Saturday, May 21

More divided than ever, the United States prepares to commemorate the assault on Capitol Hill

The Capitol, seat of the US Congress, under the snow, January 4, 2021 in Washington OLIVIER DOULIERY

The Democratic power tries to reassure on the solidity of the institutions, while the republican opposition shuns the commemorations: a deeply divided America will mark, Thursday, the assault given on January 6, 2021 against the Capitol.

Federal Justice Minister Merrick Garland is due to provide an update Wednesday on the criminal investigation against supporters of the former Republican president who, by the thousands, tried a year ago to prevent US parliamentarians from certifying the election of Joe Biden.

US federal police now believe at least 2,000 people were involved, including 225 accused of committing violence.

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, who took office after the attack, testified Wednesday before a Senate committee.

“January 6 brought to light very significant operational failures,” he admits in the written version of his testimony, posted online by the Senate. “These issues need to be addressed, and this is what we are doing.”

On the side of the Capitol police as well as the federal government, the objective is therefore to reassure, to show that the American institutions have learned the lessons of the violent clashes with the police and of this incredible intrusion of supporters of Donald Trump. , who paraded in the corridors and even in the offices of parliamentarians.

But when he will speak Thursday with Vice-President Kamala Harris, in the very precincts of the Capitol, President Joe Biden will also recall that American democracy remains fragile.

“He will talk about the work that remains to be done to ensure and strengthen our democracy and our institutions, to reject the hatred and lies that we saw on January 6, to unite the country,” his spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. .

“January 6 was not the thoughtless and spontaneous action of a violent crowd. It was an attempt to violently overturn the outcome of a free and fair election. January 6 still exist, “Senate Democrat boss Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday.

“If we do not tackle the roots of this violence, this insurgency will not remain an aberration, it will become the norm,” he warned.

– Volte-face de Trump –

Former President Donald Trump has certainly made an about-face: he gave up giving a press conference on Thursday since his luxurious retirement from Florida, an initiative seen as a provocation among the Democrats, and which visibly embarrassed his Republican supporters.

But the irascible billionaire did not soften his point. In a statement Tuesday, he protested again against the “fraud” which he said, and without him providing any proof, tainted the last presidential election. “The crime of the century!” writes Donald Trump, whom his Democratic opponent has beaten by seven million votes.

Republicans, over whom the former president retains immense influence, have generally chosen to keep a low profile.

In a message dated January 2, their leader in the House of Representatives – which, along with the Senate, makes up the US Congress – admittedly wrote that “the actions of that day (of January 6) were illegal”.

But Kevin McCarthy also criticizes the Democratic camp, which he says is using the events of January 6 “as a partisan weapon to divide the country”.

Mitch McConnell, a tenor of the Republican camp and the leader of the Conservatives in the Senate, has already indicated that he will not be present Thursday during the commemorations organized in Washington. He will attend the funeral of a former US senator in Atlanta, in the southern United States.

Far from the steps of the Capitol, where members of the Senate and the House of Representatives are invited to gather together Thursday, at 22:30 GMT.

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