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.
Reps. Omar, Pressley call for Trump's impeachment
Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley called for President Donald Trump’s impeachment Wednesday.
“We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” Omar, of Minnesota, wrote on Twitter.
Pressley, of Massachusetts, said on Twitter that the president should be “immediately be impeached,” calling his behavior “dangerous and unacceptable.”
Photos show protesters storming U.S. Capitol, Pelosi's office
Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, wandering around the Senate floor and other areas.
One protester entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office and kicked his feet up at a desk.
Photo: Trump supporter carries Confederate flag in Capitol
Twitter limits engagement on Trump tweets; YouTube, Facebook remove video
Twitter took the extraordinary step Wednesday of prohibiting one of President Donald Trump's tweets from being retweeted or replied to after he posted a video pushing conspiracy theories about election fraud while some of his supporters took over the U.S. Capitol building.
The tweet included a video in which Trump reiterated evidence-free claims that the election was "stolen" but also called for his supporters to "go home now."
Twitter turned off retweets and replies to the tweet.
"In regard to the ongoing situation in Washington, D.C., we are working proactively to protect the health of the public conversation occurring on the service and will take action on any content that violates the Twitter Rules," Twitter's Safety team said in a statement.
"Threats of and calls to violence are against the Twitter Rules, and we are enforcing our policies accordingly," the safety team said. "In addition, we have been significantly restricting engagement with Tweets labeled under our Civic Integrity Policy due to the risk of violence. This means these labeled Tweets will not be able to be replied to, Retweeted, or liked."
The same video was removed from YouTube early Wednesday night. The company said in a statement that the video violated "policies regarding content that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome." Facebook also took it down.
The video was tweeted at 4:17 p.m., about three hours after Trump told his supporters to march on the Capitol. The Capitol building was eventually evacuated after protesters stormed the building, some taking pictures from the dais and Senate offices.
Rep. Cori Bush to introduce resolution to expel GOP House members who 'incited' violence
Freshman Democratic Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri said Wednesday that she will introduce a resolution to expel Republican members of Congress who "incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election," saying they "must face consequences."
"They have broken their sacred Oath of Office," Bush tweeted. "I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion."
Bush, a progressive, ousted long-term incumbent Lacy Clay, who represented Missouri's 1st Congressional District for 10 terms, in the Democratic primary.
Trump tells mob at Capitol 'we love you' but 'go home'
President Donald Trump issued a short video to his Twitter account Wednesday urging his supporters to "go home" after a mob bypassed police to enter the Capitol building.
Trump continued to falsely assert that he won the presidential election by a "landslide" but told his supporters that they must leave. He also reiterated his baseless allegation that the election was "stolen."
He told his supporters that they are "very special" and that he loved them.
"It was a landslide election, everyone knows it ... but you have to go home now," Trump said. "We have to have peace, we have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anyone hurt."
Trump spoke to a large crowd of his supporters in front of the White House earlier Wednesday before the beginning of a joint session of Congress to count Electoral College votes, where he encouraged his followers to go to the Capitol. Trump also suggested that he would go himself.
Twitter added a flag to Trump's tweet saying that it cannot be retweeted, liked or replied to "due to a risk of violence."
The video was posted just moments after President-elect Joe Biden urged Trump to "step up" and called the chaos unfolding at the Capitol an "insurrection."
Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger evacuated from state Capitol building
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was escorted out of the state Capitol building Wednesday in Atlanta, his office confirmed. About 150 protesters gathered outside the building, which remained largely empty.
The Legislature is not in session, and much of legislators' work is being done from home because of the pandemic.
Raffensperger spoke with President Donald Trump on Saturday, during which Trump pressed him to "find 11,780 votes" to overturn the results of the presidential election in the state. Raffensperger said Monday that he never thought it appropriate to speak to Trump about the results.
U.K.'s Boris Johnson calls scenes in Washington 'disgraceful'
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the images of hundreds of pro-Trump protesters swarming the Capitol "disgraceful."
"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," Johnson, an ally of President Donald Trump, wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
The events in Washington caused shock and surprise across the world, where many are used to American lectures about orderly transitions of power, not frenzied scenes of chaos in the heart of the American establishment.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for the outcome of the election to be respected after the Capitol descended into chaos.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak took to social media to call the events a "shaky coup attempt" by a "crowd incited by a defeated president who lost his temper."
"But the lesson is clear: When those who are in charge are allowed to go wild and those who had to act are paralyzed by fear, even the impossible can happen," he added.
'It's not protest. It's insurrection': Biden condemns violent storming of Capitol
President-elect Joe Biden forcefully condemned the pro-Trump mob inciting violence and causing chaos Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
"The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad it is," Biden said, before calling on President Donald Trump to give a televised address and demand "an end to this siege" by his supporters.
"It's not protest. It's insurrection," Biden said.
Biden, speaking in Delaware on Wednesday afternoon, described the events at the Capitol that disrupted the vote count as "chaos" that "borders on sedition."
"I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward," Biden said, adding that "the words of a president matter."
Lawmakers sheltering in place cheer news that National Guard troops are on the way
Members of both parties who were locked down in a secure location at the Capitol cheered when House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming announced that the National Guard was on its way, a House member in the room said.
"We will return to the floor and do our job," the member said.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that he is sending members of the Virginia National Guard, along with 200 Virginia state troopers, to the Capitol.
GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan also announced that he was sending troopers to assist D.C. and Capitol police.
Improvised explosive device found at Capitol
WASHINGTON — At least one improvised explosive device was found on the Capitol grounds, several law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The explosive device was found outside a building, the officials said.
“Along with our law enforcement partners, FBI Washington Field Office responded to reports of suspicious devices. The investigation is ongoing," a spokesperson for the field office said,
Jon Ossoff defeats David Perdue in Georgia, handing control of the Senate to Democrats, NBC News projects
Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue and Raphael Warnock won over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, NBC News projects.
The twin wins for Democrats give the party control of the Senate, which will stand at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, but incoming Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to cast the tie-breaking vote. The Georgia election results are a big boost for President-elect Joe Biden, who would have faced stiff opposition from Republicans had they retained the Senate.
Capitol Police request backup; Secret Service, FBI, Maryland National Guard responding
U.S. Secret Service, FBI and the Maryland National Guard will support Capitol police as officers attempt to detain and disperse President Donald Trump's supporters as they roam the halls of Congress.
Both uniformed and specials agent division of Secret Service are responding, a senior law enforcement source confirmed to NBC News. The official called the situation at the legislative office "extremely concerning."
The FBI also confirmed that it will assist U.S. Capitol Police "in protection of federal property and public safety." Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he ordered the state's National Guardsmen to set up a rapid response force to support police officers in the city.
Photo shows GOP Sen. Hawley, who led effort to contest vote, greeting protesters
Federal officials with ATF uniforms are clearing the Capitol
Federal law enforcement officers are moving through the U.S. Capitol clearing out protesters.
Reporters barricaded in a workspace in the Capitol greeted the officers — who had uniforms from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms — as a sign that the building may soon be safe.
A security system inside the Capitol had alerted everyone to shelter in space. Police have continued to say that those inside are safest waiting where they are.
"Thank you for what your doing," the reporters who remained locked inside said.
Pelosi, Schumer call on Trump to demand that protesters leave the Capitol
In a joint statement directed at Trump, Pelosi and Schumer said just before 4 p.m. ET, “We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
GOP lawmakers call on Trump to take action, call off the violence at the Capitol
Multiple Republicans are calling on Trump to step in and call for an end to the violence that pro-Trump protesters engaged in at the Capitol on Wednesday.
"Mr. President @realDonaldTrump the men & women of law enforcement are under assault. It is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down," tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., tweeted, "We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now. @realdonaldtrump, you need to call this off."
"I am appalled at what is occurring in the US Capitol right now. President Trump needs to call for an end to this violence and permit Congress to facilitate a peaceful transition of power," tweeted Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio.
A number of other Republicans condemned the violence on Twitter, but did not call on the president to take action. Democrats, meanwhile, accused Trump of inciting it.
The tweets came after Trump called on protesters at a rally in downtown D.C. to march to the Capitol. Well after the violence and chaos erupted at the Capitol, 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!"
'It was predictable': Extremism experts point to signs well ahead of riots
As pro-Trump protestors stormed the U.S. Capitol, online extremism researchers expressed frustration and disappointment with the inevitability of the movements they’ve tracked online coming to fruition in real life.
“It would only be shocking if they hadn’t been saying for years they were going to do this,” said Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who tracks white nationalists and other extremist groups online. “And the role of the online platforms in fomenting this entire debacle can not be overstated. They consistently ignored advice from experts to remove the loudest voices pushing the most deranged conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric. They chose time and time again to look the other way."
Similar breaches by Trump supporters occurred in several different states recently including Oregon and Michigan, noted Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.
“Tactics are contagious and spread quickly,” Donovan said. “It was predictable.”
Donovan said the strong QAnon presence in the riots was also to be expected.
“For years, they believed they were the digital soldiers led by General Flynn,” Donovan said. “For weeks, Flynn, Powell, and Wood were priming people for action. When all legal options were exhausted, it became proof of their beliefs.”
Aide says White House staffers 'disgusted and disappointed' by Trump's behavior
Most White House aides didn’t go into work on Wednesday because of road closures and protests. One staffer, who has been at the White House for all four years and worked on the re-election, said they are completely “disgusted and disappointed” by President Trump’s behavior in these final days.
“Never did anyone think it would turn out like this,” said the White House aide. “The blame for this lies squarely with the President. And whatever support he has among members has vanished. As wild as it sounds, he could be impeached in the final days.”
The aide believes Trump has lost support for the objection of the vote certification in the House because of Wednesday's unrest.
"I don’t know for a fact, no one does, because many are sheltering in place, but I would certainly anticipate that," the staffer said.
Trump authorizes National Guard to Capitol protests
Virginia National Guard, state troopers are heading to the Capitol
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced this afternoon that the state National Guard and 200 state troopers are heading to the Capitol to help police the protests and rioting happening there.
The sun will set shortly in Washington, and the city has ordered a 6 p.m. curfew.
1 person shot inside Capitol, law enforcement officials confirm
One person was shot and several others were injured amid the frenzy at the Capitol, law enforcement officials confirmed to NBC News Wednesday.
Police did not know details regarding the circumstances of the shooting, who fired the shot, or the nature of the person’s injuries. That person is in critical condition, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.
A woman was seen on video being treated for an unknown injury as paramedics moved her on a stretcher out of the Capitol Wednesday. The building remains on lockdown.
Five people have been transported transported to the hospital, including one officer, according to the city's emergency medical services.
McCarthy says he heard police say 'shots fired' inside Capitol
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Fox News on Wednesday that overheard police saying there were shots fired inside Capitol.
"People are being hurt. People are being, people are being hurt, there's been shots, this is unacceptable," McCarthy said.
Asked whether he could confirm "that shots have been fired inside the capitol or outside," McCarthy said he was with Capitol Police officers and that he "heard on the radio, 'shots fired.'"
McCarthy came moments after a bleeding woman was rushed from the Capitol on a stretcher with medical personnel tending to her. It's unclear how the woman was injured.
Photo: Protester sits at Capitol desk
Georgia election official: 'This is an insurrection'
Gabriel Sterling, an election official in Georgia who has spent weeks condemning the false attacks on the validity of the U.S. election as dangerous and inflammatory, called the chaotic mob of pro-Trump protesters who breached the U.S. Capitol an "insurrection."
He laid the blame squarely on the president's shoulders: "I said several weeks ago that the words and actions of the President were going to get someone shot, hurt, or killed. Shots were just fired in the U.S. Capitol. Let that link in for a moment."
One person was shot this afternoon inside the U.S. Capitol building by a member of law enforcement, several law enforcement officials said. No other details are known, including what law enforcement officer fired the shot, or the circumstances of the shooting, or the nature of the person's injuries.
Pelosi, VP-elect Harris both safe, officials say
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is "safe," a spokesperson for her told NBC News. The aide would not comment on her whereabouts.
She had previously been inside the House chamber.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who was on the Capitol grounds today, is also “safe,” a transition official told NBC News. But they will not comment further on her current location.
Pelosi, Washington Mayor call for National Guard help
Protesters are on the Senate floor
Photos: Protesters breach the Capitol
Protesters breach the Senate chamber, House door barricaded
Pro-Trump supporters have entered the Senate chamber as others are in a standoff at the door of the House chamber.
A protester who was able to get into the Senate chamber stood on the dais and yelled, "Trump won that election," according to a press pool reporter inside the room. Officers are also in an armed standoff with protesters at the House chamber door, which was barricaded.
The gallery door in the House was broken, and members have been evacuated. Members that are up top in the gallery area above the floor with press were sheltering as the door was barricaded.
D.C. Mayor Bowser imposes 6 p.m. curfew
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew on the city as protesters stormed the Capitol building during the Electoral College certification Wednesday.
The 12-hour curfew will begin at 6 p.m. and continue into Thursday morning after hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the building as members of both congressional chambers debated the certification of Arizona's electoral votes.
"During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District," Bowser's press release said.
Trump's online base sours on Pence
As some supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol, members of the president’s largest internet communities immediately turned on Vice President Mike Pence, as it became clear he would not overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Supporters in “watch party” threads on some extremist websites pushed elaborate, QAnon-style conspiracy theories about Pence, claiming that he was part of an elaborate plot by Satanists to take over the world. Others simply expressed feelings of betrayal, and encouraged others to storm the Capitol.
Pro-Trump online forums had planned online for days to storm the Capitol if the election was not overturned in favor of Donald Trump.
After escalating attacks, Trump urges 'peaceful' protest
Minutes after posting an escalating attack on Vice President Mike Pence, Trump sent a second missive urging peaceful protest.
The tweet does not acknowledge that Trump has incited the protest by advancing baseless conspiracy theories about the results of the election.
Pro-Trump protesters breach Capitol, Pence whisked away
The House and Senate suddenly recessed Wednesday afternoon around 2:15 p.m. ET as pro-Trump protests escalated.
Vice President Mike Pence was ushered quickly out of the Senate chamber as it recessed and the debate between senators had to stop mid-speech. A member of the Senate told NBC News that Pence and Sen. Charles Grassley, the president pro-tempore, have been taken to a secure location.
This came as pro-Trump demonstrators breached the barricades and crowded on the Capitol steps, which is normally only accessible to lawmakers. People jumped the barricades surrounding the Capitol and police began running down hallways inside, telling people to get away from the windows.
A police officer on the third floor began shouting that protesters had gotten inside the building and that people should take shelter.
All visitors and staff must go through metal detectors every time they enter any part of the Capitol complex, including nearby House and Senate office buildings. While the entrances that the protesters were crowding near have metal detectors inside, it's easier to circumvent them as it's normally only entrances for lawmakers.
Senators were locked inside their chamber on the second floor of the Capitol building and protesters wearing Trump "Make America Great Again" hats and carrying flags were seen gathering outside the chamber doors. Senate chaplain Barry Black ran down the hallway, away from the Senate chambers, to his office.
"Immediately seek shelter in the closest office," an announcement over a loudspeaker said across the Capitol, which told people to lock doors as well, amid the security threat. “Remain quiet and await further directions.”
Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., told MSNBC that he's "never experienced anything like this."
Trump continues his attacks as protesters storm the Capitol
President Donald Trump continued to escalate his attacks and allegations of voter fraud, even as protesters have breached the locked-down Capitol amid security concerns.
“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!” Trump says.
Trump's claims are false. Vice President Mike Pence legally has no power in this process.
Pence was rushed from the Senate chamber earlier today amid growing security concerns.
Democratic lawmaker evacuates office as protesters storm Capitol grounds
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.
Sens. Tillis, Young to oppose GOP colleagues' electoral vote count objections
GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and Todd Young said Wednesday that they oppose the planned effort by members of their party to object to the counting of states' electoral votes by Congress on Wednesday.
"The framers of our Constitution made it clear that the power to certify elections is reserved to the states, not Congress. Refusing to certify state election results has no viable path to success, and most importantly, it lends legitimacy to the left’s stated policy objectives of completely federalizing elections and eliminating the Electoral College," Tillis, who won re-election in November after a close race in North Carolina, said in a statement. "Congress should not overstep its Constitutional authority by overturning the results of states and the will of American voters, especially absent legitimate requests from states for Congress to intervene."
Both he and Young of Indiana warned that the GOP objections would set a dangerous precedent.
"For Congress to supplant the will of a state’s certified electors for its own would be unconstitutional and set a dangerous precedent, damaging the integrity of and future respect for the Electoral College. This is not an empty warning," Young said in a statement.
Trump supporters mass on the National Mall in protest of electoral count
Manchin: 'I’m the most bipartisan member of Congress'
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said he has no interest in switching parties and becoming a Republican.
“I’m the most bipartisan member of Congress,” Manchin told NBC News in the Capitol on Wednesday as he walked to get his second coronavirus vaccine injection. “I’m staying the most independent, bipartisan member of Congress,” he said, adding, “I am a Democrat.”
Manchin, who has at times sided with Republicans in the Senate, could become one of the most powerful members of the chamber should the power be divided 50-50 if Jon Ossoff prevails in the Georgia Senate race he currently leads.
Photo: Proud Boys march at Capitol
Schumer says $2,000 stimulus checks will be top priority
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that, if Ossoff wins his Senate race, one of his first priorities as majority leader would be to bring legislation for $2,000 Covid-19 relief checks to the floor.
"The Senate Democratic majority is committed to delivering the bold change, and help that Americans need and demand. Senate Democrats know America is hurting. Help is on the way. And we have two new senators coming to help. One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to the American families," Schumer said.
Democrats won't be able to pass the bill without support from some Republicans since such a funding measure requires 60 votes to advance.
Schumer said he spoke to President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday morning and pledged to him that he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris "will have a partner in me and my caucus, who is ready, willing and able to help achieve a forward-looking agenda and deliver bold change to the American people. For too long, much-needed help has been stalled or diluted by a Republican-led Senate, and President Trump, that will change with a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, and a Democratic president."
Sen. James Lankford says he plans to object to at least Arizona's electoral vote count
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., told reporters Wednesday that he plans to object to the counting of Arizona's electoral votes for Biden when Congress counts them starting at 1 p.m. ET.
Reporters on Capitol Hill asked if he had decided which states he planned to object to, and Lankford said, "I have, yeah. We’ll start with Arizona. So we'll let that go from there."
Lankford, who faces re-election in 2022, said there's a possibility he might object to more states as well.
GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Braun of Indiana and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama also plan to object to at least Arizona.
Trump supporters rally against electoral count with 'Joseph Stalin' sign
Supporters of President Donald Trump raised a sign bearing a likeness of Biden as "Joseph Stalin" at a protest in Washington, D.C., over Congress' counting of Biden's Electoral College win.
Romney reacts to Georgia: Telling people the election is rigged 'not a great way to turn out your voters'
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, suggested to reporters Wednesday that Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud hurt Republicans in Georgia's runoff Senate elections.
"It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters," Romney said when asked for his reaction to Tuesday's results in which Warnock won and Ossoff has the edge in his race, which NBC News says is too close to call.
Asked what kind of majority leader Chuck Schumer would be, Romney said, "Not as good as Mitch McConnell would have been and has been."
He continued, "I think the gambit we're seeing today is very disappointing. President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency. I'm confident we'll proceed as the Constitution demands and tell our supporters the truth, whether or not they want to hear it."
Biden congratulates Georgia Democrats, pushes for unity
President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday congratulated Raphael Warnock on his victory over Sen. Kelly Loeffler and predicted Jon Ossoff would win his race over David Perdue, saying the new Democratic majority in the Senate meant it was "time to turn the page."
But despite the Democrats' expectation that Democrats would emerge with a majority in the Senate, Biden continued to stress the message of unity he pushed during his presidential campaign, saying in a statement that he was "just as determined today as I was yesterday to try to work with people in both parties — at the federal, state, and local levels — to get big things done for our nation.”
"After the past four years, after the election, and after today’s election certification proceedings on the Hill, it’s time to turn the page. The American people demand action and they want unity. I am more optimistic than I ever have been that we can deliver both," Biden said.
NBC has labeled the race between Ossoff and Perdue too close to call.
Celine Dion's 'Titanic' love theme on the soundtrack at pro-Trump protest
As hundreds of pro-Trump protesters massed near the White House on Wednesday morning to protest the November election results, several pop songs were piped through loudspeakers — including Celine Dion's theme song from the film "Titanic."
"My Heart Will Go On," a staple on Trump rally playlists, played as protesters chanted "USA!" and waved anti-Biden banners. "Titanic," a romance set aboard the ocean liner that crashed into an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, won the best picture Oscar in 1998.
Senior Ga. elections official predicts Ossoff's lead will grow
Georgia election official Gabriel Sterling said Jon Ossoff's lead over David Perdue in the remaining Senate runoff race was only likely to grow as more votes come in Wednesday morning.
"Looking at what's out there, it looks like Ossoff will end up keeping the lead he gained this morning with the latest upload we had and pad it some, but I'm not going to estimate yet because I don't know exactly where all the votes are yet," Sterling said on CNN.
"We are looking at a little over 65,000 votes still outstanding mainly from the absentees that came in yesterday. ... The majority of ballots coming in will be coming in from strongly Democrat areas," Sterling said. "We likely will see the leads of the Democrat challengers increase as we go through the morning, and hopefully we will have a very clear picture of how many votes are left by around lunchtime."
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler Tuesday, NBC News projected, while Ossoff is leading Perdue in the remaining critical runoff election that will determine control of the Senate and potentially the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency. As of Wednesday morning, Ossoff led Perdue by about 17,000 votes, 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent.
AOC outlines what to push for next
The prospect of a unified government if Jon Ossoff defeats David Perdue has New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats outlining their future policy plans.
While Ossoff currently leads Perdue, NBC News has labeled the race too close to call.
How the Biden team is framing Georgia result — and the road ahead
As President-elect Joe Biden plans to speak about the economy today, he’ll point to the Georgia results as yet another clear mandate from the American people to act on the key challenges facing the country — Covid-19, the economy, climate and racial justice.
A Biden advisor cast the result as further evidence that Biden’s core argument in the campaign was validated by voters, both in the primary that he was the best Democrat to expand the playing field with a broad coalition anchored in African Americans and suburban voters, and in the general election that the country wants to see both parties work together.
The advisor noted Biden’s closing pitch in Atlanta on Monday was the same as the two Democratic candidates’: a vote for Democrats was a vote for $2,000 stimulus check and other urgently needed relief for the American people.
That argument stood in clear contrast to what Republicans have been doing since the general election: “chasing President Trump down a losing rabbit hole of election fraud in an effort to overturn the will of the people,” the adviser said.
Another Biden adviser summed it up this way: “Democrats were focused on Jan. 5 and Republicans were focused on Jan. 6.”
As some Democrats now want to see Biden push the envelope and use even narrow Democratic majorities to advance their agenda, the first Biden adviser stressed that the president-elect, even with the victories, “is just as committed to working across the aisle” now as he was before.
“You still need to build consensus, work across the aisle, govern for everyone. And that is what he’ll do,” the adviser said.
Pelosi declares victory in both Ga. Senate races, pushes for Voting Rights Act
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday declared victory in the two Georgia Senate runoff races, praising "the courageous leadership of Georgians" and crediting it with providing "a Democratic Senate working hand-in-hand with our Democratic House majority and President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris."
Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler Tuesday, NBC News has projected, while Democrat Jon Ossoff is leading Republican David Perdue by a razor-thin margin in the remaining critical runoff election in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate and potentially the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency. NBC News has labeled the race too close to call.
“Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ran and won on the values of advancing equality and opportunity for working people across the state and the nation," Pelosi said in a statement, adding that "a unified Democratic Party will advance extraordinary progress For The People."
"We will pursue a science and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families, safeguard the right to quality affordable health care and launch a plan to Build Back Better powered by fair economic growth," she said.
On a weekly call with House Democrats Wednesday morning, Pelosi also told her colleagues that she has already spoken to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who, if Ossoff wins, will become the Senate majority leader, and said that Democrats must pass the Voting Rights Act, which would allow federal oversight of jurisdictions that pass laws suppressing the vote in communities of color, sources told NBC News.
Hillary Clinton on Mitch McConnell's predicted status change
Hillary Clinton posted a simple message on Mitch McConnell's predicted change in status based on Democrat Jon Ossoff and Democrats' claims of victory in his race against Republican David Perdue. NBC News, however, has listed the race as too close to call, but with Ossoff leading.
Mayor Bowser says D.C. has a chance of becoming a state if Ossoff wins
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday said that if Ossoff winds up winning his race and Democrats take control of the Senate, her city has a chance of becoming a state.
“We know now that it's looking like we will have the White House, the House,” she said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe. "And fingers crossed, that the Democrats win in the Senate and this can be a 100-day priority, DC statehood for our next president."
Addressing the protests in D.C. on Wednesday, Bowser said that she's asked residents to avoid the area and not hold counter-protests.
“Our residents are staying away, letting them have their protests, but our police are going to make sure that our law is followed,” Bowser added.
Senator-elect Raphael Warnock celebrates projected win
Biden to deliver speech on small businesses affected by Covid
President-elect Joe Biden will deliver brief remarks on the economy in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday afternoon.
A Biden transition official tells NBC News that the president-elect will deliver remarks "outlining his commitment to ensuring direct relief reaches the small businesses that need help the most, with a focus on Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native American small business owners who need additional resources to reopen and rebuild."
"He will also reiterate his commitment to rooting out waste, fraud and abuse and ensuring Federal assistance goes to the businesses who not only deserve it, but are playing a role in rebuilding their communities," the official added.
Biden is set to deliver his remarks at 2:30 p.m. ET. Prior to his speech, he will receive the President’s Daily Brief and a briefing from members of his economic team.
Harris will be on Hill for Electoral College count
According to a Harris Senate aide: Vice President-elect Harris will be on the Hill today to fulfill her duties in the Senate. The American people did their job and today she will be there to do hers.
Schumer declares victory in Georgia, calls himself Senate majority leader
Democratic leader Chuck Schumer declared victory in Georgia Wednesday morning, though NBC News projects that the race between Ossoff and Perdue is still too close to call.
“As Majority Leader, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have a partner who is ready, willing and able to help achieve a forward-looking agenda and deliver help and bold change to the American people," Schumer said in a statement.
If Ossoff wins his race, Schumer would not be majority leader until Jan. 20 when Biden is inaugurated. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would serve as the tie-breaking vote in a 50-50 Senate.
Before his statement was released, Schumer tweeted Wednesday morning, "Buckle up!"
Ossoff now leads Perdue in Senate race, NBC News projects
Democrat Jon Ossoff is now leading in his race against Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, but the contest is still too close to call, NBC News projects.
'Do it Mike': Trump encourages Pence to overturn election — which he can't do
Trump tweeted Wednesday morning to urge Pence to try to overturn Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election when he counts the Electoral College votes in Congress later in the day.
Pence, however, has no power to do that. Biden will become president on Jan. 20.
"All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage," he tweeted. Again, Pence can't do that.
Ossoff declares victory in Senate race that's still too close to call
Ossoff declared victory in a live video statement at 8 a.m. ET Wednesday in his race against Republican David Perdue whose Senate term expired over the weekend and who ran for re-election.
NBC News projects that the race is too close to call. With 98 percent of the vote in, Ossoff leads by 0.4 percentage point.
"It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia, for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate, thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me," Ossoff said.
"I am honored, honored by your support, by your confidence by your trust, and I will look forward to serving you in the United States Senate with integrity with humility, with honor and getting things done for the people of Georgia," he added.
Warnock celebrates Senate victory: Georgia voters 'heard a very clear contrast'
Democrat Raphael Warnock celebrated his victory Wednesday morning in his special Senate runoff election against Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
"I can't tell you how honored I am that the people of my home state where I was born and raised and educated at Morehouse College have decided to send me to the United States Senate to represent their concerns at this defining moment in American history, [at] a time when people are suffering in so many ways," Warnock said in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show.
Warnock said that the people of Georgia heard a "very clear contrast" in the race.
"I talked about how I intend to represent them," he said, "And my opponent was focused on how she would represent her own interests. And I think the folks heard that loud and clear.
Warnock noted that people have been waiting for economic relief for months, and Congress was unable to pass $2,000 direct checks in the latest aid package.
Addressing the country's divisiveness, Warnock, a reverend, said that he has experience bringing people together across racial and religious lines on a range of issues such as voting rights and criminal justice reform.
Loeffler's projected defeat in Georgia Senate election highlights failed Republican strategy
ATLANTA — First Martha McSally lost. Then Kelly Loeffler. And their failures might cost Republicans control of the Senate.
The two women were appointed by Republican governors to open Senate seats in Arizona and Georgia, respectively. The theory was that they'd be able to hold on to President Donald Trump's base while appealing to suburban women who were fleeing the GOP.
The strategy flopped.
McSally, who was appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey one month after losing a different Senate seat, was defeated by Democrat Mark Kelly in November. And Loeffler, who was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and took office one year ago, was unseated by Democrat Raphael Warnock, a Black pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church here, NBC News projected early Wednesday morning.
The two women found themselves spending more time trying to earn the support of Trump's passionate base, with which they had little connection beyond party affiliation. That gave Democrats an opening to caricature them as pawns of the president and a party establishment that was using them.
DC Police make several arrests ahead of major pro-Trump election protest
Several people were arrested in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday in connection to protests ahead of Congress' certification of the Electoral College votes on Wednesday.
Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police said six arrests were made as of 9 p.m. ET, including some involving multiple charges. Those charges included a handful that were weapons-related, including carrying firearms without a license, possession of unregistered ammunition and possession of an unregistered firearm. Protesters were also charged with assaulting a police officer and simple assault.
Trump to address D.C. rally where as many as 30,000 people are expected
Ahead of the counting of the electoral votes on Capitol Hill, Trump plans to address a "Save America Rally" in downtown Washington at 11 a.m. ET.
A National Park Service spokesman told NBC News that organizers expect as many as 30,000 people at the event near the White House. The permit originally was submitted for a crowd size of 10,000, but the group has tripled its estimate based on responses and people already in the D.C. area as of Tuesday, according to the official.
A number of streets have been blocked off throughout the nation’s capital, and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has called in the National Guard as a precaution.
Fact check: No, Pence can't overturn the election results
Trump claimed on Tuesday that Vice President Mike Pence could singlehandedly reject certain electors during Congress' certification process, turning up the pressure on him to help overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump tweeted.
This is false.
Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, is scheduled to preside over Congress' certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election on Wednesday, as detailed by the 12th Amendment. But he cannot intervene in the process.
Trump leans harder on Pence to flip election results, though he lacks that power
President Donald Trump turned up the pressure on Tuesday to enlist Vice President Mike Pence in a futile effort to reverse the outcome of the presidential election and keep them in office for another four years.
With a president who has excelled at remaining the focus of Washington during his time in office, Pence has largely played the role of quiet support character, never publicly rebuking his boss and sticking to his script with unwavering consistency.
But Trump's ongoing effort to keep from being evicted from the White House on Jan. 20 has pushed Pence into the limelight and left him in a position one person close to Trump said he is "dreading."
Congress is set to count the Trump-Biden Electoral College votes. Here's the lowdown.
It's the final step in certifying the next president of the United States, but the Electoral College vote count in Congress on Wednesday is expected to be a much longer — and more contentious — affair than normal.
Verifying the vote count is constitutionally required, but it has become largely procedural — electors officially cast their votes on Dec. 14, and Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by 306-232, a result Trump referred to as a "landslide" when he won with the same numbers in 2016. Unlike Trump then, Biden also won the popular vote, garnering 7 million more votes than Trump.
Some Republican lawmakers plan to use the congressional vote count to object to Biden's wins in numerous swing states in a Hail Mary-type bid to keep Trump in the White House. The objections are expected to fail, but they could turn the typically short ceremony into an hours- or even days-long event.
Trump allies hope Wednesday's drama will be his last stand — but no one knows what's next
President Donald Trump's allies are hoping Wednesday marks his last stand in a weekslong effort to challenge the November election results, with multiple people close to Trump privately acknowledging that his options will be exhausted once Congress tabulates the Electoral College votes.
"It's hard to see anything beyond tomorrow," a senior administration official said Tuesday, adding that already everyone, including Trump, views efforts by dozens of Republicans in Congress to stop or delay the tabulation as "uphill."
Yet people close to Trump also say he still may not relent after this final step in the election process, given that his determination to overturn the results has only intensified despite its having failed multiple times — including state certifications and the Electoral College meeting last month — and scores of legal defeats.
"It's going to get worse before it gets better," one of Trump's allies said. "He's lost re-election. So for somebody who has no sense of shame, there's no downside to him letting all the crazy out."
Fact check: Trump falsely suggests improper 'voter dump' as count continues in Georgia
While the nation waited for the results in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections, President Donald Trump on Tuesday wrongly suggested that the normal process of counting votes was a sign of fraud.
“Looks like they are setting up a big 'voter dump' against the Republican candidates. Waiting to see how many votes they need?” he tweeted.
His tweet came as state election officials announced that a large number of early, in person votes would soon be reported in Dekalb County, which includes part of Atlanta, hours after polls had closed. Those votes were expected to break heavily for the Democratic candidates, and did so, according to the county results reported after 11 p.m. ET.
Trump has repeatedly ignored the facts when it comes to regular election process, falsely claiming that he was denied a second term in part because of surprise spikes in votes for President-elect Joe Biden, and officials in multiple states from both political parties have sought to counter this misinformation. Election results are always reported in batches, and large cities can sometimes take longer to count and report.
Warnock defeats Loeffler in Georgia, keeping alive Democrats' hopes of taking Senate, NBC News projects
ATLANTA — Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler Tuesday, NBC News projects, in one of two critical runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate and potentially the fate of Joe Biden’s presidency.
“Tonight we proved that with hope, hard works and the people by our side, anything is possible," Warnock told supporters in a video livestream.
Democrats need to win both contests to flip the Senate, but the other race, between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, remains too close to call, according to NBC News, with 98 percent of the expected vote counted.
If Perdue wins, Republicans will maintain control of the chamber and be able to block President-elect Biden’s Cabinet appointments, judicial picks and legislative agenda — colossal stakes that Biden said Monday would “chart the course not just for the next four years, but for the next generation."