Today marks one year since the deadly Capitol insurrection

By Maureen Chowdhury, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:46 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022
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12:10 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

GOP Rep. Cheney: "Critically important" Trump never gets close to the Oval Office again

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)
(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)

Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney says her party should not allow former President Trump to gain the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.

"Look, what we saw him do after the election, what we saw him do on the 6th, are absolutely disqualifying," Cheney told CNN's Jake Tapper.

As Tapper noted that Trump would be a Republican frontrunner should he choose to run, Cheney further detailed why she feels the former president isn't fit to again become America's commander-in-chief.

"When you have somebody who has demonstrated his lack of fidelity to the Constitution, someone who is at war with the rule of law, you cannot entrust that person with the power of the presidency ever again," she said.

Almost a full year since Trump left office, Cheney says it's vital he doesn't earn a second term.

"I think it's critically important for the republic that he not be anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again," she said.

Cheney also talked about the state of the Republican party. “We’re certainly in a very dangerous place as a party. I think that right now we have a cult of personality. We have too many people in the party who have decided to embrace the former president.”

 “Right now my party is not embracing truth, is not embracing substance and seriousness,” she said.

CNN's Ryan Nobles contributed reporting to this post.

10:27 p.m. ET, January 6, 2022

Rep. Raskin on decision to go to the Capitol the day of riot, despite losing his son the week earlier 

(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)
(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, walked into the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021 with the purpose of certifying the 2020 election results despite losing his son a week earlier.

Raskin told CNN's Anderson Cooper during tonight's special that his sense of duty is what gave him the strength to come into the Capitol building for the election certification.

"It was surreal, there's no doubt about that. I felt Tommy very much in my heart, in my chest. And like I told Tabitha and her big sister Hannah and Hank, the whole family, I just said, 'It's a constitutional duty, the Constitution says we have to be there that first Wednesday in January in order to count the electoral college votes.' And as you know, it was a surly political environment, and we had a very narrow majority at that point. And Covid-19 was running rampant...and people who were getting sick. And I just said, 'Hey, we live closer to the Capitol than any other member of Congress other than Eleanor Holmes Norton who is a nonvoting delegate,' I said, 'I got to be down there'," Raskin said.

Raskin's daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank Kronick, accompanied him to the Capitol to offer support and then the unthinkable happened, a mob of rioters breached the building and set off hours of chaos.

Raskin's daughter and son-in-law took refuge in Rep. Steny Hoyer's Capitol office. Raskin was separated from them for about an hour while he evacuated with his colleagues to the House side.

"It was about an hour later when finally the officers said that it was secure enough to come in to try to get them out of Steny's Capitol office. And so they came back, and you can imagine the sense of relief I felt. And it was very emotional, when they came back, " Raskin said. "And then I was working to get them home because we were planning on being here most of the night, as we were, because all of us were adamant that we were going to see the electoral college vote certified. We were not going to leave until that happened. And so when we finally figured a way for them to get back home, I was giving them hugs and kisses and saying goodbye, and I said to Tabitha, 'I promise it will never be like this again when you come back to the Capitol.' And she just looked at me, I'll never forget it, and she said, 'Dad, I don't want to come back to the Capitol,'" Raskin recounted.

More context: Asked about how he managed to keep his composure and continue to fight for the election to be certified, Raskin told CNN's Jake Tapper on Jan. 17, 2021: "I'm not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021."

Raskin went on to become the lead impeachment manager weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and is now a member of the House Jan. 6 select committee investigating the riot.

12:13 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Cheney on fellow Republicans downplaying the Capitol riot: "That’s how democracies die"

(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)
(Sarah Silbiger for CNN)

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is the vice chair of the House Jan. 6 select committee, said that her fellow GOP colleagues who are downplaying the gravity of the Capitol riot are "failing to live up to their oath of office."

When asked by CNN's Jake Tapper what she would say to them, Cheney told him:

"I say that's how democracies die. That if you have members of political parties who ignore an attack, we've never before been in a situation where the President himself provoked a violent assault on this Capitol building. And when you sit here in Statuary Hall night, you realize how sacred this place is. Any American who would enable or look the other way or dismiss what happened or refuse to do their duty to get to the bottom of it, I think is failing to live up to their oath of office and to their duties as a citizen of this great nation."

12:14 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Scarf that congresswoman carried on the day of the insurrection featured voting card of enslaved ancestor 

Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester displays a scarf featuring the voting card that belonged to her "great-great-great-grandfather" who was enslaved.
Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester displays a scarf featuring the voting card that belonged to her "great-great-great-grandfather" who was enslaved. (Sarah Silbiger for CNN)

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat from Delaware, discussed the significance of the scarf that she carried with her on the day she was sworn in and on Jan. 6, 2021, which features the voting card that belonged to her "great-great-great-grandfather" who was enslaved.

Rochester said that her sister "found a record of the returns of qualified voters and Reconstruction oath." That record was from 1867, Rochester added.

"At the bottom is an 'X.' Our great-great-great-grandfather, who was a slave, marked this 'X; to have the right to vote," Rochester said about the record replicated on the scarf. "I carried it on the day I was sworn in as my proof that we've been through slavery, we've been through Reconstruction, we've been through Jim Crow. And I carry it as my inspiration of what is left to do. We can't give up. We cannot give up. And we will not give up."

12:15 a.m. ET, January 7, 2022

Rep. Liz Cheney says her father visited the House today to "pay his respects"

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney walk through the US Capitol on Thursday.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney walk through the US Capitol on Thursday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee investigating Jan. 6 and one of its two Republican members, spoke about why her father Dick Cheney felt moved to visit the House earlier today on the one-year anniversary of the US Capitol riot.

Former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter were the only two Republicans on the House floor during a remembrance of the riot.

"Well, he has such tremendous love for the institution of the House. And obviously, it's something that we've shared. And he's also been so troubled watching what's unfolded, certainly watching the attack last year. And he really wanted to be here today. He wanted to be here to pay his respects. He wanted to be here to commemorate the grave nature of what happened. And really to help to remind people of the ongoing threat," Liz Cheney told CNN during its special.

The Jan. 6 committee has been investigating the attack and the events leading up to it since earlier this year. Much of the committee's work to this point has taken place behind closed doors, and an interim report on its findings is not expected until the summer.

9:24 p.m. ET, January 6, 2022

Police officer says doorway he stood in front of to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6 still isn't reinforced

US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, left, speaks to CNN's Jake Tapper alongside DC Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges.
US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, left, speaks to CNN's Jake Tapper alongside DC Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges. (Sarah Silbiger for CNN)

US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell said that there's still "a lot of work to do" to physically secure and reinforce the US Capitol, expressing frustration over areas that have not been addressed.

"We still have a lot of work to do. I hope that this — the planning, the logistics of protecting the Capitol improve or has improved, but there are things that have not," Gonell told CNN during its special.

Gonell discussed how the door that he defended at the US Capitol is still not reinforced and said that measures like that could help boost morale among police officers.

"I just walked, this morning, from the same entrance where I almost lost my life and them as well, and the only thing that has changed is the glass on the door. The door has still not been reinforced. I wish they had, it's been almost a year now. I think a lot of officers, if they see a lot of reinforcement of the building, that will give them a lot of sense of protection a lot of things will improve and that will help with morale, it will help with retaining officers as well," Gonell said.

9:49 p.m. ET, January 6, 2022

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester: I "saw the guns and I realized I don't have anything to protect me but God"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

One year since the riot on the US Capitol, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat from Delaware, remembers how quickly the focus of the day shifted as the violence erupted.

"I was in that gallery... we volunteered to go up there to witness the peaceful transfer of power, to witness the certification of this presidency," Blunt Rochester began, before noting the inexplicable change of focus.

"When it all broke out, I just remember, [thinking] figure it out, how do we get out of here, how do you open this, how do you get around this room," she said.

Blunt Rochester remembers ultimately feeling defenseless, having only her faith to lean on.

"By the time we made it through, all the way to the other side of the chamber, I looked down and saw the guns, and I realized I don't have anything to protect me but God," she said.

Growing emotional while sharing her story with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Blunt Rochester revealed that her moment of faith was shared by others even outside of Washington.

"People around the country have said to me, 'When you got down on your knees and prayed, we got down on our knees.' Families across the country," she said.

Aside from the physical danger of that day, Blunt Rochester is also quick to reflect upon the political and national significance of the riot.

"We just don't want people to forget how close we came to losing our democracy. If a number of us had died, we wouldn't have been able to go back in and vote to certify that election," noted the lawmaker. "That's how serious it was."

9:18 p.m. ET, January 6, 2022

Rep. Jason Crow calls the events of Jan. 6 surreal and something he's "processing to this day"

(CNN)
(CNN)

The last thing Rep. Jason Crow expected on Jan. 6, 2021, was to step back into his prior life as a US Army Ranger, he told CNN one year after the US Capitol was stormed by insurrectionists.

Crow, a Colorado Democrat, said "that's a life I thought I had left behind a long time ago."

"I was a different person then, that was before I was a father, before I was a member of Congress. You have a certain mindset, you have a certain mentality when you're doing that work, going to war time and time again. I had moved past that," Crow added. "And on Jan. 6 of last year, a lot of that came back to me. In my prior life, integrated with my present life. I didn't quite know how to handle that. It's still something I'm processing to this day. It was a very surreal feeling. At the same time, I'm glad that I had some of that skill set to draw upon because I just took my emotion, put it in a box and set it aside and I created a mental checklist."

Crow was famously pictured crouched down comforting Rep. Susan Wild, a Pennsylvania Democrat, while taking cover as rioters entered the Capitol a year ago.

9:26 p.m. ET, January 6, 2022

Officer at Capitol riot: "It was because of politics Jan. 6 happened"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

(CNN)
(CNN)

One year after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn said Thursday that no one can deny that “January 6 was political.”

“How can you say that we're making it political?” Dunn said during a CNN special. “The whole incident of Jan. 6, the insurrection, was political, and it was politically motivated. Politics wasn't inflicted in it during the investigation. It was because of politics that Jan. 6 happened.”

Last year, Dunn and his fellow officers met with members of Congress to garner support for an independent commission to investigate the attack on the US Capitol, but the House bill was blocked in the Senate by Republicans. The House went on to create a select committee to investigate the events surrounding the riot.