Answering the questions surrounding the Capitol raid


Tyler Merbler

The U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob of pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6.

Caroline Lobel and Aditi Lappathi

A mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, where Congress was meeting for the electoral vote certification to finalize current President Joe Biden’s victory. This article will answer many of the burning questions surrounding this insurrection.

What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6?

Trump-supporting rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the electoral vote count of the 2020 presidential election. They marched to the Capitol following a speech by then-President Trump. The rioters broke through barricades, with some let through by police, to get to the Capitol steps. They stormed the Capitol from all sides and entered the building at around 2 p.m. through doors and broken windows. At around 2:11 p.m., the Senate was called into recess because of the rioters in the building. It is unknown whether Congress was aware of the rioters before this moment. Some members of Congress were able to evacuate, while other members stayed trapped inside the chambers. The riot lasted for three hours after that point until the Capitol was deemed secure by the sergeant-at-arms. 

Trump-supporting rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the electoral vote count of the 2020 presidential election.

Who exactly stormed the Capitol?

The rioters were pro-Trump, who traveled from all over the country to attend Trump’s rally at Washington D.C., who then went to storm the Capitol. Many of the Trump supporters were also QAnon conspiracy supporters, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Many flags of different countries were flown at the Capitol during the riots, including but not limited to the defunct South Vietnam flag, the Indian flag and the Irish Brigade flag. Many far-right hate symbols were displayed by the rioters as well. 

Who were the victims?

This storming left five dead — Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt and Trump loyalists Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland and Benjamin Philips. Congress members were physically unharmed and resumed the certification of the electoral votes later that day.

Why did Trump, and other Republicans, get their social media taken away?

They were banned for spreading misinformation and hate speech, specifically the incitement of violence.

Is taking away social media unconstitutional?

To put it simply, no. Because free speech is a seemingly-guaranteed right under American democracy, the first half of the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law” — is often overlooked. These social media bans are not unconstitutional because this isn’t Congress’ doing, but rather private companies that are not entitled to protecting free speech. While it’s worthy to note the power Big Tech holds, they have every right to ban users who violate their terms of service.

Was this siege pre-planned?

Before the storming occurred, then-President Trump gave a speech near the White House to his supporters about preventing Congress’s acceptance of Joe Biden’s victory. While he did not explicitly tell his supporters to storm the Capitol, he told them to “stop the steal” and to “get your people to fight.” Following these allusions, he said, “Everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” There’s some speculation that this raid was planned prior to this speech.

What does “insurrection” mean?

This storming of the U.S. Capitol was by no means a peaceful protest, but rather an insurrection, a term that has been circulating around the media more than ever before. An insurrection is a violent uprising or rebellion against an established government.

Why did Trump get impeached again?

On Jan. 13, The House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach President Donald Trump on one count of inciting an insurrection. This action was bipartisan, which means that it crossed political party borders. All House Democrats and ten House Republicans voted yes for impeachment. This makes Trump the only president in U.S. history to have been impeached twice.

What are the results of his second impeachment?

Since the Senate trial regarding his second impeachment will occur after Biden’s Inauguration, Trump will be tried as a former president. Seeing as he’s already out of office, a conviction is necessary to prevent him from seeking re-election in later years and take away any post-presidential benefits.