Joe Biden certified as the next president
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Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump have descended on the Capitol building in Washington, clashing with police who appear to be heavily outnumbered.
The protesters tore down security fencing and appeared to be intent on occupying the building.
BREAKING: Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are attempting to occupy the building — fighting federal police who are overrun— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can’t stop them pic.twitter.com/VVdTUwV5YN
The protestors stormed the barricades surrounding the US Capitol building. Police used pepper spray during Wednesday's historic joint session of Congress which was convened to certify the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden.
Capitol Police were seen using pepper spray to keep the Trump supporters at bay as they approached the entrance to the building, before tearing down metal barricades."
"This is our house!" Trump supporters screamed.
Meanwhile, the Madison and Cannon Office buildings have been evacuated over alleged unidentified packages.
People were evacuated from the Capitol Hill buildings while Congress was in session, according to reports.
A cop in Cannon building told reporters: "Everyone out, right now, we're evacuating."
Outside of the building, police told staff to "take visitors, escape hoods, and Go Kits and report to the South tunnel connecting to the Longworth Building."
Staffers at Capitol Hill were told to evacuate the Madison building.
Earlier on Wednesday, officers were responding to the reported package at the Unit Block of Second Street, just blocks away from the Capitol Building.
It came after Mr Trump addressed tens of thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House and called on them to "peacefully and patiotically make your voices heard" at Capitol Hill, where Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden's election victory.
Vice President Mike Pence has publicly rejected Donald Trump's orders to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.
Despite Mr Trump rallying tens of thousands of supporters to march on Congress to protest today's confirmation, Mr Pence released a lengthy statement saying he could not support the president.
"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Mr Pence said.
Pence declares Biden the next president
With all the electoral votes counted, Vice President Mike Pence officially confirmed Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump.
"The votes for president of the United States are as follows: Joseph R. Biden Jr of the state of Delaware has received 306 votes. Donald J. Trump of the state of Florida has received 232 votes," Mr Pence declared.
Its jobs done, the joint session dissolved with a weary round of applause.
10m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT
Congress certifies Joe Biden's victory
It has been smooth sailing through the last batch of states so far, and at 3.32am in Washington D.C., Joe Biden officially passed the 270 electoral vote threshold he needed to become president.
Vermont's three votes are what pushed him over the top.
A couple of states are still to come, but it's a done deal now - Congress has certified Mr Biden's victory and he will be inaugurated on January 20.
20m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT
Pence dismisses Pennsylvania objection
At last, we're under way again.
Vice President Pence promptly dismissed the objection to Pennsylvania's results, meaning its 20 electoral votes have now formally gone to Joe Biden.
Rhode Island is next up, and then we'll run through the remainder of the alphabet.
36m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT
House votes it down 282-138
The House of Representatives has shot down the Pennsylvania objection 282-138, which means we can get back to counting the electoral votes in a few minutes, when the joint session resumes.
Shouldn't be much longer now. It's 3.11am.
Those 138 Republican votes, by the way, represent almost two-thirds of the party's caucus.
1h agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT
House now voting on Pennsylvania objection
Debate has finished in the House and it's now voting on the Pennsylvania objection.
Keep in mind, there are a few hundred members of Congress. So the vote could take half an hour or so.
After that, the joint session will resume, the objection will be denied, and we should run through the electoral college results from the remaining states without much more drama.
1h agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT
'He called me a liar!': Tempers flare in Congress
Things have got rather angry during the House's debate, with Republicans blowing up at Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb for calling them liars.
"To do this with any kind of honesty means admitting and declaring in this House that these objections don't deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce," Mr Lamb said, speaking against the Republicans' objection to Pennsylvania's election results.
"A woman died out there tonight! And you're making these objections.
"Enough has been done here today, already, to try to strip this Congress of its dignity, and these objectors don't need to do any more.
"We know that attack today, it didn't materialise out of nowhere. it was inspired by lies. The same lies that you're hearing in this room tonight.
"And the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them."
A Republican Congressman rose to make a point of order, interrupting Mr Lamb's speech.
"The gentleman said that there were lies on this floor here today, looking over this direction. I ask that those words be taken down," he demanded.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, ruled that the congressman's demand was not timely.
Mr Lamb started to resume his speech, but the Republicans were shouting at him across the chamber.
Someone could be heard yelling: "He called me a liar!"
"Look, it's sad but it's true. The truth hurts!" he shouted back.
"It hurts. It hurts them, it hurts this country, it hurts all of us. But the fact is that the people have made this country work by not giving in.
"Go ahead, shout it out!"
There was a disruption as members from both sides flooded to the central aisle and confronted each other.
Most of it happened out of view of the cameras.
Nevada objection fails too
We are very much repeating ourselves now, but I should note that the same thing happened again with Nevada.
A Republican congressman objected to the state's results, but did not have a senator backing him up.
Another swing state done, then. Pennsylvania is still looming.
Michigan objection also fails
The same thing just happened with the results from Michigan - a Republican congresswoman made an objection, but no senators joined her, so Vice President Pence promptly dismissed it.
Some members of Congress applauded.
Fun fact - the congresswoman in question was QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The big state to watch here is Pennsylvania, where Senator Josh Hawley may still decide to object. We'll find out shortly.
Georgia objection fails as no senators support it
We're back under way in the joint session.
Vice President Pence followed procedure and accepted the electoral votes from Arizona, the objection to its result having been defeated in both the Senate and the House.
We're now proceeding through the other states in alphabetical order.
The results from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C. and Florida were all accepted without any objections.
When Mr Pence got to Georgia, a Republican congressman rose to object. But that alone was not enough - any objection needs to be signed by someone from each chamber of Congress.
The Vice President asked whether a senator was joining in the objection.
"Following the events of today, it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection," the congressman said.
"In that case, the objection cannot be entertained," Mr Pence said.
And just like that, Georgia's electoral votes were accepted.
House also rejects Arizona objection
The House of Representatives has now rejected the objection to Arizona's electoral college results, by a margin of 303-121.
A majority of House Republicans actually supported tossing out Arizona's electoral votes, 121-83. The Democrats were unanimously against it, 220-0.
This means the two chambers can come together again and start to consider the results from more states.
Three more deaths on Capitol grounds
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser just held a media conference. She said different levels of law enforcement were working together to "further secure the grounds" around the Capitol in the coming days.
Ms Bowser asked everyone in the city, including outsiders staying in hotels, to abide by its curfew.
"If you mean to cause trouble in the streets of Washington D.C., you will be arrested," she warned.
Police Chief Robert Contee said at least 52 arrests had been made as of 9.30pm, 26 of them on the grounds of the Capitol.
Forty-seven of the arrests related to curfew violations or unlawful entry; four were for carrying guns without licences; and one was for possession of a prohibited weapon.
Chief Contee confirmed police had found and destroyed two pipe bombs, one at the Republican National Committee headquarters and the other at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.
They also found a cooler containing long guns and molotov cocktails on the Capitol grounds.
The death toll has risen to four, with the addition of three people who died due to "medical emergencies".
We already knew about the woman who died this afternoon after being shot inside the Capitol building.
"This is a tragic incident, and I send my condolences to the family," Chhief Contee said.
She was shot by a police officer, and the department's internal affairs division is investigating the incident.
"Additionally, there were three other deaths reported today from the area around the Capitol grounds," he said.
"Two adult females and one adult male appear to have suffered from separate medical emergencies, which resulted in their deaths."
He did not go into any more detail than that.
Finally, 14 police officers were injured during the riots. One suffered serious injuries after being pulled into a crowd and assault, while another suffered a serious facial injury after being struck by a projectile.
Both of those officers are in hospital. The other 12 police injuries are not as serious.
Washington D.C.'s state of emergency extended by 15 days
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the state of public emergency she declared earlier today for 15 days, which means it will last until after Joe Biden's inauguration.
"Today, First Amendment protests turned violent. Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction," the new order says.
"They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles and guns. They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behaviour has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol.
"Their motivation is ongoing. Today, they sought to disrupt the congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes. President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the election was invalid.
"Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of state boards of elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration."
So, in plainer language, Ms Bowser believes there is potential for further violence in the American capital until Mr Trump leaves office.
Woman killed in the Capitol riot identified
The woman who died today after being shot inside the Capitol Building has been identified as Ahsli Babbit, an Air Force veteran from San Diego.
Senate rejects objection 93-6
The Senate has overwhelmingly rejected the objection to Arizona's electoral college result, by a margin of 93-6.
The six who voted in favour of tossing out Arizona's electoral votes were Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Cruz, Roger Marshall and John Kennedy. All of them are Republicans.
So, that's one down. It's unclear how many more objections will be raised - we're running through the states in alphabetical order. There are many, many letters left in the alphabet.
You can chill out for a bit if you like, because we still have to wait for the House of Representatives to vote on the Arizona objection before proceedings can move on.
At least one objection will still happen
Ivanka's sister-in-law speaks out
Report: Cabinet members discussing Trump's removal
White House deputy press secretary quits
Republican senators backflip on plans to object
Facebook blocks Trump from posting
Report: Trump 'resisted' sending in National Guard
Senate reconvenes: 'Let's get back to work'
Twitter locks Donald Trump's account
Republican Senate leader defies 'unhinged' rioters
Joint sitting to resume in just over an hour
Romney urges colleagues to drop electoral vote objections
Republican governor calls for Trump to be removed
Scott Morrison looks forward to 'peaceful transfer' of power
George Bush 'appalled' by politicians' 'reckless behaviour'
Woman dies after being shot in Capitol
6pm curfew half an hour away
Former Trump staffer: 'The election was not stolen'
Law enforcement clearing the Capitol
Trump's congressional supporters condemn riots
IVANKA TRUMP 'PRAISES PATRIOTS'
Senior adviser to the President Ivanka Trump is facing intense backlash after labelling violent protesters "patriots" in a hastily deleted tweet.
The First Daughter's tweet was posted this morning Australian time in response to the chaos unfolding in Washington D.C, where pro-Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol building in a bid to overthrow the results of the November 3 election.
US President Donald Trump and his supporters have consistently refused to accept Democrat Joe Biden's win, and "anarchists" swarmed the Capitol as a joint session of Congress convened to confirm Mr Biden's victory.
"American Patriots - any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable," Ms Trump posted today.
"The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful."
But while Ms Trump clearly called for calm, critics were quick to seize on her use of the word "patriots", which many interpreted as praise or support for those wreaking havoc.
The choice of words sparked an outpouring of anger, with Twitter users labelling her tweet "despicably shameful" and describing her as "complicit".
Ms Trump deleted the tweet soon after the backlash began, but not before furious Americans had the chance to screenshot it and share it widely online.
She went on to insist: "Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms."
The protests have been anything but peaceful, with a woman shot, a pipe bomb discovered and several police officers injured at the scene.
RELATED: Trump's chilling words before mayhem
Ivanka's brother, Donald Trump Jr, has also condemned the violence on the streets of Washington D.C, tweeting: "This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don't start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn't help anyone."
But pressure is mounting on the President to take a stand and order his supporters to desist amid the growing mayhem.
So far, Mr Trump has not spoken publicly about the crisis, instead issuing several tweets urging those at Capitol to "remain peaceful".
In contrast, incoming president Joe Biden has fronted the public in an attempt to calm the escalating situation.
"At this hour, our democracy's under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we've seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic … Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now," Mr Biden said on Thursday morning Australian time.
Originally published as Ivanka Trump praises violent 'patriots'
Biden speaks, demands Trump go on TV
'Go home': Trump posts video from White House
'Pipe bomb' found at RNC headquarters
Trump deploys the National Guard
PENCE REFUSES TO INTERFERE WITH ELECTION COUNT
The usually staid ceremony to name a new US president has been plunged into chaos by a public spat between Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
After two months of challenging his election loss but offering no concrete proof of fraud, Mr Trump will today address thousands of supporters at the Ellipse outside the White House and again insist he was robbed.
Two hours later Mr Pence is scheduled to perform the ceremonial task of formally declaring Democrat Joe Biden the President-elect to a joint session of Congress, ahead of his January 20 inauguration.
But after a New York Times report that Mr Pence had informed Mr Trump he would not support his challenge to the certification of the election results, the President insisted he could retain the White House.
In what amounted to a remarkable full-court press of his deputy, he issued a statement saying that Mr Pence agreed with him that the election was "illegal".
"The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act," Mr Trump said.
In a nod to just how helter-skelter the situation had become, the 10pm missive was also dated with the wrong year, with a timestamp of January 5, 2020.
"Our Vice President has several options under the U.S. Constitution. He can decertify the results or send them back to the states for change and certification. He can also decertify the illegal and corrupt results and send them to the House of Representatives for the one vote for one state tabulation."
These actions do not appear to be possible under the US constitution.
Mr Pence did not publicly respond.
Later, Mr Trump doubled down on his allegations of electoral fraud in a late-night tweet.
"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency," he posted on Twitter.
"Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!"
As president of the Senate, Mr Pence will be tasked with presiding over a roll call of states announcing their electoral college results.
More than a dozen Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz have said they will challenge the results from up to six states, which would trigger hours of debate and potentially stretch the process to the next day.
But despite this plan to challenge the state results and "send them back", any such action would need to be approved by Congress and the Democrat-led House is highly unlikely to support such a move.
The rare show of disunity between the president and Mr Pence reveals the broader challenge the post-Trump Republican Party faces.
Mr Pence reportedly holds his own ambitions to run in 2024 so needs to balance his ambition with the tricky task of appeasing Mr Trump, who will potentially be a party kingmaker for years to come.
But even though Mr Trump's continued dummy spit threatens to overshadow his legacy and his actual ability to retain power appears infinitesimal, many of his most ardent supporters believe he will somehow do so.
Army veteran Gary Colders was wearing a red Make America Great Again cap and holding a "Stop the Steal" flag in freezing weather for hours yesterday at one of several Trump protests in Washington.
The Chicago father of two was one of thousands who gathered in the nation's capital for two days of demonstrations for which authorities had called out the National Guard.
"Something's going to happen tomorrow. He's gonna keep it," he said yesterday of Mr Trump's grasp of the presidency.
"And if something doesn't happen then there's going be a whole lotta trouble."
GEORGE W. BUSH 'LOOKS FORWARD TO ATTENDING INAUGURATION'
Former President George W. Bush will attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, but former President Jimmy Carter won't make it, their offices said Tuesday.
Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said that the 43rd president and former First Lady Laura Bush will attend the pared-back ceremony in Washington.
"President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing-in of President Biden and Vice President Harris," Ford said.
"I believe this will be the eighth Inauguration they've had the privilege of attending - President Trump's being the most recent - and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old."
Bush, 74, is the only living Republican ex-president following his father George H.W. Bush's death in 2018.
Although controversial when he left office due to the 2008 economic collapse and his management of the Iraq War and other post-9/11 policies, Bush's popularity has rebounded, according to polls. He rarely comments on politics and started painting.
Carter, 96, left office in 1981. The coronavirus pandemic places elderly people at the greatest risk. Carter representatives told The Associated Press that the Democrat sends his "best wishes" to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
The other two living ex-presidents are Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Originally published as Crowd erupts as Pence rejects call to deny 'bulls-t' Biden win