Every year our reporting partners at PolitFact determine which lie had the greatest impact this year. They’ve been doing a “lie of the year” since 2009 and this year it is the continuing effort to downplay the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
The readers of PolitiFact chose former President Trump’s claim that he won re-election in a landslide as the “lie of the year.” PolitiFact editors chose the lies downplaying the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The two stories work hand-in-hand as the attempt to stop America’s tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.
Shortly after 2 p.m. on January 6th supporters of then-President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. Inside, lawmakers temporarily stopped their count of the Electoral College votes electing current President Joe Biden.
The peaceful transfer of power was paused by thousands waving Trump banners.
Hundreds broke into offices, stole items and meandered through the chambers.
Some even wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence until around 4 p.m. when Trump asked his supporters to go home.
“Looking back at the scope of our democracy, this event will stand out,” Katie Sanders, Managing Editor of PolitiFact said.
Since then many Republicans have downplayed or lied about what millions of Americans saw on television.
Congressman Andrew Clyde said it was a “normal tourist visit.”
Some right-wing news outlets said the rioters were not Trump supporters but the left-ish anarchist group Antifa.
Tucker Carlson from Fox News made a documentary suggesting it was a “false flag” operation.
“The records seem kind of endless but yet you hear claims that Antifa was involved or that it wasn’t an armed insurrection, or there weren’t any weapons,” Sanders said. “And all these claims are countered by a huge body of evidence. That even makes this claim even more unbelievable.”
A bipartisan commission similar to the one formed after 9/11 was blocked by Republican leaders.
“It’s not at all clear what new facts of what another investigation could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Two Republicans ended up joining on to a Democrat-led commission which is still investigating and looking through the text messages, video recordings and public documents.
So far hundreds have been arrested.
“We noticed throughout the year that there were many influential pundits, Trump himself, and then elected leaders who were quick to backtrack from the events of that day,” Sanders said.
The Coup D’etat Project at the University of Illinois which studies similar events report what happened on January 6th an “attempted dissident coup.”
The investigations are expected to be a major story next year.