President Donald Trump early on Thursday committed to "an orderly transition" of power soon after Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election win, and following the storming of the Capitol by a mob of violent Trump supporters.
In a statement released by the White House, the president again made false claims about the outcome of the election. Twitter suspended Trump's account for 12 hours Wednesday after he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election after the chaos at the Capitol.
Overnight, Congress reconvened and counted the electoral votes Biden's victory. After some objections, the count of Biden's 306 votes to President Donald Trump's 232 was finished in proceedings that lasted until 3:40 a.m.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading about the aftermath of the rioting at the Capitol.
Read the highlights:
-The woman shot in the Capitol amid violent breach of the complex has died.
-Biden condemns "insurrection."
-Jon Ossoff defeats David Perdue in Georgia, handing control of the Senate to Democrats, NBC News projects.
-Defying Trump, Pence says he won't overturn the 2020 election.
Cruz proposes Civil War-era solution, Klobuchar burns him for it
Sen. Ted Cruz in a rambling address intended for the purpose of objecting to Arizona’s electoral votes, proposed an “emergency audit” that he said would be modeled after one created after a contentious election in the years after the Civil War.
Citing the aftermath of the contentious 1876 election between Republican Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden, Cruz called for Congress to “appoint an electoral commission to examine claims of electoral fraud,” specifying that he’d prefer that such a commission “conduct a 10-day emergency audit, consider the evidence and resolve the claims.”
In 1876, after a contentious election full of accusations of improprieties, Democrats, in a deal known as the Compromise of 1877, conceded the race to Hayes in exchange for the end of Reconstruction — a notorious pact that included the withdrawal of federal troops from former Confederate states who'd been sent there to protect the rights of newly emancipated Black people.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaking next, exposed Cruz’s hypocrisy, pointing out that the Texas Republican had not sought such audits in the races of the many Republican candidates who won House seats and who were sworn into Congress last week — even though whatever objections Cruz raised in the presidential election should have theoretically applied to other federal races as well.
"I did not see Senator Cruz over at the swearing in at the House of Representatives last Sunday asking for an audit,” she said. “He did not stop their swearing in because there was no fraud.”
McConnell’s calls for 'shared commitment to the truth' after not acknowledging Biden's win for weeks
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell gave a powerful speech on the floor demanding that members return to “a shared commitment to the truth” that keeps American democracy in working order.
"Self-government, my colleagues, requires a shared commitment to the truth and a shared respect to the ground-rules of our system. We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes, with two different sets of facts and separate realities,” he said.
It’s a remarkable statement, but it doesn’t come in a vacuum and ignores how McConnell has operated as a legislative leader while working with the nation's most mendacious president in U.S. history.
In fact, McConnell has often kept mum while the president made repeated and sweeping false claims. Just this fall, Trump spent six weeks claiming victory in the 2020 election before McConnell congratulated Joe Biden on his presidential victory on Dec. 15.
In strongest words yet, McConnell rejects effort by Trump, GOP to overturn the election
In his strongest words yet, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him and made clear he will not approve the objections raised by his GOP colleagues over the counting of electoral votes from key battleground states.
"Our Democracy would enter a death spiral" if election were overturned, McConnell said on the Senate floor.
"Mr. Trump claims the election was stolen," he said. "The assertions ranged from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories. I supported the president's right to use the legal system. Dozens of lawsuits received hearings in courtrooms all across our country. But over and over, the court rejected these claims, including all-star judges" nominated by Trump himself.
McConnell spoke on the floor as the chamber began two hours of debate on a motion to object to the certification of Arizona's electoral votes, which were awarded to Biden in November. The majority leader used his remarks to reprimand members of his own party who are challenging the official results of the election.
"We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. Voters, courts and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them, It would damage our republic forever. This election actually was not unusually close," McConnell said.
"It would be unfair and wrong to disenfranchise American voters and overrule the courts and the states on this extraordinarily thin basis," he said. "And I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing. I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it."
'We will never concede': Protesters march to Capitol as Congress meets to count electoral votes
Hundreds of protesters who massed in the nation's capital to support President Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud descended on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon as Congress convened to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election.
The protesters marched en masse to the Capitol after Trump, speaking to a large crowd in front of the White House, vowed that he would never concede to Biden.
"We will never give up, we will never concede. You don't concede when there's theft involved," Trump said to a crowd of supporters, some of whom chanted "USA!" or waved anti-Biden banners.. He later falsely claimed Biden would be an "illegitimate" president.
Trump's groundless claims of voter fraud have been widely debunked, and his legal team's efforts to challenge the election results in court have been rejected by a succession of judges. Trump has claimed Wednesday's joint session of Congress represents a chance to overturn the election, even though state electors have already certified the results and the event inside the Capitol is ceremonial.
Obama congratulates Warnock: Democrats 'should feel good today'
Former President Barack Obama congratulated Democrat Raphael Warnock Wednesday for his election victory in a statement posted to his Twitter.
“Georgia’s first Black senator will make the chamber more reflective of our country as a whole and open the door for a Congress that can forgo gridlock for gridlock’s sake to focus instead on the many crises facing our nation — pandemic relief for struggling families, voting rights, protecting our planet, and more,” Obama said.
“Democrats in Georgia and across the country should feel good today,” he added.
Fact check: No evidence for claims Arizona's results were marred by fraud
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., joined by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, objected to Arizona's election results on Wednesday, kicking off up to two hours of debate in both chambers over a claim that those results were "not regularly given."
Gosar has alleged on Twitter that 200,000 votes were changed in the state, contributing to Biden's win. There is no evidence of this.
Arizona counties completed hand count audits of the vast majority of the ballots in the state. The audits found either a handful of discrepancies or no discrepancies. Several lawsuits in the state alleged fraud and were dismissed or withdrawn.
Photos: Trump supporters converge on Washington to protest election
See more photos from the protest in Washington.
Police evacuate area near Capitol as pro-Trump protesters storm barricades
The U.S. Capitol Police said they were evacuating areas near the Capitol as pro-Trump protesters attempted to storm barricades set up outside the perimeter of the complex and law enforcement were seen trying to push them back.
The Library of Congress, located directly across the street from the main Capitol building, was evacuated and people were told to remain calm and move in a safe manner to the exits.
Hundreds of protesters, some carrying large Trump flags, were seen on the East Front of the Capitol trying to move past security.
GOP registers first objection after joint session of Congress gets underway
The joint session of Congress got underway at 1 p.m. ET as Pence and lawmakers read the number of electoral votes that were awarded to Biden and Trump from each state.
Both members of the House and Senate began in the House chamber with Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the top of the dais.
Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., along with 60 of his Republican colleagues, quickly objected to the electoral votes that were awarded to Biden by the state of Arizona. He was joined by at least Sen. Ted Cruz, who stood and was applauded, in signing the first objection to the Arizona electors.
The joint session then retired. There will now be up to two hours of debate in both the House and Senate, because both a House member and a senator submitted a written objection.
Defying Trump, Pence says he won't overturn the 2020 election
Vice President Mike Pence said in a letter released to Congress just before it started counting the electoral votes handing Joe Biden the presidency that he won't try to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which President Donald Trump had been demanding he do.
"I do not believe that the founders of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral voters should be counted during the Joint session of Congress, and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority," he wrote in a three-page letter released by his office.
"Instead, vice presidents presiding over joint sessions has uniformly follow the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy," he added.