WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Congress formally confirmed Joe Biden’s presidential election victory after an overnight joint session was delayed by violent protests. Shortly after the certification, President Trump issued a statement promising an “orderly transition on January 20th.”
Law enforcement officers secured the U.S. Capitol building after pro-Trump supporters breached the perimeter and entered the building as Congress met Wednesday afternoon. Lawmakers reconvened late Wednesday evening, intending to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win.
The Senate recessed its debate over an objection to the results of the Electoral College after protesters forced police to lock down the building. The scene was declared a riot by police, and a curfew for DC is in effect. One woman was shot inside the Capitol and taken to the hospital; she has died from her injuries. Officials said late Wednesday she was killed when an officer discharged their service weapon. Lawmakers reconvened Wednesday evening shortly after 8 p.m. EST.
Washington, D.C., Police Chief Robert Contee said three other people died in “medical emergencies.”
Congress first began the joint session at 1 p.m. ET to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Biden, while thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied near the White House before some demonstrators became violent and breached the Capitol building.
Trump’s Republican allies in the House and Senate had planned to object to the election results, which the president continues to challenge. The effort will likely fail and be defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress who are prepared to accept the election results.
Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.
Below is a timeline of updates from the NewsNation team. All times local.
5:55 a.m. – The citywide curfew in D.C. is set to expire. Mayor Muriel Bower issued the curfew Wednesday afternoon and it began at 6 p.m. EST. However, the city will be under a public emergency order until at least Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.
3:55 a.m. – After Congress certified Biden’s win, Trump issued a statement promising an “orderly transition on January 20th.”
Trump says in a statement tweeted by his Deputy Chief of Staff 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.”
There was no widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month.
Trump’s account is currently locked by Twitter.
3:41 a.m. – Congress confirmed Joe Biden’s Electoral College win after an overnight joint session was delayed by violent protesters. Biden defeated Trump by 306-232 electoral votes and will be inaugurated Jan. 20.
3:30 a.m. – Joe Biden reaches 270 confirmed Electoral College votes.
3:11 a.m. – The House joined the Senate and voted to reject the objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. Lawmakers in the House voted 282-138 against the objection.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Senate and House will now resume a joint session to continue considering 2020 election results.
2:20 a.m. – A small group of House lawmakers came close to physically fighting as the congressional count of electoral votes stretched into the wee hours and a Pennsylvania Democrat charged that Republicans had been telling “lies” about his state’s votes.
Rep. Morgan Griffiths, R-Va., objected after Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., said a breach of the Capitol by an angry mob earlier in the day was “inspired by lies, the same lies you are hearing in this room tonight.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the objection, but a few minutes later Republicans and Democrats streamed to the middle aisle, with around a dozen lawmakers getting close to each other and arguing. But the group quickly broke up when Pelosi called for order on the floor.
12:45 a.m. – The Senate voted 92-7 to reject the objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. The House is still in discussion and has at least 90 more minutes to continue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn’t expect anymore votes to challenge the election results after the House votes. Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes include 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley.
12:16 a.m. – At least one Senator and Representative objected to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. Both chambers of Congress will now deliberate for two hours.
11:17 p.m. – The U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in rejecting a move by allies of President Donald Trump to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, a vote delayed by rioters earlier pushing their way into the U.S. Capitol. The House of Representatives voted 303-121 against the measure. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said the Senate and House will now resume a joint session to continue considering 2020 election results.
11:10 p.m. – At least four people died in and around the Capitol Complex, according to acting chief of Metro Police Robert Contee in a Wednesday night press conference. One of those deaths was a woman who was killed after a Capitol Police Officer discharged their service weapon. Authorities didn’t identify the person, but she was identified by her husband as the person who was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon.
The three others died because of medical emergencies. At least 52 people were arrested, authorities said.
14 D.C. officers sustained injuries, authorities said. One officer suffered serious injuries and is currently hospitalized. One officer received significant facial injuries after being struck by a projectile. Two pipe bombs were found, authorities said, at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters and Republican National Committee Headquarters.
10:15 p.m. – The Senate has voted to allow Arizona’s electoral votes after a challenge to the vote. The House is still in 2 hours of debate, which will continue between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. After that, the joint session of Congress will continue alphabetically counting the votes. It’s unclear if there will be more objections in other states.
9:15 p.m. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election win will show the world it won’t back down.
Pelosi made her comments as the House reconvened after being shut down for hours Wednesday by unruly pro-Trump protesters. She said that every four years the ritual provides an example to the world of American democracy.
Pelosi says, “Despite the shameful actions of today, we will still do so, we will be part of a history that shows the world what America is made of.”
Pelosi, a Roman Catholic, noted that Wednesday is the feast of the Epiphany and prayed that the violence would be “an epiphany to heal” for the country.
8:55 p.m. – Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they won’t object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Their change of heart came after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier Wednesday and interrupted their proceedings. One person was fatally shot.
Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Mike Braun of Indiana and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia all said in light of the violence they would stand down from planned objections to Biden’s win.
Lawmakers gathered to certify the Electoral College votes from each state were forced to evacuate after an angry mob of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol. Loeffler said that the “violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress” were a “direct attack” on the “sanctity of the American democratic process.”
All three had previously signed on to Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat. Loeffler has just days left in her term. She lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock earlier Wednesday.
8:42 p.m. – Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who lost re-election to Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock in Tuesday’s special election runoff, said she is rescinding her objection to the certification of electors.
8:37 p.m. – Scores of Republican representatives and 13 GOP senators had planned to object Wednesday to the electoral votes of perhaps six states that backed Biden. It was unclear whether those objections would continue in light of the day’s violent events.
8:12 p.m. – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke third after lawmakers reconvened, saying that Jan. 6 is a day that “will live forever in infamy.”
8:05 p.m. – Congress reconvened Wednesday night after the Capitol building was cleared and secured; Vice President Mike Pence made opening remarks, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke next.
Pence condemned the violence “in the strongest possible way,” and thanked the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state, and local law enforcement for their swift efforts.
McConnell addressed the American people, noting the U.S. Senate “will not be intimidated,” or “kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats.”
7:52 p.m. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to speak on the Senate floor at 8 p.m.
7:44 p.m. – Stephanie Grisham, first lady’s chief of staff and former White House press secretary, resigned Wednesday amid violent protests at the U.S. Capitol.
7:15 p.m. – Vice President Mike Pence has returned to the Senate, his press secretary tweeted:
“Vice President @Mike_Pence has returned to the Senate. He never left the Capitol.
@VP was in regular contact w/ House & Senate leadership, Cap Police, DOJ, & DoD to facilitate efforts to secure the Capitol & reconvene Congress.
And now we will finish the People’s business.”
6:32 p.m. – Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen issued a statement condemning the violence at the Capitol:
“The violence at our Nation’s Capitol Building is an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy. From the outset, the Department of Justice has been working in close coordination with the Capitol Police and federal partners from the Interior Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Guard, as well as the Metropolitan Police and other local authorities. Earlier this afternoon, the Department of Justice sent hundreds of federal law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, ATF, and the U.S. Marshals Service to assist the Capitol Police in addressing this unacceptable situation, and we intend to enforce the laws of our land.”Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen
6:30 p.m. – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the joint session of Congress will proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use.
Pelosi said she made the decision Wednesday in consultation with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, who will preside.
She noted the day would always be “part of history,” but now it would be “as such a shameful picture of our country was put out into the world.”
Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
Trump supporters breached the Capitol building and clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes. Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the November election was stolen from him, even though that is not true.
5:16 p.m. – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo statement on Capitol violence:
“The storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable. I have traveled to many countries and always support the right of every human being to protest peacefully for their beliefs and their causes. But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad. Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting. America is better than what we saw today at a place where I served as a member of Congress and saw firsthand democracy at its best.”US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
6:01 p.m. – Officials tell NewsNation the woman shot inside the U.S. Capitol building has died.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it was taking the lead on the shooting investigation. Police did not immediately provide details about the circumstances of the shooting.
Dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump breached the security perimeter and entered the Capitol as Congress was meeting, expected to vote and affirm Joe Biden’s presidential win. They were seen fighting with officers both inside the building and outside.
Hours later, police had declared the Capitol was secured.
6 p.m. – Curfew goes into effect in DC.
5:36 p.m. – Officials say the U.S. Capitol building is now secure.
5:26 p.m. – The Washington, D.C., police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.
Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.
As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.
Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. curfew.
5:25 p.m. – NewsNation has obtained several videos from inside and around the U.S. Capitol, showing the chaotic scene inside and outside the building. Watch in the player below:
5:19 p.m. – Sen. Jeff Merkley said that the Electoral College ballots were rescued from the Senate floor.
“If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob,” the Democratic Senator from Oregon said on Twitter.
5:05 p.m. – Pro-Trump demonstrators have massed outside statehouses across the country, forcing evacuations in at least two states. In St. Paul, Minnesota, cheers rang out from demonstrators in reaction to the news that supporters of President Donald Trump had stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Hundreds of mostly unmasked people gathered outside capitols on Wednesday with Trump flags and “Stop the Steal” signs. In Georgia and Oklahoma, some demonstrators carried guns.
New Mexico state police evacuated staff from a statehouse building that includes the governor’s and secretary of state’s offices as a precaution shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback. A spokesperson for the governor´s office says there was no indication of threats at the statehouse.
The staff of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was sent home as several hundred pro-Trump demonstrators rallied outside the Capitol, though the demonstration remained relatively calm. A brief scuffle between pro-Trump demonstrators, who included members of the Proud Boys, and counterprotesters broke out in Columbus, Ohio, but there was no immediate threat to the Capitol.
5 p.m. – The DC police chief says protesters deployed ‘chemical irritants on police’ to gain access to the US Capitol.
Police Chief Robert Contee says officials have declared the scene a riot. One civilian was shot inside the Capitol on Wednesday. Thirteen arrests were made of people from out of the area.
Mayor Muriel Bowser says the behavior of the Trump supporters was “shameful, unpatriotic and above all is unlawful.” She says, “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated.”
Metropolitan police have been sent to the Capitol, and authorities were coming in from Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey to help out. The National Guard was also deployed, as were Homeland Security investigators and Secret Service.
Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to fight Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win. He held a rally earlier Wednesday and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. He has since tweeted a video telling his supporters to go home.
4:40 p.m. – At least one explosive device has been found near the U.S. Capitol amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat Wednesday afternoon.
That’s according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press.
Thousands of supporters of the president occupied the Capitol complex as lawmakers were beginning to tally the electoral votes that will formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Vice President Mike Pence called on protesters to leave the Capitol immediately. President Donald Trump urged supporters to go home.
4:25 – President Donald Trump tweeted a video Wednesday afternoon after President-elect Joe Biden called on him to address his supporters, urging his supporters to go home.
The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Biden’s victory.
Trump opened his video, saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”
“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. 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’ve seen 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.”President Donald Trump via Twitter
Twitter flagged Trump’s tweet, saying “this claim of election fraud is disputed” and disabled replies, retweets or likes “due to a risk of violence.” The video was later removed by Twitter.
4:20 p.m. – Democrat Jon Ossoff is projected as the winner of the second Georgia runoff for U.S. Senate; Democrats effectively gain control of U.S. Senate.
4:05 p.m. – President-elect Joe Biden addressed Americans from Delaware, asking President Donald Trump to go on national television to “fulfill his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this siege.”
Biden called the violent protests on the U.S. Capitol “an assault on the most sacred of American undertakings: the doing of the people’s business.”
Biden’s condemnation came after violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm the president-elect’s victory in the November election.
Biden addressed the violent protests as authorities struggled to take control of a chaotic situation at the Capitol that led to the evacuation of lawmakers.
4 p.m. – The Pentagon says about 1,100 D.C. National Guard members are being mobilized to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of President Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Wednesday afternoon that defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.
A defense official said all 1,100 of the D.C. Guard were being activated and sent to the city’s armory. The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6 p.m. curfew being implemented tonight in the city.
The officials said the D.C. request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Hoffman said the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department.
3:55 p.m. – The top Democrats in Congress are demanding that President Donald Trump order his supporters to leave the Capitol following a chaotic protest aimed at blocking a peaceful transfer of power.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement on Wednesday after violent protesters stormed the Capitol. They said, “We are calling on President Trump to demand that all protestors leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.”
Trump earlier encouraged his supporters occupying the U.S. Capitol to “remain peaceful,” but he did not call for them to disperse. He held a rally earlier Wednesday in which he repeated his false claims that President-elect Joe Biden had won the election through voter fraud.
3:50 p.m. – The White House says National Guard troops along with other federal protective services are en route to the Capitol to help end a violent occupation by President Donald Trump’s supporters who are seeking to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that “At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.”
She added, “We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is sending members of the Virginia National Guard, along with 200 Virginia State Troopers.
3:43 p.m. – Vice President Mike Pence tweeted said the “violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now.”
3:38 p.m. – NewsNation’s Brian Entin showed an update of the scene outside of the U.S. Capitol.
3:36 p.m. – The Department of Homeland Security is sending additional federal agents to the U.S. Capitol to help quell violence from supporters of President Donald Trump who are protesting Congress’ formal approval of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
A spokesperson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that officers from the Federal Protective Service and U.S. Secret Service agents are being sent to the scene. He says they were requested to assist by U.S. Capitol Police.
3:30 p.m. – NewsNation Washington D.C. Correspondent Joe Khalil describes situation as he shelters-in-place in basement of Capitol.
3:28 p.m. – One person has been shot at the U.S. Capitol as dozens of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police.
That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity amid a chaotic situation.
The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear. The person said the victim had been taken to a hospital. Their condition was not known.
3:20 p.m. – Police with guns drawn watch as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol.
3:15 p.m. – Trump encourages supporters occupying US Capitol to ‘remain peaceful,’ but doesn’t call for them to disperse.
2:51 p.m. – Lawmakers are being evacuated from the U.S. Capitol after protesters breached security and entered the building.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other senators were led out, escorted by staff and police on Wednesday afternoon. Members of the House were also being evacuated. Both chambers had been debating the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
The skirmishes came shortly after President Donald Trump addressed thousands of his supporters, riling up the crowd with his baseless claims of election fraud.
Protesters could be seen marching through the Capitol’s stately Statuary Hall shouting and waving Trump banners and American flags.
Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.
2:48 p.m. – Members of Congress inside House chamber told by police to put on gas masks after tear gas dispersed in Capitol Rotunda.
2:40 p.m. – President Donald Trump tweeted about what was happening.
2:39 p.m. – D.C. Mayor issues citywide curfew beginning at 6 p.m.
2:30 p.m. – Cameras show video of protesters inside the U.S. Capitol. The building is on lockdown.
2:15 p.m. – Senate recesses Electoral College debate after protesters force lockdown of Capitol.
1:46 p.m. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out against his fellow Republicans who were challenging Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, saying it could do great harm to America.
At the start of debate on certifying the Electoral College result, McConnell said: “We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of election on steroids.” McConnell added, “The voters, courts, states, they’ve all spoken. If we overrule them it would damage our republic forever.”
1:17 p.m. – Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said he did not believe he had the authority to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally, but welcomed efforts by U.S. lawmakers to raise objections about alleged “voting irregularities.”
Pence, under pressure by defeated President Donald Trump to hold up certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election, told U.S. lawmakers in a letter that he would do his duty to ensure concerns about the election received a “fair and open hearing.”
“When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal Law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process,” said Pence, who is presiding over a joint session of Congress to certify the election results.
1:15 p.m. – Republicans from the House and Senate have objected to the counting of Arizona’s electoral vote, forcing votes in both chambers on Joe Biden’s victory in the state.
The objection was made by Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar and was signed by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Both are Republicans. The two chambers now have two hours to debate the challenge.
Biden won the state by more than 10,000 votes. In all, eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s Arizona win have failed, in part over a lack of evidence.
The state’s Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of an election challenge, because the plaintiff lacked the right to bring the suit in the first place. The woman wasn’t a registered voter when she sued.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, has said there were no irregularities with the vote in her state.
1:15 p.m. – President Donald Trump is taking aim at Republican members of Congress who have refused to join him in his effort to contest the results of the November election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump on Wednesday told a large crowd of supporters gathered on the Ellipse that they needed to vote these Republicans out of office by putting up challengers in primary elections to push them out.
“If they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight,” Trump said, calling the Republicans who aren’t siding with him “weak.”
Earlier, he named and praised Republicans who have pledged to contest the electoral votes of some states when they come up for approval on Capitol Hill.
His supporters, who braved chilly, windy conditions, chanted “Fight for Trump!”
1:10 p.m. – Congress has begun a joint session to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.
With supporters of President Donald Trump gathering around the Capitol, more than a dozen Republican senators and more than 100 Republican House members have said they will object to the count from as many as six battleground states. They are echoing Trump’s unfounded claims of widespread fraud.
Biden won the Electoral College 306-232. He is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.
Their efforts are almost certain to fail as many Republicans have said they will oppose the objections. But the session is expected to last into the night on Wednesday as the House and Senate must consider each objection separately and vote on whether to sustain it.
It comes months after the the Nov. 3 election, two weeks before the inauguration’s traditional peaceful transfer of power and against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the session. He has no power to overturn the results, despite pressure from Trump to do so.
While other vice presidents, including Al Gore and Richard Nixon, also presided over their own defeats, Pence supports those Republican lawmakers mounting challenges to the 2020 outcome.
“I hope that our great vice president comes through for us,” Trump said at a rally in Georgia this week. “He’s a great guy. Of course, if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”
It’s not the first time lawmakers have challenged results. Democrats did in 2017 and 2005. But the intensity of Trump’s challenge is like nothing in modern times, and an outpouring of current and elected GOP officials warn the showdown is sowing distrust in government and eroding Americans’ faith in the election process.
Under the rules of the joint session, any objection to a state’s electoral tally needs to be submitted in writing by at least one member of the House and one of the Senate to be considered. Each objection will force two hours of deliberations in the House and Senate, ensuring a long day.
House Republican lawmakers are signing on to objections to the electoral votes in six states — Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Arizona is expected to be the first disputed as the state tallies are announced in alphabetical order, and Cruz has said he will join House Republicans in objecting to that state.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, who’s among those leading the challenges, has said he will object to the election results from Pennsylvania, almost ensuring a second two-hour debate despite resistance from the state’s Republican senator, Pat Toomey, who said the tally of Biden’s win is accurate.
Democrats have the majority in the House and the Republican-led Senate is divided over the issue. Bipartisan majorities in both chambers are expected to soundly reject the objections.
The group led by Cruz is vowing to object unless Congress agreed to form a commission to investigate the election, but that seems unlikely.
President-elect Biden has kept quiet, not addressing the matter when he campaigned in Georgia Monday for the Senate runoff.
Biden later spoke broadly about Democrats’ “opposition friends” realizing that “power flows from the people.”
“Politicians cannot assert, take or seize power. Power is granted by the American people alone,” he said.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Reporting by AP’s Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick; Kevin Freking contributed from Dalton, Ga., Bill Barrow from Atlanta.