When armed supporters of President Donald Trump broke into and vandalized the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., many were chanting “Stop the steal,” referring to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the recent election. Some wore sweatshirts reading “Civil War” with the date “January 6, 2021.” Their fervent cries were fueled by encouraging words from the president and from Republican leaders, who for months have falsely claimed that Trump’s loss to President-elect Biden — by more than 7 million votes — was invalid.

Trump’s ongoing refusal to accept the election results, despite having no evidence that the process or results were fraudulent in any way, has led to speculation that he planned to remain in power not by lawful means but through a coup d’état, or coup — a French term describing the overthrow of a government.