UPDATE: After a day of unrest, Congress validates Biden’s presidential victory

  • Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol today in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

  • Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier today at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol today. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol today in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(AP and Tribune-Herald staff) — Here’s the latest on Congress’ tally of the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

10:41 p.m. HST

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Congress has formally validated Joe Biden’s presidential election victory on a day that saw a time-honored ceremony become a nightmare of unprecedented political terror.

The House and Senate certified the Democrat’s electoral college win early Thursday morning in Washington after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot, windows were bashed, and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol police.

The rampage began shortly after President Donald Trump repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he’d invited to Washington. Many then surged to the Capitol after he incited them to go there as lawmakers debated the electoral votes.

More than six hours after the violence erupted, lawmakers resumed their session.

Thirteen Republican senators and dozens of GOP representatives had planned to force debate and votes on perhaps six different states’ votes.

The assault on the Capitol made some Republicans squeamish about trying to overturn Biden’s win, and challenges were lodged only against Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both efforts lost overwhelmingly.

Biden defeated Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated Jan. 20.

10:25 p.m. HST

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz defended his objection to the Electoral College results as “the right thing to do.”

The Texas senator condemned the violence that erupted as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an extraordinary attack over the election outcome.

Cruz led the first challenge to Joe Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump by objecting to Arizona’s results. He sought to have Congress launch a commission to investigate the election. His effort was roundly defeated in the House and Senate.

Cruz said he was confident the country will have a “peaceful and orderly transition of power.” Biden is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

7:55 p.m. HST

The Senate has quickly killed Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

Senators voted 92-7 after midnight in Washington to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.

The Senate rejected the effort to cancel Pennsylvania’s votes without any debate.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

7:15 p.m. HST

Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, triggering up to two hours of debate in the House and Senate.

The objections come 11 hours after the congressional count to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory began, and after lawmakers had to evacuate both chambers for several hours to escape a mob that had violently breached the Capitol.

Hawley said last week that he would object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, saying Congress should investigate voter fraud. President Donald Trump has falsely said since his defeat that there was widespread fraud in the election.

Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 80,000 votes. Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his allies filed at least a half-dozen lawsuits challenging Biden’s win on various grounds, including that many or all of the state’s mail-in ballots were illegal.

The lawsuits failed as judge after judge found no violation of state law or constitutional rights, or no grounds to grant an immediate halt to certifying the election.

6:20 p.m. HST

The House has voted overwhelmingly to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.

The objection failed 303-121 tonight, with only Republicans voting in support.

Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the states that have objections.

6:10 p.m. HST

Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead today included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”

Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared this evening by law enforcement.

The woman was shot earlier today as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.

D.C. police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.

5:15 p.m. HST

The Senate has overwhelmingly turned aside a challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.

The objection to the results in Arizona — spearheaded by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz — was rejected 93-6 tonight.

All votes in favor came from Republicans, but after violent protesters mobbed the Capitol earlier today, a number of GOP senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course.

The Republicans raised the objection based on false claims pushed by President Donald Trump and others of issues with the vote in Arizona, which were repeatedly dismissed in Arizona’s courts and by the state’s election officials.

4:45 p.m. HST

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy compared violence at the U.S. Capitol to protests against racial injustice over the summer after the killing of George Floyd by police.

The U.S. Capitol was overrun by a mob supportive of President Donald Trump today as Congress counted electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

McCarthy said, “Mobs don’t rule America. Laws rule America. It was true when our cities were burning this summer and it is true now.”

The comment got loud applause from Republicans. Democrats in the chamber sat silently.

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, was killed in May after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he said he couldn’t breathe.

McCarthy, an ally of Trump’s, said today was the “saddest day” he’s ever had in Congress.

He said: “It is clear this Congress will not be the same after today.”

4:10 pm. HST

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sending 1,000 members of the state’s National Guard to Washington, D.C., to help “the peaceful transition of presidential power.”

Cuomo, a Democrat, said 1,000 troops would be sent for up to two weeks at the request of U.S. National Guard officials. It comes after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol.

Cuomo said in a statement today: “For 244 years, the cornerstone of our democracy has been the peaceful transfer of power, and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is carried out, safely and decisively.”

They will join law enforcement from Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey who are also coming to D.C.’s aid.

3:55 p.m. HST

Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Their change of heart came after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier today and interrupted their proceedings. One person was fatally shot.

Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.

Lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College votes from each state were forced to evacuate after an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol.

Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”

All three had previously signed on to Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier today.

3:45 p.m. HST

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Congress “will not be deterred” in confirming the results of the presidential election, hours after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The Republican leader reopened the Senate late today in Washington, vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College for President-elect Joe Biden.

It was interrupted earlier in the way when rioters breached the security perimeter and clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes. One person was fatally shot.

McConnell says demonstrators “tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”

McConnell plans to keep the Senate in session today to finish confirming the results.

3:20 p.m. HST

Former President Barack Obama says history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonor and shame for the nation.

Obama say the violence was “incited by a sitting president” who baselessly lied about the outcome of the presidential election. He has convinced his supporters that he lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden only because Democrats cheated, a false claim.

Obama says it should not have come as a surprise, and that for two months “a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth.”

He says “their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.”

3:10 p.m. HST

The Senate has resumed debating the Republican challenge against Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, more than six hours after pro-Trump mobs attacked the Capitol and forced lawmakers to flee.

Scores of Republican representatives and 13 GOP senators had planned to object today to the electoral votes of perhaps six states that backed Biden. It was unclear whether those objections would continue in light of the day’s violent events.

President Donald Trump has falsely insisted that the election was marred by fraud and that he actually won. He reiterated those claims in remarks to thousands of protesters outside the White House early today and goaded them to march to the Capitol, which many of them did.

The mayhem had forced the House and Senate to abruptly end the day’s debates and flee to safety under the protection of police. And it prompted bipartisan outrage as many lawmakers blamed Trump for fostering the violence.

2:45 p.m. HST

The Republican National Committee says it strongly condemns the violence at the Capitol, adding that the violent scenes “do not represent acts of patriotism, but an attack on our country and its founding principles.”

The RNC is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform. Its statement condemning the violence came hours after Republican President Donald Trump baselessly complained that the election was stripped away “from great patriots.” He went on to tell them to “go home with love & in peace.”

The group’s communications director, Michael Ahrens, says, “What happened today was domestic terrorism.”

He says to see the U.S. flag used “in the name of unfounded conspiracy theories is a disgrace to the nation, and every decent American should be disgusted by it.”

2:40 p.m. HST

Former President Bill Clinton says the attack on the U.S. Capitol was fueled over four years of “poison politics” and lit by President Donald Trump.

Clinton said in a statement Wednesday night that the riot at the Capitol resulted from a combination of deliberate disinformation that created distrust in the system and pit Americans against one another.

He wrote, “The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost.”

His wife, Hillary Clinton, lost a bitter election to Trump in 2016 and conceded to him immediately. Trump has refused to accept his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden in November and is trying to cast him as an illegitimate president.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people” and saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”

2:20 p.m. HST

A West Virginia lawmaker took video of himself and other supporters of President Donald Trump rushing into the U.S. Capitol after they breached the security perimeter.

In the video by Republican Del. Derrick Evans, later deleted from his social media page, he is shown wearing a helmet and clamoring at the door to breach the building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

“We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” he said in a packed doorway amid Trump followers holding flags and complaining of being pepper sprayed. Once inside, Evans could be seen on video milling around the Capitol Rotunda, where historical paintings depict the republic’s founding, and yelled, “No vandalizing!”

State House of Delegates Speaker Roger Hanshaw said Evans will need to “answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today.”

He said he has not spoken to Evans yet about his involvement.

The delegate from Wayne County said in a statement later on Facebook that he was heading back to West Virginia and “was simply there as an independent member of the media to film history.”

1:55 p.m. HST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will resume the Electoral College proceedings once the Capitol is cleared of pro-Donald Trump protesters and safe for use.

Pelosi said she made the decision in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.

She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier today and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people” and saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”

Trump supporters breached the Capitol building and clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes. Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the November election was stolen from him, even though that is not true.

1:45 p.m. HST

Dozens of pro-Trump protesters remain on the streets of the nation’s capital in defiance of the curfew imposed after rioters stormed the Capitol.

The mostly maskless crowd was forcibly removed from the Capitol on Wednesday after breaking into the building and halting the constitutional process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were pushed out of the immediate area and moved down the hill, where they taunted law enforcement and moved barricades.

Police said anyone found on the streets after the 6 p.m. curfew would be arrested. Officers in full riot gear with shields lined the streets near the U.S. Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said their debate on affirming Biden’s victory would continue after the Capitol was secured.

1:44 p.m. HST

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney is blaming President Donald Trump for inciting a violent “insurrection” at the Capitol.

Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Trump’s, said the violent breach of the Capitol on Wednesday was “due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months.″

The Utah senator said those who continue to support Trump’s “dangerous gambit” by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election “will forever be seen as complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.″

Romney ridiculed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans who want an “audit” of the election results: “Please! No Congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the president will continue to claim the election was stolen.”

The simple truth, Romney said, “is that President-elect (Joe) Biden won this election. President Trump lost.″

1:33 p.m. HST

One woman is now dead after being shot at the U.S. Capitol as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police, according to a tweet from NBC News.

That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity amid a chaotic situation.

The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The person said the victim had been taken to a hospital. Their condition was not known.

Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.

Hours later, police had declared the Capitol was secured.

1:13 p.m. HST

All four members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation have affirmed via Twitter they are safe following an armed siege at the U.S. Capitol today by supporters of President Donald Trump.

“My staff and I are ok, but democracy is not,” U.S. Rep. Ed Case tweeted. “What a truly dark moment for our country, born of disrespect for our very foundations and institutions and incited by the highest levels of our leadership. But I know this is not our America, and I know we will get through this dark time together. And here in DC, on Capitol Hill, tonight or tomorrow or however long it takes, and regardless of what it takes, my colleagues and I will complete our constitutional duty and confirm the results of the Presidential election.”

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz tweeted: “My staff and I are safe and following the guidance of U.S. Capitol Police. We thank everyone for their expressions of aloha and concern. The attack on the Capitol and our democracy is despicable, but it will not stop us from completing our constitutional duties and affirming the results of the presidential election.”

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted: “Mahalo for everyone’s concern. I want to let you all know that I’m safe. I implore the president to tell his supporters to stand down for everyone’s safety and let Congress do our job today.”

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele’s tweet announcing that he and his family are safe has been previously reported.

12:58 p.m. HST

In an early afternoon press conference, Gov. David Ige said he believes President Donald Trump caused the armed siege by demonstrators at the U.S. Capitol in Washington that Capitol Police called “a riot.”

“I do believe that the president … in his speech this morning, clearly incited the action taken. So I do believe that he is responsible for what has happened,” Ige said in response to a question.

Ige said Trump supporters gathered at the capitol with signs, flags and megaphones today, and a spokeswoman said the president’s supporters continue to drive by the state capitol in Honolulu. He commended the peaceful actions of the president’s supporters in Hawaii.

“Certainly, we have not had any of the violence or the chaos that we are seeing across the country,” Ige said.

12:05 p.m. HST

Pro-Trump demonstrators have massed outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two states. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers rang out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Hundreds of mostly unmasked people people gathered outside capitols on Wednesday with Trump flags and “Stop the Steal” signs. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carried guns.

New Mexico state police evacuated staff from a statehouse building that includes the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. A spokesperson for the governor´s office says there was no indication of threats at the statehouse.

The staff of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was sent home as several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol, though the demonstration remained relatively calm. A brief scuffle between pro-Trump demonstrators, who included members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters broke out in Columbus, Ohio, but there was no immediate threat to the Capitol.

12 p.m. HST

The police chief of Washington, D.C., says pro-Trump protesters deployed “chemical irritants” on police in order to break into the U.S. Capitol.

Police Chief Robert Contee says officials have declared the scene a riot. One civilian was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday. Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.

Mayor Muriel Bowser says the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.” She says, “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out. The National Guard was also deployed, as were Homeland Security investigators and Secret Service.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, telling them to “get rid of the weak Congress people” and saying, “get the weak ones get out; this is the time for strength.”

11:40 a.m. HST

President Donald Trump, in a video message, is urging supporters to “go home” but is also keeping up false attacks about the presidential election.

The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump opened his video, saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”

He also went on to call the supporters “very special.” He also said, “we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”

Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence. The statement came as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.

11:35 p.m. HST

At least one explosive device has been found near the U.S. Capitol amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat Wednesday afternoon.

Thousands of supporters of the president occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Vice President Mike Pence has called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than Trump, who merely called for his supporters to “remain peaceful.”

11:27 a.m. HST

Gov. David Ige has issued the following statement regarding the protests at the U.S. Capitol.

“The news that protesters have stormed the U.S. Capitol is extremely distressing. It is an assault on democracy and everything this country stands for. The vote certification process and peaceful transition of power must be completed as required by the United States Constitution, following a free and fair election. In Hawaii, State Sheriffs — Department of Public Safety, are working with the Honolulu Police Department to protect the Hawaii State Capitol if necessary.”

11:10 a.m. HST

President-elect Joe Biden has called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business.”

Biden also demanded President Donald Trump to immediately make a televised address calling on his supporters to cease the violence that he described as an “unprecedented assault’ as pro-Trump protesters violently occupy U.S. Capitol.

Biden’s condemnation came after violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm the president-elect’s victory in the November election.

Biden addressed the violent protests as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.

11:05 a.m. HST

Vice President Mike Pence is calling on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than President Donald Trump who merely called for his supported to “remain peaceful.”

In a tweet Wednesday afternoon, Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Pence, long a loyal aide to the president, defied Trump earlier Wednesday, tell him he didn’t have the power to discard electoral votes that will make Democrat Joe Biden the next president on Jan. 20. Trump had publicly called on Pence to overturn the will of the voters, but Pence’s constitutional role in the process was only ceremonial.

Angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting the peaceful transfer of power. Trump later issued a restrained call for peace but did not ask his supporters to disperse.

11 a.m. HST

The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.

Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Wednesday afternoon that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.

A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.

The officials said the D.C. request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.

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

10:40 a.m. HST

Republican lawmakers are increasingly calling on President Donald Trump to act to deescalate the violent protests at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters angry about his election loss.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he spoke with the president earlier Wednesday and told him to make a statement to “make sure that we can calm individuals down.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that “it is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down.”

Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey told The Associated Press that while he sympathizes with the protesters’ position, they shouldn’t get violent, and it would be “nice” if Trump called on them to “protest in a peaceful way in an appropriate spot, where you belong, where you should be.”

Many Republicans had backed Trump’s false claims of widespread voter spread to explain away his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, of Wisconsin, posted a video message urging Trump to “call it off.”

“This is Banana Republic crap that we’re watching right now,” said Gallagher, who had spoken out against objections from fellow Republicans to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College vote.

PREVIOUSLY

Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Trump issued a restrained call for peace but did not call on his supporters to leave.

The ordinarily mundane procedure of certifying a new president was always going to be extraordinary, with Republican supporters of Trump vowing to protest results of an election that they have baselessly insisted was reversed by fraud.

The deliberations inside were still in their early stages when they were overcome by raucous demonstrations outside, as protesters who clashed with police entered the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags. They abruptly interrupted the proceedings in an out-of-control scene that featured eerie official warnings directing people to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks.

With the crowds showing no signs of abating, Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

Senators were being evacuated. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

U.S. Rep Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii, tweeted: “Just want to let everyone know that I and my family are safe. We are all away from the U.S Capitol & Congressional Complex. Thank you for all your messages. Thank you also to our law enforcement for keeping my colleagues safe.”

Demonstrators fought with Capitol Police and then forced their way into the building, not long after a huge rally near the White House during which Trump egged them on to march to Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers had convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results.

Though fellow Republicans were behind the challenge to Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to lower tensions and argued against it. He warned the country “cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes” with “separate facts.”

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McConnell declared, “The voters, the courts and the states all have spoken.”

But other Republicans, including House GOP leaders among Trump’s allies were acting out the pleas of supporters at his huge Wednesday rally up Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House to “fight for Trump.”

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