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Congress formally OKs Biden’s Electoral College victory

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UPDATE (10 a.m.)

(NBC News) - Capitol Hill was quiet Thursday morning, one day after protestors stopped the electoral vote count, sent lawmakers into hiding and left four people dead, including one San Diego woman who was shot by police. 

Hours after thousands of people stormed the building, Congress returned and worked into the early morning hours, counting electoral votes and certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

"We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats," said outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That sentiment was echoed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who stated "To those who strove to tear us from our responsibility - you have failed."

Some Republicans dropped their objections to the certification of Biden's victory after the violent protest, but six Republican Senators and 138 Representatives still voted against accepting the votes cast in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Many, including some prominent Republicans, are blaming President Trump's earlier comments at the "Save America" rally for the violence.

"What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the President of the United States," said Sen. Mitt Romney said.

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PREVIOUS (2:50 a.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress has formally validated Joe Biden's presidential election victory.

The House and Senate certified the Democrat's electoral college win early Thursday after thousands of protestors spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot, windows were bashed and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol Police.

The protest began shortly after President Donald Trump repeated his claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he'd invited to Washington. Many then surged to the Capitol.

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

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

But after the incident at the Capitol, challenges were only lodged against Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both efforts lost overwhelmingly.

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


PREVIOUS (10:20 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has voted to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden's win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.

The objection failed 303-121 on Wednesday night, with only Republicans voting in support.

Earlier Wednesday, supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing a lockdown of the lawmakers and staff inside. Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to Biden, though election officials have said there wasn't any.

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


PREVIOUS (9:15 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has turned aside a challenge to President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.

The objection to the results in Arizona -- spearheaded by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz -- was rejected 93-6 on Wednesday night. All votes in favor came from Republicans, but after violent protesters mobbed the Capitol earlier Wednesday a number of GOP senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course.

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


PREVIOUS (7 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Protesters have been cleared from the U.S. Capitol after storming the building and forcing lawmakers to evacuate.

It's been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then thousands of protesters tried to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing President Trump in the White House.

One woman died from a gunshot wound, and more than 1,000 National Guard members were mobilized to help control things. Congress has resumed, vowing to finish confirming Biden's win.


PREVIOUS (4 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.


PREVIOUS (3:35 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (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.

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."


PREVIOUS (3:10 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.


PREVIOUS (3:05 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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.


PREVIOUS (3 p.m.)

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

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

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

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

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


PREVIOUS (2:55 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The top Democrats in Congress are demanding that President Donald Trump order his supporters to leave the Capitol following a chaotic protest aimed at blocking a peaceful transfer of power.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement on Wednesday after violent protesters stormed the Capitol. They said, "We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately."

Trump earlier encouraged his supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to "remain peaceful," but he did not call for them to disperse. He held a rally earlier Wednesday in which he repeated his false claims that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election through voter fraud.

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."


PREVIOUS (2:50 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says National Guard troops along with other federal protective services are en route to the Capitol to help end an violent occupation by President Donald Trump's supporters who are seeking to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that "At President @realDonaldTrump's direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services." She added, "We reiterate President Trump's call against violence and to remain peaceful."

Republican lawmakers have publicly called for Trump to more vocally condemn the violence and to call to an end to the occupation, which halted a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were beginning to count electoral votes.

Trump lost the November election to Democrat Joe Biden. He has refused to concede and has worked over the last two months to convince his supporters that widespread voter fraud prevented his own victory.


PREVIOUS (2:40 p.m.)

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

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

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

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

Many Republicans had backed Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, of Wisconsin, posted a video message urging Trump to "call it off."

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


PREVIOUS (2 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Capitol locked down Wednesday with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump police.

Dozens of people breached security perimeters at the Capitol and lawmakers inside the House chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Lawmakers had been meeting 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.


PREVIOUS (1:25 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Capitol locked down Wednesday with lawmakers inside as violent clashes broke out between supporters of President Donald Trump and 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.

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PREVIOUS (12 p.m.)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Lawmakers are set to convene Wednesday for a joint session, required by law, to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

The typically routine proceeding will be anything but that.

The president's Republican allies plan to object to the election results. Many say they are heeding the pleas of the president's supporters' to "fight for Trump."

The effort is expected to fail. Bipartisan majorities in Congress are prepared to accept the results.

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Associated Press

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