A challenge to Joe Biden’s election win in Arizona was rejected by Congress after a landslide of chaos in Washington, D.C on Wednesday, as some lawmakers walked back their objections to November’s election results.
The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was both stunning and predictable, a mob of extremists loyal to President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building, a woman was shot and killed, and Facebook and Instagram joined Twitter in blocking Trump’s account.
Here are the highlights from Wednesday in D.C. and beyond:
- Lawmakers vow to investigate police after Capitol breach
- House joins the Senate in rejecting the challenge to Biden’s election win in Arizona
- D.C. police: 4 people died as Trump supporters occupied Capitol; 1 woman shot by police, 3 in medical emergencies
- Facebook, Instagram join Twitter in blocking Trump from posting following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters
- GOP Sens. Loeffler, Daines, Braun shift, say they won’t object to Biden electors after pro-Trump attack on Capitol
- Congress reconvenes to work toward certifying election results after day of chaos, insurrection at U.S. Capitol
- National Guard arrives at Capitol as curfew goes into effect
- A mob broke through a gate at Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s mansion
- World leaders deplore pro-Trump extremists breaching US Capitol
- Rep. Ilhan Omar says she is drafting new articles of impeachment against Trump
- AP source: Woman who was shot inside U.S. Capitol during violent pro-Trump protest has died
- Twitter restricts the reach of Trump’s video message, citing a ‘risk of violence’
- Officials declare Capitol ‘secure’ nearly 4 hours after violent pro-Trump occupiers disrupted electoral count
- PBS reports: National Association of Manufacturers calls on Vice President Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office to preserve democracy.
- D.C. police chief says protesters deployed “chemical irritants on police” to gain access to US Capitol
- At least 1 explosive device found near US Capitol; law enforcement officials say it’s no longer a threat
- U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland: “This is clearly an act of domestic terrorism.”
- U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler, R-Southwest Washington, via Facebook: Capitol police reported to her that they had “found and detonated four bombs just off the Capitol campus.” “Is this the American we want to give our children? A country of lawlessness and mob rule?”
- Trump, in video message, tells supporters ‘go home’ but keeps up false election attacks and calls backers ‘very special’
- “It’s insurrection,” President-elect Joe Biden said in live remarks. “The world is watching,” he said, referring to a mob that took over the U.S. Capitol as part of a “dark moment.”
- Biden: Democracy “under unprecedented assault” as pro-Trump protesters violently occupy U.S. Capitol, calls on Trump to “demand an end to this siege.”
- Pelosi, Schumer in joint statement calling on Trump to ‘demand’ all protesters leave Capitol grounds ‘immediately.’
- U.S. Capitol Police announces security breach inside as lawmakers met to vote to certify President-elect Biden’s victory.
- After egging on supporters, Trump tweets to them ‘stay peaceful’ amid violent clashes, breach of Capitol building.
- Members of Congress inside House chamber told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas dispersed in Capitol Rotunda.
WASHINGTON — A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.
The National Guard and state and federal police were called in for control, and the mayor of Washington imposed a rare evening curfew. One person was reported to have been shot.
They’ve asked us to take cover on the House floor and get our gas masks ready. This is insane.— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) January 6, 2021
The insurrection was egged on by Trump and his false attacks on the integrity of the November presidential election. While rallying his supporters outside the White House Wednesday morning, he urged them to march to the Capitol. But later — hours after they fought police and breached the building — he told them that although they were “very special people” and he backed their cause, they should “go home in peace.”
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, had declared in Wilmington, Delaware: “I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,”
Biden said that democracy was ‘”under unprecedented assault,” a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans.
The chaotic protests halted Congress’ constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, in which Biden defeated Trump, 306-232.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had tried to steer Congress away from Wednesday’s formal protest of those results, and he said at the start of proceedings that Trump had clearly lost.
Wednesday’s ordinarily mundane procedure of Congress certifying a new president was always going to be extraordinary, with Republican supporters of Trump vowing to protest election results that have been certified by the states. But even the unusual deliberations, which included Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader McConnell defying Trump’s demands, were quickly overtaken by the chaos.
In a raucous, out-of-control scene, protesters fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls. One person was reported shot at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the situation. That person’s condition was unknown. At least one explosive device was found that was detonated.
The protesters abruptly interrupted the congressional proceedings in an eerie scene that featured official warnings directing people to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda.
Senators were being evacuated. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
The Pentagon said about 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement at the Capitol.
Pence was closely watched as he stepped onto the dais to preside over the joint session in the House chamber.
Pence had a largely ceremonial role, opening the sealed envelopes from the states after they are carried in mahogany boxes used for the occasion, and reading the results aloud. But he was under growing pressure from Trump to overturn the will of the voters and tip the results in the president’s favor, despite having no legal power to affect the outcome.
“Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
But Pence, in a statement shortly before presiding, defied Trump, saying he could not claim “unilateral authority” to reject the electoral votes that make Biden president.
Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.
Arizona was the first of several states facing objections from the Republicans as Congress took an alphabetical reading of the election results. Then the chaos erupted.
12:25 p.m. PT
President Donald Trump is encouraging supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to “remain peaceful,” but he is not calling for them to disperse.
As he faced growing pressure from allies to condemn the violence Wednesday afternoon, Trump tweeted, “No violence!” adding: “Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue.”
But Trump did not ask supporters to vacate the area as the unrest continued.
Trump had appeared earlier at a rally and had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol — at one point even suggesting he would join them. He is upset that he lost the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden and has falsely claimed voter fraud to explain it away.
He also urged his supporters to “get rid of the weak Congress people” — presumably through primary challenges — saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”
12:15 p.m. PT
A Defense Department official says Washington, D.C., has requested an additional 200 National Guard members as supporters of President Donald Trump violently clash with law enforcement at the Capitol.
That request is currently under review at the Pentagon to determine how the Guard can respond to support law enforcement.
According to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military at the Capitol. Instead, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Officials said the request for more National Guard has not been rejected.
Trump had urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.
12:10 p.m. PT
Pressure is mounting on President Donald Trump to condemn supporters who are violently clashing with law enforcement on Capitol Hill.
Among those urging Trump to act: his former communications director, Alyssa Farah, who tweeted that Trump should “Condemn this now.”
She says, “you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”
Dozens of people have breached security perimeters at the Capitol, forcing the lockdown of the building and halting the vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Trump has so far offered a single tweet asking his supporters to “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
His former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tweeted: “The President’s tweet is not enough. He can stop this now and needs to do exactly that. Tell these folks to go home.”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also addressed Trump supporters in a tweet, calling them the “patriots challenging the fraudulent election” and telling them that “POTUS wants you to EXPRESS YOUR OPINION PEACEFULLY.”
12 p.m. PT
A mob backing President Donald Trump has breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Trump urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win. Several Republican lawmakers have backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.
The president’s supporters are now inside the Senate chamber. One got up on the dais and yelled “Trump won that election.”
Several dozen are roaming through the halls, yelling, “Where are they?”
Some were also in the visitors’ galleries.
11:50 a.m. PT
Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes by supporters of President Donald Trump
A pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, violently clashing with law enforcement as lawmakers were gathered inside to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in November’s presidential election.
Law enforcement instructed lawmakers to retrieve masks from under their seats amid the clashes. The Capitol building was placed on lockdown, as Trump supporters marched through evacuated public spaces in the building.
After egging on protests, Trump tweeted to his supporters to “stay peaceful” as they violently clash with law enforcement and breached the Capitol building.
11:47 a.m. PT
After egging on protests, President Donald Trump tweeted to his supporters to “stay peaceful” as they violently clash with law enforcement and breached the Capitol building.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” Trump tweeted, as tear gas was deployed in the locked-down Capitol. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Trump at a rally earlier Wednesday encouraged his supporters to head to the Capitol.
“We’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said.
11:45 a.m. PT
Lawmakers are being evacuated from the U.S. Capitol after protesters breached security and entered the building.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators were led out, escorted by staff and police on Wednesday afternoon. Members of the House were also being evacuated. Both chambers had been debating the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
The skirmishes came shortly after President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.
Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
11:40 a.m. PT
The mayor of Washington, D.C., has ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday after protesters seeking to overturn the election results stormed the U.S. Capitol building.
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued the order as protesters supporting President Donald Trump breached the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to formally count the electors that will make Joe Biden president on Jan. 20.
The order extends through 6 a.m. Thursday.
The skirmishes came shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
11:30 a.m. PT
Protesting supporters of President Donald Trump have breached the U.S. Capitol.
There was confusion in the House chamber as the Capitol doors were locked and the debate over the electoral count was suspended.
A representative from the Capitol police spoke from a lectern on the dais and told lawmakers to remain calm, and that more information would be available soon.
House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern of Massachusetts told the crowd that the House expected to go back into session soon. Meanwhile, members milled around the floor and looked at their phones.
Reporters and others outside the chamber were told to go their seats inside and not leave.
The skirmishes came just shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
11:20 a.m. PT
The Senate has recessed its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College after protesters forced police to lock down the building.
Reporters were told to stay in the Senate’s press gallery as the doors were locked.
Protesters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were met by officers in riot gear. Some tried to push past the officers who held shields and officers could be seen firing pepper spray into the crowd to keep them back.
The skirmishes came just shortly after President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
11:20 a.m. PT
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says American “democracy is in crisis” with polls showing that large numbers of voters “believe the election that just occurred was rigged.”
Cruz, a Republican, objected to the certification of election results in Arizona, saying the Senate has a responsibility to acknowledge the profound threat posed by widespread disbelief in the legitimacy of the election.
He called for the creation of a commission to conduct a 10-day “emergency audit” to investigate any irregularities, citing a similar commission created after the 1876 presidential election.
Cruz urged lawmakers not to “take the easy path, but instead act together″ and create a “credible and fair tribunal. Consider the claims, consider the facts, consider the evidence and make a conclusive determination whether and to what extent this election complied with the Constitution.’'
10:55 a.m. PT
The U.S. Capitol Police are evacuating some congressional office buildings due to “police activity” as thousands gather outside the Capitol to protest the electoral vote.
Police told congressional staff members they should evacuate the Cannon House Office Building and the building that houses the Library of Congress. It wasn’t immediately clear what specifically sparked the evacuation.
A police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
Thousands of people have descended on the U.S. Capitol as Congress is expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win. Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with U.S. Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.
10:55 a.m. PT
The Senate’s top Republican has told his colleagues that Congress should not override the voters’ verdict in electing Democrat Joe Biden president, saying, “If we overrule them we will damage our republic forever.”
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made his remarks as the Senate weighed a challenge by a handful of GOP lawmakers to the 11 electoral votes Arizona cast for Biden.
It was the first of several challenges to states’ electoral votes that some Republicans are mounting, encouraged by President Donald Trump’s groundless charges that the election was riddled with fraud. Congress seems certain to reject all those challenges on Wednesday and formally certify Biden’s victory.
McConnell says while all elections have irregularities, they weren’t “anywhere near the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election.” He says Congress should not declare itself “a national board of elections on steroids,” and says reversing the election results would push the country’s democratic institutions toward “a death spiral.”
10:15 a.m. PT
Republicans from the House and Senate have objected to the counting of Arizona’s electoral vote, forcing votes in both chambers on Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
The objection was made by Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and was signed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Both are Republicans. The two chambers now have two hours to debate the challenge.
Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes. In all, eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win have failed, in part over a lack of evidence.
The state’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of an election challenge, because the plaintiff lacked the right to bring the suit in the first place. The woman wasn’t a registered voter when she sued.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has said there were no irregularities with the vote in her state.
10:15 a.m. PT
President Donald Trump is taking aim at Republican members of Congress who have refused to join him in his effort to contest the results of the November election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump on Wednesday told a large crowd of supporters gathered on the Ellipse that they needed to vote these Republicans out of office by putting up challengers in primary elections to push them out.
“If they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight,” Trump said, calling the Republicans who aren’t siding with him “weak.”
Earlier, he named and praised Republicans who have pledged to contest the electoral votes of some states when they come up for approval on Capitol Hill.
His supporters, who braved chilly, windy conditions, chanted “Fight for Trump!”
10:10 a.m. PT
Congress has begun a joint session to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.
With supporters of President Donald Trump gathering around the Capitol, more than a dozen Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members have said they will object to the count from as many as six battleground states. They are echoing Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud.
Their efforts are almost certain to fail as many Republicans have said they will oppose the objections. But the session is expected to last into the night on Wednesday as the House and Senate must consider each objection separately and vote on whether to sustain it.
Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the session. He has no power to overturn the results, despite pressure from Trump to do so.
Biden won the Electoral College 306-232. He is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.
10 a.m. PT
Vice President Mike Pence is defying President Donald Trump, saying he does not have the unilateral ability to discard electoral votes that will make Joe Biden president on Jan. 20.
Pence, in a statement issued minutes before he was to begin presiding over a joint session of Congress to count electoral votes, said, “It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”
Trump has pressured his vice president to toss electors from battleground states that voted for Biden during the session.
9:30 a.m. PT
President Donald Trump is continuing his pressure-campaign against Vice President Mike Pence, telling thousands of supporters falsely that all Pence has to do to stay in office is send Electoral College votes back to the states to be recertified.
Pence has no such unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count. It is up to the House and Senate to voice objections, and in any case the states’ electors were chosen in accordance with state law, not fraudulently.
The demonstrators on the Ellipse, south of the White House, cheered Trump on and planned to march to Capitol Hill where Congress will vote to affirm or contest the Electoral College results. The president said he’d be walking with the crowd.
“All Mike Pence has to do is send it back to the states,” Trump said, urging his loyal vice president to join lawmakers who are protesting President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us,” Trump said, “and if he doesn’t it’s a sad day for our country.” Trump said it would take courage for Pence not to contest the results.
9:15 a.m. PT
President Donald Trump is vowing that “we will never concede” as he speaks to supporters shortly before Congress is to convene for a joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump took the stage at the Save America rally, which drew thousands of supporters who swamped the nation’s capital as the president’s Republican allies in the House and Senate plan to object to his November election loss to Biden.
Trump urged Vice President Mike Pence, who will play a largely ceremonial role in the process, to block certification of Biden’s win. Pence does not have this power.
“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We won’t take it anymore.”
8 a.m. PT
Sen. Mitt Romney says President Donald Trump’s election challenge has “disgraced the office of the presidency.”
Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill ahead of Wednesday’s joint session to confirm Joe Biden’s Electoral College win that he was certain of the outcome.
“I’m confident that we’ll proceed as the Constitution demands and tell our supporters the truth — whether or not they want to hear it,” Romney said.
Republican lawmakers are picking up Trump’s demands to challenge the results from several states. But they are not expected to have enough votes in Congress to change the results. Biden is set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Romney said, “President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency.”
He called the “gambit” of the challenges in Congress “very disappointing.”