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
199 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:25 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Senate rejects objection to Arizona electoral vote

From CNN’s Manu Raju

Senate TV
Senate TV

The Senate just voted on the objection raised against Arizona's electoral votes. It failed overwhelmingly, 93-6.

Remember: At each objection put in writing and signed by both a congressman and senator, the joint session is paused and the House and Senate adjourn to separately consider it.

Following this vote, Congress will now return to a joint session and continue to count the Electoral College votes.

Watch the moment:

10:24 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham: "Count me out, enough is enough"

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

In this image from video, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6.
In this image from video, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. Senate TV/AP

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been a staunch supporter of President Trump, vigorously defended to certify the electoral votes on the Senate floor.

Graham said he believed voting to object the results are a “uniquely bad idea to delay this election."

"Trump and I, we've had a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh my God, I hate it. From my point of view he's been been a consequential president. But today, first thing you'll see. All I can say, is count me out, enough is enough," Graham said.

Graham defended his stance by citing a number of cases in which Trump had lost, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision on election results.

"We've got to end it. Vice President Pence, what they're asking you to do you won't do, because you can't," he said.

Graham ended his remarks by fully backing the election results. "It is over... [Biden] won. He's the legitimate President to the United States... Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the President and the Vice President of the United States on January 20," he said.

Watch Graham speak:

10:06 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP Rep. Tom Reed crosses the aisle to object to Arizona electoral votes challenge

From CNN’s Kristin Wilson

GOP Rep. Tom Reed of New York rose to object to the Arizona electoral college challenge currently being debated on the House floor.

“I rise to object to the challenge,” he said to applause from the Democrats in the chamber, and then walked away from the lectern set up on the Republican side and crossing the center aisle to the Democratic side to finish his remarks from that side.

Reed told the Democrats that he would almost certainly disagree with them on policy in the future, but "I will stand with you tonight and send a message to all Americans that what we saw today was not American."

10:23 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP Sen. Hawley condemns Capitol riot while objecting to Pennsylvania vote

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who was one of the first lawmakers to announce his objection to the certification of Joe Biden for president, condemned Wednesday's riot at the US Capitol, but reaffirmed his decision to object to Pennsylvania's electoral votes going to the President-elect.

"Pennsylvania, which is a state that I have been focused on, as an example, as to why people are concerned," Hawley told lawmakers on the Senate floor. "Millions of Americans are concerned about our elections integrity."

Hawley, 41, who was elected to represent Missouri in 2018, did not claim any allegations of fraud, but called out Pennsylvania lawmakers over enacting new procedures regarding mail-in ballots.

"Last year, Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows universal mail-in balloting," Hawley said. "And did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution says. And then when Pennsylvania and (its) citizens tried to go and be heard on the subject, before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, they were dismissed on grounds of procedure, timeliness in violation of that Supreme Court's own precedent." 

Facts First: After the state decided last fall to allow "no excuse" absentee ballots for this election, Pennsylvania Republicans attempted to change the state's law so that processing could begin earlier and the number of days after the election that counties could receive ballots would be limited. However, they were unsuccessful, and the status quo remained.

Hawley will formally object to Pennsylvania electoral vote tonight, according to his office.

10:11 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP Sen. Hawley will still object to Pennsylvania vote

From CNN’s Lauren Fox and Zach Wolf

In this image from video, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6.
In this image from video, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate the objection to confirm the Electoral College Vote from Arizona, after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. Senate TV/AP

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley still plans to object to Pennsylvania tonight, according to his office.

“Senator Hawley spoke during the debate on the Arizona objection, but he will object to Pennsylvania once Congress returns to the joint session, and when the Senate and House go back to their chambers for the debate on Pennsylvania, he will yield his speaking time to move towards a vote,” his office says.

The House and the Senate are currently separately debating the Arizona objection, and after a bipartisan majority rejects the objection, the joint session of Congress will resume counting Electoral College votes in the House. 

Some context: An objection has to be raised in writing and endorsed by a congressman and senator. Then the two chambers — House and Senate — adjourn to consider the objection.

These sessions, which could have the feel of a sort of trial as lawmakers make their cases, can only last for a maximum of two hours. Each lawmaker can be recognized for up to five minutes of talking, although they can yield to their time to other lawmakers. Then, both chambers separately vote.

Watch Hawley speak:

9:53 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

House Judiciary Committee Democrats urge Pence to invoke 25th Amendment

From CNN’s Manu Raju

Members of the House Judiciary Committee are urging Vice President Mike Pence and members from President Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution and remove Trump from office, according to a statement released Wednesday night by the committee members.

“Even in his video announcement this afternoon, President Trump revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election. President Trump’s willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard. So too are his recent Tweets, which Twitter has since deleted, saying the election was ‘stolen’ and that today’s riots ‘are the things and events that happen,’” the members said in the statement.

CNN reported earlier that some Cabinet members are holding preliminary discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment, according to a well placed GOP source. 

12:31 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Romney calls Capitol riot "an insurrection incited by the President"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney condemned today's attack on the Capitol as an "insurrection" and pleaded with his Republican colleagues to drop their objections against the Electoral College votes and inform their constituents of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.  

"Now we gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of supporters who he had deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the President of the United States," said the junior senator from Utah, speaking from the Senate floor.

Romney then warned his GOP colleagues, who have continued to mislead about the 2020 election, that they were endangering the health of the American democracy and tarnishing their own legacies.

"Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit on an unprecedented attack against our democracy," he said. "...They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode, in American history. That will be their legacy." 

Romney said lawmakers carry a responsibility to stand up for the truth regardless of the political cost. 

"The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth," he said.

"I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election," Romney concluded. 

Watch Romney speak:

9:27 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Trump told people he banned Pence's chief of staff from the West Wing

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Vice President Mike Pence and his Chief of Staff Marc Short stand in the Oval Office before U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House on January 4, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Vice President Mike Pence and his Chief of Staff Marc Short stand in the Oval Office before U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House on January 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump told people he banned Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short from the West Wing today, according to multiple people. 

Short was seen going into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Wednesday, which is on the White House campus but is a separate building from the White House and where Pence has his Vice Presidential Office, but Short has otherwise spent the day on the Hill. 

9:23 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Some Cabinet members holding preliminary talks about invoking 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office

From CNN's Jim Acosta 

Some Cabinet members are holding preliminary discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment to force President Trump’s removal from office, a GOP source said.

The discussions are ongoing but it’s unclear if there will be enough Cabinet members to result in Trump’s removal. 

The conversations have reached the Hill where some senators have been made aware of the discussions, the source said.