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What happened when during the Jan. 6 insurrection? Here's a timeline of events

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

This week marks one year since the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. We will have conversations throughout the week about the significance of that event. But for now, we're going to revisit the events of that day. What happened when?

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

OK, let's set the scene. January 6 was a Wednesday. A joint session of Congress was set to convene in the U.S. Capitol to certify Joe Biden's electoral vote win. And thousands of Trump supporters are gathering near the White House to hear him speak at noon.

CHANG: Tensions are high on Capitol Hill, with protesters swarming lawmakers outside. Here's one exchange with Senator Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, at around 11:30 a.m.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TODD YOUNG: I share your conviction that President Trump should remain president. I share that conviction.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Yes. Yes.

YOUNG: But the law matters.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: It doesn't matter with the Democrats.

YOUNG: I took an oath under God.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Doesn't matter with the Democrats.

YOUNG: Under God I took an oath. Do we still take that seriously in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: I do. I do.

KELLY: At noon, Trump takes the stage for his speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 45th president of the United States of America...

KELLY: He tells the crowd to, quote, "never give up; never concede." And he calls on Vice President Pence as president of the Senate to reject Joe Biden's win and send the votes back to the states.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: And, Mike Pence, I hope you're going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you're not, I'm going to be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now.

CHANG: Meanwhile, Trump supporters start gathering around both the Arkansas and Idaho state Capitols. And in D.C., even before Trump ends his speech, crowds from his rally start to gather outside the Capitol.

KELLY: At around the same time, Vice President Pence releases a letter calling his role largely ceremonial, essentially saying he will not do as Trump wishes. He says, quote, "my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not."

CHANG: Then, at 1 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: No, no, no.

CHANG: ...The initial wave of protesters storm the outer police barrier around the Capitol.

KELLY: At 1:05 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NANCY PELOSI: Let's go. Let's just start.

(SOUNDBITE OF GAVEL STRIKING)

KELLY: ...Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calls the joint session of Congress to order.

CHANG: Shortly after that, Trump ends his speech...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: And we're going to the Capitol...

CHANG: ...Urging his supporters to go to the Capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: ...Try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.

CHANG: We should note, Trump returns to the White House. He does not go to the Capitol.

KELLY: About two minutes later in the congressional vote, Republican Paul Gosar rises.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE PENCE: ...Gentleman for Arizona rise?

PAUL GOSAR: I rise both for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots from Arizona.

KELLY: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas joins him in that objection...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: The two houses will withdraw from joint session.

KELLY: ...Leading the House and Senate to split to deliberate the objection in separate parts of the Capitol building.

CHANG: At the same time, in Michigan, hundreds rally in front of the state Capitol, which had been stormed less than a year earlier during protests against COVID restrictions.

KELLY: And here in D.C., a large portion of the crowd from Trump's speech begins to march towards the U.S. Capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.

CHANG: At 1:30 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Oh. Meanwhile, up on the steps of the back side of the Capitol, we're seeing protesters overcome the police. The police are now running back into the Capitol building. We have cheers from the protesters that are watching behind the scenes. This is incredible.

CHANG: ...A mob breaks through the final police barricades on the steps of the Capitol.

KELLY: Inside the building, both the House and Senate are proceeding, seemingly unaware of what's going on outside. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell takes the Senate floor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MITCH MCCONNELL: The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.

CHANG: Around the same time, suspicious packages later confirmed to be pipe bombs are found at the RNC and DNC headquarters in D.C. Nearby buildings are evacuated.

KELLY: Shortly after 2 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASS SHATTERING)

KELLY: ...Protesters break the windows of the Capitol building and climb in, opening doors so others can follow.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: We're in. We're in. Let's go.

CHANG: At 2:20 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMES LANKFORD: I have some colleagues...

CHANG: ...Senator James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, is debating on the Senate floor when he's interrupted.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #7: The Senate will stand in recess until the call of the chair.

LANKFORD: We'll pause.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #8: Protesters are in the building.

LANKFORD: Thank you.

CHANG: The building goes into lockdown. At around the same time, Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman leads rioters away from the Senate chamber, saving the Senate from a very close call.

KELLY: At 2:24 p.m., Trump tweets, Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution. Trump goes on to tweet more baseless claims about a fraudulent election.

CHANG: At 2:38 p.m., Trump tweets again, calling for support of the Capitol Police and law enforcement and urging people to, quote, "stay peaceful."

KELLY: But at that moment, inside the Capitol, the riot is unfolding. Representative Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, tweets this video from where he is sheltering in the House chamber.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PETER WELCH: We were just told that there has been tear gas in the rotunda, and we're been instructed to each of us get a gas mask that are under our seats.

CHANG: Elsewhere in the country, protesters gather - at the Louisiana and Florida state Capitols and the Ohio Statehouse. Several other state Capitols are evacuated out of caution.

KELLY: At 3:11 p.m., Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican from Wisconsin, tweets a video while sheltering in his office, saying that this is the cost of telling people they could overturn the election.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MIKE GALLAGHER: Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off. The election is over.

CHANG: Around the same time, a swarm of rioters overwhelms Capitol Police trying to guard the speaker's lobby, where lawmakers are sheltering. They break windows and try to force their way in.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #9: There's a gun. There's a gun. There's a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #10: He's got a gun.

CHANG: Ashli Babbitt is shot by a Capitol Police officer as she attempts to climb through the doors.

KELLY: Simultaneously, Trump tweets, asking everyone to remain peaceful. Notably, he does not take back any of his claims about election fraud.

CHANG: At 3:36 p.m., more than two hours after protesters first breached the Capitol grounds, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweets that Trump has ordered the National Guard to the Capitol. Meanwhile, Trump supporters are gathering in Sacramento, Austin, Denver and Minneapolis. Denver closes its city offices early, and so does the Texas Capitol.

KELLY: At 4 p.m...

CHANG: From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage.

KELLY: Remember this, Ailsa?

CHANG: Yeah.

KELLY: The two of us kick off NPR's Special Coverage, starting with NPR's Tom Bowman, who was outside the Capitol, where it is clear the siege is still very much underway.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: I could see clouds of tear gas coming out, some crashes inside the building. Protesters are throwing bottles and cans at the police, pushing in.

CHANG: And while we're talking to Tom...

KELLY: Tom, this is Mary Louise. I'm going to cut you off just for a second because we have Joe Biden. He's just stepped up to speak live. Let's listen.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: ...Assault on the citadel of liberty.

CHANG: President-elect Joe Biden addresses the nation.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.

KELLY: But President Trump does not go on national television.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I know your pain. I know your hurt.

KELLY: Instead, at 4:17 p.m., he tweets this video talking directly to his supporters inside the Capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.

KELLY: We love you. You're very special. At that same time, Maryland and Virginia send National Guard and state troopers to D.C.

CHANG: In the next hour, protesters in Arizona pound on state Capitol doors and break a window. A demonstration in Salem, Ore., turns violent.

KELLY: Shortly before 6 p.m., almost five hours after the rioting began, police begin to clear the Capitol, and eventually the interior is secured.

CHANG: At 6:00, a curfew goes into effect for D.C.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #11: During the curfew, no one is allowed to be outside in public places.

CHANG: And at 6:01 p.m., Trump tweets again. Quote, "these are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously and viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly and unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love and in peace. Remember this day forever."

KELLY: At 7:54 p.m., the RNC condemns the violence from the day.

CHANG: And at just after 8:00...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.

CHANG: ...Vice President Pence reopens the Senate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: Let's get back to work.

CHANG: And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell makes a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCCONNELL: The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats.

CHANG: The debate over the objection to counting Arizona's ballots continues more than six hours after it began.

KELLY: And around 9 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PELOSI: We always knew that this responsibility would take us into the night, and we will stay as long as it takes. Our purpose will be accomplished.

KELLY: ...Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings the House back into session.

CHANG: And at 11:32 p.m...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: The joint session of Congress to count the electoral vote will resume.

CHANG: ...The House and Senate come back together, and the vote that began at 1:00 p.m. on that day continues.

KELLY: And finally, 3:42 a.m. on January 7...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: The votes for president of the United States are as follows. Joseph R. Biden Jr...

KELLY: ...Vice President Pence calls a majority of the Electoral College votes for Joe Biden...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PENCE: The announcement of the state of the vote by the president of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States.

KELLY: ...And officially affirms the election results certifying Biden as the 46th president.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHILIP GLASS' "OPENING") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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