4:07 AM - January 7, 2021
4:07 AM - January 7, 2021

Recap: Trump supporters violently storm Capitol in insurrection before Congress certifies Biden’s win

What began as a congressional debate over the integrity of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania and other battleground states ended with lawmakers huddled on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, tear gas wafting through the soaring Rotunda, and attackers — American attackers — smashing their way through House and Senate chamber doors.

Security staff barricaded themselves inside the House chamber, aiming pistols through the shattered windowpanes in the doors, as the mob pressed from outside, attempting to overturn a democratic election.

Frightened lawmakers, donning protective masks, shuffled alongside armed guards as they evacuated down hallways, while Trump supporters paraded just steps away with Confederate battle flags. Someone stood a noose outside the Capitol building.

The D.C. Metropolitan Police reported that a woman was fatally shot by police inside the Capitol and three others died in the immediate area from medical emergencies. More than 50 people were arrested.

Police eventually cleared out the Trump supporters and Congress reconvened to proceed with certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

Congress certified Biden’s victory early Thursday morning. Vice President Mike Pence, resisting pressure from Trump to thwart Biden’s win, finalized the Electoral College vote tally, 306-232, and declared Biden the winner at 3:39 a.m.

Trump said there will be “an orderly transition on January 20th,” the closest he has come to conceding the race.

Read more of our coverage of today’s events:

3:57 AM - January 7, 2021
3:57 AM - January 7, 2021

Trump says ‘there will be an orderly transition’

President Donald Trump acknowledged the coming end of his term early Thursday after Congress finalized President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement tweeted by an aide (Trump’s own Twitter account has been suspended after he incited a violent mob that attacked the Capitol on Wednesday).

“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,” Trump said. “While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

It’s the closest Trump has come to conceding.

3:32 AM - January 7, 2021
3:32 AM - January 7, 2021

Congress formalizes Biden’s win over Trump

Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden’s victory early Thursday morning, completing its typically uneventful constitutional duty hours after the Capitol was occupied by violent mobs seeking to keep President Donald Trump in power.

Vice President Mike Pence, resisting pressure from Trump to thwart Biden’s win, finalized the Electoral College vote tally, 306-232, and declared Biden the winner at 3:39 a.m.

“The announcement of the state of the vote by the President of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected President and Vice President of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January 2021, and shall be entered together with a list of the votes on the journals of the senate and the House of Representatives.”

He gaveled the joint session of Congress to a close at 3:44 a.m., about 15 hours after it began.

Congress spent about four hours during that time debating the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, after Republican members of the House and Senate objected to Biden’s victories there. Though the final outcome was never in doubt, an unprecedented number of congressional Republicans backed the futile effort to overturn the will of the voters and block Biden from assuming the presidency later this month.

—Andrew Seidman

3:32 AM - January 7, 2021
3:32 AM - January 7, 2021

Biden surpasses 270 certified Electoral College votes

Congress has certified more than 270 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Following the affirmation of Vermont’s election results, Biden had 271 certified electoral votes.

The counting of electoral votes is expected to continue without further objections.

3:11 AM - January 7, 2021
3:11 AM - January 7, 2021

Congress rejects Republican objection to Pennsylvania election results

The House voted to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, clearing the way for Congress to certify his Electoral College victory some 12 hours after the proceedings were disrupted by a violent mob of Trump supporters.

The 138-282 vote followed two hours of heated debate in the House, prompted by an objection filed by U.S. Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.). The Senate also affirmed Biden’s win with a 92-7 vote.

Eight of Pennsylvania’s 10 Republican members of Congress voted in favor of the objection — an effort that could have disenfranchised the whole state.

Pennsylvania GOP Reps. Mike Kelly, Dan Meuser, Guy Reschenthaler, John Joyce, Fred Keller, Scott Perry, Glenn “GT” Thompson, and Lloyd Smucker opposed the certification, as did New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew.

Sen. Pat Toomey and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, each of whom denounced President Donald Trump’s incitement of the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday, were the lone Pennsylvania Republicans who voted to uphold the will of the state’s voters.

—Andrew Seidman

1:58 AM - January 7, 2021
1:58 AM - January 7, 2021

Lamb decries Republican ‘lies,’ leading to heated exchange

Lawmakers briefly appeared near blows as U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D., Pa.) spoke and the debate dragged close to 2 a.m.

”These objections don’t deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce.” said Lamb, of Western Pennsylvania.

“Enough has been done today here today already to try to strip this Congress of its dignity and these objectors don’t need to do anymore,” Lamb said. “We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere, it was inspired by lies, the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight. And the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves, their constituents should be ashamed of them.”

His references to “lies” prompted GOP lawmakers to object, asking his words to be struck from the record. When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presiding over the chamber, allowed Lamb to continue, several Republicans shouted for Lamb to sit down, drawing angry rebukes from Democrats.

Eventually one Republican and one Democrat faced off in the aisle of the House, before others gathered around and separated them.

—Jonathan Tamari

1:14 AM - January 7, 2021
1:14 AM - January 7, 2021

Pennsylvania Republicans lead futile last push to overturn election results

Pennsylvania Republican congressmen led the futile last-ditch push in Congress to deny President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state, falsely claiming the same ballots that sent them to Washington can’t be trusted when it comes to the presidential election.

Republicans raised a litany of familiar complaints about the election, accusing Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court and secretary of state of usurping the authority of the state legislature.

“The constitution is just a piece of paper,” Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) said on the House floor. “It cannot defend itself.”

“The lawlessness and violence of today must be condemned, just as all violent protests must be condemned,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R., Pa.). “Nevertheless, a large number of Pennsylvanians are enormously frustrated with actions taken by elected and appointed officials in Pennsylvania, which have led to a high level of distrust for this past election.”

Democrats pointed to state and federal courts that have repeatedly ruled against the Trump campaign.

“The fact is the election has received unprecedented scrutiny in the courts,” said Rep. Mike Doyle (D., Pa.). “I believe it’s irresponsible and undemocratic to argue today that the U.S. Congress ought to relitigate the 2020 presidential election and second-guess the will of the voters in multiple states” and the courts.

“Tonight we will not be picking the president — for the people did that on Nov 3,” U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.) said. ... We will decide whether American democracy survives.”

—Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Tamari

1:04 AM - January 7, 2021
1:04 AM - January 7, 2021

Republicans repeat false claims in objecting to Pennsylvania election results

House Republicans objecting to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes are repeating a number of false claims about the presidential election, many of which have long since debunked.

—Jonathan Lai

12:34 AM - January 7, 2021
12:34 AM - January 7, 2021

Republicans object to Biden’s Pennsylvania win

Dozens of House Republicans and at least one senator are objecting to Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, delaying Congress’ certification of his Electoral College victory.

Rep. Scott Perry (R., Pa.) filed an objection, saying he had the support of 80 colleagues in the House. U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) joined in support, forcing a debate. Eight of the nine Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House delegation joined in the objection. All were elected on the same ballots whose integrity they say can’t be trusted.

The Senate is forgoing debate and voting on the objection, but debate is underway in the House.

Biden won Pennsylvania by about 81,000 votes, almost double Trump’s 2016 margin of victory.

—Andrew Seidman

11:32 PM - January 6, 2021
11:32 PM - January 6, 2021

4 U.S. House members from Pa. vote against Biden win in Arizona

Four Pennsylvania Republican members of the House voted to sustain an objection to Joe Biden’s win in Arizona.

The Democratic-led House voted 303-121 to reject the objection, and the Senate also affirmed Biden’s win in Arizona, voting 93-6.

Pennsylvania Reps. Guy Reschenthaler, Scott Perry, John Joyce, and Mike Kelly voted “yes,” as did New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew.

— Andrew Seidman

11:17 PM - January 6, 2021
11:17 PM - January 6, 2021

Woman killed in Capitol was shot by police, officials say; more than 50 arrested

A woman who was fatally shot inside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday amid an armed insurrection was shot by police, D.C. officials said late Wednesday.

D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said his force will investigate the shooting, but did not identify the woman. In addition to the woman who was killed, Contee said three others on Capitol grounds — one woman and two men — suffered “separate medical emergencies” and died.

He also said that police recovered two pipe bombs — from near the headquarters of both the DNC and the RNC — as well as a “cooler” containing long guns and Molotov cocktails from the grounds of the Capitol.

At least 14 Metropolitan police officers sustained injuries, Contee said, one of whom was hospitalized with “serious” injuries after being pulled into a crowd and assaulted.

Arrest totals were not immediately available as a half-dozen police jurisdictions assisted in enforcement Wednesday, but D.C. Metropolitan police had as of 9:30 p.m. arrested 52 people, according to Contee. Five of those people face weapons charges and 47 are accused of violating the city’s 6 p.m. curfew. The curfew lifts at 6 a.m. Thursday and did not apply to essential workers.

“I’m very proud of my officers,” Contee said. “We restored the people’s business.”

Contee appeared late Wednesday at a news conference alongside D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who declared a public safety emergency to last for 15 days through Jan. 21, the day after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The declaration allows the city to tap funds and request additional backup from federal officials in order to secure people and property in the city.

Bowser said supporters of the president “can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration,” adding that “President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid.”

“We saw an unprecedented attack on American democracy incited by the United States president,” she said, “and he must be held accountable.”

— Anna Orso

10:51 PM - January 6, 2021
10:51 PM - January 6, 2021

In Senate speech, Toomey rebukes Trump

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey issued a stinging rebuke to President Donald Trump, calling him a “demagogue” who was responsible for inciting violence in the Capitol Wednesday.

“We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth,” Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, said on the Senate floor. “We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.”

Toomey spoke shortly after 10 p.m., anticipating that some of his fellow Republicans would object to Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania.

Toomey noted that the objectors have taken issue with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s pre-election decision that allowed counties to count mail ballots arriving up to three days after Election Day. But the state did not even count the 10,000 late-arriving ballots for the presidential election.

“What greater remedy could the objectors possibly want than the complete exclusion of the late arriving ballots?” Toomey said. “How could we possibly invalidate the entire Pennsylvania election over 10,000 votes that were not even included in the vote count?”

He also dismissed an argument raised by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) that the 2019 state law expanding the use of mail ballots might be unconstitutional. Toomey noted that the law passed with overwhelming support in the GOP-controlled legislature. And the law “was only challenged after President Trump lost the general election,” Toomey said.

— Andrew Seidman

10:32 PM - January 6, 2021
10:32 PM - January 6, 2021

Senate votes 93-6 against objection to Biden win in Arizona

The Senate has overwhelmingly turned aside a challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.

The objection to the results in Arizona — spearheaded by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz — was rejected 93-6 on Wednesday night. All votes in favor came from Republicans, but after violent protesters mobbed the Capitol earlier Wednesday a number of GOP senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course.

The Republicans raised the objection based on false claims pushed by President Donald Trump and others of issues with the vote in Arizona, which were repeatedly dismissed in Arizona’s courts and by the state’s election officials.

— Associated Press

10:12 PM - January 6, 2021
10:12 PM - January 6, 2021

Missouri senator continues to object to Pa. election law

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) on Wednesday raised objections to Joe Biden’s election as president, saying he questioned the election procedures used in Pennsylvania and other states. Hawley suggested that a 2019 Pennsylvania law that expanded the use of mail ballots might be unconstitutional.

He did not mention that the law, Act 77, was passed by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature as part of a major election overhaul.

Hawley echoed complaints raised in a lawsuit filed by Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.) that sought to disenfranchise some 2.6 million voters in Pennsylvania.

The suit, which alleged Act 77 violated the state constitution, was dismissed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in late November in a unanimous ruling. Kelly didn’t take issue with the law until after the election, and the court said he waited too long to sue.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) responded that the law was “plainly constitutional.”

“It was only after the 2020 election when it became clear President-elect Joe Biden won Pennsylvania by a little more than 80,000 votes did some Republican politicians in our state decide to challenge the constitutionality of the law,” Casey said on the Senate floor.

Pennsylvania’s other U.S. senator, Republican Pat Toomey, has also condemned the GOP congressional challenges to Biden’s victory.

— Andrew Seidman

9:34 PM - January 6, 2021
9:34 PM - January 6, 2021

Pa. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick calls attack on Capitol a ‘coup attempt’

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Bucks County Republican, said Wednesday evening that rioters’ storming of the U.S. Capitol complex was “nothing short of a coup attempt.”

“The President of the United States has been lying to his supporters with false information and false expectations,” Fitzpatrick wrote on Twitter. “He lit the flame of incitement and owns responsibility for this.”

“The rioters who stormed the Capitol today are criminals and thugs who should all be in jail,” he continued. “Our Country is better than this. The election is over. We must allow for the peaceful transition of power to now take place and come together to rebuild confidence in our democracy.”

Fitzpatrick was reelected in November to a third two-year term, defeating his Democratic opponent by 13 percentage points even as Joe Biden won his district. Fitzpatrick was the only Republican House member from Pennsylvania who indicated he would not object to the certification of Biden’s win in the state.

— Andrew Seidman

9:25 PM - January 6, 2021
9:25 PM - January 6, 2021

Philly teachers will try to help students understand Capitol siege, superintendent says

Philadelphia Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said city teachers and principals will try put helping children understand the insurrection front and center.

Hite, in a statement, condemned the insurrection as “the very opposite of what we must model for our students when it comes to resolving conflict.”

“We must always remember our children are watching,” the superintendent said. “They have lost so much over the past year, and now they must reconcile what they have been taught about the ideals of our democratic nation with the criminal attacks they have witnessed in our Capitol.”

School staff will focus on helping children puzzle through how rioters stormed the Capitol, “what it means and how our nation must work together to restore peace and democracy in the days and months ahead,” Hite said. “Our students deserve no less.”

— Kristen A. Graham

9:06 PM - January 6, 2021
9:06 PM - January 6, 2021

Some GOP Senators no longer plan Biden objection

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a campaign rally in support of Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga. on Monday.
Brynn Anderson / AP
Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a campaign rally in support of Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga. on Monday.

Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe 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.

— Associated Press

8:47 PM - January 6, 2021
8:47 PM - January 6, 2021

Facebook blocks Trump for 24 hours

Shortly after Twitter banned President Trump from tweeting for 12 hours, Facebook announced it would similarly block the president from posting for 24 hours.

The platform, alongside YouTube and Twitter, removed a video the president posted amid an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, telling the rioters, among other things: “we love you.”

Facebook posted on Twitter: “We’ve assessed two policy violations against President Trump’s Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block, meaning he will lose the ability to post on the platform during that time.”

— Anna Orso

8:44 PM - January 6, 2021
8:44 PM - January 6, 2021

World leaders are appalled by storming of U.S. Capitol

Leaders around the world condemned the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, expressing shock at the chaos unfolding in a country they once relied upon for global leadership.

“Disgraceful scenes in US Congress,” tweeted Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, a staunch ally of the United States over generations. “The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”

Other allies were similarly appalled at what they described as an attack on American democracy, though some said they believed U.S. democratic institutions would withstand the turmoil. Some leaders singled out Trump for harsh criticism.

“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter. “From inflammatory words come violent deeds.” He added that “contempt for democratic institutions has disastrous effects.”

— Associated Press

8:41 PM - January 6, 2021
8:41 PM - January 6, 2021

Man charged with gun offenses during vote count in Philly posts defiant tweets from D.C. Capitol siege

Joshua Macias, the Vets for Trump co-founder who was charged with weapons offenses in November after he drove a QAnon-decorated Hummer to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to allegedly raid “a truckload of fake ballots,” is out on bail.

He surfaced in Washington, D.C., during Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol building.

“We’re not giving up, we’re not going to quit, we’re not giving in to Communism,” Macias said in a Twitter video he posted with the hashtag #WeStopTheSteal.

They were charged with felony and misdemeanor weapons offenses. They have posted bail and are awaiting their preliminary hearings which could be held as early as next week.

— William Bender

8:26 PM - January 6, 2021
8:26 PM - January 6, 2021

Congress reconvenes to certify Biden election victory

Congress has reconvened to certify Joe Biden’s election as 46th president of the United States, hours after rioters stormed the Capitol complex and forced lawmakers and Vice President MIke Pence to evacuate.

The joint session of Congress is set to finish counting the votes cast in the Electoral College last month. It remains to be seen whether congressional Republicans will continue to object to the results in battleground states like Pennsylvania, where Biden defeated President Donald Trump.

A pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol earlier Wednesday as Republicans raised objections to the results in Arizona, another state Biden won.

— Andrew Seidman

8:09 PM - January 6, 2021
8:09 PM - January 6, 2021

Top aide to First Lady resigns

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned following violent protests at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Grisham says in a statement Wednesday that it was an “honor” to serve the country in the White House and be part of he first lady’s “mission” to help children.

Grisham was one of Trump’s longest serving aides, having joined the campaign in 2015. She served as the White House press secretary and never held a press briefing.

Wednesday’s violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters sparked renewed conversations inside the White House about mass resignations by mid-level aides who are responsible for operations of the office of the president.

Two people familiar with the conversations said the aides were torn between fears of what more would happen if they left and a desire to register their disgust with their boss. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

— Associated Press

7:52 PM - January 6, 2021
7:52 PM - January 6, 2021

Video: Mob storms U.S. Capitol in insurrection

7:38 PM - January 6, 2021
7:38 PM - January 6, 2021

Mike Pence returns to Senate

Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate to resume the Electoral College proceedings that were delayed by the siege of the Capitol by Trump supporters, his spokesperson said on Twitter.

Devin O’Malley, the vice president’s press secretary, said Pence never left the building and has been in contact with legislative leaders as well as federal authorities to secure the Capitol and allow Congress to reconvene.

“And now we will finish the People’s business,” O’Malley wrote.

— Robert Moran

7:28 PM - January 6, 2021
7:28 PM - January 6, 2021

U.S. Rep. Wild describes ‘terrifying’ siege of Capitol

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover as rioters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
AP
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover as rioters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a Pennsylvania Democrat, was already feeling tense as she sat in the House gallery, listening to objections about Arizona’s electoral count.

While she and other House members didn’t know the extent of the chaos unfolding outside, Wild was getting updates from Capitol police: first, that the perimeter had been breached. Then, an “internal security breach.”

“Everybody was to remain where they were and keep doors locked and quiet,” Wild said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. After that, she heard a “commotion” in the hallway outside the gallery, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer were quickly taken off the floor.

Wild and other members were instructed to remain in place and stay calm, and to pull gas masks out that were under their seats “because tear gas was going to be deployed at some point.”

“And then all of a sudden, the mood just completely changed. Down on the House floor, we were being told to evacuate. People were shouting over each other, so it’s really hard to understand what people were saying,” she said.

Because of Wild’s location in the gallery, she said, there was only one door that was secure to leave from, on the other side of the floor. She was among a group of about 20 people who were the last in line to evacuate. They maneuvered between narrow rows of seats, while holding onto their gas masks.

“All of a sudden, the last group of us were told to get down, that we couldn’t evacuate because there was a new disturbance out in the hallway,” Wild said. “And right after we were told to get down I started hearing shots and breaking glass and didn’t really know what was going on, except that it was terrifying.”

She didn’t get back up until they were told the door had been secured, and to get out as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know how much time elapsed,” she said. “I completely lost sense of time.”

Wild and others were then led by police out down steps and through a series of hallways, “shepherded to a safe location with a lot of guards outside the door. And that’s where we’ve been ever since.”

While she was up in the gallery, Wild had called her son, asking him to also get his sister on the phone. “I wasn’t anxious to let them know that I was in a dangerous situation, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, and felt the need to talk to them,” she said. Later, she learned they had heard shots and breaking glass in the background.

Wild said the situation was “terrifying. And made the more so, because it seemed as though the police were very much outnumbered. From my vantage point, it seems like we did not have nearly enough police on the House floor. There wasn’t even one policeman at every door when this first all came down.”

Since then, fear has given way to anger and fatigue. Wild said she is currently in a room with 300 other people — “many of whom are refusing to wear masks,” and who “are being very accusatory toward the Democrats about why this all happened.”

She said she couldn’t disclose the location of the room, but that “it feels like it’s a COVID super spreader event.”

“I’m very, very worried for how we will move forward after this. How we will ever feel safe,” she said. She had been looking forward to the day visitors could return to the Capitol, and “God only knows when that will happen again. So that makes me very sad.”

She doesn’t know when she and others will be released from the room, despite police announcing that the Capitol had been cleared.

“We still have to finish the Electoral College process,” she said. “I don’t know where we will be doing that, but we’ve been told we will do it.”

Wild doesn’t have access to television, although she and others are checking their phones, which “are rapidly dying.”

“It’s hard to imagine leaving the Capitol grounds and going home,” she said.

— Maddie Hanna

7:13 PM - January 6, 2021
7:13 PM - January 6, 2021

Twitter removes Trump tweets, locks his account for 12 hours

Twitter has locked President Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours and threatened the president’s permanent suspension from the platform after removing from being viewable his tweets espousing false election claims and a praising a mob of supporters who breached the Capitol Wednesday.

The platform posted that it has “required the removal” of three of the president’s tweets “as a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington D.C.”

The tweets, which included a video in which the president told the insurrectionists that “We love you. You’re very special,” violated Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy, according to its safety account.

“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in the suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” Twitter wrote.

Facebook removed the same video from its platform earlier in the evening.

— Oona Goodin-Smith

7:00 PM - January 6, 2021
7:00 PM - January 6, 2021

U.S. House will reconvene tonight to resume Electoral College count

Just hours after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing elected officials to shelter and evacuate, lawmakers announced they would reconvene and resume counting the Electoral College votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi said the insurrection could not “deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.” She said this decision was reached after consulting with her leadership team, as well as the Pentagon, Justice Department, and Vice President Mike Pence.

“We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night,” she wrote. “We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote. We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”

Violence erupted Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol after thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building, breaking barriers, attacking police, and ultimately entering the building. They stole government equipment and broke into offices, including Pelosi’s. One woman was fatally shot.

— Ellie Rushing

6:43 PM - January 6, 2021
6:43 PM - January 6, 2021

Comparing arrests in D.C. today to Philly response to protests

As an insurrection unfolded Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., police faced criticism for failing to secure the building, allowing a mob of armed Trump supporters to burst inside, resulting in a woman being fatally shot.

As D.C. police announced at about 5 p.m. that 13 people had been arrested, some critics pointed to the heavy-handed responses across the country last year when protests and unrest were in response to police killings of Black people.

Last year, Philadelphia Police made more than 900 arrests and issued hundreds of additional citations related to demonstrations in the city. The night of May 30, the first night of unrest in Philadelphia after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, police arrested about 60 people and issued more than 100 citations.

In the two weeks after Floyd’s death, Philadelphia Police made 723 arrests in total, according to a newly released review commissioned by Mayor Jim Kenney. Hundreds more people were issued citations for violations like failing to disperse and violating city-imposed curfews.

While the arrest totals numbered in the hundreds, the department still struggled for nearly three days starting May 30 to control crowds, some including throngs of people resorting to theft and destruction of property.

And the department was criticized for contributing to the chaos: Officers deployed tear gas into a crowd of trapped protesters on Interstate 676, and indiscriminately fired gas through a residential neighborhood in West Philadelphia. Two officers were arrested and charged with assaulting demonstrators — one with a baton, another with pepper spray.

In October, after Philadelphia Police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., officers made at least 212 arrests in the days following the killing as demonstrators took to the streets. The majority of those arrested faced burglary charges.

— Anna Orso, Chris Palmer

6:37 PM - January 6, 2021
6:37 PM - January 6, 2021

U.S. Rep. Dean describes ‘disgraceful day’

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean arrived at the Capitol just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, preparing to speak on behalf of the party’s opposition to efforts by Republicans to overturn electors, she said Wednesday.

She was given a front-row seat for what she called a “disgraceful day,” and did not mince her words as to whom she wants held accountable.

”President Trump is responsible for what is happening here,” Dean said. “He came in shamefully on sets of lies and stoking fears. This is the natural consequence of his four years of that. I feel truly sorry for the people he has misled into coming here today.”

Dean had arrived at the Capitol hours before her allotted time to address her colleagues—she wanted to watch other party members make similar speeches while finishing edits on her own remarks. Minutes later, through she told her staff it might make sense to incorporate the protests happening yards away into her speech.

Gradually, as she heard representatives from Arizona speak out against the election challenge, warnings were issued inside the chambers. First, for members of congress to kneel under their desks, then for them to put on gas masks placed under their chairs, and finally, a curt command to rapidly evacuate as rioters had breached the hallway outside.

As Dean was hurried out of the room by security officers, she saw other guards forcefully holding the doors to the chambers closed, and watched as a man breached through the doors’ glass.

”It was just unreal, extremely disturbing, and terrifying, literally terrifying for our country,” she said.

She and other members of congress who had been on the floor were taken to two different secure locations before settling on a third, where they remained well into the evening Wednesday.

Dean said the events reminded her of remarks made by former President Barack Obama at the funeral of the late Sen. John Lewis, about how democracy is a precious thing that must be cared for.

”There are actions we are taking to either uphold it, or what we saw today, actions of self promotion to tear apart our democracy,” she said. “It’s terrifying and so sad.”

“I hope that during the shutdown, Democrats and Republicans together are taking time to reflect, and asking themselves ‘What are my words inspiring people to do?’” she said.

— Vinny Vella

6:29 PM - January 6, 2021
6:29 PM - January 6, 2021

Democrats call for invoking 25th Amendment to remove Trump

As curfew approached and the mob outside the Capitol began to dwindle into Wednesday evening, Democratic lawmakers called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office, blaming Trump for instigating the day’s violent insurrection on Capitol Hill.

“Donald J. Trump should immediately be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate as soon as Congress reconvenes,” wrote Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). “This is dangerous & unacceptable.”

”Dear @VP @Mike_Pence: You need to start the 25th Amendment. @realDonaldTrump is detached from reality,” tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

”I am drawing up the Articles of Impeachment,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) wrote. “Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate,” wrote Omar. “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”

The 25th Amendment of the United States Constitution describes the process for succession if an acting president resigns, dies, or is removed from office. The last clause of the amendment — and what lawmakers are calling on Pence to invoke — lays out the method for a president’s removal if the vice president, along with a majority of Congress or the president’s cabinet, believe Trump is unfit for office.

In part, it states: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The amendment was last used in 2002 by President George W. Bush, briefly making Vice President Dick Cheney the acting president when he underwent surgery.

The head of the National Association of Manufacturers — which represents 14,000 U.S. businesses — also released a statement Wednesday asking Pence to “seriously consider” invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, calling the violent insurrection “not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in.”

Last year, the association lauded Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, for her “extraordinary support” of American manufacturing.

Locally, Philadelphia lawmakers also condemned Wednesday’s violence, with Councilmember Helen Gym calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, while Councilmember Kendra Brooks slammed the “violent anti-democracy mobs” at the Capitol, calling the insurrection “not just the actions of a handful of fanatics. This is the new normal for the Republican party.”

— Oona Goodin-Smith

6:23 PM - January 6, 2021
6:23 PM - January 6, 2021

U.S. Rep. Boyle says Capitol was taken over by ‘group of lawless thugs’

U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Philadelphia Democrat, was searching with his staff for small lamps in his office as the sun set on Washington Wednesday evening. They had been advised to keep the overhead lights and most electronics turned off as insurrectionists continued to storm the nearby Capitol building.

Boyle was also advised by U.S. Capitol Police to keep his location secret.

Boyle had expected “an intense environment” as President Donald Trump’s supporters started to show up Tuesday, a day before the U.S. Congress gathered to count Electoral College votes.

He didn’t expect this. ”Never in a million years did I imagine that the Capitol of the United States would be taken over by a group of lawless thugs,” Boyle said.

Boyle had not seen a one-minute video Trump released on Twitter, telling the insurrectionists, “We love you. You’re very special” while calling for peace and repeating false claims about election fraud. That he did not find surprising. Boyle noted that Trump gave a speech at a rally earlier in the day, where he urged his supporters to march on the capitol.

”It’s all about him. It’s always about him,” Boyle said of Trump. “Trump is a wanna-be dictator.”

Boyle said some of the insurrectionists are armed and a threat to people in the city. ”But the bigger threat is those who incite them,” he said. “It is people like Trump who are the cause of this, and other, quiet Republican elected officials who have quietly gone along with it ever step of the way, even though they know it’s wrong, because they just want power.”

Boyle said he has encouraged the Democratic leadership in the House to stay in session and finish the job, no matter how long it takes, to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

”I hope at long last, now that our democracy has reached its ultimate breaking point, that people finally step back and realize this sort of toxic diet of misinformation and lies has deadly consequences,” Boyle said.

— Chris Brennan

6:18 PM - January 6, 2021
6:18 PM - January 6, 2021

Mayor Kenney accuses Trump of stirring ‘violence and sedition’

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was “incited by [President Donald Trump], who threatens the foundations of our democracy,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney tweeted Wednesday.

”He and all who stirred this violence and sedition must be held accountable. Praying for our representatives, their staffs, and those protecting them at the Capitol.”

— Onna Goodin-Smith

6:14 PM - January 6, 2021
6:14 PM - January 6, 2021

Woman shot during mob assault on Capitol has died

A woman who was shot during the mob assault on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon has died, D.C. police said.

The woman’s name was not released. Video posted on social media showed a crowd inside the Capitol, a gunshot is heard and then the woman, wearing a Trump banner around her neck, is lowered to the ground.

She could later be seen being loaded into an ambulance with blood around her upper body.

Dustin Sternbeck, spokesman for the D.C. police, said the woman died. He provided no further information as to the circumstances of the shooting.

— Washington Post

6:10 PM - January 6, 2021
6:10 PM - January 6, 2021

Jeff Van Drew, former Democrat who switched parties to side with Trump, says attack on Capitol ‘unacceptable’

Jeff Van Drew, the South Jersey congressman who garnered headlines when he left the Democratic party in late 2019 to become a Republican and declare allegiance to Trump, said he was in the House chambers when people started evacuating the room.

Back in his office, he learned intruders had broken into the Capitol.

”It’s obviously unacceptable, and something you never want to see again,” said Van Drew, who was re-elected as a Republican in November to New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. He also said the attack raised serious concerns about the security surrounding the building.

Van Drew is the only member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation who planned to object to the electoral college results.

Asked if he believed Trump should have spoken sooner on Wednesday about the violence, or urged the mob to cease, Van Drew acknowledged that it would have helped the situation. He also acknowledged the attack will hurt the president’s legacy, possibly obscuring recent accomplishments like fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine development.

”He’s his own worst enemy at times,” Van Drew said.

But he stopped short of criticizing the president outright, saying that previous Trump rallies he has seen were mostly peaceful.

Allison Steele

5:57 PM - January 6, 2021
5:57 PM - January 6, 2021

Facebook exec confirms company has removed Trump video

Facebook has removed a video posted by President Donald Trump that repeated false election claims while also asking his supporters to leave the Capitol and go home.

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence,” said Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity at Facebook, said in a tweet.

— Robert Moran

5:51 PM - January 6, 2021
5:51 PM - January 6, 2021

N.J. Gov. Murphy says he is deploying 50 national guard to D.C.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he is deploying the New Jersey State Police to Washington, D.C. and is prepared to deploy the state’s National Guard if needed.

The state police will help “facilitate the peaceful transition of power & protect our democracy,” Murphy said in a Tweet Wednesday afternoon.

The New Jersey State Police said a contingent of 50 troopers would be sent to assist.

Laura McCrystal

5:46 PM - January 6, 2021
5:46 PM - January 6, 2021

Announcement: ‘The Capitol is secure’

More than three hours after a mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol and broke into the building, police cleared the steps of the building, using tear gas and flash bangs to disperse the crowd.

Members of the mob shouted “this is just the beginning” as they retreated into the lawn at about 5:30 p.m., just 30 minutes before the citywide curfew begins, according to a CNN live video from the scene. Dozens of police in riot gear lined the front steps of the building to protect the structure.

Shortly after 5:30, an announcement was made inside a secure location for lawmakers: “The Capitol is secure.”

That prompted applause from the gathered lawmakers.

— Ellie Rushing and Jonathan Tamari

5:30 PM - January 6, 2021
5:30 PM - January 6, 2021

Law enforcement officers appear to be clearing some outside Capitol entrance

Flash bangs and teargas have gone off outside the entrance to the U.S. Capitol, according to live recordings at the scene, seeming to disperse some members of the insurrectionist mob storming the building.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the tightly packed mob slowly moved along the steps and balcony of the Capitol as at least 10 flash bangs and teargas canisters went off, a stream from MSNBC showed. People began coughing and some screamed, though others refused to leave the premises, which they started breaking into nearly three hours ago.

By 5:15 p.m., it appeared that police, dressed in bright yellow jackets and riot gear, were making progress clearing the building’s steps.

— Ellie Rushing

5:25 PM - January 6, 2021
5:25 PM - January 6, 2021

Former Pa. state lawmaker joins Capitol insurrection

A former Pennsylvania state representative who traveled to Washington Wednesday to “save our nation” cheered on insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol complex.

Rick Saccone, a Western Pennsylvania Republican, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018 against Democrat Conor Lamb.

“They broke down the gates,” Saccone said in a Facebook video he took outside the building. “They’re Macing them up there.”

“We’re trying to run out all the evil people in there, and all the RINOs [Republicans in name only] that have betrayed our president. We’re gonna run them out of their offices,” Saccone said in the video.

Saccone also posted a photo of himself standing next to State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican who has led the charge in Pennsylvania to try to overturn Trump’s loss there.

Andrew Seidman

5:20 PM - January 6, 2021
5:20 PM - January 6, 2021

U.S. Rep. Dean shaken by storming of Capitol

Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., and other members take cover as rioters stormed the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.
AP
Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., and other members take cover as rioters stormed the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean arrived at the Capitol just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, preparing to speak on behalf of the party’s opposition to efforts by Republicans to overturn electors, her spokesperson said.

She had arrived hours before her allotted time to address her colleagues—she wanted to watch other party members make similar speeches while finishing edits on her own remarks. Minutes later, through a phone call with her staff, she said it might make sense to incorporate the protests happening yards away into her speech.

Then rioters stormed into the Capitol building, setting off a flurry of activity. Dean was handed a gas mask by security officers and told to evacuate at about 1:30. She and other members of Congress who had been on the floor were taken to two different secure locations before settling on a third, where they remained well into the evening Wednesday, the spokesperson said.

Dean was shaken, he said—she was unavailable to comment herself, due to the strict security in the location where she was being guarded. Not even her staff knew exactly where she was.

”She’s often a very optimistic person. Anything she does, she likes to end on hope,” the spokesperson said. “She’s sad for our nation, and she’s a deeply religious person, so she’s praying for peace.”

— Vinny Vella

5:13 PM - January 6, 2021
5:13 PM - January 6, 2021

National Guard in D.C. activated to quell violence

The Army has activated the entirety of the Washington D.C. National Guard after a mob in support of outgoing President Donald Trump breached the Capitol Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post, 1,100 guardsmen will be activated within hours after Mayor Muriel E. Bowser requested that any National Guard members on duty be sent to the building under siege.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that “at [Trump]’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.”

After encouraging his supporters to go to the Capitol Wednesday to express their disapproval of the 2020 presidential election results, Trump later tweeted to “stay peaceful,” stopping short of directing them to leave the Capitol.

″Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” Trump tweeted. “They are truly on the side of our Country.”

Oona Goodin-Smith

5:04 PM - January 6, 2021
5:04 PM - January 6, 2021

Former Philly top cop: Capitol Police was not prepared for today

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who previously served as head of police in D.C., said the Capitol Police should have had more officers deployed in anticipation of possible violence Wednesday.

“They did not have enough people,” said Ramsey, who was the chief of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department from 1998 to early 2007. “There’s no way in hell they should have taken over that building — you don’t lose the U.S. Capitol, for God sakes. It’s not just any building. It’s the symbol of the United States. People recognize it before they do the White House.”

Ramsey said the Capitol Police must quickly organize with the National Guard to plan a strategy on retaking the building and clearing the Capitol grounds. “They have to reestablish a perimeter and clear that building,” he said, adding that police have underground access to the building.

“They have to get people off the grounds. They have to form skirmish lines, and push. You just keep moving forward, moving forward — you give them a chance, but if they don’t move, you move them,” he said.

Any clearing action could further escalate the violence, he said, as well as any counter-protesters. Any escalation would be on the insurrectionists, he said. “It could get ugly. But you cannot just let them do what they’re doing right now.”

Ramsey described the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as “an attempted coup” and said the violence was on ”the hands of President Trump and his enablers.“

”We have a weak pathetic individual sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Ramsey told the Inquirer. “I won’t even call him president. He’s sad, pitiful. He’s a loser. I knew he would be bad — I had no idea he’d be this damn bad.”

”It’s just so embarrassing,” he continued. “So terrible — so embarrassing on so many levels. This is the United States of America.”

— Mike Newall

4:56 PM - January 6, 2021
4:56 PM - January 6, 2021

‘Be prepared to get down in your chairs’

Inside the House chamber Wednesday, reporters and lawmakers followed Twitter accounts of the riot unfolding outside the U.S. Capitol, even as a contentious debate unfolded inside over whether to accept Arizona’s electors.

Suddenly, U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), the second-ranking Democrat, was whisked off the floor. “This is because of you!” U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, a moderate Minnesota Democrat, bellowed towards the GOP.

A security official told lawmakers that rioters had made it as far as the rotunda of the Capitol.

“Be prepared to get down in your chairs,” security instructed the lawmakers inside. Debate resumed for a moment, but soon House security said they had fired tear gas in the rotunda. They told lawmakers to take out the “escape hoods” under their chairs. They began locking the doors to the chamber.

House press staff handed reporters silver-wrapped boxes, a bit larger than a lunch box, containing their escape hoods, meant to fend off chemicals. Lawmakers and reporters tore open the packaging, removed the hoods whose vents made a persistent buzzing sound.

Soon after, loud pops. The rioters were breaking the glass to the main doors into the House. Capitol police officers moved bureaus in front of the doors, and pointed their guns outward. Reporters and members of Congress ducked behind chairs in the gallery, waiting.

Maybe a few minutes passed, and Capitol police urged the lawmakers and reporters out. The marble halls were lined with officers with handguns and rifles drawn. A handful of people — apparently some of the rioters — lay flat on the floors of the Capitol.”Quickly! Quickly!” one officer urged everyone evacuating.

— Jonathan Tamari

4:48 PM - January 6, 2021
4:48 PM - January 6, 2021

Philly emergency operations activated, but ‘no specific threat’ in city

Philadelphia has activated its emergency operations center, though there are ‘no specific threats’ in the city, Mayor Jim Kenney’s office said.

Philadelphia officials have activated the city’s emergency operations center and stationed police at “strategic locations” throughout the city as an insurrection unfolds in Washington.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said Wednesday afternoon while there have been no specific threats against the city, “the safety and well-being of Philadelphians is our top priority” and police will “secure and patrol strategic locations.”

Police officials did not specify those locations.

— Anna Orso

4:40 PM - January 6, 2021
4:40 PM - January 6, 2021

Pa. state lawmakers condemn violence at U.S. Capitol

State lawmakers in Pennsylvania denounced violence in Washington on Wednesday after a mob of Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol to impede the official count of Electoral College votes.

Sen. Jake Corman, the top Republican in the chamber, said in a tweet, “What is going on in D.C. should never happen.”

”It cannot be said often enough — we are a nation of laws. This is not our America,” he said. “Violence is not the American way. When our rules and laws are not followed, chaos takes over.

Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) responded to Wednesday’s events in a tweet that began, “Sheer size of the crowd in D.C. is emblematic of how divided we are.”

”We can disagree [without] violence,” she continued. “Violence wasn’t ok when groups were destroying property last summer: it’s not ok now. We are a country of laws and without laws, we are doomed.”

Corman and Ward have supported Trump’s challenge of his election defeat.

A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside the office of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Saul Loeb/AFP / MCT
A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sits inside the office of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

State Democrats called on Republican leadership in the Pennsylvania House and Senate “to immediately and unequivocally denounce this violence and support the rule of law and the peaceful transition of power.”

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D., Allegheny) said on Twitter, “What’s happening right now in Washington D.C. is not a lawful protest. It is a violent takeover attempt of our entire government — urged on by President Donald Trump.”

Spokespeople for House Republican leadership did not immediately respond to request for comment.

— Cynthia Fernandez, PA Spotlight

4:36 PM - January 6, 2021
4:36 PM - January 6, 2021

Pa. representative recounts harrowing events in U.S. Capitol

Rep. Matt Cartwright was on the floor of the House of Representatives early Wednesday afternoon when Capitol police in SWAT gear rushed into the chamber and evacuated members of the Democratic leadership team who were sitting nearby.

A police commander announced the “building had been breached” by “infiltrators,” Cartwright (D., Pa.) recalled on a call with reporters. Police kept members of Congress apprised of new developments, and soon enough they were told to unlock the “emergency escape hoods” underneath their seats because tear gas had been dispersed in the rotunda, Cartwright said.

“It started to feel surreal at that point,” he said, adding that he heard “loud banging at the doors and at the barricades in front of the main door to the House chamber.” Some of the police officers had clubs and other weapons that looked like tire irons. “They were ready to subdue people charging into the chamber,” he said.

A couple minutes later, police announced shots had been fired and directed House members to proceed to the southwest corner of the chamber, toward a narrow and steep staircase.

“That’s when it started to feel a little dicey,” Cartwright said. “Some of our members — they’re elderly. They’re not too spry.”

With dozens of people trying to make it down the staircase, there was a big backup. Police started shouting, “Move! Move!”

The staircase led to a sub-basement of the Capitol and to tunnels stretching across the Hill campus. “We all made our escape uneventfully,” Cartwright said. As of 4 p.m., he was in an undisclosed location; police have asked members to be discreet about their whereabouts.

— Andrew Seidman

4:32 PM - January 6, 2021
4:32 PM - January 6, 2021

Trump repeats false election claims before asking supporters to go home

President Donald Trump repeated false claims that the presidential election was stolen from him and told the mob breaching the U.S. Capitol “I know your pain,” before asking the insurrectionists to go home.

In a video posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Trump said “this was a fraudulent election” and falsely stated that he defeated President-elect Joe Biden in a landslide.

While he asked the insurrectionists to remain peaceful and to leave the Capitol, he also validated their views and expressed his support for how they feel.

”We love you. You’re very special,” he said, speaking directly to the mob of his supporters breaching the Capitol. “I know how you feel but go home and go home in peace.”

— Laura McCrystal

4:30 PM - January 6, 2021
4:30 PM - January 6, 2021

Biden condemns storming of Capitol, calls on Trump to end siege

President-elect Joe Biden condemned the ongoing insurrection taking place in the U.S. Capitol, labeling it an “unprecedented assault” on democracy and calling on President Donald Trump to appear on national television to “demand an end to this siege.”

”At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault like anything we have seen in modern times,” Biden said in a somber address to the country. “An assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.”

”It borders on sedition and it must end,” he said. “Now.”

”The words of a president matter,” he said. “Therefore, 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’s address came three hours after Trump’s supporters began storming the Capitol building, following the president’s speech to the group gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The mob ultimately stormed police protecting the Capitol, smashed glass doors and broke in to rummage through senatorial offices and cause destruction. At least one person has been shot.”It’s not protests. It’s insurrection,” Biden said.

— Ellie Rushing

4:14 PM - January 6, 2021
4:14 PM - January 6, 2021

Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum: ‘You’re not doing anything to restore the greatness of America’

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Republican, on Wednesday condemned pro-Trump insurrectionists, telling the armed mob that breached the Capitol: “You’re not doing anything to restore the greatness of America by tearing it down.”

Santorum, who represented Pennsylvania in both the U.S. House and Senate in the 1990s and early 2000s, endorsed Trump in 2016, but has called the president’s false claims surrounding the 2020 election “dangerous.”

The former presidential candidate who is now a CNN contributor said Wednesday that while he understands “a lot of people feel that the country is at stake,” he can’t understand “how people have lost faith in our country to the point where they feel they have to do things like this.”

”If you love America,” he added, “you understand the greatness of our country is the great institutions we have and you defend those institutions, you defend our Constitution, you don’t try to overturn through violence and protest things that you say you value.”

— Anna Orso

4:10 PM - January 6, 2021
4:10 PM - January 6, 2021

Photos: Pro-Trump insurrectionists storm Capitol

3:53 PM - January 6, 2021
3:53 PM - January 6, 2021

Pa. congresswoman in lockdown calls attempted insurrection ‘an atrocity’

U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D., Pa.) knew there would be protests. But “I did not expect ... we would have this kind of breach,” she said in a phone interview from her locked-down office building.

Houlihan was on her way into her building around 1:15, 1:30 p.m. — preparing to give a speech on the House floor tonight — when she saw people gathered on the Capitol steps “where you pretty much can’t stand ... you need to have a real reason to be there.”

“There was an enormous boom,” she said. While the sound was “alarming,” she had been texting with other national security members of Congress and suspected it was part of a crowd dispersal technique. She was led into her building by Capitol police, who had already barricaded the door but unlocked it to let her in.

“They had just at the moment that I walked in issued an alert that said that they wouldn’t let anybody else into the buildings,” she said. “So thankfully, I think I got there just in the nick of time.”

“It’s just devastating to see people disrespecting the people’s house, disrespecting the will of the American people,” Houlihan said.

She said, “There’s nothing good about what we’re watching right now. It’s an atrocity.”

— Maddie Hanna

3:40 PM - January 6, 2021
3:40 PM - January 6, 2021

Local members of Congress take to social media as Capitol overrun

As insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex on Wednesday, members of Congress took to social media to let constituents and friends know they were safe.

“I wanted to let you know that I am safe,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Delaware County Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “My heart is broken for our country.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) wrote: “My staff and I are safe and following guidance from Capitol Police. The scene in the Capitol goes against every value we pledge to uphold as a nation. Democracy will prevail.”

Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) said he and his staff were safe as well. “This is an absolute disgrace,” he said in a statement. “I appreciate the work of the United States Capitol Police under difficult circumstances.”

A spokesperson for Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Montgomery County Democrat, said the congresswoman was in an undisclosed location out of safety precautions. The spokesperson confirmed Dean was on the House floor when insurrectionists broke into the building and she was evacuated wearing a gas mask.

— Andrew Seidman and Vinny Vella

3:40 PM - January 6, 2021
3:40 PM - January 6, 2021

Former Philly police chief: ‘This is as close to a coup attempt that this country has ever seen’

As an insurrection unfolded in Washington, D.C., Wednesday as people wielding weapons pushed past law enforcement, breaking windows and breaching the Capitol building, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner and former D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey told CNN via phone that hadn’t “seen anything like it.”

”This is as close to a coup attempt that this country has ever seen,” Ramsey said, calling President Donald Trump a “cancer,” and saying Trump should “shut the hell up and get out of the way.”

”If I sound a little upset, it’s because I am.”

He continued: “You have a situation where the president is stirring the pot, it’s out of control.”

— Annie Bryan, Oona Goodin-Smith

3:33 PM - January 6, 2021
3:33 PM - January 6, 2021

One person shot at the Capitol

One person has been shot at the Capitol amid a melee with Trump supporters, according to the Associated Press.

NBC News aired footage of a woman on a stretcher being rushed out of the Capitol building.

— Rob Tornoe

3:20 PM - January 6, 2021
3:20 PM - January 6, 2021

Republican congressman calls on Trump to ‘call it off’

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.), pleaded for President Donald Trump to call off his supporters, who have overtaken the U.S. Capitol.

“This is insane,” Gallagher, a Trump supporter, said during a call to CNN. “The president need to call it off. Call it off. It’s over. The election’s over.”

In a tweet, Trump called on his supporters to “remain peaceful,” but did not issue any order for them to leave the Capitol.

— Rob Tornoe

3:07 PM - January 6, 2021
3:07 PM - January 6, 2021

House chamber evacuated, members of Congress moved to a secure location.

Police with guns drawn watch as a mob tries to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Police with guns drawn watch as a mob tries to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

The House chambers were evacuated, after insurrectionists smashed glass doors and got into the room.

People held by police were lying down outside the chamber, where security guards with guns drawn urged reporters and lawmakers to move “Quickly! Quickly!”

Those evacuated from the House chambers were moved to a secure location, where lawmakers began to pray together. Some knelt, others bowed their heads.

— Jonathan Tamari and Laura McCrystal

3:00 PM - January 6, 2021
3:00 PM - January 6, 2021

‘People are mad. That’s what this is about.’

Police fight off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Julio Cortez / AP
Police fight off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.

The massive crowd of Trump supporters outside the Capitol didn’t disperse after what sounded like two loud blasts or after apparent tear gas clouded their view of the Capitol. They cheered when they saw others had broken through by climbing the wall.

“It’s starting,” one man said ominously as sirens in the distance grew louder and someone started playing “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes.

Police cars sped toward the crowd, with one car swerving onto the grass where the mob stood, sending them racing away.

Barry Sullivan, 62, of Maryland, watched the chaos start to unfold and took a call from his worried wife.

”People are mad,” Sullivan said. “That’s what this is about.”

“Elections are our only recourse we have and if we lose that we lose the country,” he said. “This is happening because people won’t allow that. I’m not saying I condone violence but... that’s how our country was founded.”

— Julia Terruso

2:50 PM - January 6, 2021
2:50 PM - January 6, 2021

Insurrectionists attempting to gain entry to the House Chamber

— Jonathan Tamari

2:48 PM - January 6, 2021
2:48 PM - January 6, 2021

Philadelphia congressman: ‘We’re basically hunkered down in the office’

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, a Philadelphia Democrat, said he and his staff are following instructions from the U.S. Capitol Police to shelter in place in their offices in a building across the street from the U.S. Capitol.

Evans said Congressional delegations are being called into the Capitol as each state’s Electoral College votes are counted, and in some cases, challenged. Republicans from Pennsylvania’s House delegation have said they will make such a challenge.

The states are called in alphabetical order. So Evans is not expecting to head through the underground tunnel to the Capitol for a while.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Evans said. “We’re basically hunkered down in the office.”

— Chris Brennan

2:40 PM - January 6, 2021
2:40 PM - January 6, 2021

Mob breaches Capitol, delaying certification vote

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
Julio Cortez / AP
Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.

Footage airing on cable news Wednesday afternoon showed screaming people breaching the Capitol building and walking through its chambers, forcing a delay in the certification vote and leading to a lockdown of the building.

The Capitol building had been closed to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The mob made it to just outside the Senate floor, forcing Capitol police to lock down every door, according to New York Times political correspondent Jonathan Martin.

”It’s stunning,” CNN’s Jake Tapper said of the scene. “It’s quite frankly dangerous.”

The District of Columbia has issued a 6 p.m. curfew for Wednesday.

— Rob Tornoe

2:00 PM - January 6, 2021
2:00 PM - January 6, 2021

Lawmakers challenge Biden’s win, McConnell warns of ‘death spiral,’ and Trump says ‘we will never concede’

Republican lawmakers mounted their first official challenge to Joe Biden’s presidential election win Wednesday, objecting to state results from Arizona as they took up Donald Trump’s relentless effort to overturn the election results in an extraordinary joint session of Congress.

Outside, demonstrators tried to shove their way into the Capitol, scuffling with police, after a fiery rally near the White House in which Trump prodded his supporters to march to Capitol Hill.

In the House chamber, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, flanked by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, rose to object to the typically routine acceptance of electors.

The objection now forces two hours of debate in the House and Senate, sending lawmakers away to separate deliberations.

— Associated Press

11:00 AM - January 6, 2021
11:00 AM - January 6, 2021

Photos: Trump supporters gather on D.C. streets

Trump Supporters in Washington DC as the House and Senate prepare to convene a joint session to count the electoral votes cast in November's election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.  January 6, 2021
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Trump Supporters in Washington DC as the House and Senate prepare to convene a joint session to count the electoral votes cast in November's election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.  January 6, 2021
Trump Supporters walk on G Street near 15th Street in Washington DC as the House and Senate prepare to convene a joint session to count the electoral votes cast in November's election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.  January 6, 2021
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Trump Supporters walk on G Street near 15th Street in Washington DC as the House and Senate prepare to convene a joint session to count the electoral votes cast in November's election, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.  January 6, 2021

— Jessica Griffin

10:45 AM - January 6, 2021
10:45 AM - January 6, 2021

Republican leaders in the Pennsylvania Senate want Congress to delay affirming Biden’s Electoral College win

The top Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate want Congress to delay certification of the Electoral College, joining a growing group of state and federal politicians who have baselessly called the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory into question.

In a letter dated Monday, President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland), joined by all but seven members of the caucus, said certain “inconsistencies” with how the election was run in Pennsylvania still need to be investigated.

The letter was shared by outgoing President Donald Trump on Twitter on Tuesday night.

— Marie Albiges of Spotlight PA

8:00 AM - January 6, 2021
8:00 AM - January 6, 2021

What to know about congressional Republicans’ plans to object to Pennsylvania’s election results

Congress will convene a joint session Wednesday to count the Electoral College votes from the presidential election — with Pennsylvania in the crosshairs.

More than 100 Republican House members and a dozen senators have pledged to contest the state’s results and those from other battlegrounds, turning what’s normally a pro forma affair into what President Donald Trump and his allies cast as their last chance to reverse his loss.

Their efforts have essentially no chance of stopping Congress from signing off on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory — the last procedural step before his inauguration on Jan. 20.

“At the end of the day, Congress is going to count 306 electoral votes for the Biden-Harris ticket,” said Derek T. Muller, an election-law professor at the University of Iowa and an expert on the process. “The only question is, how do they get there and how long does it take?”

— Jonathan Lai, Jeremy Roebuck

7:30 AM - January 6, 2021
7:30 AM - January 6, 2021

Busloads of Pa. Trump supporters head to D.C. to protest

A Pro-Trump demonstrator walks down a street near Freedom Plaza, the night before a large protest and rally in Washington, D.C., on January 5, 2021.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
A Pro-Trump demonstrator walks down a street near Freedom Plaza, the night before a large protest and rally in Washington, D.C., on January 5, 2021.

Raberta Hans, a 50-year-old teacher from Carbon County in Northeastern Pennsylvania, says she wants to make a stand for election integrity: “It’s too dangerous to not go back and count every ballot.”

Jackie Kulback, the local GOP chair in Cambria County, is looking forward to what “may be our last chance to get together as a group to show the president how much we support him.”

And Ben Philips, a 50-year-old computer programmer from Bloomsburg, is eager to see what President Donald Trump will do next: “It seems like he called us there for a reason, I think something big’s about to go down that no one’s talking about yet. I think he has an ace up his sleeve.”

They’re among the busloads of Pennsylvania Trump supporters heading to Washington on Wednesday as the nation’s capital braces for potentially tens of thousands of people to march in the streets during a chaotic day in Congress. Under normal circumstances, it would be a quiet day in Washington, as Congress convenes to certify the Electoral College results usually a formality.

But Trump and his allies have transformed this perfunctory gathering into a national spectacle, as the president continues his push to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden. An unprecedented number of congressional Republicans have said they will object to the results in Pennsylvania and other swing states Biden won — despite Biden’s decisive 306-262 Electoral College victory and 7-million popular vote win. Elections officials and dozens of state and federal courts across the country have rejected the Trump campaign’s lawsuits, and there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims of widespread fraud.

— Andrew Seidman, Julia Terruso

7:30 AM - January 6, 2021
7:30 AM - January 6, 2021

Eight Pennsylvania Republicans in Congress will join a push today to reverse Trump’s election loss

Pennsylvania will once again be at the center of a fraught national political battle Wednesday, when a typically routine ceremony to confirm the results of the presidential election is expected to become a brawl the country’s very democratic principles.

Dozens of Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate — including 8 from Pennsylvania — will try to block Pennsylvania’s presidential electors and those from some other states, attempting to overturn the will of the voters to keep President Donald Trump in power.

More than a dozen GOP senators and scores of House members have pledged to join the push to subvert the election results, based on false claims by Trump and arguments that have been resoundingly rejected in court and by a bipartisan cast of elections officials.

The plan is doomed to fail in the face of opposition from congressional Democrats and a significant share of Republicans, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey.

But the attempt to block Congress from accepting the results of an election will amount to one of the most direct challenges to American democracy in memory and a test of the GOP’s direction as Trump nears the end of his term.

It promises to turn what is normally a staid step in the transfer of power into a clash that has split the GOP, enraged Democrats, and fueled unfounded attacks on Joe Biden’s presidency before he even takes office.

— Jonathan Tamari