Fact-Checking 4 Claims From Biden’s, Harris’ Jan. 6 Speeches

Marking the one-year anniversary of the assault on the Capitol, President Joe Biden repeatedly called his predecessor, Donald Trump, a “defeated” former president who “can’t accept he lost” and referred to him as a “self-seeking autocrat.” 

Ahead of the president’s remarks, Vice President Kamala Harris compared the Jan. 6, 2021 riot—in which hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election—to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Biden and Harris delivered their remarks in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning, to mark the year since the shocking event that led to Trump’s second impeachment on a charge of “incitement to insurrection.” 

The president and vice-president made big statements along the journey. Below is an analysis of four of these claims. 

1) ‘Most Significant Test’ Since Civil War

Biden stated that the riot was a threat to democracy. 

“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole—since the Civil War. The Confederates, back then, never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6,” he said.

“I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”

Some rioters carriedConfederate battle flags were brought into the Capitol Jan. 6, but the flag was not allowed to fly in the Capitol during the Civil War that raged between 1861 and 1865. Biden was correct in stating that Confederate soldiers never breached the Capitol with the Confederate battle emblem. 

As for being a comparable threat, that’s more questionable. After the Southern slaveholding states tried to seize control of the United States and create a separate country, the Civil War was born. 

The Confederate States of America was a fledgling republic that raised its own military and waged an armed rebellion that lasted four years and claimed more than 200 lives. 600,000 troops. 

2) Dec. 7, September 11, and January 6

Harris placed Jan. 6 in league of days that will live forever in infamy. 

“Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault,” Harris said. “Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory: Dec. 7, 1941; Sept. 11, 2001; and Jan. 6, 2021.” 

December 1941 saw the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 2,403 Americans. Terrorist attack on World Trade Center and Pentagon in September 2001, which resulted to the deaths of many people in rural Pennsylvania 2,997 Americans.  

Two people died from violence on Jan. 6, 2021, according to reports. Based on a death toll, seven others died indirectly due to the events of the day. published this weekThe New York Times 

Rioter Ashli BabbittA Capitol Police officer fatally shot her as she tried to break through a door. Another rioter was reportedly attacked by fellow rioters. 

Others died from natural causes or by suicide. However, the stress of the violence and commotion could have contributed to their deaths. There were approximately 140 policeAccording to reports, they were among those who were hurt in the rioting.

Brian Sicknick of Capitol Police, originally believed to have died in an attack, is actually alive. died of natural causes. But the stress from the day’s events could have prompted his strokes. 

Two rioters also succumbed to natural causes, and four police officers who were protecting the Capitol on that day committed suicide.

3) ‘Defeated Former President’

Throughout his speech, Biden did not refer to Trump by name, but continuously blamed the riot on “a former president.”

“He’s not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election,” Biden said. 

Trump continues to claim that the election was neither free nor just. 

While other critics did not question the outcome, they raised concerns about large scale mail-in voting and private money from Mark Zuckerberg that was used to fund election administration. These funds were primarily located in heavily Democratic-leaning regions with the potential for influencing the outcome.

In the nationwide popular vote, Biden received 81,268,924 votes to Trump’s 74,216,154—a margin of 7,052,770 votes. 

Several state audits affirmed Biden’s victory in battleground states, most notably the Maricopa County, Arizona, forensic audit of votes, which actually added to Biden’s tally. 

A Washington Post analysis found that flipping less than 5% of the time. 43,000 votes across three states–Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin–could have changed the election outcome by creating an Electoral College tie and sending the race to the House of Representatives. 

4) ‘Armed Insurrection’

In a bid to ensure the events of a year ago weren’t shrugged off, Biden insisted, “This wasn’t a group of tourists. This was an armed insurrection.”

Trump has said there were “no guns whatsoever.”

Whether the rioters were armed has been disputed, and that’s perhaps based on a definition of “armed.” Several were carrying pepper sprayor bear spray, and wielding flagpoles like clubs in attacking law enforcement officers 

Meanwhile, at least three rioters were charged with having firearms “on Capitol grounds” or stashed nearby, meaning not necessarily inside the Capitol, the Austin American-Statesman reported. 

All things considered, federal prosecutors have yet to indict any of the rioters for insurrection. 

The term “insurrection” has a legal definition and a dictionary definition that don’t correlate with what occurred on Jan. 6, Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, a former assistant attorney general, wrote this week in The Wall Street Journal

He said that most of those arrested were charged with violating the 18 U.S.C. 371, which makes it a crime “to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.” That includes civil disorder, disorderly conduct, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, destruction of government property, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

“[N]Only one defendant is being charged with insurrection according to 18 U.S.C. 2383,” Shapiro wrote. “That’s because insurrection is a legal term with specific elements. Because they are completely different crimes, no prosecutor would dare mislead negligent homicide or manslaughter as murder. Media [have] no legal or moral basis to do otherwise.”

He continued: “The events of Jan. 6 also fail to meet the dictionary definition of ‘insurrection,’ which Merriam-Webster defines as “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” A usage note adds that the term implies “an armed uprising that quickly fails or succeeds.” 

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