Just one week ago, members of the 117th Congress took the oath of office. Raising our right hands, we swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I took this oath two years ago, as well, and cited it when I voted to impeach the president the first time, following the Mueller report. This week, I’ll vote to impeach the president a second time, following the rampage he organized.
This past November, we held a free and fair election. Due to record turnout, President-Elect Biden won by a significant margin. Rather than concede with grace, President Trump began spreading propaganda—baseless lies—that the election was rigged, that votes were stolen, and that he won by a landslide. This movement was either actively supported, or at best ignored, by Republicans who were elected on the same ballot.
On Jan. 6, this propaganda campaign climaxed to an all-out assault on our democracy when the President of the United States instructed a violent mob to attack government buildings and officials. Doors and windows were smashed, lawlessness and chaos took over, and in what felt like an instant, my colleagues and I became victims of domestic terrorism under the dome of what we thought was one of the securest and most symbolic buildings in the world.
But the truth is, it wasn’t an instant. This wasn’t a peaceful protest that happened to spiral out of control. What unfolded was the result of a disturbing trend that had been brewing and growing, without scrutiny and without consequence, for the last few years.
There is no question that the attack on the Capitol was harrowing. To see a place so sacred and meaningful defiled and disrespected is extremely heartbreaking. Yet, what’s even more devastating, and downright disturbing, is the attitude that we should simply gloss over the attempted coup from last week to find unity amidst the wreckage.
We are at an impasse. We simply cannot move forward from here without holding the President and his party accountable for their actions, or lack thereof. The only way to overcome the division is for Republicans to finally recognize and call out the MAGA cause for what it is: a movement entrenched in white supremacy, in entitlement, and in loyalty to one man, rather than country. For too long, Republicans have either been complicit in the face of this President or have dutifully fallen in line with him. So they, too, are responsible for the pillage that occurred.
President Donald Trump met with top military officials and gave his approval to activate the D.C. National Guard three days before he encouraged a mob of angry protesters to take their grievances to the U.S. Capitol.
A Pentagon memo released Friday offers these insights, as well as the first detailed timeline of the bungled law enforcement response to Wednesday’s insurrection.
The timeline shows that the planning started at least as far back as Dec. 31 and included discussion with select Cabinet members of the potential need for Pentagon reinforcements.
But it also leaves many questions unanswered, including why the U.S. Capitol Police declined repeated offers of assistance from military officials and the full extent of how much Trump knew about the security planning or was involved in decision-making.
The memo, first reported on by NBC News on Friday evening, presents a limited account of the days before the insurrection, and reports have questioned the completeness of the Pentagon’s version of events and the effectiveness of its planning and response. But the memo may well provide a partial roadmap as legislators call for an investigation into how pro-Trump protesters breached the Capitol in a riot that left five people dead, including one Capitol Hill police officer. Three officials who supervise the force have already submitted resignations.
Here’s what we know so far, and what we don’t.