Investigations into the attack on the Capitol are still ongoing one year later.
Vermont Rep. Peter Welch was there when a mob attacked the the House Chambers on January 6, 2021. His account went viral as much of the country watched the events unfold. Looking back, Welch calls it a sad day and says the attacks on American democracy are not over.
“We’re not in a better space when it comes to democracy,” he said. “There’s very much a contest underway right now and my view is it’s an all hands on deck moment.”
Welch, who is running for Senate, points to the need for voter protection laws to preserve and defend the electoral system. “The elections are decided by voters, not by politicians, and if you lose an election, you accept the outcome and fight another day,” he said. “That’s what has guided us, that’s the glue that held us together so we can resolve these disputes in a society.”
He continues to blame former President Donald Trump for inciting rioters. A House Committee is investigating Trump’s role in the violence.
“Transparency, shining a light on this is going to allow us to move forward and heal,” said Jared Carter, a legal expert and professor at Vermont Law School. “That’s the only way we can come together, around a common set of facts.”
Carter says that there are two paths forward: a dark one in which political violence is accepted; or a brighter path where Americans recommit to strengthening trust in government. Carter believes the process won’t necessarily start at the top with prosecuting Trump, but those in his inner circle.
“There’s still debates over what information [House investigators] could have access to,” he said. “The former president has litigated both in the courts and the court of public opinion to stop that, but I think in the end we’re going to get enough information so the vast of Americans can access what happened.”