President Joe Biden on Tuesday encouraged Americans to stand up to the “lies” that led to the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and called for a bipartisan effort to investigate what happened on Jan. 6.
“This was not dissent. It was disorder,” Biden said in a statement on the six-month anniversary of the attack. “It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive—a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.”
Biden went on to say that “democracy did prevail” despite the shocking event — where a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building during the counting of the Electoral College votes — and that “we must all continue the work to protect and preserve it.”
He also seemed to call for a continuation of efforts to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, encouraging people to “stand up to” the lies and extremism that led to it, “including determining what happened so that we can remember it and not bury it hoping we forget.”
“It requires all of us working together — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — on behalf of the common good to restore decency, honor, and respect for the rule of law,” Biden said in the statement. “And it impels our government — both the executive and legislative branches — to take the urgent steps needed to protect the fundamental right to vote.”
Efforts to investigate the insurrection have moved forward in recent weeks, with the House voting along party lines to create a select panel on the attack.
The road to launching an investigation has not been easy, though, with Democrats’ initial proposal to create a 9/11-style independent commission blocked by Senate Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then pivoted to pursue a select committee, which includes eight members chosen by Pelosi and five more that she’ll choose after consulting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Pelosi gave one of her seats to a Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has been a critic of Trump and other Republicans pursuing baseless assertions that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent.
But many Republicans are trying to steer clear of the investigation, which they see as turning into a partisan effort to attack Trump. McCarthy has yet to indicate which Republicans he will name to the panel.
Also marking the event’s six-month anniversary, the Department of Justice earlier Tuesday released new statistics on its investigation of the Capitol insurrection. More than 535 defendants have been arrested in nearly all 50 states in connection with the attack, and at least 165 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, according to the department’s news release.
Around six people have been arrested on a series of charges that relate to assaulting a member of the media or destroying their equipment, and almost 495 defendants have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, the release states.
“The Department of Justice’s resolve to hold accountable those who committed crimes on January 6th has not, and will not, wane,” the DOJ release said.
The FBI also released 11 new videos on Tuesday of suspects in violent assaults on federal officers during the attack, asking for the public’s help in identifying them.
“As we mark six months since the violence at our nation’s Capitol, we continue to encourage the public to send tips to the FBI,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “As we have seen with dozens of cases so far, the tips matter.”
Read more: politico.com