Four people are dead and dozens have been arrested after Donald Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol and clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden's election victory being certified.
A mob descended on the symbolic home of western democracy after President Trump urged them to do so at a rally outside the White House on Wednesday, claiming election victory was being stolen from him.
Congress had to be suspended after dozens of Trump's supporters forced their way inside the building, with politicians donning gas masks as tear gas canisters were thrown and running for cover under armed guard.
What followed was hours of anarchy that saw one woman - 14-year Air Force veteran Ashli Babbit - shot dead inside the building as the mob looted, rioted and broke into congressional offices, all while chanting pro-Trump slogans and waving banners with the President's name on them.
As the anarchy raged, Trump's own cabinet began discussing using the 25th amendment to declare him unfit for office before his term officially ends at noon on January 20 when Joe Biden is inaugurated,
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JUST IN: “This is not news we deliver lightly,” @margbrennan says as she reports: Trump Cabinet secretaries are discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. Nothing formal yet presented to VP Pence.— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) January 7, 2021
“I’m talking about actual members of the Cabinet,” she says
In one of the darkest days in modern American political history...Two pipe bombs were recovered near the Capitol after being left outside the offices of the Democratic and Republican National Committees A truck full of long guns - meaning rifles and shotguns - and Molotov cocktails was uncovered by officers Three people died from 'individual medical emergencies' around the Capitol while others were injured, including one man reportedly stabbed outside Trump International Hotel The National Guard was called in by Mike Pence to restore order as a 6pm curfew was brought into force in DC 52 people were arrested, including four for carrying pistols and a fifth for carrying an unspecified weapon Trump was kicked off Twitter and Facebook for 24 hours after calling the rioters 'great patriots' and continuing to claim, without evidence, that the election was being 'viciously stolen' from him
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while Trump supporters gather in front of the Capitol on Wednesday
Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress
Babbit was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died several hours later
A protester is seen hanging from the balcony in the Senate ChamberInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber
Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon
A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside
Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump protest
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the city for the next 15 days until Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
Biden himself spoke out amid the anarchy, labeling the rioters 'extremists' who were 'dedicated to lawlessness' while urging Trump 'to go on national television to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.'
Congress was eventually able to return to session where Joe Biden's election victory was eventually certified, despite the continued objections of Republican senators and congressmen.
The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way back into chambers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the certification would resume in a letter to Democratic colleagues, writing: 'We have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use.'
'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,' she said.
Vice President Mike Pence reopened the Senate by condemning the violent siege 'in the strongest possible terms' - but did not lay the blame on Trump for inciting the MAGA mob.
'To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win,' Pence said. 'Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people's house.'
The vice president, who is chairing the special Senate session, called it a 'dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.'
'But thanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured and the people's work continues,' Pence said.
But astonishingly – and to the disgust of Republicans including Mitt Romney and every Democrat – some Republicans continued their doomed bid to overturn the election result.
In the Senate, objections were filed in Arizona and Pennsylvania, but both were torpedoed by majority vote.
House Republicans also tried to challenge the results in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but didn't have final support.
The DC National Guard was deployed to the streets to help enforce a 6pm curfew
National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew
A protester struggles with a riot police officer outside the Capitol building after the 6pm curfew went into effect
Paramedics work to resuscitate a patient near the Capitol after it was stormed by Trump supporters on Wednesday
Just before 8pm lawmakers who had been whisked to safety when the siege kicked off began arriving back at the Capitol to resume the Joint Session to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election
The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way into the Capitol
Pennsylvania's vote concluded just before 1am, virtually bringing the 12-hour certification saga to a close.
The chaotic scenes unfolded at about 3pm, soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters and encouraged them to march to the Capitol. The protesters organized via far-right social media sites, including Gab and Parler, telling each other the best routes to avoid police on their way to the Capitol.
As the mob broke down police barricades and stormed into the Capitol, lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Officers at the front door of the chamber had their guns drawn at a protester trying to break down the door.
For those fleeing, it was a race against time: Protesters were getting in as quickly as members of Congress could get out.
One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled: 'Trump won that election'. Some protesters even occupied Pelosi's office, sitting mockingly at a desk.
After protesters started clashing with law enforcement, Trump tweeted to his supporters to 'stay peaceful'.
'Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!' the president wrote.
As the violence escalated, Trump tweeted: 'I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order - respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!'
He did not initially tell the protesters to leave.
Biden on Wednesday evening called for the restoration of 'simple decency' after the mob delayed Congress from certifying the results of November's election.
Members of congress ran from the floor as police ordered them to evacuate to their offices for their own safety after a mob smashed through police barricades
Paramedics and protesters work together to transport a wounded man on a barrier near the Capitol
Police try to hold back protesters pushing into a doorway at the Capitol on Wednesday
The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from Capitol Police
A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi's lectern after storming the Capitol
A Trump supporter posed alongside a statue of President Gerald Ford inside the Capitol
Police deployed tear gas at protesters who refused to step away from barriers outside the White House
Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol
'At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we've seen in modern times,' Biden said. He called it 'an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.'
'I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward.
In an address that took less than 10 minutes and was televised against a split screen of the still-occupied Capitol building, Biden attempted to project calm and to say that a deeply divided country can still come together - while also expressing outrage.
He stopped short of accusing Trump of treason but said the events 'bordered on sedition'.
'At their best, the words of a president can inspire,' Biden added. 'At their worst they can incite.'
Minutes after Biden's address, Trump posted his own video telling his mob of supporters that he 'loves' them, but to 'go home'. In the same breath he also continued to peddle his baseless claims that the 'election was stolen'.
'There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us - from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people,' he said.
'We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.'
The video was later removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because it violated their policies.
The president then posted another tweet reiterating his false claim that the election was stolen and encouraging supporters to 'remember this day'. The tweet was perceived by some as an attempt to rile up the Capitol crowds.
'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,' he tweeted. 'Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!'
Twitter removed the tweet for violating its rules.
A rioter holds a Trump flag inside the US Capitol after storming the building. He is standing in front of a painting depicting the Battle of Lake Erie - major US naval victory in the War of 1812
Capitol police detain protesters outside of the House Chamber on Wednesday
Lawmakers were urged to put gas masks on as police fired tear gas to stop the protesters
Rep. David Trone wears a gas mask inside the US Capitol. Lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber were urged to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda
Members of Congress are pictured rushing to evacuate the House Chamber as protesters attempted to enter
Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday
The storming brought the certification of Joe Biden's victory to a halt – after Pence said he would defy Trump and refuse to overturn the election single-handed
Supporters of US President Donald Trump roam under the Capitol Rotunda after invading the Capitol building
Protesters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol
A supporter of US President Donald J. Trump sits on the desk of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Blood is seen on the floor after a woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol during a riot on Wednesday
Protesters use a a barrier to break down a door at the Capitol on Wednesday
Media members work to pick up equipment damaged in the chaos outside the Capitol
FBI agents arrive on the Capitol grounds to help enforce a 6pm curfew
Donald Trump told his mob of supporters that he 'loves' them, but to 'go home' after they rampaged past police barriers to storm the U.S. Capitol.
But despite calling for his supporters to stand down, he continued to peddle the baseless claims that the 'election was stolen' in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
'There's never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us - from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can't play into the hands of these people.
'We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,' Trump said.
It came hours after Trump stirred them into a frenzy at his 'Stop the Steal' rally, telling them to march on the U.S. Capitol.
The president still has not conceded the election and earlier Wednesday addressed a crowd at the ellipse spouting conspiracy theories that he still had a path to win - if Vice President Mike Pence did his bidding, as well as if GOP lawmakers revolted.
Pence did no such thing.
Capitol Police used tear gas as hundreds of people were seen climbing the marble steps outside the building. They banged on the locked doors of the Capitol and smashed the glass in the doors.
Demonstrators fought with police and then forced their way into the building.
Asked how so many people were able to get in, officials said they were focusing their attention on keeping lawmakers inside safe.
One video posted on TikTok appeared to show a group of about four officers standing by as protesters pushed past a barricade near the Capitol building.
The officers did not appear to try to block the stampede, instead walking with it toward the building.
One protester jumped up on the dais, where the president of the Senate presides, and yelled: 'Trump won that election.'
Several dozen protesters roamed the halls of the Capitol, yelling: 'Where are they?'
Tear gas was being used by Capitol Police as protesters filled both the House and Senate side of the Capitol.
Another protester in the Senate yelled: 'Where's Pence, show yourself!'
The chaos caused the Capitol to go on lockdown and disrupted the certification of the electoral college vote that would cement Biden's victory.
Mayor Bowser declared a 6pm curfew for the city and said multiple law enforcement agencies would be patrolling the streets. Just before the curfew went into effect she was asked multiple by times by CNN if curfew violators would be arrested, but she refused to give a clear answer.
Bowser said 'many' arrests had already been made but did not have a specific number.
'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,' Trump Jr. wrote. 'We have a country to save and this doesn't help anyone.'
Meanwhile, the president continued to direct his rage at Pence, who earlier announced he would not single-handedly overturn the election results from his position of the chair.
'Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!' the president tweeted.
The extraordinary breech was a departure from security mishaps of the past. Protesters have routinely disrupted televised hearings while in progress and even events inside the House chamber. But trained Capitol Police are usually able to arrest disruptors and remove them immediately. Often formal charges are never filed.
But in Wednesday's storming of the building, dozens of people made it by armed police officers and entered the building without going through any security set up to keep out those with weapons or dangerous items.
There were occasions after September 11th when the building was placed on lockdown and people were ordered to leave, but this usually happened when suspicious packages were discovered.
When the building is open, as it was before the pandemic, members of the general public are not allowed to walk unescorted on the second floor where lawmakers enter and exit the legislative chambers.
The protesters were aided by scaffolding constructed for the upcoming inauguration.
In another tense piece of video from inside, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tweeted video of protesters repeatedly rushing Capitol Police officers in the crypt, in the ground floor part of the building under the rotunda.
'I like many people voted for President Trump in the 2020 election and hoped for a different result,' McCaul wrote. 'But violence and destruction is not the way to express your grievances. This is disgraceful and has to end.'
Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday's chaos at the Capitol
Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday
A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening
As the US Capitol was stormed, Trump supporters staged smaller rallies outside statehouses in several cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.
Protesters swarmed into the Kansas statehouse in Topeka and gathered inside the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda, though the rally remained orderly, television station KSNT reported.
There were no immediate reports of violence, despite the flurry of demonstrations by pro-Trump demonstrators echoing his baseless claims that he was robbed of a re-election victory due to voter fraud.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter that he had instructed city agencies to close municipal offices early in Colorado's state capital 'out of an abundance of caution' after about 700 demonstrators gathered at the statehouse downtown.
'My hope is that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray for our nation,' he tweeted.
A major courthouse complex and two other government buildings in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, were also ordered closed due to protests near the statehouse.
Among those whose daily routines were altered were aides to Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, the Republican election official pressured by Trump in a weekend telephone call to 'find' enough additional votes for the president to overturn the November victory of President-elect Joe Biden, due to take office in two weeks.
Raffensperger's spokesman, Walter Jones, said staff left their offices after lunch out of an abundance of caution because of protests. He said Raffensperger was not in the office at the time.
In Salt Lake City, Dana Jones, director of the state Capitol Preservation Board, said she had asked building staff to work from home on Wednesday afternoon on the advice of the Utah Highway Patrol and public safety commissioner, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
A Utah state police spokesman said security had been beefed up at the Capitol, though he said protesters there were 'very peaceful,' the Tribune reported. It said one of its photographers was pepper-sprayed by individuals upset that he was documenting their protest.
Several hundred Trump supporters also staged a 'Stop the Steal' rally at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, cheering and jeering while exhibiting a guillotine.
MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump
ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles
LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters
OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem
TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin
ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm
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