- 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.
The first two certificates of the process, from Alabama and Alaska, were accepted without controversy or objection.
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.
Staffers were ordered to evacuate from two House office buildings, the Cannon and Madison buildings.
FLASH: Capitol Police have ordered evacuations of two Capitol campus buildings — LoC Madison Building and Cannon House Office building, both just across Independence Avenue from the Capitol.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) January 6, 2021
Trump supporters are clashing with police in attempts to breach Capitol building security during the joint session of Congress going on right now.pic.twitter.com/55ywI65KZg
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 6, 2021
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.
President Donald Trump and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., issued tweets urging calm and asking protesters to respect law enforcement.
“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.
The Capitol is literally being broken into.
We’re under siege. pic.twitter.com/HW5bxbyr0h
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 6, 2021
Police officers are holding them steps away from the Senate chamber, which is locked. Senators are inside. I see a few confederate flags. pic.twitter.com/YI7X7KmuUG
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a curfew for Washington, DC.
A dramatic armed standoff occurred in 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.
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.”
HuffPost’s Igor Bobic captured the moment when the mob breached the Senate.
Here’s the scary moment when protesters initially got into the building from the first floor and made their way outside Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/CfVIBsgywK
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
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.
National Guard troops from both the District of Columbia and Virginia were deployed to the scene to quell the uprising.
Per the Mayor's request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.
— Governor Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 6, 2021
Same defense official confirms Mayor Bowser made request for National Guard at Capitol as it was breached. Defense officials initially offered to replace police in other capacities in the city, allowing more police at Capitol specifically, source says.https://t.co/DSFLjqww9Y
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) January 6, 2021
President-elect Joe Biden condemned the rioters as “insurrectionists” in a speech from Delaware.
“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.
President Donald Trump gave a statement calling for the mobs to go home while continuing to falsely claim that the presidential election was “stolen.”
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!”
Those occupying the Capitol got into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and left a note on her desk.
A little after 5:30 p.m. the sergeant at arms announced the Capitol had been secured.
The Capitol Police; the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington; and National Guard troops from the District of Columbia and Virginia helped secure the Capitol.
Sergeant at Arms says the Capitol building is secure.
The room breaks out into applause.
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 6, 2021
Crowds are dispersing after large amounts of teargas were deployed in front of the Capitol Building. Still several hundred out here on the lawn after 5:30 pm #DC #Capitol #WashingtonDC #capitolbreach pic.twitter.com/93g6xWqB3R
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) January 6, 2021
Shortly before 6 p.m., MSNBC reported that a woman who was shot in the Capitol had died.
Multiple news outlets reported that the woman was shot in an altercation with law enforcement.
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.
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.
Sen. Joe Manchin says he hopes that Congress can get the Electoral College certification done tonight.
“We’ll stay whatever it takes.. these thugs aren’t running us off.” pic.twitter.com/6KeEQnJdl7
— Ali Zaslav (@alizaslav) January 6, 2021
Rest assured, this day will not end without us finishing the work Congress is supposed to carry out.
We will not let our Constitution be trampled on by a mob and threaten by a tyrant.
Democracy will prevail.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 6, 2021
We have stopped the coup attempt and will be returning to the Capitol today to finish the business of the people. We will never back down, we will return.
— Rep. Jason Crow (@RepJasonCrow) January 6, 2021
Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona had some choice words for the state’s Republican Party chairwoman, Kelli Ward.
Fuck you we are. Democracy will not die tonight. https://t.co/StCMRiSQc6
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) January 6, 2021
In a letter to colleagues sent at about 6:30 p.m., Pelosi said members would return to finish the vote Wednesday night.
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.
Senate Republicans are hopeful they have convinced senators to remove their objections to allow the debate to be finished quickly on Wednesday night, according to a source familiar with the talks.
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) January 6, 2021
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.
The electoral college certificates – ratifying Biden’s win – are being marched back to the Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/uNte4GcF3S
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) January 7, 2021
Vice President Mike Pence returned to address the Senate shortly after 8 p.m., receiving a round of applause.
Pence speaking now in the Senate: "Today was a dark day…" "We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms." "To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people's house."
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 7, 2021
“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.
“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.
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.
Both the Senate and the House voted against sustaining the objection to Arizona’s slate of 11 electors for Biden.
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.
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.
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.
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