The precise sequence of events on Jan. 6, 2021 — the day that a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump’s stolen-election lies stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the presidential election — has emerged as one of the critical open questions about that day. Even before the rioters left the building, there were already conflicting reports about the sequence of events, who knew what, when they knew it, and what actions they took.
American Oversight has created a new timeline of the Capitol attack, compiling more than a dozen sets of emails, timelines, and call logs obtained from the key federal agencies involved in the response to the insurrection, including the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, as well as the National Guard, the Park Police, and the Secret Service. These records were acquired through nine Freedom of Information Act requests and four lawsuits filed over the course of 2021.
The records include handwritten call logs of acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen; eight pages of handwritten, minute-by-minute notes from the D.C. National Guard; and heavily redacted Secret Service emails documenting the movements of Vice President Mike Pence, among other files.
The timeline combines each of these records — along with details from public reporting and the Pentagon’s published timeline — into a single, comprehensive overview of the actions, phone calls, and updates that each agency documented and released relating to the events of Jan. 6.
As the congressional hearings get underway this week, the timeline offers a window into the chaos and confusion during and after the assault on the Capitol. As more details become available through those hearings, public reporting, and further document releases, the timeline will provide a reference for assessing new information, cross-checking testimony, and, ultimately, determining how the attack and response unfolded.
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