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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11:00 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

DC mayor extends public emergency for 15 days in response to Capitol riots

From CNN's Adrienne Winston

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she is extending the public emergency to 15 days, as a result of rioters overtaking the US Capitol building earlier today. This will take the emergency declaration until the day after President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

The mayor says that the people who stormed the Capitol, “sought to disrupt the Congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes.”

“Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration.”
10:53 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Fact check: GOP lawmaker falsely claims poll watchers were denied access to observe ballots

From CNN's Tara Subramaniam

In this image from video, Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks as the House 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, Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks as the House 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. House TV/AP

On the floor of the House, New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican, echoed President Trump’s claims that poll watchers were banned from counting locations or otherwise prevented from observing the count and denied the access they legally deserved.  

According to Zeldin, “There were poll watchers denied the ability to closely observe ballot counting operation.” 

Facts First: There have been no reports of systematic irregularities with poll watchers anywhere in the US. There is no evidence supporting claims that poll watchers were shut out of the process.  

You can read more about what happened with poll watchers in specific states here.

10:35 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

House debate on Arizona objection has ended and voting has started

From CNN’s Kristin Wilson

The House has finished debating the objection to Arizona’s electoral votes.

Rep. Jim Jordan asked for a recorded vote and members are voting now.

The objection already failed in the Senate.

10:40 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

These six GOP senators voted to sustain the objection against Arizona's electoral votes

From CNN’s Manu Raju

The objection raised against Arizona's electoral votes failed overwhelmingly in the Senate, 93-6.

Here are the six Republican senators who voted to sustain the objection:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz
  • Sen. Josh Hawley
  • Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
  • Sen. Roger Marshall
  • Sen. John Kennedy 
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville
10:26 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Here's why voting on objections takes longer in the House 

From CNN's Clare Foran

Members of the House listen in the House Chamber after they reconvened for arguments over the objection of certifying Arizona’s Electoral College votes in November’s election, at the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday, January 6.
Members of the House listen in the House Chamber after they reconvened for arguments over the objection of certifying Arizona’s Electoral College votes in November’s election, at the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday, January 6. Greg Nash/Pool/AP

Safety precautions put in place to protect members of Congress amid the pandemic are likely to add even more time to the Electoral College vote count process tonight.

The whole process was already delayed today after riots at the Capitol interrupted the counting and certification of elector votes.

Since the start of the pandemic, the House and Senate have both attempted to limit the number of members congregating on the floor during votes and have done so in a way that means voting now takes longer than it did previously in both chambers. 

As a result, it is expected that each challenge could add roughly three to four hours to the proceedings this afternoon.  

In the House, voting now typically proceeds by groups of members as opposed to allowing all members to vote at one time. In the Senate, votes are now usually held open longer in an effort to discourage crowding. Even with those precautions, though, there are frequently still crowds of members on the floor when votes happen.  

In a memo obtained by CNN, official guidance from the Sergeant At Arms and the House physician informed members that they should only physically go to the joint session of Congress this afternoon if they are going to speak — another effort to try to cut down on crowding on the floor. 

10:25 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

The Senate just rejected an objection to Arizona's electoral vote. Here's what happens next.

Following the Senate vote on Arizona's electoral college votes, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they must now wait on the House of Representatives to vote later tonight.

"We have a few more speakers now as we wait for the House to finish their debate and vote. Expect the House to finish voting on Arizona between 11:30 p.m. and midnight," McConnell said.

Here's a breakdown of what is happening tonight:

  • Electoral votes are counted in Congress.
  • Members of the House and the Senate will meet in the House chamber. The President of the Senate — that's Vice President Mike Pence ��� will preside over the session and the electoral votes will be read and counted in alphabetical order by two appointees each from the House and Senate.
  • They will then give their tallies to Pence, who will announce the results and listen for objections.
  • If there are objections, the House and Senate consider them separately to decide how to count those votes.
  • There are 538 electoral votes — one for each congressperson and senator plus three for Washington, DC. If no candidate gets to a majority — that's 270 — then the 435 members of the House decide the election. Each state gets a vote. So while there are more Democrats in the House, Republicans, as of now, control more state delegations, so it is possible the House could pick Trump even though there is a Democratic majority.
  • The House has until noon on Jan. 20 to pick the President. If they can't, it would be the vice president or the next person eligible in the line of presidential succession.

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."