One year after Jan. 6 attack, investigators and Americans still looking for accountability

Hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump swarm the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Most of the crowd made their way to the building after a fiery rant by Trump near the White House, during which he urged them to go to the Capitol and "fight like hell." File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
1 of 5 | Hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump swarm the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Most of the crowd made their way to the building after a fiery rant by Trump near the White House, during which he urged them to go to the Capitol and "fight like hell." File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- One year later, America in many ways is still working through the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol in a bid to keep him in power and block the election of Joe Biden.

Four people were killed on that day as the mob, seeking to interrupt Congress' certification of the results of the presidential election, broke into the Capitol building -- and a fifth, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, died the following day after he was sprayed with a chemical substance during the riot.


Four more police officers who responded to the Capitol on Jan. 6 died by suicide a short time later.

Over the 12 months that followed, more than 700 people have been charged with crimes for their participation in what's been described as an insurrection and a coup attempt. A select panel of House members are working to piece together information about what led to the riots and the Trump administration's response. Americans remain divided on how they view the events.


On Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke inside the National Sanctuary Hall about the "significance" of the riots, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., unveiled a program of events that begin with a moment of silence in the lower chamber.

Afterward, Pelosi delivered a statement at about noon EST, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden "to establish and preserve the narrative of Jan. 6."

At 2:30 p.m., Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., led members in sharing their experiences and reflections of the events.

The events concluded at 5:30 p.m. with a prayer vigil on the U.S. Capitol's center steps.

Pro-Trump rioters breach the the U.S. Capitol to protest Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

Criminal cases

The U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Columbia has charged more than 700 people with crimes related to the attack, including more than 600 who were charged with entering or remaining in restricted Capitol grounds, according to analysis by CBS News.


At least 275 have been charged with corruptly obstructing, influencing or impeding the official proceeding of certifying Electoral College votes, or attempting to do so.

Another 225 charges of assaulting, impeding or resisting law enforcement during the riot have been filed, including 75 defendants who face counts of using a deadly or dangerous weapon against law enforcement officers. More than 30 people have been charged with theft of government property.

More than 40 people have been charged with conspiracy, accused of coordinating with others to commit broader offenses. On Dec. 14, Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine announced that his office was suing the far-right extremist groups the​ Proud Boys and Oath Keepers for their involvement.

Among the defendants are Proud Boys member Matthew Greene, who pleaded guilty to two felony charges related to the riots on Dec. 22 -- and Riley June Williams, 22, who's pleaded not guilty to a multi-count indictment charging her with stealing Pelosi's laptop and then selling or disposing of it.

More than 160 people charged in connection with the Capitol attack have pleaded guilty and at least 70 have been sentenced, with sentences ranging from 2 months of probation for nonviolently entering the Capitol to more than 5 years in prison for assaulting police officers.


House investigates Jan. 6 attack on U.S. Capitol

Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police wipes away tears Tuesday as he testifies before members of the Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Pool Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI | License Photo

The House investigation

The House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack, composed of seven Democrats and two Republicans, is working to establish what role Trump and members of his administration had in the lead-up to the riots and how they responded.

The panel has subpoenaed several of Trump's top advisers and allies, leaders of right-wing groups that participated and the former president to provide documents and testimony.

Many of Trump's allies have defied subpoenas from the committee -- and Trump has elevated an executive challenge to block the release of his records to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that releasing the documents would set a harmful precedent for disputes over access to former presidents' confidential records.

The committee has received more than 35,000 documents, and Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said earlier this week that the committee had received "significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something" to quell the rioters.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., one of the two Republicans on the committee, said the panel has "firsthand testimony" that Trump was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office watching the riots unfold on television. She noted that the White House briefing room was "just a mere few steps" away and that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, asked him at least twice to put a stop to the violence.


During recent hearings, Cheney also read subpoenaed text messages from others in Trump's orbit -- including conservative commentators Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham -- pleading with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to get Trump to do something to stop the rioting.

Last week, the panel deferred requests for certain Trump records after Biden's White House deputy counsel Jonathan Su wrote in a letter that certain documents requested do not apply to the investigation and should remain protected.

However, the House committee clarified that it has not dropped the requests for the records "and will continue to engage with the executive branch to ensure the committee gets access to all the information relevant to our probe."

Surveys taken since the Capitol assault show a sharp partisan split among Americans about what occurred and who was responsible. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Reaction to the riots

Surveys that have been conducted since the assault on the Capitol continue to show that many Americans remain divided on how they view the events of Jan. 6.

A CBS News poll this month found that 85% of Democrats consider that the actions taken by the Jan. 6 rioters amounted to an insurrectionist attempt to overthrow the government. Just 21% of Republicans agreed.


An ABC News-Ipsos survey late last month found that 72% of respondents believe that the rioters were a threat to democracy -- while a quarter said they were "protecting democracy."

Among Republicans, the ABC poll showed that 52% of Republicans believed the attackers were protecting democracy. Forty-five percent considered them a threat.

Further, the poll showed that close to 60% of the respondents to the ABC News-Ipsos poll said Trump bore a great deal of responsibility for the attack -- while 41% said he bore "some" or no responsibility.

According to a University of Massachusetts Amherst poll late last month, more than two-thirds of Democrats consider the participants "insurrectionists," "White nationalists" and rioters" -- while 62% of Republicans called them "protesters."

The results of a Politico-Morning Consult poll last month show that Republicans are divided in their support for the House committee's investigation -- with 44% opposing the committee to some degree, compared to 40% who somewhat or strongly support it.

In the same poll, 82% of Democrats and 61% of all registered voters said they support the investigative panel.

Donald Trump supporters breach Capitol, riot over election results

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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