WASHINGTON — After nearly four hours, officials have declared the U.S. Capitol complex “secure” after heavily armed police moved to end the violent occupation by hundreds of Trump supporters.
An announcement saying “the Capitol is secure” rang out Wednesday evening inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applauded.
Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier in the afternoon in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Despite a curfew in place for Washington D.C., dozens of pro-Trump supporters are still on the streets.
Officials say about 47 people were arrested Wednesday evening after being found on the streets after 6 p.m.
The Metropolitan Police Department said 15 other people had been arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday in various protest-related arrests on an array of charges, including weapons possession and assault.
Fire officials also took 13 people to area hospitals from protest-related injuries and four people died.
Washington Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”
Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.
The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.
D.C. police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
Pelosi says Congress to resume once Capitol safe
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will resume the Electoral College proceedings once the Capitol is cleared of protesters and safe 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.”
Later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Congress “will not be deterred” in confirming the results of the presidential election.
The Republican leader reopened the Senate vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College for President-elect Biden
McConnell says demonstrators “tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”
McConnell plans to keep the Senate in session Wednesday to finish confirming the results.
U.S. political leaders condemn ‘insurrection’
Vice President Mike Pence was escorted out of the building and Trump was brought back to the White House.
Biden said the “scenes of chaos in the Capitol” are an assault on the rule of law in a media availability later in the afternoon.
“Words of a president matter. No matter how good or bad that President is at their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” he said.
He called on Trump to take a stand on national television to “fulfill his oath and defend the constitution” and demand an end to the “siege.”
“Today is a painful reminder democracy is fragile,” Biden said. “It’s not a protest. It’s insurrection. The world’s watching.”
Biden ended the address by assuring the unfolding situation is not causing him to be concerned about his safety, security, or inauguration.
Obama says violence at Capitol a moment of shame
Former President Barack Obama says history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonour and shame for the nation.
Obama says the violence was “incited by a sitting president” who baselessly lied about the outcome of the presidential election. He has convinced his supporters that he lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden only because Democrats cheated, a false claim.
Obama says it should not have come as a surprise, and that for two months “a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth.”
He says “their fantasy narrative has spiralled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”
Here’s my statement on today’s violence at the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/jLCKo2D1Ya
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 7, 2021
In a video posted to social media, Trump tells protesters in the video they “have to go home now,” and that “we have to have peace, we have to have law and order.”
Trump’s video response also continued to make unproven claims about the election.
Since the video was posted, Facebook has deleted it around safety concerns.
Twitter has also done the same thing, saying that the remarks have contributed to some concerns around danger.
Some of the other tweets he’s since put out have been deleted, with Twitter locking his account for 12 hours.
The social media site says should any other tweets that include “security concerns” be posted, the account could be suspended.
As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy. https://t.co/k6OkjNG3bM
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) January 7, 2021
Former U.S. President George W. Bush is condemning the riot, describing it as “sickening” and “heartbreaking.” He doesn’t directly name Trump, but he makes clear reference to him and other Republican officials.
Statement by President George W. Bush on Insurrection at the Capitol pic.twitter.com/rF77j0fIBK
— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) January 6, 2021
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is blaming Trump for inciting a violent “insurrection” at the Capitol.
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has posted that she is drawing up articles of impeachment.
“Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the United States Senate,” she writes. “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: https://t.co/AYnLchIo8t
— NEWS 1130 (@NEWS1130) January 6, 2021
D.C. curfew issued, National Guard called in
Reporters on the ground have been sharing video and images from the scene, saying guns had been drawn and others that shots had been fired.
Multiple reports suggest several officers have been hurt by the mob of protesters and the National Guard has been called in.
Police have guns drawn. We are hiding behind chairs and tables on House gallery
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) January 6, 2021
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. Some in the crowd were shouting “traitors” as officers tried to keep them back.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a 6 p.m. curfew now in effect.
A suspicious package was also reported in the area, Capitol Police said, but is no longer a threat.
D.C.’s police chief said protesters deployed “chemical irritants” on the police to gain access to U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
Chief Robert Contee said officials officially declared the scene a riot.
The skirmishes came just shortly after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud at a rally near the White House on Wednesday ahead of Congress’ vote, halting the proceedings.
“We will not let them silence your voices,” Trump told the protesters, who had lined up before sunrise to get a prime position to hear the president.
Trump took to social media earlier in the day as protesters continued to storm the Capitol, not outright telling them to leave the building, instead, asking them to, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
When asked about his reaction, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told NEWS 1130 in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he was concerned about what was unfolding south of the border.
Trudeau said his government was following the developments “minute by minute.”
“There is an important electoral process unfolding in the United States and I think we all want it and need it to unfold properly and peacefully. So we certainly hope that things will calm down,” he said.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) January 6, 2021
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard to Washington to help “the peaceful transition of presidential power.”
Cuomo, a Democrat, said 1,000 troops would be sent for up to two weeks at the request of U.S. National Guard officials.
Cuomo said in a statement: “For 244 years, the cornerstone of our democracy has been the peaceful transfer of power, and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is carried out, safely and decisively.”
They will join law enforcement from Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey who are also coming to D.C.’s aid.
Republican senators reversing course, now not planning to object.
Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of Biden’s victory.
Their change of heart came after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier Wednesday and interrupted their proceedings. One person was fatally shot.
Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.
Lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College votes from each state were forced to evacuate after an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol. Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”
All three had previously signed on to Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley says he is going forward with his objection to the Electoral College results in Pennsylvania despite the violent breach.
The Missouri senator said he did not support violence but said the Senate should go forward with a legal process that includes his objections.
Hawley says his objections should be debated “peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.” He says he hoped lawmakers would not brush his concerns aside because of the violence earlier Wednesday, including the death of a protester inside the Capitol.
Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden, though election officials have said there wasn’t any.
Republican leader compared violence to protests against racial injustice
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is comparing violence at the U.S. Capitol to protests against racial injustice over the summer after the killing of George Floyd by police.
McCarthy said, “Mobs don’t rule America. Laws rule America. It was true when our cities were burning this summer and it is true now.”
The comment got loud applause from Republicans. Democrats in the chamber sat silently.
Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, was killed in May after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he said he couldn’t breathe.
McCarthy, an ally of Trump’s, said Wednesday was the “saddest day” he’s ever had in Congress.
He said: “It is clear this Congress will not be the same after today.”
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.