dividing issue, it is essential to remember that we all can find common ground and that at the end of the day, we are all Americans. Throughout the years, America has never faced a challenge it has not overcome when the people come together. Through it all, America has overcome every single challenge it has faced because of the will of its people. Pattonville Today’s related stories regarding the Capitol attack can also be viewed below.