Congress certified Joe Biden's election win, sitting through the night after an attempted coup at the US Capitol

ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesVice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi preside after Congress returned to continue its business after a pro-Trump mob forced them out.
  • A joint session of Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election hours after violent protesters breached the Capitol.
  • Lawmakers concluded their count at about 3:45 a.m. ET on Thursday, confirming that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won with 306 Electoral College votes.
  • They had been forced out for several hours by a mob of people who breached the Capitol after being stirred up by President Donald Trump.
  • He characterised the congressional proceedings as an attempt to rob him of the presidency, a claim that has no evidence to support it and has repeatedly been rejected in court.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election early Thursday morning, completing the process despite an attempt by a pro-Trump mob to derail it.

Lawmakers were forced to retreat from the Senate chamber in the Capitol on Wednesday as police officers outside were overwhelmed by a crowd stirred up by President Donald Trump.

It took several hours for authorities to regain control of the building, and at least four people died, including a Trump supporter shot dead by the police along with three people who authorities said had experienced medical issues. Eventually, lawmakers returned to the Senate chamber to finish the session.

Lingering objections to the results by some Republicans were overruled, and Congress concluded that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris won the November 3 election by 306 Electoral College votes to 232.

After the proceedings, and facing furious criticism for his role provoking the attack on the Capitol, Trump made a statement pledging an “orderly transition of power” when Biden and Harris take office on January 20.

Congress’ role in certifying the results of US elections is usually just a formality.

But Trump and his allies before Wednesday had continually made the baseless assertion that the election results were invalid, advancing wild and false theories about how they might be overturned. At a rally earlier Wednesday, Trump urged his supporters to descend on the Capitol.

What followed was a burst of mob violence at the heart of government never before seen in modern US history.

Scroll down for Insider’s coverage of the events as they unfolded.


At 1 p.m. local time, members of Congress filed into the House chamber for the proceedings. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence called the proceedings to order.

Saul Loeb/Pool via APPence and Pelosi in the Capitol on Wednesday.

The first two certificates of the process, from Alabama and Alaska, were accepted without controversy or objection.

Erin Scott/Pool via APRep. Paul Gosar of Arizona objecting to the state’s Electoral College certification on Wednesday.

Rep. Paul Gosar rose to bring an objection to the electors of the third state in the alphabetical order, Arizona, with 60 of his colleagues.

Lawmakers reacted with a mix of groans and applause.

They then left the chamber to go debate separately from the House on the objection.


Right after the House and the Senate split off to their respective chambers to debate the Arizona objection, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admonished Republican colleagues for failing to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.


Earlier in the day, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a stern warning to his colleagues.

“As we speak, the eyes of the world are on this chamber, questioning whether America is still the shining example of democracy, the shining city on the hill, ” Schumer said.

He continued: “What message we send today – what message will we send today to our people, to the world that has so looked up to us for centuries. What message will we send to fledgling democracies, who study our Constitution, who mirror our laws and traditions so that they too can build a country ruled by the consent of the governed?”


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results as the Senate began to debate, before the rioting began.

“I’ve served 36 years in the Senate,” McConnell said. “This will be the most important vote I’ll ever cast.”

He continued: “We cannot simply declare ourselves the national board of elections on steroids.”

McConnell concluded his speech with a call for both parties to return to a shared set of facts.

“We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate realities, with nothing in common except for our hostility toward each other and mistrust for the few national institutions that we all still share,” he said.


As the chambers began debating the Arizona objection, pro-Trump protesters clashed with Capitol Police officers on the steps leading to the Capitol.

Julio Cortez/APTrump supporters tried to break through a police barrier.

Staffers were ordered to evacuate from two House office buildings, the Cannon and Madison buildings.


Capitol Police officers were seen deploying flash-bang grenades and tear gas to try to disperse pro-Trump protesters outside the Capitol, according to a Fox News camera crew on the scene.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesSupporters of Trump inside the US Capitol.

President Donald Trump and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., issued tweets urging calm and asking protesters to respect law enforcement.

Erin Schaff – Pool/Getty Images

“This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.


Both chambers of Congress were forced to enter recess when protesters breached the Capitol as the House and the Senate separately debated an objection to Arizona’s 11 electoral votes.

Vice President Mike Pence and congressional lawmakers were evacuated to a secure area after originally being told to shelter in place.


Read more:
The House and the Senate abruptly enter recess after throngs of Trump supporters storm the Capitol


Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a curfew for Washington, DC.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

The curfew is in place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.


A dramatic armed standoff occurred in the House chamber.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesLaw-enforcement officers pointed guns at people gathered outside a door to the House chamber.

Dramatic photos captured by Getty Images showed Capitol Police officers pointing guns at the doors to the House chamber.


Vice President Mike Pence, congressional lawmakers, and some members of the press were evacuated to undisclosed locations as rioters clashed with police officers.

Andrew Harnik/AP PhotoPeople sheltered in the House gallery as rioters tried to break into the House chamber.

Pence tweeted: “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building.”


Read more:
Lawmakers and Mike Pence evacuated from the House of Representatives as pro-Trump rioters storm the Capitol


HuffPost’s Igor Bobic captured the moment when the mob breached the Senate.


Read more:
Video shows tense standoff between Capitol police and pro-Trump rioters trying to enter the Senate chamber


This video shows protesters descending on the Capitol.







A video from another angle captured the scene inside the chamber.







Multiple police officers who were injured in the violence were evacuated from the Capitol area.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSupporters of President Donald Trump stood on a US Capitol Police armoured vehicle on Wednesday.


Read more:


Multiple police officers were seen being evacuated with injuries after clashes with Trump rioters on Capitol Hill


National Guard troops from both the District of Columbia and Virginia were deployed to the scene to quell the uprising.

John Minchillo/APA woman is helped up by police officers at the Capitol.


Read more:
More National Guard troops are being deployed in Washington, DC, as Trump supporters storm the Capitol


President-elect Joe Biden condemned the rioters as “insurrectionists” in a speech from Delaware.

AP Photo/Susan WalshBiden at The Queen theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday.

“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.


Read more:
Biden calls ‘violent siege’ of US Capitol an ‘insurrection’ and demands Trump tell his supporters to back down


President Donald Trump gave a statement calling for the mobs to go home while continuing to falsely claim that the presidential election was “stolen.”

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)Trump in 2019.

Later, Trump tweeted: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”


Read more:
‘We love you. You’re very special’: Trump tells his violent supporters who stormed the Capitol to ‘go home’ after repeating his false claims about the election being ‘fraudulent’


Read more:
‘That is not true and we are not airing it’: CNBC anchor Shep Smith cut away from broadcasting Trump’s taped message amid chaos at the Capitol


Those occupying the Capitol got into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and left a note on her desk.

SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty ImagesA supporter of President Donald Trump left a note in Pelosi’s office Wednesday.


Read more:
Trump supporters who broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office during their siege of the US Capitol left her a note warning they ‘will not back down’


A little after 5:30 p.m. the sergeant at arms announced the Capitol had been secured.

Julio Cortez/APSupporters of President Donald Trump arriving at a Capitol side entrance on Wednesday.

The Capitol Police; the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington; and National Guard troops from the District of Columbia and Virginia helped secure the Capitol.


Shortly before 6 p.m., MSNBC reported that a woman who was shot in the Capitol had died.

Andrew Harnik/APUS Capitol Police holding trespassers at gunpoint near the House chamber.

Multiple news outlets reported that the woman was shot in an altercation with law enforcement.


Read more:
Woman shot in Capitol after Trump supporters storm the building as lawmakers gathered to certify Biden’s win


Here’s a video recap of how the violence and chaos at the Capitol unfolded throughout Wednesday:







As the sun began to set in Washington and the crowd began to disperse, lawmakers vowed to continue to the work of finalising the Electoral College vote count.

Andrew Harnik/APPeople evacuating from the House chamber as protesters tried to break in Wednesday.

McConnell told senators they “should go back into the chamber tonight to project strength after today’s catastrophe,” The Washington Post reported, after the sergeant at arms cleared the Capitol.

At 6 p.m., a curfew began in Washington, DC. More riot-police officers, National Guard troops, and FBI agents were on the scene to disperse the crowd and secure the scene.

Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona had some choice words for the state’s Republican Party chairwoman, Kelli Ward.


In a letter to colleagues sent at about 6:30 p.m., Pelosi said members would return to finish the vote Wednesday night.

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via APPelosi and Vice President Mike Pence at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Pelosi’s letter said:

“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.

“To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today.

“We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished.”

Shortly after, Politico reported that the Senate hoped to return to session at 8 p.m. and continue the counting of electoral votes without any objections.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Devin O’Malley, 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.”


Mahogany boxes with electoral-vote certificates were brought back to the Senate after Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they intended to bring Congress back into session.

Members were set to resume debate on the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes, which both chambers were conducting when they forced to go into recess.


Vice President Mike Pence returned to address the Senate shortly after 8 p.m., receiving a round of applause.

Senate Television via APAn image from video of Pence speaking as the Senate reconvened Wednesday.


“The clockwork of our democracy will carry on,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said when the Senate reconvened to continue debate on the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes raised over seven hours earlier.

Kevin Dietsch/Pool via APMcConnell arriving as the joint session of Congress convened Wednesday.

“The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats. We will not bow to lawless or intimidation … we are going to discharge our duty under the Constitution, and we are going to do it tonight,” McConnell said.

“Congress has faced much greater threats than this unhinged crowd we faced today. They failed,” he added, calling the violence “a failed insurrection.”


Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia reversed course and decided not to object to Arizona’s electors after saying she supported objections.

Senate Television via APAn image taken from video of Loeffler in the Capitol on Wednesday after the Senate reconvened.

Loeffler, who was appointed in early 2020 to fill a vacant US Senate seat, just lost a runoff election against the Democrat Raphael Warnock to serve out the rest of former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s term until 2023.


Sen. Mitt Romney stared down his colleague Sen. Josh Hawley as Hawley outlined his objections to states’ electoral votes.

Screenshot via C-SPANHawley on the Senate floor during a debate over a challenge to Arizona’s electors.

Both the Senate and the House voted against sustaining the objection to Arizona’s slate of 11 electors for Biden.

Senate Television via APSen. Mark Warner on the Senate floor.

The vote in the Senate failed 93-6.

The six senators voting in favour to reject Arizona’s electors were Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

The vote in the House failed 303-121, with only Republican members of the House voting in favour of sustaining the objection to Arizona’s electors. Eighty-three Republicans joined Democrats in voting against rejecting Arizona’s electors.


Lawmakers from House and the Senate challenged Pennsylvania’s electors.

Chip Somodevilla / StaffSen. Josh Hawley ruffled feathers when he pitched far-reaching proposals about coronavirus aid for small businesses in April.

After challenges to electors could not be sustained for Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada, as senators dropped their objections, Republicans in both the House and the Senate challenged Pennsylvania’s electors.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania objected to Pennsylvania’s certificate, sending the two chambers into separate two-hour debates. The Senate declined to debate and voted to reject the challenge to Pennsylvania’s electors.


The House and the Senate voted to reject a challenge to Pennsylvania’s electors.

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via APVice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol on Wednesday.

The House and the Senate voted to reject a challenge to Pennsylvania’s electors. The Senate declined to hold a debate and voted down the objection to the electors.

After two hours of lively debate, the House voted. The majority of Republicans, 138 members, voted to not accept Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. The final House vote was 282 to 138, with the “nays” carrying the vote.


President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris passed the threshold of 270 electoral votes, meaning their victory was certified.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesBiden discussing the Electoral College vote-certification process on December 14 in Wilmington, Delaware.

In the joint session of Congress’ count of electoral votes, Biden and Harris surpassed the 270 needed to win the White House. The final vote was 306 to 232.

Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module

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