Updated 2231 GMT (0631 HKT) January 6, 2021
Supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol on Wednesday while Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College’s votes for president and vice president.
The Capitol was put on lockdown and the certification vote was paused after the rioters stormed the building. Vice President Mike Pence was safely evacuated from the Capitol. Congressional leadership is safe and will be taken to Fort McNair, a nearby Army base, according to a federal law enforcement official.
The stunning display of insurrection was the first time the US Capitol had been breached since the British attacked and burned the building in August of 1814, during the War of 1812, according to Samuel Holliday, director of scholarship and operations with the US Capitol Historical Society.
Congress’ counting of electoral votes is typically little more than an afterthought. But Wednesday’s joint session was expected to be a contentious affair that would last late into the evening and possibly on Thursday. Some Republicans are objecting to the count and delaying the inevitable certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Their push is destined to fail. Democrats and a significant number of Republicans are planning to vote down all of the objections in both the House and the Senate, saying it is a hopeless attempt to reverse the election outcome. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already delivered a forceful rebuke of Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud, warning his fellow Republicans that failing to certify the election results could “damage our republic forever.”
Trump and his campaign have been pushing baseless and false conspiracy theories that the election was rigged against him. The President and his allies lost dozens of lawsuits across the country that claimed fraud and challenged the constitutionality of state election laws.