Congress convened on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for a joint session to record the Electoral College votes from November’s presidential election.
The proceedings were abruptly postponed after 2 p.m. when protesters entered the Capitol to protest President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Memo: Georgia voters deliver blow to Trump Warnock win puts Democrats within reach of Senate majority Eric Trump warns of primary challenges for Republicans who don’t object to election results MORE’s win but are due to resume shortly.
Follow our live coverage of the Capitol protests here.
Below is coverage of the electoral count:
Romney: Storming of Capitol ‘an insurrection incited by’ Trump
“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride, and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened today was an insurrection incited by the president of the United States,” Romney said from the Senate floor.
“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legislative Democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” Romney said.
He added that Republicans who support continuing to challenge Biden’s election win “will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”
McCarthy, who backed Electoral College challenges, condemns mob
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as ‘height of hypocrisy’ House GOP debates Electoral College vote McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker’s chair over Democrat’s in-person vote after COVID diagnosis MORE (R-Calif.), who backed making challenges to the Electoral College in battleground states unlike his Senate GOP counterpart, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Memo: Georgia voters deliver blow to Trump On The Money: Wall Street zeros in on Georgia runoffs | Seven states sue regulator over ‘true lender’ rule on interest rates | 2021 deficit on track to reach .3 trillion Trump pressure campaign splits 2024 GOP contenders MORE (Ky.), condemned the mob violence at the Capitol.
McCarthy called the actions of rioters “un-American.”
“No one wins when this building and what it stands for are destroyed. America is better than that,” he said.
McCarthy’s praise of law enforcement was met with a standing ovation from within the chamber, and his praise for lawmakers from both parties who helped ensure the floor was not breached was also met with applause.
— Juliegrace Brufke
Hoyer recounts 2000 election
House reconvenes/Pelosi says time to ‘move on’
The House reconvened at 9 p.m. to resume its debate on the Electoral College.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP Rep. Kevin Brady tests positive for COVID-19 Pelosi names House Democratic leaders for Electoral College debate On The Money: Wall Street zeros in on Georgia runoffs | Seven states sue regulator over ‘true lender’ rule on interest rates | 2021 deficit on track to reach .3 trillion MORE (D-Calif.) condemned the violence that took place earlier in the day, stating that “it is time to move on.” She then proceeded to say the Prayer to St. Francis ahead of the proceedings taking place.
— Juliegrace Brufke
Loeffler drops plan to challenge Electoral College vote
Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerWarnock defeats Loeffler in Georgia Senate runoff The Memo: Georgia voters deliver blow to Trump Warnock win puts Democrats within reach of Senate majority MORE (R-Ga.) said on Wednesday that she is dropping her plan to object to the Electoral College results from Georgia in the wake of rioters breaking into the Capitol.
Loeffler, speaking from the Senate floor, said she could not “in good conscious” move forward with her plan to object to the votes from her state after Wednesday’s violence, which saw rioters take over both the House and Senate chambers.
“The events that transpired have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to certification of these electors. The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process,” Loeffler said from the Senate floor.
Schumer: Jan. 6 ‘will live forever in infamy’
Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerJoy Behar spars with Meghan McCain: ‘I did not miss you’ while you were on maternity leave COVID-19 relief bill: A promising first act for immigration reform Ocasio-Cortez on challenging Schumer: ‘I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress’ MORE (D-N.Y.) predicted that Jan. 6, 2021, will “live forever in infamy” after rioters stormed the Capitol and temporarily suspended the counting of the Electoral College vote.
Schumer, speaking minutes after senators returned to the chamber floor, pointed the blame, in part, at President Trump who encouraged his supporters to swarm Washington and claimed for weeks that the election was “rigged”—despite losing dozens of court cases and his claims being dismissed by election experts.
“This temple to democracy was desecrated. Its windows smashed. Our offices were vandalized,” Schumer said. “This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away. The final, terrible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly our worst.”
Schumer added that he hoped the rioters would be prosecuted, either under the current administration or the incoming Biden administration.
“The president, who promoted conspiracy theories that motivated these thugs, the president, who exhorted them to come to our nation’s capital, egged them on, he hardly ever discourages violence and more often encourages it, this president bears a great deal of the blame,” Schumer said.
“Now, January 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent America,” Schumer added.
McConnell: ‘They tried to disrupt our democracy, they failed’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed that Congress would finish certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win on Wednesday, after the tallying was suspended for hours when rioters stormed the Capitol.
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor shortly after 8 p.m., pledged that the Senate would not be “intimidated” or kept out of the Senate chamber “by thugs, mobs or threats.”
“We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty by the Constitution and for our nation. And we’re going to do it tonight,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
#BREAKING: Sen. Mitch McConnell slams pro-Trump protesters who stormed Capitol:
“They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed… This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.” pic.twitter.com/PNJOLq2Aii
— The Hill (@thehill) January 7, 2021
McConnell, referring to the rioters as “unhinged thugs,” added that “we will not be deterred today.”
“They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. They failed to obstruct this Congress. This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic,” McConnell said.
“We’ll follow our precedents, our laws, and our Constitution to the letter. And we will certify the winner of the presidential election,” he added.
Pence on Capitol rioters: ‘Violence never wins’
Vice President Pence late Wednesday evening denounced the violence at the U.S. Capitol in remarks on the Senate floor as lawmakers reconvened to resume the counting of Electoral College votes.
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house,” Pence said.
“As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” Pence continued.
#BREAKING: Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump attorney Jay Sekulow refutes claims of Pence authority over electors Trump election fight puts Pence in no-win situation Pence aide pushes back on Navarro claim that VP could delay election certification MORE speaks as Senate reconvenes, receives applause:
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. This is still the People’s House.” pic.twitter.com/fRpMXWKntu
— The Hill (@thehill) January 7, 2021
Pence struck a decidedly different tone than President Trump, who responded to the violence in a video message posted to Twitter in which he urged his supporters to “go home in peace” while repeating his baseless claims that the presidential election was fraudulent.
GOP senators hopeful they’ve quashed additional election challenges
Republican senators are hopeful that they’ve convinced their colleagues to drop their plan to challenge additional Electoral College results from Georgia and Pennsylvania.
The Senate will reconvene on Wednesday evening to finish debating a challenge to Arizona’s Electoral College results, which was interrupted when rioters stormed the Capitol and senators were moved to a secure location.
“There’s gonna be probably 30 or 40 more minutes of debate, and one vote,” said Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump pressure campaign splits 2024 GOP contenders Electoral College fight splits GOP as opposition grows to election challenge Republican infighting on election intensifies MORE (R-Ky.) “I just don’t think there’s going to be another objection. I think it’s over at that point.”
Paul said they expect that the Senate will vote on the objection to Arizona’s Electoral College votes but didn’t expect Republican senators to object to the results from Georgia or Pennsylvania as previously planned.
Read more here.
Lawmakers say work certifying Biden win to continue tonight
Despite the extraordinary violence and chaos that struck the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, lawmakers in both parties and both chambers said Congress will continue the work of certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory later in the evening.
“I have faced violent hatred before,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said in a tweet. “I was not deterred then, and I will not be deterred now. Tonight, Congress will continue the business of certifying the electoral college votes.”
In the upper chamber, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerNorth Dakota senator on decision to back Electoral College: ‘It was brutal’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Georgia election day is finally here; Trump hopes Pence ‘comes through for us’ to overturn results Senate GOP opposition grows to objecting to Electoral College results MORE (R-N.D.) said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is also telling senators to expect the process to continue Wednesday night.
Read more here.
Raskin gets a standing ovation from both parties as he takes the floor
House lawmakers in both parties stood and delivered a rousing ovation as Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinPelosi names House Democratic leaders for Electoral College debate Rep. Raskin and wife pay tribute to late son who had ‘a perfect heart, a perfect soul’ Pelosi wins Speakership for fourth time in dramatic vote MORE (D-Md.), whose son died last week, took the chamber floor on behalf of Democrats to debate Arizona’s election results.
Tommy Raskin, 25, was a student at Harvard Law School when he took his own life on New Year’s Eve. In a devastating statement issued this week, Jamie Raskin and his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin remembered a son with “a perfect heart … and a dazzling radiant mind.”
“He began to be tortured later in his 20s by a blindingly painful and merciless ‘disease called depression,’” they added.
In response to the applause, Raskin on Wednesday repeatedly put his hand to his heart.
The back-and-forth gestures marked a rare moment of comity on a day when the parties are battling in both chambers over the presidential election results.
— Mike Lillis
McConnell rebukes effort to overturn election results
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned against supporting efforts to challenge the Electoral College results, the first time he’s spoken publicly against the Trump-endorsed plan by members of his caucus to throw out President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
McConnell’s remarks came at the start of the Senate’s first debate as part of what is expected to be an hours-long effort that will ultimately end in Congress affirming Biden’s win.
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, said the allegations of fraud didn’t reach the standard for challenging the election results and warned of dramatic consequences if conservatives are successful.
“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept the election again,” McConnell said.
— Jordain Carney
Pelosi implores Republicans to observe social distancing guidelines
Numerous lawmakers were not complying with social distancing guidelines during Wednesday’s joint session, with some Republicans greeting each other with hugs and others wearing masks that were slipping under their noses.
Dozens of GOP lawmakers were on the floor in support of challenging the results in key states, prompting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to implore them to adhere to an agreement between leadership of the two parties that allows only 11 members on the floor at a time during the joint session.
Pelosi urged Republicans to “please observe the social distancing” and “please exit the floor if you do not have an assigned role from your leadership.”
Vice President Pence, who was presiding over the session, was not wearing a mask while speaking. Members and staff are required to keep masks on at all times on the floor, including while they are recognized to speak.
— Cristina Marcos
Scalise begins House debate
House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseMcMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker’s chair over Democrat’s in-person vote after COVID diagnosis NJ Republican pushes for Ways and Means seat a year after switching parties Friends and colleagues mourn loss of Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow MORE (La.) became the first member of GOP leadership to debate the Electoral College vote on the floor.
“I rise today to object to a number of states that did not follow the constitutional requirement for selecting electors. Madam Speaker, this is something that is clear that our founding fathers debated about as a fundamental decision of how we choose our president,” he said.
Scalise was met with a round of applause from his GOP colleagues following his remarks.
Following Scalise’s remarks, Rep. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenPelosi names House Democratic leaders for Electoral College debate Hillicon Valley: Four major tech issues facing the Biden administration | Pressure grows to reinstate White House cyber czar | Facebook, Google to extend political ad bans House report says lawmakers could securely cast remote votes amid pandemic MORE (D-Calif.) rebutted stating that “this day marks a crossroads for American democracy. Those who object to the counting of the Electoral College votes which reflect the votes of the American people want to substitute their preferences for the voters’ choice.”
— Juliegrace Brufke
GOP lawmakers object to Arizona vote tally
Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony Gosar Pence ‘welcomes’ efforts of lawmakers to ‘raise objections’ to Electoral College results Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results Top GOP lawmakers call for Swalwell to be removed from Intelligence Committee MORE (R-Ariz.) objected to recording his home state’s Electoral College tally, triggering a debate and votes in the House and Senate.
After there were no objections to the tallies in Alabama and Alaska, both won by Trump, Gosar rose to object to the tally in Arizona, where President-elect Joe Biden won in a tight vote.
Vice President Pence, who is presiding over the joint session, asked Gosar if his objection was in writing and joined by a senator, a requirement to trigger the debate and vote.
Gosar said it was and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzAre Republicans tilting at windmills with their electoral challenge? More than 170 top business executives urge Congress to certify Biden’s win Trump election fight puts Pence in no-win situation MORE (R-Texas) chimed in with his objection.
Republicans supportive of the move then stood to applaud Gosar.
— Ian Swanson
Electoral College votes arrive on House floor
Vice President Pence and the senators have escorted across the Capitol the Electoral College votes certified by the states. The votes were transported in three ceremonial boxes.
Pence did not answer questions as he walked by.
VIDEO: Procession of the Electoral College votes make their way across the Capitol to the House floor, followed by Senators pic.twitter.com/qtzKx1TjaK
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) January 6, 2021
– Scott Wong
Pence says he doesn’t have ‘unilateral authority’ to reject electoral votes
Vice President Pence, in a letter to Congress on Wednesday, said he does not believe he has the “unilateral authority” to reject electoral votes, dealing a final blow to President Trump’s push for Pence to overturn the election result.
The letter comes just before Pence is set to preside over a joint session of Congress, where lawmakers will affirm Joe Biden as the next president.
– Brett Samuels
GOP senator says there may only be votes on three objections
GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer (N.D.) said senators received an email from Republican leadership saying that there would only be votes on objections to Electoral College results in three states during Wednesday’s joint session.
Cramer’s comments come as Congress is preparing for a long night that could stretch into Thursday morning as conservatives mount a long-shot effort to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Those objections are guaranteed to fail because they need a majority in both chambers to be successful.
GOP senators have said they will support objections to three states: Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
But Cramer noted that he had also heard of a potential fourth objection and warned that if the challenges snowballed, the session could stretch late into the night or early tomorrow morning.
— Jordain Carney
Democrats hold somber phone call before floor fight on election
There were some touching moments during this morning’s Democratic whip team conference call.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) played music by music legend Ray Charles, a source on the call said, and there were some heartfelt words for and by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). Raskin suddenly lost his 25-year-old son last week and will play a role in Wednesday’s floor proceedings.
There were also ample reminders from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about the gravity of the day and the need for Democrats to conduct themselves in a dignified manner, the source on the call said.
— Scott Wong
Bipartisan Problem Solvers recognize Biden as president
The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus — comprised of 25 House Democrats and 25 Republicans — has endorsed a “peaceful transition of power” and is recognizing Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.
The new statement of principles was released just hours before a floor fight begins over the certification of the Electoral College votes that will hand Biden the White House on Jan. 20.
More than 75 percent of Problem Solvers needed to vote in favor of the statement in order for it to be publicized. The statement reads:
1. We are committed to combating attempts to undermine the will of the American people as expressed through the legitimate results of a democratic election.
2. We are united in our commitment to prevent fraud by protecting the integrity and security of elections in America.
3. As the greatest democracy in the world, the United States prides itself in its adherence to the peaceful transition of power as a core pillar of a functioning, fair political system.
4. Congress must begin its work on January 20 with the Biden Administration, and work in a bipartisan fashion to restore the public’s confidence in our governing institutions.
— Scott Wong
Rep. Cole says Republican focus on election results has been a ‘distraction’ that hurt GOP in Georgia
Heading into a meeting of top House Republicans in the Capitol, Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeTrump signs bill authorizing memorial to fallen journalists House Republicans who didn’t sign onto the Texas lawsuit House report says lawmakers could securely cast remote votes amid pandemic MORE (R-Okla.) suggested the party’s national focus on the presidential outcome had been a “distraction” that hurt the GOP candidates in the Georgia special elections on Tuesday.
“[It’s] obviously a disappointing setback if you’re a Republican, to say the least. I think it shows maybe we’ve been too distracted with other things. We should have been more focused on Georgia with a clearer message nationally,” Cole said.
“That’s not a criticism of the candidates or the campaign people,” he added. “I think they had much more of a laser focus than we did. And I think it helped [the Democrats].”
On the eve of the Georgia runoffs, Trump had visited the Peach State to stump for GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David PerdueDavid PerdueThe Memo: Georgia voters deliver blow to Trump Warnock win puts Democrats within reach of Senate majority Warnock declares victory in Georgia Senate runoff as race remains too close to call MORE. But the president had also sent mixed messages to Georgia voters, suggesting the elections were rigged and discouraging participation in mail-in balloting.
Cole said Trump had helped the GOP candidates by energizing the party’s base. But he also suggested the president had hurt them by focusing on his own election outcome.
“It’s a two-edged sword. Frankly, he did a lot of good things. There’s no question the Republican turnout wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the president going down there,” Cole said. “But again, you wish there’d have been fewer distractions and more focus on Georgia and what was at stake.”
Jordan says it’s unclear how many state totals to be challenged
Roaming the halls of the Capitol Wednesday morning, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanTrump Georgia call divides House GOP Trump gives Nunes Medal of Freedom ‘Trumpification’ of the GOP will persist MORE (R-Ohio), a staunch ally of President Trump, said it remains unclear exactly how many state vote counts Republicans will challenge formally. House Republicans are expected to object to six, but Senate Republicans have so far committed to endorsing only three of those.
Jordan says he’s hoping the other three also find champions in the upper chamber.
“I’m expecting at least three, but I’m hoping for six,” Jordan said.
— Mike Lillis
Congress set for joint session on Electoral College results
The House and Senate will meet in a joint session of Congress at 1 p.m. Wednesday, where GOP lawmakers are expected to mount several challenges to the Electoral College counts in several states.
One senator and one House member must back a challenge to trigger a two-hour debate and vote by both chambers on the issue.
It is expected that there will be challenges of the Electoral College votes in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. It’s also possible there will be challenges of Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin votes.
All of these states were won by President-elect Joe Biden. President Trump has backed the challenges while making unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud, which have repeatedly been rejected by state officials and courts across the country.
Vice President Pence will preside over the joint session and at the end of it, will have the task of announcing Biden’s election. Trump has been seeking to pressure him to overturn results, but Pence does not have the power to do so under the Constitution and has a largely ceremonial role in the session.
The joint session will take place amid demonstrations by Trump supporters, who began gathering outside the Capitol early Wednesday.
— Ian Swanson