We already covered why the lynch-mob style crowd marched on Capitol Hill, but what actually happened during the riot at the Capitol? Well, quite a bit, actually.
So much that America – once again – is front-page news in other countries. Getting public criticism that, as an American, I don’t disagree with. Namely the US not being in the best spot to tell the rest of the world how to run a democratic society while – simultaneously – acting as world police. Because, yeah, the US totally knows how to run a country. Having only run one for a few hundred years and having nearly self-destructive several times. But whatever, because self-aggrandized nationalism.
But, back to the point at hand: what happened at Capitol Hill yesterday?
What Was The Point Of Marching On Capitol Hill?
To overturn the election results… somehow.
Many made it onto the congressional floor to stop the count and to find VP Pence, who was offered to the mob by Trump as a proverbial sacrificial lamb for all the woes. All officials needed to evacuate the building and hide out at several (genuinely) secure and undisclosed locations.
Additionally, many rioters attacked reporters and destroyed their equipment because they wouldn’t “tolerate fake news anymore.” If I could show you me facepalming at the total irony of this… I would. I can’t show you, but just know I did. Several times.
So, in short: because Trump (& co.) told them to. And no one – not even Trump – is disputing this. Yet.
So, Wait… What Happened With Security?
They were, in short, overrun by the mob.
“Thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions” stormed the building that houses Congress, the Capitol Police said late Thursday morning, in its first statement about the events. The extremists attacked police “with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers.” Among the chemical irritants used by the protestors was tear gas.
Contee said 56 officers were injured, describing “a lot of valiant fighting” to perform their duties despite facing tear gas and other hazards. One officer, he said, was “snatched into a crowd” where he was beaten and tased repeatedly. Additionally, this morning it was confirmed that an officer died from his injuries.
On the civilian side, officials say one woman was shot by a Capitol Police officer on Wednesday near the House chamber where lawmakers were sheltering in place. She later died from the injury. The agency identified the woman as Ashli Babbitt. And three other people died after separate medical emergencies, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said during a news conference.
Though in his newest video on Twitter, Trump claims to have brought in the National Guard immediately, almost everyone who was closely involved is saying this isn’t what happened.
The story from everyone but Trump goes like this: when asked to call in the national Guard, Trump refused and, ultimately, the duty fell on VP Pence to make the call. Pence went against Trump for the second time that day (and possibly ever?) and called in the National Guard.
D.C. Mayor Bowser also issued a curfew and declared a state of emergency for 15 days after the riot. Additionally, the day after the attack, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced that a “seven-foot non-scalable fence” is being erected around the entire U.S. Capitol. It is to remain in place for at least the next 30 days, he said. Additional National Guard units are also being deployed, he added.
But, really, what many question is why additional security wasn’t put in place earlier and why the security that was in place wasn’t prepared. With the president being as “unhinged” as he is, and them being aware of what Trump’s speech entailed, security should’ve been fortified prior to Trump speaking.
Bowser had this to say about the breakdown in security as a whole, “Obviously it was a failure, or you would not have had police lines breached and people enter the Capitol building by breaking windows, and terrorizing the people, the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred constitutional requirement of their jobs. So clearly there was failure there.”
Although many videos have leaked about the rioters being let in by some police officers, officers posing with rioters for social media posts, and various other face-palming incidents. So.
Bombs, Theft, & Arrests
The stories that came out of the Capitol from those who were there to insurrect were nothing short of seriously WTF. From stealing plaques and “Closed Entry” signs and official files, to smashing windows and beating police officers… the events are nothing short of shocking.
Additionally, two pipe bombs left at the Republican National Committee headquarters and the Democratic National Committee headquarters were discovered by police. They were safely detonated.
But there were relatively few arrests made. Out of the hundreds – close to a thousand – that stormed the building, there were less than 60 arrests made. And most of the arrests were for breaking curfew. Although four (yes, a whole whopping four) were made for an illegal weapon related charge.
But, really, when you look at Trump’s presidency and the rabid nature of his avid cultish followers… wasn’t the inevitable conclusion always that if Trump was told he couldn’t have the power, he was going to show you he was going to take it anyway?
Will Trump Be Removed For Inciting?
Some lawmakers, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have called for Trump’s impeachment for his “open sedition.” And every hour the list of people who want him out seems to be growing.
Others are calling on VP Pence to seize control under the 25th amendment, which provides a protocol for how the vice president can assume power in case the president is in some way incapacitated.
Pence wouldn’t need, and likely wouldn’t get, Trump’s approval on the 25th amendment. He would simply need to produce a letter co-signed by a majority of Trump’s 15 cabinet secretaries stating “that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” and deliver it to the speaker of the House and the Senate majority leader.
At which point, Pence would immediately take power for the next 12 days (because, yeah, we’re all counting now.) Partly because this incredibly unhinged man is the only man who has access to all 6,200 of America’s nuclear warheads.
For a variety of reasons, the 25th amendment could very well fly, given that Trump did send out a lynch mob that threatened even his supporter’s safety – whether he intended to or not. Though neither avenue may gain enough traction before January 20th, when Biden will officially take control of the US, the 25th amendment is more likely than impeachment.
However, if Trump were to face his second impeachment trial, he would likely be unable to run for any formal office again as a result. Which, as it stands, many are anticipating he’ll run in the 2024 election. (Omg, seriously.)
In theory, if he’s impeached, Trump could serve jail time. But it’s basically unheard of.
Could Trump & Supporters Be Charged?
In theory, yes. His supporters that stormed the Capitol could be charged for domestic terrorism and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Additionally, Trump and his key supporters (*cough,* his son and lawyers) could theoretically be charged with inciting those crimes, sedition, or both.
Fortunately, in the wake of everything that happened, and everything we’ve been divided on in the recent months, the one thing we can all seem to agree on is that Trump totally egged people on.
But it’s unlikely that Pence or Biden would press charges against Trump. However, it’s unlikely either would pardon him, either. However, rumors are already circulating that Trump may intend to attempt to pardon… himself.