Congress finalizes Biden's win after riot disrupts Capitol

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 5:15 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021
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8:42 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

McConnell: "They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Sou

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lambasted rioters who breached the US Capitol and caused Congress to pause its electoral vote count.

"We will not bow to lawlessness, or intimidation. We are back at our posts, we will discharge our duty under the Constitution, and for our nation. And we are going to do it,  tonight. " McConnell said.

McConnell added that Congress will continue the certification process despite the "failed insurrection" attempt.

"The United States and the United States Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. We have never been deterred before, and we will be not deterred today. They try to disrupt our democracy, they failed. They failed. They failed to attempt to obstruct Congress. This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is, for our republic," he said.

McConnell ended his remarks by stating that Congress will certify "the winner of the 2020 presidential election."

Hear McConnell speak:

8:29 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Pence: "Those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win"

Vice President Mike Pence.
Vice President Mike Pence. Source: Senate TV

Vice President Mike Pence reconvened the joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win tonight following violent rioting at the US Capitol today.

"We defended our Capitol today. We'll always be grateful. The men and women who stayed at their post to defend this historic place," Pence said. "Those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. This is still the people's house. As we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy."
Watch the moment:
8:07 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Former President Barack Obama says today's events were "incited by a sitting president"

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral service of the late Rep. John Lewis at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020, in Atlanta.
Former US President Barack Obama speaks during the funeral service of the late Rep. John Lewis at Ebenezer Baptist Church on July 30, 2020, in Atlanta. Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama has issued a statement following today's violence on Capitol Hill where he implored Republicans to "choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames."

"History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise," Obama said.

Obama added: "I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably. We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal."

8:04 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

DC attorney general calls on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

In this December 9, 2019 file photo, US Vice President Mike Pence listens to US President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room in Washington.
In this December 9, 2019 file photo, US Vice President Mike Pence listens to US President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room in Washington. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine called on Vice President Mike Pence to organize the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. 

"Whether you like Vice President Pence or not, the fact is he is more fit for office... we need a commander-in-chief that will fulfill his constitutional responsibilities," he told CNN tonight.

"I would ask the vice president, please go the next step," continued Racine. "Do your constitutional duty. Protect America, stand up for democracy, and invoke the 25th Amendment.

"That requires Vice President Pence to move and get a majority of the Cabinet or majority of the Congress to immediately remove the President because he so clearly is not fit for office," said Racine, earlier in the conversation.

7:57 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

McConnell and Schumer to speak soon in Capitol as joint session reconvenes 

From CNN’s Ted Barrett and Kristin Wilson

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is back in his office and both he and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said they will make statements on the Senate floor when it comes back into session.

Some senators have already returned to the floor.

Per McConnell's press secretary Doug Andres, he will deliver remarks on the floor at 8 p.m. ET.

Neither leader would say if there is an agreement to expedite the ballot objections.  

There are many heavily armed Department of Homeland Security Police who have taken up positions around the Senate chamber on the second floor.

7:52 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Former defense secretary says assault on US Capitol "was fomented by Mr. Trump"

From CNN's Barbara Starr

In this April 23, 2017 file photos, James Mattis listens to a question during a news conference at Camp Lemonnier on April 23, 2017 in Ambouli, Djibouti.
In this April 23, 2017 file photos, James Mattis listens to a question during a news conference at Camp Lemonnier on April 23, 2017 in Ambouli, Djibouti. Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump’s first Secretary of Defense James Mattis called the riots in Washington, DC, today a "violent assault on our Capitol, an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule" and said it "was fomented by Mr. Trump.” 

Mattis said Trump has used “the Presidency to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens has been enabled by pseudo-political leaders whose names will live in infamy as profiles in cowardice.”

7:46 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Senators have left secure location and are headed back to the Capitol

From CNN's Manu Raju, Ali Main and Sarah Fortinsky

A big group of senators from both sides of the political aisle left the secure spaces of the Capitol grounds, and Sen. John Hoeven told CNN they are working “on an expedited process” to consider objections to state vote counts. It hasn’t been finalized yet, he said.

CNN asked Sen. Mitt Romney what his message is to the country, and he said, “Come together with a new president.”

Asked about the next steps, Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham said they are to “finish the constitutional work of confirming Biden and Harris.”

Sen. Josh Hawley would not answer when asked if he would still object to Pennsylvania's electoral votes, and Sen. Roger Marshall would not answer if he still planned to object to Georgia and Pennsylvania's presidential election votes.

7:46 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

President Clinton: "The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers"

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Former US President Bill Clinton arrives to attend a church service for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris on September 30, 2019.
Former US President Bill Clinton arrives to attend a church service for former French President Jacques Chirac at the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris on September 30, 2019. Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton denounced the violence at the US Capitol, saying in a statement “Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country.”

"The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another. 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 said.

He went on to say that the peaceful transfer of power must be completed.

"The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates. 
I have always believed that America is made up of good, decent people. I still do. If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," Clinton said.

7:38 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Pence has returned to the Senate building

From CNN's Pamela Brown

Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate, his press secretary tweeted Wednesday evening.

"Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol. @VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress. And now we will finish the People’s business," his press secretary said.

The US Secret Service wanted Pence to leave the Capitol complex, and everything was in place, but Pence wanted to remain on site, a source familiar said.

The source says Pence's Secret Service detail remained with him through the entire ordeal. 

A separate source said regarding the resumption of tonight's joint session of Congress, “he’s going to do his duty.”