Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building in a chaotic Wednesday (January 6) in Washington D.C.
The incident happened as Congress, which is housed at the Capitol, began the process of certifying the election victory of Trump challenger, President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump supporters clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes.
Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the November 3, 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Lawmakers were forced into hiding, but later resumed the certification proceedings after the Capitol was cleared of Trump supporters.
A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol.
Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on Trump’s behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.
Biden is scheduled to be sworn in as the new U.S. president on January 20.
Congress reconvened in the evening of January 6, vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Biden’s election.
Vice President Mike Pence reopened the Senate.
Pence said earlier in the day that he does not have the power to discard electoral votes that will make Democrat Biden the next president.
Pence issued a statement minutes before he was to begin presiding over a joint session of Congress to count those votes.
Pence said that it was “my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not”.
In the days before the joint session, Trump has pressured his vice president to toss electors from battleground states that voted for Biden.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election,” Trump told thousands of supporters who rallied January 6 outside the White House, an hour before the count in Congress was to begin.
Shortly before the 1 p.m. start of the joint session and even as Trump continued his verbal haranguing, Pence made clear in a three-page letter that he would follow the Constitution.
Beginning at 1 p.m., Pence began to open the certificates of the electoral votes from each state and present them to the appointed “tellers” from the House and Senate in alphabetical order.
More than 100 House Republicans and a dozen Senate Republicans have said they will challenge the electoral votes of at least one state.
Majorities in both chambers are required to reject the will of voters.
However, enough Republican lawmakers have said they will join with Democrats to reject the last-ditch move by Trump’s allies.
After the incident at the Capitol, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the “failed insurrection” underscored lawmakers’ duty to confirm the vote.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would show the world “what America is made of” by finishing the count.
The president gave his supporters a boost into action in the morning of January 6 at a rally outside the White House, where he urged them to march to the Capitol.
Biden said that American democracy was “under unprecedented assault ”.
Based on the Electoral College results, Biden defeated Trump, 306-232, in the November election.
The woman who was killed was part of a crowd that was breaking down the doors to a barricaded room where armed officers stood on the other side.
Officials believe she was struck by law enforcement but were investigating.
President Donald Trump has appeared to justify the incident at the U.S. Capitol.
In a tweet on the evening of January 6, Trump said, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”
Trump added, “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”