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Jan. 6 anniversary: U.S. to mark 1 year since deadly Capitol riot with solemn remembrances

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The United States on Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6, 2021, when a violent mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election — an attack that left multiple people dead, scores of police officers injured and a democracy shaken to its core.

The same Capitol building will be the backdrop for a series of solemn events commemorating the deadly insurrection. In the morning, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver remarks from the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. At noon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make a statement and hold a moment of silence on the floor of the House chamber. Members of Congress, who were forced to evacuate the Capitol that day, will give testimonials in the afternoon. In the early evening, lawmakers will gather outside on the steps of the Capitol for a bicameral prayer vigil.

“These events are intended as an observance of reflection, remembrance and recommitment, in a spirit of unity, patriotism and prayerfulness,” Pelosi said in a statement released by her office.

Yet they come at a time when Americans are deeply divided — over politics, the pandemic and, well, just about everything.

Supporters of President Trump at the Capitol.
Trump supporters storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released this week, three-quarters of Trump voters (75 percent) falsely believe the 2020 election was “rigged and stolen” from him. (Just 9 percent think Biden “won fair and square” — down from 13 percent in January 2021.)

But perhaps more troubling is what Biden and Trump voters do agree on: According to the poll, 88 percent of the former and 89 percent of the latter say they are “worried about the future of U.S. democracy.” And a full 6 in 10 (60 percent) of the 1,537 U.S. adults Yahoo and YouGov polled believe an attack like the one that happened a year ago could happen again.

That fear is driven mostly by the false accusations of fraud being peddled by Trump. According to the survey, 75 percent of Trump voters believe his fabrication that there was enough fraud “to influence the outcome” of the 2020 election.

The former president had planned to mark the anniversary with a press conference at Mar-a-Lago, where he was expected to assail the bipartisan select committee that Pelosi formed to investigate the siege. But Trump canceled the event, saying he would discuss topics related to the probe at a rally in Arizona later this month.

Former President Donald Trump.
Then-President Donald Trump speaks at a rally near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Five people died in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into the House chamber, and a Capitol Police officer who died from a stroke one day after being pepper-sprayed during the riot. More than 140 other police officers were injured defending the Capitol; four have since taken their own lives.

According to the FBI, more than 725 people have been criminally charged in connection with the riot, which occurred after a rally during which Trump repeated false election fraud claims and told supporters they needed to “fight like hell.”

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The rioters got within two doors of Vice President Mike Pence's office. See how in this 3D explainer from Yahoo Immersive.

In recent interviews, Trump has taken his Sharpie to that reality, calling his rally speech “calming,” the attack on the Capitol a “protest” and Biden’s election as the real “insurrection.”

“It was a protest,” Trump told Fox News host Laura Ingraham last month. “The insurrection took place on Nov. 3, which was Election Day. This was a protest, and a lot of innocent people are being hurt. A lot of innocent people are being injured.”

The former president’s repeated attempts to whitewash one of the darkest days in American history appear to be working, at least among his faithful. According to the Yahoo News/YouGov poll, more than twice as many Trump voters now say the events of Jan. 6 were justified (23 percent) as said the same immediately after the siege itself (11 percent).

Trump also told Ingraham he has “nothing to hide” from the Jan. 6 committee, even as his lawyers have appealed to the Supreme Court in an attempt to block the panel from obtaining a vast swath of White House documents relating to its investigation. (Federal judges have rejected Trump’s claims of executive privilege.)

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The select committee has issued more than 100 subpoenas to people, businesses or entities, including for the phone records of former Trump officials and his associates. It has heard from nearly 300 witnesses and obtained over 30,000 pages of records to date.

This week, the committee said it would like to speak with former Vice President Mike Pence — who resisted Trump’s public pressure to upend Congress’s certification of the election — and Fox News host Sean Hannity, one of Trump’s closest media allies, about his communications with the former president and ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preside over a joint session of Congress.
After the riot, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preside over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 electoral vote. (Erin Schaff /Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

And it is planning a series of public hearings — some potentially during primetime — to determine whether the Jan. 6 attack was planned.

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the committee, would not say whether the panel has uncovered evidence that the president and his allies were involved in planning the insurrection.

“Let me say that what we have been able to ascertain is that we came perilously close to losing our democracy,” he said.

Remembering the chaos at the Capitol in pictures

Trump supporters at a rally.
Trump supporters at a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (John Minchillo/AP)
Trump supporters gather around a noose near the Capitol.
Trump supporters gather around a noose near the Capitol. (Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
U.S. Capitol police officers and demonstrators.
Capitol Police officers scuffle with demonstrators after they breach security fencing outside the Capitol. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Protesters clash with Capitol Police.
Protesters clash with Capitol Police. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Trump supporters take over the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Trump supporters take over the steps of the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol.
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol. (John Minchillo/AP)
A mob of Trump supporters at the Capitol.
A mob of Trump supporters storm the Capitol building. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
Rioters clash with police at an entrance to the Capitol.
Rioters trying to enter the Capitol building clash with police. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces.
Trump supporters trying to storm the Capitol clash with security forces. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
Rioters use a big ladder to try to force their way into the Capitol.
Rioters use a ladder to try to force their way into the Capitol building. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Riot police push back a crowd of Trump supporters.
Riot police push back a crowd of Trump supporters. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)
Police clash with Trump supporters inside the Capitol.
Police clash with Trump supporters who breached security and entered the Capitol building. (Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Members evacuate the House chamber.
Members evacuate the House chamber as rioters disrupt a joint session of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Jacob Chansley and others confront Capitol Police.
Jacob Chansley, center, and others confront Capitol Police outside the Senate chamber. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Capitol Police officers aim their guns as a pro-Trump mob tries to break into the House chamber.
Capitol Police officers aim their guns as the mob tries to break into the House chamber. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, in blue shirt, talks to one of the rioters. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Rep. Jason Crow comforts Rep. Susan Wild.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover as protesters disrupt the joint session of Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Lawmakers evacuate the floor of the House chamber.
Lawmakers evacuate the floor as rioters try to break into the House chamber. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
People shelter in the House gallery.
People shelter in the House gallery as rioters try to break into the House chamber. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Ann Kuster.
Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Ann Kuster, D-N.H., center, take cover in the House chamber. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Kevin Seefried carries a Confederate flag.
Kevin Seefried carries a Confederate flag on the second floor of the Capitol. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)
Eric Gavelek Munchel and his mother, Lisa Marie Eisenhart.
Eric Gavelek Munchel and his mother, Lisa Marie Eisenhart, in the Senate chamber. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Christine Priola shows her phone to a fellow protester.
Christine Priola shows her phone to a fellow protester in the Senate chamber. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
A Trump supporter poses with a statue.
A Trump supporter poses with a statue of President Gerald Ford in the Capitol Rotunda. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Jacob Chansley yells inside the Senate chamber.
Chansley yells inside the Senate chamber. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Adam Johnson carries the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Adam Johnson carries the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi through the Capitol. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Trump supporter Richard Barnett.
Richard Barnett inside the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
Capitol Police hold rioters at gunpoint.
Capitol Police hold rioters at gunpoint near the House chamber. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
An explosion at the Capitol caused by a police munition.
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
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