Editor’s note: This is a live account of election updates from Wednesday, Jan. 6, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated.

The joint session of Congress to tally the official count of electoral votes was put on hold for hours after a pro-Trump crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, marching through the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags, and forcing a halt to congressional deliberations over challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

The crowd fought with Capitol Police and then forced its way into the building, not long after a huge rally near the White House during which President Donald Trump egged them on to march to Capitol Hill. As the mob made its way into the Capitol, one woman was shot and later died of her injuries. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. police issued a 6 p.m. curfew and Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency.

Normally a mere formality, the day has taken on added significance as Trump has used nearly all available measures to try to overturn his electoral defeat.

Democrat Joe Biden won the electoral vote 306-232 over Trump.

More than a dozen Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House of Representative members are expected to object to election certification, which would lead to hours of debate. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, initially said she would object to the certification, but changed her mind Wednesday, saying the riot was “unlawful and unacceptable” and urging Trump to “put an end to this madness.”

Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, presides over the session but the Constitution does not give him the power to change results. Trump, in his efforts to overturn the election results, has nonetheless called on Pence to reject the state-certified tallies of several states.

Congress reconvened hours later, vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College vote for Biden’s election. Vice President Mike Pence reopened the session by directly addressed the demonstrators: “You did not win.”

The Seattle Times will be updating this post with the latest news throughout the day.

Watch live footage from the U.S. Capitol:

Congress affirms victory for Biden, Harris

After a chaotic day in the nation's capital, including the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob and the formal debate of two states' electoral votes, the U.S. Congress completed its confirmation of the results of the Nov. 3 election.

At about 12:40 a.m. Pacific time, Congress affirmed victories for Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States.

Biden and Harris will be sworn into office on Jan. 20.

Read more here.


House, Senate reject objection to Pennsylvania electoral votes

The Senate and House of Representatives have each voted to reject an objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes.

Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, triggering two hours of debate in the House and Senate.

After rejections in each chamber of U.S. Congress, a joint session has reconvened to count the remaining electoral votes for president and vice president.

Tensions rise among House legislators after Pennsylvania Democrat accuses Republicans of lying about his state's votes

A small group of House lawmakers came close to physically fighting early Thursday morning as the congressional count of electoral votes stretched into the wee hours and a Pennsylvania Democrat charged that Republicans had been telling “lies” about his state’s votes.

Rep. Morgan Griffiths, R-Va., objected after Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., said a breach of the Capitol by an angry mob earlier in the day was “inspired by lies, the same lies you are hearing in this room tonight.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the objection, but a few minutes later Republicans and Democrats streamed to the middle aisle, with around a dozen lawmakers getting close to each other and arguing. But the group quickly broke up when Pelosi called for order on the floor.

—Associated Press

Other Washington state lawmakers join Jayapal in call to invoke 25th Amendment, remove Trump from office

Several members of Washington's congressional delegation Wednesday night joined in the call to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from the White House.

U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray were among those who announced their support of an invocation after Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol building earlier in the day. Rep. Pramila Jayapal was the first Washington representative to call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump earlier Wednesday. All are Democrats.

“Yesterday was one of the darkest days in American history," DelBene said in a statement. "The President of the United States encouraged a violent mob to attack members of Congress to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. He failed to repudiate the violence he started and refused to activate security forces to protect the U.S. Capitol. Consequently, he violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Murray voiced similar sentiments on Twitter, saying, "The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment."


Organizer cancels planned protests of lack of access to Washington state’s shuttered Capitol building

The organizer of planned daily demonstrations at the Washington Capitol to protest a lack of access to the upcoming remote legislative session has announced he is canceling the event.

The announcement Wednesday night by organizer Tyler Miller came at the end of a tumultuous day for democracy, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Miller had been promoting a daily protest to start Sunday, the day before the Legislature convenes. He has contended that the lack of access to the closed Capitol building, shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, violates the state constitution.

Lawmakers will largely be meeting remotely this session, in committee and floor sessions that will be streamed on tvw.org. 

From the outset, Miller has stressed repeatedly that his demonstration would be a peaceful affair, and he had discouraged agitation.

But in a Facebook live event through his organization, Hazardous Liberty, he said Wednesday’s events changed his mind.

Read the full story here.

—Joseph O'Sullivan

Siege on Capitol renews talk of ousting Trump through 25th Amendment

The siege on the U.S Capitol by rioting supporters of President Donald Trump has renewed talk of an extreme remedy: declaring that the president is unfit to do his job and removing him from office under the 25th Amendment.

It is not the first time detractors have sought Trump’s ouster through invocation of the amendment. Early in his term, Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California introduced a resolution urging Trump to seek a medical and psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness for office, with an eye on the law governing presidential succession. The proposal went nowhere.

Many Democrats took up the cause again Wednesday.

Under the amendment, which addresses the issue of presidential disability as well as succession, the vice president and a majority of the president’s Cabinet may declare the president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” by notifying the leaders of the House and Senate. At that point, the vice president assumes the duties of the president.

But it’s not that simple: Trump would have to go along, a scenario that seems implausible, to say the least.

If the vice president and Cabinet declared the president incapacitated, he could reclaim his powers by writing to legislative leaders and declaring his ability to do the job. If the vice president and Cabinet members object, the matter then gets kicked over to Congress, which has 21 days to act. It would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers to strip the president of his powers, once and for all.

—Los Angeles Times

Senate votes against objections to Biden's Pennsylvania win

The Senate has quickly killed Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.

Senators voted 92-7 after midnight to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.

In a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it’s the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some GOP lawmakers have backed President Donald Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.

The Senate rejected the effort to cancel Pennsylvania’s votes without any debate.

Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.

—Associated Press

Two Republican lawmakers object to counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes

Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, triggering up to two hours of debate in the House and Senate.

The objections come 11 hours after the congressional count to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory began.

Hawley said last week that he would object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, saying Congress should investigate voter fraud.

Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 80,000 votes. Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his allies filed at least a half-dozen lawsuits challenging Biden’s win on various grounds, including that many or all of the state’s mail-in ballots were illegal.

—Associated Press

‘The biggest form of blasphemy’: Washingtonians express profound sadness at storming of Capitol, though some are not surprised

Many saw it coming. And yet, watching people storm the U.S. Capitol in the other Washington, people across the state were still amazed, saddened and almost speechless.

They clung to optimism, believing in a return to American stability and democracy as we know it, while acknowledging that wouldn’t be easy.

“It makes me weep,” said Nanci Main, a chef and former restaurateur in Southwest Washington’s Pacific County, and then she proceeded to do just that. “It’s like the biggest form of blasphemy to me.”

Nobody had seen anything like it before, not in the U.S. A mob refusing to accept that President Donald Trump lost the election, egged on by the president himself, breaking glass to get into the chamber where lawmakers were counting electoral votes. Congress members ducking for cover and donning gas masks while a woman was shot and killed. The president tweeting for an end to the violence, then in a later video telling rioters “go home, we love you.”

Among them were people from Washington, like Michelle Le, a Bellevue real estate broker and ardent Trump supporter who sees Democrats as having the kind of socialist agenda that took over her homeland of Vietnam.

Mount Vernon dairy farmer Jason Vander Kooy said he doesn’t support violence. The Trump supporter spent Wednesday tearing down old buildings on his farm. But he understands the skepticism of election results.

Read the full story here.

—Nina Shapiro

Capitol rioters should be barred from flights home, flight attendant union says

The head of a union representing flight attendants from 17 airlines said the people who were part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday should be barred from getting back on planes and flying home.

In a statement released Wednesday night, Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, condemned the “mob mentality behavior” on flights to the District of Columbia area on Tuesday that included passengers heckling Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and getting into shouting matches.

“Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today,” Nelson said in the statement Wednesday. “Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area.”

She continued: “Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.”

Nelson called on airlines as well as law enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation to protect passengers and crew by “keeping all problems on the ground.”

The union did not say who should be responsible for keeping passengers off planes or how those people should be identified.

—The Washington Post

House rejects objection to Biden's Arizona victory

The House has voted overwhelmingly 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.

—Associated Press

Four dead after Trump-supporters breached US Capitol, two pipe bombs recovered

Four people died as supporters of President Donald Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said the dead on Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”

Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hourslong occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.

The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.

D.C. police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police found a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.

—Associated Press

Senate rejects objection to Arizona electoral vote

The Senate has overwhelmingly 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 false 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.

—Associated Press

At least 30 arrested for violating curfew in Washington, DC

Police have arrested 30 people for violating a curfew imposed in Washington, D.C., after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Officials say the 30 people were arrested Wednesday evening after being found on the streets after the 6 p.m.

The curfew had been imposed after scores of supporters of President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol, halting the constitutional process of voting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. They were later forcibly removed from the Capitol.

The Metropolitan Police Department said 15 other people had been arrested on Tuesday and Wednesday in various protest-related arrests on an array of charges, including weapons possession and assault.

Fire officials also took 13 people to area hospitals on Wednesday from protest-related injuries.

—Associated Press

Rep. Pramila Jayapal calls for Trump to be removed with 25th Amendment

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the first Washington representative to call for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, called on Wednesday night for him to be removed from office using the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment allows the vice president, with the support of a majority of the Cabinet, to remove the president from office.

"Donald Trump must be removed immediately," Jayapal, D-Seattle, wrote. "I'm calling on Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to put this country first and uphold their constitutional duty to invoke the 25th Amendment. We must hold the man who incited today's dangerous assault on America fully accountable."

—David Gutman

Seahawks’ Jamal Adams on pro-Trump mob’s storming of U.S. Capitol: ‘It’s disgusting’

Preparing for a playoff game and a shot at the Super Bowl didn’t prevent some Seahawks from noticing the events Wednesday in Washington, D.C., where a mob of Donald Trump supporters rushed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election.

Three veteran Seahawks who spoke to the media via Zoom had strong reactions.

“It’s disgusting,” said safety Jamal Adams, who has raised a fist in the air during the national anthem all season. “It’s really just exposing what’s been out there.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson said because of meetings he had looked at his phone only once all day and did not have a full accounting of the events.

Left tackle Duane Brown — who began kneeling during the anthem in 2017 while with Houston and has been among the Seahawks to stay inside the locker room during its playing this year — spoke before practice as events were beginning to unfold.

"This is what’s going on,” Brown said. “It’s been incited, and people can’t be surprised by what’s happening because it’s been kinda provoked for a long time. It’s here now, and it’s not being met with the same outrage and anger as other protests, and things that have happened over the last recent months."

Read the full story here.

—Bob Condotta

Multiple Republican senators change mind, decide against planned objections to Biden victory

Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.

Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”

All three had previously signed on to Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier Wednesday.

—Associated Press

Congress 'will not be deterred' from confirming election results, McConnell says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Congress “will not be deterred” in confirming the results of the presidential election.

The Republican leader reopened the Senate late Wednesday vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College for President-elect Joe Biden. McConnell said demonstrators “tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”

McConnell added that he plans to keep the Senate in session Wednesday to finish confirming the results.

—Associated Press

Sen. Saldaña predicts 'trouble' when Washington State Legislature reconvenes next week

Washington state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña said she expects "trouble" when she and other legislators return to Olympia on Monday to start the new session, but she has "faith that justice will prevail."

"It is rooted in a long history of people who have stood up with their fists, not to inflict pain, but to claim the power that is in our body to life and the right to life," said Saldaña, D-Seattle, in a statement.

"This to me is the result of our commitment to the militarization of our democracy. … I understand when people operate from fear and othering," she said. "It’s not surprising to me that they’re responding this way, but I do believe that as flawed as our democracy is, it is something that’s worth fighting for."

She continued by saying she refuses to "let them try to occupy our places of democracy without us being there."

"So we will be showing up on Monday to open sessions, to change laws and hopefully transform some of them to undo the white supremacy that’s embedded in so many of our state laws and in our state constitution," the statement said. "And I hope my colleagues will join me, because the way things are going, I don’t want that world.”

—Elise Takahama and Crystal Paul

Senate reconvenes to resume tallying official count of electoral votes

The Senate has resumed debating the Republican challenge against Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, more than six hours after pro-Trump mobs attacked the Capitol and forced lawmakers to flee.

Scores of Republican representatives and 13 GOP senators had planned to object Wednesday to the electoral votes of perhaps six states that backed Biden. It was unclear whether those objections would continue in light of the day’s violent events.

"Those who perform these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters," Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said, instead calling them "goons and thugs, domestic terrorists" who he said should be prosecuted.

—Associated Press

Obama applauds Republican leaders who spoke out against today's violence, urges unity as a country

Former President Barack Obama told Americans in a statement Wednesday evening that while we shouldn't be surprised by the violence at the nation's Capitol, he was "heartened" to see many Republican leaders speaking out against the riot.

"History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," he said in the statement.

Right now, he said, Republicans can either continue down this road and "keep stoking the raging fires" or they can "choose reality." But he also applauded Republican leaders who have spoken out against President Donald Trump and "refused to be intimidated."

"We need more leaders like these," he said.

—Elise Takahama

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis blames president for Wednesday riots

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned in protest over President Donald Trump’s Syria policies, blamed the president for the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

In a sharp rebuke Wednesday, Mattis said the violence was fomented by Trump, who has used the presidency “to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens.”

His written statement concluded, “Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country.”

—Associated Press

Top Melania Trump aide resigns

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff and press secretary for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned following violent protests at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Grisham says in a statement Wednesday that it was an “honor” to serve the country in the White House and be part of he first lady’s “mission” to help children.

Grisham was one of Trump’s longest serving aides, having joined the campaign in 2015. She served as the White House press secretary and never held a press briefing.

Wednesday’s violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol by the president’s supporters sparked renewed conversations inside the White House about mass resignations by mid-level aides who are responsible for operations of the office of the president.

Two people familiar with the conversations said the aides were torn between fears of what more would happen if they left and a desire to register their disgust with their boss. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

—Associated Press

NBA's Celtics and Heat criticize police response to pro-Trump supporters

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat issued a statement Wednesday evening criticizing the police response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier in the day, comparing it to last summer's protests for Black lives.

"2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed," the statement from the NBA teams said. "We play tonight's game with a heavy heart after yesterday's decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation's capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on."

The teams added that the difference between the way Black Lives Matter groups were treated last spring and summer and the way pro-Trump supporters were treated Wednesday "shows how much more work we have to do."

Both teams will play their Wednesday evening games "to try and bring joy into people's lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues."

—Elise Takahama

National Sheriffs' Association denounces riot at nation's Capitol

The National Sheriff's Association denounced Wednesday's riot at U.S. Capitol, saying in a statement that the attack has "no place in our democracy" and urged those who took part to "recognize their actions have disintegrated into violence."

"Our great country must solve our differences in a civilized method – at the ballot box," Sheriff David Mahoney, president of the National Sheriff's Association, said in a statement. "The violence and injuries today at the U.S. Capitol are repulsive to every freedom-loving American and an assault on democracy. For those choosing to use violence and intimidation, we must not permit, condone, or support it."

Mahoney demanded President Donald Trump end the "criminal behavior" immediately.

—Elise Takahama

Former McMorris Rodgers aide Evan McMullin torches her as 'one of Trump's earliest enablers'

A former aide to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, says she should not be excused for belatedly backing off her plans to challenge the Electoral College results after the riot at the Capitol.

Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer, left McMorris Rodgers' office in 2016 to launch a longshot bid for president — an unsuccessful spoiler campaign to deny Trump the White House.

On Wednesday, he tweeted a condemnation about members of Congress, "who joined Trump's coup attempt, and who now, seeing its horror, disavow it." He added: "They knew the peril of their actions from the start, even from the beginning of Trump's rise. They are completely and evermore complicit in this betrayal."

That tweet didn't name McMorris Rodgers. But McMullin directly lashed her in a direct message to The Seattle Times.

"The people of Washington State should know that Cathy was one of Trump's earliest enablers in Congress, aggressively pressuring Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders to support him even after the danger he posed was clear. Worse, she saw and pursued political opportunity for herself in his rise despite that danger," he wrote.

McMorris Rodgers had said she would object to the electoral results confirming Joe Biden's victory this week — the only member of Washington's delegation to do so — citing "concerns" about election procedures in some states.

She reversed herself after the pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, saying she'd vote to uphold the election results in a statement also calling on Trump "to condemn and put an end to this madness."

A McMorris Rodgers spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about McMullin's criticisms.

—Jim Brunner

Congress will resume Electoral College proceedings once Capitol is clear, Pelosi says

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will resume the Electoral College proceedings once the Capitol is cleared of pro-Donald Trump protesters and safe for use.

Pelosi said she made the decision Wednesday in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.

She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”

—Associated Press

Business groups condemn violence on Capitol Hill: ‘This is sedition’

Business groups and leaders of large corporations condemned the violence on Capitol Hill that disrupted efforts to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Hours after supporters of President Donald Trump forced lawmakers from the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives, the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from some of the nation’s largest companies, called on the president and other officials to “put an end to the chaos and facilitate the peaceful transition of power.”

“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the organization posted on Twitter.

The National Association of Manufacturers, one of the country’s largest lobbying groups, suggested that Vice President Mike Pence should consider invoking a provision of the 25th Amendment that allows members of the president’s Cabinet to temporarily remove him from power.

Other business leaders spoke out individually. “I strongly condemn the violence in our nation’s capital,” Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

—The New York Times

Social media sites remove Trump video, Twitter temporarily locks his account

Facebook has removed a short video by President Donald Trump in which he urged supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to “go home” while also repeating false accusations about the integrity of the presidential election.

YouTube also said it has removed the Trump video for spreading false claims about widespread election fraud. But a copy of the video was still easy to find as of Wednesday afternoon.

Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, said on Twitter Wednesday that the video was removed because it “contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”

“This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump’s video,” Rosen said on Twitter.

Twitter initially left the video up, blocking people from being able to retweet it or comment on it, but deleted it, along with two other related tweets, later Wednesday.

"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," according to Twitter.

The social media site added that Trump's account will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of the tweets.

—Associated Press

President Trump "directly responsible" for mob at Capitol, says Rep. Adam Smith

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon that President Trump "incited and encouraged this riot" at the Capitol.

"He has lied repeatedly, as have his enablers in Congress and elsewhere about this election," Smith tweeted.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, made a similar statement Wednesday afternoon, calling the events at the Capitol "an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States."

Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also said he had spoken to the Department of Defense about restoring order to the Capitol.

"The assault by pro-Trump extremists on the United States Capitol is a criminal act aimed at ending our democracy as we know it," Smith tweeted.

—Sydney Brownstone

Romney blames Trump for inciting 'unprecedented attack against our democracy'

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is blaming President Donald Trump for inciting a violent “insurrection” at the Capitol.

Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Trump’s, said the violent breach of the Capitol on Wednesday was “due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months.″

The Utah senator said those who continue to support Trump’s “dangerous gambit” by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election “will forever be seen as complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.″

The simple truth, Romney said, “is that President-elect (Joe) Biden won this election. President Trump lost.″

—Associated Press

Trump supporters leave lawn outside Inslee's Olympia residence

Trump supporters in Olympia had left Gov. Jay Inslee's property by 3:30 p.m. and assembled outside a front gate. No one in the group entered the residence at any point.

A spokesman for the Washington State Patrol said that no arrests were made, and that Gov. Jay Inslee was in a “safe location” without specifying where that was.

It was unclear how the Trump supporters were able to open the gate.

In a video posted later Wednesday, Inslee said he was "confident that we are on the verge of overcoming this as we have in the past."

—Hal Bernton

Sen. Patty Murray urges Congress to finish certifying election tonight

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., urged her fellow legislators to finish the work of certifying the election this evening, shortly after security officials declared the Capitol secure following a break-in from a crowd of Trump supporters.

Murray tweeted that both the Trump supporters that broke into the Capitol and "the President who stoked their rage must be held accountable."

—Sydney Brownstone

Woman who was shot inside U.S. Capitol has died

A woman who was shot inside the U.S. Capitol during the violent pro-Trump protest has died.

That’s according to two officials familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.

—Associated Press

Police declare unlawful assembly at Salem Trump protest

SALEM, Ore. — State Police in Oregon declared an unlawful assembly and at least one person was arrested at the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon as hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered.

Police in riot gear were trying to get people – many of whom were armed – to leave.

“OSP has declared this event an unlawful assembly. You must disperse,” State Police said via Twitter.

The pro-Trump crowd was touting unfounded allegations of election fraud and it came the same day pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Authorities said one person had been arrested for harassment and disorderly conduct. Video showed protesters and counter-protesters clashing and riot police moving in. By mid-afternoon, only a few dozen protesters remained, their American flags and Trump banners drooping in the rain. Police kept motorists from the area.

—Associated Press

Nebraska Republican senator directly blames Trump for violent protests

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse is directly blaming President Donald Trump for the storming of the Capitol by huge, angry crowds of pro-Trump protesters.

The Nebraska lawmaker and frequent critic of Trump said Wednesday evening that the Capitol “was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution.”

Sasse says in a written statement, “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”

—Associated Press

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers reverses position, will not object to Biden victory

After a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing evacuations and locking down the building Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said she would no longer object to President-elect Joe Biden's electoral victory.

McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, had been one of more than 100 House Republicans who said they would object to certifying Biden's victory, citing vague and unsupported claims of election fraud.

But, on Wednesday, she changed her mind.

"I have been consistent in my belief that Americans should utilize the Constitutional tools and legal processes available to seek answers to their questions about the 2020 election," McMorris Rodgers said. "What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness.

"What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation’s capital is disgraceful and un-American. Thugs assaulted Capitol Police Officers, breached and defaced our Capitol Building, put people’s lives in danger, and disregarded the values we hold dear as Americans.," McMorris Rodgers said.

—David Gutman

Trump supporters march to governor's mansion in Olympia

A pro-Trump crowd in Olympia has marched from the Capitol to the governor's mansion and has moved through an open gate. Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton is on the scene.

—Hal Bernton

Virginia governor declares state of emergency, issues curfews in some cities

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency and issued a curfew in Alexandria and Arlington from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, in response to ongoing protests in the area.

He added on Twitter that there are "limited exceptions."

"My team and I are working closely with @MayorBowser, @SpeakerPelosi, and @SenSchumer to respond to the situation in Washington, D.C.," Northam tweeted earlier in the day. "Per the Mayor's request, I am sending members of the Virginia National Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers."

Earlier Wednesday, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a citywide curfew also beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

—Elise Takahama

GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler makes plea for peace while sheltering at U.S. Capitol

After a mob of President Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, tweeted an account of the scene she witnessed from the House floor.

"I was on the House floor as the protestors overran police and pounded on the doors," Herrera Beutler wrote. "The Capitol Police barricaded us in. We were told to get down and to get our gas masks."

Herrera Beutler is safe and sheltered in place, according to her Twitter statement. She made a plea for Trump supporters to stand down.

"The reports you are hearing about the chaos, panic and dangerous actions by protestors are not exaggerations," Herrera Beutler continued. "I witnessed them. Is this the America we want to give to our children? A country of lawlessness and mob rule?"

Herrera Beutler said earlier this year she would vote to re-elect President Trump, but has also explained that she will not vote to overturn the Electoral College results.

In her statement, Herrera Beutler said "we cannot be a nation of lawlessness and anarchy."

But that's where the country would be headed, Herrera Beutler wrote, with "never-ending conspiracy theories and misinformation" — hallmarks of the Trump presidency.

—Sydney Brownstone

Washington Democrats say GOP has "failed time and time again to condemn that behavior"

Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington Democratic Party said that every member of their congressional delegation "who we have been able to reach" is safe, as are their staffs.

She called for "a return to peaceful order in DC" and said the day's events are the result of four years of Trump's "dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric."

"We’ve seen repeated instances of the embrace of this kind of extremist violence among the WA GOP, who have failed time and time again to condemn that behavior," Podlodowski said. "This is a dark day for our republic, but there is a new dawn ahead for our nation."

"Americans can rest assured that this unacceptable behavior will not be forgotten and those responsible will surely be held accountable."

—David Gutman

Arrests made in pro-Trump protests

The Washington, D.C., police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.

The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.

Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.

As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.

Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.

—Associated Press

Washington D.C. police chief declares riot

The police chief of Washington, D.C., says pro-Trump protesters deployed “chemical irritants” on police in order to break into the U.S. Capitol.

Police Chief Robert Contee says officials have declared the scene a riot. One civilian was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday. Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.

Mayor Muriel Bowser says the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.” She says, “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out. The National Guard was also deployed, as were Homeland Security investigators and Secret Service.

Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and 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.”

—Associated Press

Explosive device found near U.S. Capitol

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.

—Associated Press

Local leaders condemn violence at U.S. Capitol

King County Executive Dow Constantine:

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan:

“The world’s eyes are on the United States Capitol. We are seeing the dangerous and terrifying result of a president that has instigated division since the beginning of his presidency and refuses to relinquish his power. This is what happens when the President and his enablers urge armed rebellions and sow deep distrust in the election.

This is not an attack on a building; it is an attack on our Democracy, our fundamental American values, and the rule of law."

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn:

“Like many of you, I am watching in horror at what is happening in our Nation’s Capital. The President has an affirmative responsibility to call for an end to these riots and to allow our Democracy to function without intimidation. History will judge our President harshly if he does not immediately condemn these acts of violence and call for protesters to withdraw from the capitol building.

Democracy is fragile and we have an obligation to future generations to ensure that the will of the majority is honored in the United States, whether we agree with the outcome or not. I pray there is a peaceful resolution to the situation and I pray for our Country.”

Warnock, Ossoff win in Georgia, handing Dems Senate control

ATLANTA — Democrats won both Georgia Senate seats — and with them, the U.S. Senate majority — as final votes were counted Wednesday, serving President Donald Trump a stunning defeat in his last days in office while dramatically improving the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challengers who represented the diversity of their party’s evolving coalition, defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler two months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

Warnock, who served as pastor for the same Atlanta church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. preached, becomes the first African American from Georgia elected to the Senate. And Ossoff becomes the state’s first Jewish senator and, at 33 years old, the Senate’s youngest member.

Their success is a symbol of a striking shift in Georgia’s politics as the swelling number of diverse, college-educated voters flex their power in the heart of the Deep South.

Read the full story here.

—Associated Press

Trump to crowd at U.S. Capitol: 'You have to go home now'

President Donald Trump urged the pro-Trump crowd that stormed the U.S. Capitol to "go home now" and to "respect our great people in law and order"

In the one-minute video posted on Twitter, Trump made several inaccurate allegations about the election, which he lost to President-elect Joe Biden. The tweet was flagged with a disclaimer and "can't be replied to, retweeted or liked due to a risk of violence."

—Paige Cornwell

Former police chief Carmen Best cites Seattle on MSNBC

Carmen Best, the chief who retired from the Seattle Police Department in September in protest over the City Council’s plan to lay off officers and slash the department’s budget, appeared on MSNBC to discuss the pro-Trump group that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

"In Seattle, we dealt with protests nightly and they were just as violent and virulent as what we're seeing today," she said, referencing last summer's police-brutality protests. "It takes a massive show of both resources and also the use of less-lethal munitions."

1,100 D.C. National Guard mobilized

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.

—Associated Press

Pence calls on protesters to leave Capitol immediately

Vice President Mike Pence is calling on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately, going further than President Donald Trump who merely called for his supported 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.

—Associated Press

President-elect Biden speaking about violence at U.S. Capitol

President-elect Joe Biden is speaking about the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

"At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we've seen in modern times," Biden said.

Jayapal recounts scene from above House floor

Sen. Patty Murray condemns violence 'in the strongest terms'

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray wrote on Twitter that she and her staff are safe. "I condemn in the strongest terms the hate-fueled violence we are seeing in our nation's Capitol today, as should every leader committed to the peaceful transfer of power in our country," she wrote.

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, said: "President Trump encouraged this violence. He needs to call them off." DelBene's staff said she had been secured by Capitol police.

—David Gutman

Additional agents being sent to U.S. Capitol

The Department of Homeland Security is sending additional federal agents to the U.S. Capitol to help quell violence from supporters of President Donald Trump who are protesting Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

A spokesperson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents are being sent to the scene. He says they were requested to assist by U.S. Capitol Police.

—Associated Press

State GOP Chairman: Violence is 'unfathomable'

State GOP Chairman Caleb Heimlich called the violent protests in Washington D.C. "unfathomable" and unacceptable.

"I never thought I would see something like this in the greatest country in the history of the world," he said in a statement. "Violence, intimidation, and disruption of the business of the People’s House is unacceptable, and it flies in the face of our nation’s foundational values."

—Jim Brunner

Rep. Adam Smith and staff report they are safe "at the moment"

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, and his staff are "safe at the moment," Justin Weiss, Smith's communications director said.

Smith, on Twitter, wrote: "This attempted coup and domestic terrorist attack needs to end immediately."

—David Gutman

Former state GOP Chair Susan Hutchison joined D.C. protest, says she is 'against violence'

Former state Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison joined the pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, calling them "peaceful."

In tweets, she described the start of the confrontations between police and demonstrators trying to break into to the Capitol Building.

"Despite the peaceful protest, capitol police have fired at least a dozen tear gas canisters into the crowd. Wind is winning," Hutchison wrote.

Shortly after, protesters stormed the Capitol, clashing with police, smashing windows and forcing a lockdown and evacuation of members of Congress.

In a text message to The Seattle Times, Hutchison said she was "outside at a distance" and described the scene as "very peaceful." She added: "Don't know anything about the few that went inside."

Asked whether she approved of the takeover, Hutchison replied: "I am against violence."

Hutchison, a former TV journalist who ran unsuccessfully for King County executive and the U.S. Senate, has expressed support for the efforts to overturn the presidential election results.

She has previously retweeted false claims by President Donald Trump saying the election was "rigged."

—Jim Brunner

Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson addresses Trump supporters in Olympia

Joey Gibson, founder of right-wing Vancouver-based extremist group Patriot Prayer, is speaking to Trump supporters gathered outside the Washington state Capitol in Olympia.

—Hal Bernton

One person shot at U.S. Capitol

One person has been shot at the U.S. Capitol as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police.

That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity amid a chaotic situation.

The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The person said the victim had been taken to a hospital. Their condition was not known.

—Associated Press

Newhouse condemns violence as pressure mounts on Trump

Pressure is mounting on President Donald Trump to condemn supporters who are violently clashing with law enforcement on Capitol Hill.

Among those urging Trump to act: his former communications director, Alyssa Farah, who tweeted that Trump should “Condemn this now.”

She says, “you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, called on protesters to stop the violence.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen tweets he's on lockdown

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Everett, tweeted that he's in lockdown in Washington D.C. as protesters stormed the Capitol.

Trump supporters gather in Olympia

With chants of “fight for Trump” and a singer strumming on his guitar, a Trump rally got underway outside the Washington state Capitol in Olympia.

The rally drew several hundred people, some of whom held American flags or Trump 2020 banners.

—Hal Bernton

Report: National Guard deployment requested, denied

The Washington Post is reporting the Department of Defense has denied a request for National Guard deployment:

—Aaron C. Davis, The Washington Post

Strickland: 'This is domestic terrorism'

Newly elected Rep. Marilyn Strickland, D-Tacoma, said the "violence is direct result of Trump undermining our democratic process simply because he didn't like the results."

—David Gutman

Members of Congress told to put on gas masks

Members of Congress inside the House chamber were told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas was dispersed in the Capitol Rotunda amid skirmishes by supporters of President Donald Trump

After egging on protests, President Donald Trump tweeted to his supporters to “stay peaceful” as they violently clash with law enforcement and breached the Capitol building.

“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” Trump tweeted, as tear gas was deployed in the locked-down Capitol. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

—Associated Press

McMorris Rodgers: 'Stop this now'

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, who previously said she would object to certifying Biden's victory, has called on protesters to "stop this now."

D.C. mayor issues citywide curfew

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued a citywide curfew from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday in response to ongoing protests in the area.

The curfew does not apply to essential workers who are traveling to and from their jobs, Bowser said in a tweet.

—Paige Cornwell

Capitol on lockdown as Trump supporters clash violently with police

The U.S. Capitol is now on lockdown 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. Due to an “external security threat,” no one could enter or exit the Capitol complex, the recording said.

Both chambers abruptly went into recess.

The skirmishes occurred outside in the very spot where president-elect Biden will be inaugurated in just two weeks.

U.S. Capitol Police told congressional staff members they should evacuate the Cannon House Office Building and the building that houses the Library of Congress due to “police activity” as thousands gathered outside the Capitol to protest the electoral vote.

Thousands of people descended on the U.S. Capitol as Congress is expected to vote to affirm Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win. Videos posted online showed protesters fighting with U.S. Capitol Police officers as police fired pepper spray to keep them back.

Read the evolving story here.

—Christine Clarridge

McConnell says he'll rebuke effort to challenge election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will rebuke GOP efforts to challenge the Electoral College results for President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday,

"I will vote to respect the people's decision and defend our system of government as we know it," he said.

"We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids. The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken ... If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever," ABC News reported.

This is McConnell's first public opposition to President Donald Trump in Congress on the matter. 

—Christine Clarridge

House and Senate split to debate objections, as expected

The House and Senate are splitting apart, as expected, to debate after Republicans objected to Arizona Electoral College results.

The debates arise if there’s an objection to a state’s electors raised by both a House and Senate lawmaker.

The chambers then split up and have up to two hours to debate the objections, with debates going on in the House and Senate at the same time.

Read the story here.

—Christine Clarridge

AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s false claims on a day of reckoning

President Donald Trump pressed his case for overturning the election results as Congress prepared Wednesday to tally the electoral votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump has been telling wildly false tales about the election outcome for two months in a flailing effort to upend Biden’s win. He’s not pulling back now, on a day of reckoning that is firmly on track to seal his defeat despite plans by some of his allies in Congress to drag out the certification of Electoral College results.

He is also floating baseless theories about the two Senate elections Tuesday in Georgia, where Democrats picked up a seat and the other contest is too early to call.

The Associated Press debunked some of Trump's most recent claims.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Biden to name as AG Merrick Garland, Supreme Court nominee snubbed by Republicans

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge who in 2016 was snubbed by Republicans for a seat on the Supreme Court, as his attorney general, two people familiar with the selection process said Wednesday.

Biden is expected to announce Garland’s appointment on Thursday, along with other senior leaders of the department, including former homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general and former Justice Department civil rights chief Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general.

In picking Garland, Biden is turning to an experienced judge who held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, including as a supervisor of the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

The pick will force Senate Republicans to contend with the nomination of someone they spurned in 2016 — refusing even to hold hearings when a Supreme Court vacancy arose — but Biden may be banking on Garland’s credentials and reputation for moderation to ensure confirmation.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Trump pressures powerless Pence on electoral count

 President Donald Trump on Wednesday tightened the screws on his most loyal soldier, trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to use powers he does not have to overturn the will of voters in a desperate and futile bid to undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, bearing witness to the formality of the Trump-Pence team’s defeat.

Beginning at 1 p.m., Pence’s role is 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. At the end of the count, Pence, seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, has the task of announcing who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.

Despite his largely ceremonial assignment, Pence is under intense pressure from the president and legions of supporters who want the vice president to use the moment to overturn the will of the voters in a handful of battleground states.

“All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

Pence has no such unilateral power under the Constitution and congressional rules that govern the count.

Read the story here.

—Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

EXPLAINER: How Congress will count Electoral College votes

What is happening during this congressional joint session?

Under federal law, Congress must meet Jan. 6 to open sealed certificates from each state that contain a record of their electoral votes. The votes are brought into the chamber in special mahogany boxes used for the occasion.

Representatives of both parties in both chambers read the results out loud and do an official count. The president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, presides over the session and declares the winner.

Some Republicans plan to challenge Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in at least six states making what is usually a routine step in the path to inauguration the broadest effort to challenge a president’s win since the Civil War.

The Republicans — at least 13 senators and potentially more than 100 House members — are citing Trump’s repeated, baseless charges of widespread fraud. Their objections could force multiple votes in the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled House that will almost certainly fail. More than a dozen GOP senators have said they won’t support the challenges and plan to vote against them.

To understand more about what the Constitution requires, how the session is expected to unfold, what happens when there is an objection, how the challenges are affecting the Republican party and the role of Vice President Mike Pence, read the story here.

—Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press

Trump supporters heckle Romney, chanting ‘traitor’ on a flight to D.C.

Under dimmed cabin lights on a flight from Salt Lake City on Tuesday, a woman bellowed a rallying cry to a group of Trump supporters headed to D.C. to rally behind the president, urging them to tell fellow passenger Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, “what we think.”

“Traitor! Traitor! Traitor!” they chanted for 20 seconds.

“Resign, Mitt!” another shouted.

The video, which went viral on Tuesday, is the latest sign of a growing divide in the Republican Party over President Donald Trump’s false claims of a rigged election, which Romney has pointedly criticized. The incident foreshadows the rancor expected in the nation’s capital this week as thousands of Trump backers arrive to protest Congress certifying the electoral college victory for President-elect Joe Biden.

Romney’s office declined to comment on the incident.

Read the story here.

—Jaclyn Peiser, The Washington Post

Trump supporters rally near White House awaiting president

 As Congress prepared to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people lined up before sunrise Wednesday to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud.

Trump was expected to address his supporters later in the morning during a rally on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.

About an hour before Trump was set to speak, there were massive, dense lines at security checkpoints near the White House. At the Lincoln Memorial, dozens of Trump supporters stood on the steps with large Trump flags.

Nirav Peterson, who flew in from Seattle to attend the rally, said there would be a groundswell of anger and activism if Trump doesn’t serve another term and said Republicans who don’t back him should face primary challenges.

“People are angry. This isn’t going to go away,” Peterson said as she took video of the large crowd gathered beyond the steel barriers at the foot of the Washington Monument. “You have a huge, huge portion of the people who aren’t going to take it anymore.”

Like many others, Peterson was not wearing a mask. She said she opposes the shutdowns prompted by the pandemic and doesn’t believe anyone has died from COVID-19. More than 350,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

Republican Party faces defining moment under Trump’s shadow

The Republican Party is facing a defining moment.

The nearly 167-year-old party is divided over the typically mundane congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. The process, which will unfold Wednesday on Capitol Hill, is opening a schism between those wanting to honor democratic norms and those staying in lockstep with President Donald Trump out of hopes of avoiding his wrath and inheriting his supporters.

The final outcome is not in doubt: The results will eventually be certified for Biden, who will be sworn in as the nation’s 46th president two weeks later. But what comes next for the Republican Party is anything but clear.

It is party engulfed in a civil war, a split caused by degrees of loyalty to Trump. At stake: whether the party will maintain its fealty to Trump even after he leaves office and the GOP turns its eyes toward regaining the White House in 2024.

“This is the moment for Republicans to choose between deciding to break themselves free from this maniacal hold Trump has had on them or seal themselves inside the tomb he has built for them,” said Michael Steele, former head of the Republican Party. “The first shot out of the 2024 cannon will be fired. And they will either turn the cannon on themselves or move forward without the shackles of Trumpism around their ankles?”

The party’s factions have emerged in stark relief in recent days. More than 100 members of the House of Representatives, long held in Trump’s sway, have said they would object Wednesday to Biden’s victory.

Read the story here.

—Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press