LIVE COVERAGE: Capitol overrun by pro-Trump mobs

Mike Lillis

Thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators are expected to gather in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to protest the president’s election loss and support his far-fetched efforts to overturn the results.

President Trump is slated to speak to throngs of supporters at the “Save America Rally” on the Ellipse at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The demonstrations are taking place the same day that Congress meets to certify the Electoral College votes showing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

The protests have ushered in concerns about potential violence and clashes with police or counterprotesters. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) activated the National Guard in preparation for the demonstrations.

A handful of people were already arrested in Washington Tuesday evening ahead of the protests the following day.

Follow along with our live coverage.

DC police arrest 13

6:45 p.m.

Washington D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested 13 people on Wednesday as pro-President Trump rioters overtook the Capitol building. 

Newly sworn-in MPD Chief Robert Contee said during a Wednesday evening press conference that police arrested “just above” 13 people and recovered “approximately” five weapons.

“I should add a very important note here that none of the arrests that occurred were D.C. residents,” Contee said. “All of the individuals who were arrested were from out of area.” 

Read more here.


Capitol cleared of rioters

6:28 p.m.

The House sergeant-at-arms shortly before 6 p.m. said that the Capitol had been cleared.


Trump: ‘Remember this day forever!’

6:25 p.m.

President Trump on Wednesday evening again told rioters to go home. But he also again repeated the false claims about election fraud that were the basis for the protest in the first place.

“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!”

Like his earlier tweet, Twitter immediately tagged the latest post, saying “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can’t be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to risk of violence.”

Graham calls for prosecution of rioters ‘to the fullest extent of the law’

5:15 p.m.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday called for the prosecution of the rioters who stormed the Capitol building “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Graham, a staunch ally of President Trump, condemned the mob that overtook the Capitol building on Wednesday as Congress prepared to certify President-elect Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory. 

“Those who made this attack on our government need to be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Graham tweeted. “Their actions are repugnant to democracy.”


In an additional tweet, the South Carolina senator said he “could not agree more” with Biden’s Wednesday comments, when the president-elect called the riot an “insurrection.” 

—Justine Coleman

Trump tells rioters ‘go home,’ repeats claims that election ‘fraudulent’

4:27 p.m.

President Trump on Wednesday urged his supporters who laid siege to the Capitol to “go home in peace,” hours after they first forced their way into the building. 

In a one-minute taped video released on social media, Trump urged his supporters to disperse. But he reiterated his false claims that his election defeat was “fraudulent,” which was the basis for the protest in the first place.

“You have to go home now. We have to have peace,” Trump said. “We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.”

Twitter quickly tagged the tweet containing the video, saying “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can’t be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to risk of violence.”

Northam sending Virginia National Guard to DC in response to Capitol raid

4:12 p.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced Wednesday that he has authorized the Virginia National Guard to respond to the raid on the U.S. Capitol building by Trump supporters.

Northam said he will send members of the National Guard and 200 Virginia State troopers to help quell the unrest at the Capitol, where protesters breached security, prompting Capitol Police to evacuate lawmakers, staff and reporters.

The governor added that he has consulted with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

Read more here.

DC National Guard mobilized to Capitol

4:07 p.m.

The entire D.C. National Guard has been mobilized to help restore order after supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing lawmakers to halt their counting of Electoral College votes and shelter at undisclosed locations.

“The D.C. Guard has been mobilized to provide support to federal law enforcement in the District,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in statement.

A congressional aide confirmed to The Hill that about “1,100 National Guard personnel” — the size of the entire D.C. Guard — “have been approved to help restore order.”  The aide added guardsmen are “already in coordination with D.C. law enforcement personnel.”

Read more here.

AP reports one person shot at Capitol

4 p.m.

The Associated Press is reporting that one person was shot amid the melee at the U.S. Capitol as a pro-Trump mob overtook the Capitol. 

No other information was immediately available on the shooting. 

Still pictures showed Capitol Police officers with their weapons drawn inside the Capitol earlier. 

— Marina Pitofsky

GOP leader describes Capitol chaos as ‘un-American’

3:45 p.m.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the mob storming the Capitol is “un-American” and called on the protesters to stand down before more people get hurt.

“This is so un-American,” McCarthy said. “I condemn any of this violence. I could not be sadder or more disappointed with the way our country looks right now. People are getting hurt. Anyone involved in this, if you’re hearing me, hear me loud and clear – this is not the American way. This is not protected by the First Amendment. This must stop now.”


Pro-Trump protesters overrun Capitol, forcing evacuation

3:30 p.m.

A chaotic and violent scene unfolded at the Capitol on Wednesday as supporters of President Trump swarmed the building, forcing a lockdown and various confrontations with police.

Vice President Pence and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Senate president pro tempore, were taken from the Senate chamber after protesters entered the Capitol to protest as a joint session of Congress convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden‘s win.

The House and Senate gaveled out of their debates on the Electoral College results as footage showed protesters breaching security and entering the building.

Read more about the scene at the Capitol here.

Romney blames Trump for ‘insurrection’

3:42 p.m.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told a reporter “this is what the president has caused today, this insurrection” as protesters stormed the Capitol building Wednesday to protest the presidential election results.

The New York Times reports that Romney made the statement to a reporter as he was moved to a more secure location.

New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin tweeted, “.@MittRomney summoned me as lawmakers and press arrived at a secure location. ‘This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,’ he said w fury in his voice.”

Multiple reporters shared on Twitter that Romney yelled “This is what you’ve gotten, guys” to his fellow Congress members as they were evacuated.

— Joseph Choi

GOP lawmaker on violence at Capitol: ‘This is a coup attempt’

3:01 p.m.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) condemned the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, calling the demonstrations by supporters of President Trump “a coup attempt.”

The GOP lawmaker, who has opposed challenges to the Electoral College results, slammed the pro-Trump demonstrators for entering the Capitol. 

“This is a coup attempt,” Kinzinger posted. 

—Justine Coleman

Protesters enter Senate chamber

2:58 p.m.

Protesters have entered the Senate chamber and are in the galleries.

One stood on the dais and yelled that “Trump won that election.”

Others are walking through the halls and a reporter heard a few yell “where are they.”

Senators evacuated, House members moved off floor

2:53 p.m.

Senators have been evacuated from the Capitol into an adjacent building while House members have been moved off the floor of the chamber.

Reporters, staff and senators are all being moved from the Capitol building. Those in Senate sprinted down to the basement and through the subway tunnels to a separate part of the Capitol. 

Trump tweets first response to protests

2:49 p.m.

Amid the chaos, President Trump posted a tweet urging his supporters to “support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement.”

“They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!” he tweeted.

D.C. Mayor orders 6 p.m. curfew

2:46 p.m.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) has ordered a 6 p.m. curfew in response to the hundreds of Trump supporters who have entered and surrounded the Capitol building.

“Today, I’m ordering a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, until 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 7,” wrote Bowser.

Bowser activated the National Guard in anticipation of the protests on Monday.

“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 spaces within the District.”

– Joseph Choi

House Democrat sheltering in place while protesters ‘storming the Capitol’

2:44 p.m.

Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) said he was “sheltering” in his office as hundreds of Trump supporters gathered outside the Capitol, with some protesters gaining entrance to the building.

“I am sheltering in my office due to multiple threats from suspicious packages and Trump supporters storming the Capitol, but I am safe,” Levin tweeted.

“I am incredibly grateful for the brave Capitol Police officers keeping us safe.”

Protesters entered the Capitol building shortly after 2 p.m.

— Joseph Choi

Lawmakers, press told to prepare to shelter under their chairs 

2:38 p.m.

Shortly after Congress paused their debates, lawmakers were told to prepare to get down under their chairs, and one Democratic lawmaker yelled at Republicans to call President Trump and tell him to stop. 

Members and those present currently have tear gas masks in their laps.
—Juliegrace Brufke

Protesters enter Capitol

2:30 p.m.

Protesters breached the Capitol building shortly after 2 p.m., forcing the House and Senate to pause their debates on the Electoral College results.

Vice President Pence was removed from the Senate chamber.

The doors of the House chamber were locked for safety purposes. A member of the Capitol Police confirmed protesters had entered the building. 

In the House, debate briefly resumed before recessing again, with members being told to remain in their seats and to remain calm. 

Lawmakers and press were told to be prepared to get down in their chairs.

Video from outside the Capitol also showed more protesters right at the Capitol’s doors and additional police speeding toward the area. 

Capitol locked down amid rising protests

1:40 p.m.

The U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday locked down the Capitol building and evacuated multiple congressional buildings amid increasingly violent protests outside.

Buildings being evacuated included the Library of Congress’s Madison Building across from the Capitol as well as the Cannon House office building.

A Capitol Police officer said, “If you want to go between the buildings, use the tunnels.” 

Asked how long the lockdown might last, the officer said it will depend on the behavior of the protesters.

—Mike Lillis

Trump uses address to cast doubt on election, pressure Pence and other Republicans

1:25 p.m.

Trump spent much of his speech turning on his own party as he dug in on his refusal to concede the White House race to President-elect Joe Biden. He threatened that Republicans’ political futures were at stake Wednesday if they did not back his effort to overturn the election, singling out a member of House GOP leadership whom he called “weak.”

Trump stepped up pressure on Vice President Pence, one of his most loyal allies, to act outside the bounds of his powers by rejecting electors for Biden, excoriated Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) as “one of the dumbest governors in the United States,” and he swiped at former Attorney General William Barr, complaining that Barr had “changed” because he didn’t want to appear to be Trump’s personal attorney.

“I actually think though it takes more courage not to step up, and I think a lot of those people are going to find that out,” Trump said in remarks that took place in the hour before a joint session of Congress convened to certify the Electoral College votes. “And you better start looking at your leadership, because your leadership has led you down the tubes.”

“We’ve got to get rid of the weak Congress people, the ones that aren’t any good,” Trump added. “The Liz Cheneys of the world,” referring to the Republican Wyoming representative. 

Trump insisted, as he has for almost two months, that the election was stolen from him through coordinated and widespread fraud — claims that neither he nor his lawyers have produced evidence to back up.

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and what they’re doing. We will never give up, we will never concede,” a defiant Trump told the crowd. “You never concede when there is theft involved.”

He also repeated claims about irregularities in the presidential election in Georgia that were debunked by a top elections official earlier this week and to falsely insist that he won the Peach State and indeed the election in a “landslide.”

During the speech, Trump indicated he would march with supporters to the Capitol at the conclusion of his address. 

—Morgan Chalfant

Trump goes after Liz Cheney in speech to supporters

12:52 p.m.

President Trump signaled to his supporters that disloyal Republicans should be rooted out of the party, singling out House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.).

“We’ve got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good,” Trump said. “The Liz Cheneys of the world.”

The president extensively complained about Republican lawmakers during his address. He bemoaned that GOP leadership did not back his call for $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans last month, calling it politically unwise.

“You better start looking at your leadership, because your leadership has led you down the tubes,” Trump said.

—Brett Samuels

10 arrested by DC police Tuesday, early Wednesday

12:49 p.m.

Washington, D.C., police had arrested at least 10 people through early morning Wednesday as pro-President Trump protesters rally in the capital.

The 10 arrests, all of which occurred in Northwest D.C., included a Tuesday arrest of a man from North Carolina, from whom police say they took two firearms, a firework and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested Thomas Gronek, 46, who was on a multicolored school bus along Constitution Avenue and charged him with several firearms offenses, according to police records.

Police confiscated several items, including a Springfield 9mm handgun, a Ruger .22 caliber rifle, an extended ammunition magazine that holds 110 bullets and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The driver of the bus, also from North Carolina, was arrested on charges of not having a license. 

Another man from Colorado, identified as 48-year-old Harlan Boen, faced arrest on Tuesday outside of the Wilson Building for allegedly carrying prohibited weapons, including a pistol without a license, and having unregistered ammunition. A police report said Boen had 14 cartridges of .40 caliber ammunition, a large capacity feeding device and a knife.

—Justine Coleman

Trump says Republican senators in Georgia were ‘set up’

12:41 p.m.

President Trump seemed to acknowledge GOP losses in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections Wednesday during his remarks to supporters on the national mall in Washington, D.C., but insisted that the Republicans were “set up.”

Trump said he recently spoke to Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and incumbent Republican David Perdue, whose term ended on Sunday, and offered them words of support.

“It was a set up,” Trump said, adding that his efforts to overturn the presidential results are now “far more important.” Trump did not offer any specific evidence to back up his claim that the election was somehow fixed.

“The only line of demarcation, the only line that we have is the veto of the president of the United States,” Trump said.

“They fought a good race. They never had a shot. That equipment should never have been allowed to be used,” Trump said later of Loeffler and Perdue.

Democrat Raphael Warnock has been projected the winner over Loeffler. While Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over Perdue and has declared victory, the race remains too close to call.

 — Morgan Chalfant

McEnany blasts CNN as ‘a sad parody of a news network’

11:53 a.m.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blasted CNN as “a sad parody of a news network” after it ran a graphic saying President Trump is participating in a “desperate coup attempt.”

CNN’s coverage of pro-Trump protests on Wednesday ahead of the president’s expected speech at a demonstration included a banner that read: “Soon: Trump to speak to supporters in desperate coup attempt.”

McEnany pounced on the network, saying the language was “unsurprisingly OUTRAGEOUS.”

“Apparently abiding by a constitutional process that Democrats themselves have used is now considered a ‘COUP’ by the Fake News activists!” she posted. “CNN has become a sad parody of a news network.”

Representatives from CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump plans to speak at a demonstration  in support of an effort by some Republicans to challenge the certification of the Electoral College results affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win. That effort is widely expected to be unsuccessful.

 — Justine Coleman 

Trump Jr. says rally should send message about GOP: It’s ‘not their party anymore’
11:25 a.m.
Donald Trump Jr. told a crowd of several hundred gathered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that their presence at a rally in support of President Trump should serve as a warning to congressional Republicans who oppose the electoral vote challenge that the party has moved away from them.
“It should be a message to all the Republicans who have not been willing to actually fight,” Trump Jr. said while speaking at a “Stop the Steal” rally on the National Mall. “The people who did nothing to stop the steal. This gathering should send a message to them this isn’t their Republican Party anymore. This is Donald Trump’s Republican Party.”

Trump Jr. added: “This is the Republican Party that will put America first.”

More than 100 House Republicans and a dozen senators from the GOP caucus have indicated they will contest the election certification process, an action that will trigger hours of debate in both chambers.

 — Dominick Mastrangelo

Giuliani references ‘trial by combat’ in call for further election investigation

11:12 a.m.

Rudy Giuliani, who has led President Trump’s unsuccessful legal effort to overturn the results of the election, called on Wednesday for “trial by combat” in reference to Trump’s team and Joe Biden’s team putting their reputations at stake over whether widespread fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election.

Giuliani pushed multiple false claims during his brief remarks at the pro-Trump rally on the Ellipse outside the White House. He insisted that Vice President Pence has the power to reject electors later in the day to give states more time to reassess their results, despite the fact that every state has already certified its results.

He further alleged that there was widespread fraud connected to Dominion voting machines, a theory that has already been debunked with the company threatening to sue for defamation.

“Over the next 10 days, we get to see the machines that are crooked, the ballots that are fraudulent. And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of. But if we’re right, and lot of them will go to jail. So — let’s have trial by combat,” Giuliani said to a roar from the crowd.

“I’m willing to stake my reputation. The president is willing to stake his reputation on the fact that we’re going to find criminality there,” Giuliani continued. “Is Joe Biden willing to stake his reputation that there’s no crime there?”

— Brett Samuels

Trump says Perdue race ‘rigged’

11 a.m.

Less than an hour before he was slated to speak at the rally, Trump tweeted without evidence that the Georgia runoff election between Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff was “rigged.”

Trump appeared to suggest that officials were waiting to count ballots that would bring Perdue to victory. 

“These scoundrels are only toying with the @sendavidperdue (a great guy) vote. Just didn’t want to announce quite yet. They’ve got as many ballots as are necessary,” Trump tweeted. “Rigged Election!”

Ossoff maintained a narrow lead over Perdue as of Wednesday morning and declared victory as the race remained too narrow to call.

Meanwhile, Democrat Raphael Warnock was projected the winner of the Georgia runoff against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) overnight Tuesday. Trump sought to boost both Perdue and Loeffler in the runoffs, but Republicans had feared that his divisive rhetoric about the presidential election being “rigged” would damage Republican chances in the races.

Trump has yet to weigh in on Loeffler’s loss. 

— Morgan Chalfant

DC church raises 16-foot Black Lives Matter banner on day of pro-Trump protests

10:39 a.m.

The National City Christian Church in D.C. erected a 16-foot Black Lives Matter banner on Wednesday — the same day that thousands of pro-President Trump protesters have flocked to the city.

The church erected the banner early Wednesday morning across its front columns as supporters of the president demonstrated on the day Congress is slated to certify the 2020 election results.

In a statement, the church said “in response to ongoing fearmongering and racial hatred, the ‘national church’ of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will bear witness to love and inclusion.”

“With thousands of President Donald J. Trump supporters and self-proclaimed white nationalists descending on the streets of the nation’s capital, National City Christian Church will once again, as has been its long-storied history, stand boldly for the civil rights and freedoms of black and brown American people,” the National City Christian Church said in its statement.

Interim Senior Minister the Rev. Amy Butler recorded a video from the church during the banner’s installation, noting that church staff will leave the city to follow D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) instructions to stay away from the downtown area. The church had previously announced it would close on Wednesday due to the rallies.

“The National Guard and D.C. police are here and are watching National City very closely and are very serious about protecting the church so we’re grateful for that and grateful for the witness that this church is making this moment,” Butler said in her video.

Last month, pro-Trump protesters, including members of the Proud Boys, clashed with counterprotesters and burnt a Black Lives Matter banner and took down a similar sign from historic Black churches. 

D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department charged Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio with destruction of property on Monday after he had said he was among those who burnt the banner.

— Justine Coleman

Tags Adam Kinzinger Brian Kemp Charles Schumer Chuck Grassley David Perdue Donald Trump Joe Biden Kelly Loeffler Kevin McCarthy Lindsey Graham Liz Cheney mike levin Mitt Romney Muriel Bowser Nancy Pelosi Rudy Giuliani William Barr

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