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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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.

4:50 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Someone got into Nancy Pelosi's office during the riots

A man sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.
A man sits inside the office of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi inside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 6, 2021.  Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A photo from inside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office suite shows a folder with the words "we will not back down" written on it, according to CNN's Manu Raju.

"I want to direct you to that manila folder right there, as you can see, look in there, it says, 'we will not back down.' Someone leaving a message for the House Speaker in her suite," Raju reported.

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

4:38 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Jake Tapper: Trump sent a "mixed" message to rioters in video

From CNN's Jake Tapper / Written by CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

President Trump addressed rioters in a video message where he told them "to go home" while simultaneously falsely stating that the election was "stolen."

"Now, we brought that to you because President Trump on the tape says to his supporters who are right now conducting an armed insurrection non the US Capitol, he tells them to go home, but I also want to note that in that video he lies about the election being stolen and pours more fuel on the fire. He continues his shameful behavior of lying to his supporters about what happened. It is absolutely disgraceful. I hope they listen to the part in which he said for them 'to go home,' but to be completely frank, there are mixed messages in that video," CNN's Jake Tapper said.

"I want people to remember how they feel watching these images of the United States Capitol being taken over and these clear acts of sedition and violence and terrorism by Trump supporters, because there's going to be an attempt to white wash and pretend this didn't happen," Tapper added.

See the moment:

4:33 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

Before the riots broke out, Congress certified just 12 of the 538 electoral votes

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.

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

Lawmakers were in the process of discussing Arizona's 11 Electoral College votes when the riots broke out. Several GOP lawmakers had objected to the votes, which were for Biden, prompting both the House and Senate to retire to their chambers to debate the objection.

After the riots broke out, Congress went into recess. It's not clear when they could reconvene to continue the certification process.

4:35 p.m. ET, January 6, 2021

UK prime minister describes scene on Capitol Hill as "disgraceful"

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing street in London on January 6, 2021.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing street in London on January 6, 2021. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described scenes in Washington, DC — where rioters have breached the US Capitol — as “disgraceful,” calling for a peaceful transfer of power. 

"Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress,” Johnson tweeted Wednesday. 

“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” he added. 

Earlier on Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the British government has “full confidence” that the US checks and balances system will ensure that the outcome of the election is “properly decided, determined and then respected.”