Liveblog: Trump Incites Violent Insurrection on Capitol Hill

“This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”

Joel Marklund/ZUMA

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This is a developing story. Scroll down for live updates.

Insurrectionists aiming to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election sent Washington, DC, into chaos on Wednesday, storming past police barricades into the Capitol building and shutting down a congressional session intended to formally certify Joe Biden’s victory. Inside the House of Representatives chamber, a protester screamed, “Trump won that election!” from the dais. 

Private residences on Capitol Hill and several congressional offices, including the Cannon House Office Building, had to be evacuated, according to several news reports. 

The Senate and House of Representatives both cut off debate as protesters entered the Capitol building. In a dramatic scene, Vice President Mike Pence had to be escorted off the floor of the Senate, where he was presiding. Inside the House chamber, journalists reported hearing gunshots. 

Protesters chased past police into the Capitol, chanting, “We want Trump!” Inside the House chamber, members of Congress were told to “put on gas masks” as police administered tear gas, the Associated Press reported

Lawmakers who were stranded in their offices tweeted through the mayhem. “I am sheltering in place in my office,” Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) tweeted. “I can’t believe I have to write this.” Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) said reports of “a pipe bomb” outside compelled her to evacuate. 

Earlier, as his supporters marched on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump gave a speech outside the White House urging Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election result. Pence, who is tasked with overseeing the joint session of Congress that formally approves the Electoral College vote, said in a letter Wednesday that his role is “largely ceremonial” and that he lacks the authority to unilaterally change the outcome of the presidential election. 

Trump, who spent Wednesday inciting protesters and tweeting bromides against his own vice president, finally urged his supporters to “please support” Capitol Police and “respect the Law.” 

But by the afternoon, there was no turning back the chaos Trump and his allies wrought. In comments to a New York Times reporter, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said as much: “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.”

Here’s the latest. We’ll keep updating as the news unfolds.

10:50 p.m. ET: A State Department official, Gabriel Noronha, harshly condemned Trump’s response to the violent protests that engulfed Capitol Hill on Wednesday, saying he is “entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go.”

Noronha’s Twitter bio says he does communications for the State Department’s Iran work and runs its Farsi-language Twitter account. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking if he still worked at the department. Earlier on Wednesday, three Trump administration officials, including Melania Trump’s chief of staff, resigned over Trump’s handling of the insurrectionist riots. 

10:05 p.m. ET: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made an impassioned speech supporting the certification of the election for Biden. “All I can say is count me out,” he said. “Enough is enough.” You just have to watch the video:

9:55 p.m. ET: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are organizing an effort to persuade Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office. In a letter to Pence, 17 committee members argued that Trump “is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election.” 

 

9:30 p.m. ET: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), addressing the Senate, directly blames Trump for “inciting” the riot that forced lawmakers to evacuate the Capitol. “What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States,” Romney says, urging his Republican colleagues to not be “complicit” in an “unprecedented attack against our democracy.” 

“The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth!” he says. “That’s the burden, that’s the duty of leadership.” 

9:10 p.m. ET: Various conservative media figures, including Lou Dobbs, Dinesh D’Souza, and Brit Hume, suggest without evidence that leftist agitators were responsible for the rioting at the Capitol on Wednesday. On Fox News, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin goes so far as to say she thinks “a lot of it is the antifa folks.” 

In fact, the pro-Trump rioters had been planning Wednesday’s violent protest for weeks, as my colleague Ali Breland has reported:

The mob that stormed the capital manifested years’ worth of posts lodged into unhinged, far-right, conspiracy-laden corners of the internet. Such rhetoric crept toward the mainstream, crossing over into right-wing media, eventually coming out of Trump’s own mouth. It won new converts and spread more widely. It finally broke loose on Wednesday, as they did what they’d always said they would.

8:43 p.m. ET: Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who lost her bid for reelection yesterday, says on the Senate floor that she can no longer support an objection to the Electoral College vote. 

As recently as Monday, Loeffler said she would object to the electoral vote count, heeding Trump’s baseless belief that his loss in Georgia was rigged. 

8:36 p.m. ET: Facebook has blocked Trump’s account for 24 hours in response to two unspecified policy violations on his page. Twitter already locked his account for 12 hours, leaving Trump without a social media bullhorn as the country sorts through the chaos of a riot he incited.  

Earlier this afternoon, Trump posted a video expressing support for the violent insurrectionists and saying he “loved” them.

8:14 p.m. ET: Congress has resumed its session. Vice President Mike Pence said, “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest terms.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell condemned the insurrection and vowed to complete the process of certifying the election results. “The United States Senate will not be intimidated,” he said. “We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats.”

“This institution is resilient,” he concluded. “Our democratic republic is strong. the American people deserve nothing less.”

Up next was Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who called this “a day that will live in infamy.”

8:05 p.m. ET: Former president Barack Obama shared a statement condemning Trump for inciting violence and the Republican Party for keeping up the rouse that Trump somehow won the election.

7:50 p.m. ET: The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat released a joint statement ahead of their scheduled game in Miami, citing the violent protests in Washington, DC and the decision by Kenosha County prosecutors to not charge the police officer who killed Jacob Blake as reasons they play “with a heavy heart.” 

7:45 p.m. ET: Former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, who currently serves as Melania Trump’s chief of staff, resigned Wednesday afternoon after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol building. CNN, which first reported the news, said Grisham’s resignation was “effective immediately.”

7:20 p.m. ET: The Boston Celtics walked off the floor in Miami, where the team was scheduled to play the Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m. 

Multiple reporters covering the team said Boston planned to release a statement and play the game.

7:10 p.m. ET: Trump’s Twitter account will be locked for 12 hours “for repeated and severe violations of [the site’s] Civic Integrity policy,” Twitter Safety announced.

6:45 p.m. ET: Twitter appears to have deleted two of Trump’s tweets, a video and a text post falsely maintaining that he had in fact won.

6:02 p.m. ET: Donald Trump refuses to take responsibility for inciting the violence on Capitol Hill. Instead, he’s continuing to gaslight the American public and blaming the riot on the thoroughly debunked claim that the election was stolen from him.

6:00 p.m. ET: Yet another politician, Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott, has called for Trump to resign.

5:55 p.m. ET: The woman who was shot by law enforcement inside the Capitol has died. The exact circumstances of her death are unclear.

5:48 p.m. ET: Facebook has removed a video of Trump calling insurrectionists “very special” and saying that he loves them, the New York Times reported. In the video, Trump urged his supporters to “go home now” but also claimed again, falsely, that the election “was stolen from us.”

Twitter had already prevented the video from being shared on their platform, “due to a risk of violence.” 

5:37 p.m. ET: NBC is reporting that Congress will attempt to resume its certification of the Electoral College vote. It remains to be seen when or how that will happen.

Meanwhile, people in front of the Capitol Building appear to have destroyed media workers’ equipment.

DC police say 13 people—a small fraction of the number that stormed the Capitol—have been arrested.

5:15 p.m. ET: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that she is “drawing up” articles of impeachment against Trump in response to the armed insurrection at the Capitol. Trump, who was impeached in 2019 for urging the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Biden, has repeatedly incited his most devoted supporters and, even after they broke into the Capitol on Wednesday, said he “loved” them.

5:00 p.m. ET: In a statement, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said that the DC National Guard had been “fully activated” after conversations between him, congressional leaders, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. Here’s Miller’s full statement:

Chairman Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer about the situation at the U.S. Capitol. We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation.  We are prepared to provide additional support as necessary and appropriate as requested by local authorities. Our people are sworn to defend the constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.

4:51 p.m. ET: Some members of Congress are accusing certain Republicans of inciting the riot on the Capitol. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) tweeted that she would be introducing a resolution calling for those Republicans’ expulsion from Congress. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex) called for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to resign. Hawley and Cruz both planned to object to the certification of the Electoral College results.

4:36 p.m. ET: A SWAT team appears to have entered the Capitol to start clearing the building. It’s unclear whether any arrests have been made.

4:25 p.m. ET: President Trump released a video urging insurrectionists to “go home in peace” while simultaneously inciting them with more lies about the November election. 

“We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side,” he said in a video posted to Twitter. “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order.”

Twitter immediately slapped a warning label on the post, preventing it from being shared “due to a risk of violence.” 

4:20 p.m. ET: Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, deleted a tweet referring to the pro-Trump insurrectionists at the Capitol as “American Patriots.” 

In a follow-up tweet, Ivanka Trump said, “Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms.”

4:10 p.m. ET: President-elect Biden is addressing the nation, denouncing the violence on Capitol Hill and calling on Trump to “demand an end to this siege.”

“At this hour, our presidency is under an unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” he said. “What we’re seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent, it is disorder.”

3:57 p.m. ET: A tweet appears to show an insurrectionist taking a selfie with a police officer. One can’t help but wonder whether the police would be as amenable to photo-ops if the intruders weren’t white.

3:53 p.m. ET: The New York Times is reporting that a pipe bomb was found at the Republican National Committee headquarters blocks away from the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. A bomb squad successfully destroyed the explosive device.

A suspicious package was also found at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, but it has not been identified.

3:45 p.m. ET: Defense Department spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said the DC National Guard “has been mobilized” to support police in the federal district. Dan Lamothe, a Washington Post reporter, tweeted that more than 1,000 guardsmen would be “on duty tonight.”

Earlier this afternoon, the Post reported that the Defense Department had declined to send the Guard to the Capitol building once it was breached. Lamothe reported that Defense officials “initially offered to replace police in other capacities in the city, allowing more police at Capitol specifically.” (In a later statement, Hoffman denied ever rejecting a request from the DC government.)

3:35 p.m. ET: MSNBC and CNN report that a woman “on the Capitol grounds” is in critical condition “after being shot in the chest.”

3:30 p.m. ET: With Capitol Police overwhelmed by pro-Trump protesters, the New York Times reported that the Virginia National Guard and other state troopers are being sent to Washington, DC. 

3:25 p.m. ET: Several current and former Trump administration officials urged protesters to cease. 

Alyssa Farah, a former spokesperson for the Defense Department and Trump White House, called out Trump specifically to condemn the insurrection at the Capitol. 

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and billionaire owners wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2021 demands.

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