US Capitol riots: Biden decries 'one of the darkest days for our history'- latest news

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Josie Ensor
·73 min read
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President-elect Joe Biden called the storming of the US Capitol "one of the darkest days of our history," and said the violence was  a predictable consequence of Donald Trump's "contempt for democracy".

Mr Biden said Mr Trump unleashed an "all-out assault" on democratic institutions and that the mob should not be described as protesters but "domestic terrorists", in an address to the nation.

Nancy Pelosi, US House Speaker, meanwhile, called  for Mr Trump to be urgently removed from power, branding him "a very dangerous person who should not continue in office."

"This is an emergency of the highest magnitude," the top-ranking Democrat in Congress said as she urged Vice President Mike Pence and Mr Trump's cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment.

If the 25th amendment, allowing for a cabinet majority to replace a president deemed unable to discharge his duties, is not invoked, Congress is prepared to move forward with impeachment, she said.

Mr Trump earlier committed to a peaceful transition of power for the first time after Mr Biden was officially certified as President by Congress.

In a statement released on the Twitter page of the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Trump said he "totally disagreed with the outcome of the election" but confirmed "there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

Follow the latest updates below.

11:46 PM

What happened today

On another momentous day in American history, here are the top stories:

11:01 PM

VP Pence 'doesn't support' invoking 25th Amendment

Vice President Mike Pence doesn't support removing Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, advisors tell Business Insider. 

"Not happening," said a Republican close to Pence when asked about growing calls for him to replace Trump. 

 Democratic leaders are threatening to open a second round of impeachment proceedings against Trump if Pence and the Cabinet do not immediately remove Trump from office, even though there's less than two weeks left in the Republican's term and the start of the new Democratic Biden administration.

Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results - Getty
Mike Pence presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results - Getty

 

10:33 PM

White House gives first public statement since riots

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, just gave a two-minute statement of condemnation on behalf of the president and his administration.

She said in the White House briefing room: “Let me be clear. The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way. “We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable and those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

She went on to say: "those who violently besieged our capitol are the opposite of what this administration stands for," 

She left without taking any questions from reporters.  

10:19 PM

Telegraph splash tomorrow: Remove Trump or we will, Democrats warn

Ben Riley-Smith, Nick Allen and Rozina Sabur in Washington have this:

Donald Trump on Thursday night faced the prospect of being removed from office before the end of his presidential term, with Democratic congressional leaders threatening impeachment unless the cabinet forced his exit.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Party leaders in the US House of Representatives and Senate respectively, demanded Mr Trump's immediate removal amid outrage at his actions before the US Capitol was stormed by a mob of his supporters.

They publicly called on Mike Pence, the US vice president, to invoke the 25th Amendment, a mechanism that removes a president who is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".

Such a move would need to be backed by Mr Pence and a majority of Mr Trump's cabinet. There were media reports that some cabinet members were discussing the possibility, but it remained unclear how seriously it was being considered.

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09:45 PM

First White House firing, CNN reports

The White House fired Gabriel Noronha, a State Department official, today for tweeting that Donald Trump endangers our democracy and should leave office,  officials have told CNN. If confirmed, this would be the first firing, rather than resignation, since the assault on the Capitol yesterday.  

Noronha worked on Iran at the State Department and was previously a staffer on Capitol Hill.

Noronha's bosses at the State Department did not object to him posting his opinion on his personal Twitter account, the sources said. It is unclear who at the White House made the decision to fire him.

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09:12 PM

US attorney for DC: rioters could be charged with sedition

Michael Sherwin, US attorney for DC says "all options are on the table" for charging rioters at the Capitol, including sedition.

Over past 36 hours, he said they have charged 40 people with offences including unlawful entry, assault, and firearms offences.

One person was arrested with a "military-style automatic weapon and 11 Molotov cocktails." 

"All of those charges are on the table. We're not going to keep anything out of our arsenal for potential charges," Sherwin said. "We will bring the most maximum charges we can based upon the conduct."

He said they are looking at all actors involved in the unrest, including the role Donald Trump played in inciting the crowd.

Meanwhile, Andrew Lelling, US Attorney for Massachusetts, just sent a release announcing his office will prosecute anyone who travelled from the state to DC for yesterday’s assault on the Capitol.

Trump supporters storm Capitol building in Washington - Getty
Trump supporters storm Capitol building in Washington - Getty

 

08:21 PM

Trump has discussed pardoning himself - NYT

President Trump has suggested to aides he wants to pardon himself in the final days of his presidency, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, a move that would mark one of the most extraordinary and untested uses of presidential power in American history, the NYT reports.

No president has pardoned himself, so the legitimacy of prospective self-clemency has never been tested in the justice system, and legal scholars are divided about whether the courts would recognise it. 

A self-pardon would complicate the already fraught question for the Biden Justice Department about whether to investigate and ultimately prosecute Trump. 

08:19 PM

Biden introduces Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general

Joe Biden introduced Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general on Thursday, turning to an experienced judge to help de-politicise the Justice Department and restore the rule of law after what he described as four years of lawlessness under Donald Trump.

"The past four years we've had a president who's made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law, clear in everything he has done," Biden declared, vowing a dramatic change of course in his administration. "More than anything, we need to restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the Department of Justice that's been so badly damaged."

If confirmed by the Senate, which is likely, Garland would take over as the nation's top law enforcement official at a critical moment for the country and the agency. He would inherit immediate challenges related to civil rights, an ongoing criminal tax investigation into Biden's son Hunter and calls from many Democrats to pursue criminal inquiries into Trump after he leaves office.

Biden vowed that Garland's loyalty would rest not with the president, but with the law and Constitution.

"You don't work for me," Biden charged as he introduced Garland.

Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden - AP
Attorney General nominee Judge Merrick Garland speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden - AP

 

07:16 PM

US House Speaker for Pelosi calls to invoke the 25th or else impeach

Nancy Pelosi, the US Speaker of House, is now speaking. She is calling for invoking the 25th Amendment, otherwise, she says, impeachment is an option.

She cited "seditious" acts related to the president's role in encouraging the assault on the US Capitol a day earlier.

“My members are very much interested [in impeachment]," Pelosi said. "My phone is exploding with 'impeach, impeach, impeach. Removing Trump is an "emergency of highest magnitude."

Asked today on when there could be a decision on invoking the 25th Amendment, Pelosi said it was up to Mike Pence, the Vice President. "It's up to him, it could be as early as today.

"While there is only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America," she told reporters.

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06:56 PM

Biden: don't call them protesters, they were terrorists

Joe Biden is addressing the nation now. He calls yesterday "one of the darkest days in the history of our nation" and "an assault on the rule of law." He says "don't care call them protesters; they were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It's that basic, it's that simple.

The President-elect said there is no question Black Lives Matter protesters would have been treated far differently yesterday, saying: "We all know that’s true. It is unacceptable – totally unacceptable."

He went on: "I wish we could say we couldn't see it coming. but that isn't true. We could see it coming. The past four years, we've had a president who's made his contempt for our democracy, our constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done."

 

06:37 PM

Transport chief becomes first Cabinet secretary to resign

Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, has resigned, becoming the first Cabinet secretary to leave after Donald Trump incited a mob that attacked the Capitol on Wednesday.

Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and has served in the Cabinet all four years of the Trump presidency. She is longtime Republican who served for many years under George W Bush.

Some experts say this makes it much less likely they have the votes to invoke the 25th Amendment to unseat Trump, however her resignation does not officially come into effect for three days, meaning she could sign on before then.

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06:27 PM

Schumer said he will fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms

Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, said he will fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger when Democrats take control of the chamber this month after the pro-Trump riots in the Capitol.

"If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger hasn't vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate," Schumer told Politico in a statement on Thursday. 

The attack on Wednesday left Members of Congress forced to take shelter as mobs with guns stormed the Capitol. Officers were completely overwhelmed by the numbers in the crowd.

06:13 PM

So, what happens now?

Ben Riley-Smith, our US Editor, has done a very handy Q&A for us to help explain what could happen next:

 Are there checks on Donald Trump’s power in his last fortnight in office?

Yes. They largely remain the same as throughout his four years as US president. They are a combination of laws, political considerations, precedent, personal decision-making by those around him and emergency break measures built into the US governmental system. At multiple times throughout his presidency Mr Trump has pushed against the constraints placed upon him, testing the outer limits of his power, but nothing quite like now.

So what are the checks?

Firstly there are laws. A president cannot break the law, even though controversial Justice Department guidance saying he cannot be indicted while in office gives him an untested degree of protection.  Mr Trump cannot establish new legislation himself, that needs the support of both chambers of Congress to pass. He can make executive orders which carry the weight of law and has some national emergency powers, but these have been challenged through the courts when used by Mr Trump.   

What about the 25th amendment?

Reports from reputable US media outlets suggest there is discussion among cabinet members - though how serious remains unclear - about using the 25 Amendment. This is a mechanism that allows the US vice president, in this case Mike Pence, and a majority of the cabinet to remove a president from his duties. The amendment creates a process to remove a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. It was designed for serious illness or incapacitation. But its wording leaves open the possibility that a president deemed incapable of carrying out his duties due to his mental state could be removed. A majority of the cabinet and Mr Pence would need to write a letter to congressional leaders proposing the change. Mr Trump could respond. If the group still wanted to take the move it would be done. Democratic congressional leaders have called for this to happen but Republicans may pause on the implications of forcibly removing a leader of their own party from office.  

Are there any other paths?

Yes. Impeachment. Democratic congressmen called for this yesterday. The mechanism is a way for Congress - rather than the president’s cabinet - to remove a sitting president. The process is as follows: The US House of Representatives would need to pass at least one article of impeachment. For that to happen a majority of House members would have to vote yes. The hurdle is something that amounts to “high crimes and misdemeanours”, or treason or bribery.  If that happens then it would be over to the US Senate.

A trial would take place. Senators would vote on whether to acquit or convict. Two thirds of senators must vote to convict for Mr Trump to be removed. There is no set time limit to proceedings, so theoretically there is time for Mr Trump to be impeached and removed before the January 20 inauguration. It is a question of political will.

The Democrats control the House, which means if their leadership wants impeachment and their House members agree then they can secure impeachment without any Republican votes. The situation in the Senate would be much less clear. More than a dozen Republican senators would have to vote to remove Mr Trump to hit the two-thirds threshold.  

05:57 PM

When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and could it be behind closed doors?

Given the violence seen last night and the coronavirus pandemic, there are some on social media who are calling for this year's inauguration ceremony to be held behind closed doors.

The mayor of DC has extended a public emergency declaration until January 21, the day after inauguration.

This order empowers officials to reduce the hours of operation for businesses, order people off the street if a curfew is issued, and expend funds as needed to protect public safety, suggesting that city officials have the power to prevent people from gathering for the event.

READ MORE:  Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and could it be behind closed doors?

05:47 PM

House Democrats move to impeach Trump after Capitol violence

Democratic lawmakers have circulated articles of impeachment to remove President Donald Trump from office after his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in a violent breach, Representative David Cicilline said.

"I am circulating Articles of Impeachment that @RepTedLieu, @RepRaskin and I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday's attack on the U.S. Capitol," Mr Cicilline said on Twitter.

Earlier, Mr Cicilline sent a letter along with "colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump".

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05:33 PM

Boris Johnson 'unreservedly condemns' Capitol breachers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has doubled down on his criticism of Donald Trump, saying the way the President and his supporters behaved was "completely wrong".

"All my life, America has stood for some very important things. An idea of freedom, an idea of democracy, and as you say, as you suggest, insofar as he [Trump] encouraged people to storm the Capitol and insofar as the President has consistently cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I think that was completely wrong," he said

"I think what President Trump has been saying about that is completely wrong and I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol."

"All I can say is that I am very pleased the President-elect has been duly confirmed in office and that democracy has prevailed," he added.

05:22 PM

U.S. senator says Capitol building rioters made off with laptop

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley said that pro-Trump demonstrators who invaded the U.S. Capitol building also ransacked his office and stole a laptop.

In a video posted to Twitter late on Wednesday, the Democratic senator from Oregon showed how the protesters left his office full of debris, disordered cabinets, strewn files, and a cigarette butt.

"They stole the laptop that was sitting on the table," he said at one point, as his camera panned over an empty desk.

Mr Merkley's office did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the incident or what was in the laptop.

Concerns over the digital integrity of information kept by lawmakers at the Capitol have been mounting as law enforcement weighs the damage from the riot, which happened after outgoing President Donald Trump told supporters gathered in Washington he would "never concede" the election he lost to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. 

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05:10 PM

Trump hands golfers Presidential Medal of Freedom

Donald Trump has ploughed ahead with at least part of his schedule today, awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to three golfers in a closed-door ceremony at the White House.

He will award the medal to Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player, and Babe Zaharias (posthumously), a White House official said.

The event, taking place in the East room, is not open to the press.

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05:01 PM

D.C. police arrest 68 after violent storming of U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C., police have made 68 arrests related to the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol, most on Capitol grounds, the city's police chief said.

"We still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and everyone of the violent mob accountable for their actions," the city's police chief, Robert Contee, told reporters.

04:50 PM

Trump's long and lonely night

Wednesday night was a lonely one for Donald Trump, writes Josie Ensor.

Cut off from Twitter and Facebook - the social media platforms the president has used to communicate with supporters - and increasingly politically isolated, Mr Trump was left to stew alone.

He had started the day in a combative mood. Whether he truly believed Vice President Mike Pence could help decertify the vote in Congress is unclear, but he was clearly buoyed by the prospect.

An exhilarated Mr Trump urged the tens of thousands gathered in Washington DC for a "Save America" rally to march to the Capitol. “Let’s go together!,” he told them.

READ MORE: Trump's long and lonely night after being banned from Twitter and facing isolation by allies

04:41 PM

Chuck Schumer calls for Trump to be removed from office 'immediately'

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for President Trump to be removed from office by "invoking the 25th Amendment".

The Senate's top-ranking Democrat said: "What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the President. This President should not hold office for one day longer."

He went on to call for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, adding if "the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the President."

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04:33 PM

Officer involved in Capitol shooting placed on leave

A U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in Wednesday's deadly shooting in Congress has been placed on administrative leave and his police powers have been suspended pending an investigation, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said in a statement.

Mr Sund said Capitol Police are also conducting "a thorough review" of the assault on the U.S. Capitol, including security planning, policies and procedures.

Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year old Donald Trump supporter from San Diego, California who had served in the United States Air Force, died after being shot in the chest after trying to enter the House chamber.

READ MORE:  Ashli Babbitt: Air Force veteran shot dead by plain clothes police during US Capitol riots

04:27 PM

Brazil's Bolsonaro backs Trump fraud claim after unrest

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has backed his ally Donald Trump's claim of fraud in the US presidential election, and warned the chaos that rocked Washington could also hit Brazil's elections next year.

The far-right leader, dubbed the "Tropical Trump," is a staunch supporter of the American president, a stance he maintained even as international condemnation poured in for Trump's role in encouraging the mob that stormed the US Capitol Wednesday.

"What was the problem that caused that whole crisis, basically? Lack of trust in the election," Mr Bolsonaro told supporters outside the presidential palace.

"They maximized mail-in ballots because of this pandemic thing, and there were people who voted three, four times. Dead people voted. It was a free-for-all. No one can deny that."

Election officials, US states and the courts have all dismissed Trump's claims of widespread fraud.

But Mr Bolsonaro has shown determination to stand by Trump to the end as he was the last leader in the G20 group of nations to acknowledge president-elect Joe Biden's victory.

"There's fraud here, too," he said, warning Brazil faced "an even worse problem than the United States" if it did not reintroduce paper ballots, as he has insisted.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (R) has been a staunch ally of US President Donald Trump (L) - Alan Santos/AFP
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (R) has been a staunch ally of US President Donald Trump (L) - Alan Santos/AFP

04:19 PM

'As an American in Britain, I’ve never been more embarrassed and sorrowful than today'

I love my country, but after last night's attack on democracy I feel further from it than ever before, says McKenna Grant.

From the second I heard law enforcement was to be dispersed across the capital of the US on Wednesday, I had a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I sensed things were about to get ugly – but I didn’t think it would ever come to this. Four deaths, more than 50 injured, images of Congressmen running for cover in the US Capitol following an eruption of 'Make America Great Again' supporters, seemingly egged on by the Commander in Chief himself. Don’t forget the pipe bombs, too.

READ MORE: As an American in Britain, I’ve never been more embarrassed and sorrowful than today

04:11 PM

First Republican Congressman calls for 25th Amendment

Republican U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger on Thursday called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove President Donald Trump from office, a day after the president's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy.

"All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself," Mr Kinzinger said in a video he posted on Twitter.

Mr Kinziger, a military veteran who served in Iraq, said he was ready to be attacked by Mr Trump.

He said: "I've been in combat. This is political combat. I just need to be able to look at myself in the mirror."

Mr Kinziger said he was acting alone but would not be surprised if other Republicans followed him

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READ MORE:  Donald Trump opponents split on whether to use impeachment or 25th Amendment  

04:04 PM

Facebook, Instagram suspend Trump's account 'for the rest of his presidency'

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has released a statement on the social media website saying that Facebook and Instagram will suspend President Trump's account for "at least two weeks" in order to "ensure the peaceful transition of power".

In a written statement, Mr Zuckerberg said: "We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete."

"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period of time are simply too great," he added.

On Wednesday night, Facebook temporarily suspended Trump's page for 24 hours, declaring an 'emergency situation'.

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READ MORE:  Donald Trump blocked from Facebook until he is no longer President  

03:56 PM

The morning after the night before in pictures

Members of the DC National Guard walk past the US Capitol in Washington, DC - Nicholas Kamim/AFP
Members of the DC National Guard walk past the US Capitol in Washington, DC - Nicholas Kamim/AFP
Senator Tim Scott, a Republican representing South Carolina, stops to look at damage inside the Capitol building - Andrew Harnik /AP
Senator Tim Scott, a Republican representing South Carolina, stops to look at damage inside the Capitol building - Andrew Harnik /AP
Armoured law enforcement vehicles are parked outside the U.S. Capitol - Erin Scott/Reuters
Armoured law enforcement vehicles are parked outside the U.S. Capitol - Erin Scott/Reuters
The Lincoln Memorial is seen the day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol Building - Joe Raedle /Getty Images North America 
The Lincoln Memorial is seen the day after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol Building - Joe Raedle /Getty Images North America

03:50 PM

Elected West Virginia Republican films self breaking into Capitol

Derrick Evans, a newly elected Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, released footage on social media showing he was part of the a group of pro-Trump extremists who broke in to the Capitol building.

In the video, which has since been deleted, Mr Evans can be heard encouraging a horde of people to force their way into the building.

Mr Evans can be heard leading the crowd in a chant of "Trump! Trump! Trump!" and alter can be heard screaming “We’re in! We’re in! We’re in! We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”

At another point in the video, Mr Evans can be heard laughing as a lone police officer inside the Capitol tries frantically to disperse the rioters.

Mr Evans, a first-time politician, was sworn in as a Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates last month. In that process, he swore to uphold the constitution of the United States.

03:42 PM

Trump 'betrayed the office', says Bill Barr

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, Mr Barr said Thursday that "orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable."

Mr 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.

Mr Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president's baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden's son.

03:37 PM

How extremist movements born on social media seized the heart of American government

For one strange moment, it looked as if the US Capitol building had been invaded by Vikings, writes Laurence Dodds. Naked from the waist up, daubed with war paint and wearing a furry cowl with two curving horns, a protester posed for photographs in the chair where Vice President Mike Pence had sat only about an hour before.

Yet for some people, the outlandish marauder was a familiar figure. Since 2019 he has appeared at far-Right rallies in Arizona spreading the beliefs of QAnon, the online conspiracist movement partly behind Wednesday's raid. His costume is designed to grab people's attention and get shared on social media. It works.

However shocking such images were to the world, they were the result of extensive discussion, planning, organising and propaganda on social networks big and small. As well as QAnon, militia groups such as the Proud Boys and pro-Trump social media influencers played a role.

READ MORE: How extremist movements born on social media seized the heart of American government

03:28 PM

Czech PM sheds Trump-like hat after Capitol unrest

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis swapped a Donald Trump-like red baseball hat for a face mask on his Twitter profile picture following the unrest at the US Capitol.

Until Wednesday, the billionaire populist sported a hat saying "STRONG CZECHIA" in his profile picture, bearing a strong resemblance to Trump's "Make America Great Again" cap.

But he cast it away following Wednesday's unrest at the Capitol, which left four dead as Trump's supporters dismayed by his presidential election loss stormed the building.

Mr Babis, once dubbed the Czech Trump because of his fortune that makes him the fourth wealthiest Czech according to Forbes magazine, slammed the Capitol siege as "an unprecedented attack on democracy" on Thursday.

Trump "kept repeating the election was rigged and a fraud and he stoked this atmosphere and that was wrong," said Mr Babis, a food, chemicals and media tycoon.

03:16 PM

Trump's cabinet consider forcibly removing him from office

Donald Trump’s own cabinet members are reportedly considering whether to forcibly remove him from office via the 25th amendment after his actions before the storming of Congress triggered widespread condemnation, reports our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith

CBS News reported that discussions about invoking the manoeuvre, once derided as a liberal dream by Trump supporters, were under way at the top of the US government after a mob smashed their way into the US Capitol.

The extraordinary move, which would see Mr Trump removed from post and replaced by his vice president Mike Pence, would need support of a majority of the cabinet and Mr Pence himself. 

It remains unclear whether the reported discussions will lead to action, given Mr Trump has just two weeks remaining in post and such a decision could trigger a backlash from his supporters. 

READ MORE:  Trump's cabinet consider forcibly removing him from office as Republican loyalty disintegrates

03:06 PM

Angry Trump mob attacks media and damages equipment

02:53 PM

'Trump's spell has finally been broken and the Republic survives'

The revulsion across America is so strong as to be almost cathartic, says Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. I'm strangely optimistic that an era of healing and renewal lies ahead

The Putsch has failed. The US military has refused to acquiesce. It has become impossible for Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act or resort to force in a final throw of the dice.The Pentagon and the National Guard are already answering to a chastened vice-president Mike Pence, acting in concert with leaders of Congress. Effective power has passed. The Trump presidency no longer exists. Trump has been forced to accept an “orderly transition”. He had no choice.

READ MORE:  Trump's spell has finally been broken and the Republic survives

02:41 PM

Analysis - Trump brought this on himself and will pay the consequences

02:29 PM

Calls mount for Facebook and Twitter to ban Donald Trump permanently

A former Facebook top official has joined calls for Donald Trump to be permanently banned from social media, as critics say the platforms have ‘blood on their hands’, reports Morgan Meaker.

After months of online statements posted by the President's accounts calling November's election fraudulent,  violence erupted on Capitol hill last night with protesters storming the heart of America's government, forcing officials to flee and security guards to draw their guns. 

Alex Stamos, Facebook's former chief security officer, said social media companies should urgently cut off the President to prevent further clashes. 

 "Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off," he tweeted. “Labeling won't do it”. 

READ MORE: Calls mount for Facebook and Twitter to ban Donald Trump permanently

02:20 PM

Senior Trump figure quits saying 'I can't stay'

Mick Mulvaney, a former chief of staff in Donald Trump's White House, announced he has quit his diplomatic post to protest mob violence by the president's supporters at the Capitol.

"I can't stay here, not after yesterday. You can't look at that yesterday and think I want to be a part of that in any way, shape or form," Mr Mulvaney told CNBC television.

Mr Mulvaney, who had been moved from chief of staff to special envoy for Northern Ireland, said he told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he was resigning.

"I can't do it. I can't stay," he told CNBC, indicating that other White House staff were eying the exits.

Former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he could no longer stay in the Trump government - MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX /REX
Former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he could no longer stay in the Trump government - MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/REX /REX

"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," he said.

US media also reported that Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, had been blocked from entering the White House - apparently in retaliation for Mr Pence's decision to ignore Trump's demand that he block the certification of Biden.

02:13 PM

Protester pictured with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi's desk is Trump supporter from Arkansas

A Capitol protester pictured with his feet up in the offices of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been identified as Richard Barnett, a Trump supporter from Arkansas, reports Colin Freeman.

Mr Barnett, 60, who was one of several protesters who stormed into Ms Pelosi's office, wrote her a "nasty note" and took a letter from her office addressed to a Republican Congressman.

After then fleeing outside, he waved the letter around and gave a foul-mouthed interview to a waiting reporters, where he complained of having been squirted with mace spray by police trying to protect the building.

Mr Barnett broke in to the Speaker's Office and left a note saying 'We Will Not Back Down' - JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Mr Barnett broke in to the Speaker's Office and left a note saying 'We Will Not Back Down' - JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

READ MORE: Protester pictured with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi's desk is Trump supporter from Arkansas

02:03 PM

The rioters shouted at me ‘We're coming for you’ as Trump singled out the media to the mob

Our US correspondent Rozina Sabur was at the Capitol building yesterday. She has written an enthralling account of how events unfolded.

As I stood outside the White House grounds at 6am, queuing to collect my press pass for Donald Trump's rally, it was clear that the day would not end peacefully.

Despite the early hour and the chilly January weather, a steady stream of Trump supporters was already filling the streets.

Some people had clearly come prepared for combat: clad in riot gear and clutching megaphones. Others carried large flag poles with messages like "stop the steal" - a reference to Mr Trump's claims the election was stolen from him.

READ MORE: The rioters shouted at me ‘We're coming for you’ as Trump singled out the media to the mob

01:51 PM

MAGA v BLM: How police response contrasted in both protests

01:35 PM

Capitol police firings imminent after ‘attempted coup’

Jamie Johnson reports that law enforcement officials are facing the sack “very very soon” after the 'attempted coup' in Washington was not dealt with properly, a senior congressman has warned, as Democrats prepare to force through policing reforms.

Strategic mistakes had been made from the very beginning, Democrat Tim Ryan said, adding: “You can bet your ass that we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”

Thousands of rioters stormed the US Capitol building on Thursday and ran amok, trashing offices, smashing windows and looting in an affront to US democracy.

But serious questions have been asked of the police, who were unable to stop the mob from breaching the building.

READ MORE:  Capitol police firings imminent after ‘attempted coup’ as Democrats prepare to force through reforms 

01:22 PM

'45 per cent of Republicans support the Capitol storming': YouGov poll

In a shocking poll that highlights the stark divisions in America, YouGov have revealed that 45 per cent of Republicans supported the storming of the US Capitol building.

Furthermore, 68 per cent of Republican registered voters think these actions should not be considered a threat to democracy, compared to just 4 per cent of Democrats.

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01:09 PM

Ukraine's Zelensky welcomes Biden confirmation despite 'horrific attack'

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the confirmation of Joe Biden as the next US president despite a "horrific attack" by supporters of Donald Trump, who in 2019 was accused of attempting to coerce Kiev into discrediting his rival.

"We strongly condemn the unprecedented violence against the US Congress," Mr Zelensky said in a tweet after US lawmakers confirmed Biden a day after mobs of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol.

"We are inspired by the resilience of this world's oldest & greatest democratic institution that within mere hours of this horrific attack held a historic session that affirmed the will of the American people".

A former comedian, Mr Zelensky became the central figure of a US political scandal months after winning the Ukrainian presidential election in the spring of 2019.

A whistleblower report revealed a phone call between Trump and Mr Zelensky in which the US president tried to coerce Ukraine into launching an investigation into Biden, whose son used to be a board member of a Ukrainian gas company.

12:55 PM

Mob's attack on the beating heart of US democracy, told in 25 pictures

Our Chief Reporter Robert Mendick provides a gripping account of how yesterday's events unfolded.

It was the day that shook the world and threatened to tear apart American democracy. George W Bush, president at the time of 9/11, said the scenes would not be out of place in a Banana Republic.

Thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol building, the democratic heartbeat of the United States, and ran amok in an attempt to prevent the ratification of Joe Biden as US president.

But the horrifying, tragic events (one woman was later shot and killed) had been inflamed by the incumbent Donald J Trump. Since his defeat in the November election he had been pouring fuel on the detritus of his own election failure - falsely claiming the election had been stolen from him.

Yesterday he threw on the whole, messy heap a burning match. And throughout the day he kept throwing on more.

READ MORE: Mob's attack on the beating heart of US democracy, told in 25 pictures 

12:43 PM

Can a sitting President be arrested?

Donald Trump is unlikely to be arrested as a sitting President cannot be indicted, according to a decades old policy of the US Justice Department, reports Hayley Dixon.

The US constitution, which explains that process for impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanours", makes no mention of arresting a sitting President and the issue has never been addressed by the Supreme Court.

However, it is unlikely that Mr Trump could be arrested whilst he is President of the United States because of a policy that dates back to Watergate in 1973.

In the midst of the scandal engulfing then President Richard Nixon, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel sent a memo noting that a president cannot be indicted, which noted: “The spectacle of an indicted president still trying to serve as Chief Executive boggles the imagination.”

The policy was reaffirmed in 2000 in a memo which described the president as “constitutionally immune”.

Robert Mueller,  the former Special Counsel for the Department of Justice who led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, had previously noted that a sitting President cannot be indicted, but added: “A President does not have immunity after he leaves office”.

The legal obstacle may explain why so few of Trump’s opponents have called for this course of action, with invoking the 25th Amendment and impeachment being relied upon by those wishing to remove him from office.

12:33 PM

Jake Angeli: The ‘QAnon shaman’ from Arizona at the heart of the Capitol riots

Of all the rioters who stormed the US Capitol building on Thursday, one man stood out.

Posing for pictures in a furry headdress with horns affixed on the side, Jake Angeli stood shirtless, his body heavily tattooed, his face painted, screaming through a megaphone while thrusting a spear into the air from which an American flag was tied.

The hardcore Trump supporter from Arizona is an actor and voiceover artist who is the unofficial Shaman for conspiracy theory group Qanon.

The group falsely claims that the US government is controlled by a "deep state" cabal of anti-Trump Satanist paedophiles, but that hasn’t stopped high ranking officials posing for photos with the 32-year-old.

The QAnon Shaman Jake Agneli screams "Freedom" inside the Senate chamber - Win McNamee /Getty Images North America 
The QAnon Shaman Jake Agneli screams "Freedom" inside the Senate chamber - Win McNamee /Getty Images North America

READ MORE: Jake Angeli: The ‘QAnon shaman’ from Arizona at the heart of the Capitol riots 

12:21 PM

What would happen if Congress impeached Trump?

For the President to be impeached, the other option being touted by at least two dozen congress men and women, the House of Representatives would need to bring charges that Mr Trump engaged in a "high crime or misdemeanour”, explains Hayley Dixon.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has said that she is already drawing up articles of impeachment. If a simple majority of 435 members approve them the process moves to the Senate.

The constitution requires a two-thirds vote to convict and remove Mr Trump, a majority that was not secured in the Republican-led Senate when Democrats attempted to impeach him in 2020.

Legal experts have said that invoking the 25th Amendment would be instant, compared to a long impeachment process.

"Pence could instantly become president, whereas impeachment and conviction could take at least a few days," Paul Campos, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Colorado told Forbes.

12:16 PM

What would happen if Congress invoked the 25th Amendment?

Cabinet members have reportedly been discussing using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, explains Hayley Dixon.

The calls to use the Amendment have been led by Democrats including members of the House Judiciary Committee, but the President’s support among Republicans appears to be beginning to crumble.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime friend and ally of Mr Trump, said he was “absolutely sickened” by events and said that Cabinet members should be thinking about the oath they took and “if they’re not thinking about those things, they should be”.

Karl Racine, the attorney general of Washington DC, and democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee also called on Vice President Mike Pence to use the powers.

For the 25th Amendment to be invoked, Mr Pence and the majority of the Cabinet, which has 23 members, would need to declare Mr Trump is unfit for office.

They would need to inform congress in writing and Mr Pence would take over immediately. If the President declared he was fit to do the job and the Cabinet opposed that statement, then Congress would have to decide.

It would require a two-thirds majority of both the House and the Senate, but as they have 21 days to decide it is thought the leaders could simply run down the clock on his final days in office.

Mr Pence would remain in power throughout the process.

12:10 PM

Moment Congress certifies Biden win

12:03 PM

'Archaic' US electoral system doesn't meet democratic standards: Kremlin

Russia has continued to pile the pressure on the United States, saying  that an "archaic" US electoral system that does not meet democratic standards and the politicisation of the media were to blame for American divisions and unrest in Washington.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump was "an internal US affair" but that blame rested with the US system.

"The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meed modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle," Ms Zakharova told Russian news agencies.

"This is largely the reason for the split in society now observed in the United States."

11:52 AM

'Trump must condemn what has happened', says Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen, head of the far-Right National Rally, on Thursday, distanced herself from her onetime ally Donald Trump to say: "In a democracy, one must defend the right to demonstrate but peacefully. Any act of violence that aims to attack the democratic process is unacceptable."

She told France 2: "I don't confuse these extremists with the 72 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump."

"(Mr Trump) must condemn in the clearest way possible what has happened. He didn't gauge the effects of his words on a part of these people which defeat has exacerbated."

She said that "freedom is not under threat in any European country".

"I would like Emmanuel Macron not to give into the temptation of importing very strong political division in the EU and ethnic divisions that some are seeking to import. We have more than enough problems of our own."

11:44 AM

'Trumpism is finished after the storming of the Capitol'

Inspired by a President who has stoked division, the mob represents only a slice of Trump's support, says Leslie Vinjamuri.

Words matter. And the words of the US President over the past four years, and especially since November 3, have underwritten and encouraged the behaviour that led to yesterday’s storming of the US Capitol.The scenes on Capitol Hill defied the imagination of most Americans. The rest of the world also watched, in disbelief, as the US Capitol was invaded by a mob of criminals, alleging their support for the US President. The thugs and criminals who invaded the Capitol first walked slowly across the Rotunda, as if they were unintentional tourists, staring, and then taking photos of the awe-inspiring architecture inside.

READ MORE: Trumpism is finished after the storming of the Capitol

11:35 AM

America's adversaries revel over US Capitol storming

America's adversaries were quick to pour scorn on the US over the storming of the Capitol building, declaring it to symbolise the decline of a once-great nation, reports Colin Freeman.

In comments that mixed stinging criticism, glee and faux-concern, they said it demonstrated the perils of a US democratic system now in all-out crisis.

America's arch-enemy Iran led the charge, with President Hassan Rouhani saying that that the rampage by of Donald Trump supporters exposed the dangerous "populism" of the outgoing US president.

READ MORE: America's adversaries revel over US Capitol storming

11:26 AM

US Capitol mob appear to begin siege with little police resistance

11:17 AM

BLM protests v Trump protests in pictures - three of three

In June, National Guard troops swiftly swarmed Washington DC, enforcing a heavy presence at landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial:

National Guard on steps of Lincoln memorial, June 2, 2020 - Win McNamee /Getty Images North America 
National Guard on steps of Lincoln memorial, June 2, 2020 - Win McNamee /Getty Images North America

But last night, the National Guard was nowhere to be seen and was not deployed until several hours after the Capitol building was breached:

No National Guard were present as Trump supporters breach security at Capitol Jan 6, 2021 - Alex Edelman/AFP
No National Guard were present as Trump supporters breach security at Capitol Jan 6, 2021 - Alex Edelman/AFP

11:13 AM

BLM protests v Trump protests in pictures - two of three

In June, BLM protesters were fired upon with tear gas outside the White House:

BLM protesters tear gassed outside White House, June 1, 2020 - Roberto Schmidt/AFP
BLM protesters tear gassed outside White House, June 1, 2020 - Roberto Schmidt/AFP

But last night, police were seen providing assistance to anyone who had suffered a reaction to the tear gas used:

A pro-Trump protester is aided by police officer after suffering the effects of a chemical agent, Jan 6, 2021 - Jon Cherry /Getty Images North America 
A pro-Trump protester is aided by police officer after suffering the effects of a chemical agent, Jan 6, 2021 - Jon Cherry /Getty Images North America

11:09 AM

BLM protests v Trump protests in pictures - one of three

Commenters from around the world have pointed out the starkly different ways in which police handled the storming of the Capitol last night with the Black Lives Matters protests from this summer.

Our picture team have pulled together three of the most striking examples of how each group was treated differently. 

In June, President Trump had police forcefully clear a path through peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park so he could pose outside St John's Church:

Police clear path through BLM protests for Trump at Lafayette Park in Washington, so he can do photocall at St John's church June 1, 2020 - Brendan Smialowski/AFP
Police clear path through BLM protests for Trump at Lafayette Park in Washington, so he can do photocall at St John's church June 1, 2020 - Brendan Smialowski/AFP

 But last night, police were conspicuously absent as thousands of pro-Trump extremists scaled the Capitol walls:

Trump supporters scale the West Wall of the Capitol unopposed, supposedly one of the most secure buildings in the world Jan 6, 2021 - Jose Luis Magana /AP
Trump supporters scale the West Wall of the Capitol unopposed, supposedly one of the most secure buildings in the world Jan 6, 2021 - Jose Luis Magana /AP

10:55 AM

Capitol shooting victim pictured

The first pictures of Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot and killed at the US Capitol last night, have been released.

Ms Babbitt, a strong Trump supporter who undertook four tours of duty in 14-years according to her husband Aaron, was shot in the chest by a plain clothes officer after trying to enter the House chamber, said Washington Police Chief Robert Contee.

On her Twitter page, Ms Babbitt, 35, described herself as a veteran and a Libertarian, adding: “I love my dude, my dog and above all, my country.”

A fellow Trump supporter who witnessed the shooting told WUSA 9: "A number of police and secret service were saying 'get back, get down, get out of the way'."

"She didn't heed the call and as we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back they shot her in the neck and she fell back on me."

Ashli Babbitt was a 'strong Trump supporter', according to her husband Aaron - -/-
Ashli Babbitt was a 'strong Trump supporter', according to her husband Aaron - -/-

READ MORE:  Ashli Babbit: Air Force veteran from California shot dead by plain-clothes police during Capitol riots  

10:40 AM

Washington DC Mayor extends Emergency Declaration until January 21

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington DC, has extended an Emergency Declaration imposed on the city yesterday until January 21, the day after Joe Biden's inauguration.

The order empowers city officials to reduce the hours of operation for businesses, order people off the street if a curfew is issued, and expend funds as needed to protect public safety.

Ms Bowser said:  “President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid,” adding, “some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration.”

10:31 AM

Angry hordes storming the US Capitol reflect Trump's desire for power at all costs

The images of angry hordes storming the US Capitol will forever taint Donald Trump's legacy and marked one of the darkest moments in America's recent political history, says Nick Allen.

As his most fervent supporters scaled the walls of the hallowed seat of US democracy, many Americans watching on television around the country were shocked, appalled and disgusted.

A bitterly divided United States will struggle to recover from a day that shook the country to its foundations.

Watching the anarchic scenes of Trump supporters in red hats wandering the corridors of power, many Republicans will have decided they do not still want to be in a party led by Mr Trump.

READ MORE:  Analysis: Angry hordes storming the US Capitol reflect Trump's desire for power at all costs 

10:18 AM

US media reacts to Capitol breach

'Capitol Invasion' read the New York Post - -/-
'Capitol Invasion' read the New York Post - -/-
The Washington Post laid the blame squarely with Donald Trump, calling those who breached the Capitol 'Trump's mob' - -/-
The Washington Post laid the blame squarely with Donald Trump, calling those who breached the Capitol 'Trump's mob' - -/-
The New York Times accused Mr Trump of 'inciting' the 'mob' - -/-
The New York Times accused Mr Trump of 'inciting' the 'mob' - -/-
The Wall Street Journal went with the simple headline 'Mob Storms Capitol' - -/-
The Wall Street Journal went with the simple headline 'Mob Storms Capitol' - -/-

10:04 AM

Scenes at Capitol building 'distressing', says Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted, saying he was "distressed" by the scenes of "rioting and violence" at the US Capitol yesterday.

"Distressed to see news about rioting and violence in Washington DC," he said this morning. "Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests."

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09:58 AM

America's democracy rocked in pictures

A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed stormed the Capitol building - Roberto Schmidt/AFP
A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a gas mask and holds a bust of him after he and hundreds of others stormed stormed the Capitol building - Roberto Schmidt/AFP
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building  - Leah Millis/Reuters 
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building - Leah Millis/Reuters
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol - Roberto Schmidt/AFP
Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest inside the US Capitol - Roberto Schmidt/AFP
FBI agents armed with automatic weapons walk down a hallway in the U.S. Capitol  - KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
FBI agents armed with automatic weapons walk down a hallway in the U.S. Capitol - KEVIN DIETSCH/UPI/Shutterstock /Shutterstock

09:51 AM

'We will not yield to violence', says Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has delivered a televised address to the American people, in which he said what happened in Washington "is not America".

"Today France stands strongly, fervently and resolutely with the American people and with all people who want to choose their leaders, determine their own destiny and their own lives through free and democratic elections," he said.

"We will not yield to the violence of a few individuals who want to challenge that," he continued. "I want to express our confidence in the strength of American democracy. I want to express our friendship with the American people."

09:42 AM

Donald Trump: We will never give up, we will never concede

Prior to last night's extraordinary scenes, President Trump held a rally in which he is accused of inciting the violence with his aggressive rhetoric. Our video team has pulled together some of his incendiary remarks

09:35 AM

Markets shrug off Capitol Hill chaos

Markets brushed off chaos in Washington DC, with the FTSE 100 steady despite a mob supporting President Donald Trump storming the US Capitol in a violent insurrection that left four dead, reports Louis Ashworth.

European stocks notched up narrow gains as investors looked past violent scenes in the seat of American democracy to focus on joint senate victories that have given the Democrats control of the upper house of the US Congress.

After a manic 24 hours, Congress affirmed Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Donald Trump early on Thursday.

READ MORE:  Markets shrug off Capitol Hill chaos

09:28 AM

US treasury secretary calls Capitol violence 'unacceptable'

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday called the violence by supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the US Capitol building "unacceptable" and said it was "time to respect the democratic process".

"These actions are unacceptable and must stop... Now is the time for our nation to come together as one and to respect the democratic process in the US," Mr Mnuchin said in a joint appearance in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Mr Netanyahu said that the storming of the U.S. Capitol by demonstrators was "a disgraceful act that must be vigorously condemned".

Calling the incident in Washington a "rampage" Mr Netanyahu said he had "no doubt that "American democracy will prevail", adding: "It always has."

09:23 AM

House members take cover as protesters attempt to enter chamber

09:18 AM

China gloats over chaotic scenes in Washington

China gloated on Thursday over chaotic scenes emerging from Washington as Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, breaking through clouds of tear gas and hordes of police, reports our China correspondent Sophia Yan.

Official Chinese state outlets tweeted a storm, delighting in schadenfreude and mocking US politicians who had spoken out in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong storming the city’s legislative building in 2018. 

“@SpeakerPelosi once referred to the Hong Kong riots as a ‘beautiful sight to behold’ – it remains yet to be seen whether she will say the same about the recent developments in Capitol Hill,” posted the Global Times, a Communist Party mouthpiece, in pinned tweet. 

“After inciting troubles around the world, US finally tasted ‘karma’ of double standards,” crowed another tweet. The posts, in English, are largely directed to an audience abroad, as Twitter is blocked by government censors in mainland China. 

China’s foreign ministry also crowed that the violence in the US was severe as there were already four deaths linked to the protests, saying Hong Kong police appeared restrained as no deaths had occurred after months of pro-democracy protests in 2019.

A government spokesperson said the protests helped Chinese people “cherish our life today more, love our motherland more” given discord in the US

09:11 AM

Angela Merkel 'saddened and furious' at scenes at US Capitol

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday she was "furious and saddened" by the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump and said the president shared blame for the unrest.

"I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday," she said.

"Doubts about the election outcome were stoked and created the atmosphere that made the events of last night possible."

Mrs Merkel called the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol "attackers and rioters" and said she was confident that Biden will be inaugurated as U.S. President in two weeks.

09:01 AM

'There will be an orderly transiton', says Donald Trump

Donald Trump has released a statement this morning, committing to a peaceful transition of power for the first time.

In a statement released on the Twitter page of Dan Scavino, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Trump said he "totally disagreed with the outcome of the election" but confirmed "there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."

"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!” he continued.

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08:54 AM

'The Republicans must reject Trump - but can the US heal after these shameful scenes?'

The GOP need to reclaim the moderate majority who will have been appalled by the desecration of the Capitol, says Rosa Prince.

They are scenes which would shame a banana republic, let alone the modern world’s oldest democracy. The storming of the United States Capitol by armed insurgents seeking to prevent the confirmation of President-Elect Joe Biden was the logical conclusion to Donald Trump's increasingly desperate attempts to remain in the White House, but no less shocking for it.

READ MORE:  The Republicans must reject Trump - but can the US heal after these shameful scenes?

08:44 AM

Mike Pence: 'Congress accepts Electoral College Results'

Vice-President Mike Pence has declared that Congress accepts the results of the Electoral College vote, officially paving the way for Joe Biden to take office on January 20.

08:36 AM

Congress certifies Biden win

The US Congress has certified 270 Electoral College votes for Joe Biden, confirming that he will become the next President of the United States of America.

With Congress approving Vermont's votes, Biden now has at least 270 Electoral College votes that are the minimum for claiming the presidency. 

Congress is now preparing to ratify the totals from all states, confirming the Electoral College results. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump 306-232.

08:35 AM

Western democracy is 'fragile and vulnerable', says Iran's Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that the chaos unleashed on the US Capitol by US counterpart Donald Trump's supporters exposed the fragility of Western democracy.

"What we saw in the United States yesterday (Wednesday) evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is," President Rouhani said in a speech broadcast by state television.

"Their democracies aren’t strong and despite being advanced technologically, they have tendency to populism. A populist man came and damaged the reputation of his country. [Trump] dealt severe blows to the American system," he continued.

08:25 AM

Congress certifies Biden's win in Pennsylvania

Further to our post at 7:06am, the House of Representatives has voted to override objections to Joe Biden's win in Pennsylvania by a margin of 282-138.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that following this vote, the House and Senate will reconvene for a joint session to consider the results of November's election.

Earlier the Senate voted 92 to 7 against the effort to discount Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes for Biden.

08:18 AM

America 'limping on both feet', says Kremlin official

American democracy is "limping on both feet" after the storming of the US Capitol by Donald Trump supporters, a senior Russian lawmaker said Thursday.

"The losing side has more than enough grounds to accuse the winner of falsifications - it is clear that American democracy is limping on both feet," Konstantin Kosachyov, the chair of the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee, said in a post on Facebook.

"The celebration of democracy has ended. It has, unfortunately, hit rock bottom, and I say this without a hint of gloating."

"America no longer charts the course and so has lost all right to set it. And, even more so, to impose it on others."

Moscow has long bristled at US criticism of the state of Russian democracy under President Vladimir Putin, accusing Washington of hypocrisy and condescension.

08:07 AM

More White House officials resign after Capitol violence

White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger has resigned, according to media reports, joining a number of officials who are leaving the administration of Donald Trump in the wake of violence on Capitol Hill.

Mr Pottinger resigned on Wednesday afternoon in response to the President's reaction to a mob of protesters who breached the U.S. Capitol, CNN reported, citing a person close to Mr Pottinger. Bloomberg first reported his resignation, a leading figure in the development of Trump’s China policy.

The White House had no immediate comment.

Two top aides to first lady Melania Trump also resigned on Wednesday, while Mr Pottinger's boss, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, was considering quitting, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Stephanie Grisham resigned as chief of staff to the first lady.

The White House social secretary, Rickie Niceta, also resigned, as did a deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews, two sources told Reuters.

There was also talk inside the White House that deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell might resign, a source said.

07:58 AM

'Elizabeth from Knoxville' upset she was maced after storming Capitol

'Elizabeth from Knoxville' is trending on Twitter this morning after a pro-Trump extremist complained about being maced when she stormed the US Capitol.

In an extraordinary video, a woman is filmed complaining that she was sprayed with mace by police after her attempts to breach the building. 

She told a Yahoo journalist that she was "storming the Capitol, it's a revolution!"

However, she still seemed surprised and upset that law enforcement chose to respond: "I made it a foot inside and they pushed me out and they maced me!" she complains, while crying and wiping her face with a towel.

The woman then goes on to identify herself as "Elizabeth from Knoxville, Tennessee".

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07:49 AM

What we know so far

A mob of Donald Trump's supporters has stormed the US Capitol in a bid to overthrow November's election result, report our US team.

Dozens of protesters broke into the building and roamed the corridors as tens of thousands gathered outside in support of the president’s false claims of election fraud.

Congressmen who had gathered to certify the election results were forced to flee under escort as law enforcement lost control of the situation.

Four people have died and 52 people have been arrested.

READ MORE:  Four dead in US Capitol riot after Donald Trump's supporters storm Washington - everything we know

07:41 AM

'Words of provocation are completely wrong' says Priti Patel

Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Thursday that the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump was "terrible beyond words" and called on Trump to condemn the violence.

"He should absolutely condemn everything that has taken place," Ms Patel said on Sky News. "He made a statement yesterday and it did very little to de-escalate the situation.... Words of provocation are completely wrong."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the scenes in Washington, D.C., as "disgraceful" late on Wednesday.

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07:33 AM

Donald Trump supporters storm the Capitol

07:21 AM

Protests erupt across America

Supporters of President Donald Trump, who were protesting election results, and counter-protesters brawl outside Los Angeles police department headquarters  - Sarah Reingewirtz /The Orange County Register 
Supporters of President Donald Trump, who were protesting election results, and counter-protesters brawl outside Los Angeles police department headquarters - Sarah Reingewirtz /The Orange County Register
A man dressed as Trump in a prison jump suit protests in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower on January 06, 2021 in New York City - Angela Weiss/AFP
A man dressed as Trump in a prison jump suit protests in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower on January 06, 2021 in New York City - Angela Weiss/AFP
People on horseback participate in a pro-Trump rally at the state Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona - USA TODAY Network /Sipa USA 
People on horseback participate in a pro-Trump rally at the state Capitol in Phoenix, Arizona - USA TODAY Network /Sipa USA
Donald Trump supporters protest the election outside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado - Michael Ciaglo /Getty Images North America 
Donald Trump supporters protest the election outside the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, Colorado - Michael Ciaglo /Getty Images North America

07:06 AM

Electoral vote objections delay Biden certification in Congress

Republican lawmakers early Thursday objected to counting Pennsylvania's electors, further delaying the certification of Joe Biden's election victory after the House and Senate rejected an earlier challenge to his win in Arizona.

The overnight scenes in Congress - normally a ceremonial procedure but one that Donald Trump's loyalists have sought to co-opt as the last gasp attempt to keep the president in power - come hours after violent unrest in the US Capitol by pro-Trump rioters interrupted the process.

Senator Josh Hawley joined the objection of dozens of House Republicans over Pennsylvania's electors, prompting the two chambers to debate the challenge.

In the Senate, though, Republican leader Mitch McConnell quickly quashed debate and the chamber voted 92 to 7 to reject the objection.

Debate did proceed in the House, where Scott Perry of Pennsylvania argued that his objection was aimed at safeguarding the US Constitution.

That prompted a fiery rebuttal from Democrat Joe Neguse, who held up a pocket copy of the charter and said: "Under our constitution, Congress doesn't choose the president, the American people do, and they have chosen in resounding numbers."

06:49 AM

'Democracy fractured': How's the world's newspapers reacted

The world's media reacted with shock as supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, with the shameful scenes splashed across the front pages. 

As leaders lined up to condemn the chaos unfolding in a country they once relied upon for global leadership, international headlines lamented over the attack on democracy. 

This was The Telegraph's front page this morning.

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Here's how the rest of the world's press reacted.

06:22 AM

Investigation into Capitol police response

US lawmakers are vowing an investigation into how law enforcement handled Wednesday's violent breach at the Capitol, questioning whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalise the building.

Capitol Police, who are charged with protecting Congress, turned to other agencies for help with the mob that overwhelmed the complex and sent Congressmen into hiding. Both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the complex before it was cleared Wednesday evening.

Zoe Lofgren, chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, said the breach "raises grave security concerns", adding that her committee will work with House and Senate leaders to review the police response – and its preparedness.

Read more: How could a mob occupy the US Capitol? Siege raises security fears after police were overwhelmed

Police helped with the clean-up on Wednesday night but an investigation has been launched into the security of the Capitol - AP
Police helped with the clean-up on Wednesday night but an investigation has been launched into the security of the Capitol - AP

05:59 AM

More details on four deaths in DC

Four people died and 52 were arrested, Washington's police chief said, after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

In a late night news conference, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J Contee said 47 of the 52 arrests to date were related to violations of Mayor Muriel Bowser's 6pm curfew, with 26 of those involving people arrested on US Capitol grounds.

Several others were arrested on charges related to carrying unlicensed or prohibited firearms.

In addition, MR Contee said, two pipe bombs were recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on US Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.

Mr Contee declined to identify the woman a Capitol Police officer shot and killed, saying next of kin notification was still pending.

Three other people also died on Wednesday because of medical emergencies, he added, and 14 police officers were injured - two of whom remain hospitalised.

04:30 AM

'Four died in protest'

Breaking: Four people died on the US Capitol grounds on Wednesday and 52 people have been arrested, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J Contee has just said.

04:18 AM

House rejects bid to overturn election

The US House of Representatives joined the Senate in rejecting a move by allies of President Trump to overturn Joe Biden's victory in Arizona, a vote delayed by rioters earlier pushing their way into the US Capitol.

The House of Representatives voted 303-121 against the measure. 

The Senate voted 93-6 against.

03:49 AM

Can the 25th amendment be used to remove Trump?

Members of Donald Trump's cabinet on Wednesday discussed the possibility of removing the US president from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol, three US news channels reported.

The discussions focused on the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president's removal by the vice president and cabinet if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

CNN quoted unnamed Republican leaders saying the 25th amendment had been discussed, saying they had described Trump as "out of control."

It is not the first time during his presidency that the amendment has been mentioned in relation to Mr Trump. 

Read more: What is the 25th amendment and can it be used to remove the president?

03:00 AM

Republicans drop resistance to election result

Multiple Republican senators have reversed course and now say they will not object to congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Senators 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 Mr Biden's win.

Ms 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 Mr Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud to explain his defeat.

Ms Loeffler has just days left in her term after she lost her Senate race to Democrat Raphael Warnock on Wednesday.

Kelly Loeffler was voted out on Wednesday - BLOOMBERG
Kelly Loeffler was voted out on Wednesday - BLOOMBERG

02:52 AM

Top Republicans turn their backs on Trump

A wave of top officials quit the White House on Wednesday, turning their back on Donald Trump hours after the US Capitol was stormed by his supporters.

A number of White House staff, including Sarah Matthews, the deputy press secretary, and Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's chief of staff, resigned effective immediately. It was also reported on Wednesday evening that Chris Liddell, the president's deputy chief of staff, has quit.

The US media reported that Mr Trump's Cabinet secretaries were discussing invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president. The amendment theoretically allows for the removal of a president who is incapacitated or unwilling to perform their duties.

Seventeen Democratic congressmen signed a letter on Wednesday night calling on Mike Pence to enact the amendment and remove Mr Trump.

Read more: Top Republicans turn on Trump after day of chaos

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02:43 AM

'Suspicious device and Molotov cocktails found'

A suspicious device was found outside the Republican National Committee's headquarters earlier today and detonated by a bomb squad.

CNN is also reporting that officers found Molotov cocktails near the scene and have arrested a suspect.

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02:24 AM

Ivanka Trump's sister-in-law: I tried to tell her to accept defeat

Ivanka Trump's sister-in-law said she has tried unsuccessfully to convince the president's daughter that he lost the election.

Karlie Kloss, a model who is married to the brother of Jared Kushner, Ms Trump's husband and a senior figure in the Trump administration, posted on Twitter that "accepting the results of a legitimate democratic election is patriotic."

When told by a Twitter user to tell that to her sister- and brother-in-law, she said: "I've tried".

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Mr Trump and his family have continued to spread baseless claims that he won the election in November.

02:17 AM

Woman killed in Capitol 'was military veteran'

A US Air Force veteran has been identified as the protester killed in the Capitol building.

Ashli Babbit, who was married and lived near San Diego, California, was fatally shot in the chaos, her husband told US news channel KUSI.

Babbit, a Trump supporter, served for 14 years in the service and had been involved in four tours of duty, the channel reported.

01:27 AM

Obama: attack on Congress 'great shame' but 'not surprising'

Former President Barack Obama has said that history will rightly remember the violence at the Capitol as a moment of great dishonour and shame for the nation.

In a statement, Mr Obama said the violence was "incited by a sitting president" who baselessly lied about the outcome of the presidential election. He has convinced his supporters of a false claim, that he lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden only because Democrats cheated.

Mr Obama said it should not have come as a surprise, and that for two months "a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth."

He said "their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we're seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo."

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01:19 AM

Rioters could face severe punishments

Donald Trump's "patriots " might be in a little bother, at least judging by a tweet in July, writes David Millward.

"After mayhem in Portland Oregon he wrote that those who vandalise federal buildings will be prosecuted under the recently re-enacted Statues and Monuments Act and face a 'MINIMUM TEN YEARS IN PRISON' - the capital letters are from a tweet by the president. The court cases might be interesting."

01:17 AM

Who stormed the Capitol?

The storming of the US Capitol is a jarring but natural product of years of violence and hateful rhetoric stoked by disinformation and conspiracy theories, experts on far-right extremism said as they watched Wednesday’s riot.

Members of far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, joined the crowds that formed in Washington to cheer on President Trump as he urged them to protest Congress’s counting of Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

Then they headed to the Capitol. Members of smaller white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups also were spotted in the crowds. Police were photographed stopping a man identified as a leading promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory from storming the Senate floor.

Online forums popular with Trump supporters lit up with gleeful posts about the chaotic scenes broadcast from the Capitol. Thousands of messages on Parler, a right-wing alternative to Twitter, included the hashtag #civilwar or other variations of the term.

Read more: Proud Boys and neo-Nazis: Who are the protesters who stormed the US Capitol?

Protesters carrying Confederate flags entered the Capitol on Wednesday - EPA
Protesters carrying Confederate flags entered the Capitol on Wednesday - EPA

12:50 AM

Trump supporters protesting across US

Protesters backing President Trump massed outside statehouses from Georgia to New Mexico on Wednesday, leading some officials to evacuate while cheers rang out at several demonstrations.

Hundreds of people gathered in state capitals nationwide to oppose President-elect Joe Biden's win, waving signs saying "Stop the steal" and "Four more years." Most of them didn't wear masks amid the coronavirus pandemic, and some carried guns in places like Oklahoma, Georgia, Arizona and Washington.

There were some scuffles in states like Ohio and California, with some instances of journalists or counter-protesters being pepper-sprayed or punched, but most demonstrations were peaceful – some of them quite small – and only a few arrests were reported.

New Mexico police evacuated staff as a precaution from a state building that includes the governor's office and the secretary of state's office, shortly after hundreds of flag-waving supporters arrived in a vehicle caravan and on horseback.

Trump supporters outside state buildings in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday - GETTY IMAGES
Trump supporters outside state buildings in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday - GETTY IMAGES

12:41 AM

Melania Trump's chief of staff quits

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary and the chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, has resigned following the protesters, officials told CNN.

Ms Grisham was one of the longest-serving officials in the Trump team. She worked or Donald Trump on the campaign trail in 2015 and was later a deputy press secretary in the White House.

Mr Grisham became the first lady's most prominent staffer in 2017.

Ms Grisham quit with immediate effect - AP
Ms Grisham quit with immediate effect - AP

12:36 AM

Woman shot during riot has died

A woman has died after being shot during the storming of the US Capitol, a spokeswoman for the Washington police department said.

No other details were available, the spokeswoman said. It remained unclear who shot the woman, but a witness said the shooting occurred after law enforcement authorities urged people to "get back".

A protester from New Jersey told Washington CBS affiliate WUSA that he witnessed the woman being shot.

"We had stormed into the chambers inside, and there was a young lady who rushed to the windows; a number of police and Secret Service were saying, 'Get back, get down, get out of the way,'" he said. "She didn't heed the call and as we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck, and she fell back on me."

The man told the local television station he saw blood coming from the woman's mouth and neck and nose.

“It could have been me, but she went first,” he said.

12:30 AM

How it started... how it's going

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12:27 AM

Twitter suspends Trump account

Twitter has suspended Donald Trump's account following a spate of false claims about election fraud that appear to have egged on the violent scenes in Washington on Wednesday.

Twitter said it locked Mr Trump’s account for repeatedly violating its rules and that it would remain locked until the president deleted the posts.

The social media giant has faced growing calls to remove Trump's account for spreading misinformation and inciting violence.

Read more: Twitter removes Trump account amid criticism of failing to prevent lies

12:17 AM

Hearing will resume, says Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers will resume counting electoral votes on Wednesday once the US Capitol is given an all-clear, after the certification process was halted when Donald Trump supporters stormed the building.

"We have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use," Ms Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues, after reports that the building was secured by police and demonstrators were removed.

The senior lawmaker blasted the storming of the Capitol as a "shameful assault" on American democracy that was "anointed at the highest level of government, but said "it cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden."

The House had been meeting to certify the results of the election.

On Wednesday Democrats won both Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia following a run-off election.

Read more: How the dramatic day unfolded in Washington

A protester broke into Nancy Pelosi's office - EPA
A protester broke into Nancy Pelosi's office - EPA

12:11 AM

George Bush condemns 'banana republic'

Former US president George Bush has condemned the "sickening and heartbreaking sight" at the US Capitol and said he is "appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election".

In a statement, Mr Bush appeared to attacked Donald Trump and the Republicans for the "the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement" and accused them of spreading "falsehoods".

He added: "This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic."

"Laura and I are watching the scenes of mayhem unfolding at the seat of our Nation's government in disbelief and dismay. 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 behavior 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."

12:00 AM

Chaos in Washington – the top stories

Read more: Everything we know about the siege in Washington