Was the Capitol attack a coup, insurrection, or domestic terrorism?

Was the Capitol attack a coup, insurrection, or domestic terrorism?


As federal prosecutors bring an array of criminal charges against dozens of people who carried out a gruesome attack on the nation’s capital last week, one question remains: Was it terrorism, insurrection, or a coup — and does it matter?

Lawmakers in both parties have emerged in the days since the attack to deem it “domestic terrorism,” including President-elect Joe Biden, who said the supporters of President Trump who overtook the U.S. Capitol were a “riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.” National security experts agree — the rioters achieved a smattering of all three.

Domestic terrorism is defined by the U.S. government as “acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appearing to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping; and

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