In a hugely provocative move, Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he will hold a press conference at his Mar-a-Lago resort on 6 January, the first anniversary of the deadly attack on the US Capitol.
In a statement replete with familiar invective and lies about supposed electoral fraud and the House committee investigating the events of 6 January this year, the former US president said: “I will be having a news conference on 6 January  at Mar-a-Lago to discuss all of these points, and more.”
“Until then, remember, the insurrection took place on 3 November, it was the completely unarmed protest of the rigged election that took place on 6 January.”
Five people, including a Trump supporter shot by law enforcement and a Capitol police officer, died around the events of 6 January 2021, when a pro-Trump mob stormed Congress after he told supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat by Joe Biden.
More than 700 people have been charged with offenses connected to the riot. Most rioters were not armed with guns but attacked police with other weapons. Guns and explosives were found and bombs planted. On Monday, one rioter who attacked police was sentenced to more than five years in jail.
Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection but acquitted at his Senate trial when enough Republicans stayed loyal.
His continued presence in national politics and apparent intention to run for president again has stoked jagged divides which some observers fear point the US towards serious discord or even civil war.
On Monday night the disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, with whom the former president has staged an arena tour, said Trump was “gonna run again”.
“I’m trying to tell President Trump, run on your record,” O’Reilly told NewsNation. “He’s gonna run again. I said, Run on your record, because your record’s pretty darn good.’”
Trump seems determined to run, or merely to retain control of the Republican party, through stoking division and anger with false claims about the election and the most serious attack on the US Capitol since the war of 1812.
In stark contrast, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, has announced that Congress will mark the first anniversary of 6 January in a spirit of “solemn observance”.
“Preparations are under way for a full program of events,” she said, “including a discussion among historians about the narrative of that day; an opportunity for members to share their experiences and reflections from that day; and a prayerful vigil in the evening.”
The 6 January committee also expects to stage events in the new year, with public hearings as its members, including Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, close in on Trump’s role in the riot.
On Sunday, Kinzinger said the panel would determine if Trump committed a crime.
“Nobody is above the law,” he said, adding: “He’s not a king. Former presidents, they aren’t former kings.”
On Monday, citing sources close to Trump, the Guardian revealed his deepening fear as the panel continues its work.
“The former president’s anger largely mirrors the kind of expletives he once directed at the Russia inquiry and the special counsel investigation [led by Robert Mueller] when he occupied the White House,” the Guardian reported.
“But the rapidly accelerating investigation into whether Trump and top aides unlawfully conspired to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory at the 6 January joint session appears to be unnerving him deeply.”
On Twitter, Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent and member of the special counsel’s team, wrote: “Almost as if – what did he say about Mueller? – ‘I’m fucked.’”