Joe Biden and Kamala Harris deliver remarks before the holiday
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris deliver remarks before the holiday

Joe Biden certified as the next president

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Hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump have descended on the Capitol building in Washington, clashing with police who appear to be heavily outnumbered.

The protesters tore down security fencing and appeared to be intent on occupying the building.

The protestors stormed the barricades surrounding the US Capitol building. Police used pepper spray during Wednesday's historic joint session of Congress which was convened to certify the election victory of Democrat Joe Biden.

Capitol Police were seen using pepper spray to keep the Trump supporters at bay as they approached the entrance to the building, before tearing down metal barricades."

"This is our house!" Trump supporters screamed.

Meanwhile, the Madison and Cannon Office buildings have been evacuated over alleged unidentified packages.

People were evacuated from the Capitol Hill buildings while Congress was in session, according to reports.

A cop in Cannon building told reporters: "Everyone out, right now, we're evacuating."

Outside of the building, police told staff to "take visitors, escape hoods, and Go Kits and report to the South tunnel connecting to the Longworth Building."

Staffers at Capitol Hill were told to evacuate the Madison building.

Earlier on Wednesday, officers were responding to the reported package at the Unit Block of Second Street, just blocks away from the Capitol Building.

It came after Mr Trump addressed tens of thousands of supporters at a rally near the White House and called on them to "peacefully and patiotically make your voices heard" at Capitol Hill, where Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden's election victory.

Vice President Mike Pence has publicly rejected Donald Trump's orders to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.

Despite Mr Trump rallying tens of thousands of supporters to march on Congress to protest today's confirmation, Mr Pence released a lengthy statement saying he could not support the president.

"It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not," Mr Pence said.

Pence declares Biden the next president

Sam Clench

With all the electoral votes counted, Vice President Mike Pence officially confirmed Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump.

"The votes for president of the United States are as follows: Joseph R. Biden Jr of the state of Delaware has received 306 votes. Donald J. Trump of the state of Florida has received 232 votes," Mr Pence declared.

Its jobs done, the joint session dissolved with a weary round of applause.

 

  10m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT

Congress certifies Joe Biden's victory

Sam Clench

It has been smooth sailing through the last batch of states so far, and at 3.32am in Washington D.C., Joe Biden officially passed the 270 electoral vote threshold he needed to become president.

Vermont's three votes are what pushed him over the top.

A couple of states are still to come, but it's a done deal now - Congress has certified Mr Biden's victory and he will be inaugurated on January 20.

  20m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT

Pence dismisses Pennsylvania objection

Sam Clench

At last, we're under way again.

Vice President Pence promptly dismissed the objection to Pennsylvania's results, meaning its 20 electoral votes have now formally gone to Joe Biden.

Rhode Island is next up, and then we'll run through the remainder of the alphabet.

  36m agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT

House votes it down 282-138

Sam Clench

The House of Representatives has shot down the Pennsylvania objection 282-138, which means we can get back to counting the electoral votes in a few minutes, when the joint session resumes.

Shouldn't be much longer now. It's 3.11am.

Those 138 Republican votes, by the way, represent almost two-thirds of the party's caucus.

  1h agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT

House now voting on Pennsylvania objection

Sam Clench

Debate has finished in the House and it's now voting on the Pennsylvania objection.

Keep in mind, there are a few hundred members of Congress. So the vote could take half an hour or so.

After that, the joint session will resume, the objection will be denied, and we should run through the electoral college results from the remaining states without much more drama.

  1h agoJanuary 7, 2021HIGHLIGHT

'He called me a liar!': Tempers flare in Congress

Sam Clench

Things have got rather angry during the House's debate, with Republicans blowing up at Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb for calling them liars.

"To do this with any kind of honesty means admitting and declaring in this House that these objections don't deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce," Mr Lamb said, speaking against the Republicans' objection to Pennsylvania's election results.

"A woman died out there tonight! And you're making these objections.

"Enough has been done here today, already, to try to strip this Congress of its dignity, and these objectors don't need to do any more.

"We know that attack today, it didn't materialise out of nowhere. it was inspired by lies. The same lies that you're hearing in this room tonight.

"And the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them."

A Republican Congressman rose to make a point of order, interrupting Mr Lamb's speech.

"The gentleman said that there were lies on this floor here today, looking over this direction. I ask that those words be taken down," he demanded.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, ruled that the congressman's demand was not timely.

Mr Lamb started to resume his speech, but the Republicans were shouting at him across the chamber.

Someone could be heard yelling: "He called me a liar!"

"Look, it's sad but it's true. The truth hurts!" he shouted back.

"It hurts. It hurts them, it hurts this country, it hurts all of us. But the fact is that the people have made this country work by not giving in.

"Go ahead, shout it out!"

There was a disruption as members from both sides flooded to the central aisle and confronted each other.

Most of it happened out of view of the cameras.

 

Nevada objection fails too

Sam Clench

We are very much repeating ourselves now, but I should note that the same thing happened again with Nevada.

A Republican congressman objected to the state's results, but did not have a senator backing him up.

Another swing state done, then. Pennsylvania is still looming.

Michigan objection also fails

Sam Clench

The same thing just happened with the results from Michigan - a Republican congresswoman made an objection, but no senators joined her, so Vice President Pence promptly dismissed it.

Some members of Congress applauded.

Fun fact - the congresswoman in question was QAnon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The big state to watch here is Pennsylvania, where Senator Josh Hawley may still decide to object. We'll find out shortly.

 

Georgia objection fails as no senators support it

Sam Clench

We're back under way in the joint session.

Vice President Pence followed procedure and accepted the electoral votes from Arizona, the objection to its result having been defeated in both the Senate and the House.

We're now proceeding through the other states in alphabetical order.

The results from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C. and Florida were all accepted without any objections.

When Mr Pence got to Georgia, a Republican congressman rose to object. But that alone was not enough - any objection needs to be signed by someone from each chamber of Congress.

The Vice President asked whether a senator was joining in the objection.

"Following the events of today, it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection," the congressman said.

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

And just like that, Georgia's electoral votes were accepted.

 

House also rejects Arizona objection

Sam Clench

The House of Representatives has now rejected the objection to Arizona's electoral college results, by a margin of 303-121.

A majority of House Republicans actually supported tossing out Arizona's electoral votes, 121-83. The Democrats were unanimously against it, 220-0.

This means the two chambers can come together again and start to consider the results from more states.

Three more deaths on Capitol grounds

Sam Clench

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser just held a media conference. She said different levels of law enforcement were working together to "further secure the grounds" around the Capitol in the coming days.

Ms Bowser asked everyone in the city, including outsiders staying in hotels, to abide by its curfew.

"If you mean to cause trouble in the streets of Washington D.C., you will be arrested," she warned.

Police Chief Robert Contee said at least 52 arrests had been made as of 9.30pm, 26 of them on the grounds of the Capitol.

Forty-seven of the arrests related to curfew violations or unlawful entry; four were for carrying guns without licences; and one was for possession of a prohibited weapon.

Chief Contee confirmed police had found and destroyed two pipe bombs, one at the Republican National Committee headquarters and the other at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

They also found a cooler containing long guns and molotov cocktails on the Capitol grounds.

The death toll has risen to four, with the addition of three people who died due to "medical emergencies".

We already knew about the woman who died this afternoon after being shot inside the Capitol building.

"This is a tragic incident, and I send my condolences to the family," Chhief Contee said.

She was shot by a police officer, and the department's internal affairs division is investigating the incident.

"Additionally, there were three other deaths reported today from the area around the Capitol grounds," he said.

"Two adult females and one adult male appear to have suffered from separate medical emergencies, which resulted in their deaths."

He did not go into any more detail than that.

Finally, 14 police officers were injured during the riots. One suffered serious injuries after being pulled into a crowd and assault, while another suffered a serious facial injury after being struck by a projectile.

Both of those officers are in hospital. The other 12 police injuries are not as serious.

Washington D.C.'s state of emergency extended by 15 days

Sam Clench

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the state of public emergency she declared earlier today for 15 days, which means it will last until after Joe Biden's inauguration.

"Today, First Amendment protests turned violent. Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction," the new order says.

"They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles and guns. They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behaviour has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol.

"Their motivation is ongoing. Today, they sought to disrupt the congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes. President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the election was invalid.

"Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of state boards of elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration."

So, in plainer language, Ms Bowser believes there is potential for further violence in the American capital until Mr Trump leaves office.

 

Woman killed in the Capitol riot identified

Sam Clench

The woman who died today after being shot inside the Capitol Building has been identified as Ahsli Babbit, an Air Force veteran from San Diego.

 

 

Senate rejects objection 93-6

Sam Clench

The Senate has overwhelmingly rejected the objection to Arizona's electoral college result, by a margin of 93-6.

The six who voted in favour of tossing out Arizona's electoral votes were Josh Hawley, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Tommy Tuberville, Ted Cruz, Roger Marshall and John Kennedy. All of them are Republicans.

So, that's one down. It's unclear how many more objections will be raised - we're running through the states in alphabetical order. There are many, many letters left in the alphabet.

You can chill out for a bit if you like, because we still have to wait for the House of Representatives to vote on the Arizona objection before proceedings can move on.

At least one objection will still happen

Sam Clench

Good news for those of you who are rooting for this day to literally never end - at least one objection to the electoral college results is going ahead.

Senator Josh Hawley has not been deterred from raising his objection by the day's events.

"Millions of Americans are concerned about our election integrity," Mr Hawley said.

To explain why, he raised a legal dispute over Pennsyvlania's treatment of mail-in ballots.

"You have a state Constitution which has been interpreted for over a century to say that there is no mail-in balloting permitted except for in very narrow circumstances," Mr Hawley said.

"And yet last year, Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows mail-in balloting, and then did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution said.

"When citizens tried to be heard on this subject before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, they were dismissed on grounds of procedure, timeliness, in violation of that Supreme Court's own precedent.

"So the merits of the case have never been heard."

The upshot is that the two Houses of Congress will need to debate and vote on at least one objection tonight before it can finish tallying the electoral votes.

Ivanka's sister-in-law speaks out

Sam Clench

Karlie Kloss has labelled the President's refusal to accept his election defeat "un-American".

I bring up this fact not because Ms Kloss is *checks notes* a famous model, but because she is sister-in-law to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Report: Cabinet members discussing Trump's removal

Sam Clench

CBS News reports some members of Donald Trump's Cabinet are discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

That would require the support of Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet's members.

The amendment is applicable when the President is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" - i.e. when he's no longer fit for the job.

"This is not news that we deliver lightly, and I want to make clear that what I'm explaining here is what is being discussed, whispered about, among some Cabinet members today," foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan reported.

"My sources are telling me it has not been formally presented to the Vice President. This is not about to happen, it is however being discussed right now.

"The very fact that the highest levels of the US government, and Cabinet members, are discussing this, is quite newsworthy.

"I want to make clear, this is not just political watchers. I'm talking about actual members of the Cabinet."

We heard whispers about the 25th Amendment in the early days of the Trump administration and nothing ever happened, so take this with a hefty grain of salt.

White House deputy press secretary quits

Sam Clench

Another resignation. One of the White House's deputy press secretaries, Sarah Matthews, is quitting.

"I was honoured to serve in the Trump administration and proud of the policies we enacted. As someone who worked in the halls of Congress, I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today," Ms Matthews said.

"I'll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power."

Republican senators backflip on plans to object

Sam Clench

Multiple Republican who were previously planning to challenge the electoral college results have announced they will no longer do so.

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford was the first of them to speak.

He was followed by outgoing Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her re-election battle to Democrat Raphael Warnock last night.

"I cannot now, in good conscience, object to the certification of these electors," Ms Loeffler told the chamber.

She was on stage with Donald Trump about 48 hours ago, where she announced she would challenge the results.

The biggest name to watch here is Senator Josh Hawley. We'll presumably see what he has decided to do shortly.

Facebook blocks Trump from posting

Sam Clench

Facebook has blocked Donald Trump from posting anything on his page for the next 24 hours.

Not as dramatic as what we saw from Twitter earlier, with its threat to "permanently" suspend Mr Trump's account, but this is still the harshest measure Facebook has ever taken against the President.

Report: Trump 'resisted' sending in National Guard

Sam Clench

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, citing a source "with knowledge of the events", reports President Trump "initially rebuffed and resisted" requests to send the National Guard to quell today's riots.

Obviously, that's just one anonymous source, but keep an eye on this as an issue in the coming hours and days.

A few eyebrows were raised this afternoon when Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller issued a statement saying he had discussed the situation at the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence, not Mr Trump, as things unfolded.

"Chairman Milley and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative Hoyer," he said.

"We have fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement."

No mention of the President there.

 

Senate reconvenes: 'Let's get back to work'

Sam Clench

The Senate has now reconvened. Vice President Mike Pence began proceedings with a brief statement.

Today was a dark day in the history of the Capitol, but thanks to the swift efforts of law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured, and the people's work continues.

"We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls.

"To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today - you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the People's House.

"The world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy. For even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism, the elected representatives have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution.

"Let's get back to work."

Twitter locks Donald Trump's account

Sam Clench

Twitter has locked Donald Trump's account for the next 12 hours - and maybe more, unless he removes tweets the social media giant says breached its policies.

"As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington D.C., we have required the removal of three tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy," Twitter says.

"This means that the account of Donald Trump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these tweets. If the tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.

"Future violations of the Twitter rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the account."

You can read Twitter's Civic Integrity policy here.

Republican Senate leader defies 'unhinged' rioters

Sam Clench

The Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, issued a defiant statement of his own to the rioters.

"The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats," he said.

"We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution.

"And we're going to do it tonight.

"We fulfill this solemn duty every four years for more than two centuries, whether our nation's been at war or at peace, under all manner of threats, even during an ongoing Civil War.

"The US and the US Congress have faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today. We've never been deterred before, and we'll be not deterred today.

"They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed. This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is.

"Our nation was founded precisely so that the free choice of the American people is what shapes our self-government. Not fear, not force, but the peaceful expression of the popular will.

"We're going to finish exactly what we started.

"We will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Criminal behaviour will never dominate the US Congress. This institution is resilient, our republic is strong, the people deserve nothing less."

Joint sitting to resume in just over an hour

Sam Clench

Congress is going to resume its joint sitting at 8pm local time, which is an hour-and-a-quarter from now.

It will be interesting to see whether all the Republicans who were previously planning to object to the election results go through with it now.

 

Romney urges colleagues to drop electoral vote objections

Sam Clench

Next up is a statement from Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a frequent critic of the President and the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee.

"We gather today due to a selfish man's injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning," Mr Romney said.

"What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.

"They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.

"The objectors have claimed they are doing so on behalf of the voters. Have an audit, they say, to satisfy the many people who believe that the election was stolen.

"Please! No congressional led audit will ever convince those voters, particularly when the President will continue to claim that the election was stolen.

"The best way we can show respect for the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth. That is the burden, and the duty, of leadership.

"The truth is that President-elect Biden won this election. President Trump lost. Scores of courts, the President's own Attorney General, and state election officials both Republican and Democrat have reached this unequivocal decision.

"We must not be intimidated or prevented from fulfilling our constitutional duty. We must continue with the count of electoral college votes.

"In light of today's sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our Republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?

"Leader McConnell said that the vote today is the most important in his 40 plus years of public service. That is not because this vote reveals something about the election; it is because this vote reveals something about ourselves.

"I urge my colleagues to move forward with completing the electoral count, to refrain from further objections, and to unanimously affirm the legitimacy of the presidential election."

 

Republican governor calls for Trump to be removed

Sam Clench

I'm going to hit you with a few different statements now. This first one comes from Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican who voted for Joe Biden in November.

"Make no mistake, the President of the United States is responsible for this event," Mr Scott said.

"President Trump has orchestrated a campaign to cause an insurrection that overturns the results of a free, fair and legal election.

"The fact is the results of this election have been validated by Republican governors, conservative judges and non-partisan election officials across the country.

"There is no doubt that the President's delusion, fabrication, self-interest and ego have led us, step by step, to this very low and very dangerous moment in American history.

"The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President. Enough is enough. President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress."

There are two ways to remove a sitting President. The Vice President can lead a majority of the Cabient in invoking the 25th Amendment, which is used when the President is not fit to do the job.

Alternatively, Congress can impeach him.

 

Scott Morrison looks forward to 'peaceful transfer' of power

Sam Clench

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reacted to the scenes in Washington D.C., calling them "distressing".

He says he looks forward to a "peaceful" transfer of power to the Biden administration.

George Bush 'appalled' by politicians' 'reckless behaviour'

Sam Clench

Former Republican president George W. Bush has released a strongly worded statement on the "insurrection at the Capitol".

"Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our nation's government in disbelief and dismay," Mr Bush said.

"It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic, not our democratic republic.

"I am appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement.

"The violent assault on the Capitol - and disruption of a constitutionally mandated meeting of Congress - was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.

"Insurrection could do grave damage to our nation and reputation. In th e US, it is the fundamental of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law.

"To those who are disappointed in the results of the election: Our country is more important than the politics of the moment. Let the officials elected by the people fulfill their duties and represent our voices in peace and safety."

The statement does not single out Donald Trump by name.

Woman dies after being shot in Capitol

Sam Clench

NBC News reports the woman who was shot during the chaos in the Capitol today has died.

 

6pm curfew half an hour away

Sam Clench

The 6pm curfew ordered by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser comes into effect half an hour from now.

Law enforcement is preparing, and the remaining Trump supporters are mostly being moved away from the Capitol as darkness falls

 

Former Trump staffer: 'The election was not stolen'

Sam Clench

Former Trump communications director Alyssa Farah has made an impassioned plea to the President's supporters, telling them the election result was not fraudulent and they need to accept it.

Law enforcement clearing the Capitol

Sam Clench

The Capitol Building is still being cleared. Once it's safe, the joint session of Congress will presumably have to resume - it still has a job to do, after all.

"This is the United States. We will not allow mob rule to undermine the rule of law," Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has told reporters.

 

Trump's congressional supporters condemn riots

Sam Clench

The Republicans who went to today's joint session of Congress intending to object to the electoral college results on Donald Trump's behalf have issued statements condemning his supporters' behaviour.

"Thank you to the brave law enforcement officials who have put their lives on the line," said Senator Josh Hawley.

"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."

We also got this statement from Senator Ted Cruz.

 

IVANKA TRUMP 'PRAISES PATRIOTS'

Senior adviser to the President Ivanka Trump is facing intense backlash after labelling violent protesters "patriots" in a hastily deleted tweet.

The First Daughter's tweet was posted this morning Australian time in response to the chaos unfolding in Washington D.C, where pro-Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol building in a bid to overthrow the results of the November 3 election.

US President Donald Trump and his supporters have consistently refused to accept Democrat Joe Biden's win, and "anarchists" swarmed the Capitol as a joint session of Congress convened to confirm Mr Biden's victory.

RELATED: 'Blood now spilt': Woman shot in US coup

Ivanka Trump has since deleted the controversial tweet. Picture: Twitter
Ivanka Trump has since deleted the controversial tweet. Picture: Twitter

 

"American Patriots - any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable," Ms Trump posted today.

"The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful."

But while Ms Trump clearly called for calm, critics were quick to seize on her use of the word "patriots", which many interpreted as praise or support for those wreaking havoc.

The choice of words sparked an outpouring of anger, with Twitter users labelling her tweet "despicably shameful" and describing her as "complicit".

Ms Trump deleted the tweet soon after the backlash began, but not before furious Americans had the chance to screenshot it and share it widely online.

She went on to insist: "Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms."

The protests have been anything but peaceful, with a woman shot, a pipe bomb discovered and several police officers injured at the scene.

RELATED: Trump's chilling words before mayhem

 

Ivanka's brother, Donald Trump Jr, has also condemned the violence on the streets of Washington D.C, tweeting: "This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don't start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn't help anyone."

But pressure is mounting on the President to take a stand and order his supporters to desist amid the growing mayhem.

So far, Mr Trump has not spoken publicly about the crisis, instead issuing several tweets urging those at Capitol to "remain peaceful".

In contrast, incoming president Joe Biden has fronted the public in an attempt to calm the escalating situation.

"At this hour, our democracy's under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we've seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives and the Capitol Hill police, sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our Republic … Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end now," Mr Biden said on Thursday morning Australian time.

 

 

Originally published as Ivanka Trump praises violent 'patriots'

 

Biden speaks, demands Trump go on TV

Sam Clench

President-elect Joe Biden has just spoken. He called on Donald Trump to go on TV and "demand an end" to the "siege".

"I initially was going to talk about the economy, but all of you have been watching what I've been watching," Mr Biden said.

"At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault. Unlike anything we've seen in modern times. An assault on the citadel of liberty, the Capitol itself. An assault on the people's representatives and the police sworn to protect them. And the public servants who work at the heart of our republic.

"An assault on the rule of law. On the most sacred of American undertakings - the doing of the people's business.

"Let me be very clear. The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we're seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.

"It borders on sedition. And it must end, now.

"I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward.

"The words of a president matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, they can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.

"Therefore, I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution, and demand an end to this siege.

"It's not protest, it's insurrection. The world is watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation has come to such a dark moment.

"Through war and strife, America has endured much. And we will endure here and we will prevail again.

"The work of the moment, and the work of the next four years, must be the restoration of democracy, of decency, of respect. Just plain, simple decency.

"America's about honour, decency, respect, tolerance. That's who we are. That's who we've always been.

"Today is a reminder, a painful one, that democracy is fragile. And to preserve it requires people of good will, leaders with the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power or their own selfish interests, but to the common good.

"President Trump, step up."

 

 

'Go home': Trump posts video from White House

Sam Clench

President Trump has posted a minute-long video in which he asks the rioters to "go home".

He also spends some time calling his election defeat fraudulent, and tells the protesters "we love you" and "you're very special".

"I know your pain. I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side," he said.

"But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order, we have to respect our great people in law and order. We don't want anybody hurt.

"It's a very tough period of time. There's never been a time like this, where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us - from me, from you, from our country.

"This was a fraudulent election. But we can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace.

"So go home, we love you, you're very special, you've seen what happens, you see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace."

'Pipe bomb' found at RNC headquarters

Sam Clench

The New York Times reports an explosive device, a pipe bomb, has been found and safely destroyed at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington.

A suspicious package was also found at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, causing an evacuation. That package has yet to be identified.

Trump deploys the National Guard

Sam Clench

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has announced the D.C. National Guard has been deployed, at President Trump's direction.

The governors of Virginia and Maryland have already done the same, sending help to their neighbour.

 

PENCE REFUSES TO INTERFERE WITH ELECTION COUNT

The usually staid ceremony to name a new US president has been plunged into chaos by a public spat between Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

After two months of challenging his election loss but offering no concrete proof of fraud, Mr Trump will today address thousands of supporters at the Ellipse outside the White House and again insist he was robbed.

Two hours later Mr Pence is scheduled to perform the ceremonial task of formally declaring Democrat Joe Biden the President-elect to a joint session of Congress, ahead of his January 20 inauguration.

 

But after a New York Times report that Mr Pence had informed Mr Trump he would not support his challenge to the certification of the election results, the President insisted he could retain the White House.

In what amounted to a remarkable full-court press of his deputy, he issued a statement saying that Mr Pence agreed with him that the election was "illegal".

"The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the Vice President has the power to act," Mr Trump said.

 

In a nod to just how helter-skelter the situation had become, the 10pm missive was also dated with the wrong year, with a timestamp of January 5, 2020.

"Our Vice President has several options under the U.S. Constitution. He can decertify the results or send them back to the states for change and certification. He can also decertify the illegal and corrupt results and send them to the House of Representatives for the one vote for one state tabulation."

These actions do not appear to be possible under the US constitution.

Mr Pence did not publicly respond.

 

Later, Mr Trump doubled down on his allegations of electoral fraud in a late-night tweet.

"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency," he posted on Twitter.

"Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!"

As president of the Senate, Mr Pence will be tasked with presiding over a roll call of states announcing their electoral college results.

 

 

More than a dozen Republicans led by Senator Ted Cruz have said they will challenge the results from up to six states, which would trigger hours of debate and potentially stretch the process to the next day.

But despite this plan to challenge the state results and "send them back", any such action would need to be approved by Congress and the Democrat-led House is highly unlikely to support such a move.

The rare show of disunity between the president and Mr Pence reveals the broader challenge the post-Trump Republican Party faces.

 

Mr Pence reportedly holds his own ambitions to run in 2024 so needs to balance his ambition with the tricky task of appeasing Mr Trump, who will potentially be a party kingmaker for years to come.

But even though Mr Trump's continued dummy spit threatens to overshadow his legacy and his actual ability to retain power appears infinitesimal, many of his most ardent supporters believe he will somehow do so.

 

 

Army veteran Gary Colders was wearing a red Make America Great Again cap and holding a "Stop the Steal" flag in freezing weather for hours yesterday at one of several Trump protests in Washington.

The Chicago father of two was one of thousands who gathered in the nation's capital for two days of demonstrations for which authorities had called out the National Guard.

"Something's going to happen tomorrow. He's gonna keep it," he said yesterday of Mr Trump's grasp of the presidency.

"And if something doesn't happen then there's going be a whole lotta trouble."

 

 

GEORGE W. BUSH 'LOOKS FORWARD TO ATTENDING INAUGURATION'

Former President George W. Bush will attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, but former President Jimmy Carter won't make it, their offices said Tuesday.

Bush spokesman Freddy Ford said that the 43rd president and former First Lady Laura Bush will attend the pared-back ceremony in Washington.

"President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing-in of President Biden and Vice President Harris," Ford said.

 

Former President George W. Bush. Picture: AP
Former President George W. Bush. Picture: AP

"I believe this will be the eighth Inauguration they've had the privilege of attending - President Trump's being the most recent - and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old."

Bush, 74, is the only living Republican ex-president following his father George H.W. Bush's death in 2018.

Although controversial when he left office due to the 2008 economic collapse and his management of the Iraq War and other post-9/11 policies, Bush's popularity has rebounded, according to polls. He rarely comments on politics and started painting.

 

Former President of United States of America Jimmy Carter. Picture: Supplied
Former President of United States of America Jimmy Carter. Picture: Supplied

Carter, 96, left office in 1981. The coronavirus pandemic places elderly people at the greatest risk. Carter representatives told The Associated Press that the Democrat sends his "best wishes" to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

The other two living ex-presidents are Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

 

Originally published as Crowd erupts as Pence rejects call to deny 'bulls-t' Biden win


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