A Year After The Assault On The Capitol, What Biden Will Say About Trump

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(CNN) – US President Joe Biden will commemorate the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 insurrection with a speech Thursday morning focusing on the “unique responsibility” of former President Donald Trump in the assault on the Capitol, according to the White House.

In Washington, a year ago, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building after a rally by the then president at La Elipse in front of the White House, where he cast doubt on the results of the 2020 presidential election.

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The events of the day led to a second impeachment trial against Trump by the House of Representatives. The insurrection kicked off the largest investigation in FBI history, with 700 people arrested and hundreds more offenders still at large. And a select House committee continues to investigate the events that led to the riots. Two Trump allies, Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon, have been convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with commission investigators after being subpoenaed.

A series of events hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take place on Capitol Hill following Biden’s speech to mark the January 6 anniversary, including a moment of silence at the House floor and Legislators’ testimonies about the heartbreaking attack.

During his speech in the National Statues Hall inside the Capitol building, Biden is expected to “explain the importance of what happened on Capitol Hill and the unique responsibility that President Trump has for the chaos and carnage we saw.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday during her press conference.

United States President Joe Biden.

In a preview of the president’s remarks, Psaki said that Biden will also “reject the lie spread by the former president and the attempt to deceive the American people and his own supporters, as well as to distract attention from his role and what happened.” .

The events of the insurrection occurred just two weeks before Biden’s inauguration, casting a shadow over the new president’s administration. And despite the large number of court cases thrown out, failed state election audits, and countless discredited conspiracy claims, many Trump supporters continue to doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s presidency.

Speaking of that violent day, which left five deaths, the president is expected to address “the importance of history, of the peaceful transfer of power,” as well as what the United States needs “to protect our own democracy and look to the future. “.

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Biden will speak about the “silence and complacency” among Republican lawmakers since Jan. 6, as well as the right to vote, Psaki said, noting that Trump “abused his office, undermined the Constitution and ignored his oath to the American people. in an effort to accumulate more power for himself and his allies. “

Vice President Kamala Harris is also expected to deliver remarks on the anniversary of the insurrection on Thursday.

Harris is expected to say “that the insurrection was not just an assault on our Capitol, but an assault on our freedom and values,” according to a White House official.

“The Vice President will stress that the American experiment is being tested and that we must work to guarantee voting rights, ensure free and fair elections, and safeguard our democracy for generations to come. She will also honor the brave men and women of law enforcement, who fought to defend our democracy, protected the Capitol and saved the lives of the people who were there, “the official said in a statement.

While Trump was expected to hold a press conference scheduled for the anniversary of the insurrection, it was abruptly canceled. His allies had warned that he would cause unnecessary trouble for the Republicans and himself.

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In lieu of his press conference Thursday, Trump is expected to voice his grievances at a campaign-style rally in Arizona next week.

Legislators and historians will commemorate the anniversary of the assault on the Capitol

In late December, Pelosi announced a list of events on Capitol Hill to mark the anniversary of the deadly attack.

In a letter to Democrats, Pelosi wrote that the events “are intended to be a celebration of reflection, remembrance, and commitment, in a spirit of unity, patriotism, and prayer.”

At noon, there will be a prayer and a moment of silence in the plenary session of the House of Representatives. This will be followed by a conversation with historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham. Pelosi’s letter said the discussion will serve “to establish and preserve the narrative of January 6.”

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Legislators will then have time to provide testimonials to “share their thoughts for the day.” Colorado Democratic Rep. Jason Crow will lead the testimonies. Crow was one of the lawmakers caught inside the chamber during the attack and was photographed bending over to help a colleague who appeared to be in danger.

“Trauma, any trauma, affects everyone,” Crow, a former army ranger, told CNN shortly after the attack. “No one is immune to it and everyone responds differently.”

Later, a vigil will be held on the central steps of the Capitol where legislators from the House of Representatives and the Senate will be able to participate.

While Congressional Democrats organized a full day of events to draw attention to what happened during the insurrection, Republicans, by contrast, seem reluctant to speak out about it and especially reluctant to address Trump’s role.

In a letter to House Republicans earlier in the new year, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy briefly mentioned the January 6 anniversary, but not the former president.

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“The actions that day were illegal and as bad as they can be. Our Capitol must never be compromised and those who violated the law deserve to face legal repercussions and full responsibility,” he wrote.

McCarthy then went on to criticize the Democrats.

“Unfortunately, a year later, the majority party seems no closer to answering the central question of how the Capitol was so caught off guard and what must be done to ensure it never happens again. Instead, they are using it as a political weapon. partisan to further divide our country, “he said.

Republican leaders will not be on Capitol Hill Thursday because the House of Representatives is out of session and several Republican senators are heading to Georgia to attend a memorial service for the late Senator Johnny Isakson.

CNN’s Phil Mattingly, Melanie Zanona and Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.

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