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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5:07 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Van Jones on rioters: "Is this the end of something or the beginning?"

From CNN's Leinz Vales

As rioters continue to occupy the grounds of the US Capitol building, CNN's Van Jones cautions Americans to take a step back and analyze this moment in history and asked, "Is this the end of something or the beginning of something?"

"Is this the death throes of something ugly in our country, desperate, about to go away and then the vision that Biden talked about is going to rise up or is this the birth pains of a worse disorder? Jones asked. "That's where we are right now tonight. And I think the country has got to make a decision."

Jones, a former adviser in the Obama administration, went on to call out the election fraud claims that sparked pro-Trump rioters to occupy the Capitol building.

"I don't want to be partisan," Jones said. "I understand some of these people, their social media feed is only showing them example of example of anecdotes of vote threat, statistical, magical thinking that says that the election was impossible, so they've been bombarded with that. And because they've been bombarded with that, they're angry. Fine. You have a right to be angry. You don't have a right to insurrection. You don't have a right to sedition. You don't have a right to break into buildings and to hurt police officers. There has to be a line."

Watch:

5:08 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

White House staffers asked Trump to take action on riots

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Rioters at the Capitol in Washington D.C on Jan. 6, 2021.
Rioters at the Capitol in Washington D.C on Jan. 6, 2021. Julio Cortez/AP

A White House official told CNN that aides to the President went to Trump to have him make the order to deploy the National Guard to the US Capitol.

The official said aides also asked that Trump record a video calling for an end to the siege on the Hill. 

In other words, these were not decisions Trump made on his own. Aides went to him to get him to do it.

A source familiar with the situation said White House staffers are "horrified" by the violence at the Capitol and are worried there will be more trouble on the streets tonight. 

5:00 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Smaller protests are happening at Capitol buildings across the US

From CNN's Steve Almasy

Smaller protests at Capitol buildings across the US have popped up, including in Salem, Oregon; Atlanta, Denver, and Topeka, where President Trump's supporters gathered.

Video from CNN affiliate KATU showed several hundred people at demonstration in front of the Oregon Capitol, standing in the drizzle. At one point, they interrupted a series of speakers to play Trump’s Twitter message to the rioters in Washington.

“That was the President. We’re not going home here; we’re just getting started,” a rally leader said.

In Atlanta, dozens of people stood across from the Capitol, many holding flags. In Denver, hundreds of people gathered outside the Colorado Capitol.

Authorities say a pro-Trump protest inside the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka was permitted and peaceful.

“There are no known issues that I am aware of,” Lt. Terry Golightly, a spokesperson for Kansas Capitol Police, told CNN. The demonstration was permitted for an hour and had ended, he said.

4:57 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Congressional leaders are being evacuated from Capitol complex

From CNN's Evan Perez

Congressional leaders are being evacuated from the Capitol complex and will be taken to Fort McNair, according to a federal law enforcement official.

McNair is a nearby Army base in Washington, DC.

The evacuation is still underway, the source said.

4:57 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Former GOP senator to mob: "You're not doing anything to restore the greatness of America"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum issued a powerful rebuke to the mob that stormed the US Capitol, and to those who are supporting them, calling today's events "heartbreaking."

"If you love America, you understand the greatness of our country is the great institutions we have and we defend those institutions, you defend our Constitution," he said, speaking on CNN this afternoon. "We don't try to overturn through violence and protests the things that you say you value."

Santorum said that as a Republican he understands the frustration many supporters of President Trump feel after losing the 2020 election, but said it is unimaginable to him that they have lost faith in the institutions of this country to this extent. 

"I would just say that you are adding to the hopelessness of people and you're not doing anything to restore the greatness of America by tearing it down," he said. 

Watch the moment:

4:52 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Unclear when the joint session of Congress will continue

From CNN's Manu Raju

There are no clear answers yet on when the joint session will resume to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win, multiple sources familiar tell CNN.

Leadership wants the situation to be brought under control first.

“The Capitol is being cleared. When it is safe, we will return to complete our Constitutional responsibilities. This is the United States. We will not allow mob rule to undermine the rule of law," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a member of leadership, told reporters.

Where things stand: Congress had certified just two states — Alabama's nine Electoral College votes and Alaska's three — before the riots at the US Capitol broke out earlier today. All 12 of those votes went to President Trump.

The process of certifying the electoral votes works alphabetically, with lawmakers starting with Alabama and then working through the states in alphabetical order.

There are 538 electoral votes in total, one for each congressperson and senator plus three for Washington, DC.

After the riots broke out, Congress went into recess and the Capitol went in lockdown.

4:44 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

How the world is reacting to the US Capitol riots

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

A number of leaders from around the world turned to Twitter this afternoon to condemn the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol in Washington, DC.

Here's what they said:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

European Parliament President David Sassoli

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

 

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

4:39 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP senator who led challenge to Electoral College vote count tweets "violence must end"

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who was one of the architects on the Senate-side challenging the presidential election results, released a statement on Twitter saying, "The violence must end, those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job."

Pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol this afternoon, interrupting a joint session of Congress where lawmakers were set to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win.

The process of certifying the electoral votes works alphabetically, with lawmakers starting with Alabama and then working through the states in alphabetical order.

Congress had certified just two states — Alabama's nine Electoral College votes and Alaska's three — before the riots broke out. All 12 of those votes went to President Trump.

4:37 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Former Attorney General William Barr condemns Capitol mob as "outrageous and despicable"

From CNN's Evan Perez

Jose Luis Magana/AP
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Former Attorney General William Barr said the violence at the Capitol building is “outrageous and despicable. Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it."

Barr spokesperson Kerri Kupec gave that message in a tweet on Wednesday.

Barr resigned Dec. 23, 2020. His departure was announced by President Trump on Twitter moments after counting in the Electoral College put President-elect Joe Biden over the 270 votes needed to formally secure the presidency.