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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3:31 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Top Homeland Security official cautions demonstrators: "You must leave"

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli cautioned demonstrators on Twitter, saying:

"If you are entering the Capitol Building against police orders, you must leave. There is a proper venue to resolve grievances. This is not it." 

 

Cuccinelli premised his tweet by citing the protests last summer in Portland that the Trump administration repeatedly condemned, placing blame on leftist organizations.

"For months over the summer we rightly condemned Antifa for storming federal buildings in Portland," he said.

It’s unclear whether Cuccinelli was suggesting whether Antifa was involved in the escalating situation unfolding at the Capitol. 

Earlier today, DHS spokesperson Alexei Woltornist said: "The Department of Homeland Security has stood up the DHS Virtual Situation Room to facilitate department and interagency communication and coordination as we do for many large events in DC."

CNN has reached out to DHS for updates, in light of recent developments.

3:31 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Lawmakers given gas masks on the House floor

House members are being given gas masks that were under the seats, according to a pool reporter on the House floor.

"Rules Committee Chair McGovern is telling members there is tear gas in the rotunda and Grabbing mask under seats and be prepared to put on. Everyone is freaking out. Members are all holding the gas masks," the pool reporter said.

Everyone in the House chamber is being told to relocate to cloakroom.

There are about 100 people inside the chamber, that reporter said.

3:31 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

White House is in an elevated security posture 

From CNN's Allie Malloy and Peter Morris

The White House is an elevated security posture, CNN's Peter Morris reports. 

White House staff and journalists are able to come and go, but uniformed division officers are now armed with assault rifles and patrolling the grounds. 

Also, after President Trump returned to the White House following his rally earlier, the Marine guard was present outside of the West Wing. That Marine has since gone inside, indicating that Trump is not currently in the Oval Office. 

3:32 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Former DC police chief says Trump is responsible for lawless breach of the US Capitol

Charles Ramsey, the former chief of the DC Metropolitan Police, called the breach of U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon by Pro-Trump protesters "as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen."

Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper what President Trump should do, Ramsey said, "What I would want the President to do is shut the hell up and get out of the way." 

"I mean, the guy is — he's like a cancer, you know," Ramsey added.

"He stirred them up and got the whole thing going. This is as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen. That's what you're looking at, folks, that's what you're looking at and it's absolutely ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, and a lot of people are responsible for this."

Watch:

 

3:32 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Trump reacts to protests: "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement"

From CNN's Allie Malloy, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins

President Trump has urged protesters to support police and law enforcement in a tweet this afternoon as they breached the US Capitol.

Earlier in the day, Trump encouraged his supporters to protest at the US Capitol in the hours before the building was breached.

Despite promising he would join them, Trump retreated to the White House in his SUV and watched on television as the violence unfolded on Capitol Hill.

"We’re going to walk down to the Capitol. And we're gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we're probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong," he said at his rally on the Ellipse.

As he was concluding, Trump again claimed he would join his supporters as they marched to the Capitol.

"We’ll walk down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.

For more than 40 minutes, the White House has refused to comment on the chaos unfolding involving Trump's supporters on Capitol Hill, who have now breached the area where Vice President Mike Pence is currently inside. Despite repeated requests, Trump's spokesperson have declined to say anything or deliver any message from the President on what's ongoing.

3:32 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Armed standoff taking place at House front door

From CNN's Phil Mattingly, Daniella Diaz and pool reporters 

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A lawmaker confirms to CNN that the House floor is being evacuated.  

There’s an armed standoff at the House front door, and police officers have their guns drawn at someone who is trying to reach the front door. 

Protesters, who breached the Capitol building, were reportedly heard banging on the doors of the House floor moments before the floor evacuation began. 

CNN's Manu Raju reports. Watch:

3:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Federal and local law enforcement responding to reports of possible pipe bombs across DC

From CNN’s Evan Perez

Federal and local law enforcement are responding to reports of possible pipe bombs in multiple locations in Washington, DC.

It’s unclear if the devices are real or a hoax, but they’re being treated as real. 

3:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Vice President-elect Harris is "safe," aide says

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

The Office of the Vice President-elect will not comment on the whereabouts of Kamala Harris, but add that she is “safe,” according to a Harris aide.  

She was set to attend the Electoral College vote certification this afternoon on Capitol Hill. 

3:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

The House floor is being evacuated

 From CNN's Phil Mattingly and pool reporters 

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A lawmaker confirms to CNN that the House floor being evacuated. 

Protesters, who breached the Capitol building, were reportedly heard banging on the doors of the House floor.