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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8:41 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

New York governor is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the Capitol

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

At the request of the US National Guard, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is deploying 1,000 members of the New York National Guard to Washington, DC, “to aid and facilitate peaceful transfer of power,” Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. 

“For 244 years, the cornerstone of our democracy has been the peaceful transfer of power, and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is carried out, safely and decisively,” Cuomo said in the statement.

The troops will be deployed for up to two weeks. The decision was made at the request from the US National Guard. Cuomo said the deployment “will not impact our state's ongoing efforts to contain and combat the Covid virus.”

8:45 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Oklahoma senator: Congress will certify Biden's win and we will work together to set "a peaceful example"

Sen. James Lankford.
Sen. James Lankford. Source: Senate TV

Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, vowed tonight to work together with fellow members of Congress "to be able to set a peaceful example for the days ahead."

Lankford acknowledged that Congress will certify President-elect Joe Biden's win tonight.

"The peaceful people of Oklahoma want their questions answered, but they don't want this what happened today," he said, referring to the rioters who stormed the US Capitol today. "They also want to do the right thing, and they also want to do it the right way. They want to honor the constitutional process but they also want to have debate about the election security because they want to make sure it is right. Transparency and government does not seem like a bad idea."

He continued: "Obviously the commission that we have asked for is not going to happen at this point and I understand that. We are headed towards tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden being the president of the United States and we'll work together in this body to be able to set a peaceful example for the days ahead."

Lankford took the floor after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted President Trump in fiery remarks from the floor.

"Make no mistake, make no mistake my friends. Today's event did not happen spontaneously... This President bears a great deal of the blame," Schumer said.

Watch the moment:

8:37 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

KC Star editorial says GOP Sen. Hawley shares "blame for the blood that's been shed"

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Sen. Josh Hawley gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory on January 6 in Washington.
Sen. Josh Hawley gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory on January 6 in Washington. Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico/AP

The Kansas City Star called Republican Sen. Josh Hawley in an editorial today, and said he "deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed"

Hawley, who was elected to represent Missouri in 2018, announced his intentions last week to object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes.

It's not yet clear whether Hawley will drop those objections following today's violence on Capitol Hill. Hawley did not respond to questions about his plans on the way back to the Capitol.

The Kansas City Star writes:

"No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway.
This, Sen. Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is what mobs do. This is not a protest, but a riot. One woman was shot and has died, The Washington Post reported, while lawmakers were sheltering in place.
No longer can it be asked, as George Will did recently of Hawley, 'Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?' Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed."

8:32 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

What's happening now: Lawmakers are debating an objection to Arizona's electoral votes

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Lawmakers have resumed debate on an objection to Arizona's Electoral College vote count, picking back up where they were when both chambers were forced to recess. 

Republicans were debating the objection before rioters stormed the US Capitol and prompted the proceedings to halt.

A group of House and Senate Republicans had planned to object to at least an additional two states' election results on Wednesday, but it's not clear if they will follow through forcing those votes in the wake of the riots at the Capitol.

While they were waiting for the Senate chamber to be readied for debate to resume, senators tried to cajole the Republicans who had planned to object to Georgia and Pennsylvania to back down after they finish debate over Arizona's election results, two Senate sources familiar with the conversations told CNN.

"We're trying to expedite matters," said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, predicting the counting would be finished Wednesday evening.

9:36 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Schumer: Today will go down "as one of the darkest days of recent American history" 

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Source: Senate TV

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer this evening delivered a powerful condemnation of the events that transpired in the US Capitol today and lay the blame for the violence on President Trump. 

"This temple to democracy was desecrated," he said, speaking moments after the Senate had reconvened following the violence. "…This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away, the final terrible indelible legacy of the 45th oresident of the United States, Undoubtedly, our worst." 

Schumer -- who will lead the Senate starting on January 20 after Democratic victories in this week's Georgia runoffs gave his party control -- then spoke directly about President Trump's role in the mob's attack on the Capitol.

"Make no mistake my friends, today's events did not happen spontaneously," said Schumer. "This President bears a great deal of the blame. This mob was in good part President Trump's doing... his responsibility, his everlasting shame. Today's events, certainly, certainly would have not happened without him."

"Now January 6 will go down as one of the darkest days of recent American history, a final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president," he added. 

Watch:

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.