What began as a baseless protest against the results of the 2020 presidential election transformed into a violent attack on one of the most revered buildings in America.
The angry mob headed toward the Capitol on Jan. 6 after President Donald Trump spoke at a rally near the White House to demonstrate against the certification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. At the time, Congress was voting to certify the electoral votes.
Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol, repeating false claims that the election was rigged and instructing them to “stop the steal.”
As the pro-Trump mob made its way toward Capitol Hill, federal law enforcement vehicles raced to beat them there. The crowd broke through windows, barricades and security checkpoints and ran rampant through the building.
One man allegedly broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and put his feet up on her desk, later taking her mail. Another appeared to be photographed smiling as he carried her lectern through the halls. Tear gas was deployed into the rotunda. Lawmakers were forced to shelter in place.
As the minutes turned to hours of violence, politicians called on Trump to instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol. Trump later released a video on Twitter, telling them to go home, but sympathized with their sentiments as he repeated that the election was “stolen” from him and said he “loved” them. The video was later removed, and Trump’s Twitter account was ultimately taken down permanently.
Some of the stunning images that shocked and horrified the nation included thousands of rioters dressed in “Make America Great Again” apparel making their way up the steps of the Capitol, a police officer running from the mob inside the building and a noose that had been positioned right outside.
The siege left at least five people dead. A rioter who previously served in the U.S. Air Force was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer. Another Capitol police officer died from injuries he suffered during the siege.
Jan. 6 began with the news that the Rev. Raphael Warnock would become the first black U.S. Senator from Georgia, setting the stage for Democrats to take control of the House and Senate, and ended with the country reeling from the aftermath of the insurrection on the Capitol.
For an expanded look into what happened at the Capitol riots watch the ABC News special, “24 Hours: Assault on the Capitol,” exclusively on Hulu beginning in the evening on Jan. 11.
Attack on the Capitol broken down into 24 hours in Hulu special The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ ABC News.