PRO-TRUMP RIOTERS STORM CAPITOL, FOUR DEAD AMID THE MAYHEM: Supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday (January 6th) in an unprecedented action as a joint session of Congress was being held to count the certified Electoral College presidential election votes, rioting through the halls and offices as lawmakers hid in barricaded locations and overwhelmed Capitol police were unable to hold them back. Four people died amid the mayhem, one a woman who was shot and killed and three others who had medical emergencies, and others were injured, including 14 police officers. The woman killed was part of a crowd of people breaking down the doors to a barricaded room where armed Capitol Police officers stood on the other side, and she was fatally shot by the police.
Trump, who has since the election made frequent untrue claims of voter fraud, contending he really won not President-elect Joe Biden, had urged his supporters to come to Washington, D.C., yesterday to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s election. He spoke to them at a rally outside the White House earlier in the day, declaring, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore. Let’s get the weak ones get out. This is a time for strength.” His attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, told the crowd, “Let’s have trial by combat.” Trump urged the rally-goers to march to the Capitol, saying he’d go with them, but he didn’t.
Members of Congress were involved in carrying out the electoral vote counting in the early afternoon when congressional leaders were swept away from the floor by security and lawmakers dove under their desks and put on gas masks as the rioters tried to get into the chamber after making it into the Capitol. The mob of people broke windows and pounded on doors as they roamed the halls looking for the hiding members of Congress.
Biden, Trump Respond
Biden, who had intended to deliver a speech in Delaware about the economy, instead addressed what was happening, saying that American democracy was, quote, “under unprecedented assault,” and saying, “I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward.” Biden tied the actions to Trump, saying, “The words of a president matter . . . At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” and he called on the president to, quote, “go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Trump instead, after being urged by staff, tweeted twice and made a brief video telling his supporters at the Capitol to go home. But he praised them, saying, “We love you” and calling them “very special,” and repeated the false claims about the election. According to media reports, Trump resisted calling out the National Guard, which is under federal control in Washington, D.C. They eventually were deployed, but the rioters had little apparent pushback as they were in the Capitol for hours, ransacking offices and taking selfies in the House and Senate chambers and pictures of documents.
Order Restored, Congress Reconvenes
After those who stormed the Capitol left or were removed when law enforcement and National Guard members finally arrived in force, Congress reconvened in the evening, with lawmakers condemning what had happened and vowing to finish the counting of the Electoral Vote, which went on into the early hours of this morning. Several leaders, including Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in their statements decrying the rioters’ action that they didn’t succeed and Congress would do its business.
- Police recovered two pipe bombs, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee, and a cooler of Molotov cocktails.
- Overall, there were 52 people reported arrested.
President-elect Joe Biden: [“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.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC . . . must end now.)
President Trump: [“This was a fraudulent election, but 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. **EDIT** I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”] SOUNDCUE (:19 OC . . . home in peace.)
Vice President Mike Pence: [“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins and this is still the people’s house.”] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC . . . the people’s house.)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: [“The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation.”] SOUNDCUE (:20 OC . . . lawlessness or intimidation.)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: [“The president bears a great deal of the blame. This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing, incited by his words, his lies. This violence in good part his responsibility, his everlasting shame.”] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC . . . his everlasting shame.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: [“To those who strove to deter us from our responsibility, you have failed. To those who engaged in the gleeful desecration of this, our temple of democracy, American democracy, justice will be done.”] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC . . . will be done.)
Republican Senator Mitt Romney: [“Now we gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States.”] SOUNDCUE (:18 OC . . . the United States.)
CONGRESS AFFIRMS BIDEN’S VICTORY: More than 12 hours after the Capitol was stormed by supporters of President Trump seeking to disrupt the counting of the states’ certified Electoral College votes from the presidential election, Congress affirmed President-elect Joe Biden‘s victory around 3:30 a.m. Congress had resumed its count of the Electoral College votes in the evening after the Capitol had been secured. It involves reading them out loud alphabetically, and the counting of Vermont’s three electoral votes put Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris over the 270 threshold needed to win. Some Republicans objected to the votes in Pennsylvania, and, under the rules a two-hour debate period was allotted, but both chambers ultimately rejected the objection. A GOP objection to Arizona’s votes had been underway when the Capitol was stormed, but that was eventually voted down too. Republicans had originally planned objections to more states’ votes, but after the breach of the Capitol, the GOP senators decided against carrying out the others. Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th.
OSSOFF WINS SECOND GEORGIA RUNOFF, DEMS TO CONTROL U.S. SENATE: Jon Ossoff was projected yesterday (January 6th) as the winner of his U.S. Senate runoff against Republican Senator David Purdue a day earlier by the Associated Press and CNN, among other media organizations, hours after fellow Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock was projected the winner of the other Senate runoff in the state, against Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. With the two victories, the U.S. Senate will be tied 50-50, flipping control of the chamber to the Democrats, who will hold the tie-breaking vote with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. At 33, Ossoff will be the youngest member of the Senate and will be holding his first public office. The results also mean that Democrats flipped three Senate seats in the 2020 election and Republicans flipped one, for a net gain of three by the Dems.
AT LEAST 52 CASES OF MUTATED CORONAVIRUS FOUND IN U.S.: At least 52 cases of a the mutated coronavirus first discovered in the U.K. that is more contagious have now been found in the U.S, according to data posted Wednesday (January 6th) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes at least 26 cases in California, 22 cases in Florida, two cases in Colorado, and one case each in Georgia and New York, however experts suspect there could be many more cases in the country. That came as The COVID Tracking Project yesterday reported 132,476 people hospitalized across the country, and 3,793 deaths for the day. The U.S. has had a total of more than 361,200 deaths as of yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data.
ASSANGE DENIED BAIL: The same British judge who refused to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to extradited to the U.S., yesterday (January 6th) denied him bail, ordering that he remain in a high-security prison while U.K. courts consider an appeal by U.S. authorities of the extradition’s refusal. The U.S. is seeking to try Assange in the U.S. on espionage charges for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified military documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. District Judge Vanessa Baraitser there is a good chance Assange would fail to return to court if he was freed. Baraitser on Monday refused the U.S. extradition request on health grounds, saying Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions.
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