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Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle reflects on the Jan. 6 insurrection, one year later

Shafkat Anowar
Pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

On today’s episode of The Confluence: Congressman Mike Doyle reflects on last year's insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the following investigations and what it means for democracy.

A year later: Congressman Mike Doyle reflects on Jan. 6 insurrection

One year ago today, the country watched as a mob of ardent supporters of then-President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The crowd breached the building in an attempt to stop a joint session of Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.

U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, who represents the Pittsburgh area, was in Washington D.C. that day. As the dean of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation, Doyle says he would have given the opening defense of the state's electoral votes, which were expected to be challenged by Republican lawmakers. Doyle was waiting in his office to be called to the Capitol building.

According to Doyle, his office had a clear view of the Capitol as events unfolded. He remembers what first struck him at the time was just how close the crowd was to the steps.

"Normally, when we have a crowd, whether it's protesters or whatever, they're fenced off, just past the end of the parking lot into the grassy area around the Capitol," he says. "But for some reason, this group was up close, and the fencing was this small four-foot bicycle fencing that certainly isn't much of a deterrent if you're aiming to get in."

Doyle was ordered to shelter-in-place in his office as the violence escalated and there were reports that bombs were plantedin various areas around the Capitol. Doyle remembers being in disbelief at what he saw broadcast on the news.

"People were scaling the walls. People were throwing things at the police officers. It's something I never thought I'd see in the United States Capitol," he said. "[It's] something that doesn't register with you right away because it's not based on anything that you could imagine would ever happen."

It would take several hours for law enforcement to clear rioters from the Capitol and secure the interior of the building. Once the session resumed, Doyle says the Pennsylvania delegation was called to the floor to address the challenge to Pennsylvania's electoral college results. The challenge to the state's votes was ultimately rejected by the House.

Doyle says he wants to get to the bottom of what happened that day. He says the American public deserves to know what led to the attack to prevent it from happening again. He also says he's optimistic that the country will overcome what happened that day.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 725 people were arrested over the last year in connection to the Jan. 6 riot.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

JC Larsen contributed to today’s Confluence episode 

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