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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9:03 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Another senior East Wing staffer resigns following today's riots 

From CNN's Kate Bennett 

White House social secretary Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta has resigned her role, effective immediately, a White House official tells CNN.

Niceta served as the Trump administration’s sole social secretary, assuming the post in February 2017.

Niceta becomes the second senior East Wing staffer to resign her job in the wake of today’s violent protests at the Capitol.

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, submitted her resignation Wednesday afternoon.

Some background on Niceta's role: The social secretary conducts and oversees all events at the White House, from small meetings in the West Wing, to the annual Easter Egg Roll, Halloween, state visits and Congressional picnics and galas.

Prior to becoming social secretary, Niceta was an executive with Washington, D.C., catering company Design Cuisine. Melania Trump hired Niceta after being impressed with the food at the inaugural luncheon in the US Capitol building.

8:59 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Top White House national security officials are considering resigning

From CNN's Jake Tapper, Kaitlan Collins, Kylie Atwood and Vivian Salama

U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien addresses the press during a meeting with Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, amidst the coronavirus pandemic at the Itamaraty Palace on October 20, 2020 in Brasilia, Brazil.
U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien addresses the press during a meeting with Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, amidst the coronavirus pandemic at the Itamaraty Palace on October 20, 2020 in Brasilia, Brazil. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Several of President Trump's top aides, including national security adviser Robert O'Brien, are considering resigning in the wake of his response to a pro-Trump mob breaching the US Capitol today.

O'Brien, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are all considering resigning, according to multiple sources familiar. Pottinger's resignation appears to be imminent while others could sleep on it.  

Earlier Wednesday, O’Brien took the unusual step of defending Vice President Mike Pence as President Trump has been more consumed by his refusal to do his bidding today than the mob that breached Capitol Hill. O'Brien says he showed courage today as Trump lambasted him. 

"I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him," O'Brien said

O’Brien, Pottinger and Liddle did not immediately respond to request for comment.

8:55 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Giuliani and Trump are calling senators and urging them to press ahead with objections, source says

From CNN's Jake Tapper and Kaitlan Collins

President Trump is urging senators to push ahead with the protest on the certification of Joe Biden as President, according to a source familiar with the discussions, and the source says it sounds like Sen. Josh Hawley will continue his push for an objection.

As CNN reported earlier, Hawley would not answer when asked what his plans are following the protests today, and whether he would still object to Pennsylvania. 

Sen. Roger Marshall also would not answer a question about whether he still planned to object to Georgia and Pennsylvania. 

Congress reconvened their joint session tonight after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol. Lawmakers are currently debating an objection to Arizona's electoral votes.

CNN's Manu Raju contributed reporting to this post

8:52 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP Sens. Daines and Lankford will now vote to certify Biden's win

From CNN’s Phil Mattingly

Republican Sens. Steve Daines and James Lankford say they will now vote to certify the election results.

Calling Wednesday’s insurrection “a sad day for our country,” the two senators said, "We now need the entire Congress to come together and vote to certify the election results."

"We must stand together as Americans. We must defend our Constitution and the rule of law," they said.

8:51 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Trump initially did not want to deploy the National Guard today, source says

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Pamela Brown and Jim Acosta

President Trump, who has proven over the past year to be eager to deploy the National Guard when violence breaks out, initially resisted doing so on Capitol Hill today as a mob of his supporters breached the building, according to a source familiar.

Vice President Mike Pence was on the phone with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, according to another source, and encouraged a much quicker deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol to help quell the rioters who were breaking through security barriers and overwhelming Capitol Police.

However, the source notes, Pence does not have authority over the National Guard.

As reported earlier, a White House adviser said some aides around Trump were furious that the President didn't do more to stop the insurrection at the Capitol. The adviser said aides have been all but begging Trump to come out and make a statement to begin to calm the situation.

A White House official said 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.

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.

"He doesn't want to" to do more than what he is doing right now, the adviser said.

"If we could throw him to the angry mob, we'd throw him to the angry mob now," the adviser said.

8:54 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

GOP Sen. Loeffler, who lost Senate runoff race, drops plans to object to Georgia election results

From CNN’s Manu Raju

Sen. Kelly Loeffler.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Source: Senate TV

Sen. Kelly Loeffler changed her mind about objecting to Georgia election results in the aftermath of today's riots.

"I cannot now object to the certification of these electors," Loeffler said.

It's unclear if anyone else will object to Georgia.

Her colleagues applauded after her speech.

CNN projected last night that Loeffler will lose the Senate Georgia runoff election to Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock.

8:41 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

New York governor is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to the Capitol

From CNN’s Sonia Moghe

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

At the request of the US National Guard, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is deploying 1,000 members of the New York National Guard to Washington, DC, “to aid and facilitate peaceful transfer of power,” Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday. 

“For 244 years, the cornerstone of our democracy has been the peaceful transfer of power, and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is carried out, safely and decisively,” Cuomo said in the statement.

The troops will be deployed for up to two weeks. The decision was made at the request from the US National Guard. Cuomo said the deployment “will not impact our state's ongoing efforts to contain and combat the Covid virus.”

8:45 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Oklahoma senator: Congress will certify Biden's win and we will work together to set "a peaceful example"

Sen. James Lankford.
Sen. James Lankford. Source: Senate TV

Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, vowed tonight to work together with fellow members of Congress "to be able to set a peaceful example for the days ahead."

Lankford acknowledged that Congress will certify President-elect Joe Biden's win tonight.

"The peaceful people of Oklahoma want their questions answered, but they don't want this what happened today," he said, referring to the rioters who stormed the US Capitol today. "They also want to do the right thing, and they also want to do it the right way. They want to honor the constitutional process but they also want to have debate about the election security because they want to make sure it is right. Transparency and government does not seem like a bad idea."

He continued: "Obviously the commission that we have asked for is not going to happen at this point and I understand that. We are headed towards tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden being the president of the United States and we'll work together in this body to be able to set a peaceful example for the days ahead."

Lankford took the floor after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted President Trump in fiery remarks from the floor.

"Make no mistake, make no mistake my friends. Today's event did not happen spontaneously... This President bears a great deal of the blame," Schumer said.

Watch the moment:

8:37 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

KC Star editorial says GOP Sen. Hawley shares "blame for the blood that's been shed"

From CNN’s Dan Merica

Sen. Josh Hawley gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory on January 6 in Washington.
Sen. Josh Hawley gestures toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory on January 6 in Washington. Francis Chung/E&E News and Politico/AP

The Kansas City Star called Republican Sen. Josh Hawley in an editorial today, and said he "deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed"

Hawley, who was elected to represent Missouri in 2018, announced his intentions last week to object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes.

It's not yet clear whether Hawley will drop those objections following today's violence on Capitol Hill. Hawley did not respond to questions about his plans on the way back to the Capitol.

The Kansas City Star writes:

"No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway.
This, Sen. Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is what mobs do. This is not a protest, but a riot. One woman was shot and has died, The Washington Post reported, while lawmakers were sheltering in place.
No longer can it be asked, as George Will did recently of Hawley, 'Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?' Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed."