January 6 Anniversary Live Updates: Vigil Underway on Capitol Steps

Live Updates
Jan. 6, Capitol Riot (For Video)
Jan. 6, Capitol Riot (For Video) Getty Images

Vigil underway on Capitol steps

Congressional leaders mark the one-year anniversary with a vigil on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

The vigil began with a prayer, moment of silence led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and performances.

The vigil ended around 5:40 ET.

Hamilton cast performs during Congressional event

Congressional events marking the one year anniversary included a performance of ''Dear Theodosia'' from the cast of Hamilton.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced Lin-Manuel Miranda and cast members, who joined virtually in a recorded video.

"May his beautiful words be an inspiration to us," Pelosi said about Miranda.

"We'll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we will pass it on to you, and we will give the world to you," Pelosi quoted the lyrics from ''Dear Theodosia.''

Miranda said he was honored to participate.

"We should never take our rights and liberties for granted, but we must remain committed to finding a way forward together," said Miranda.

"That's what I wrote about in the song 'Dear Theodosia' from Hamilton."

Cast members then joined for the performance.

How did we get here? A timeline of the chaos

How did Jan. 6, 2021 unfold?

As detailed in the timeline video below, the day started early with former President Donald Trump's "Save America" rally, Congress later met to count the Electoral College votes.

Protesters then began to storm the U.S. Capitol and the riots continued for hours. The day ended Jan. 7 at 3:40 AM, when Joe Biden was declared the President-Elect.

The complete breakdown can be found in the Newsweek article below.

700 arrests, no domestic terrorism charges

More than 700 people have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 attacks, but none face domestic terrorism charges.

Many, including the House Select Committee, refer to Jan. 6 as a "domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol," but there is debate over whether the charges qualify as such.

As Newsweek reports, "The simple fact is that even if there was enough evidence to accuse a Capitol riot suspect of terrorism, there is no legal definition for domestic terrorism in the U.S, meaning it is not a federal crime."

As of Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice says 725 arrests have been made in nearly all 50 states in connection to the Jan. 6 attack.

Democrats highlight need for voting rights laws

As U.S. leaders made remarks commemorating the one-year anniversary, many Democrats advocated for voting rights legislation.

During Thursday's speech at the Capitol, President Joe Biden spoke about the importance of protecting the right to vote.

"We have to be firm, resolute and unyielding in our defense of the right to vote," Biden said. "And to have that vote counted."

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the passing current proposed legislation during her speech Thursday.

"We must pass voting rights bills that are now before the Senate, and the American people must also do something more," Harris said.

"We cannot sit on the sidelines. We must unite in defense of our democracy in order to form a more perfect union."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attacked former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie," claiming the 2020 Election results were illegitimate.

"We must confront this Big Lie," Schumer said. "We will move forward to protect democracy and voting rights."

The Department of Justice details impact and arrest made after Capitol riot attack

The United States Department of Justice released a statement detailing the amount of damage that was caused to the U.S. Capitol and the arrest and sentencing of those who were involved in the deadly attack.

The DOJ stated, the attack caused approximately $1.5 million worth of damage to the U.S. Capitol building one year ago today.

More than 725 defendants have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Approximately 165 individuals have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, from misdemeanors to felony obstruction, many of whom will face incarceration at sentencing.

Approximately 70 federal defendants have had their cases adjudicated and received sentences for their criminal activity on Jan. 6. Thirty-one have been sentenced to periods of incarceration. Eighteen have been sentenced to a period of home detention, and the other defendants have been sentenced to probation with no term of incarceration.

The statement also stated, "The Department of Justice's resolve to hold accountable those who committed crimes on Jan. 6, 2021, has not, and will not, wane."

Why Biden didn't refer to Trump by name during speech

President Joe Biden blamed former President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6 riots during Thursday's speech; however, never mentioned Trump by name, referring to him instead as the "former president."

During Thursday's White House press briefing, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki why.

"There's only one president in the history of this country who fomented an insurrection which prompted the seizing of our nation's capitol," Psaki answered. "I think everybody knew who he was referring to."

Psaki added, "As the president said, this day, and the work we need to be doing moving forward, is not about one person."

"It is about the country reflecting on who we are in this moment and who we want to be moving forward and what steps we need to take to protect our democracy."

Maybe Trump 'learned something' from speech, Psaki says

During Thursday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave additional insight into President Joe Biden's speech on the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6.

When asked why President Biden had not delivered a speech like Thursday's in the past, she said it was due to the "unique threat" posed by Trump.

"Trump posed a threat to democracy throughout the course of his Presidency and that was a root reason why President Biden ran for office," Psaki said.

Trump issued a statement following Biden's speech Thursday, calling it "political theater."

Psaki responded to his statement saying, "Well, it looks like he saw the speech, I guess that's good news."

"Maybe he learned something about what it looks like to meet the moment in the country. To meet the moment where people are hurting."

Only two Republicans attended the House's moment of silence held today

Liz Cheney (R-WY) and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, were the only Republicans to attend the House's moment of silence event remembering those who lost their lives one year ago in the Capitol riot.

"I'm deeply disappointed we don't have better leadership in the Republican party to restore the Constitution," Dick Chaney told ABC's Jonathan Karl.

He added that Jan. 6 is "an important historical event."

"You can't overestimate how important it is," he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House members were "very honored" by Dick Cheney's presence Thursday.

"We were very honored by his being there," she said. "He has a right to be on the floor as a former member of the House. I was happy to welcome him back, and to congratulate him on the courage."

Capitol, DC Police thank officers for defending Capitol

The U.S. Capitol and D.C. Police Departments reflect on the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, thanking officers for their service and bravery.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger recalled the events saying it was, "a day unlike any other in our nation's history."

"And for the Capitol Police, it was a day defined by chaos, tragic loss, courage, and resolve," a statement posted on Twitter reads.

"Our brave men and women have persevered through a very challenging year, and we appreciate their service and thank them for their continued commitment to our critical mission."

DC Police echoed similar sentiments; a post on Twitter reads, "One year ago today, brave members of law enforcement answered the call for service to our city and our country."

"Thank you for your courage and fortitude, and for the risks that you take every day to protect those who depend on us to keep them safe."

Nancy Pelosi expresses her view on the Capitol riots one year ago today

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave full remarks on her remembrance of the Capitol riot one year ago today.

Moment of silence held on House Floor

The House holds a moment of silence at noon, marking one year since January 6th.

"I want to acknowledge our fallen heroes of that day," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said on the House Floor.

"U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood, Metropolitan Officer Jeffrey Smith, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans, of a later assault. Now I ask all members to rise for a moment of silence in their memory."

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described his experience from the Capitol riot a year ago

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer recalls moments during the Capitol riot from one year ago today.

While describing the Capitol attack Schumer stated, "I was told later that one of them reportedly said, 'There's the big Jew, let's get him.' "

McConnell recalls 'dark day' for Congress, U.S.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell recalled the "disgraceful scene" at the Capitol one year ago, highlighting the resilience of the Senate and gratitude for officers who bravely stepped in.

"January 6th, 2021 was a dark day for Congress and our country," McConnell wrote in a statement.

"The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job. This disgraceful scene was antithetical to the rule of law."

"I continue to support justice for those who broke the law."

McConnell also his gratitude for the police officers who responded that day and called out some Democrats.

"As I said yesterday, it has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event."

"A year ago today, the Senate did not bend or break. We stuck together, stood strong, gaveled back in, and did our job. Senators should not be trying to exploit this anniversary to damage the Senate in a different way from within."

Former President Barack Obama releases a statement about the Capitol riot one year ago

Former President Barack Obama released a statement speaking on the foundation of the U.S. democracy remaining at risk. His statement came after President Joe Biden's speech about the Capitol riot that took place one year ago today on January 6, 2021.

Obama stated, "Although initially rejected by the many Republicans, the claims that fanned the flames of violence on January 6th have since been embraced by a sizeable portion of voters and elected officials — many of whom know better".

"We can't set an example when our own leaders are willing to fabricate lies and cast doubt on the results of free and fair elections," Obama wrote.

Harris says Jan. 6 represents the 'strength and fragility' of our democracy

Vice President Kamala Harris said that capitol riot on January 6, 2021 represented both the strength and fragility of the nation's democracy.

The prevalence of the rule of law and principles of equality, fair elections and empowerment of the people showed the strength, she said.

That strength was also demonstrated through the heroism of law enforcement and the "resolve" of elected officials to certify the election and demonstrate loyalty "not to party, but to the Constitution."

Harris said the closeness to which we came to an overturned election reflects our democracy's fragility.

"If we are not vigilant and do not stand to defend it, democracy will simply not stand," she said. "It will falter and fail."

Harris said "the American spirit is being tested" and the answer to that test resides with the people.

"We cannot sit on the sidelines," she said. "We must unite in defense of our democracy in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote general welfare and secure blessings of liberties to ourselves and our prosperity."

Vice President Harris says rioters attacked American values on Jan. 6

Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks on the January 6 Capitol riot before President Joe Biden spoke Thursday morning.

In her speech, Harris said January 6, 2021 is a date that will "echo throughout history" as an assault on our democracy, along with December 7, 1942 and September 11, 2001.

She said the rioters who entered the capitol that day issued an assault on American values.

"What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is," Harris said. "What they were assaulting were the institutions, values, ideas that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend."

Harris said Jan. 6 exemplified what American would look like is our democracy was dismantled.

"What was at stake then and now is the right to have our future decided the way the Constitution prescribes it, by we the people. All the people," she said.

Harris added that the nation's future cannot be decided by those "bent on silencing our voices, overturning our votes and peddling lies and disinformation."

Trump responds to Biden's speech, maintains 2020 election was rigged

Former President Donald Trump responded to remarks made by President Joe Biden during Thursday morning's speech at the Capitol.

Trump issued a statement, reading in part:

"Biden, who is destroying our Nation with insane policies of open Borders, corrupt Elections, disastrous energy policies, unconstitutional mandates, and devastating school closures, used my name today to try to further divide America."

"This political theater is all just a distraction for the fact Biden has completely and totally failed."

"Our Country no longer has Borders, has totally and completely lost control of Covid (record numbers!), is no longer Energy Independent, Inflation is rampant, our Military is in chaos, and our exit, or surrender, from Afghanistan was perhaps the most embarrassing day in the long and distinguished history of the United States—and so much more."

Trump also maintained the 2020 election was "rigged."

"Why is it that the Unselect Committee of totally partisan political hacks, whose judgment has long ago been made, not discussing the rigged Presidential Election of 2020? It's because they don't have the answers or justifications for what happened. They got away with something, and it is leading to our Country's destruction."

"The Democrats want to own this day of January 6th so they can stoke fears and divide America. I say, let them have it because America sees through theirs lies and polarizations."

Biden called out Trump during his speech, saying:

What did Biden say in his January 6 speech?

The President began his speech by recalling the events of what happened - and insisting that people must face the truth of January 6 last year.

Those who stormed this Capitol, and those who instigated and incited, and those who called on them to do so, held a dagger at the throat of America — at American democracy.

At this moment, we must decide what kind of nation are we going to be. Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth, but in the shadow of lies? We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth, to live by it.

He called out Trump's three "big lies" about the 2020 election, attacking his points but refusing to mention him by name.

Here's the truth: A former President of the United States of America has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. He's done so because he values power over principle. Because he sees his own interest as more important than his country's interest, and America's interest. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.

He's not just a former president. He's a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes. A full and free and fair election. There is simply zero proof the election results were inaccurate.

He addresses how the U.S. might look to the rest of the world - and how America's adversaries may be seeking to take advantage of democracy under threat.

They've actually told me democracy is too slow, too bogged down by division to succeed in today's rapidly changing complicated world. And they're...betting America will become more like them and less like us.

SUMMARY: Biden says January 6 riots must 'never, never' be repeated

Vice President Kamala Harris took to the podium first, starting with a condemnation of the January 6 riots but moving onto the importance of democracy, and how Americans should reject an "insurgent" threat to it.

Harris labeled America "the greatest democracy in the world" but noted its "fragility". She called Joe Biden the man to "meet this moment", before inviting him to begin his speech. The President used his speech to reflect on the events of the day - an "attack on our democracy" - and declared that "we are in a battle for the soul of America".

Attacking former president Donald Trump, but refusing to mention him by name, Biden said he was "watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours" while he sat in a dining room in the White House. He also slammed Trump's supporters, saying that "they weren't looking to save an election, they were looking to overturn one".

He accused Trump of "spreading a web of lies" about the 2020 election and said his "bruised ego matters more to him than democracy". "He can't accept he lost," he said.

They held a dagger at the throat of America...not in service of America, rather in service of one man.

Expressing anger at those who refuse to accept the events one year ago today, on behalf of Capitol police officers, he said "how dare anyone deny the hell they were put through that day". Speaking about current attempts to change voter laws in dozens of states, he said any attempt to suppress voters was "un-American".

Biden has arrived at the Capitol building

Joe Biden about to make Jan. 6 speech

The President will make some bold remarks about the "state of democracy" following the events one year ago today, and is expected to discuss how to take the U.S. forward, as well as lambast his predecessor Donald Trump.

Newsweek will have a summary of the speech soon after it has been made.

Biden to talk about 'the state of American democracy' in his speech

The President is finalizing his speech before delivering it at the Capitol at 9am (ET).

Former press secretary says Trump 'gleefully' watched riots from White House

Stephanie Grisham claims that then-president Donald Trump was "gleefully" watching rioters storm the Capitol, celebrating them "fighting for me".

It comes after she gave evidence to the House committee investigating January 6 yesterday, convinced by panel member Jamie Raskin to testify after a long phone call.

Grisham was "candid" about events in the White House at the time and was present for most of it, reports CNN.

Jimmy Carter warns of 'genuine risk of civil conflict'

American democracy is being threatened throughout the country and "our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss," the former president has warned in a New York Times op-ed published last night.

He cautioned that "without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy".

Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.

Carter added that "promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems."

It comes after he joined three other living former Presidents - Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton - in denouncing rioters who stormed the Capitol one year ago today.

GOP leaders to avoid Jan 6. memorial events

The planned memorial events on Capitol Hill are set to be a mainly Democrat affair, with most leading GOP figures not present in D.C. today. Neither the House or Senate leaders plan to commemorate the day in public.

But regardless, the House is not in session today and Nancy Pelosi confirmed there will be a "full program of events" to mark one year since Donald Trump supporters attempted to prevent the 2020 Election results from being certified, citing conspiracy theories around election fraud.

Many GOP figures will instead be heading to Georgia to attend the funeral of late senator Johnny Isakson, who died on December 19 aged 76, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

FULL STORY: GOP Leaders Ignore Jan. 6 Anniversary

WATCH: Jen Psaki confirms part of Biden's speech will focus on Trump

Justice served? Graph reveals Jan. 6 rioters' journey through court

Almost 700 people have been charged since the events of a year ago today, but only around 150 have pleaded guilty and dozens are still awaiting sentencing, a chart from Statista reveals.

Newsweek/Statista graphic shows January 6 criminal cases
A Newsweek/Statista graphic shows how the justice system is dealing with January 6 rioters Newsweek/Statista

Preview of Biden's speech revealed

In an extract of the President's remarks, which he will make later today, he will focus on "what kind of nation we are going to be", emphasizing the importance of truth.

The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it.

Only 4 in 10 Republicans think Jan. 6 was violent - poll

Almost a year on from the day of the riots, asked what they thought about the violence, a third of GOP supporters recall the attack as "not very" or "not at all violent", according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

"My understanding was that a lot of it was pretty peaceful," Paul Bender, a self-described conservative from Cleveland, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "I've seen some video of the people just like marching in through a velvet rope."

But almost a quarter of Republicans now think Trump bears "significant responsibility" for the riots taking place - sharply up from just 11 percent last year. Sixty percent, however, still believe he had little to no responsibility.

'Qanon shaman' claims he 'tried to calm the crowd' after storming the Capitol

Seen by the world in a fur horned headdress carrying a spear adorned with the American Flag on January 6, Jacob Chansley (also known as Jake Angeli) now insists that he was there to help keep the riot under control.

"I actually tried to, on more than one occasion, calm the crowd," he said in an interview with Inside Edition. "But it just didn't work."

Chansley was later convicted for the 'obstruction of an official proceeding' - a felony - after prosecutors said he yelled "time's up, motherf*ckers" and left a chilling note on then-Vice President Mike Pence's desk telling him that "justice is coming".

He is now serving a 41-month prison sentence for his part in the insurrection - one of the hundreds convicted so far.

'Many of the victims turned into clowns': Former Biden White House advisor looks back on Jan. 6

Reflecting on what happened that day and the days afterward, Andy Slavit said that if January 6 was "carried out by professionals, [it] would have resulted in a dead speaker of the house, an assassinated Vice President, and a completely ransacked US Capitol".

He took aim at his Republican opponents, saying that "many of the victims turned into clowns" when they turned down the opportunity to condemn Trump in a crunch impeachment vote, which was passed through the House but with 197 GOP representatives opposed.

Texts sent by Sean Hannity on eve of riots revealed

It was revealed the Fox News had expressed concerns about what then-president Donald Trump was planning on January 6 and was bracing for an exodus of White House lawyers as a result, according to messages he sent that were unveiled by the House select committee investigating the insurrection.

He feared "the entire WH counsels office" would quit following January 6, said Trump should "go to [Florida] and watch Joe [Biden] mess up daily" instead of refuting the outcome of the election, and told advisers he was "very worried about the next 48 hours".

The committee has asked Hannity to voluntarily cooperate with the inquiry—meaning he has not been subpoenaed like a number of other Trump allies.

FULL STORY: What Sean Hannity Text Messages Reveal About Jan 6 Communication With Trump Officials

Trump makes incendiary 'rise up' comments

On the eve of the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection - a sensitive topic for the former president and his supporters - Donald Trump last night told the "MAGA nation" to "rise up" against vaccine mandates issued by the Biden administration.

Sent out to supporters and published online by campaign spokesperson Liz Harrington, he labeled the COVID measures an "outrage" and said an administration under his leadership "never would" issue such mandates.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

A full day of events to mark one year since the January 6 riots will take place in Washington and elsewhere today, with President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris expected to make speeches and a series of reflective statement to be made in the House.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Thursday for full coverage of Jan. 6 Anniversary events.