(WASHINGTON) — Thursday marks one year since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and Democrats plan to observe the anniversary with somber tributes at the building that’s the symbol of American democracy.
The events in Washington will include a moment of silence, a panel discussion with historians, first-hand testimonies from lawmakers and a prayer vigil on the Capitol steps.
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are scheduled to make remarks at the Capitol where the White House says the president will address the “singular responsibility” former President Donald Trump had “for the chaos and carnage” witnessed and commemorate law enforcement officers who protected the lives of lawmakers last year. No Republican leaders are expected to attend the ceremonies.
ABC News Live will provide all-day coverage of Thursday’s events at the Capitol and examine the continuing fallout for American democracy one year since the Jan. 6 siege.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jan 06, 9:21 am
Harris ties ‘fragility of democracy’ to push for voting rights legislation
A somber Vice President Kamala Harris, in remarks ahead of Biden, said what the “extremists who roamed these halls targeted” last year when was not only an attack on the lives of elected leaders and the 2020 election.
“What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting. were the institution’s the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend,” she said.
The vice president, who was at the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6 last year, reflected on what she called “the dual nature of democracy: its fragility and its strength.”
“The strength of democracy is the rule of law,” she said. “And the fragility of democracy is this. That if we are not vigilant, if we do not defend it, democracy simply will not stand. It will falter and fail.”
She ended her remarks with a call to pass Democrats voting rights bills in the Senate as restrictive voting laws are enacted across the country.
“But we, the American people, must also do something more. We cannot sit on the sidelines. We must unite in defense of our democracy,” she said.
Jan 06, 9:16 am
Biden arrives at the Capitol
Arriving on Capitol Hill, reporters asked the president ahead of his remarks how he was feeling heading into the day.
The president, flanked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, appeared to respond, “Praying that we will never have a day like we had a year ago today.”
Notably, he did not respond when asked if he held Trump personally responsible for the attack.
The three walked towards Statuary Hall, which rioters stormed through one year ago.
Jan 06, 9:02 am
Excerpts from Biden’s prepared remarks on Jan. 6
To mark one year since a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed through the Capitol — including Statuary Hall where Biden will soon speak — and attempted to breach the House chamber in an attempt to undo the 2020 election, in his remarks this morning, Biden will say that Americans are facing a moment when “we must decide what kind of nation we are going to be.”
“Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people? Are we going to be a nation that lives not by the light of the truth but in the shadow of lies?” Biden will say according to speech excerpts released by the White House.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation. The way forward is to recognize the truth and to live by it,” the excerpt read.
While Biden is not expected to mention the former president by name, the White House said he will lay out the “singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw.”
Upon Biden’s arrival to the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer greeted him. The pair flanked the president as they walked towards Statuary Hall.
Jan 06, 8:46 am
Fortified fencing, massive force, not part of anniversary scene
Armored military vehicles, concertina wire atop non-scalable fencing and the massive show of force that fortified Capitol Hill in the aftermath of the violent attack on democracy last Jan. 6 are not defining Thursday’s anniversary.
The security posture in Washington, by comparison, appears fairly ordinary. The temporary fencing that ringed the Capitol for more than six months, and again briefly for a September demonstration has not returned, though that could change quickly if conditions warrant, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas in a recent interview.
In a briefing Tuesday, Manger said his office was aware of several events planned for the day but that “most of them aren’t of much concern to us.”
“There’s no intelligence that indicates that there would be any problems,” he said.
Jan 06, 8:30 am
By the numbers: DOJ investigates Jan. 6
At least 704 accused rioters have been charged by the Department of Justice, according to an ABC News count. At least 172 have pleaded guilty to their changes.
The FBI is still seeking 350 individuals believed to have committed violent acts on the Capitol grounds, according to the DOJ, including over 250 who assaulted police officers.
-ABC News’ Olivia Rubin, Alexander Mallin and Will Steakin
Jan 06, 8:06 am
Capitol Police union praises officers’ ‘dedication and commitment’
The union representing United States Capitol Police officers praised the “dedication and commitment” of those who protected the Capitol building one year ago.
“Today, we recognize the dedication and commitment to mission of the men and women who put their own lives and safety on the line to defend the U.S. Capitol,” Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the union, said in a statement Thursday. “We especially pay tribute to Officer Sicknick who died after being injured during the rioting, and to Officer Liebengood who tragically took his own life after the attack.”
According to Papathanasiou, 80 Capitol Police officers sustained injuries that day, with some so serious they are still not back at work. He said members of the force remain “committed to our mission,” but that comes with an increase in officers as well as improved intelligence and communications between officers and leadership.
Papathanasiou noted that the legacy of Jan. 6 — from a policing perspective — should be a police force that is better prepared, with an eye toward readiness if an attack of such scale ever occurred again.
“Going forward, this Union will work with the Department to ensure those sacrifices will not be in vain,” he added. “We must ensure that the events of January 6th are never repeated.”
-ABC News’ Luke Barr
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