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'Will Not Be Intimidated': After Insurrection, Congress Blocks State Objections

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A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol earlier, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
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12:43 a.m. Thursday
'Will Not Be Intimidated': After Insurrection, Congress Blocks State Objections

Lawmakers on Wednesday blocked objections to President-elect Joe Biden's election win in Arizona and Pennsylvania Wednesday evening, paving the way for Congress to formalize Biden's victory.

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The votes came after Congress reconvened hours after violent insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, forcing party leadership to evacuate the scene while rioters overtook the complex.

"The United States Senate will not be intimidated," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said as he returned to the Senate floor earlier in the evening. "We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation. And we're going to do it tonight."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called the violent uprising an "assault" on democracy and vowed to carry forward with the work of certifying Biden's election win.

"We know that we're in difficult times but little could we have imagined the assault that was on our democracy today. To those who strove deter us from our responsibility, you have failed."

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to reject the Arizona objection, with only six members, all Republicans, voting "yea" on the measure.

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In the House, however, opposition to certifying Biden's win remained high. Though it was ultimately rejected, 121 representatives voted in favor of maintaining the objection.

The joint session then took the tally back up, only to break again over objections to Pennsylvania.

The Senate quickly voted to dismiss the Pennsylvania objection, which was filed by a group of House Republicans and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley. The vote was 92-7. The House followed after debate, with a vote of 138 for and 282 against.

Both chambers of Congress had recessed earlier Wednesday, shortly after 2 p.m. when far-right supporters of President Trump heeded his call to go to the Capitol and eventually breached the building. At the time, lawmakers were debating an objection to Arizona's election results when the complex was put on lockdown.

As rioters -- waving Trump, Confederate and Nazi flags -- stormed the building and vandalized property, the scene devolved into unprecedented chaos. One person was shot and killed during the commotion.

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The extremists' presence cut short debate on whether to certify Biden's election win in the state of Arizona and likely objections from other states. Biden won overwhelmingly in the popular and electoral vote. But a number of Republicans had moved to object to the certification process. Several have since backed off their pledges to object, including Sens. Kelly Loeffler, James Lankford and Steve Daines.

"The events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider," Loeffler said, "and I cannot now in good conscious object to the certification of these electors."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Wednesday evening letter to Congress she had consulted with fellow Democrats as well as the Pentagon, Justice Department and Pence, and that the two chambers would reconvene "tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use."

She wrote: "Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden."

"To that end, in consultation with Leader [Steny] Hoyer and Whip [James] Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today."

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"We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished."

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, said that while he expected a brief debate to continue regarding Arizona's election results, he did not foresee any additional objections following the day's pandemonium.

He said he expected 30 or 40 minutes of debate and one vote. "That's my prediction," Paul said, "I just don't think there's going to be another objection, I think it's over at that point."

Paul had previously tweeted out that he opposed raising any challenges to the electoral votes.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a former top House GOP leader and top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, released a statement saying she will no longer object to the Electoral College results.

"What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation's capital is disgraceful and un-American. Thugs assaulted Capitol Police Officers, breached and defaced our Capitol Building, put people's lives in danger, and disregarded the values we hold dear as Americans. To anyone involved, shame on you," McMorris Rodgers said.

"We must have a peaceful transfer of power. The only reason for my objection was to give voice to the concern that governors and courts unilaterally changed election procedures without the will of the people and outside of the legislative process. I have been consistent in my belief that Americans should utilize the Constitutional tools and legal processes available to seek answers to their questions about the 2020 election. What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness."

-- Alana Wise | NPR


7:13 p.m. Wednesday

Senate Rejects Objection To Arizona Election Results

Members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted to reject objections to President-elect Joe Biden's election victory in the state of Arizona, hours after violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing party leadership to evacuate the scene while rioters overtook the complex.

"The United States Senate will not be intimidated," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said as he returned to the Senate floor earlier in the evening. "We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation. And we're going to do it tonight."

Vice President Pence praised law enforcement for their presence during the melee and condemned the violence exhibited by rioters. "You did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people's House."


NOTE: The vote was 6-93

The Senators who voted in favor are:

  • Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • John Kennedy of Louisiana
  • Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi
  • Roger Marshall of Kansas
  • Tommy Tuberville of Alabama


5:01 p.m.
Congress Reconvenes After Rioters Breach U.S. Capitol

Members of Congress reconvened on Wednesday evening to continue the process of certifying President-elect Joe Biden's White House win, hours after violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing party leadership to evacuate the scene while rioters overtook the complex.

Both chambers recessed shortly after 2 p.m. when far-right supporters of President Trump heeded his call to go to the Capitol and eventually breached the building. Lawmakers were at the time debating an objection to Arizona's election results when the complex was put on lockdown.

Lawmakers were intent on returning to finish the process Wednesday night.

Watch the live Senate session here as it returns:

And House session here:

Earlier, debate ended abruptly and Capitol Hill devolved into chaos as rioters -- waving Trump, Confederate and Nazi flags -- broke into offices and vandalized property in the attempted coup. One person was shot and killed during the commotion.

The fracas interrupted debate in the joint session about whether to certify Biden's election win. The Democrat won overwhelmingly in the popular and electoral vote. But a number of Republicans had moved to object to the certification process. Several have since backed off their pledges to object.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Wednesday evening letter to Congress she had consulted with fellow Democrats as well as the Pentagon, Justice Department and Vice President Pence, and that the two chambers would reconvene "tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use."

She wrote: "Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden."

"To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today."

"We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night. The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished."

Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, said that while he expected a brief debate to continue regarding Arizona's election results, he did not foresee any additional objections following the day's pandemonium.

He said he expected 30 or 40 minutes of debate and one vote. "That's my prediction," Paul said, "I just don't think there's going to be another objection, I think it's over at that point."

Paul had previously tweeted out that he opposed raising any challenges to the electoral votes.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a former top House GOP leader and top Republican on the Energy & Commerce committee, released a statement saying she will no longer object to the electoral college results.

"What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation's capital is disgraceful and un-American. Thugs assaulted Capitol Police Officers, breached and defaced our Capitol Building, put people's lives in danger, and disregarded the values we hold dear as Americans. To anyone involved, shame on you," said McMorris Rodgers.

"We must have a peaceful transfer of power. The only reason for my objection was to give voice to the concern that governors and courts unilaterally changed election procedures without the will of the people and outside of the legislative process. I have been consistent in my belief that Americans should utilize the Constitutional tools and legal processes available to seek answers to their questions about the 2020 election. What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness."

-- Alana Wise | NPR


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A pro-Trump mob gathered inside the Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol after groups stormed the building. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

3:43 p.m.
George W. Bush Says He Is 'Appalled' By Recklessness Of 'Some Political Leaders'

George W. Bush, the only living former Republican president, said he was "appalled" by the actions of some political leaders since the election, and called the "mayhem" at the U.S. Capitol "a sickening and heartbreaking sight."

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic - not our democratic republic," the former president wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening. "I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement."

Without mentioning President Trump or other leaders by name, Bush's statement rebuked Trump's behavior since losing the November election as well as his inciting of the violence currently gripping the American capital.

"Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation," Bush continued. "In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment."

The full text of the statement from George W. Bush:

Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our Nation's government in disbelief and dismay. It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic - not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement. The violent assault on the Capitol - and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress - was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our Nation and reputation. In the United States of America, it is the fundamental responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law. To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety. May God continue to bless the United States of America.

-- Laurel Wamsley | NPR

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Protesters help a tear-gassed supporter of US President Donald Trump as they gather across from the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

3:33 p.m.
Election Officials Warned 'Someone's Going To Get Shot' But That Didn't Stop Trump

Over the four years of Donald Trump's presidency, people in charge of voting in both parties have warned that his continued peddling of falsehoods about elections could one day lead to violence.

Now, as a mob took over the U.S. capitol Wednesday, those predictions have come true.

"Every elected leader who helped spread lies about American elections paved the way to today," said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

While many Americans looked at the televisions in shock Wednesday, those in charge of elections seem to have seen it as the natural evolution of a growing problem: a large portion of the country now falsely believes the electoral process is rigged, and therefore there may be no other alternative than taking to the streets.

It's a theme that predated Trump within the Republican party, and one which will probably plague American democracy long after Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

A month ago, a top election official in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, begged his fellow Republicans to stop spreading conspiracy theories about voting, as it was leading to death threats against officials overseeing that state's recount.

"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," Sterling said at the time.

But Trump, and many other Republicans in congress, didn't heed those warnings. In a phone call with Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger over the weekend, Trump listed a number of debunked conspiracy theories, many of which spawned from extremist corners of the internet.

On Wednesday, House Republicans mentioned some of those same conspiracy theories in objecting during the Electoral College vote counting process. And less than two hours later, windows were shattered, at least one person was shot, and the entire building was overrun.

It all could have been avoided, experts say, if those in power told the truth about the legitimacy of the vote.

"WHAT DID THEY THINK WOULD HAPPEN?" tweeted Chris Krebs, a Republican who led the federal government's election security efforts before being fired by Trump in November. "They own this."

Krebs oversaw an effort by Department of Homeland Security to fact-check some of the most pervasive lies about the election over the past two months.

"Yet the President & his campaign/lawyers/supporters fanned the flames for their own selfish reasons," he said.

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Protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Trump has given no indication Wednesday's events would change how he talks about the election. He tweeted a video Wednesday evening in which he called the extremists at the Capitol "special" and continued to falsely claim that he was the winner.

The question now is whether congressional Republicans do the same.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said earlier Wednesday that if elections in the U.S. were overturned by "mere allegations" from the losing side, then "our democracy would enter a death spiral."

"I hope [Republicans] can look themselves in the mirror and say 'was this really worth it,'" said Josh Douglas, an election law professor at the University of Kentucky. "They should have known better. They should have known that they were spouting anti-democracy rhetoric and really undermining one of the core tenets of our democracy."

-- Miles Parks | NPR


2:53 p.m.
Rep. Omar Says She Is Drafting New Articles Of Impeachment Against Trump

Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. She blamed him for his supporters' attempt at an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

"Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate," wrote Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath."

In remarks to his gathered supporters on Wednesday at the Ellipse behind the White House, Trump falsely claimed that "this election was stolen from you, from me, from the country" and also incorrectly declared that he won "in a landslide."

Trump's supporters had gathered in Washington, D.C., to protest Congress' certification of the Electoral College vote, which was won by former Vice President Joe Biden by a large margin.

Even as his supporters occupied the U.S. Capitol building, Trump released a video message on Wednesday afternoon in which he told them to "go home now," while continuing to falsely claim the election had been "stolen."

The House of Representatives, where Democrats hold a majority, already voted to impeach Trump in December 2019. The articles of impeachment then included abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, related to Trump's push for Ukraine to conduct investigations that could help him in the 2020 election. Less than two months later, the Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit him.

There were already calls from some, including Omar, to impeach Trump over his phone call on Saturday to Georgia's secretary of state, in which the president urged state officials to "find" votes that could overturn his loss there during November's election.

Without the support of House leadership, Omar's efforts are likely to go nowhere, and Trump has just two weeks left in office before his term ends and Biden is inaugurated as president.

-- Laurel Wamsley | NPR


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Trump supporters clash with police and security forces, as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

2:48 p.m.
Facebook, Twitter Move to Limit Reach of Trump Video Amid Chaos On The Capitol

Facebook on Wednesday removed a video message by President Trump, citing "the risk of ongoing violence."

Facebook executive Guy Rosen called the pro-Trump mob swarming the Capitol an "emergency situation," suggesting the president's video message had the potential of worsening the chaos.

"We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence," Rosen tweeted.

Twitter did not go as far as removing the video, which was also posted to its site. But the platform did restrict the video's reach over concerns of "a risk of violence."

In the video, Trump told his supporters who have stormed the U.S. Capitol to "go home now," but the president also baselessly claimed the election was stolen and told his angry backers: "We love you. You're very special."

Twitter restricted engagement on the tweet, blocking retweets, likes and comments on the platform. But Twitter still allowed the video message to be quote-tweeted. Many users did just that, allowing the material to spread around the social network. In the hour after Trump posted it, the video was viewed more than 11 million times on Twitter.

This is not the first time the company has added layers of friction to the president's tweets to slow their spread across the platform. In the runup to the November election, Twitter added warning labels to dozens of Trump's tweets for promoting falsehoods about voter fraud.

But this time, critics called on Twitter to do more, such as suspending Trump's account for repeatedly stoking violence over his unfounded claims over his election loss. Others demanded that the president's accounts on both sites be permanently banned.

"Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off," tweeted Alex Stamos, a former top security official at Facebook.

Officials at Twitter declined to comment on further action they might take.

"We are also exploring other escalated enforcement actions and will keep the public updated with any significant developments," the company said in a statement.

Trump's short video address followed hours in which the president remained silent as a melee ensued on the Capitol. His supporters violently entered the building, causing lawmakers to be rushed out to safety and law enforcement to draw their guns.

-- Bobby Allyn | NPR


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Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

2:47 p.m.
World Leaders Deplore Pro-Trump Extremists Breaching U.S. Capitol

World leaders condemned pro-Trump extremists' storming of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, as members of Congress attempted to accept the Electoral College ballots for President-elect Joe Biden.

"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress," Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain tweeted. "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."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned President Trump to accept the results of the U.S. election, saying, "Insurgent words turn into violent acts."

"The enemies of democracy will be delighted at these terrible images from Washington DC," he tweeted. "Trump and his supporters must accept the decision of American voters at last and stop trampling on democracy."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was monitoring the situation closely and with concern.

"I think the American democratic institutions are strong, and hopefully everything will return to normal shortly," Trudeau told the News 1130 Vancouver radio station, according to Reuters.

"These are not 'protestors' - this a direct attack on democracy and legislators carrying out the will of the American people," British Labour party leader Keir Starmer tweeted, calling the scenes "horrific."

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's Minister for Foreign Affairs, called for the situation needs to be quickly resolved for the good of the U.S. and other Democratic countries.

"While people in Palestine & in many other places in the world are struggling to achieve democracy, there are those in the US who are actively sabotaging theirs," tweeted Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi. "Despots everywhere thrive on repression, oppression, & violence."

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted he was "deeply saddened and shocked" at the events.

"We hope to see order restored and the transition of power completed," he wrote. "America needs to go back to being a role model for democracies across the world."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote that the "outcome of this democratic election must be respected."

Irish lawmaker Brendan Howlin referred to the events as "the inevitable final phase of Trumpism."

-- Reese Oxner | NPR


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Gas is deployed as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

2:32 p.m.
Authorities Send Reinforcements To Help Secure The Capitol

Federal and state authorities scrambled to send forces to help secure the U.S. Capitol after it was overrun by pro-Trump extremists who stormed the building on Wednesday.

The FBI deployed agents from its Washington Field Office in response to a request for assistance from the Capitol Police, which is responsible for securing the Capitol Complex. The FBI also said it responded to reports of "suspicious devices" and that it continues to investigate.

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also took part in the response. The agency said it deployed a Special Response Team, its version of a SWAT unit, as well as agents from its Washington and Baltimore Field Divisions to help out at the Capitol.

The Justice Department says Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is coordinating with the department's law enforcement partners to provide support for the Capitol Police.

The Defense Department, meanwhile, said the D.C. National Guard has been mobilized to support the security response.

Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said on Twitter that the acting secretary, Christopher Miller, has been in touch with Congressional leadership, while Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has been working with the local Washington, D.C., government.

Hoffman said the law enforcement response will be led by the Justice Department.

Reinforcements were also being deployed from the neighboring states of Virginia and Maryland.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said on Twitter that he is sending 200 state troopers and a contingent from the state National Guard. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he's sending state troopers to help out as well, and that he's also instructed his state's National Guard to call up a "rapid response force to support law enforcement and restore order."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy later joined the governors in announcing a contingent headed for the District.

It was not immediately clear when those reinforcements would arrive. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a curfew for 6 p.m. in the District as authorities sought to restore order on Capitol Hill and its environs.

-- Ryan Lucas | NPR


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Trump supporters protest as they storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

2:23 p.m.
In Video, Trump Sympathizes With Protesters But Tells Them To 'Go Home'

After hours of silence, as a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, President Trump said in a tweeted video late Wednesday afternoon that his supporters should "go home," but once again he repeated his fraudulent claim that the election was stolen.

"I know your pain. I know your hurt," Trump said in a short video from the Rose Garden of the White House posted to social media. "We had an election that was stolen from us," he said, repeating debunked claims that election fraud had ruined his fictitious "landslide election."

"But you have to go home now," he said. "We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We don't want anybody hurt."

One person, however, earlier suffered a gunshot wound at the U.S. Capitol amid the violent occupation and was transported by Washington, D.C., Emergency Medical Services from the building.

"This was a fraudulent election," Trump claimed baselessly again, "but we can't play into the hands of these people. So go home. We love you. You're very special."

Twitter took the extraordinary step of not allowing replies, retweets or likes on the video.

"This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can't be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence," a warning on the tweet said.

Earlier Wednesday, in a speech from the Ellipse outside the White House, Trump urged his backers to march to the Capitol, saying he would go with them, but instead he returned to the White House as the insurrection unfolded.

-- Brian Naylor


5ff65b273d7c92000901ae56-eight.jpg
Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

1:30 p.m.
US Capitol In Chaos As Pro-Trump Extremists Breach Building

The U.S. Capitol was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump, responding to his call to head there, breached the complex, resulting in violence in the seat of America's federal government.

The surreal and dangerous scene interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were tallying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.

For two months, Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen from him, and dozens of fellow Republicans planned to object to slates of electors from various states they considered contested.

Lawmakers were debating an objection to Arizona's results -- a state Trump lost narrowly -- when the sessions were recessed as the U.S. Capitol Police attempted to put the complex on lockdown.

Violent protesters were seen smashing windows and occupying the House and Senate floors and various offices. Police were seen with guns drawn in the House chamber, pointing their firearms at windows that were smashed.

People inside the building were told to shelter in place, and members of Congress were told that tear gas was being used in the Capitol rotunda and that they should get ready to put on masks on.

A person suffering from a gunshot wound was transported by Washington, D.C., emergency medical services from the Capitol, an official with knowledge of the matter tells NPR.

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Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they invade the Inauguration platform of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

On Twitter, Trump asked people to remain peaceful. He then posted a video on Twitter, asking people to go home -- but not before reiterating his baseless claims about the election being stolen and saying: "You're very special."

His response to the violence came just a few hours after a midday address to supporters outside the White House, in which he repeatedly denied the results of the election, claiming without evidence that it was rigged against his campaign.

"This election was stolen from you, from me, from the country," he said in the earlier remarks. He also urged his supporters to head to the Capitol, adding: "You'll never take back our country with weakness."

Vice President Pence more forcefully condemned the violence, saying that the chaos engulfing the Capitol was an "attack on our Capitol" and tweeting that people involved must "immediately leave the building" and would be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

In televised remarks, Biden called on Trump to "go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege" at the Capitol.

"Let me be very clear," Biden added, "the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not reflect who we are," he said, calling the violent protesters a "small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness."

"It borders on sedition and it must end now," Biden said. "It's not protest; it's insurrection."

In a tweet, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany wrote that the National Guard had been called in at Trump's direction.

"We reiterate President Trump's call against violence and to remain peaceful," she wrote.

The governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, said he would send members of the Virginia National Guard and 200 members of the Virginia State Police to Washington. In a tweet, Northam said this was at the request of the mayor of Washington, D.C.

Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted a 6 p.m. curfew.

Capitol Police also issued safety guidance to staff in multiple federal buildings.

Alerts citing police activity were sent to individuals in the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress' James Madison Memorial Building.

Individuals in Cannon were originally told to evacuate but were later instructed to stay in the building, according to recent email updates from Capitol Police. The evacuation notice has since been cleared.

Staff inside the Library of Congress were also told to exit the building and remain calm, according to reporting from Politico.

The events come as thousands of pro-Trump and far-right protesters have congregated in downtown D.C. to contest the results of the presidential election.

Lawmakers acknowledging the escalating violence have called for a peaceful resolution to the fracas.

Republicans, who spent the summer castigating the mostly peaceful protests against racial police violence, had previously encouraged demonstrations calling to overturn the election results. On Wednesday, many called for law and order as tensions between protesters and law enforcement swelled.

Congress had begun the process of officially recognizing the results of the presidential election. The process has been delayed for several hours after multiple Republican members challenged the results in Arizona, a move they are expected to do with several states.

-- NPR's Elena Moore, Alana Wise, and Benjamin Swasey, with contributions from Deirdre Walsh and Kelsey Snell


This story originally appeared on NPR.