Threats that will outlast Donald Trump exposed in siege of Capitol: The Note

Until Wednesday, there seemed to be little cost to Republicans indulging Trump.

January 7, 2021, 5:11 PM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

It was bad, unspeakably and unfathomably so -- utter lawlessness and disorder, carnage in the seat of American government, happening with the seeming encouragement of the outgoing president.

It could have been worse. It might still get there, even with President Donald Trump's statement Thursday morning pledging "there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

Until Wednesday's siege, when a mob of extremists engaged in an attempted insurrection and violent occupation of the Capitol, there seemed to be little cost to some Republicans in indulging Trump's conspiracy theories, lies and fantasies.

Police officers stand guard as supporters of President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
Leah Millis/Reuters

That fiction was exposed by Wednesday's horror. The trauma of the day saw seemingly sincere concerns about election security melt away, amid a newfound bipartisan resolve to finish final certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Now, there's something approaching bipartisan unity in disgust for Trump's behavior through the post-election period. Denunciations and even some resignations are flowing in more steadily after Tuesday's Georgia runoff losses and Wednesday's repulsive events.

"Remember this day," Trump tweeted Wednesday. He will surely get that wish.

Even aside from impeachment and 25th Amendment talk, Trump will be an ex-president in 13 days. The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part.

Cleaning up the movement he commands, or getting rid of what he represents to so many Americans, is going to be something else.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Back in June, President Donald Trump tweeted that he wanted anyone who "vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property" to face punishment up to "10 years in prison."

Of course, then he was threatening those in the streets protesting police violence and racial inequities with whom he disagreed. Instead, on Wednesday, as a sitting president, he justified the behavior of rioters and domestic terrorists who violently stormed the halls of Congress as if trying to incite a civil war.

This wasn't just any federal property, this was the Capitol -- the most famous and important symbol of democracy in the world.

A man shouts as supporters of President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
Leah Millis/Reuters

Will there be justice now?

Wednesday's chaos came to an end, but our federal government's ability to function was threatened for hours.

He told rioters to go home, but also reportedly delayed allowing the national guard to help to end a siege of the U.S. Capitol.

Chatsen Buttigieg, the husband of Pete Buttigieg, Biden's Transportation secretary nominee, wrote on Twitter Wednesday, "White privilege is violently storming the US Capitol and just ... being sent home."

We don't know how many arrests will be made in the end, or who has been charged, but it's shocking arrests were in the dozens as of 10:30 p.m. and not the hundreds.

The nation will need to process the events of Wednesday for weeks and years to come, but a part of the many layers of healing will be a demonstration that those those involved in an insurrection face justice, an acknowledgment that we police Americans unevenly in this country and a commitment to try to fix that.

The TIP with Quinn Scanlan

Election Day turnout for Georgia's dual runoffs surpassed 1.3 million -- higher than officials predicted and higher than it was on Nov. 3.

Going into Tuesday, the conventional wisdom was that high turnout was good for Republicans, who needed to make up ground due to early voting that favored Democrats. That conventional wisdom was wrong. Despite the high turnout, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff came out on top.

Democratic candidates for Senate Jon Ossoff, left, and Raphael Warnock bump elbows on stage during a rally with President-elect Joe Biden outside Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, Jan. 4, 2021.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

While the GOP, led by the president, was busy spreading conspiracy theories about nonexistent election fraud and convincing their own voters that Georgia's elections were "rigged" against them, the Democrats were busy mobilizing their supporters, registering new voters and implementing in-person canvassing efforts they didn't have ahead of the general election.

It's hard to compare the results of the Warnock-Loeffler race to Nov. 3, when 20 candidates were competing in a "jungle primary" style matchup, but the results of Democrats' work -- and the likely impact of the president's incessant focus on contesting an election he legitimately lost -- is clear from the results of the Ossoff-Perdue race. In the runoff, with vote still outstanding, Ossoff's leading by a 35,000-vote margin -- three times greater than Biden's was over Trump in November.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's special edition of "Start Here" will examine the fallout from Wednesday's storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.


  • President-elect Joe Biden will deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will meet with transition advisers.
  • The Republican National Committee continues its winter meeting in Amelia Island, Florida.

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