US Capitol locked down as Trump supporters breach barriers and clash with police
- The US Capitol went into lockdown Wednesday as throngs of American President Donald Trump's supporters breached barriers around the building and clashed with Capitol Police.
- The clashes came as Congress convened to officially certify the results of the 2020 general election.
- The process is typically pro forma, but it's in the spotlight this year given Trump's groundless assertion that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence have the power to throw out some states' electoral votes based on unsubstantiated claims of fraud.
- The outgoing president spoke at a "March for Trump" rally shortly before Congress convened, and video footage showed Trump's supporters breaching barriers around the Capitol building and attempting to occupy it.
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The US Capitol went into lockdown on Wednesday after throngs of President Donald Trump's supporters breached multiple barriers, clashed with law enforcement officers, and tried to storm the Capitol building on Wednesday as Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 general election.
"All buildings within the Capitol Complex, Capitol: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover," Capitol police said in message.
The certification process is typically pro forma and doesn't draw much, if any, national attention. But it's in the spotlight this year given Trump's groundless assertion that Congress and Vice President Mike Pence can unilaterally throw out the electoral votes of states based on the president's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter and election fraud.
Shortly before the violence erupted, thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators came to the nation's capital to attend a "March for Trump" to protest Congress' certification of the electoral votes. The president spoke at the rally, and as Congress convened, both the Madison and Cannon buildings on the Capitol Complex were evacuated, according to reporters on the scene.
Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman reported that staffers in the Cannon building "are being told to take escape hoods, and to go underground to tunnels."
Videos posted on Twitter also showed Trump supporters charging toward Capitol Police as the officers tried to fend them off while Congress debated the first of several election challenges from Trump's allies.
BREAKING: Trump supporters have breached the Capitol building, tearing down 4 layers of security fencing and are attempting to occupy the building — fighting federal police who are overrun This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Thousands, police can’t stop them pic.twitter.com/VVdTUwV5YN— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) January 6, 2021
CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted that a House Republican staffer told him Capitol Police were also evacuating private residences on Capitol Hill.
Charles Ramsey, the former chief of police in Washington, DC, on Wednesday said that the US was witnessing what amount to "as close to a coup attempt as this country has ever seen."
"That's what you're looking at folks," Ramsey said, referring to Trump supporters storming the US Capitol and clashing with police.
Lindsay Watts, a reporter with a Fox News affiliate in Washington, DC, said on Twitter that she'd learned from a paramedic source that one person had been shot and resuscitation efforts were underway. CNN later reported that a woman had been shot in the chest and was in critical condition.
Michael Del Moro, a producer at MSNBC, shared photos of a person who looked like they were bleeding while being transported on a stretcher.
Virginia's governor Ralph Northam announced that he was sending additional National Guard troops into the city Wednesday afternoon. In addition to the Guard members, Northam said that he was sending 200 Virginia State Troopers in response to a request from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Twitter halted further distribution of one of Trump's tweets, tagging it as holding the risk of violence.
This is a developing story.
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