Vice President Pence declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election at the end of a violent and deadly day at the Capitol. Pence also announced that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) had won the vice presidency, after the Senate and House rejected Trump loyalists’ challenges to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania and Congress finally counted the electoral votes.

Shortly thereafter, President Trump — who had defiantly told supporters at a rally that he would “never concede” — said in a statement that “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”

Here’s what to know:
  • The statement, tweeted by the White House’s social media director as the president remained locked out of his own Twitter and Facebook accounts, stopped short of conceding or congratulating Biden.
  • Pro-Trump rioters forced their way through security barricades, breaking windows, climbing on rafters, ripping down U.S. flags and roaming the Senate chamber. By day’s end, four people would be dead: one from gunfire and three from medical emergencies officials have yet to explain.
  • “Violence never wins; freedom wins; and this is still the people’s house,” Pence said, in rare remarks from the Senate dais. The vice president had earlier rebuffed Trump’s demands to intervene in the count.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) described the attack as “a shameful assault … on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government.”
  • Congressional Democrats and some Republicans accused President Trump of inciting a “coup.”
  • Election results are under attack: Here are the facts.
8:46 a.m.
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After 15 hours and rioters attacking the Capitol, Pence officially affirms Biden’s win

By Timothy Bella

Vice President Pence officially affirmed the election results of President-elect Joe Biden’s win early Thursday, concluding a historic and sobering moment in time marred by pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup.

At 3:32 a.m., Pence cited the results for Biden’s victory in Vermont, which pushed the Democrat past the 270 electoral votes for Congress to confirm him as the next president nearly 15 hours after the joint session began.

“Are there any objections to counting the certificate of the state of Vermont?” Pence asked. There was only silence.

The moment, which was delayed by Republicans objecting to the Pennsylvania electoral vote, was met with a rousing ovation from Democrats exhausted at the end of a marathon, dangerous process that dragged on from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning and shook the nation.

“The announcement of the state of the vote by the president of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration as persons elected president and vice president of the United States,” Pence said at 3:41 a.m.

In rebuffing President Trump’s demands to intervene in the count, the vice president followed through on what he said he was going to do on Wednesday. He had told lawmakers in a 2½-page letter sent Wednesday afternoon that he would indeed fulfill his constitutional duties despite the president’s wishes.

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) told the Tulsa World that Trump’s disdain for the vice president not supporting him in overturning an election they lost was apparent in a conversation he had with Pence.

“I’ve known Mike Pence forever,” Inhofe said to the World. “I’ve never seen Pence as angry as he was today.”

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris will be inaugurated Jan. 20 at noon.

8:13 a.m.
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House rejects challenge to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania

By Teo Armus

The House voted to reject a challenge to counting Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes for Biden, just as the Senate had earlier on Thursday morning.

After about two hours of debate, more than 130 Republicans in the House voted in favor of the challenge. The objection fell on a 282-to-138 vote.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who spoke on behalf of 80 House members, had objected to the Pennsylvania results alongside Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). The objection triggered the joint session of Congress to adjourn so the separate chambers could debate.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reported the final vote tally, stating that the “objection is not agreed to.”

Earlier on Thursday morning, the Senate had rejected the challenge in a 92-to-7 vote, voting on the objection without debate.

With the votes of only a dozen states left to be certified, Congress is expected to confirm Biden’s electoral college win shortly thereafter.

7:27 a.m.
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Democrat’s speech against GOP objectors nearly triggers fistfight on House floor: ‘Sit down!’ ‘No, you sit down!’

By Timothy Bella

An impassioned speech from Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) nearly caused an early-morning fistfight to break out between two other House lawmakers during the debate over Pennsylvania’s electoral vote.

Lamb said that the GOP objectors to Biden’s win didn’t need to “strip this Congress of its dignity” any more after pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol on Wednesday.

“We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere, it was inspired by lies — the same lies that you’re hearing in this room tonight,” Lamb said. “The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves, their constituents should be ashamed of them.”

Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) took exception to Lamb’s words. Moments later, Griffith raised a point of order and attempted to have the congressman’s words struck from the record.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused, citing Griffith’s request as “not timely.”

Then, as Lamb continued to talk, a scrum broke out between Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Colin Allred (D-Tex.), who yelled at each other from across the House floor to sit down.

“Sit down!” one of them yelled. The other replied, “No, you sit down!”

The two then met in the aisle, which caused about a dozen lawmakers to clear their benches to intervene, reported CNN’s Kristin Wilson.

No punches were thrown. Rep. Al Lawson (D-Fla.) was also reportedly involved in the scrum.

The incident even caused an appearance by the House’s Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms, tweeted Wilson, an official who has the authority in confrontations between lawmakers to hit them with a mace if they don’t stop.

Once cooler heads prevailed, Rep. Roger Williams (R-Tex.) defended his colleagues against Lamb’s sentiment that GOP objectors should be ashamed of their actions.

“I’m not ashamed and neither are my colleagues,” Williams said. “We’re actually proud of what we’re doing over here.”

Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane contributed to this report.

7:17 a.m.
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McCarthy, Scalise among GOP members voting to challenge Biden’s win

By Antonia Noori Farzan

The two top Republicans in the House of Representatives — Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) — voted in favor of challenging Arizona’s electoral college votes for Biden.

The third-highest-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), rejected the objection.

The vote was seen as a test of who stood with Trump and who backed the election results.

The challenge was defeated late Wednesday night, with 303 members of Congress voting to reject it and only 121 in favor. All 121 votes in favor of the objection came from GOP members, including prominent Trump supporters such as California’s Darrell Issa and Devin Nunes, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and Florida’s Matt Gaetz.

The roll call also recorded 83 nays from Republicans, including Texas’s Dan Crenshaw, who had previously backed the state’s lawsuit attempting to delay the certification of the results. Notably, Indiana Rep. Greg Pence, the older brother of Vice President Pence, was also among the dissenters

The House continues to debate a challenge to Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes.

6:20 a.m.
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After historic, sobering day, Pennsylvania Democrat says he will never again take the republic for granted

By Timothy Bella

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) claimed the debate in Congress early Thursday was not exclusively about the Pennsylvania electoral vote but whether democracy itself would survive.

“I always just assumed our democracy would naturally endure,” Boyle said. “I never questioned it until the last two years.”

His comments came as the House reconvened around 12:30 a.m. Thursday due to the objection to the Pennsylvania electoral vote. At the time of the pause, Congress had certified 244 of Biden’s 306 electoral college votes.

Boyle, a Philadelphia native, noted that between the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and the Republicans holding up the certification of Biden’s win, it was sometimes difficult for him to tell whether “the sun is rising or setting” on democracy.

“Never again will I take for granted our democracy,” he said.

Some Republicans, including the newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), continued to echo the baseless allegations that Trump has promoted for months.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said there was additional evidence without providing any on the floor, while Rep. Jeff Smucker (R-Pa.) falsely claimed many in his state had been disenfranchised.

“Every American deserves to have faith in how we’ve conducted our elections,” he argued.

5:48 a.m.
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Democrat reads George W. Bush’s statement to condemn objection to Pennsylvania results

By Colby Itkowitz

As the House began debate over some Republicans’ objection to awarding Pennsylvania’s electoral votes to Biden, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) read aloud former president George W. Bush’s statement condemning the “reckless behavior” since the election that resulted in the day’s attack on the Capitol.

Now, I have been at a loss, Madam Speaker, to explain what happened today,” Neguse said. “But there’s a statement that I found that largely summarized my thoughts on the matter.”

Only after reading the statement in full did Neguse reveal they were Bush’s words.

The Democrat then implored his colleagues who were delaying the proceedings to let everyone go home after a long day.

“It is after midnight tonight. It’s been a long day for our country, a long day for our republic,” he said. “Let us dispense with this. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s honor our oath. Let’s certify the results and let’s get back to the work of the American people.

5:48 a.m.
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Senate rejects challenge to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania

By Paulina Firozi

The Senate voted to reject a challenge to counting Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes for Joe Biden shortly after the chamber gathered.

The challenge fell on a 92-to-7 vote. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.), Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) voted to object. Vice President Pence reported the final vote tally, stating, “The objection is not sustained.”

Hawley had objected to the Pennsylvania results, alongside Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who spoke on behalf of 80 House members. The objection triggered the joint session of Congress to adjourn so the separate chambers could debate. Without debate, the Senate began voting on the objection immediately.

The vote could be one of the last hurdles before Congress formally confirms Biden’s electoral college win.

5:29 a.m.
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Joint session adjourns for House and Senate to debate objection to Pennsylvania electoral votes

By Colby Itkowitz

The counting of the electoral votes came to a halt just after midnight when a GOP member of the House and the Senate objected to the results from Pennsylvania, triggering separate two-hour debates and votes in the two chambers.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), speaking on behalf of 80 House members, objected to the Pennsylvania results and was joined by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).

Sadly but resolutely, I object to the electoral votes of my beloved Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the grounds of multiple constitutional infractions that they were not under all of the known circumstances regularly given,” Perry said.

It’s unclear whether the chambers will take the full two hours to debate. The outcome is inevitable — both the House and Senate will ultimately approve Biden receiving Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.

Pennsylvania was the state that put Biden over the top to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Now it seems this debate over Pennsylvania will be the final hurdle before Biden’s victory is formally counted.

Biden was born in Scranton, Pa., and as a senator in neighboring Delaware for more than three decades was often regarded as Pennsylvania’s third senator.

5:03 a.m.
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Georgia’s electoral votes certified for Biden after senators withdraw objection

By Amy B Wang
Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) claimed in a late Jan. 7 joint session of Congress that the election “was faulty and fraudulent." (The Washington Post)

In a joint session of Congress late Wednesday night, some Republican House members attempted to object to the certification of Georgia’s electoral votes. However, with no member of the Senate signing on, the attempt failed.

Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) said his GOP colleagues were objecting to his state’s results “on the grounds that the election conducted on Nov. 3 was faulty and fraudulent.”

Hice further claimed that the Georgia secretary of state had unlawfully changed the state’s election process without General Assembly approval, “thereby setting the stage for an unprecedented amount of fraud and irregularities.” There has been no evidence of voter fraud in Georgia or any other state that would have changed the outcome of the election.

Pence asked if the objection was in writing and signed by a member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, as required.

“Prior to the actions and events of today, we did. But following the events of today, it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection,” Hice replied, to applause from the floor.

“In that case, the objection cannot be entertained,” Pence said.

Georgia’s 16 electoral votes were then certified for Biden, who became the first Democrat to win the state in 28 years.

A similar sequence of events occurred for the certification of electoral votes for Michigan and Nevada, with House members who objected but no senators willing to sign on.

Each time Pence told the objecting member of Congress that “in this case, the objection cannot be entertained,” applause broke out. Pence maintained a neutral expression as he presided over the process, despite the cheers.

5:01 a.m.
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Congress resumes counting votes to affirm Biden’s win

By Antonia Noori Farzan

Congress resumed counting electoral votes in a joint session shortly before midnight, following a rejected attempt to challenge Arizona’s electoral votes.

Vice President Pence presided over the roll call of states in alphabetical order, with no objections raised to the vote tallies from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Florida. Although some House members stood up to object to the results from Georgia, it was announced that a group of senators had withdrawn their objections to that state’s vote count in light of the day’s events and the attack on the Capitol by mobs of pro-Trump supporters.

4:15 a.m.
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House rejects challenge to Biden’s win in Arizona

By Paulina Firozi

The House rejected a challenge to counting Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for Biden, shortly after the Senate voted to reject to challenging his win in the state.

The chambers resumed proceedings after earlier interruptions by pro-Trump rioters storming the Capitol, which forced lawmakers to pause and evacuate.

More than 120 Republicans in the House voted in favor of the challenge. The challenge fell 303 to 121.

Pelosi announced the vote tally, stating that the “objection is not agreed to.”

Dozens of Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the objection lodged by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) that had halted the count of the electoral votes affirming Biden’s win.

The Senate earlier rejected the challenge in a 93-to-6 vote.

Some Republicans had reassessed their plan to object to confirming Biden’s electoral college win following the Capitol siege. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) earlier Wednesday announced she would no longer object.

“We must have a peaceful transfer of power,” she said in a statement, adding: “What we have seen today is unlawful and unacceptable. I have decided I will vote to uphold the electoral college results.”

3:46 a.m.
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As GOP abandons their election opposition, a band of Trump’s House supporters continues to object

By Karoun Demirjian

The siege at the Capitol caused several Republicans to reassess their opposition to confirming President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election — but a stalwart band of Trump loyalists continued to support him, arguing that their objections to the electoral college were justified.

In a screed on the House floor, Alabama Republican Mo Brooks accused Democrats of trying “to steal elections,” and Biden of intentionally “seeking the illegal alien bloc vote” to pad his totals.

Brooks concluded that it was his “constitutional duty” to reject votes from any states whose electoral systems he considered “unreliable, untrustworthy and unworthy of acceptance.”

Other objectors attempted to strike a note of rationality, not anger.

“Tens of millions of American are concerned that the 2020 election featured unconstitutional overreach by unelected officials and judges ignoring state election laws,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a onetime moderate who became one of Trump’s staunchest congressional supporters during his 2019 impeachment. “We can and should respectfully discuss these concerns.”

At times, Trump’s supporters had to yell to be heard over the boos and other negative reactions coming from the body of the House. The chorus of reactions to their speeches was striking in contrast to the reception for Republicans who stood up to defend the election result and decry the rioters who stormed the Capitol. Instead, their comments were often met with applause.

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, another close Trump ally, was one of those who was booed as he spoke. Raising his voice to be heard over the din, he vocally called for rejecting the electors from Arizona, accusing that state and others of “fraud” that he argued was “systemic, it was repeated … and I dare say it was effective.”

3:41 a.m.
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Toomey defends Pennsylvania against expected challenge of its electoral votes

By Mike DeBonis

Anticipating an objection to his state’s electoral votes later Wednesday night, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) pre-rebutted claims of malfeasance on the Senate floor, rejecting claims made by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and others that Pennsylvania’s votes for Biden ought to be questioned due to various legal disputes.

“Certainly there were irregularities in the election. There always are. But there’s no evidence of significant fraud conspiracies or even significant anomalies that casts serious doubt on who actually won the election,” said Toomey, who is retiring from Congress in two years and has emerged recently as an outspoken critic of Trump’s efforts to question the November election.

Toomey noted there wasn’t “anything at all that’s implausible or surprising” about Trump’s loss — noting that he lost a lot of ground in the suburbs, lost a little ground in rural areas, and gained a little ground in big cities relative to his 2016 performance. That pattern, he said, fit with Trump’s margins across the country.

“There’s no surprises here,” he said. “Joe Biden won the election. It’s not what I had hoped for, but that’s what happened. It was an honest victory with the usual minor irregularities that occur in most elections.”

Toomey closed by acknowledging the mob violence that rocked the Capitol earlier Wednesday: “We witnessed today the damage that can result when men in power and responsibility refuse to acknowledge the truth. We saw bloodshed because a demagogue chose to spread falsehoods and sow distrust of his own fellow Americans. Let’s not abet such deception.”

3:31 a.m.
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GOP Rep. Mo Brooks offers unsubstantiated claim that votes from illegal immigrants lifted Biden to victory

By Mike DeBonis

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of the first Republican lawmakers to announce his intention to challenge electoral votes for Biden, used his debate time Wednesday to assert unsubstantiated claims that the votes of illegal immigrants lifted Biden into office.

Brooks accused Democrats of “helping illegal aliens and other noncitizens vote in American elections, thereby canceling the votes of, and stealing elections from, American citizens.”

His claims were extrapolated from a series of surveys of undocumented immigrants and the fact that the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as the “motor voter” law, barred states from demanding proof of citizenship in order to vote.

“Why did Democrats do that?” he asked. “Simple — to steal elections, of course.”

Brooks went on to argue that Biden had courted illegal immigrant votes by promising a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants — without mentioning that most Americans support that position, especially for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

“If only lawful votes cast by eligible American citizens are counted, Joe Biden lost and President Trump won the electoral college,” he said, without direct evidence.