President Joe Biden will call out Donald Trump as the ‘singular responsibility’ behind the January 6th insurrection and warn Americans that democracy remains at risk as he marks the one-year anniversary of the former president’s supporters storming the Capitol to try and stop the certification of the 2020 election.
Upon arriving at the Capitol, the president told reporters, ‘I’m praying that we never have another day like we had a year ago today. That’s what I’m praying.’ He was escorted into the building by Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak in Statuary Hall in the Capitol building. On January 6th, Trump supporters ran through that room on their way to the House chamber, where they failed to breach the security doors.
The president will reference the violence in the Capitol, which left five people dead, and ask the nation if it wants to accept ‘political violence as a norm.’
‘And so at this moment we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be. Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm?,’ Biden will say, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the White House.
‘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 and to live by it.’
The US Capitol building was quiet Thursday morning as Democrats prepared to spend the day in remembrance. There was a heavy police presence and several metal interlocking barricades surrounding the building. Snow was on the ground from the storm earlier in the week.
Republicans have accused Democrats of playing politics with the anniversary.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called January 6 a ‘dark day’ in a statement but then pivoted to attacking Democrats for trying to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.
‘It has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event,’ McConnell said. ‘It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.’
President Joe Biden (right) enters the U.S. Capitol alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (center)
The Capitol is seen at dawn, one year after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of then-President Donald Trump
U.S. Capitol Police keep watch on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan, 6
Snow on grounds of Capitol Hill on the morning of January 6th
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger stands outside the U.S. Capitol on the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack
Members of U.S. Capitol Police arrive for duty
Statuary Hall, which is the original House chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building, was set up like a TV studio in advance of the occasion
In his remarks, Biden also will hold Trump responsible for the ‘chaos and carnage’ of that day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her press briefing on Wednesday.
She declined to say if he will mention the former president by name but said it would be clear who he meant.
Biden will ‘lay out the significance of what happened in the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw and he will forcibly push back on the lies spread by the former president in an attempt to mislead the American people and his own supporters as well as distract from his role in what happened,’ Psaki said.
The Biden administration has been reluctant to directly discuss Trump particularly given that the former president continues the false claim that he won the 2020 presidential election.
Psaki also went after members of the Republican Party who have supported Trump’s lie that he was the presidential victor.
‘What you’ll hear the president talking about tomorrow is the fact that you don’t just love your country when you win,’ she told Dailymail.com. ‘You love your country, you love democracy in any in any scenario, and what is most disappointing to him is that there has been a silence and, at times, a complacency by far too many Republicans who have sat by and defended the big lie and perpetuated misinformation to the American public.’
Rioters breached the Capitol on January 6 during a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally which claimed Donald Trump had won the election as Congress met to count electoral votes and certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win
Thousands of Trump supporters are seen on January 6, 2021, marching towards the Capitol
The riot of January 6 left 150 members of law enforcement injured, and cost five their lives
Donald Trump, above, speaks to his supporters outside the White House on the morning of January 6th
Psaki did not mince words in her press briefing about the administration’s view of Trump. The former president addressed his supporters outside the White House on January 6, 2021 before they marched on the Capitol and tried to stop the certification of Biden’s victory. House Democrats impeached Trump for his role but he was acquitted by the Senate.
Biden has been ‘clear eyed about the threat the former president represents to our democracy and how the former president constantly works to constantly undermine basic American values and rule of law,’ Psaki said.
She noted that Biden sees January 6th as a ‘tragic culmination of what those four years under President Trump did to our country.’
Trump canceled a planned press conference for January 6th.
Democrats, meanwhile, are ramping up their probe of the January 6th insurrection ahead of Thursday’s one-year anniversary, considering ‘Watergate-style’ prime-time hearings with a bold-faced witness wish list that includes Mike Pence and Sean Hannity.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a day-long slate of events planned for the one-year anniversary of the MAGA riot on Thursday, including a moment of silence on the House floor, testimony from lawmakers about their experience that day, and a prayer vigil on the steps of the Capitol.
‘These events are intended as an observance of reflection, remembrance and recommitment, in a spirit of unity, patriotism and prayerfulness,’ Pelosi wrote in a letter to lawmakers.
Republicans, who have not revealed their plans for how they will mark the day, accused Democrats of grandstanding.
‘I think they will try to politicize the event,’ Republican Senator John Thune said.
In a bid capitalize on the anniversary, Democrats on committee are looking to crank up the pace of their probe and draw a massive audience with prime-time hearings.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a day-long slate of events planned for the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection – above she is seen with then-Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the joint session of Congress on that day
The House committee investigating January 6th is considering Watergate-style prime-time hearings; above are Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney of the panel
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin is among those pushing for prime-time hearings on Jan. 6 riot
Democratic plans for marking one-year anniversary of January 6th riot in Capitol
9 am: President Biden and Vice President Harris deliver remarks in National Statuary Hall in the Capitol
10 am: Speaker Nancy Pelosi hold a closed-press Moment of Reflection on the House floor
12 pm: A statement from Speaker Pelosi and a Moment of Silence on the House Floor
1 pm: Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress; Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; and Historian Jon Meacham moderate a conversation with Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer
2:30 pm: Democratic Rep. Jason Crow leads lawmakers in giving testimonials about what they experienced on January 6th
5:30 pm: Pelosi and Schumer lead a Bicameral Prayer Vigil on Capitol Center Steps
‘I have favored this strategy from the beginning,’ Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the panel, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Wednesday.
He said he wanted a Watergate-style approach, when the 1973 hearings into Richard Nixon’s presidency captivated America. At one point an estimated 85% of the country was tuned in to them.
‘I remember as a kid getting to watch a bit of the Watergate hearings, which were a daily spectacle that the whole country tuned into,’ Raskin said. ‘If we can do that for, you know, a break-in in a couple of offices in the Watergate hotel, certainly, we can do it for a massive break-in into the Capitol of the United States, a storming, and a seizure essentially of our government offices, an interruption of the peaceful transfer of power.’
Those prime-time hearings could occur in late March or early April, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, told Bloomberg News.
But no date has been set yet.
‘We’re working toward that,’ Thompson said.
Those hearings would also feature high-profile witnesses, which would help them gain maximum exposure. Among those names beiing considered are former Vice President Mike Pence and Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Pence was under heavy pressure from then-President Donald Trump to declare the 2020 election results invalid, wipe out Joe Biden’s victory and secure him a second term. The vice president has the symbolic role of presiding over the Electoral College certification of results. Pence was a target of the January 6th rioters, some of who threatened to hang him, and was evacuated from the Senate floor as the MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol.
Thompson told CNN that he and the panel would like to hear from Pence.
‘I would hope that he would do the right thing and come forward and voluntarily talk to the committee,’ he said.
‘We have not formally asked. But if he offered, we’d gladly accept. Everything is under consideration,’ he added.
So far, in its investigation, the committee has interviewed more than 300 witnesses, announced more than 50 subpoenas, obtained more than 35,000 pages of records and received hundreds of telephone tips through their Jan. 6 tipline, according to a tally by The Washington Post.
Names are starting to be lined up for hearings.
The panel on Tuesday asked longtime Trump supporter Sean Hannity to appear as a ‘fact witness’ in their investigation, noting how the Fox star was ‘expressing concerns and providing advice to the president and White House staff.’
The committee released several texts Hannity sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
‘I’m very worried about the next 48 hours,’ Hannity wrote on the eve of January 6th.
On January 5, the eve of the Capitol attack, Hannity also texted to Meadows, ‘Pence pressure. WH counsel will leave.’
In the letter to Hannity, Thompson wrote the texts suggest ‘that you had knowledge of concerns by President Trump’s White House Counsel’s Office regarding the legality of the former President’s plans for January 6th.’
‘These facts are directly relevant to our inquiry,’ Thompson told Hannity.
Thompson also said that Hannity appeared to have ‘detailed knowledge regarding President Trump’s state of mind in the days following the January 6th attack.’
One of Hannity’s texts indicated he had a discussion with Trump on January 10 and it left the Fox News host concerned in the lead-up to President Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
‘Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days,’ Hannity informed Meadows and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
‘He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?’
On his Fox News show on Tuesday evening, Hannity launched into a stinging rebuke of DC officials and their ‘willing accomplices’ but didn’t mention the letter from the House committee investigating the MAGA riot.
‘I have an important message to all you elected swamp creatures in Washington, D.C., your willing accomplices, your press secretaries in the media mob,’ he began.
‘It is frankly repulsive, just repulsive that all of you sycophants, you sit idly by, you say nothing, you do nothing, as Joe Biden completely mismanages COVID-19,’ he said.
Republicans have not revealed their plans for how they will mark the one-year anniversary of the riot.
Many Republican lawmakers criticized Trump in the immediate wake of January 6th – some even called him that day to encourage him to try and call off the rioters. But, many of them also have made amends with the former president in the months following particularly as Trump continues to hold a tight grip on Republican base.
Many Republican senators, including Leader Mitch McConnell, will be in Atlanta for the funeral of former Senator Johnny Isakson on Thursday.
From left to right: Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the US Capitol Police, Officer Michael Fanone of the DC Metropolitan Police and Officer Daniel Hodges of the DC Metropolitan Police listen as Private First Class Harry Dunn of the US Capitol Police testifies before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on US Capitol on July 27
The House panel investigating January 6th has said they’d like to hear form Mike Pence
Earlier this week, members of the House panel indicated they had received testimony from inside Trump’s West Wing from January 6th that focuses on Trump’s failure to do more to stop the rioters.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the panel, revealed there was ‘firsthand’ testimony that Ivanka Trump twice asked her father to call off the rioters.
‘We know members of his family, we know his daughter – we have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence,’ Cheney said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
Ivanka reportedly referred to the insurrection as an ‘optics issue’ as it was taking place, according to Michael Wolff’s latest Trump book Landslide.
She tried to stop the riot herself, tweeting: ‘American Patriots – any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.’ The tweet has since been deleted.
Meanwhile, the House committee has been rebuffed by several former Trump aides or advisers whose testimony was sought by subpoena.
That includes former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and Meadows. Bannon has been indicted for criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify to the panel and awaits trial in July. The House in December voted to hold Meadows in contempt, referring the case to the Justice Department.