Democracy under siege: An hour-by-hour look at the assault on the U.S. Capitol


Washington (Reuters) – Almost a year has passed since supporters of Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol in a failed attempt to overturn his election defeat, the worst assault on the seat of the federal government since the War of 1812.

Four people died on the day of the riot. About 140 police were injured during the multi-hour onslaught by Trump supporters and four officers have since taken their own lives. What follows is a look at the key events of the day:

The Rally Begins

10:50 a.m.: Supporters of then-President Trump converge on a park near the White House for his “Save America” rally, where lawyer Rudy Giuliani urges the crowd to engage in “trial by combat.”

‘Fight Like Hell’

12 p.m.: Trump begins a 70-minute speech at the rally, repeating false claims about a stolen election and telling supporters to “fight like hell.”

Congress Convenes

12:53 p.m.: Lawmakers gather for a joint session of Congress to certify Joe Biden’s election win over the objections of some Republicans, as an initial wave of Trump supporters topples barricades on the west side of the Capitol and harasses police officers.

Pence Rejects Trump’s Plea

1:02 p.m.: Vice President Mike Pence, who had a legal duty to preside over the certification of Biden’s win, releases a letter making clear he will not overturn the election results as Trump had urged.

Police Overpowered

1:30 p.m.: Thousands of demonstrators descend on the Capitol after Trump’s speech. A mob overtakes police officers on the Capitol steps. Officers are forced to retreat.

The Capitol Breached

2:12 p.m.: Rioters enter the Capitol building through smashed windows a floor below where the Senate is in session.

Hurried Evacuation

2:13 p.m.: Security agents evacuate Pence from the Senate floor to a nearby office. Senator Charles Grassley pauses the certification of the election.

Eugene Goodman’s Standoff

2:14 p.m.: A lone Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, confronts rioters ascending a staircase where there are doors to the Senate chamber in both directions. Goodman lures the mob away from the chamber, allowing lawmakers to shelter and other officers to seal the doors.

Trump Erupts

2:24 p.m.: Trump blasts Pence on Twitter, saying he “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done.”

Fatal Moment

2:44 p.m.: A rioter, Ashli Babbitt, attempts to climb through the broken part of a door leading into an area known as the Speaker’s Lobby. A Capitol Police officer fatally shoots her.

‘Remain Peaceful’

3:13 p.m. Trump tells his supporters to relent, writing on Twitter as live television is showing the unprecedented assault, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!”

‘You’re very special’

4:17 p.m. After hours of violence, Trump releases a video online in which he tells the rioters to go home but also says “we love you, you’re very special” and repeats his false claims of election fraud.

The National Guard Arrives

5:30 p.m.: The first National Guard personnel arrive at the Capitol. By then, most of the violence had ended.

Capitol Secured

8 p.m.: Capitol Police declare the building secure, and a few minutes later Pence reopens the Senate proceeding.

Democracy Prevails

3:40 a.m., Jan. 7: Pence concludes the certification of electoral votes, confirming that Biden won the presidency.

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