Capitol Riot

On Wednesday, January 6 at approximately 2:16pm, pro-Trump rioters forcefully broke into the Capitol building in Washington DC. This is the second time in the history of the United States that the building was breached, the first in 1814 when the British attacked the Capitol during the War of 1812. Here is an approximate timeline of important events that occurred leading up to, during, and after the breach of the government building. 


January 1

7:53pm: President Trump tweets “The BIG Protest Rally in Washington, D.C., will take place at 11:00 A.M. on January 6th. Locational details to follow. StopTheSteal!” This Tweet has since been deleted. 


January 4

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund asks the Senate and House security officials for permission to request that The National Guard be on standby for the pro-Trump rally scheduled for January 6. He was denied this permission.

There were approximately 8,000 people attending the rally versus Sund’s 1,400 police officers.


January 6

7am: The “Save America Rally” on the Ellipse Park in Washington DC officially starts, and protestors gather on the lawn.

1:05pm: Vice President Mike Pence calls a joint session of Congress to tally the Electoral Votes and confirm Joe Biden as the President-Elect. Vice President Pence precedes over the session. 

This is typically a formality, and, although President Trump tweeted “All Mike Pence has to do is send [the votes] back to the States AND WE WIN! Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”, Vice President Pence does not have the authority to “send them back.” This Tweet has since been deleted.

1:07pm: The certification of the Electoral Votes begins, starting with Alabama, as the House and Senate tellers announce the results of the electoral college in each state.

1:10pm: President Trump gives a speech to the crowd of protestors at Ellipse Park and tells them, “we will never give up, we will never concede, it doesn’t happen, we don’t concede when there is theft.” He then encourages the crowd to go to the Capitol, saying “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and our congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you will never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong”.

1:12pm: There is an objection to the Arizona Electoral Ballots, made by Arizona Representative Paul Gosar and supported by Texas Senator Ted Cruz. According to Representative Gosar, this objection was supported by 60 Republican House members.

1:13pm: Joint committee separates, Senate retires to the chambers.

2:07pm: The pro-Trump rioters make it up the Capitol stairs. 

2:16pm: The mob breaks into the Capitol building and makes it into the Senate Chamber. They start breaking the glass, climbing walls, and breaking into offices. 

2:24pm: President Trump tweets “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify.” This tweet has since been deleted. 

2:29pm: Chair declares the House in recess.

2:38pm: 31 minutes after the mob made their way up the stairs of the Capitol, President Trump addresses the situation for the first time through a tweet. “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” This tweet has since been deleted. 

2:42pm: The House and Senate goes into lockdown.

2:45pm: Shots are fired; it was later discovered that rioter Ashil Babbitt was shot and killed by law enforcement. There were three other rioter casualties, Benjamin Phillips who died of a stroke, Kevin Greeson who died of a heart attack, and Rossan Boyland who died of an undisclosed cause.

More information on the casualties of the riots can be found here

3:40pm: The D.C. National Guard arrives, approximately three hours after the riots had begun.

3:45pm: Pipe bombs are reportedly found in the city. It was later confirmed that two pipe bombs were found, one outside of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee buildings. 

4:17pm: President Trump releases a video on Twitter addressing the rioters, saying “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.” This video has since been deleted.

6:01pm: President Trump tweets, addressing the mob again, saying “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. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” This tweet has since been deleted.

6:36pm: President-Elect Joe Biden releases a video, saying “I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation, so long the beacon of light and hope for Democracy, has come to such a dark moment.”

7:02pm: Announced through the Twitter Saftey user on Twitter, three of President Trump’s recent tweets were removed for “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy”. Twitter’s announcement can be found here.

8:34pm: Pence reopens the Senate floor and delivers a speech, saying “today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.” Senator Mitch McConnell also addressed members of the Senate, calling the rioters “thugs”, saying, “we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election.” 

9:00pm: The House reconvenes after the breach of the Capitol.

11:41pm: Vice President Pence and members of the Senate are allowed back in the House chambers, and the joint session reconvenes. The Senate rejects the Arizona objection 93-6, the House rejects the objection 121-303, and the original submission is accepted. 

12:14pm: An objection to the Pennsylvania ballots is raised by Representative Scott Perry, supported by Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and many Republican House members. 

12:40am: The FBI issues a call for any information citizens may have on the members of the riot and set up a tipline. 

3:11am: Objection to the Pennsylvania ballots is rejected in the House with a vote of 138-282 and in the Senate with a vote of 92-7.

3:46am: 15 hours after the proceedings began, Vice President Pence declares Joe Biden the President-Elect and the winner of the 2020 Presidential election.


January 7

3:20pm: President-Elect Joe Biden releases a Tweet calling the breach “disorder”, saying, “they weren’t protestors – they were rioters, insurrectionists, and domestic terrorists.”

Officer Brian Sicknick, who was defending the Capitol, died at a local hospital after sustaining serious injuries from the rioters. 

National Guard Troops from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York are deployed to D.C. throughout the day and for the next few days. Many were stationed to remain in D.C. for at least the next 30 days or through the January 20 inauguration.

It became public that the now former police chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund resigned after facing pressure from lawmakers. He later stated that he had called for the National Guard to be brought in six times, and all six requests were denied.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving also later resigned. 


January 8

In a statement released by Twitter, they said they permanently suspended President Trump’s Twitter account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” 

Their statement can be found here.


January 10

The United States Capitol Police announces that Officer Howard Liebengood, one of the responding officers at the Capitol, has committed suicide. They are considering it a direct relation to the riots.


January 11

Several Capitol Police officers have been suspended, and dozens more are under investigation. Eight separate investigations have been launched against the police officers in question. 

More information on the investigations can be found here.


January 12

The House introduces a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, declaring President Trump unfit for office. 

The full resolution can be viewed here.


January 13

President Trump is impeached for the second time in the House of Representatives with a vote of 232-197 for “incitement of insurrection.” 10 members of his own party vote in favor of impeachment. The articles of impeachment can be found here.


The Wingspan will release further updates as the story continues to unfold. 

All information and quotes from President Trump’s deleted Tweets were found here

Information on the election counts was found both from C-Span recordings and from the official vote count

Other sources consulted throughout the writing of this article can be found below.


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