DemDaily: The Last 24 Hours of History

January 7, 2021

Trump: "We will never concede" (Pete Marovich/NYT)

Yesterday morning, as members of the 117th Congress prepared to meet in a joint session of Congress to certify the results of the Electoral College vote electing Joe Biden as our 46th President, the current President of the United States was speaking at a "Stop the Steal" rally.

In a 70-minute diatribe, President Trump said, "We will never give up. We will never concede. It will never happen. You don't concede when there's theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore."

He closed by encouraging the dangerous mob, which included white supremacists, neo-Nazis and members of QAnon and Proud Boys, to 'go down to the Capitol' and 'give our Republicans the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country."

What unfolded next will go down as one of the saddest chapters in American history, as the US Capitol was violently breached for the first time since 1814.

The Timeline
8:17am: In anticipation of the Electoral College vote, President Donald Trump tweets that states "want to correct their votes" and that Vice President Mike Pence should "send them back to the states."

Protestors on the East Side of the Capitol at 4:30pm (KimberlyScott/DemList)

12:15pm: Addressing a rally of thousands promoted on right-wing social media, Trump delivers an incendiary speech recycling many false claims about electoral fraud and urged supporters to march on the US Capitol.

12:53pm: Vice President Mike Pence releases a statement, defying the president by saying that he does not have the authority to reject the electoral votes.

1:06pm: Congress begins the joint session to confirm President-Elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win. In advance of the normally pro-forma vote, a dozen Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members said they planned to object to the count, echoing Trump's false claims of widespread fraud.

1:50pm: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), having previously acknowledged the election results, tells his colleagues that Congress should not attempt to override the voters' verdict in electing Democrat Joe Biden president, warning, "If we overrule them we will damage our republic forever."

1:55pm: Capitol Hill Police evacuate the Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress due to "police activity" as thousands of Pro-Trump forces gather outside the Capitol to protest the electoral vote.

2:05pm: Vice President Mike Pence is whisked away to a secure bunker in the middle of active proceedings in the Senate.

2:20pm: Both chambers of Congress abruptly recess and the Capitol goes on lockdown. Reporters are told to stay in the Senate's press gallery behind locked doors.

Clad in MAGA apparel and carrying Confederate flags, the protestors tear down metal barricades at the bottom of the Capitol's steps and are met by officers in riot gear. Officers fire pepper spray into the crowd to keep the advancing crowd back.

Protestors Breach the Capitol (Win Mcnamee/Getty)

2:39pm: Trump tweets, "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!" He does not, however, call for his supporters to disperse.

2:40pm: Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser orders a curfew in the nation's capital, commencing at 6pm.

2:45pm: Members are given gas masks after tear gas was released in the Capitol Rotunda and police begin to evacuate some lawmakers from the Capitol.

2:50pm: Law enforcement confirms that a shot was fired inside the building, later reporting that a woman was hit and later died. Three other protestors died of "medical" issues.

3:20pm: The Senate chamber is secured and officers successfully push rioters down from the second and third floor of the rotunda.

3:35pm: Vice President Mike Pence tweets, "The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now."

Members shelter in place as protestors try to break into the House chamber (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The Department of Homeland Security dispatches federal agents to the US Capitol to help quell violence.

3:45pm: Capitol police encourage members of Congress and staff in the building to stay in place and shelter.

3:50pm: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi release a brief joint statement, calling on Trump "to demand that all protesters leave the US Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately."

4:00pm: The Pentagon announces 1,100 DC National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement.

4:10pm: President-elect Joseph Biden addresses the nation, calling the actions of Trump supporters "an insurrection," and "an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people's business." Biden also demands that President Trump immediately make a televised address calling on his supporters to cease the "unprecedented assault" and violence.

4:40pm: Trump posts a video to his supporters, reiterating again the false attacks about the presidential election, then saying, "I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now... We love you. You're very special."

(Joseph Prezioso/AFP)

5:00pm: Washington, DC Police Chief Robert Contee says protesters deployed "chemical irritants" on police to gain access to the Capitol. The scene has been declared a riot, and law enforcement officials from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey are deployed to the Capitol, in addition to the National Guard, Homeland Security investigators and the Secret Service.

5:05pm: Pro-Trump demonstrators amass outside statehouses across the country. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers rang out from demonstrators when they learned the Capitol had been stormed. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carried guns. Protests forced evacuations in New Mexico and Utah, and in Columbus, Ohio a scuffle broke out between pro-Trump demonstrators, including members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters.

5:11pm:  Vice President-elect Kamala Harris echoes President-elect Joe Biden's condemnation of "the assault on our Capitol" and calls for it to end.

5:25pm: DC police say that at least five weapons have been recovered and 13 people have been arrested. ATF and DC police officials earlier said two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. They also discovered a cooler with a long gun and Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.

5:40pm: Police use tear gas and percussion grenades to begin clearing out the rioters from the Capitol grounds ahead of DC's curfew. At 5:50pm officials declare the US Capitol complex "secure."

After making his way to the desk of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one protester left a message reading "we will not back down" (EPA)

5:45pm: Facebook VP of integrity says Trump's video message has been removed from its platform because "we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."

6:00pm: DC's curfew goes into effect. Dozens of pro-Trump protestors remain on the streets in defiance of the curfew.

6:25pm: Trump rationalizes the violent occupation of the Capitol, tweeting, "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."

The President's erratic tweets and behavior are described by sources in the White House as "unhinged."

7:02pm: Twitter locks Trump out of his account for at least 12 hours over "repeated and severe violations" of its civic integrity policy.

Elected officials of both parties, civil rights, community and corporate leaders condemn Trump's actions, with many calling for his immediate removal of office under the 25th Amendment.

Trump's former Defense Secretary and retired four-star Marine General James Mattis issues a statement saying the violence was fomented by Trump, who has used the presidency "to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens...Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country."

The Final Act
8:10pm: Congress reconvenes to certify the 2020 presidential election.

Vice President Mike Pence,together with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, affirm electoral college vote for Biden (USAToday)

Despite the shocking events of the previous six hours, some members of the GOP continue to forge forward with their objections.

3:31am: After over seven hours of debate all states' electoral votes, unchanged, are counted, with Vice President Mike Pence affirming Joseph Biden's 306 victory over Donald Trump's 232 electoral votes.

Today: Presidential-elect Joe Biden addresses the country, condemning the storming of the Capitol
as a violent expression of President Trump's refusal to accept defeat, calling it "an assault on the citadel of liberty."

Saying Trump was responsible for instigating the violence and chaos that spread throughout the Halls of Congress -- "a dark moment" in the nation's history.

"At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite," says Biden, "It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now."

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Sources: US Congress, AP, New York Times, NBCNews

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