- January 7, 2021
- Latest Update: January 7, 2021 1:20 am
- 10 minutes read
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the “goons” and “thugs” and “domestic terrorists” who stormed the Capitol today to be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law”. He reminded those listening that “today’s events did not occur spontaneously.”
“This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing, incited by his words and his lies,” Schumer said.
Mitch McConnell referred to the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol as “the unhinged crowd we saw today”.
“We’ve never been deterred before and we won’t be deterred today,” he said. “They tried to disrupt our democracy and they failed.
“Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress,” McConnell said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: “The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats.”
“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today: You did not win,” Vice-President Mike Pence said. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.”
“Let’s get back to work.”
Certification resumes after Capitol takeover
As expected, Congress has reconvened tonight on the senate floor for the electoral vote certification.
Vice President Mike Pence opened the session.
Hey all, Vivian Ho on the west coast taking over for the indefatigable Joan Greve.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now on the senate floor. The electoral vote count is expected to resume momentarily.
Today so far
That’s it from me after a sadly historic day in Washington. My west coast colleague, Vivian Ho, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Congress will soon resume its electoral college vote count after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate the building. It’s unclear whether Republicans will move forward with their objections to the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
- A woman who was shot at the Capitol has reportedly died. Earlier reports indicated that the woman was in critical condition after being shot in the chest as the Capitol was breached.
- Wasington, DC, is under curfew in response to the violence. City residents have been told not to occupy public spaces until 6 am tomorrow.
- Donald Trump celebrated the mob as “very special” people. The president justified the violence at the Capitol by citing his baseless claims of widespread election fraud. In a video that Twitter has since deleted from his account, the president told his supporters, “We love you!”
- Biden called on Trump to “demand an end to this siege.” The president-elect said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, “It’s not a protest; it’s insurrection. The world is watching.”
Vivian will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Senators are being escorted back into the Senate chamber to resume the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race.
The joint session is expected to recommence in about 10 minutes. It’s unclear whether Republican lawmakers still intend to object to the electoral votes from Georgia and Pennsylvania after the violence at the Capitol today.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the impeachment of Donald Trump, echoing some other progressive lawmakers after today’s violence at the Capitol.
The New York congresswoman sent a single-word tweet saying, “Impeach.”
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, another member of the progressive “Squad” in the House, said earlier today that she was filing articles of impeachment.
Some Democrats had previously suggested it was not worth impeaching Trump with so little time left in his term, but the events of the day may change many minds on that.
Melania Trump’s chief of staff has reportedly resigned, effective immediately, in the wake of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol.
[Stephanie] Grisham was one of the longest-serving Trump administration officials, having begun her tenure working for then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015 as a press wrangler on the campaign trail. Grisham entered the White House as deputy press secretary under Sean Spicer, but in March 2017, Melania Trump hired her for her East Wing staff. As East Wing communications director, Grisham quickly became the first lady’s most prominent staffer, acting as defender, enforcer and, often, protector.
Grisham previously served as White House communications director and press secretary. She didn’t hold a single White House briefing while she held the role, and she was eventually replaced by Kayleigh McEnany.
The Guardian’s Lois Beckett spoke to Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, about the violence at the Capitol today.
Heyer was murdered in Charlottesville in 2017, after a man deliberately drove a car into a group of demonstrators who were counter-protesting a neo-Nazi event.
“This path has always been predictable,” Bro told Beckett. “And for people to now go, ‘I never knew this would happen,’ why not? How would you not see this happen?”
Bro added that she had seen a “great deal of difference in how black protesters and white protesters are treated”.
“I think we’re going to have to have some accountability of actions here, otherwise this will be attempted again and again,” Bro said. “I am saying there needs to be accountability, and it needs to be commensurate with what you would see handed to people of color.”
Mike Pence has returned to the Senate chamber, after being evacuated due to concerns about his safety after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
A spokesperson for the vice-president said Pence never left the Capitol and was in regular contact with congressional leadership, law enforcement, the justice department and the defense department to secure the building.
“And now we will finish the People’s business,” spokesperson Devin O’Malley said.
Amid the violence and chaos at the Capitol, Pence seems to have taken over many of the responsibilities that would traditionally go to the president.
The electoral college ballots, which will finalize Joe Biden’s victory, are now on their way back to the Senate chamber.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has indicated that the chambers will reconvene to continue with the certification in about 45 minutes.
Twitter locks Trump’s account for at least 12 hours
Twitter has announced that Donald Trump’s account will be locked for at least 12 hours, after the removal of three of the president’s tweets.
“As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,” the Twitter Safety account said in a tweet thread.
“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.”
The social media giant added, “Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”
The White House has also already called a lid for tonight, meaning the president will not make any other public appearances today, so we won’t be hearing from him for the rest of the night.
Another Republican senator, Richard Burr of North Carolina, has directly blamed Donald Trump for the violence on Capitol Hill today.
“I supported President Trump’s legal right to contest the election results through the courts, but the courts have now unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits. No evidence of voter fraud has emerged that would warrant overturning the 2020 election,” Burr said in a new statement.
“The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point. It is past time to accept the will of American voters and to allow our nation to move forward.”
One of Burr’s Republican colleagues, Mitt Romney, also released a statement tonight describing the violence as “an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States”.
The Guardian’s Edward Helmore reports:
The Proud Boys’ leader, Enrique Tarrio, told the Guardian he’d instructed members of the far-right group to stay away from the anti-certification protest Wednesday that escalated into the occupation of the Capitol building.
“I don’t think the occupation of the Capitol Building was planned. To me this is a cocktail – a whole bunch of people in DC and a whole lot who are pissed off.” Capitol police, he said, “had assaulted and pepper sprayed Trump supporters – the people who usually ‘back the blue’. They’d had enough. So they pushed through and got into the Capitol.”
Tarrio, who was barred from entering Washington DC on Tuesday after he was arrested on vandalism and weapons charges, said he was not “one of the people who think the election was stolen”.
But, he added, “I think there was inconsistency over the numbers and a lack of transparency that people deserve” and president-elect Joe Biden had done nothing to allay the fears of people who felt they were not being listened to.
“So this is the result. Biden has the presidency, the Senate and now the House, but he doesn’t have the people. I think they’d be calmer if he had shown that he is prepared to listen to them.”
Earlier tonight, House majority whip Jim Clyburn said Congress would continue the electoral college vote count, emphasizing that he would not be deterred by “violent hatred”.
“I have faced violent hatred before. I was not deterred then, and I will not be deterred now,” said Clyburn, who was active in the civil rights movement.
“This authoritarian menace will not succeed in his attempts to overthrow our democratically elected government,” the Democratic whip added.
“I am praying for the safety and security of the public servants who are dedicated to making this country a ‘more perfect union’.”
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that he expected the joint session to resume in a little over an hour, at 8 pm ET.
So far, only two states’ electoral votes have been formally counted by Congress, so the session could go late into the night, depending on Republicans’ objections.
Pelosi says Congress will proceed with certification tonight
Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to colleagues that Congress would move forward with the certification of Joe Biden’s victory tonight.
“Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden,” the Democratic speaker said.
“To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today.”
The House and the Senate were debating a Republican objection to Arizona’s electoral votes when the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
Before the violence today, Republicans were expected to raise similar objections to the electoral votes from Georgia and Pennsylvania, but it’s unclear whether they still will after the events at the Capitol.