As Congress gathered in Washington D.C. in a joint session to certify the Electoral College votes from each state, President Trump held a rally just down the street with thousands of his supporters. During his speech, he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol building and peacefully protest the events happening inside.
Inside the Capitol building, Vice-President Mike Pence presided over the joint session and called each state forward alphabetically to announce their Electoral College results. Alabama and Alaska responded uneventfully, their Electoral College votes both going to President Donald J.Trump. When Arizona announced that it’s Electoral College votes would go to Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Republican Representative from Arizona Paul Gosar stood to object, seconded by Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. With the objection noted, Pence dismissed the joint session to their individual chambers to debate and vote on whether to accept the contested Electoral College votes from Arizona.
Just as the debate was getting underway, things escalated outside the Capitol building. Protesters pushed past Capitol Police and stormed the Capitol building, getting inside and occupying the building. Members of Congress were immediately evacuated to undisclosed secure locations. Initially, the protesters seemed unsure of what to do once they gained entry to the building with most just milling around inside the rotunda. Some entered the House and Senate chambers to take pictures. Some went to offices and placed handwritten notes on the desks. Although some exterior windows were smashed in, there was no destruction or looting of the building. After what seemed like several hours of uneasy idleness, Capitol Police along with Virginia State Police regained control of the building. The Mayor of D.C. announced a 6 p.m. curfew and after some additional skirmishes with police, by nightfall the area around the Capitol building was once again secure.
Back in session after the daylong frackus, Congress worked through the night and ultimately confirmed the Electoral College victory for President-elect Joe Biden.