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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Law enforcement officers secured the U.S. Capitol building after pro-Trump supporters breached the perimeter and entered the building as Congress met Wednesday afternoon. Lawmakers reconvened late Wednesday evening, intending to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win.
The Senate recessed its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College after protesters forced police to lock down the building. The scene was declared a riot by police, and a curfew for DC is in effect. One woman was shot inside the Capitol and taken to the hospital; she has died from her injuries. Lawmakers reconvened Wednesday evening shortly after 8 p.m. EST.
Congress first began the joint session at 1 p.m. ET to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Biden, while thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied near the White House before some demonstrators became violent and breached the Capitol building.
Trump’s Republican allies in the House and Senate had planned to object to the election results, which the president continues to challenge. The effort will likely fail and be defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress who are prepared to accept the election results.
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.
NewsNation will live update this blog as the situation at the Capitol continues to develop. All times local.
8:05 p.m. – Congress reconvened Wednesday night after the Capitol building was cleared and secured; Vice President Mike Pence made opening remarks, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke next.
Pence condemned the violence “in the strongest possible way,” and thanked the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state, and local law enforcement for their swift efforts.
7:52 p.m. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to speak on the Senate floor at 8 p.m.
7:44 p.m. – Stephanie Grisham, first lady’s chief of staff and former White House press secretary, resigned Wednesday amid violent protests at the U.S. Capitol.
7:15 p.m. – Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate, his press secretary tweeted:
“Vice President @Mike_Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol.
@VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress.
And now we will finish the People’s business.”
6:32 p.m. – Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen issued a statement condemning the violence at the Capitol:
“The violence at our Nation’s Capitol Building is an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy. From the outset, the Department of Justice has been working in close coordination with the Capitol Police and federal partners from the Interior Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard, as well as the Metropolitan Police and other local authorities. Earlier this afternoon, the Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service to assist the Capitol Police in addressing this unacceptable situation, and we intend to enforce the laws of our land.”
ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFFREY A. ROSEN
6:30 p.m. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the joint session of Congress will proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use.
Pelosi said she made the decision Wednesday in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.
She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”
Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Trump supporters breached the Capitol building and clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes. Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the November election was stolen from him, even though that is not true.
5:16 p.m. – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo statement on Capitol violence:
“The storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable. I have traveled to many countries and always support the right of every human being to protest peacefully for their beliefs and their causes. But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad. Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting. America is better than what we saw today at a place where I served as a member of Congress and saw firsthand democracy at its best.”
US SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO
6:01 p.m. – Officials tell NewsNation the woman shot inside the U.S. Capitol building has died.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.
Hours later, police had declared the Capitol was secured.
6 p.m. – Curfew goes into effect in DC.
5:36 p.m. – Officials say the U.S. Capitol building is now secure.
5:26 p.m. – The Washington, D.C., police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.
Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.
As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.
Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. curfew.
5:25 p.m. – NewsNation has obtained several videos from inside and around the U.S. Capitol, showing the chaotic scene inside and outside the building. Watch in the player below:
5:19 p.m. – Sen. Jeff Merkley said that the Electoral College ballots were rescued from the Senate floor.
“If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob,” the Democratic Senator from Oregon said on Twitter.
5:05 p.m. – Pro-Trump demonstrators have massed outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two states. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers rang out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Hundreds of mostly unmasked people gathered outside capitols on Wednesday with Trump flags and “Stop the Steal” signs. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carried guns.
New Mexico state police evacuated staff from a statehouse building that includes the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. A spokesperson for the governor´s office says there was no indication of threats at the statehouse.
The staff of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was sent home as several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol, though the demonstration remained relatively calm. A brief scuffle between pro-Trump demonstrators, who included members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters broke out in Columbus, Ohio, but there was no immediate threat to the Capitol.
5 p.m. – The DC police chief says protesters deployed ‘chemical irritants on police’ to gain access to the US Capitol.
Police Chief Robert Contee says officials have declared the scene a riot. One civilian was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday. Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.
Mayor Muriel Bowser says the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.” She says, “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated.”
Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out. The National Guard was also deployed, as were Homeland Security investigators and Secret Service.
Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. He has since tweeted a video telling his supporters to go home.
4:40 p.m. – At least one explosive device has been found near the U.S. Capitol amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat Wednesday afternoon.
That’s according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press.
Thousands of supporters of the president occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Vice President Mike Pence called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately. President Donald Trump urged supporters to go home.
4:25 – President Donald Trump tweeted a video Wednesday afternoon after President-elect Joe Biden called on him to address his supporters, urging his supporters to go home.
The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Biden’s victory.
Trump opened his video, saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”
“I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time. 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’ve seen 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.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP VIA TWITTER
Twitter flagged Trump’s tweet, saying “this claim of election fraud is disputed” and disabled replies, retweets or likes “due to a risk of violence.”
4:20 p.m. – Democrat Jon Ossoff is projected as the winner of the second Georgia runoff for U.S. Senate; Democrats effectively gain control of U.S. Senate.
4:05 p.m. – President-elect Joe Biden addressed Americans from Delaware, asking President Donald Trump to go on national television to “fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Biden called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business.”
Biden’s condemnation came after violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm the president-elect’s victory in the November election.
Biden addressed the violent protests as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.
4 p.m. – The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Wednesday afternoon that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.
A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.
The officials said the D.C. request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Hoffman said the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department.
3:55 p.m. – The top Democrats in Congress are demanding that President Donald Trump order his supporters to leave the Capitol following a chaotic protest aimed at blocking a peaceful transfer of power.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement on Wednesday after violent protesters stormed the Capitol. They said, “We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
Trump earlier encouraged his supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to “remain peaceful,” but he did not call for them to disperse. He held a rally earlier Wednesday in which he repeated his false claims that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election through voter fraud.
3:50 p.m. – The White House says National Guard troops along with other federal protective services are en route to the Capitol to help end a violent occupation by President Donald Trump’s supporters who are seeking to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that “At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.”
She added, “We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is sending members of the Virginia National Guard, along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.
3:43 p.m. – Vice President Mike Pence tweeted said the “violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now.”