2021 storming of the United States Capitol
The storming of the United States Capitol was a riot and violent attack against the 117th United States Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. Part of the 2020–21 U.S. election protests, it was carried out by a mob of supporters of Donald Trump, the 45th U.S. president, in a failed attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. The Capitol was placed under lockdown and lawmakers were evacuated while rioters occupied and vandalized the building. Five people died and more than 140 were injured.Called to action by Trump, thousands of his supporters had gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 in support of his false claims that the 2020 election had been "stolen" from him, and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Joe Biden's victory. On the morning of January 6, at a "Save America" rally on the Ellipse, Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities and said, "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." At his encouragement, thousands of protesters then walked to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress was beginning the Electoral College vote count to formalize Biden's victory.
Many in the crowd at the Capitol breached police perimeters and stormed the building, occupying, vandalizing, and looting for several hours, assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, erecting a gallows on the Capitol grounds, and attempting to locate lawmakers to take hostage and harm. They chanted "Hang Mike Pence", blaming him for not rejecting the Electoral College votes, although he lacked the constitutional authority to do so. The rioters targeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), vandalizing and looting her offices, as well as those of other members of Congress.Upon security being breached, Capitol Police evacuated the Senate and House of Representatives chambers. Several buildings in the Capitol complex were evacuated, and all were locked down. Rioters occupied and ransacked the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers drew handguns to defend the evacuated House floor. Pipe bombs were found at the offices of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol.Trump resisted sending the D.C. National Guard to quell the mob. In a Twitter video, he continued to assert that the election was "fraudulent" but told his supporters to "go home in peace". The Capitol was cleared of rioters by mid-evening, and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and was completed in the early morning hours of January 7. Pence declared President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victors, and affirmed that they would assume office on January 20. Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and numerous resignations, Trump later committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.The assault on the Capitol was widely condemned by political leaders and organizations in the United States and internationally. Mitch McConnell (R–KY), then–Senate Majority Leader, called the storming of the Capitol a "failed insurrection" and said that the Senate "will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation". Several social media and technology companies suspended or banned Trump's accounts from their platforms, and many business organizations cut ties with him. A week after the riot, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice. Pelosi announced an independent commission modelled after the 9/11 Commission to investigate the attack. Christopher Wray, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), later characterized the incident as domestic terrorism.Opinion polls showed that a large majority of Americans disapproved of the storming of the Capitol and of Trump's actions leading up to and following it, although many Republicans supported the attack or at least did not blame Trump for it. As part of investigations into the attack, the FBI opened more than 400 subject case files and more than 500 grand jury subpoenas and search warrants were issued. More than 300 people were charged with federal crimes. Dozens of people present at the riot were later found to be listed in the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, most as suspected white supremacists. Members of the anti-government paramilitary Oath Keepers and neo-fascist Proud Boys groups were indicted on conspiracy charges for allegedly staging planned missions in the Capitol.