Independent commission to investigate Capitol riots

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image captionNancy Pelosi says more funding is needed to secure Congress

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will establish an "outside, independent" commission to investigate the 6 January attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump.

In a letter to lawmakers, she said the commission would be modelled on the inquiry into the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

"We must get to the truth of how this happened," she said.

Former President Trump was acquitted by the Senate of inciting the violence.

But Democrats and some Republicans have backed an independent investigation into the riots, which left five people dead.

Mrs Pelosi said that retired US Army Lt Gen Russel Honoré had, over the past few weeks, been assessing the security needs of the Capitol in light of the attack.

The commission, she said, "would investigate and report on the facts and causes" of the attack; "the interference with the peaceful transfer of power"; and the "preparedness and response" of both the Capitol police and other branches of law enforcement.

She also said that, based on Lt Gen Honoré's initial findings, Congress needed to allocate additional funding to "provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol".

A group of House Republicans wrote to Mrs Pelosi on Monday complaining that their party had not been consulted about the general's security review.

In the letter, they also demanded to know what Mrs Pelosi knew and the instructions she gave to secure the Capitol ahead of 6 January.

House Republican Adam Kinzinger, who called for Mr Trump's removal after the riots, was condemned by 11 members of his family in a handwritten letter, in which they said he was in cahoots with "the devil's army".

"Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!" they wrote to the Illinois representative, who was one of 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Mr Trump last month, denouncing his "horrible, rude accusations of President Trump", the New York Times reports.

"It is now most embarrassing to us that we are related to you," they said in the 8 January letter. "You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!"

media captionThe debate that led to Donald Trump’s acquittal

Mr Trump survived his second impeachment trial on Saturday, after Democrat prosecutors failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed to convict him. He is the only president to have faced the process twice.

The vote split largely along party lines, with seven Republicans joining the Senate's 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to convict.

The senior Republican in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell, had voted against conviction on constitutional grounds, but after the vote declared Mr Trump "responsible" for the assault on the Capitol.

"President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office," Mr McConnell told the chamber. "He didn't get away with anything yet."

Other Republicans have also expressed support for an independent inquiry into the riots, including a close ally of Mr Trump, Senator Lindsay Graham. He told Fox News Sunday that the former president bore some culpability.

"His behaviour after the election was over the top," he said. "We need a 9/11 commission to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again."

How the storming of the Capitol unfolded

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Trump rallies supporters

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Thousands of people gather at the Ellipse, near the White House, to hear the president speak at a “Save America” rally.

He tells them: “We‘re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue... and we're going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… our Republicans, the weak ones... the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

As the speech ends, crowds start to drift towards the Congress building, about a mile and a half away, where they are met by police barriers.

Clashes begin outside Capitol

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The Capitol is home to the two chambers of the US government that make up Congress - the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Chanting crowds start to gather on both sides of the building, grappling with police at the metal barricades.

Tear gas and pepper spray are used to try to keep the protesters at bay.

Crowds break police lines

Police officers struggle to maintain control of the situation as protesters advance on the building on multiple fronts.

On the east side, the crowd force their way through barricades on the Capitol Plaza and move on the main entrance, quickly gaining access to the Great Rotunda.

Once inside, they head for the House and Senate chambers.

Igor Bobic, a journalist for the Huffington Post, captures a group of men forcing a police officer to retreat up a set of stairs as they continue their advance.

Senators are forced to abandon the process of confirming President-elect Biden's victory and the building goes into lockdown.

The doors of the House chamber are locked and a makeshift barricade is erected in front of them. Security officials guard the entrance, guns drawn

Within an hour, protesters have also broken police lines on the west side of the Capitol, scaling walls to reach the building itself before smashing windows and forcing doors open.

Other videos and images show rioters storming through the building's ornately-decorated corridors and chambers chanting “USA!" and "Stop the steal”.

Shots fired

Gunshots are reportedly heard inside the building.

Photos and video footage later show a female protester being shot as she tries to break through the barricaded doors of the Speakers' Lobby.

Despite efforts by police and others at the scene to save her, she is later reported to have died.

On the other side of the building, protesters break into the Senate chamber, one taking seat in the Speaker's chair.

Another protester is photographed nearby sitting in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, with his foot on the table.

Building secured

After growing condemnation of the riots, President Trump eventually calls for calm, telling the protesters to leave peacefully: “Go home. We love you, you're very special.”

The building is cleared and made secure ahead of the 18:00 curfew ordered by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Several thousand National Guard troops, FBI agents and US Secret Service are deployed to help.

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More than six hours after the storming of the building, senators return and resume the day's business of certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

At 03:41 on Thursday morning, Congress confirms President-elect Joe Biden will succeed President Trump on 20 January.

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