Allies of President Donald Trump now call those indicted in the Capitol Riot "political prisoner", a remarkable effort to rewrite the story of that tragic day.
The brazen rhetoric ahead of a rally planned for Saturday at the Capitol is the latest attempt to explain away the horrific assault and obscure what played out for all the world to see: rioters loyal to the then-president storming the building, battling police and trying to stop Congress from certifying the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
Heidi Beirich, cofounder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism and a researcher on extremist movements, said, "Some people are calling Jan.6 trutherism -- They're rewriting it to make it seem like Jan.6 was no big deal. It was a damn large deal and an attack upon our democracy."
The attempted whitewashing the Jan. 6 attack will only further divide a nation already divided. It is now drifting away from common facts and a shared commitment towards civic order to settling for a new normal.
Instead of healing eight months after the attack, the nation is in danger of falling apart as the next election approaches.
Although the expected crowd size and intensity of Saturday's rally are not known, law enforcement seems to be taking no chances. Security fencing has been requested around the Capitol and reinforcements are being summoned to back up the Capitol Police, whose leadership was criticized and summarily dismissed for its handling of Jan. 6.
While authorities have been bracing for a repeat appearance by right-wing extremist groups and other Trump loyalists who mobbed the Capitol, it's unclear if those actors will participate in the new event. These extremist groups are troubling because, although members of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys made up a small percentage of Jan. 6's rioters, they are charged with some of the most serious crimes.
Matt Braynard is a former Trump campaign strategist who has promoted the rally and similar events in cities across the country. He focuses attention on the "prisoners," who are unfairly being prosecuted for their participation in the Jan. 6th riot.
He said, in a July news release, that he was proud of all the brave patriots who took part in these rallies despite the threat to their rights as so many others who are currently being held in prison for non-violently expressing their First Amendment rights.
Braynard declined additional questions via email and The Associated Press refused to accept his conditions for an interview.
Many Republican lawmakers who backed Trump's effort to challenge Biden for the White House are refusing to attend Saturday's rally. Despite the fact that many court cases filed by Trump's allies have not confirmed those claims, they continue to echo Trump's false claims that the election was rigged.
Rep. Mo Brooks (Republican from Alabama), who was among the rally-goers at the White House where Trump encouraged them to visit the Capitol on Jan. 6, declined to comment. His spokesman, however, stated by email. Brooks is running for the Senate.
His office confirmed that Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who voted against some Electoral College tallies was not available for interview.
The other person who declined an interview was Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who was photographed raising his fist to salute the mob upon entering the Capitol on that day.
Some Republicans are still telegraphing their opinions, even though they are absent. Hawley's office responded to a question about whether the senator would attend.
Hawley stated in a statement that Joe Biden should resign.
In the riot that left dozens of police officers injured and sent lawmakers into hiding, more than 600 are now facing federal charges. Five people eventually died, including Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into a lobby off the House chamber. A number of police officers also died later.
While hundreds were arrested for illegally entering the Capitol, hundreds more are facing felony charges, including assault, obstruction, or conspiracy.
Two extremist far-right groups, the Proud Boys (and Oath Keepers) have been charged with the most serious offenses. Authorities are now investigating the extent of the attack. Authorities initially considered sedition but no Jan. 6 defendant was ever charged.
More than 60 people pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to demonstrations at the Capitol.
While they await trial, only a small fraction of the defendants are still in prison. Lawyers complained about the harsh conditions in which Jan. 6 defendants were held in D.C. jail. They claim they are being held at what is known as the "Patriot Unit."
Defenders of the alleged Capitol attackers claim they are facing harsher prosecutions because of their political views than others, including Black Lives Matter protesters, but a review of court cases by the AP refutes that claim.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack, said those who broke the law need to be prosecuted, "otherwise, we just rationalize, excuse and encourage more of the same."
Schiff regrets that the nation was unable to move forward from Jan. 6's attack, but chose a different route.
He stated that there was a chance to reject everything leading up to Jan. 6. But instead, the Republican leadership continued to embrace it. It is disconcerting. This means that recovery will take longer than expected.
On a Saturday, the Capitol's green grounds would see few legislators or staff. The Senate will resume session on Monday, but the House won't be back in session until Monday after the rally.
After the January attack, the Capitol was initially surrounded by a fence. This raised heavy criticism from those who were concerned about whether the message of democracy being closed off was being conveyed. It's now seen as a necessary precaution.