6 January 2021: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attack the United States Capitol to disrupt certification of the 2020 presidential election, resulting in five deaths and evacuation of the US Congress. (Source)
On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.[note 1] They sought to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize then President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory. The Capitol Complex was locked down and lawmakers and staff were evacuated, while rioters assaulted law enforcement officers, vandalized property and occupied the building for several hours. Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three died of natural causes. Many people were injured, including 138 police officers. Four officers who responded to the attack died by suicide within seven months.
Called to action by Trump, thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 to support his false claim that the 2020 election had been “stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats” and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden’s victory. Starting at noon on January 6, at a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, Trump repeated false claims of election irregularities and said, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country any more”. During and after his speech, thousands of attendees walked to the Capitol and hundreds breached police perimeters as Congress was beginning the electoral vote count. Many in the crowd broke into the building, occupying, vandalizing, and looting it, assaulting Capitol Police officers and reporters, and attempting to locate lawmakers to capture and harm. Gallows had been erected west of the Capitol and some rioters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after he rejected false claims by Trump and others that the vice president could overturn the election results. Some vandalized and looted the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D‑CA) and other members of Congress. With building security breached, Capitol Police evacuated and locked down both chambers of Congress and several buildings in the Capitol Complex. Rioters occupied the empty Senate chamber while federal law enforcement officers defended the evacuated House floor. Pipe bombs were found at each of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol.
Trump resisted sending the National Guard to quell the mob. Later that afternoon, in a Twitter video, he reasserted that the election was “fraudulent”, but told his supporters to “go home in peace”. The Capitol was clear of rioters by mid-evening, and the counting of the electoral votes resumed and completed in the early morning hours of January 7. Pence declared President-elect Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris victorious. Pressured by his administration, the threat of removal, and many resignations, Trump later committed to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.
A week after the riot, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for incitement of insurrection, making him the only U.S. president to have been impeached twice. In February, after Trump had left office, the Senate voted 57–43 in favor of conviction; because this fell short of a two-thirds majority, requiring 67 votes, he was acquitted for a second time. The House passed a bill to create a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the attack, modeled after the 9/11 Commission, but it was blocked by Republicans in the Senate, so the House approved a select committee with seven Democrats and two Republicans to investigate instead.
Over 30 members of anti-government groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Three Percenters, were charged with conspiracy for allegedly planning their attacks on the Capitol, however the large majority of people charged with crimes relating to the attack had no known affiliation with far-right or extremist groups. (Source)