The Latest: Capitol police chief calls riot ‘criminal’
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress’ confirmation of Joe Biden as winner of the presidential election (all times local):
The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says the violent mob that stormed the building wielded metal pipes, chemical irritants and other weapons against law enforcement.
Steven Sund issued a statement Thursday saying the rioting protesters “actively attacked” police officers and “were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.”
A Capitol Police officer shot and killed one person, who Sund identified as Ashli Babbitt. Sund did not identify the officer but said they would be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Sund defended his agency’s response from criticism that officers did not stop the incursion. He says his agency “had a robust plan” for what he anticipated would be peaceful protests, but what occurred Wednesday was “criminal riotous behavior.”
He said more than 50 Capitol and Washington police officers were injured and several Capitol Police officers were hospitalized with serious injuries.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONGRESS’ CONFIRMATION OF BIDEN’S VICTORY:
Angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a chaotic protest aimed at thwarting a peaceful transfer of power, forcing lawmakers to be rushed from the building and interrupting challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Congress returned later Wednesday to resume their proceedings after the Capitol was cleared by law enforcement and confirmed Biden as the presidential election winner.
— Chaos, violence, mockery as pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol
— A moment in America, unimaginable but perhaps inevitable
— AP PHOTOS: Scenes of violence at U.S. Capitol shock world
— Capitol has seen violence over 220 years, but not like this
— Pence defies Trump, says he can’t reject electoral votes
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
The top U.S. military commander for Africa has issued a message of assurance to his forces, saying that America, its Constitution and system of government remain strong despite the violent events at the U.S. Capitol.
Army Gen. Stephen Townsend tweeted Thursday that America has “withstood much greater and graver challenges in the past” and Africa Command remains focused on its mission.
“The American people expect, and need, us to stay steady and keep clear eyes on our duty — and we will,” said Townsend in a statement with his senior enlisted leader, Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher.
While the statement appears to be directed to his Africa Command forces, it clearly serves as a message across Europe and Africa to America’s allies who watched in horror as armed and angry protestors took over the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Africa Command is based in Germany.
Former Attorney General William Barr says President Donald Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”
In a statement to The Associated Press, Barr said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”
Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.
His comments come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.
Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.
The Defense Department has formally activated roughly 6,200 members of the National Guard from six northeastern states to help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington in the wake of the deadly riot Wednesday that rocked the U.S. Capitol.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller signed orders activating the National Guard from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for up to 30 days. A defense official said the goal is to have Guard members help secure the U.S. Capitol and the surrounding area through the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The Guard members are arriving over the next several days. A total of 6,200 have been activated, but the exact number of troops that will actually get to the city may be less than that, depending on who is available in each state. The Guard won’t be armed, but will have riot gear and protective clothing, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide troop details.
The orders come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.
Four people died in the melee, including a protester who was shot by police. The vote was later completed after the building was cleared.
— by Associated Press writer Lolita Baldor
President Donald Trump’s former acting White House chief of staff resigned his post as special envoy to Northern Ireland on Thursday, saying “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.”
Mick Mulvaney joined a growing list of Trump administration officials who are leaving following the violent riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. The riot occurred after Trump addressed a massive rally in Washington fueled by the president’s repeated allegations that he lost the November election because of election fraud, which is not substantiated. A mob breached the Capitol building just as lawmakers were working to certify Electoral College votes in the election, sealing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Mulvaney said he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday night to tell him that he was resigning. He served as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 until March 2020. Before that, he was director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney told CNBC, which was first to report the resignation. “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in.”
President Donald Trump now says there “will be an orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and after a day of violence when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Trump says in a statement tweeted by his social media director Dan Scavino, “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”
He adds: “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
Trump’s account is currently locked by Twitter.
Trump has spent the last two months refusing to concede the election and making baseless allegations of mass voter fraud that have been rejected by dozens of courts and Republican officials, including his former attorney general.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the formal session that ended early Thursday morning tallying the electoral college vote.
Congress has formally validated Joe Biden’s presidential election victory on a day that saw a time-honored ceremony become a nightmare of unprecedented political terror.
The House and Senate certified the Democrat’s electoral college win early Thursday after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot, windows were bashed and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol Police.
The rampage began shortly after President Donald Trump repeated his unfounded claims of election fraud to thousands of rallying demonstrators he’d invited to Washington. Many then surged to the Capitol after he incited them to go there as lawmakers debated the electoral votes.
More than six hours after the violence erupted, lawmakers resumed their session.
Thirteen Republican senators and dozens of GOP representatives had planned to force debate and votes on perhaps six different states’ votes.
The assault on the Capitol made some Republicans squeamish about trying to overturn Biden’s win, and challenges were lodged only against Arizona and Pennsylvania. Both efforts lost overwhelmingly.
Biden defeated Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated Jan. 20.