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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12:24 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Rejection of GOP objection to Georgia's electoral results draws applause in Congress

From CNN’s Kristin Wilson

Republican lawmakers objected to Georgia's electoral results, which certified President-elect Joe Biden's win, tonight on Capitol Hill.

GOP Rep. Jody Hice, of Georgia, objected to the election results in the state claiming they were "faulty and fraudulent."

When asked by Vice President Mike Pence whether these objections were presented in writing and signed by one senator, Hice said: "Mr. President, prior to the actions and events of today, we did, but following the events of today, it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection."

Hice's response drew vigorous applause from other lawmakers.

"In that case, the objection cannot be entertained," Pence said in response.

Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler had indicated earlier today that she would object, but withdrew it after protestors stormed the Capitol Wednesday saying, "I cannot now object to the certification of these electors."

Georgia’s votes are now certified for President-elect Joe Biden.

Remember: Each objection must be put in writing and signed by both a congressman and senator in order for the joint session to be paused and the House and Senate adjourn to separately consider it. 

Watch the moment:

11:59 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Track the electoral vote count in Congress

From CNN's Sean O’Key and Zachary B. Wolf

Electoral votes for president are counted during a joint session of Congress after they resumed the session following protests at the US Capitol in Washington on January 6.
Electoral votes for president are counted during a joint session of Congress after they resumed the session following protests at the US Capitol in Washington on January 6. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The joint session of Congress is counting the electoral ballots.

Four lawmakers designated as "tellers" — two from the House and two from the Senate — are reading the certificates of vote from each state.

They are doing this in alphabetical order. The teller just read the votes from Maine.

Track the electoral vote count in Congress here.

11:50 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Congress reconvenes for joint session to certify Biden's win

From CNN's Ted Barrett and Manu Raju

House TV
House TV

The House and Senate has reconvened the joint session and will resume counting the electoral ballots.

According to a Senate GOP leadership aide, when the Senate returns to the chamber to debate the objection to Pennsylvania, expected to be triggered by GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, they will not hold two hours of debate but will go straight to a roll call vote on the objection. 

This will allow many senators to leave the Capitol while the House debates, possibly for two hours, and then votes on the Pennsylvania objection. 

It’s unclear right now if the House would yield back time and not use the full two hours.

There will not likely be any more objections but after Pennsylvania is dealt with, the joint session will have to reconvene and complete counting of the ballots.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has more:

11:37 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

3 people died from medical emergencies near Capitol grounds during riots

From CNN's Adrienne Winston

DC Police Chief Robert Contee announced this evening that three people died from medical emergencies during today’s insurrection at the Capitol.

Contee did not specify if these people were involved in any way with the overtaking of the Capitol building.

“One adult female and two adult males appear to have suffered from separate medical emergencies, which resulted in their deaths. Any loss of life in the District is tragic and our thoughts are with anyone impacted by their loss," he said.

DC Fire and Emergency Medical services transported people to area hospitals with injuries ranging from cardiac arrest to multiple fractures after falling from scaffolding on the West front of the Capitol building. However, city officials did not say whether any of these people are the ones now deceased.

11:35 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Pelosi's office damaged during Capitol riot

From CNN's Manu Raju

Pro-Trump rioters -- who overtook the Capitol Wednesday and stormed past police barricades -- took the nameplate from above the door to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. 

Aides also said the rioters shattered a big mirror in her office. 

CNN reported earlier that a photo from inside her office suite shows a folder with the words "we will not back down" written on it. 

The folder was found after rioters stormed the US Capitol as members of Congress were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win.

It also appears that the Office of the Senate Parliamentarian was ransacked during today's violence.

2:30 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

The House just rejected an objection to Arizona's electoral vote. Here's what comes next.

House TV
House TV

The House voted to reject an objection to throw out Arizona's Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. The measure was also dismissed in the Senate.

The effort failed in the House by a final vote of 303 to 121. A majority of Republicans voted to reject the electors, 121-83.

The House and the Senate will now reconvene in a joint session to continue to count the Electoral College votes. 

Remember: Any further objections must be made in writing and backed both by a member of the House of Representatives and a senator, from any state.

Objections that are entertained by the chair — that’s Vice President Mike Pence, whose duties include serving as president of the Senate — will force both the House and Senate to withdraw for debate in each chamber, which will be capped at a maximum of two hours.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley still plans to object to Pennsylvania's results, a spokesman said, which would force a second round of debate and votes on the objection.

11:30 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

DC police arrest 52 people amid Capitol violence, chief says

From CNN's Rashard Rose

Source: WJLA
Source: WJLA

Metropolitan police made in excess of 52 arrests as a result of the violence at the US Capitol today, said Chief Robert Contee said at a news conference.

Twenty-six of the 52 arrests were made on US Capitol grounds, Contee said.

Here's a breakdown of the arrests, according to the chief:

  • 47 arrests were elated to curfew violations and unlawful entry
  • Four people were arrested for carrying pistols without licenses
  • One person was arrested for possession of prohibited weapon

Authorities also recovered a pipe bomb from the Democratic National Committee and another pipe bomb from the Republican National Committee. A cooler from a vehicle along with a long gun that also included Molotov cocktails on the grounds of the United States Capitol were also recovered.

11:24 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Riot at Capitol building was "beyond awful," former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake says

From CNN's Leinz Vales

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Source: CNN

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said that Wednesday's riot at the US Capitol building was "beyond awful." 

"It was the most awful feeling I have had a long time," Flake told CNN's Don Lemon. "I was on Capitol Hill during 9/11. I was on the baseball field being shot at. I can tell you, neither of those experiences would have been like this."

Flake, a CNN political commentator, who endorsed Joe Biden for president, went on to call on Congress to move certify the election results without objection. 

"Congress is doing exactly what they should be doing right now, certifying the results and then waiting for January 20th," Flake said. "I hope that Congress will take up some of the nominees that the President-elect has put forward and hold those hearings so that we can hit the ground running on January 20th." 

Watch the moment:

11:16 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Two GOP senators explain why they changed their minds in objecting to the electoral votes

From CNN’s Manu and Ali Zaslav

Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Sen. Mike Braun.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Sen. Mike Braun. Getty Images

Two GOP senators who had initially planned to object to the Electoral College vote counts with Sen. Ted Cruz explained why they didn't, pinning the blame on the riots that took place at the US Capitol today.

Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said: "I didn't feel comfortable with today's events even though I do believe that election integrity is still a valid issue. Many of us can still pursue it. ... When today's events unfolded, I could not dignify it even by withholding something I objected to."

Asked why she didn't vote to throw out Arizona's election results, freshman Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis pointed to "the activities of the day."

But both Braun and Lummis declined to blame Trump for the violence and destruction in the Capitol.

The other senators who had initially signed onto Cruz's effort but voted to reject the objection to Arizona: Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Steve Daines of Montana and James Lankford of Oklahoma.

GOP Sen. Mike Rounds, who didn't sign on to Cruz's effort and opposed the efforts to throw out the results, said of Trump's rhetoric: “He most certainly did not help.”

The South Dakota senator added: “If anything, he urged in a very emotional situation very inappropriate action by people that appear to be his supporters."