Mike Pence re-opens Senate and praises police who defended Congress
Mike Pence re-opens Senate to certify Joe Biden’s victory after MAGA mob’s rampage – but Republicans led by minority leader Kevin McCarthy and Senator Josh Hawley REFUSE to stop bid to overturn election and say president’s cheating claims are ‘valid’
- The House resumed its constitutional duty to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election Wednesday night after the Capitol was secured from the anarchy
- ‘To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win,’ Pence said. ‘Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house’
- Some Republicans continued their doomed bid to overturn the election result, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Missouri senator Josh Hawley
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi reopened the House of Representatives Wednesday night with a vow to stay as long as it takes to certify the election and Joe Biden’s victory
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi reopened the House of Representatives Wednesday night with a vow to stay as long as it takes to certify the election and Joe Biden’s victory
- Chaotic scenes broke out as dozens of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon and a female Trump supporter was shot in the chest and later died
- The entire National Guard was deployed to the Capitol and police declared a 6pm curfew for DC
- Capitol buildings were placed on lockdown at 6.45pm due to an unspecified ‘internal security threat’
- Lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda
- President-elect Joe Biden called for the ‘mob to pull back’ and said the uprising bordered on sedition Trump – after hours of remaining silent – told those inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them ‘to go home’
Vice President Mike Pence reopened the Senate condemning Wednesday’s violent siege of Capitol Hill ‘in the strongest possible terms’ – but did not lay the blame on President Donald Trump for inciting the MAGA mob.
‘To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win,’ Pence said. ‘Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.’
The vice president, who is chairing the special Senate session, called it a ‘dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.’
‘But thanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured and the people’s work continues,’ Pence said.
But astonishingly – and to the disgust of Republicans including Mitt Romney and every Democrat – some Republicans continued their doomed bid to overturn the election result.
The most senior was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who claimed that persisting was proof that Congress was not cowed by violence. And Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who gave a clenched fist salute to the mob before it stormed the Capitol, also refused to back down even as other senators who had planned to object abandoned the campaign.
‘Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate,’ he said.
‘We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect.’
Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely.
Vice President Mike Pence reopened the Senate condemning Wednesday’s violent siege of Capitol Hill ‘in the strongest possible terms’ – but did not lay the blame on President Donald Trump for inciting the MAGA mob
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday
Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed that persisting was proof that Congress was not cowed by violence
The Missouri Republican argued that the Senate floor was the appropriate place to address any election fraud concerns – as opposed to a violent riot.
‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ Hawley said. ‘And that’s why I submit to my colleagues that what we’re doing here tonight is actually very important. Because of those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections … this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place, where those objections and concerns should be heard.’
Directly after Hawley spoke, Sen. Mitt Romney applauded those senators, like Loeffler and Lankford, who had abandoned Hawley and the ‘dirty dozen’s’ effort
He said he hoped the Senate could address concerns ‘peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.’
Hawley then indicated that he might not file objections after the debate over Arizona was complete, bringing up the issues he had with Pennsylvania during his brief floor speech.
‘And so Mr. President let me just say now, that briefly, in lieu of speaking about it later, a word about Pennsylvania – this is a state that I have been focused on, objected to,’ Hawley said.
He then went on to complain that the state set-up ‘universal mail-in balloting.’
‘And did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution says,’ Hawley said, using the improper word for regardless.
The senator then objected to how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made its decision, holding up the law that allowed for enhanced mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Directly after Hawley spoke, Sen. Mitt Romney applauded those senators, like Loeffler and Lankford, who had abandoned Hawley and the ‘dirty dozen’s’ effort.
‘The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,’ Romney implored.
And the truth, he said, was ‘President-Elect Biden won the election. President Trump lost.’
‘I’ve had that experience myself, it’s no fun,’ Romney said, a reference to losing the 2012 presidential election to Democratic President Barack Obama.
As he concluded, Romney was given a standing ovation by some senators – but not by Hawley, who was sitting directly in front of him.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi reopened the House of Representatives Wednesday night with a vow to stay as long as it takes to certify the election and Joe Biden’s victory.
‘Congress has returned to the Capitol,’ she said seven hours after the chamber was closed because rioters were trying to breach its doors. ‘We always knew that this responsibility would take us into the night, and will stay as long as it takes. Our purpose will be accomplished. We must and we will show to the country.’
‘We know that we’re in difficult times, but little could we have imagined the assault, that was made on our democracy,’ she said in reference to the pro-Trump insurgents who tried to stop the Joint Session.
She said it was the duty of lawmakers to show the world ‘the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.’
McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’ Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will stand by President Trump and continue his party’s objections to the certification of states won by Joe Biden in the electoral college.
Some Republican senators backed down from the original plan to object after pro-Trump insurgents rushed the Capitol.
WHO’S STILL IN TRUMP’S CAMP?
But McCarthy said it was lawmakers’ duty to conduct ‘healthy debate’ and to hear ‘valid concerns about election integrity.’
‘When Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a Congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate. We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect,’ he said on the House floor after the chamber reopened.
But he also condemned the rioters.
‘We saw the worst of America this afternoon,’ he said.
McCarthy also warned lawmakers to think twice about what they post on social media. Posts by Republicans, including President Trump, falsely stating the election was rigged and fraudulent were believed to have contributed to inciting the mob that ran sacked the Capitol.
‘We also should think for a moment about what do we put on social media,’ he said. ‘Just because you have a personal opinion different than mine, you have a right to say it, but nobody has a right to become a mob. And we all should stand united to condemning them all together.’
Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump.
‘Today’s events would certainly not have happened without him,’ Schumer said.
McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’
‘Will not be kept out of its chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bend for lawlessness or intimidation,’ the Kentucky Republican said.
He said senators would discharge their Constitutional duty – to certify the results of the presidential race.
‘And we’re going to do it tonight,’ McConnell said.
The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’
Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
‘I have never lived through, or even imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol,’ he said. ‘This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized.’
A protester sits in the Senate Chamber. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump
Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC
Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday
He spoke of the woman who was shot during the riots, who has since died of her injuries.
‘We mourn her and feel for her friends and family,’ Schumer said.
‘This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away,’ he added.
And the soon-to-be majority leader, after Democrats were successful in both Georgia Senate run-off races, pointed a finger at Trump, calling the day’s events the ‘final terrible indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States.’
‘Undoubtedly our worst,’ Schumer argued.
‘Today’s events did not happen spontaneously, the president who promoted conspiracy theories, who motivated these thugs, a president who exhorted them to come to our United States capitol, egged them on, who hardly ever discourages violence. This president deals a great deal of the blame,’ Schumer said.
He said that those responsible for overtaking the capitol could not be called ‘protesters.’
‘These were rioters and insurrectionist goons and thugs, domestic terrorists,’ Schumer said. ‘They do not represent America
Senate Majority Leader spoke immediately after Pence to declare that the chamber would not be intimidated by ‘thugs.’
McConnell found himself denouncing Trump’s bid to overturn the election for the second time in a day, after earlier delivering a strong speech blasting the effort by members of his own caucus seeking to throw out electors in states that went for Joe Biden.
Wednesday night, after Trump supporters breached hallways that McConnell has walked for decades on ‘unhinged’ invaders – without mentioning that it was President Trump who encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol.
Nevertheless, he eviscerated the Trump backers who ran wild inside the chamber.
‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,’ vowed McConnell.
‘We are back at our post. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation.
And we’re going to do it tonight,’ said McConnell.
The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’ Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War
His words were both strengthened and undercut by his close association with Trump’s tenure: McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao serves as Trump’s Transportation secretary. McConnell spent weeks without denouncing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims the election was rigged. And it was in partnership with Trump that he achieved his life’s goal of stacking the judiciary with conservative jurists.
He spoke with contempt towards the mob who invaded the Capitol, saying the country had ‘faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today.’
‘We’ve never been deterred before and we’ll be not deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed,’ he intoned.
He called it a ‘failed insurrection’ and said it ‘only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.’
Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz
‘Now we’re going to finish exactly what we started,’ said McConnell. ‘We’ll complete the process in the right way: by the book.’
He said the Senate would follow its precedents and laws and Constitution ‘to the letter.’
‘And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election,’ he said forcefully. ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress. This institution is resilient. Our democratic republic is strong. The American people deserve nothing less,’ he said.
Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz.
‘Why in god’s name would someone think attacking law enforcement occupying United States Capitol is the best way to show that you’re right? Why would you do that?’ he asked.
‘Rioters and thugs don’t run the capitol we’re the United States of America. We disagree on a lot of things and we have a lot of spirited debate in this room. But we talk it out and we honor each other.
Lankford had been on the Senate floor defending the opposition to votes in states Biden won when officials evacuated the chamber and locked down the Capitol.
‘I was literally interrupted mid-sentence speaking here. Because we’re all aware of what was happening right outside this room,’ he said, praising law enforcement who protected the Capitol.
Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes
He quickly bowed to the new reality.
‘Obviously the commission that we’ve asked for is not going to happen at this point and I understand that and we’re headed towards tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden to be the president of the United States,’ he said. Cruz and his compatriots wanted a special commission to investigate electoral fraud claims tossed out of courts over a ten-day period.
‘And we will work together in this body to be able to send peaceful example in the days ahead,’ he concluded.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War.
‘It led to Jim Crow,’ Graham said. ‘If you’re looking for historical guidance, this is not the one to pick.’
The South Carolina Republican also said that a forming a commission to look into fraud wouldn’t change minds.
‘Having a commission chosen by Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and John Roberts is not going to get you to where you want to go, it ain’t going to work,’ Graham said. ‘It’s not going to do any good, it’s going to delay and it gives credibility to a dark chapter of our history.’
Graham maintained Trump was a ‘consequential president.’
‘But today … all I can say is count me out, enough is enough, I’ve tried to be helpful.’
Graham praised Pence, telling him: ‘what they’re asking you to do, you won’t do, because you can’t.’
Trump has pressured Pence to choose between Electoral College votes and ‘alternate’ slates of electors, which the vice president doesn’t have the power to do.
Graham also mentioned how he had traveled the world with Biden, when they served together in the Senate.
‘I prayed he would lose,’ Graham said. ‘He’s the legitimate president of the United States.’
Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes.
‘When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,’ she said. ‘However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.’
Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, also announced that he no longer supported senators filing objections.
The newly minted Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, who had joined Sen. Ted Cruz’s ‘dirty dozen,’ seemed to still back the effort in his debut floor speech.
‘We must restore faith and confidence in one of our republic’s most hallowed and patriotic duties: voting,’ Marshall said.
Marshall said he backed the creation of an electoral commission to give states to constructive suggestions’ going forward, due to the ‘jarring irregularities’ he claimed took place in the 2020 race.
It’s unclear if Marshall would back additional challenges in states going forward, as the Senate’s discussion was only focused on Electoral College votes in Arizona.
A woman was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died at a hospital hours later, law enforcement sources said
Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol
Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber
A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern after storming the Capitol
Republican Congressman Thomas Reed announced he is against the GOP objections to the certification, earning a round of applause from Democrats.
Reed walked to the Democratic side of the House to speak about his opposition, citing the day’s violence in the Capitol as the reason.
‘We settle our differences through elections,’ he said, denouncing the ‘mob rule’ that took place earlier in the afternoon.
‘What we see tonight in this body shall be what we do in America. And that is to transfer power in a peaceful way,’ he said as Democrats gave him a standing ovation.
Trump – after remaining silent for much of the afternoon – posted a video telling his ‘very special’ supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them ‘to go home’.
He had initially encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol after a rally earlier in the afternoon before asking them only to remain peaceful when violence broke out.
The Capitol was briefly secured before being placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officer was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked.
But just before 8pm lawmakers who had been whisked to safety when the siege kicked off began arriving back at the Capitol to resume the Joint Session to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election.
The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way into the Capitol. A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, who is residing over the Joint Session, said he was already in the building because he’d never left.
As the protesters broke down police barricades and stormed into the Capitol, lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Officers at the front door of the chamber had their guns drawn at a protester trying to break down the door.
The Capitol was placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officers was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked
For those fleeing, it was a race against time: Protesters were getting in as quickly as members of Congress could get out.
One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled: ‘Trump won that election’. Some protesters even occupied Pelosi’s office, sitting mockingly at a desk.
The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters and urged them to march to the Capitol. The protesters organized via far-right social media sites, including Gab and Parler, telling each other the best routes to avoid police on their way to the Capitol.
After protesters started clashing with law enforcement, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’.
‘Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!’ the president wrote.
As the violence escalated, Trump tweeted: ‘I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!’
He did not initially tell the protesters to leave.
Biden on Wednesday evening called for the restoration of ‘simple decency’ after the mob delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election.
‘At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,’ Biden said. He called it ‘an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.’
‘I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward.
In an address that took less than 10 minutes and was televised against a split screen of the still-occupied Capitol building, Biden attempted to project calm and to say that a deeply divided country can still come together – while also expressing outrage.
He stopped short of accusing Trump of treason but said the events ‘bordered on sedition’.
‘At their best, the words of a president can inspire,’ Biden added. ‘At their worst they can incite.’
Minutes after Biden’s address, Trump posted his own video telling his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’. In the same breath he also continued to peddle his baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’.
‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,’ he said.
‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.’
The video was later removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because it violated their policies.
The president then posted another tweet reiterating his false claim that the election was stolen and encouraging supporters to ‘remember this day’. The tweet was perceived by some as an attempt to rile up the Capitol crowds.
‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,’ he tweeted. ‘Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!’
Twitter removed the tweet for violating its rules.
Mob smashes through police barriers and wall of tear gas to stop Biden’s victory being certified: How Trump protesters turned Congress into a battlefield
Capitol Police used tear gas as hundreds of people were seen climbing the marble steps outside the building. They banged on the locked doors of the Capitol and smashed the glass in the doors.
Demonstrators fought with police and then forced their way into the building.
Asked how so many people were able to get in, officials said they were focusing their attention on keeping lawmakers inside safe.
‘We love you. You are special.’ Trump finally addresses Capitol mob HE unleashed and says ‘Go home now. We have to have peace’
Donald Trump told his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’ after they rampaged past police barriers to storm the U.S. Capitol.
But despite calling for his supporters to stand down, he continued to peddle the baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’ in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.
‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,’ Trump said.
It came hours after Trump stirred them into a frenzy at his ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, telling them to march on the U.S. Capitol.
The president still has not conceded the election and earlier Wednesday addressed a crowd at the ellipse spouting conspiracy theories that he still had a path to win – if Vice President Mike Pence did his bidding, as well as if GOP lawmakers revolted.
Pence did no such thing.
The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. After protesters started clashing with law enforcement following the Capitol breach, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’
One video posted on TikTok appeared to show a group of about four officers standing by as protesters pushed past a barricade near the Capitol building.
The officers did not appear to try to block the stampede, instead walking with it toward the building.
One protester jumped up on the dais, where the president of the Senate presides, and yelled: ‘Trump won that election.’
Several dozen protesters roamed the halls of the Capitol, yelling: ‘Where are they?’
Tear gas was being used by Capitol Police as protesters filled both the House and Senate side of the Capitol.
Another protester in the Senate yelled: ‘Where’s Pence, show yourself!’
The chaos caused the Capitol to go on lockdown and disrupted the certification of the electoral college vote that would cement Biden’s victory.
Mayor Bowser declared a 6pm curfew for the city and said multiple law enforcement agencies would be patrolling the streets. Just before the curfew went into effect she was asked multiple by times by CNN if curfew violators would be arrested, but she refused to give a clear answer.
Bowser said ‘many’ arrests had already been made but did not have a specific number.
As footage started coming out of Capitol Hill being breached by angry Trump supporters, Donald Trump Jr tried to quell the outburst with a tweet – that was critical of Democrats and liberals.
‘This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side,’ Trump Jr. wrote. ‘We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone.’
Meanwhile, the president continued to direct his rage at Pence, who earlier announced he would not single-handedly overturn the election results from his position of the chair.
‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!’ the president tweeted.
The extraordinary breech was a departure from security mishaps of the past. Protesters have routinely disrupted televised hearings while in progress and even events inside the House chamber. But trained Capitol Police are usually able to arrest disruptors and remove them immediately. Often formal charges are never filed.
But in Wednesday’s storming of the building, dozens of people made it by armed police officers and entered the building without going through any security set up to keep out those with weapons or dangerous items.
There were occasions after September 11th when the building was placed on lockdown and people were ordered to leave, but this usually happened when suspicious packages were discovered.
When the building is open, as it was before the pandemic, members of the general public are not allowed to walk unescorted on the second floor where lawmakers enter and exit the legislative chambers.
The protesters were aided by scaffolding constructed for the upcoming inauguration.
In another tense piece of video from inside, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tweeted video of protesters repeatedly rushing Capitol Police officers in the crypt, in the ground floor part of the building under the rotunda.
‘I like many people voted for President Trump in the 2020 election and hoped for a different result,’ McCaul wrote. ‘But violence and destruction is not the way to express your grievances. This is disgraceful and has to end.’
Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon
Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather
A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside
Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday’s chaos at the Capitol
Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday
A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening
Trump’s mob causes chaos nationwide: MAGA fans take to the streets in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Kansas and surround Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office
As the US Capitol was stormed, Trump supporters staged smaller rallies outside statehouses in several cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
Protesters swarmed into the Kansas statehouse in Topeka and gathered inside the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda, though the rally remained orderly, television station KSNT reported.
There were no immediate reports of violence, despite the flurry of demonstrations by pro-Trump demonstrators echoing his baseless claims that he was robbed of a re-election victory due to voter fraud.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter that he had instructed city agencies to close municipal offices early in Colorado’s state capital ‘out of an abundance of caution’ after about 700 demonstrators gathered at the statehouse downtown.
‘My hope is that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray for our nation,’ he tweeted.
A major courthouse complex and two other government buildings in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, were also ordered closed due to protests near the statehouse.
Among those whose daily routines were altered were aides to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, the Republican election official pressured by Trump in a weekend telephone call to ‘find’ enough additional votes for the president to overturn the November victory of President-elect Joe Biden, due to take office in two weeks.
Raffensperger’s spokesman, Walter Jones, said staff left their offices after lunch out of an abundance of caution because of protests. He said Raffensperger was not in the office at the time.
In Salt Lake City, Dana Jones, director of the state Capitol Preservation Board, said she had asked building staff to work from home on Wednesday afternoon on the advice of the Utah Highway Patrol and public safety commissioner, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The precaution was taken, the newspaper said, in response to a crowd of about 250 pro-Trump demonstrators who posted signs on the Capitol building that read: ‘Stop the steal!’ and ‘Trump won!’
A Utah state police spokesman said security had been beefed up at the Capitol, though he said protesters there were ‘very peaceful,’ the Tribune reported. It said one of its photographers was pepper-sprayed by individuals upset that he was documenting their protest.
Several hundred Trump supporters also staged a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, cheering and jeering while exhibiting a guillotine.
MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump
ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles
LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters
OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem
TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin
ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm
‘I won’t betray my oath’: Pence publicly defies Trump’s demand to block Biden’s confirmation
Trump told thousands of supporters just outside the White House that he wanted Pence to ‘come through’ for us and demanded that he reject electoral votes out of hand over that the president claims is ‘fraud.’
He threatened Pence saying ‘I’m not hearing good stories’ and telling him to have ‘courage’ to strike down swing states’ votes – a move which would defy the constitution.
But minutes before arriving on Capitol Hill to preside over the joint session of Congress to certify the election’s outcome, Pence bluntly told lawmakers that he would refuse to obey Trump’s orders.
Pence sent a letter to the 535 senators and representatives on Capitol Hill ahead of his presiding over the Joint Session that will certify Joe Biden’s victory.
In it, he outlined his belief in his role in the proceedings, which he notes is ‘ceremonial’ and adds that it doesn’t include the authority to ‘determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.’
Trump has tried to put the blame on Pence for his expected loss on Wednesday but the president also lacks support among the majority of senators in his own party, which dooms his efforts for a congressional overthrow of the results.
Pence acknowledged Trump’s allegations the election was rigged, of which there has been no proof and no court has upheld, in a likely peace offering to the president.
‘I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election,’ he wrote.
Images emerged shortly before of hundreds of protesters descending on the steps of the Capitol after rallying near the White House for President Donald Trump
A Capitol Police officer urged lawmakers to leave the building after top leaders were escorted out
Pence acknowledged Trump’s allegations the election was rigged, which there has been no proof and no court has upheld, in a likely peace offering to the president
Members of the far-right group Proud Boys make ‘OK’ hand gestures indicating ‘white power’ during the chaos
Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest
Tear gas was being used by Capitol Police as protesters filled both the House and Senate side of the Capitol
Capitol Police spray tear gas at Trump supporters as they try to break through a police barrier
In a letter Wednesday, Pence said, ‘It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution contains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not’
But he noted as vice president he does not have the power from the constitution to decide which electoral votes are counted and which are not.
‘As a student of history who loves the constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founds of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,’ Pence noted.
He added vice presidents in the past have conducted ‘the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy’.
‘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,’ he said.
He concluded his letter with a prayer to God: ‘When the Joint Session of Congress convenes today, I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we count the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a manner consistent with our Constitution, laws and history. So Help Me God.’
Pelosi reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor
‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona
Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session
REPUBLICANS OBJECT TO ARIZONA’S VOTES
When the certification process got underway shortly after 1pm Wednesday, lawmakers got through Alabama and Alaska, two states that went for Trump, before the first objection was filed for Arizona.
Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, objected to his state’s Electoral College votes going to Biden and Harris. He confirmed that his objection had been signed on to by a US senator.
Democrats in the chamber audibly groaned while droves of Republicans in the chamber stood up and clapped.
The move forced Pence to order the houses out of Joint Session. The senators in the House chamber started moving back toward their side of the US Capitol.
On the House side, during their debate on the Arizona objection, Republican lawmakers used their time to complain about the treatment of the president, particularly the impeachment process and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
They did not offer any proof of voter fraud but complained that voter laws were changed ahead of the November contest, which is not illegal.
‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona.
Many states had their voter registration deadlines extended because of the coronavirus pandemic – the extension applied to voters of both parties. Other states extended the time period allowing mail-in voting, again because of the pandemic and it applied to all voters.
Democrats argued the election was legally conducted.
‘Under some of the most trying circumstances in our history, our fellow citizens conducted a free and fair election vindicating our founders belief once again that we were capable of self government, and a peaceful transition of power,’ Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said.
Speaker Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session.
Pelosi also reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor.
MITCH MCCONNELL SLAMS ELECTION ‘CONSPIRACY THEORIES’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shamed Trump and his own Republican colleagues for mounting challenges to the Electoral College vote count, saying their doing so could lead to a ‘death spiral’ of American democracy – and pointing out there’s no real evidence of widespread voter fraud.
‘We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,’ he said on the Senate floor, after Rep Gosar and a batch of GOP senators, including Sen Ted Cruz, objected to Arizona’s Electoral College vote count.
McConnell ridiculed Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech, which will be one of his last as majority leader, and which he said was about the most important vote of his career.
‘The assertions range from specific, local allegations to Constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,’ McConnell said.
He reminded senators that he was supportive of Trump using the country’s legal system, which handed the president and his team loss after loss. And pointed out that these cases were heard by some of the ‘all-star judges whom the president himself nominated’ – including on the U.S. Supreme Court.
McConnell said that every election is plagued by some instances of vote irregularity. ‘And of course that’s unacceptable,’ he said.
McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career
The top Senate Republican also said he supported ‘strong state-led voting reforms,’ adding that he didn’t wan tto see ‘last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures’ – like mail-in ballots that gave Democrats an edge – ‘become the new norm.’
‘But my colleagues nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election,’ McConnell argued. ‘Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break, when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence.’
He pointed out that the Constitution gives Congress a ‘limited role.’
‘We simply can’t declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,’ McConnell said.
Twisting the knife into Trump, McConnell also pointed out that the race between Biden and Trump ‘was not unusually close.’
‘The Electoral College margin was almost identical to what it was in 2016,’ McConnell pointed out.
‘If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side our democracy would enter a death spiral,’ McConnell warned. ‘We’d never see a whole nation accept an election again.’
‘Every four years there would be a scramble for power at any cost,’ he added.
TRUMP’S STOP THE STEAL RALLY
This came after Trump excoriated ‘weak’ Republicans and demanded fealty from Pence to a rally crowd near the White House on Wednesday, where he demanded Pence and Congress overturn the election results that lead to his defeat.
In an extraordinary speech, Trump once again called his election ‘rigged’ just minutes before a joint meeting of Congress was to begin counting the certified electoral votes that have him losing to Joe Biden.
Trump referred to votes that came in after 10pm election night – which consisted of in-person and mail-in ballots and denied him the lead he said he and his pollsters anticipated – as ‘these explosions of bullsh*t.’
Members of the crowd immediately chanted ‘Bullshi*t!’ in response.
‘Our election was over at 10 in the evening,’ Trump said.
Trump mocked his party’s 2012 Republican presidential nominee, now-Sen. Mitt Romney, for conceded his own race back then.
‘We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,’ he said – although losing candidates have conceded for generations. ‘There’s never been anything like this. It’s a pure theft.’
Trump’s comments amounted to a declaration of war on elements of his party, after his lawyer Rudy Giuliani demanded ‘trial by combat’ against opponents of his claims of election fraud.
Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand – but referred to them as consisting of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of supporters fathered on a lawn south of the White House that doesn’t hold that many.
He said his election was ‘stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and that’s what they’re doing.’
Trump addressed his thousands of his supporters near the White House Wednesday at his ‘Save America’ rally and declared war on his own party, calling Republicans who opposed him ‘weak’
Hours after a humiliating defeat in one Georgia Senate race and the prospect of losing another, Team Trump showed no sign of conceding
A stand was being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for Biden
A crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday
He urged his supporters to march down to the Congress, which was to commence the count at 1 pm.
‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,’ he said, speaking from behind a pane of bullet-proof material.
He turned up the heat on Pence, a potential 2024 contender who will preside over the count. His role is set in the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act, and is largely ceremonial.
‘Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,’ he said.
Trump acknowledged that he has tried to pressure Pence into rejecting votes from states he lost, quoting from a conversation he has denied happened.
‘All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify and we become president and you are the happiest people,’ he told his fans, who cheered ‘Stop the Steal!’ at times.
‘I said Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage. And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that,’ he said of Biden.
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