Biden, Harris certified as winners of 2020 election: A timeline

Trump promises ‘an orderly transition’ after the Congress certifies the Electoral College win of Biden and Harris officially making them the next president and vice president.

  • Supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol as Congress gathers to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s presidential win.
  • Four people are dead, 52 arrested as protesters entered US Capitol building as legislators meet.
  • Chaos comes after Trump encouraged the crowd to march to Capitol.
  • The US House and Senate rejected the Republican objection to Pennsylvania’s vote results.

Here’s Al Jazeera’s coverage of the US elections. This is Tamila Varshalomidze taking over from Creede Newton.

We are closing this blog now. These were the updates up to 16:00 GMT on Thursday, January 7. For the latest news look here.

Facebook bans Trump ‘indefinitely’: Zuckerberg

Facebook has banned President Donald Trump from the platform “indefinitely” due to the US leader’s efforts to incite the violence in the US capital this week, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg said on his Facebook page that the ban, which was announced Wednesday for 24 hours, was extended because of Trump’s “use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.”

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he wrote.

“Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has extended a ban on US President Donald Trump’s accounts   [File: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Former AG Barr says Trump incitement of Capitol ‘mob’ was a ‘betrayal’

Former Attorney General William Barr has said President Donald Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters”.

Barr, who had resigned his top US law enforcement post at the end of 2020, said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable”.

Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.

William Barr gestures
US Attorney General William Barr said that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable” [File: Reuters]

Some Trump supporters expected in court

The first round of President Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the US Capitol in a brazen attack on the seat of government was due in court to face charges, as police stepped up their search for perpetrators of violence.

In a late-night news conference, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said 47 of the 52 arrests to date were related to violations of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s curfew, with 26 of those involving people arrested on US Capitol grounds.

The FBI also asked the public to submit tips, such as images, videos and other information, to help agents identify people who were “actively instigating violence”.

Pentagon activates 6,200 National Guard members

The Defense Department has formally activated roughly 6,200 members of the National Guard from six northeastern states to help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington, DC.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller signed orders activating the National Guard from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for up to 30 days. A defence official said the goal is to have Guard members help secure the US Capitol and the surrounding area through the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Members of the DC National Guard walk past the US Capitol in Washington, DC [AFP]

Trump’s Russia adviser resigns: source

Ryan Tully, Trump’s top White House adviser on Russia, has resigned and more senior members of the National Security Council are expected to step down soon over Wednesday’s storming of Capitol Hill, a senior administration official told Reuters.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said Trump’s pledge to an “orderly transition” to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20 was partly intended to head off further resignations but was not likely to stop some departures.

Dow opens up 133 points as markets look beyond US Capitol siege

The major US stock indexes opened higher on Thursday, as investors continued to look beyond the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday by supporters of President Donald Trump.

While Wednesday’s chaos in Washington, DC saw US stocks move off of session highs, the Dow Jones Industrial Average still managed to finish in record territory.

The 30-share index continued its advance on Thursday, jumping more than 133 points at the open of trading on Wall Street to 30,962.95.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.70 percent at the open, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.02 percent.

Speculation abounds as to why the stock market continues to move higher in the face of Wednesday’s events.

Read the analysis of Al Jazeera’s managing business editor Patricia Sabga here.

A flag flies in front of the Capitol dome on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC [File: Susan Walsh/AP]

Iran’s Rouhani says Western democracy ‘fragile, vulnerable’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said the chaos unleashed on the US Capitol exposed the fragility of Western democracy.

“What we saw in the United States yesterday (Wednesday) evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast by state television.

“We saw that unfortunately, the ground is fertile for populism, despite the advances in science and industry.

“A populist has arrived and he has led his country to disaster over these past four years.

“I hope the whole world and the next occupants of the White House will learn from it.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the chaos unleashed on the US Capitol exposed the fragility of Western democracy [File:Reuters]

Czech PM sheds Trump-like hat after Capitol unrest

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has swapped a Donald Trump-like red baseball hat for a face mask on his Twitter profile picture following the unrest at the US Capitol.

Until Wednesday, the billionaire populist sported a hat saying “STRONG CZECHIA” in his profile picture, bearing a strong resemblance to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” cap.

But he cast it away following unrest at the Capitol.

In the left is US President Donald Trump wearing a cap with the lettering ‘Make America Great Again’ during a rally in Michigan, and in the right, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, founder and leader of the populist ANO party, posing with a cap with the lettering ‘Strong Czechia’ [File: AFP]

Senior Trump figure quits saying ‘I can’t stay’

Mick Mulvaney, a former chief of staff in Donald Trump’s White House, has quit his diplomatic post to protest mob violence by the president’s supporters at the Capitol.

“I can’t stay here, not after yesterday. You can’t look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that in any way, shape or form,” Mulvaney told CNBC television.

Mulvaney, who had been moved from chief of staff to special envoy for Northern Ireland, said he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he was resigning.

“I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” he told CNBC, indicating that other White House staff were eying the exits. “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” he said.

Mick Mulvaney, a former chief of staff in Donald Trump’s White House, has quit his diplomatic post to protest mob violence [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

Mexico president hopes democracy, peace prevail in US

Mexico’s president said he hoped peace and democracy would prevail when asked to comment on the hundreds of Trump’s supporters who stormed the US Capitol in a failed bid to overturn his election defeat.

“We hope there will be peace, that democracy, which is the people’s power, will prevail, and that there are liberties,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a regular press conference

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he hoped peace and democracy would prevail in the US [File: Henry Romero/Reuters]


US ambassador to UK calls for Capitol rioters to be prosecuted

The US ambassador to the UK is calling for the prosecution of the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol building.

“Like you, I watched the horrible scenes from Washington with profound concern and sadness,” Woody Johnson tweeted. “Those who participated and engaged in criminal acts should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our law.”

One conservative British legislators, Simon Hoare, suggested President Donald Trump should be sent to Guantanamo Bay.

“I think @realDonaldTrump had a chant for it a few years ago. After yesterday let the call of the American Nation be: LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!,” he tweeted.

“He has incited insurrection. Not sure there’s a golf course at Guantanamo but that’s where he should be headed.”

People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber [Andrew Harnik/AP]

‘Archaic’ US electoral system does not meet democratic standards: Russia

Russia said Thursday that an “archaic” US electoral system that does not meet democratic standards and the politicisation of the media were to blame for American divisions and unrest in Washington, DC.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump was “an internal US affair” but that blame rested with the US system.

“The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meed modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle,” Zakharova told Russian news agencies.

“This is largely the reason for the split in society now observed in the United States.”

Trump’s supporters in the Capitol Rotunda after breaching Capitol security [Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA]

Israel’s Netanyahu, US treasury secretary condemn Capitol violence

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned as “disgraceful” violence at the US Capitol building by supporters of his staunch ally President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu made the comments in Jerusalem alongside Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who called the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters “unacceptable”.

The Israeli premier said the “rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act and it must be vigorously condemned”.

“I have no doubt that … American democracy will prevail. It always has,” added Netanyahu, who has repeatedly called Trump Israel’s best-ever friend in the White House.

OSCE calls for respect for democratic process after events in US

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe called for restraint and preserving the principles of democracy following the events in Washington, DC, where a mob stormed Congress in an attempt to overturn the result of the election.

In a statement published on Thursday, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) “voiced its concern regarding the integrity of the democratic process” and said that the US, an OSCE member, must “ensure that the candidates who obtain the necessary votes are duly installed in office”.

“Neither incitement to violence nor violence itself has any place in the democratic process,” the OSCE said, all while stressing the candidates’ right to go to court if they believe the election process is faulty.

An explosion caused by a police munition is seen in front of the US Capitol Building [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Top White House officials resign following Capitol Hill mayhem

A number of officials have resigned from outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration in the wake of the violence that occurred at Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Other officials are considering whether to hand in their resignations, following unprecedented scenes of pro-Trump supporters storming the Capitol building as Congress began counting Electoral College votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Read more here.

Trump promises ‘orderly transition’ after Biden certification

US President Donald Trump says “there will be an orderly transition” after Congress concludes electoral vote count certifying Biden victory.

“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20,” Trump said in a statement posted on Twitter by White House spokesman Dan Scavino.

“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” the statement ended.

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris certified as winners of 2020 election

The US Congress has certified the Electoral College win of Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris officially making them the next president and vice president of the US, after a chaotic day of protest on Capitol Hill, that saw pro-Trump rioters breach the building.

The certification finalises the 2020 US electoral process, and ensures that Biden and Harris will be inaugurated on January 20, despite Trump’s weeks-long efforts to overturn the vote, including urging his supporters to converge on the Capitol on Wednesday, resulting in rioting inside and outside the building.

Read more here.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris [File: Carolyn Kaster/AP]

House and Senate reject objection to Pennsylvania votes

The US House and the US Senate separately rejected a Republican objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes early Thursday, delivering another rebuke of the pro-Trump efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

Only seven senators supported the objection (92 voted against it) while 138 Republicans voted to uphold the objection in the House (282 voted against it, including 64 Republicans).

The House and Senate will return to a joint session to finish tallying each state’s certified electoral votes.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that there would be no further objections, paving the way for Congress to finish its count and officially affirming the election of Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president. They will be sworn in on January 20.

The 25th Amendment: Can Trump be declared unfit for office?

Calls are growing in the US for President Donald Trump to be removed from office after he failed to condemn his supporters for storming the US Capitol Building as members met to certify Joe Biden as the country’s next president.

Broadcast network ABC News, citing multiple sources with direct knowledge of the move, reported that some members of Trump’s cabinet were discussing an unprecedented move to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the constitution, as several Democratic members of Congress urged Vice President Mike Pence to lead the charge in declaring Trump as “unfit” to remain as president.

Read more here.

US House rejects second objection to presidential election results

A majority of the US House of Representatives on Thursday morning voted down a move by allies of President Donald Trump to reject Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for Democrat Joe Biden, a last-ditch attempt to either negate Biden’s win or delay its certification.

The House rejection of the measure came a couple of hours after the Senate also voted it down.

Once voting is completed in the House, the two chambers of Congress are expected to resume their joint session to consider election results from other states.

Pelosi speaks as the House of Representatives reconvenes [Erin Schaff/Pool via Reuters]

Tempers flare as House debates PA electoral vote

A small group of House legislators came close to physically fighting as the congressional count of electoral votes stretched into the early hours of Thursday and a Pennsylvania Democrat charged that Republicans had been telling “lies” about his state’s votes.

Representative Morgan Griffiths, R-Va, objected after Representative Conor Lamb, D-Pa, said a breach of the Capitol by an angry mob earlier in the day was “inspired by lies, the same lies you are hearing in this room tonight”.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the objection, but a few minutes later Republicans and Democrats streamed to the middle aisle, with about a dozen legislators getting close to each other and arguing. But the group quickly broke up when Pelosi called for order on the floor.

UN chief ‘saddened’ by unrest in Washington

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “saddened” by the events at the US Capitol, his spokesman said.

“In such circumstances, it is important that political leaders impress on their followers the need to refrain from violence, as well as to respect democratic processes and the rule of law,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

“Quite Maidan-style pictures are coming from DC,” Russia’s deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy posted on Twitter, referring to protests in Ukraine that toppled Russian-backed President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich in 2014.

“Some of my friends ask whether someone will distribute crackers to the protesters to echo Victoria Nuland stunt,” he said, citing a 2013 visit to Ukraine when then-US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland offered food to protesters.

Democrats call for investigation in to breach of Capitol security

Democratic members of the House and Senate are already calling for an investigation into how pro-Trump protesters punctured the US Capitol security perimeter so easily.

“US Capitol security failures need to be fully investigated,” Representative Ilhan Omar said in a tweet.

“We spend billions of dollars on national security and today failed to protect our Nation’s Capital from a lawless mob,” Omar wrote.

A Trump supporter carries a Confederate battle flag inside the US Capitol [Mike Theiler/Reuters]

“There will be many videos, some will raise concern, some will show heroism,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy tweeted.

“We need a full investigation on how the Capitol’s security was breached this quickly.

Washington Mayor declares a 15-day public emergency

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared a state of emergency in the capital for 15 days following the invasion of Congress by pro-Trump protesters.

“Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction,” Bowser said in a statement.

“They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles and guns” and “their motivation is ongoing.”

Republicans object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes

In an expected move, Republican Senator Josh Hawley and Representative Scott Perry submitted an objection to Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes for Joe Biden, effectively slowing down the certification of Biden’s election.

Earlier Wednesday, Republicans objected to Arizona’s electoral votes and while the House and Senate were debating that objection, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, causing the chambers to recess and creating hours of chaos in and around the building.

Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruzspeak after Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College votes from Arizona, during a joint session of the House and Senate to confirm the electoral votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 [Andrew Harnik/AP Photo]

When members reconvened, the Arizona objection was voted down in both the House and Senate. The fate of the Pennsylvania objection will certainly be the same.

Once the objection is dispensed with in both houses, the joint session will resume counting the electoral votes. One more objection is possible – to Wisconsin’s votes – but the rest of the tally should move smoothly.

Once all of the votes are counted, the election of Joe Biden as president and Kamala Harris as vice president will be official and final, paving the way for their swearing in on January 20.

Four dead, 52 arrested after pro-Trump rioters storm Capitol

Four people died and 52 were arrested as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the US Capitol, Washington, DC, Police Chief Robert Contee said during a late night press conference.

The dead included a woman who was shot by the US Capitol Police, and one adult female and two adult males who died in “medical emergencies”, Contee said.

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

Two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee, police officials said.

Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.

Contee said 14 police officers were injured on Wednesday.

Read more here.

Trump’s lawyer tries to delay vote

Rudy Giuliani has called at least one US Senator to try to delay the Congressional vote to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, according to audio given to the online news agency The Dispatch.

Calling himself “the president’s lawyer”, Giuliani left a message for who he thought was Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville, a Trump supporter who voted in favour of the first objection of vote certification for the state of Arizona Wednesday night.

Each objection delays the process a few hours. Giuliani urged the Senator to support contesting 10 states’ results.

Lawyer to US President Donald Trump and former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani speaks at a rally on the Ellipse near the White House in Washington, DC, on January 6 2021 [Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE]

“The only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow – ideally until the end of tomorrow,” Giuliani said.

The Congressional process to certify the Electoral College votes is the last step in the process of confirming Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris before the inauguration on January 20.

The Dispatch said Giuliani left a message with the wrong Senator, who turned the voice recording over to the news outlet.


House joins Senate in rejecting objection to Biden votes

The US House joined the Senate in rejecting an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes Wednesday, an expected rebuke of Republicans’ and Trump’s efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

The objection failed 303-121, with a much larger percentage of House Republicans voting to uphold the objection (121 voted to uphold vs 83 joining with Democrats) compared their Senate colleagues, where only 6 out of 51 Republicans voted to uphold.

Republican and Democrats clap while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy commends Capitol Police and law enforcement for their work after rioters supporting President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol [Erin Schaff/Pool via Reuters]

The House and Senate will return to a joint session to continue tallying each state’s certified electoral votes, eventually culminating in the affirmation of Biden’s election as president and Kamala Harris as vice president.

Prior to the day’s riots at the Capitol, Republicans had discussed objecting to several states’ electoral votes. It is unclear if they will stick to those plans, which will result in just delaying the inevitable certification of the 2020 election results.

Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol should not fly: airline union

A union representing flight attendants said in a statement that “mob mentality behavior” on flights into the Washington, DC area on Tuesday “threatened the safety and security” of those onboard aircraft, and asked that those involved in the attack on the US Capitol be disqualified from flying on commercial aircraft.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA represents workers at 17 airlines.

Security has been beefed up at airports in the Washington, DC area in light of the violence.

Read more here.

Senate rejects Arizona vote objection

An objection to Arizona’s electoral votes failed, as expected, in the US Senate, but fewer Republicans voted to uphold the objections after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol Wednesday.

The objection failed 93-6, but prior to the day’s turmoil, there were at least another 7 Republicans who promised to uphold electoral vote objections during this process.

The six Republican senators who voted to uphold the objection were Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, John Kennedy, Roger Marshall and Tommy Tuberville.

Senator Ted Cruz bows his head as Republicans applaud him and Senator Paul Gosar objecting to Arizona’s votes during a joint session to certify the 2020 election results, inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill before rioters breached the Capitol [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

The House continues to debate the Arizona objection and will vote later Wednesday night. It is expected to fail there as well and, when it does, the House and Senate will reconvene in a joint session of Congress to continue counting the rest of the electoral votes.

There is still a possibility objections will be raised to other states’ votes during the joint session with Republicans hinting prior to the riots at objections to Georgia’s, Pennsylvania’s and Wisconsin’s slates of electors, among others.

Police arrest 30 people for violating DC curfew: AP

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that 30 people were arrested Wednesday evening after being found on the streets after the 6pm (23:00 GMT) curfew.

The curfew had been imposed after rioters broke into the Capitol, halting the process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

They were later forcibly removed from the Capitol.

Another three were arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, possession of unregistered ammunition, local CBS affiliate WUSA9 reported.

The Metropolitan Police Department said 15 other people had been arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday in various protest-related arrests on an array of charges, including weapons possession and assault.

Fire officials also took 13 people to area hospitals on Wednesday from protest-related injuries.


Graham: ‘Count me out’

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a confidant and occasional golf partner of Donald Trump, said after Wednesday’s riot, he’s had enough.

“Trump and I, we’ve had a hell of a journey,” said Graham. “Count me out, enough is enough, I’ve tried to be helpful.”

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the president and vice president on January the 20th.”


Republican Senator Romney: Tell the truth

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic, told Congress members: “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the president of the US. Those who choose to continue to support is a dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”

Senator Mitt Romney speaks to reporters in the US Capitol in Washington, DC on December 16, 2020 [File: Erin Scott/Reuters]

Romney offered up a bit of advice to the members of Congress who continue to object to certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

“The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth!” Romney said on the Senate floor to an extended round of applause from his fellow senators.

“That’s the burden, that’s the duty of leadership,” he continued. “The truth is that President-elect Biden won the election, President Trump lost.”

“I’ve had that experience myself,” said Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama. “It’s no fun!”

Bill Clinton joins Barack Obama in blaming Trump for US Capitol chaos

Former President Bill Clinton took to Twitter on Wednesday to condemn the violence at the US seat of government, calling it “an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country.”

Clinton echoed Obama in blaming Trump for the violence. “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.

“The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.”

Loeffler withdraws objection to electoral votes

Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her runoff election Tuesday, said on the Senate floor that “the events that transpired today forced” her to withdraw her objection to certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory.

“The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of congress are abhorrent,” said Loeffler, who tied herself closely to Trump and who shared a rally stage with him on Monday in Georgia. “My objection was intended to protect the sanctity of the American Democratic process”.

“America is a divided country with serious differences,” she continued. “There can be no disagreement that upholding democracy is the only path to preserving our republic.”

Obama blames Trump for inciting attack on US Capitol

Former President Barack Obama has said violence at the Capitol, was “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election”.

Obama said the riot at the seat of the US Congress was “a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we would be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.”

He blamed the Republican party and “the accompanying media ecosystem” for denying that Joseph Biden won the presidential election in a race that was not close.

He said Republican leaders have a choice to “keep stoking the raging flames” or “choose reality” to “take the first steps towards extinguishing the flames”.

McConnell: We will certify the winner of the election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered up a defiant tone when the Senate returned after rioters stormed the US Capitol, saying the Senate “will not be intimidated.”

“We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats,” McConnell said. “We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation.”

“The US and US Congress has faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. They failed.”

“Now we are going to finish what we started,” said McConnell. “And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election.”

Pence: ‘Let’s get back to work’

Vice President Pence resumed the session of Congress, calling Wednesday “a dark day in the history of the US Capitol”.

“The Capitol is secured and the peoples work continues,” Pence said. “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms.”

“We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls,” Pence said. “To those who wreaked havoc in the US Capitol, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the peoples house. Let’s get back to work.”

House members talk of removing Trump via 25th Amendment

Democratic members of Congress are talking about invoking the 25thamendment to remove President Trump from office following the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.

“I am calling on Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25thamendment and protect out country,” Representative Sylvia Garcia said in a tweet.

“Enough is enough,” she said

.The 25th amendment of the US Constitution provides for removal of a president in the event of inability to discharge duties and replacement by the vice president. It would require Pence and a majority of Trump’s cabinet officers to declare him incapacitated.

Brazilian president voices support for Trump

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reiterated baseless allegations of election fraud and continued to back Trump, as the American leader’s supporters invaded the US Capitol building.

Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain, has long admired Trump, and was one of the last global leaders to recognize President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro said he had followed the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the president’s election defeat. The breach forced legislators to evacuate and Congress to postpone a session that would have certified Biden’s victory.

Asked by a supporter for his views on the chaotic scenes in Washington, DC, he said: “I followed everything today. You know I’m connected to Trump, right? So you already know my answer.”
“There were lot of reports of fraud, a lot of reports of fraud,” he added, in a video posted on social media, without providing evidence.

Newspaper: Missouri Senator Hawley ‘has blood on his hands’

When Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley announced last week he would be the first senator to raise an objection to Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, it was a highly controversial move.

Now, one of his home state newspapers is saying he “has blood on his hands” because of his decision.

“This, Senator Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is what mobs do. This is not a protest, but a riot,” wrote the Kansas City Star editorial board. “One woman was shot and has died … while lawmakers were sheltering in place.”

“Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed.”

Senator. Josh Hawley was the first Republican in the chamber to announce plans to object to the Electoral College results [Greg Nash/Pool via AP]

Business groups call for Trump to be removed

A major US business group representing 14,000 companies urged Vice President Mike Pence to work with the cabinet to “preserve democracy” by potentially invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of a sitting president.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said Trump “incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favour of anarchy.”

Other corporate leaders, including JPMorgan Chase Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, spoke out as well.

Dimon said elected leaders “have a responsibility to call for an end to the violence, accept the results, and, as our democracy has for hundreds of years, support the peaceful transition of power.”

Read more here.

Civil liberties group decries Republican complicity in Capitol storming, police restraint

Leaders of the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement linking President Trump and his congressional supporters to the “agitators who stormed the Capitol” in a “failed coup attempt”.

“We shudder to think how police departments would have responded had Black and Brown individuals stormed a government building to protest police brutality,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement.

“These are not protests – we know protests. These violent acts are meant to overthrow the legitimate outcome of a democratic election,” Romero said.”What we saw today are violent acts meant to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, the very hallmark of our democracy,” he said.

Pence ready to resume electoral vote count

Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the US Senate to serve in his role as Senate president and to preside over the constitutionally-mandated Electoral College vote tally.

“Vice President @Mike_Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol,” tweeted Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley.”@VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress. And now we will finish the People’s business.”

Twitter suspends Trump’s account for 12 hours

Twitter has suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after removing three tweets “for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy”, the company said.

“This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump
will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked,” Twitter said.

“Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account,” the company said.

Congress to resume Electoral College tally Wednesday night

In a show of defiance to the pro-Trump rioters that stormed the US Capitol to interrupt Congress’ constitutionally-mandated tally of the Electoral College votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that they will pick up where they left off before the riots.”

[W]e have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House members. “We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the tally will resume at 8pm ET (01:00 GMT).

Members of the National Guard stand guard as supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the US Capitol building [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Pompeo calls US Capitol breach ‘unacceptable, intolerable’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the US Capitol breach “unacceptable, intolerable”.

He added that criminals who engaged in act will face justice.

Facebook, YouTube pull Trump video after protesters storm US Capitol

Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube took down a video from PresidentTrump that continued to make the baseless claim the election was fraudulent as he told protesters who had stormed the US.Capitol to go home.

Facebook’s vice president of integrity Guy Rosen tweeted the social media company had taken down the video because “on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

Twitter Inc also restricted users from retweeting the video “due to a risk of violence,” as hundreds of protesters sought to force Congress to undo the president’s election loss to Democratic president-elect Joe Biden.

Ex-President George W. Bush condemns DC riot as ‘sickening and heartbreaking’

Former Republican President George W Bush has condemned the rioting at the US Capitol and said he was appalled by the “reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election.”

“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Bush said in a statement. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”

He said the violent assault on the Capitol was undertaken by “people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could do grave damage to our nation and reputation.”

DC Police say woman shot at US Capitol has died

A woman shot inside the US Capitol after Trump supporters stormed the building has died, the Washington Post has reported, according to the DC police department.

Further circumstances of the fatal shooting were not immediately available.

Questions over whether Republicans will continue to contest results

PJ Crowley, a former deputy white house press secretary and state department official under the Obama administration, told Al Jazeera he was interested to see if  Republican politicians would continue contesting the results, “knowing it’s not going to be successful.”

In Crowley’s view the chaos is “an attempted insurrection.”

While many “thought this was cost free, it’s not cost free. It has done significant damage to American democracy, both how we see it inside the United States and how we see it beyond.”

When asked who to blame for events on Capitol Hill, Crowley said he thought Trump “is singularly responsible”.

US Capitol building now secure: Official

The US Capitol building has been secured, a Capitol official said, four hours after rioters stormed the seat of government and entered the legislators’ chambers.

House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving told House members the building was cleared after they spent several hours in lockdown following evacuation as pro-Trump demonstrators forced their way into the Capitol.

Police gradually regaining control of Capitol Hill

Police are gradually regaining control as the pro-Trump protesters moved away from the building and law enforcement in Riot gear began massing, Al Jazeera’s William Roberts reported from Capitol Hill.

A protester yelled “you guys killed an unarmed person”, an apparent reference to the woman shot inside the Capitol building.

A group of protesters stood face to face with a column of police formed outside the staff and member entrance to the Senate. Tear gas or pepper spray could be detected in the air.

Police stand in line on the steps of the US Senate after protesters stormed the Capitol earlier in the day [William Roberts/Al Jazeera]

Journalists attacked at US Capitol

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from the US Capitol, said that journalists had been targeted by pro-Trump supporters as they were cleared from the area.

Video footage showed protesters destroying camera equipment.

“There were some moments where the US capitol was completely, at least from what i saw, out of control of security personell here,” he said.

Republican Sasse says ‘inevitable’ outcome of Trump’s conduct

Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse, who has not been afraid to criticise President Trump, released a blistering statement about the Capitol riots, saying, “This is not how we peacefully transfer power.”

“Today, the United States Capitol – the world’s greatest symbol of self-government – was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard,” Sasse said.

“Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

Omar says she’s drawing up Articles of Impeachment for Trump

Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has said she is “drawing up Articles of Impeachment” against Trump.

“Donald J Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the United States Senate,” she tweeted after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.

“We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath,” she said.

Trump supporters not heeding direction to ‘go home’

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from the steps of the Capitol  Building, said demonstrators “want to get their message out” and they believe there was widespread voter fraud, leading to Biden’s victory.

Trump released a video wherein he contended the election was “stolen”, but asked his supporters to go home peacefully.

“They’re simply not going to leave”, Elizondo said. “They’re not going to heed President Trump’s words to leave at this juncture.””Clearly they’re still here, as you can see…they say this is their chance to let everyone know how made they are.”

DC Police chief says protesters used chemical irritant

The police chief of Washington, DC, has said pro-Trump protesters deployed “chemical irritants” on police in order to break into the US 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 said the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.” She added: “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.

Police arrive at the US House east front steps after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the US Capitol building [William Roberts/Al Jazeera]

DC National Guard fully activated: Pentagon chief

Acting US Defense Secretary Chris Miller has said the entire DC National Guard had been activated and he was prepared to provide additional support if requested by local authorities.

“We have fully activated the DC National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation,” Miller said.

Crowds begin to disperse around Capitol Hill as 6pm (23:00GMT) curfew nears

protesters have been pushed off the US Capitol steps by police in riot gear as law enforcement encircled the east plaza where hundreds gathered, Al Jazeera’s William Roberts reported.

The crowd of Trump supporters waved flags and displayed signs and paramilitary insignia. Some climbed atop a police riot control vehicle and shouted slogans from a bullhorn, including “Stop paying taxes” and “More fake news”.

protesters yelled as the police pushed them away from the Capitol building slowly but firmly. The crowd thinned out slowly as groups of Trump supporters drifted away.

Supporters of US President Donald Trump climb on walls at the US Capitol [Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

NATO Secretary-General calls for US election outcome to be respected

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called the violent protests in Washington, DC “shocking scenes” and said the outcome of the “democratic” US election must be respected.

Police in the US Capitol responded with drawn guns and tear gas as hundreds of protesters stormed in and sought to force Congress to undo Trump’s election loss to  Biden shortly after some of Trump’s fellow Republicans launched a last-ditch effort to throw out the results.

German minister: Democracy’s enemies will welcome Washington violence

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said democracy’s enemies would be cheered by scenes of violence at the US Capitol.

In a Tweet posted after protesters stormed the seat of the legislature, where legislators were formalising the election Biden, Maas said the violence had been caused by inflammatory rhetoric.

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

Amid US Capitol chaos, Ossoff declared winner in Georgia

Democrat Jon Ossoff has won the Senate runoff race in Georgia, giving Democrats control of the chamber, the Associated Press has projected.

The victory comes after Democrat Raphael Warnock was declared victory in his runoff race and as pro-Trump supporters continue to occupy the US Capitol.

Democrat Jon Ossoff has won a runoff Senate race in Georgia, giving Democrats control of the chamber [John Bazemore/The Associated Press]

Trump blasts election but tells supporters to ‘go home’

Donald Trump, in a video posted on Twitter, has told supporters he knows how they feel and repeated false claims that he won the presidential election, before urging them to go home in peace.

“This was a fraudulent election but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” he said. “Go home, go home in peace.”

Biden denounces pro-Trump ‘mob’, calls on Trump to ‘step up’

President-elect Biden had harsh words for the violent protesters that descended on the US Capitol Wednesday, calling their actions an “unprecedented assault unlike anything we have seen in modern times.”

Calling the protesters “extremists” and “a mob”, Biden said their violence is “an assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assult on the people’s representatives and the Capitol police charged to protect them. An assault on the most sacred undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.”Let me be clear, the scenes at the Capitol do not reflect the true America.”
Biden called on President Donald Trump, who had been tweeting from the White House during the protests, to address the nation on national television and “demand an end to this siege.”

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theatre in Wilmington, Delaware [Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]

In address, Biden tells Trump to call on protesters to ‘end siege’ of Capitol

Biden has called on Trump to immediately deliver speech to “demand an end to this siege” at US Capitol.

Biden said Trump should “step up” and end the chaos, saying “it’s not a protest, it’s an insurrection”.

Photo shows Trump protester in House Speaker Pelosi officer

An AFP news agency photo shows a pro-Trump protester inside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.

The New York Times reported that protesters flipped tables and pulled photos off the wall after entering Pelosi’s office suite.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as he protests inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC [Saul Loeb/AFP]

Al Jazeera reporter recounts ‘unprecedented, remarkable’ scene at US Capitol

Reporting from outside the Capitol building, Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane said the demonstration there was an “unprecedented, remarkable scene”.

Trump tweeted that his supporters should remain peaceful and support law enforcement.

“It’s a little late to put the toothpaste back in the bottle, isn’t it?” Culhane said. “We knew this had the potential for violence.”

Regarding the tweet, Culhane said she thought Trump was beginning to realise “this has the potential to cost him a lot of political capital. I think  for many, this is a step too far”.

A security officer gestures after supporters of President Donald Trump breached security defences at the US Capitol [Mike Theiler/Reuters]

Authorities say National Guard being deployed to Capitol

The White House and the Governor of Virginia have said the National Guard is being deployed to the US Capitol.

“At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services. We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful,” tweeted White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEneny.

Virginia’s governor said he sending 200 state troopers and members of the state National Guard to the US Capitol.

Legislator blames Trump for Capitol chaos

Representative Cori Bush said on Twitter she was safe in an undisclosed location inside the Capitol complex.

Bush blamed Trump for the chaos in DC.

“The President of the United States has incited a riot that has now stormed the Capitol. There are rioters roaming the halls of the Capitol. I saw them with my own eyes. Our country deserves better.”

Bush, a first-term legislator, asked for Republicans to respond to the acts of the pro-Trump demonstrators.

“I want a public response from each and every one of my Republican colleagues: do you think this is ok?”

Source tells Associated Press one person shot at US Capitol

A source has told the Associated Press that one person has been shot at the US Capitol as Trump supporters stormed complex.

More details were not immediately available.

Recap: Senate, House evacuated as protesters storm chamber

Police in the US Capitol responded with drawn guns and tear gas protesters stormed in and sought to force Congress to undo President Trump’s election loss shortly after some of Trump’s fellow Republicans launched a last-ditch effort to throw out the results.

Police evacuated the House of Representatives and the Senate after pro-Trump protesters marched through the halls of Congress, forcing both chambers to suspend deliberations as they were meeting to certify President-elect Biden’s victory in the November 3 election.

One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled, “Trump won that election.”

Legislator: ‘People have been hurt’ on US Capitol

US Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California said ‘people have been hurt’ in the Capitol.

Sheltering inside the Capitol complex, McCarthy said he heard on a Capitol police radio at approximately 2:45pm(1945 GMT) ‘shots fired’ but could not say who may have fired and where, he told US broadcaster Fox News.

“This is The People’s house,” he said. “I watched barriers being broken, I watched people breaking windows, people breaking into a building. This is not who we are, this is not how we act. People have taken this too far,” he said.

McCarthy said he had spoken to President Trump and that he needed to make a statement.

Asked if Trump should appear on camera Wednesday  he said “I think that would be appropriate.”

Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the US Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

Trump, Republicans try to calm protest too late

President Trump and some of his Republican supporters in Congress resorted to Twitter to try to calm protesters and ask for respect for law enforcement as fear coursed through the Capitol.

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay Peaceful!” Trump tweeted as protesters stormed the Capitol.

In a speech near the White House earlier to protesters and supporters, Trump had said he refused to concede the election and encouraged them to march on the Capitol.

A furious Republican Senator Mitt Romney told a New York Times reporter as legislators and press arrived at a secure location, “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who is leading the pro-Trump faction of senators objecting the Electoral College count, urged the protesters to stop in tweets.

“Violence is always unacceptable. Even when passions run high,” Cruz said, adding “anyone engaged in violence – especially against law enforcement – should be prosecuted”.

Armed standoff in House Chamber: Pool report

Reuters news agency has reported a armed standoff in the House chamber, citing a pool report from within the chamber.

Representative Dan Kildee tweeted that US police in the chamber drew their weapons as supporters of Donald Trump tried to break in.

“Chamber security and Capitol Police have their guns drawn as protesters bang on the front door of the chamber,”  tweeted from inside the chamber.

“We have been instructed to lie down on the floor and put on our gas masks.”

Members of Congress inside House chamber told by police to put on gas masks

Members of Congress inside House chamber told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas dispersed in Capitol Rotunda.

The tear gas had been used after protesters entered the Capitol building.

Protesters broke windows looking into the House chamber, with images from inside the chamber showing security with guns drawn.

Police use tear gas in rotunda of US Capitol

Police have used tear gas in the rotunda of the US Capitol, according to a reporter on the scene.

Jonathan Tamari, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted the tear gas had been used.

DC Mayor orders 6 PM curfew as clashes, confusion continue at capital

The mayor of Washington, DC Muriel Bowser, has ordered a 6 PM curfew as protesters who gathered in support of Trump clashed with police on the US Capitol.

The protesters entered the Capitol building where the Senate and House were meeting to debate the certification of electoral votes.

Legislators were told to shelter in place and doors were locked as protesters entered parts of the complex. Several legislators took to Twitter to say they were safe.

Video posted online by Slate senior politics writer Jim Newell showed protesters breaking the glass of a door at the Capitol.

Protesters march through Statuary Hall in the Capitol

Protesters have marched through Statuary Hall in the US Capitol, just feet away from where House members were meeting, after forcing their way into the complex.

US Capitol locks down with legislators inside

The US Capitol has locked down with legislators inside as pro-Trump protesters attempted to gain access to the building.

Reporters on scene report that some protesters have entered the complex. The House and Senate have gone into recess.

A video from the Senate chamber shows Senator James Lankford being notified that “protesters have entered the building”.

Republican legislators decry clashes between protesters and police on Capitol Hill

Protesters and police have clashed on Capitol Hill, with evacuations of some buildings reported.

Hundreds of demonstrators, who had gathered to support Trump’s claims of election fraud, pushed through a fence behind the Capitol building, where they clashed with police. Reporters on site said some were trying to enter the buildging where Congress was meeting.

“To those storming the Capitol – I am on the House floor and I will not be deterred from upholding my oath, under God, to the Constitution by mob demand,” wrote Republican Representative Chip Roy on Twitter.

“Just evacuated my office in Cannon due to a nearby threat. Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Polic,” wrote Republican Representative Nancy Mace. “This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today.”

Cruz speaks on objection in Senate floor

Senator Ted Cruz, who objected to Arizona’s electoral votes, called for a “10-day emergency audit” of the election results.

Cruz again referenced the doubt sown by the president over the election to justify calling for the audit.

“Let me be clear, I’m not arguing for setting aside this election. All of us are faced with two choices. One choice is vote against the election and tens of millions of Americans will see a vote against the objection as a statement that voter fraud doesn’t matter, isn’t real and shouldn’t be taken seriously,” he said.

“On the other hand, most, if not all of us, believe we should not set aside the results of an election just because our candidate may not have prevailed. And so I endeavor to look for door number three, a third option…” he said, an electoral commission to conduct a “10-day emergency audit” of the election.

Senator Ted Cruz objected to Arizona’s electoral votes on Wednesday [Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]

Schumer: Election challenge ‘sad comment on our times’

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said it is a “sad comment on our times that merely accepting the results of an election is considered an act of political courage”.

“By the end of the proceedings today, it will be confirmed once again something that is well known and well settled – the American people elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the next president and vice president of the United States,” Schumer said as the chamber met to debate an objection to electoral votes in Arizona by a Republican legislator.

“And yet, a number of our colleagues have organized an effort to undermine and object to that free and fair election. They are in the minority. They will lose. They know that.”

“It is a very sad comment on our times that merely accepting the results of an election is considered an act of political courage,” Schumer said.

“Sadder and more dangerous still is the fact that an element of the Republican Party believes their political viability hinges on the endorsement of an attempted coup that anyone, much less an elected official, would be willing to tarnish our democracy in order to burnish their personal political fortunes.”

McConnell: ‘The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, during a meeting to discuss a Republican objection to the electoral votes in Arizona, decried attempts to overturn the results of the election.

“The Constitution gives us here in Congress a limited role. We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,” McConnell said. “The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.”

“We cannot keep drifting apart into two separate tribes with a separate set of fact and separate realities,” McConnell said. “President Trump claims the election was stolen… Nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale … that would have tipped the entire election.”

A group of Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to object to electoral votes in at least three states, in a plot that is all-but-assured to fail.

Protesters push past barriers at Capitol building: Reports

Protesters supporting Trump’s unfounded claims of voter fraud have pushed past a fence and have attempted to enter the Capitol building where Congress is meeting to certify the victory of president-elect Biden.

Hundreds of protesters, who had gathered in the capital in support of Trump, pushed past a fence behind the Capitol building, according to a video posted online by a Washington Post reporter.

The protesters, many carrying flags and pro-Trump signs, some then attempted to “scale the construction structures and have been tackled by police” Post reporter Rebecca Tan wrote on Twitter.

“They want to enter the building and are making attempts at intervals. Capitol police trying to hold them back,” she wrote.

Congressional Republicans lodge first objection to election result

Republicans have objected to the election tally in Arizona, forcing votes in House and Senate on Biden’s victory in the state.

Republican Representative Paul Gosar and Senator Ted Cruz submitted the objections.Each chamber will now debate the objection before voting on whether to accept or reject it for up to two hours.

Both chambers would need a majority to approve the objection. That is highly unlikely as the House is controlled by Democrats and several Senate Republicans have said they will not join their colleagues plot.

Pence says he can’t block vote certification as Congress begins joint session

Vice President Pence has said he cannot block the certification of the Electoral College results.

Pence, arriving at the joint session of Congress on Wednesday, defied Trump, saying he can’t claim “unilateral authority” to reject electoral votes that will make Biden president.

He said he welcomes and will oversee any challenges from legislators.

Pence has been the subject of a pressure campaign by the president in recent days, who has repeatedly, and falsely, claimed the vice president can block the certification’ of Biden’s victory.

Biden selects Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general

President-elect Biden intends to nominate federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, who was once President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, to serve as the next US attorney general, a Biden transition official said on Wednesday, according to Reuters news agency.

Garland serves as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Obama, a Democrat, nominated him to the Supreme Court while Biden was vice president, but the Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold hearings on the nomination.

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Appeals Court Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general [File: Kevin Lamarque/The Associated Press]

Trump tells supporters to remember legislators who don’t support bid to overturn election

Trump urged supporters to “never ever forget” Republicans in Congress who do not support his attempts to overturn the results of the election.

He said the certification will show “whether we have great or courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders who should be ashamed of themselves”.

He then listed off Republican senators who plan to object to the certification, including Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Kelly Loeffler.

Trump promises to ‘never concede’

President Trump told cheering supporters that he would never concede the 2020 presidential election to President-elect Biden while continuing to cite unproven claims of fraud.

“We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump said during a campaign-funded rally at the Ellipse park area near the White House, claiming without evidence that “hundreds of thousands” of people were attending the event.

“We will stop the steal,” he added.

With the White House in the background, President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Wednesday [File: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press]

Trump again pressures Pence, decries ‘weak’ Republicans

President Donald Trump, addressing thousands of supporters in Washington, DC, again pressured Mike Pence to have the “courage” to block the certification of the electoral college vote.

The president falsely asserted that Pence has the power to unilaterally send the electoral votes back to states. Legal experts say the vice president does not have that power. Pence reportedly told the same to Trump on Tuesday.

“Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us,” Trump said, “and if he doesn’t it’s a sad day for our country.”

He called the Republicans who have not supported his attempts to overturn the results “weak” and “pathetic”.

Trump addresses DC crowd, declaring ‘we will stop the steal’

President Trump has begun to address the supporters gathered in Washington, DC, repeating baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and declaring “we will stop the steal”.

Donald Trump Jr: ‘This isn’t their Republican party any more’

President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, has decried elected Republicans who did not support his father’s baseless claims that the election was rigged.

Speaking to supporters of Trump gathered in Washington, DC, Trump Jr said: “This gathering should send a message to them. This isn’t their Republican party any more. This is Donald Trump’s Republican party.”

“This is the Republican party that will put America first,” he added.

The Congressional certification of the Electoral Vote has separated Republicans into two camps, those who have bought all in to the president’s claims of fraud and those who have accepted Biden as the victor. Many observers expect that inter-party divide to persist long after Trump is out of office.

Biden congratulates Warnock

President-elect Biden has congratulated Raphael Warnock on his projected victory in Georgia, adding he is “hopeful that when the count is complete, Jon Ossoff will also be victorious”.

“I also congratulate the twin powers of Georgia, Stacey Abrams and Keisha Lance Bottoms, who have laid the difficult groundwork necessary to encourage turnout and protect the vote over these last years,” Biden said in a statement, referencing influential Democratic organiser Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Bottoms.

Biden said the Georgia races show the electorate supports his agenda, adding he would move ahead with the confirmation of some key posts before the new senators are sworn in.

Al Jazeera’s managing business editor Patricia Sabga: US stocks open lower as investors mull Georgia runoff nail-biter

With the Democrats closing in on winning control of the US Senate, the major US stock indexes opened in negative territory, as investors mull what a blue wave would mean for the nation’s businesses and corporate profits.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened down 0.05 percent – virtually flat – at 30,377.16.

The S&P 500 – a proxy for the health of US retirement and college savings account – opened down 0.46 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index opened down a sharper 1.22 percent.

Read more here.

Election workers in Fulton County, Georgia process absentee ballots for the US Senate runoff election in Georgia [Ben Gray/AP]

Video shows Trump supporters heckling Mitt Romney on flight

A viral video shows Republican Senator Mitt Romney, one of the few vocal critics of the president in the party, heckled by a group of Trump supporters on a flight.

The group of Trump supporters, who reportedly on their way to the protest in Washington, DC, chanted “Traitor! Traitor! Traitor” at Romney on the flight from Salt Lake City, Nevada to the US capital.

Romney, who has criticised a Republican plot to object the certification of the Electoral College vote on Wednesday, was also approached by Trump supporters in the airport before the flight took off, video shows.

Trump supporters gather near White House awaiting president

As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people line up before sunrise to show their support for Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.

The president was expected to address his supporters at an 11am (16:00 GMT) rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

Lou Murray, a life insurance salesman from Boston, told The Associated Press news agency he and many others still hoped Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would not certify the vote.

“I hope Vice President Pence has courage today and I hope any politician who thinks he has a future shows courage to stand up and do what’s right,” he said.

Organisers planned an afternoon march to the Capitol, where Congress will be voting to affirm the Electoral College results, which Trump continues to dispute without evidence. Prominent Trump supporters – including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and longtime Trump ally Roger Stone – were expected to attend the protest.

A man carries a cross to a gathering of Trump supporters outside the US Capitol on Wednesday [Mike Theiler/Reuters]

Trump spends morning calling on Republicans to overturn election

With Democrats on track to take a majority in the Senate, Trump has spent his morning urging congressional Republicans – and his vice president – to overturn the results of the presidential election when they convene for a joint session.

In one tweet, Trump, who has refused to concede defeat and continues to push unfounded fraud claims, said the “Republican party and, more importantly, our country, needs the presidency more than ever before” while saying “stay strong”.

In a tweet, Trump falsely claimed Mike Pence can send electoral votes back to state officials. “All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, and we win. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” he wrote.

Politifact rated Trump’s claims that Pence has the power to act outside of his ceremonial role on Wednesday false. Meanwhile, Twitter labelled the tweets as disputed.

What to expect when Congress meets on Wednesday

The US Congress meets on Wednesday to tally the Electoral College votes, the final constitutional step in determining the next president of the US in an unorthodox election season.

In more ordinary times, Wednesday’s event would be a largely ceremonial and non-controversial culmination of a hard-fought campaign. Not so in 2020, with President Donald Trump refusing to concede defeat, a group of Republicans in both chambers are planning to object to the results in several states.

The plot is all-but-assured to fail, as objections would need majorities in both chambers to pass. Democrats control the House, and several Republicans have said they will not join their colleagues in objecting in the Senate.

Pressure from Trump for Vice President Mike Pence to somehow intervene in the proceedings, which he will oversee, is also not expected to make a difference on Wednesday, as the second in command has no power to unilaterally overturn the outcome.

Al Jazeera’s US Political Editor Steve Chaggaris explains more of what to expect here.

Vice President Joe Biden, with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, right, watching, declares that Congress certifies Donald Trump’s presidential victory during a joint session of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Friday, January 6, 2017 [Cliff Owen/AP Photo]

Democrats’ hopes of taking the Senate peak in Georgia runoffs

Democrat Raphael Warnock has defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in one of Georgia’s two US Senate runoff elections, according to a projection by The Associated Press news agency, putting Democrats one seat away from majority control of the chamber.

Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Ossoff currently leads Republican incumbent David Perdue by about 16,000 votes, with the remaining votes to be counted expected to lean Democratic.

A Democratic sweep would assure the party control the White House, House of Representatives and the Senate for the first two years of Biden’s administration, vastly helping the president-elect shape his administration and move forward his legislative agenda.

Kelly Loeffler, for her part, is still a member of the Senate until Warnock is sworn in and has joined a group of colleagues who plan to object to the vote.

Read more about the race here.

Democrat Raphael Warnock is projected to become the first Black Senator in Georgia’s history after defeating incumbent Kelly Loeffler [File: Mike Segar/Reuters]
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies