(WASHINGTON) — Thursday marks one year since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Democrats plan to observe the anniversary with somber tributes at the building that’s the symbol of American democracy.
The events in Washington will include a moment of silence, a panel discussion with historians, first-hand testimonies from lawmakers and a prayer vigil on the Capitol steps.
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to make remarks at the Capitol where the White House says the president will address the “singular responsibility” former President Donald Trump had “for the chaos and carnage” witnessed and commemorate law enforcement officers who protected the lives of lawmakers last year. No Republican leaders are expected to attend the ceremonies.
ABC News Live will provide all-day coverage of Thursday’s events at the Capitol and examine the continuing fallout for American democracy one year since the Jan. 6 siege.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 06, 10:34 am
Biden explains why he didn’t call Trump out by name in speech
After his strongest speech to date laying blame at Trump for violence at the Capitol, reporters pressed Biden on his way out of the building why he did not mention the former president by name, and he argued that he didn’t want to make it into a “contemporary political battle” between the two of them.
“I think we just have to face the facts of what happened. Draw a clear picture for the American people. It’s not about me, it’s not about the vice president, it really isn’t. That’s the thing that bothers me the most about the attitude that seems emerging in some degree in American politics,” Biden said. “It’s about the system, and somebody who decides to put himself above everything. And, so, I did not want to turn it into a contemporary political battle between me and the president. It’s way beyond that.”
A reporter followed up, “Does calling him out divide more than it heals, though?”
“No no, look. The way you have to heal — you have to recognize the extent of the wound. You can’t pretend. This is serious stuff. And a lot of people — understandably — want to go — you know, ‘I’d just as soon not face it.’ You’ve got to face it. That’s what great nations do. They face the truth, deal with it, and move on,” Biden said.
-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Sarah Kolinovsky
Jan 06, 10:26 am
Biden lays out 3 ‘big lies’ from Trump, vows to stand for truth
Laying out the three “big lies” he said the former president has tried to sell around the 2020 election — that the election was stolen, the results couldn’t be trusted, and that those who stormed the Capitol a year ago were patriots — Biden tore into Trump as a loser in denial in his remarks.
“So 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 of the shadow of lies?” he said. “The way forward is to recognize the truth, and to live by it.”
Asking Americans to recall the scenes from last year, Biden described in detail the attacks on law enforcement, the gallows erected to “Hang Mike Pence” and chants to harm Pelosi, before turning to President Trump’s inaction.
“What did we not see? We didn’t see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack sitting in the private dining room off the oval office in the White House watching it all on television. And doing nothing. For hours. As police were assaulted. Lives at risk. The nation’s capital under siege,” Biden lamented.
“I did not seek this fight brought to this Capitol one year ago today. But I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation,” he said. “And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of democracy.”
-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Justin Gomez
Jan 06, 10:24 am
Biden rejects Trump’s characterization of mob as ‘patriots’
In front of the presidential seal, flanked by two American flags, inside the Capitol’s Statuary Hall — a rare place for a president to speak but from where pro-Trump rioters stormed last year — Biden directly blamed Trump for last year’s violence and rejected the former president’s characterization of the mob as “patriots.”
“Is that what you thought when you looked at the mob ransacking the Capitol, destroying property — literally defecating in the hallways — rifling through the desks of senators and representatives, hunting down members of Congress? Patriots? Not in my view,” he said in a firm tone.
“To me, the true patriots were the more than 150 Americans who peacefully expressed their vote at the ballot box,” Biden continued.
“The former president — who lies about this election — and the mob that attacked this Capitol could not be further away from the core American values. They want to rule or they will ruin — ruin what our country fought for at Lexington and Concord, at Gettysburg and Omaha Beach, Seneca Falls, Selma, Alabama,” he said, invoking ideals of American democracy.
Rejecting Trump’s election lies one by one, Biden repeated that despite the former president building his false case over months that there is “zero proof the election results are inaccurate.”
Jan 06, 9:52 am
Biden calls Trump plot to overturn the election a ‘dagger at the throat of America’
Without mentioning Trump by name, Biden blamed him over and over again for the violence that erupted at the Capitol last year and the serious danger his “web of lies” poses to the country.
“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 and American democracy,” Biden said about Trump and his allies.
Biden hinted at how plotting to try to take the election from him — and more so, the will of American voters — began well in advance of Jan. 6 as Trump sewed doubt in the election with his supporters as it neared.
“They didn’t come here out of patriotism or principle. They came here in rage — not in service at American rather and service of one man. Those who incited the mob — the real plotters — were desperate to deny the certification of this election,” Biden said.
“The former president and his supporters have decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections, it’s wrong, it’s undemocratic and frankly, it’s unAmerican,” Biden said, appearing to speak both directly about Trump, leaning into the camera, and to the American people.
He said Americans “cannot allow ourselves” to be a kind of nation that stands for lies and by a former president that has violently rejected a peaceful transfer of power.
Jan 06, 9:33 am
Biden slams Trump for spreading ‘web of lies’ around election loss
In his most forceful remarks yet against Trump, Biden called out the former president — without using his name — for weaving what he called a “web of lies” around the 2020 election and attacking American democracy as no other leader has before.
“We must be absolutely clear about what is true and what is a lie,” Biden said. “And here’s the truth: The former president of the United States of America has created 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 is more important than his country’s interest and America’s interest — because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution.”
“He can’t accept he lost,” Biden said. “He can’t accept he lost even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials and every battleground state, all said, he lost.”
Establishing Trump as a “defeated former president — by a margin of 7 million votes in a free and fair election,” Biden defended his win against Trump and his supporters by laying out the facts of the election.
Jan 06, 9:21 am
Harris ties ‘fragility of democracy’ to push for voting rights legislation
A somber Vice President Kamala Harris, in remarks ahead of Biden, said what the “extremists who roamed these halls targeted” last year when was not only an attack on the lives of elected leaders and the 2020 election.
“What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting. were the institution’s the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend,” she said.
The vice president, who was at the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6 last year, reflected on what she called “the dual nature of democracy: its fragility and its strength.”
“The strength of democracy is the rule of law,” she said. “And the fragility of democracy is this. That if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter and fail.”
She ended her remarks with a call to pass Democrats voting rights bills in the Senate as restrictive voting laws are enacted across the country.
“But we, the American people, must also do something more. We cannot sit on the sidelines. We must unite in defense of our democracy,” she said.
Jan 06, 9:16 am
Biden arrives at the Capitol
Arriving on Capitol Hill, reporters asked the president ahead of his remarks how he was feeling heading into the day.
The president, flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, appeared to respond, “Praying that we will never have a day like we had a year ago today.”
Notably, he did not respond when asked if he held Trump personally responsible for the attack.
The three walked towards Statuary Hall, which rioters stormed through one year ago.
Jan 06, 9:02 am
Excerpts from Biden’s prepared remarks on Jan. 6
To mark one year since a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed through the Capitol — including Statuary Hall where Biden will soon speak — and attempted to breach the House chamber in an attempt to undo the 2020 election, in his remarks this morning, Biden will say that Americans are facing a moment when “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? 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?” Biden will say according to speech excerpts released by the White House.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it,” the excerpt read.
While Biden is not expected to mention the former president by name, the White House said he will lay out the “singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw.”
Upon Biden’s arrival to the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer greeted him. The pair flanked the president as they walked towards Statuary Hall.
Jan 06, 8:46 am
Fortified fencing, massive force, not part of anniversary scene
Armored military vehicles, concertina wire atop non-scalable fencing and the massive show of force that fortified Capitol Hill in the aftermath of the violent attack on democracy last Jan. 6 are not defining Thursday’s anniversary.
The security posture in Washington, by comparison, appears fairly ordinary. The temporary fencing that ringed the Capitol for more than six months, and again briefly for a September demonstration has not returned, though that could change quickly if conditions warrant, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas in a recent interview.
In a briefing Tuesday, Manger said his office was aware of several events planned for the day but that “most of them aren’t of much concern to us.”
“There’s no intelligence that indicates that there would be any problems,” he said.
Jan 06, 8:30 am
By the numbers: DOJ investigates Jan. 6
At least 704 accused rioters have been charged by the Department of Justice, according to an ABC News count. At least 172 have pleaded guilty to their changes.
The FBI is still seeking 350 individuals believed to have committed violent acts on the Capitol grounds, according to the DOJ, including over 250 who assaulted police officers.
-ABC News’ Olivia Rubin, Alexander Mallin and Will Steakin
Jan 06, 8:06 am
Capitol Police union praises officers’ ‘dedication and commitment’
The union representing United States Capitol Police officers praised the “dedication and commitment” of those who protected the Capitol building one year ago.
“Today, we recognize the dedication and commitment to mission of the men and women who put their own lives and safety on the line to defend the U.S. Capitol,” Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the union, said in a statement Thursday. “We especially pay tribute to Officer Sicknick who died after being injured during the rioting, and to Officer Liebengood who tragically took his own life after the attack.”
According to Papathanasiou, 80 Capitol Police officers sustained injuries that day, with some so serious they are still not back at work. He said members of the force remain “committed to our mission,” but that comes with an increase in officers as well as improved intelligence and communications between officers and leadership.
Papathanasiou noted that the legacy of Jan. 6 — from a policing perspective — should be a police force that is better prepared, with an eye toward readiness if an attack of such scale ever occurred again.
“Going forward, this Union will work with the Department to ensure those sacrifices will not be in vain,” he added. “We must ensure that the events of January 6th are never repeated.”
-ABC News’ Luke Barr
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