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International News: Pro-Trump Mob Storms Us Capitol In Bid To Overturn Election

Police hold off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Police hold off Trump supporters who tried to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

By LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER and MARY CLARE JALONICK

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America's presidential election, undercut the nation's democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

The nation's elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and donned gas marks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington's mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence.

The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington Wednesday to protest Congress' formal approval of Biden's victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob.

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People shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Together, the protests and the GOP election objections amounted to an almost unthinkable challenge to American democracy and exposed the depths of the divisions that have coursed through the country during Trump's four years in office. Though the efforts to block Biden from being sworn in on Jan. 20 are sure to fail, the support Trump has received for his efforts to overturn the election results have badly strained the nation's democratic guardrails.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers were resume the counting of electoral votes Wednesday evening after the Capitol was cleared of the pro-Trump occupiers.

The president gave his supporters an added boost Wednesday morning during an appearance at a rally outside the White House, where he urged them to march to the Capitol. He spent much of the afternoon in his private dining room off the Oval Office watching scenes of the violence on television. At the urging of his staff, he reluctantly issued a pair of tweets and a taped video telling his supporters it was time to "go home in peace" — yet he still said he backed their cause.

A somber President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, said American democracy was "under unprecedented assault," a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans. Former President George W. Bush said he watched the events in "disbelief and dismay."

The domed Capitol building has for centuries been the scene of protests and occasional violence, including a 1954 shooting involving Puerto Rican nationalists. But Wednesday's events were particularly astounding both because they unfolded at least initially with the implicit blessing of the president and because of the underlying goal of overturning the results of a free and fair presidential election.

Tensions were already running high when lawmakers gathered early Wednesday afternoon for the constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, in which Biden defeated Trump, 306-232. Despite pleas from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, more than 150 GOP lawmakers planned to support objections to some of the results, though lacking evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.

Trump spent the lead-up to the proceedings publicly hectoring Vice President Mike Pence, who had a largely ceremonial role in the proceedings, to aid the effort. He tweeted on Wednesday: "Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!"

But Pence, in a statement shortly before presiding, defied Trump, saying he could not claim "unilateral authority" to reject the electoral votes that make Biden president.

Shortly after the first GOP objections, protesters fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls. Lawmakers were told to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., told reporters he was in the House chamber when rioters began storming it. Security officers "made us all get down, you could see that they were fending off some sort of assault, it looked like. They had a piece of furniture up against the door, the door, the entry to the floor from the Rotunda, and they had guns pulled," Peters said.

"And they just told us to take our pins off," he added, referring to lapel pins members wear so Capitol Police can quickly identify them. Then the lawmakers were evacuated.

Staff members grabbed the boxes of Electoral College votes as the evacuation took place. Otherwise, said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., the ballots likely would have been destroyed by the protesters.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President, Wednesday, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump supporters posting on internet forums popular with far-right fringe elements celebrated the chaos. Messages posted on one turned from profane frustration over the content of Trump's speech to glee when supporters stormed the building. At least one leading figure was livestreaming video from inside the Capitol during the siege.

The mob's storming of Congress prompted bipartisan outrage, mostly from Democrats but from Republicans as well, as lawmakers accused Trump of fomenting the violence with his relentless falsehoods about election fraud. Several suggested that Trump be prosecuted for a crime, which seems unlikely two weeks from when his term expires.

"I think Donald Trump probably should be brought up on treason for something like this," Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., told reporters. "This is how a coup is started. And this is how democracy dies."

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who's at times clashed with Trump, issued a written statement saying, "Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division."

Despite Trump's repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.

The Pentagon said about 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard members were being mobilised to help support law enforcement at the Capitol. More than a dozen people were arrested.

As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials worked 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 in full riot gear moved down the steps, clashing with demonstrators.


Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Jill Colvin, Kevin Freking, Alan Fram, Ben Fox and Ashraf Khalil in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 1 week, 4 days ago

Sad, pathetic trumpies. Dumber than dirt but not quite as useful...

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SP 1 week, 4 days ago

I shudder to imagine law enforcements response had this been an insurrection by people of color!

No heads and bodies were bashed with batons, no vehicles driven into the rioters, no rubber bullets fired, and not one violent, armed, protester beaten by cops in alleyways.

Undeniable example of American white privilege!

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 week, 4 days ago

Antifa and Black Lives Matter bodies would have littered the streets if they tried this stunt. These US law makers are total hypocrites.

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GodSpeed 1 week, 4 days ago

yeah right, BLM and Antifa have been rioting all year unpunished you goof.

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 week, 3 days ago

Are you living in The Bahamas?
Because I'd hate to know I'm walking by such racists in the street inadvertently.

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bahamianson 1 week, 3 days ago

But you are. I have been called yellow, foreigner,american, whiteman, and honky all my life. So, I would say that you are walking and working with racist people , and you probably know it , too.

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GodSpeed 1 week, 3 days ago

@tell_it_like_it_is .....What did I say that was racist again? You don't even know what BLM and Antifa stand for and represent, you know nothing, just another brainwashed prole.

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bahamianson 1 week, 4 days ago

Thats it, let them break into stores , overturn cars, and burn buildings at least for one jight. These activities occured fkr months and no action taken. The police let BLM peole do what they want. A white female got shot and killed today. Imagine if she were black!

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GodSpeed 1 week, 4 days ago

BLM and Antifa can storm state capitols all year, light government buildings on fire with people in them, beat up cops, loot and riot, murder and beat up people etc and the police stand down. Yet when Trump supporters stand up once for election integrity they get shot. A number of those that stormed were identified as Antifa agent provocateurs as well. Civil War 2.0 coming to America soon.

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GodSpeed 1 week, 4 days ago

lol you 🐑🐏🐑 don't know anything. Just go back to MSNBC.

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 week, 3 days ago

I don't watch MSNBC actually.
But you can go back to OANN and Alex Jones!😆

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GodSpeed 1 week, 3 days ago

wherever you get your news it might as well be MSNBC, 90% of the news media in the US is controlled by 6 corporations you imbecile, they all follow the same script.

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moncurcool 1 week, 4 days ago

Another delusional one losing all reasoning because of where their head is stuck.

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GodSpeed 1 week, 4 days ago

what do you know about "reasoning"? you can't even form an argument.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 3 days ago

There is no such group called antifa so how can anyone be identified as a member of a non existent group.

Nothing on earth dumber than a trumpie...

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joeblow 1 week, 3 days ago

... they need a thumbs down button on this blog!

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GodSpeed 1 week, 3 days ago

"There is no such group called antifa so how can anyone be identified as a member of a non existent group."

lol a talking point straight from the leftist media haha. Parrot. I guess all those black clad people that organized and burned American cities down in 2020 didn't actually exist because they didn't register as a group, lol what an idiot.

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 4 days ago

I'm trying to figure out exactly what they accomplished. Trump was eating dinner. I doubt the woman who died fought for a msn who would calmly eat dinner while she bled to death. Fight for a cause, sure, but at minimum find a leader to get behind. And our people doing the same thing attacking each other for leaders who could care less

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 4 days ago

And the funniest thing about this is, they spent all year talking about the violence they would reign down on Washington if trump lost the election then immediately started claiming that the violence must have come from some other group. And as they were breaking the door and window to get on the house floor someone yells watch out they have guns... what did you expect? you're literally attacking the govt.

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 3 days ago

If trump does run in 24 it'll guarantee Biden a second term..

Good job Stacy Abrams. She needs to get to work now on all the other racist southern states. Fight republican voter surpression in the south and the gop will die a slow death....

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 3 days ago

wrong. that was a foolish statement.

Trump was backlash on Obama. In another few years there'll be discontent on some democratic leader who is not meeting the needs of another grouping of people then you'll have a republican winning, someone who people feel isn't an elitist and understands them. that was Reagan and George Bush. It will happen again... if the alien lizards don't eat us first

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

this was not a response to your comment @proud. It was z reply to that god person... which disappeared?

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ThisIsOurs 1 week, 2 days ago

From the stories so far Im starting to believe the capital police may not have been "overrun", they may have been complicit in the insurrection. They literally refused helped. The Secretary of Defense refused to take calls while these "antifa" (let's give the benefit of the doubt) were raging through the House. There's one eyewitness saying the doors were opened and they were waved in. If you think about it, the person who did that might as well have been one of Putin's sleeper agents.

People have speculated why Trump made these last minute replacements in these key defense positions... well.. if you need someone to look the other way...

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