A mob of pro-Trump extremists breach the Capitol during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 election results in Washington, on Jan. 6.
Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty Images
January 6, 2021 9:47 PM EST

A mob whipped up by the President stormed police lines, smashed windows and broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to block lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory. The violent scene, which called to mind images of coups in foreign lands, was a culmination of two months of “Stop the Steal” rallies, fueled by Donald Trump’s baseless allegations that widespread voter fraud had cost him the election. The President has repeatedly incited his supporters to challenge the peaceful transfer of power, the essential marker of democracy.

Two hours before the assault on the Capitol, Trump had vowed that he would “never concede,” and urged them to pressure Republican lawmakers “to take back our country.” When he finished, a crowd chanting, “Storm the Capitol!” proceeded to the iconic building, overwhelmed police and flooded inside. Inside the House Chamber, police officers shoved furniture to barricade the doors as Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers scrambled to evacuate. In the Senate, intruders dressed in everything from full body armor to a horned Viking cap posed for photos at the rostrum, fists raised. A red MAGA hat was planted on the head of a bronze statue of former President Gerald Ford in the Rotunda and a Trump flag placed in his hand. Shots were heard and a woman reported killed. As it all unfolded, control of the upper chamber moved from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party as, 600 miles to the south, civil servants and citizen volunteers continued to faithfully tally ballots.

—Vera Bergengruen, with reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Julia Zorthian

Capitol police officers point their guns at a barricaded door as pro-Trump rioters attempt to break into the House Chamber.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images
U.S. Capitol Police detain pro-Trump rioters outside of the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the Capitol Building.
Joseph Prezioso—AFP/Getty Images
A rioter climbs the walls of the U.S. Capitol after President Trump encouraged a rally audience to pressure Republican lawmakers on Jan. 6.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME
A Capitol police officer confronts a Trump supporter scrambling into the Capitol through a smashed window.
Kevin Dietsch—Pool/Reuters
Rioters climb the walls of the U.S. Capitol after President Trump encouraged a rally audience to pressure Republican lawmakers.
Stephanie Keith—Reuters
Lawmakers and staff shelter as protesters besiege the House Chamber.
Andrew Harnik—AP
Pro-Trump rioters clash with police before gaining entry to the U.S. Capitol following an inflammatory speech by President Trump on Jan. 6.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME
Members of Congress run for cover as pro-Trump rioters try to enter the House Chamber.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images
Capitol police officers take position as a pro-Trump mob attempts to enter the Capitol Building.
Joel Marklund—Reuters
People shelter in the House gallery as pro-Trump rioters try to break into the House Chamber.
Andrew Harnik—AP
A note left in the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi inside the Capitol.
Saul Loeb—AFP/Getty Images
People put on gas masks while sheltering in the House Chamber.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images
Supporters of President Trump gather outside the Capitol.
Olivier Douliery—AFP/Getty Images
Papers and other materials litter the House Chamber after it was evacuated.
Andrew Harnik—AP
An injured pro-Trump supporters outside the Capitol building after clashes with police and security forces in Washington D.C., on Jan. 6.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME
Members of the National Guard assist police officers in dispersing the mob of Trump supporters who were gathering at the Capitol.
Tasos Katopodis—Getty Images
A flag hangs between broken windows after supporters of President Donald Trump tried to break through police barriers outside the Capitol on Jan 6.
John Minchillo—AP
Police stand guard at the U.S. Capitol following riots on Jan. 6.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME

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