U.S. Capitol on lockdown after pro-Trump rioters storm inside

Wednesday, January 6, 2021
A protester holds a Trump flag inside the U.S. Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Update: President Trump has instructed the civilians at the U.S. Capitol to go home.

WASHINTON — A mob derailed the typically routine process of Congress certifying the presidential election results on Wednesday, with both chambers abruptly recessing after President Donald Trump’s supporters clashed with police and forced their way into the U.S. Capitol.

A House office building was evacuated, and the Capitol and surrounding office buildings were locked down as pro-Trump rioters protesting the election results pushed past barricades and made it to the hallways outside the House and Senate chambers. Some were carrying Trump flags, video posted on Twitter showed.

According to pool reports, Vice President Mike Pence was rushed out of the Senate chamber, where he had been presiding over the certification. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley also was escorted out with Pence.

As they rushed away, Senate parliamentary staff grabbed hold of the boxes containing the Electoral College certificates.

Lawmakers were also evacuated from the House, according to pool reports.

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, a military veteran, called the situation “anarchy.”

Iowa Rep. Cindy Axne, D-3rd District, tweeted that she and her staff were sheltering in place.

Newly elected Rep. Randy Feenstra also tweeted about the protest, saying, "It's every American's right to protest peacefully. Violence is never the answer. Thank you Capitol Police for working today & every day to keep us safe

If you or someone you know are a part of the protest, please remain peaceful & ask others to do the same. The world is watching."

Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, whose Democratic opponent is still appealing results of the Iowa House District 2 election results, also called storming the Capitol “unacceptable.”

Another pool report said: “There’s an armed standoff at the house front the door police officers have their guns drawn at someone who is trying to reach the front door.”

Trump at a rally had encouraged demonstrators to march on the Capitol. He then promised to march with them to the Capitol, but returned to the White House.

The violent demonstration unfolded as lawmakers had gathered to tally the Electoral College votes, the final step in formalizing Joe Biden’s presidential win.

Dozens of Republicans were expected to file a series of objections to Biden’s votes from a handful of swing states, alleging fraud claims that have failed in lawsuits brought by the legal team of Trump, who has refused to concede.

The House and Senate convened briefly to begin tallying votes, and the first objection was filed to Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. The two chambers began debate over that objection, which was raised by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and 60 colleagues, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

That debate was upended as the protesters approached the building. As Capitol Police closed the doors to lock down the House floor, Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., shouted to Republicans, “This is because of you,” according to pool reports.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a 6 p.m. citywide curfew until 6 a.m. Thursday.

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