Wild scenes in Washington, DC: Protesters have now breached the US Capitol building, with members of Congress inside the House chamber being told by police to don gas masks from under their seats due to tear gas that had been used in the Capitol Rotunda, reports the AP. The building has been placed on lockdown, Mike Pence has been removed from the Senate chamber, and the electoral college debates have been halted, reports the Hill. More:
- HuffPo political reporter Igor Bobic is tweeting about the chaotic scene, writing that some protesters got on scaffolding outside the Senate and used it to reach second floor windows, which they started banging on; the area looks like the area where McConnell’s office is located, he noted. He separately shared a photo of a huge Confederate flag being carried outside the Senate chamber then tweeted they actually made it into the chamber. "One [protester] is up on the dais yelling 'Trump won that election!' This is insane," he wrote.
- CNN separately reported that an "armed standoff" was occurring at the House front door as of 3pm ET; the AP has a photo of police officers with their guns drawn as someone seems to attempt to breach it. The New York Times reports the door seemed to be barricaded using a desk.
- The Times reports GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy told Fox News that he called Trump and asked him to issue a call for order. "I think we need to make a statement, make sure that we can calm individuals down. This is un-American what’s going on, and it has to stop." Mitt Romney placed the blame squarely on Trump as he was moved to the Capitol basement. "This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection."
- This after hundreds of people stormed metal barricades Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. The pro-President Trump protesters, some yelling "Forward!" toppled the barricades after marching from the Ellipse following a speech from Trump. KHOU reports that Capitol Police officers in riot gear tried to hold protesters back and used pepper spray after the crowd began charging officers.
- Around 2:30pm ET DC Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted a citywide curfew that will go info effect at 6pm and run for 12 hours.
- Police initially evacuated at least two buildings in the Capitol complex "due to police activity" as protests raged, including the building that houses the Library of Congress, the AP reports.
- CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted that a House GOP staffer had told him private residences on Capitol Hill were also being evacuated. "I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside," tweeted Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria. "Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots."
- Trump urged protesters to stay peaceful. "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country," he tweeted. in another tweet, he said: "I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!"
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