One year ago, a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election of Joseph Biden as president.

It remains a low point in our nation’s history, a day that should remind every citizen that our democratic republic could falter if we do not fight for it. In real time, we saw angry men and women storm the Capitol, members of Congress being rushed to safety, a delay in certifying the presidential election and police officers pummeled as they tried to stem the rabble.

A year later, much remains unanswered about the assault.

Because of the work of the bipartisan congressional Jan. 6 commission, we do know the former president and his top supporters had a plan to keep him in office despite his loss at the ballot box. The Jan. 6 mob was theater, noise, designed to create a cover for a plot to stop the peaceful transfer of power from one elected president to the next.

The plot was this: Call into question legitimate election results, refuse to concede, stop the certification of votes, persuade Republican-led state legislatures to overturn the count and send new electors to choose a different winner.

The goal was simple: Keep Donald Trump in power no matter the cost.

A year later, the American people still haven’t quite processed how close the country came to abandoning its democratic tradition. There was no peaceful transfer of power, a norm so accepted we had come to take it for granted. More appalling, a sizable minority of the country believes the violence was justified because Biden won through cheating — a lie so pernicious it is unclear it can be erased in the minds of some citizens.

A University of Massachusetts at Amherst poll taken in December found 71 percent of Republicans view the Biden victory as illegitimate and defend the violence of Jan. 6.

Key to these voters’ skepticism is the continuing refusal of elected Republican officials to endorse the results of the last election. By their words and actions, GOP leaders have undermined faith in the electoral process.

That was something Trump pushed in the hours after the November 2020 election and continues to this day. He has claimed fraud, filed lawsuits, threatened state election officials and otherwise meddled to ensure his followers would not accept Biden’s election. He pressured Vice President Mike Pence to overturn certification of the election. Pence, despite wanting to please Trump, managed to refuse the pressure and perform his constitutional duty.

While the Jan. 6 commission continues its work, the Department of Justice also is investigating, looking at more than the rioters of Jan. 6. Investigators want to hold accountable the masterminds of this seditious event.

Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke Wednesday in advance of the one-year anniversary, promising that, “The Justice Department remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”

To the critics who complain that the Justice Department case has not moved fast enough, consider the numbers. More than 700 arrests have been made, 14,000 hours of video collected, more than 160 people already have pleaded guilty — and hundreds more cases are making their way through the system.

Of course, it is not just the rioters who must face consequences for the activities on Jan. 6. The Justice Department must show it can bring the masterminds behind the riots to answer for their crimes — if Garland cannot do that, he will be judged a failure.

The riot, after all, was the end result of manipulation from the highest leaders in the land. That includes Jan. 6, 2021, when Trump spoke at an incendiary rally at the White House Ellipse, promising to meet his supporters at the Capitol. He never showed up, but they did, attempting to stop the certification of the presidential election through violence.

A year later, the American people still await answers to the many questions about that day. More than that, they need their own resolve and fortitude to ensure this 245-plus-year experiment in government of the people, by the people and for the people, will not perish. The rioters lost on Jan. 6, 2021. Now the people of the United States must ensure that loss is enduring.

(24) comments

Sabine Strohem

@Emily. NO "the dems" did NOT burn and loot most of our inner cities, and attacked cops and precincts for 2 years". Shame on you. The comparison is STUPID. Every time MAGA brings it up, sane people shake our heads and roll our eyes. FFS.

Emily Koyama

FFS, where were you, sitting in a mountaintop monastery in Tibet? Good grief.

Mike Johnson

Here are some fun ways to celebrate our newest national holiday: Enjoy!

Khal Spencer

This is not the first election whose results were questioned. Kennedy defeated Nixon by 0.17% of the vote and there were questions about the key states of TX and IL, where LBJ and Mayor Daley might have had their thumbs on the scales. Of course many of us remember Bush v Gore, where the SCOTUS finally stopped the counting. In both of those cases, the winners and losers were gracious enough to put the national interest before self aggrandizement; the power of the presidency was passed on peacefully. Nixon and Gore didn't try to use...unconventional reverse the results. Eisenhower and Clinton didn't try to cling to power. Mobs did not descend on Congress. Bruised ego and anger, sure. Nothing wrong with that.

In the 2021 election, numerous courts, many presided over by judges appointed by a Republican, rejected challenges to the vote count. Several key states did recount over recount. The results stood.

One can assert that in no election on earth do we have absolute, 100.000% confidence that every single vote that was cast was counted correctly or that everyone who wanted to vote got to the polls. What we had in the past was confidence that whatever happened, the nation would soldier on (frankly, I thank Ralph Nader for the Florida, 2000 debacle) and confidence that regardless of whether our candidate won or lost (and my presidential choice was grandly thumped in 1972 and 1984), we could more or less come together afterwards and work the levers of power. Or as the Buffalo Bills often had to say, "wait till next year".

Sadly, that is not happening today.

Jim Klukkert

Khal Spencer– While of course, for the 2000 election it was at least partly that " SCOTUS finally stopped the counting." It bears mentioning that it was the Brook Brothers riot, substantially by Republican Congressional staffers who flew down from D.C. to assault the vote count at the Miami-Dade voting center, that physically stopped the most important recount in the country. And might we note the important role that Florida Republicans Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Governor Jeb Bush played in that debacle.

Perhaps we should be thankful that Republicans only conspire to violently overthrow the American experiment in Democracy about once every 2 decades. Though with more prep on the state level, who knows what R's will pull off in 2022 and 2024?

Khal Spencer

Easy to blame lawyers. Heck, hence those jokes about "what do you call 1,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean...."

But those were lawyers working the system, not something more reminiscent of the street brawls in Weimar Germany.

If the left side of Florida had been thinking, I suspect most of those 80k votes that went for Nader would have comfortably put Gore over the top. Politics is messy. One has to be looking at the long haul, not that "Gore is just Republican-Lite". Why do you think my wife and I both showed up with clothespins on our noses in 2016 to vote for Hillary? I didn't trust Hillary to represent me, but I didn't trust Trump to be President.

I have a very good friend in Toronto who was deeply involved in the 2015 PM election where Justin Trudeau beat Stephen Harper. What they did was convince enough of those on the left that beating Harper was important enough to get as many on the left as possible to suck it up and support Trudeau. It worked. If the American left had been as organized, perhaps we would have seen a President Gore. Harper was to the Left in Canada what Reagan was to the left in the States.

I think my friends the Canadians (I was raised in the shadow of the Peace Bridge) are just better at this:

Mike Johnson

I don't look good in clothespins, so I voted for no one in 2016 for President. And I don't regret it at all.

Khal Spencer

Yeah, the Brooks Bros Riot. Bad enough, but nothing compared to 6 Jan. I was more concerned with all the legal machinations.

It is also rather amusing to blame the lawyers or Suit-Rioters for an election that swung on a few hundred votes either way (I suspect one can always wonder what the final count might have been and all the other weird stuff that happened--Mayor Daley must have been jealous) out of six million cast. Fact is, Florida was a dead heat. I think any liberal or progressive in Florida who voted for Nader must have been kicking him or herself when George Bush was sworn in. 80k votes mattered.

Mike Johnson

True Khal, and the aftermath of the 2016 election was not exactly harmonious. Hillary conceded quickly, but what followed was that 33% of her supporters believed Trump was illegally elected and was an illegitimate President, echoed by the likes of John Lewis and others who boycotted the inauguration and engaged in massive "resist" rallies around the country wearing funny hats. 3 years later Hillary still said Trump was illegitimate. And of course. there was a special counsel, an investigation, and a long and drawn out impeachment which ended with acquittal and proof the Russians didn't steal the election. However surveys still show a sizable portion of Democrats still believe that Big Lie. Yes, today's situation is bad, but not without precedent, now wait for the midterms if the Ds lose big, you may not have seen nothing yet.....

Khal Spencer

Yep. I recall the protests on 2017 Inauguration Day. The pink hats. The anger. Hillary's protests, echoed by her supporters, that the election had been stolen from her.

Hillary's problem, as Michael Moore so clearly pointed out in his essay of why Trump would win, included, among other things, that she considered herself the anointed one rather than busting her hump to win the election. You don't win elections with white papers and analysis groups. You win it with those old hearts and minds. Hillary was as much of a stump politician as I am a particle physicist. Not to mention, if anyone was ever "Republican Lite" and in bed with the Wall Street high rollers, it was HRC.

Mike Johnson

This article has a good graph showing the % of the opposition party that believes the Big Lie of the elected President being illegitimately elected has been........nothing new here since 2000........

Emily Koyama

I stand by my comments. First, if you have been paying attention, Mr Klukkert, I have never condoned or supported the actions of the Jan 6th fact, I have supported efforts to track them down and prosecute them.

Nor have I downplayed the injuries to the Officers there that day. However, it is quite obvious that the Democrats, and their supporters want to get as much political mileage out of the events of that day as possible, which clearly translates into gaining, or maintaining, political power.

The Officers across the country who have been seriously injured, or in many cases, assassinated, due in much part to the anti-police sentiment drummed up by BLM and others ("pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon") might have something to say about your downplaying of the riots and destruction across the country over a two year period.

As for the "armed insurrection" that you and others repeatedly push? That is an insult to all real insurrectionists, justified or not. Considering the dozens of heavily armed militias in the US, if those groups had banded together and organized a real coup attempt, the outcome would have been much bloodier on Jan 6th.

Fortunately, it was a few hundred idiots with flagpole and fire extinguishers, who SHOULD NOT have got the upper hand on a poorly prepared, undermanned protection force.

Emily Koyama

Yes, Mike.... really the only difference is the Dems and their black-clad foot soldiers didn't attack the Capitol... They just burned and looted most of our inner cities,and attacked cops and precincts for 2 years.

The typical left wing media and hardcore left commenters here conveniently forget all that while they regurgitate January 6th ad nauseum, for political gain.

Jim Klukkert

Emily Koyama – those who engaged in protests across this country following the state sanctioned murder of Mr. George Floyd, did not attack the electoral process that is so central to our Democracy. At no point did any of the protests rise to the level of threatening our way of government.

That you, Ms. Koyama, cannot see the difference, should giveany partisan of Democracy, great pause.

Having read that sort of denial, it is no surprise that you show little compassion for our Law Enforcement Officers who stood at the barricades, and suffered both physical and Emily Koyama – those who engaged in protests across this country following the state sanctioned murder of Mr. George Floyd, did not attack the electoral process that is so central to our Democracy. At no point did any of the protests rise to the level of threatening our way of government.

That you, Ms. Koyama, cannot see the difference, should give any partisan of Democracy, great pause.

Having read that sort of denial, it is no surprise that you show little compassion for our Law Enforcement Officers who stood at the barricades, and suffered both physical and 'invisible' injuries whilst defending our Capitol.

Jim Klukkert


Emily Koyama – those who engaged in protests across this country following the state sanctioned murder of Mr. George Floyd, did not attack the electoral process that is so central to our Democracy. At no point, did any of the protests rise to the level of actually physically threatening our way of government.

The attack of 6 January 2021, clearly coordinated between the highest level of the Trump cabal and Alt-Right militias in the streets, got all too close to shutting down the count of Electoral Votes, which would have thrown the election to a Republican controlled Congress. The result of an election in which each state has but one vote, might well have stolen a victory for Trump.

That you, Ms. Koyama, cannot see that difference, should give any partisan of Democracy, great pause.

Having read that sort of denial, it is no surprise that you show little compassion for our Law Enforcement Officers who stood at the barricades, and suffered both physical and 'invisible' injuries whilst defending our Capitol.

Your snark has metastasized to wild distortion and delusion, not surprising for a conservative, but sad to see among our fellow citizenry.

Emily Koyama

Oooooo- I'm so skeeered.

Joe Brownrigg

To the contrary, the Russians were NOT exonerated.

The the Dems did not attack the Capitol and attempt to overthrow the election and the government.

Mike Johnson

"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not find sufficient evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the United States’ 2016 election and did not take a clear position on whether Trump obstructed justice."

Emily Koyama

Mueller's findings and testimony were such a let down for the left. Many had to up their depression and anxiety med dosages, and take time off work, with daily grief sessions....I think they're latching onto this obviously partisan Jan 6th Commission/Inquisition in the hopes that they get a do-over.

Sabine Strohem

Traitors, one and all. Today's KOAT news named 5 New Mexico traitors. I hope they keep reminding us who among us is a traitor who tried to overturn a lawful election.

Mike Johnson

Were they charged with sedition? Or treason? I think they all had misdemeanor charges.

Sabine Strohem

I guess we will see when Garland is done. You can't claim to know, since it's not over. I am using the OED definition of traitor. "a person who betrays a friend, country, principle, etc." They betrayed our nation and its principles.

Mike Johnson

If I used your definition of "traitor" I could include every elected politician who claims to represent me. And 701 people have been charged so far, I doubt many are left to be charged. You can look at each one if you like:.....

Sabine Strohem

@mike. you do you.

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