In a stunning display of insurrection, supporters of President Donald Trump breached the US Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College's votes for president and vice president.
The Capitol was put on lockdown and the certification vote was paused after the rioters stormed the building on January 6. It took several hours for the Capitol to be secured. Vice President Mike Pence was moved to a safe location, as was congressional leadership.
This was the first time the US Capitol had been breached since the British attacked and burned the building in August of 1814, during the War of 1812, according to Samuel Holliday, director of scholarship and operations with the US Capitol Historical Society. Congress returned to the Capitol in the evening to resume the certification process.
Congress' counting of electoral votes is typically little more than an afterthought. But this year's joint session was expected to be a contentious affair. Some Republicans objected to the count, delaying the inevitable certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win.
Their push was destined to fail. Democrats and a significant number of Republicans voted down all of the objections, and Biden's victory was certified. Before the Capitol was breached, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a forceful rebuke of Trump's baseless claims of widespread election fraud, warning his fellow Republicans that failing to certify the election results could "damage our republic forever."