A day that began with thousands of President Trump’s supporters in Washington for demonstrations turned violent as many in attendance saw Wednesday as a last stand for Trump because Congress was set to confirm that President-elect Joe Biden won the election.

Trump — who lost the popular and electoral college vote — continues to dispute the election results, without evidence, and has encouraged his supporters to attend the rallies. He took the stage about noon to roaring crowds, falsely claiming he had won the election.

Later at the U.S. Capitol, throngs of people pushed past police who were trying to block them from entering the building as lawmakers inside debated counting electoral college votes confirming Biden’s victory. A mob was able to breach security and successfully enter the building, where one person was shot and later died.

The latest developments
  • The Senate stopped its proceedings, with Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) interrupted by an aide who said protesters were in the building. The House doors also were closed. In a notification, U.S. Capitol Police said no entry or exit is permitted in the buildings within the Capitol Complex. “Stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” police said.
  • A woman was fatally shot inside the U.S. Capitol after the mob breached the building. The circumstances were not clear.
  • The entire D.C. National Guard was activated. The rapid expansion of military involvement came after D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) requested that guards members already on duty be sent to the Capitol, said a defense official and a District official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
  • In a televised speech, Biden condemned Trump for stoking the violence. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward,” he said.
  • Bowser imposed a citywide curfew as a chaotic scene worsened at the U.S. Capitol building. From 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, Bowser said no one other than essential personnel would be allowed outdoors in the city.
5:40 a.m.
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FBI appeals for information from public on Capitol rioters

The FBI issued a public call early Thursday for “tips and digital media” which would help them identify rioters who invaded the Capitol Wednesday afternoon and vandalized the historic landmark.

The FBI said anyone who witnessed unlawful violent actions may submit information, photos or videos to fbi.gov/USCapitol. Tipsters may also call 1-800-CALL-FBI. Anyone with information but no digital media to submit may also contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.

“Our goal is to preserve the public’s constitutional right to protest,” the FBI’s Washington Field Office said in the release, “by protecting everyone from violence and other criminal activity.”

5:35 a.m.
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Woman shot and killed in Capitol identified as Air Force veteran

The woman who was shot and killed during rioting in the Capitol on Wednesday was identified as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, a California native and Air Force veteran, said her former husband.

Timothy McEntee wrote in text messages that Babbitt, of San Diego, was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in the Air Force, before other deployments with the National Guard to Kuwait and Qatar. McEntee and Babbitt met in the Air Force and were married for 14 years, before splitting in 2019.

“I feel absolutely terrible and sick to my stomach about it … she had a big head and a strong mind,” McEntee wrote. “She was never afraid to speak her mind and in a way this was her way of speaking her mind (going to the rally).”

McEntee said Babbitt had remarried and owned a small business. She was born and raised in San Diego.

“You would never forget meeting her,” McEntee wrote. “She was very loud and opinionated but caring, sweet, thoughtful, loving.”

McEntee did not know Babbitt had traveled to D.C. for the protests.

A Twitter account under Babbitt’s name had retweeted messages calling for Vice President Pence to resign and be charged with treason, videos of President Trump’s rallies and photos of Trump supporters flying to D.C. for the protests.

5:04 a.m.
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Three died of medical emergencies during siege of Capitol

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Jan. 6 said the "unprecedented attack on American democracy" was incited by President Trump. (D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser)

Three people suffered medical emergencies and died during the Wednesday siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee III said.

The people’s names and the circumstances of their deaths were not released during the late-night news conference with Contee and Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Wednesday.

Their deaths were in addition to the fatal shooting of a woman by a Capitol Police officer.

Also at the news conference, Bowser (D) declared a public emergency in the city until Jan. 21, to “extend and security through the inauguration,” which gives her more authority to draw on resources to maintain city security. Inauguration Day is Jan. 20.

Bowser called the attack on the Capitol an “affront on our American democracy” and implored city residents to abide by the city’s curfew.

“I urge anyone who is not in place in your home or your hotel — and if you mean to cause trouble in the streets of D.C. you will be arrested,” she said.

Bowser blamed the president for the rioting.

“We saw an unprecedented attack on our American democracy incited by the United States president,” Bowser said. “He must be held accountable. His constant and divisive rhetoric led to the abhorrent actions we saw today.”

Contee said 14 D.C. officers were injured. One was pulled into a crowd, assaulted and hospitalized. Another received “significant facial injuries” after being hit by a projectile. Others are not as serious.

Contee said police had made at least 52 arrests: four for carrying pistols without licenses, one arrest for possession of a prohibited weapon and 47 arrests for curfew violations and unlawful entry. Twenty-six of the 52 arrests were made on U.S. Capitol grounds, Contee said.

The chief also confirmed that police recovered two pipe bombs at the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee offices. A cooler that contained molotov cocktails also was found on U.S. Capitol grounds, the chief said. Bowser said officials will review video and issue lookout alerts for people who breached the U.S. Capitol, adding that they “need to be held accountable for the carnage.”

Contee also said at the news conference that D.C. police had participated in “several planning meetings with Capitol Police” and other agencies to plan for protests on Wednesday. He said Capitol Police called for help at 1 p.m. because of “significant activity” outside the Capitol and that “we immediately deployed platoons to assist the Capitol Police.”

4:51 a.m.
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Va. gubernatorial candidate says Trump supporters forced to resort to ‘revolution’

Virginia state Sen. Amanda F. Chase (R-Chesterfield), a Trump-style populist who is seeking her party’s gubernatorial nomination, attended the pro-Trump rally but left before the crowd stormed the Capitol.

In a Facebook video posted Wednesday night, she defended the “patriots” and “law-abiding citizens” who she said had been forced by the alleged election fraud to resort to “revolution.”

“I support peaceful protest, but I’m telling you, when you back the people of Virginia and across the United States of America into a corner, you’ll end up with a revolution,” she said. “And I believe that’s what you’re starting to see.”

3:56 a.m.
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D.C. police removed crowds after Capitol police were overwhelmed, according to people familiar with the response

After the first group of protesters breached the Capitol on Wednesday, D.C. Metropolitan Police took over handling the removal of crowds from the U.S. Capitol grounds, according to two people familiar with the response.

Two District officials familiar with the deployment said D.C. police Inspector Robert Glover, who heads the special event branch in the department’s Homeland Security Bureau, took over coordinating the response from various agencies and directing staff and resources to execute the plan for their removal.

The Capitol police officers, overwhelmed by the crowds who broke into the Capitol building, took responsibility for leading lawmakers to safety and ejecting the relatively small groups of protesters who had gotten inside, the two people said. Once those protesters were forced outside, D.C. police oversaw their removal from the external stairs, porticos and balconies of the Capitol.

Very few people who breached the Capitol were arrested, and one law enforcement official said the reason was simply limited manpower. Officers didn’t have enough backup to take the time to arrest and detain those who had broken in to what lawmakers Wednesday called “The People’s House.”

Read full story here.

3:48 a.m.
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Scenes from a violent day at the Capitol

See more photos here.

3:39 a.m.
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‘Insurrection’: All four living former presidents denounce violence at the Capitol

All four living former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — denounced Wednesday’s violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, with two condemning President Trump by name for stoking the rioting.

Obama said in a statement that history will remember violence “incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election.” But he also blamed “a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem” for playing along with Trump’s falsehoods, saying Republican leaders can either continue down a dark path or “choose reality.”

Clinton said that Wednesday’s “unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country” was long in the making.

“The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost,” Clinton tweeted.

Condemnation also rained down from some members of Trump’s party in Congress: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) described “an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States.”

Bush did not mention Trump or any other leader by name but criticized the politicians who “inflamed” those who stormed the Capitol building, where a woman was fatally shot.

“This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election,” Bush said in a statement.

Calling the chaos an insurrection, Bush implored those disappointed by the outcome of the presidential election to put country over “the politics of the moment.”

Carter said in a statement that Wednesday’s events were a “national tragedy,” but did not cite Trump or his supporters while striking a hopeful tone. “Having observed elections in troubled democracies worldwide, I know that we the people can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must,” he said.

3:12 a.m.
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D.C. police make curfew arrests as unrest at Capitol quiets

About 30 people had been arrested by D.C. police for curfew violations by 9:30 p.m., the office of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said. Officials cautioned a more precise number will be made available on Thursday, and additional arrests are possible.

These curfew arrests are in addition to the 13 people arrested since Tuesday afternoon on other charges that include firearm offenses, assault and crossing police lines.

D.C. police arrested about a dozen Trump supporters for curfew violation on New York Avenue NW, near 15th Street about two blocks from the White House, just before 8 p.m.

As the night continued, downtown streets emptied, except for a handful of Trump supporters smoking outside hotels or walking in small groups. A few cars passed through, some with out-of-area plates seeking an exit from the city. D.C. police occasionally used loud speakers in their cruisers to warn walkers they were violating curfew.

Outside the Marriott hotel on 14th Street NW around 9:15 p.m., a small group of people were arguing loudly with about 10 MPD officers standing opposite them on the sidewalk. One woman yelled, “This is tyranny.” The small crowd refused to go inside, and more people joined them from inside the hotel, chanting, “Shame on you,” “1776!” and “Whose streets? Our streets.” One person waved a large Trump flag.

Dozens more officers assembled in a line in the middle of the road to face them. By about 15 mins later, shouts from the crowd to police grew louder and louder.

By 8:45, law enforcement officers around the Capitol seemed to sense that the immediate threat of violence had dissipated. On the east side, the lines of officers that stood behind the metal barriers before Congress reconvened had dispersed.

More than two dozen officers seemed to head for home, saying good night and making jokes about how badly they needed the bathroom. The Capitol lawn remained littered with signs declaring support for Trump.

After 9 p.m., National guardsmen unbuckled their helmets and set down their shields. The dozen or so Trump supporters still lingering at the reflecting pool settled onto folding chairs and mounds of grass. A woman with a megaphone continued to berate the police. “We have rights,” she said. “We have the right to be here and exercise our First Amendment rights.”

1:40 a.m.
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Failure to protect Capitol building called an ‘embarrassment'

With officers and bomb-sniffing dogs still sweeping the Capitol on Wednesday night, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), chair of the committee that controls the Capitol Police budget, held a news conference from his office via Zoom. He thanked those in the department who acted heroically in the face of the mob but said answers can’t come soon enough about the failures of planning that allowed the crowd to storm the Capitol, and images of some officers who appeared to allow protesters in.

“There were clearly enormous strategic and planning failures by the Capitol Police, by the Sergeant at Arms and anyone else who was a part of coordinating this effort. This is the United States Capitol building, with the United States Congress in session handling the presidential election process,” said Ryan, head of the House Appropriations Committee’s legislative branch subcommittee.

“The reinforcements that we thought — that I was told would be in place — that the National Guard was engaged, that D.C. metro police was engaged, that the SWAT teams were engaged, that we were prepared for this,” Ryan said. “There as a strategic breakdown, for sure, and you can bet your a-- we are going to get to the bottom of it.”

Ryan said he had been in frequent contact with Capitol Police and the sergeant at arms and had been assured as recently as Tuesday night that the Capitol complex was secure and that the department was coordinating with the Secret Service, D.C. police and the National Guard for any additional resources that would be needed.

Ryan said he understood from Capitol Police that protesters were to be corralled on the east side of the building, toward the Supreme Court.

“There was not supposed to be anyone near the Capitol. You would be reasonably close, to be able to protest and express your view, but nobody belongs on the Capitol plaza. Nobody ever goes on the Capitol steps. … Those were illegal acts, and those people should have been immediately arrested.”

Ryan continued, “I think it’s pretty clear that there are going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment, both on behalf of the mob and the president and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur.”

Asked about viral videos showing officers allowing protesters through a gate at one point, and in another an officer appearing to pose with protesters for a selfie, Ryan said he was shocked and would be demanding answers from Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund.

“Is that a training issue? I just don’t know. The Capitol is getting stormed by a mob and you’re taking selfies with, you know, the people. It’s crazy, just crazy.”

1:30 a.m.
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Suspected homemade bombs found near RNC and DNC headquarters

What appeared to be two realistic-looking homemade bombs were found near the Republican National Committee headquarters and the Democratic National Committee headquarters in downtown Washington, officials said Wednesday, adding to the danger and disorder centered around Congress.

The suspected bomb outside the RNC was found next to a trash container, and was a metal pipe with metal end caps, with wires running from inside the pipe to a plastic kitchen timer, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing investigations.

FBI explosives experts responded to both devices, and they were “rendered safe by the FBI and our law enforcement partners,” the bureau said in a statement. “The investigation is ongoing.”

In a statement, the RNC called the suspicious package outside its building an “explosive device that was successfully detonated.”

Federal agents also are investigating a pickup truck found outside the RNC, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

The truck, parked across the street from the party offices and near the entrance to a Metro station, contained rifles and shotguns, a great deal of ammunition, and other unspecified material, these people said. Federal agents are still trying to determine if that vehicle and its contents are connected to the suspected pipe bombs found earlier, the people said.

1:20 a.m.
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Law enforcement prepares for return of lawmakers to Capitol

Hundreds of law enforcement officers outside the Capitol prepared for the return of lawmakers to resume the electoral college count.

Some removed Trump flags that had been left inside the building. The building’s east side had been cleared of all protesters and encircled in barricades. Police dogs paced the stairs that hordes of protesters had occupied hours before.

Nearby, D.C. police barricaded some remaining Trump supporters by the Reflecting Pool outside the Capitol.

Some tried to threaten and intimidate police in response.

“Next time we’ll come back with rifles,” a man carrying a wooden bat said. “And that’s not an idle threat.”

Others told the police not to follow “illegal orders.”

On the West side of the Capitol just before 8 p.m., there were hundreds of law enforcement officers — FBI, D.C. National Guard and D.C. police. There were several large white buses marked “police,” in front of which authorities lined up rioters who had been detained.

12:58 a.m.
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‘Disgusted’: Companies, business groups decry ‘lawless’ mob violence at Capitol

The mob scenes at the Capitol attracted harsh and unusual criticism from business groups, including the chief executive of one of the nation’s largest banks saying he was “disgusted” and a manufacturing trade group calling it “sedition” and suggesting President Trump needed to be immediately removed from office.

It was a stunning series of rebukes for a president who had enjoyed widespread support from corporate America for most of his turbulent term, especially for his efforts to cut government regulations and reduce corporate tax rates.

The National Association of Manufacturers released an extraordinary statement from its president, Jay Timmons, saying Vice President Pence “should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment to preserve democracy.”

12:44 a.m.
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D.C. police arrest 13 during unrest

D.C. police said they arrested 13 people from Tuesday afternoon through 6 p.m. on Wednesday, including three who authorities said were in possession of firearms.

Those suspects were identified as men, ages 32 and 40 from Virginia, and a 25-year-old man from Michigan. None were from D.C. All were arrested in downtown Washington.

The U.S. Capitol Police did not respond to repeated requests for comment. It was unclear whether that agency or others made additional arrests on federal property.

In addition, D.C. Fire transported seven people to hospitals, including a woman who was fatally shot inside the U.S. Capitol. The woman was shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer, according to two people with knowledge of the incident.

Two people taken to hospitals received CPR. The conditions and circumstances of the other injuries were not immediately available.

12:39 a.m.
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Congressman calls for probe of Capitol breach

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) said in an interview that Congress would need to investigate thoroughly how the U.S. Capitol proved so vulnerable to a seemingly disorganized and lightly armed mob, especially given Trump’s incitement and abundant signs that the demonstration would be volatile if not violent.

“I was surprised to learn this morning that the National Guard was not preemptively deployed, given the threats that had been made and the president’s incitement,” Malinowski said. “I’m in no position to judge the response from my limited vantage point, but we’re going to have to do a very serious after-action look at what went wrong and how to make sure that this never happens again.”

Malinowski said there should have been no element of surprise.

“They’re just doing what they said they would do,” Malinowski said. “We make a mistake in this country when we assume that people don’t really mean these things. That this doesn’t happen here. When a president who speaks to people in an echo chamber tells them not to trust any of the institutions of their government and then tells them to go to the Capitol and be wild, this is what happens.”

He added: “If you just feed this beast in an effort to appease it, it just gets stronger and bolder until it comes after the very people who are trying to appease it.”