By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been one year since the world turned its eyes on Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Capitol became the site of a deadly insurrection — one of the darkest days in modern American history.
A Dark Day
January 6, 2021, started as a day where a joint session of Congress was set to assemble, count electoral votes, and formalize the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The process would be disrupted and overtaken by a mob of supporters seeking to overturn the results of the election. Nearly 150 law enforcement officers were injured during the uprising.
Hours before the U.S. Capitol was overtaken, just down the road at the National Mall, President Donald Trump delivered a speech to his supporters, falsely claiming that the election had been stolen, telling them, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Shortly after that rally ended, supporters marched to the Capitol, breaching security perimeters, clashing with police and breaking into the building as the electoral vote was beginning.
The Capitol was placed under lockdown, with both chambers of Congress being evacuated.
Thirty-five-year-old Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by police inside the Capitol while attempting to climb through the window of a door that was barricaded, blocking entry to the House Speaker’s Office.
A Pennsylvania man and a West Virginia man each were charged with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Officer Sicknick died the day following the attack on the Capitol.
Investigators initially believed Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation. They later thought the 42-year-old Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance that contributed to his death.
A Washington medical examiner in April determined that Sicknick suffered a stroke and died from natural causes.
‘There are guns drawn.’
Congressman Mike Doyle was among the representatives in the Capitol at the time of the attacks and was sheltered in place for safety.
Doyle described a scary scene with lawmakers and their staff members being ordered to hide under their desks and guns drawn inside the building.
“I was to lead the debate on defending Pennsylvania today, but we were later in the evening,” Doyle said to KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano, while the Congressman was in his office that day. “So many members, because of COVID regulations were asked to stay in their offices till it was our time to come to the floor for the debate. Then, of course, we started to get signals from the Capitol Police to lock the door.”
“We evacuated once on a bomb threat. Then, they let us back in, now we’ve been ordered to shelter in place,” Rep. Doyle said. “These protesters have breached the Capitol and they are literally steps outside the House of Representatives. There are people actually in the Senate, members in the House chamber that have been ordered to hide under their desks. The Sergeant at Arms… there are guns drawn. There’s a standoff going on as we speak at the door of the House floor as protesters are trying to break in,” Congressman Doyle said.
Resignation For Rick Saccone
Former Pennsylvania Rep. Rick Saccone shared video from outside the Capitol that day, leading to his resignation from his position as an adjunct professor at St. Vincent College.
St. Vincent College provided a statement, saying that “After reviewing the video posted by Rick Saccone, an adjunct professor, we immediately commenced an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding it. As a result of that investigation, Dr. Saccone has submitted and we have accepted his letter of resignation, effective immediately. He will no longer be associated with Saint Vincent College in any capacity.”
“I thought with all this misconstruing going on. I love that school so much, I would do nothing to tarnish St. Vincent. So I decided it would just be better to resign at this time,” Saccone said.
Democrats Call For Mastriano To Resign
Calls were made for Pennsylvania Sen. Doug Mastriano to resign from his position after he was seen outside the U.S. Capitol during the attacks.
Mastriano said in a statement that he did not enter the Capitol or go beyond police lines, and “when it was apparent that this was no longer a peaceful protest, my wife and I left the area.” Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, said he saw no basis for the Senate to remove Mastriano.
Mastriano is expected to announce his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania in the coming days.
Congress Convenes Again
By nightfall on Jan. 6, the Capitol was cleared of rioters, and Congress convened again to complete the process of counting electoral votes and certifying the results of the election.
This process would be completed in the early-morning hours of Jan. 7.
Impeachment For President Trump
One week later, President Trump would be impeached by a bipartisan House majority for inciting the insurrection.
A conviction vote in the U.S. Senate would not receive the required two-thirds majority, meaning President Trump would be acquitted on the charges.
Pennsylvania Ties To The Capitol Attacks
More than 60 residents of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh area would be arrested, indicted, and charged for various roles in the insurrection.
Among those indicted was Rachel Powell, a Mercer County woman who made national headlines for her alleged role in the attack as the “Bullhorn Lady.”
A grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted Powell on charges of violence on Capitol grounds, destruction of government property, obstruction and more. In November, Powell was said to be considering a plea deal, but her attorney and the Department of Justice each agreed to allow an extra 60 days to consider the terms.
She will be back in court this month.
- Federal Prosecutors Say Riley Williams Of Pennsylvania Will Likely Be Charged With Stealing Nancy Pelosi’s Laptop
- 2 New Castle Residents, Business Owners Arrested For Alleged Involvement In U.S. Capitol Riot
- ‘Bullhorn Lady’ Rachel Powell, Mercer Co. Woman Arrested For Role In Capitol Riot, Released From Jail Pending Upcoming Trial
- Kentucky Man Living In Uniontown Charged For Alleged Role In Riot At U.S. Capitol
- Judge Denies Release Of Alleged Capitol Rioter Robert Morss
- Beaver County Man Who ‘Sat In Pelosi’s Chair’ During Jan. 6 Capitol Riots Enters Guilty Plea
Investigating The Insurrection
Months later, the House of Representatives voted to form a Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
In November, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for allegedly failing to comply with the committee.
Last month, the House of Representatives voted to hold President Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress as well, also for allegedly failing to comply with a subpoena.
Ongoing Insurrection Investigation
Of the more than 700 people who were arrested for their alleged roles in the attack on the Capitol, more than 150 of them have pleaded guilty to the charges.
So far, several dozen defendants who admitted to committing crimes on Jan. 6 have been sentenced to jail time.
Federal investigators continue to search for more than 350 individuals who are alleged to have been involved in the insurrection.