Trump Protesters Storm US Capitol
Trump protesters unhappy with the results of the Nov. 3 Presidential Election easily breached the US Capitol Wednesday on a cold, windy day where a quiet procedural process normally take place to count Electoral College votes by a joint session of the House and Senate.
Many were questioning how this could happen at one of the most secure buildings in Washington, DC, referring to a failure of security by Capital Police.
A mile-and-a-half march through the streets of Washington led directly to the Capitol, where the Electoral College count, mandated by the US Constitution to take place Jan. 6, was under way.
An objection to the results from Arizona led to the House and Senate separating from each other for a two-hour debate. The two bodies never had the chance to return and resume the count to certify Biden as the next President of the USA.
Secret Service whisked away Vice President Mike Pence when the breach became apparent. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also taken to a secure location, it was announced. The entire area was evacuated before protesters breached that historic room.
Protesters were referred to as domestic terrorists and rioters by some in describing their actions, which included storming the building, occupying the exterior steps, and entering the Senate chamber after it was cleared of all elected officials and staff. Some photos showed protesters occupying offices while wearing Trump flags and MAGA hats. One man from Arkansas, Richard Barnett, broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, sat at her desk, posed for photos and stole her mail. He was not arrested.
One woman was shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital with critical injuries. She later died. Three others died during the siege due to medical situations.
There were reports of tear gas and smoke grenades being used on the Senate side of the Capitol to disperse protesters. Many roamed freely through the halls of Congress, taking selfies and videos of their illegal shenanigans. Some were eventually pepper sprayed by police.
Metropolitan Police, Maryland and Virginia State Troopers, the FBI and the DC National Guard were called in for assistance, as well as other law enforcement agencies to assist Capitol Police.
President-Elect Joe Biden called on President Donald Trump to go on live TV and denounce the seige. He called the surge on the Capitol "sedition" and an "insurrection."
“At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said. He called it “an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.”
An IED was reportedly found on the Capitol grounds.
Capitol Police drew their service weapons on one protester who broke glass in a door of the Senate Chamber. The protester found himself staring down the barrels of three or four Glock pistols at point-blank range.
As of 3:30 CST, Capitol Police still had not gotten a handle on the situation.
Trump falsely claimed the election was stolen from him in a short video posted late this afternoon. He told the protesters he loves them and to "go home in peace."
A platform built to be part of Biden's inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 was overrun with Trump protesters.
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) issued the following statement at 3:35 p.m. CST:
"Thank you to the brave law enforcement officials who have put their lives on the line. The violence must end, those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job," the email read.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) issued the following statement at 4:12 p.m. in response to the violence on Capitol Hill:
"The violent rioting on Capitol Hill is appalling and must stop! These so-called protesters have exhibited behavior one would expect to witness during a third world coup. This disgusting behavior is not representative of what we stand for as a country. This is thuggery and violators must be punished to the fullest extent allowed under federal law. We cannot heal our divides as a nation if this lawlessness persists,” Hartzler said.
On a side note, Jon Ossoff is the projected winner of Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoff election, defeating GOP Sen. David Perdue and giving Democrats control of the upper chamber, clearing a pathway for them to carry out President-elect Joe Biden’s Democratic agenda.
Democrat Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, won his race against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) in the other Senate contest.
On a regional note, about 200 protesters were allowed to move into the Kansas Statehouse for a peaceful protest Wednesday afternoon in Topeka.
The Capitol Police Department reportedly had control of the situation and the protesters were gathered in a circle and are remaining peaceful.
A 6 p.m. curfew was established by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. There were plans by Metro Police to clear the area at that time. Flash bangs were used to push back pro-Trump supporters remaining in the area.
The Capitol complex buildings are connected by a vast network of underground tunnels.
The Capitol was deemed secure by the House Sergeant At Arms just five minutes before the 12-hour curfew was to begin.
Plans call for the Electoral College verification process to resume at 7 p.m. CST tonight.
There is talk of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office prior to Jan. 20.
Sen. Mitt Romney issued a statement Wednesday night:
"What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President," he said. “I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election,” the statement concluded.
Twitter announced it was suspending Trump's account for 12 hours. This was the first time in the Trump presidency that Twitter has taken such a drastic step. He was also reportedly locked out of Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours.
Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will extend the block on President Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts after deeming the risks "too great" after yesterday's events on Capitol Hill.
Zuckerberg said Trump will be blocked from using Facebook and Instagram "indefinitely" and at least for the next two weeks "until a peaceful transition of power is complete."
Twitter put a temporary lock on President Trump's account on Wednesday after he "repeatedly posted false accusations about the integrity of the election."