One year later: Former staffer for Cicilline recalls what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6

US & World

WASHINGTON (WPRI) — It’s been one year since the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress working to confirm Joe Biden’s electoral college victory.

Rich Luchette was a staffer for ranking Democrat Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline and says he was monitoring the videos being posted on social media by supporters of then-President Donald Trump the night before, but felt confident he’d be safe.

“I remember having the thought to myself of let them try,” he said. “We have to go through metal detectors multiple times to get through the Capitol, there’s police everywhere.”

Not far from the Capitol that day, Trump was holding a rally as he and his supporters questioned the results of the election.

“And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said.

Shortly after, some of his supporters stormed the building making it all the way to the Senate floor, delaying the election certification until early the next morning.

“This was an angry mob who had come to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” Luchette said.

Luchette says he was about to get his first vaccine in the basement of the Rayburn Building when he heard the chaos starting to come through.

That’s when Luchette went back to Cicilline’s office where he says California Congressman Ted Lieu was also locked in there after having to evacuate his office due to what was believed to be a pipe bomb there.

(Story continues below video.)

“In my head, it felt like if I had left in that moment, to some extent, it would be allowing the insurrectionists to win, to leave our office and at the same time we had a job to do,” Luchette recalled.

He says Cicilline and Lieu spent the day in that office, writing a letter to the vice president, and an article of impeachment which was passed in the house a week later.

“This is not dissent, it’s disorder. It’s chaos,” Biden said.

Luchette says he has since left that job and has been frustrated over the past year watching the political fallout since that day.

“The most frustrating part is that these are all people who know what they’re doing, who are well educated, know the political process, they know better than what they’re doing, but they’ve made a craven political calculation to do what’s in their interests rather than what’s in the national interest,” Luchette explained.

Over the past 12 months, more than 700 people have been arrested for their alleged roles in the attack, and around 250 others are still wanted by the FBI.

Capitol Police Cheif Thomas Manger testified to a congressional committee Wednesday about what’s changed since that day.

“A blueprint for operational planning has been created and put into place for all significant events,” Manger said. “If January 6 taught us anything, it’s that preparation matters.”

On Friday, Capitol police will be looking to hire 280 new officers.

Biden plans to deliver a message to the American people on Thursday to speak about the importance of a peaceful transition of power.

Trump had planned a speech of his own, but canceled on Tuesday “in the light of the total bias and dishonestly of the January 6th Unselect Committee.”

Vigils are expected to be held at the Capitol on Thursday to remember the lives lost in the violence.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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