US Capitol locked down as Trump supporters clash with police
Here is the latest news from The Associated Press at 9:40 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election win will show the world it won’t back down. Pelosi made her comments as the House reconvened after being shut down for hours Wednesday by unruly pro-Trump protesters. She said that every four years the ritual provides an example to the world of American democracy. Pelosi says, “Despite the shameful actions of today, we will still do so.” Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, noted that Wednesday is the feast of the Epiphany and prayed that the violence would be “an epiphany to heal” for the country.
By BARBARA ORTUTAY and DAVID KLEPPER
In an unprecedented step, Twitter and Facebook on Wednesday temporarily blocked President Donald Trump after he repeatedly posted false accusations about the integrity of the election. Twitter, which locked Trump’s account for 12 hours, also threatened him with a permanent ban if he breaks the rules again. Facebook blocked Trump from being able to post for 24 hours. The two platforms, as well as YouTube, had already removed a short video Trump posted Wednesday in which he urged supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol to “go home” while at the same repeating false attacks about the presidential election.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Congress’ tally of the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden (all times local):
Police are using tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing pro-Trump protesters from the grounds of the U.S. Capitol ahead of a curfew in Washington.
Police donned gas masks as they moved in Wednesday evening with force to clear protesters from the Capitol grounds shortly before a curfew took hold. In the moments before, there were violent clashes between the police and protesters, who tore railing for the inauguration scaffolding and threw it at the officers.
Police used tear gas and percussion grenades to break up the crowd, which began dispersing.
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote to affirm Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.
Police said at least one person was shot inside the Capitol; their condition was not immediately known.
The district’s police chief said at least 13 people were arrested, and five firearms had been recovered during the pro-Trump protests on Wednesday.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONGRESS’ TALLY OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTE
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.
– Trump supporters storm US Capitol, lawmakers evacuated
– Pence defies Trump, says he can’t reject electoral votes
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is directly blaming President Donald Trump for the storming of the Capitol by huge, angry crowds of pro-Trump protesters.
The Nebraska lawmaker and frequent critic of Trump said Wednesday evening that the Capitol “was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard – tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution.”
Sasse says in a written statement, “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”
The protesters broke into the building as Congress was beginning the formal process of certifying the electoral votes that gave Democratic President-elect Joe Biden a victory over Trump in November. Vice President Mike Pence has the ceremonial role of overseeing that certification and resisted Trump efforts to pressure him to overturn the election results.
Trump has continued to fallaciously claim that the voting was marred by fraud and that he actually won. Earlier Wednesday Trump addressed a huge crowd of protesters outside the White House and urged them to gather at the Capitol.
The Washington, D.C., police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.
Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.
As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.
Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. curfew.
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.
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.”
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.
Two influential business groups are calling for the attack on the nation’s Capitol to end and for a peaceful transition of power.
Business Roundtable, which represents some of the most powerful companies in America including Walmart, Apple, Starbucks and General Electric, called on President Donald Trump and other officials to bring the protests to an end.
“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the Roundtable said in a statement Wednesday. “The country deserves better.”
Separately, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Thomas Donohue, which represents large and small companies, urged officials to clear the Capitol and for Congress to approve the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden.
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 in which he 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.” The Capitol went into lockdown after its security perimeters were breached and protesters entered the building.
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.
That’s according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
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.”
– By AP writer Michael Balsamo
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 protestors 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.
Vice President Mike Pence is calling on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than President Donald Trump who merely called for his supporters 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.
UPDATE, 4:44pm (AP) – 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.
UPDATE, 4:24pm – President Trump tweeted a short video saying that “We have to have peace.” “You have to go home now.”
UPDATE – 3:47pm – AP source: 1 person shot at US Capitol amid melee with Trump supporters; condition unknown.
White House: National Guard, federal police en route to Capitol to assist in ending occupation by Trump supporters. Virginia’s governor says he is sending 200 state troopers and members of the state National Guard to the US Capitol.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Capitol locked down Wednesday with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump and the police. An announcement was played inside the Capitol as lawmakers were meeting and expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s victory. The skirmishes occurred outside the building, in the very spot president-elect Biden will be inaugurated in just two weeks. Protesters tore down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol’s steps and were met by officers in riot gear. Some tried to push past the officers who held shields and officers could be seen firing pepper spray into the crowd to keep them back.
By BEN FOX, ASHRAF KHALIL and MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press