Electoral School poll papers saved through the DC riot

Electoral College ballot boxes meet as a joint session of the House of Representatives and Senate to confirm the Electoral College votes cast in the November election at the Washington Capitol on Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

Jim Lo Scalzo | Pool | AP

Senate officials saved paper votes for the electoral college before the pro-Trump rioters broke into the chamber during an official census on Wednesday, according to a Democratic senator.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley tweeted a photo of cases showing the results of the state-level presidential election that Congress was due to settle Wednesday before the president’s supporters stormed the legislature. Merkley said, “If our capable ground crew hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the crowd.”

Congress had started counting the ballot papers intended to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump as the rioters forced their way into the Capitol. Legislators were evacuated to secure sites as the president’s supporters flocked to the Houses of Representatives and Senate chambers.

Congress resumed the voting process on Wednesday evening. The Senate met around 8 p.m. ET. At around 9 p.m. ET, the house rallied after spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., “Anointed” a “shameful attack” on democracy “at the highest levels of government.”

Legislators signaled that they would work through the night to count the votes.

“I’ve faced violent hatred before. I wasn’t deterred then, and I will not be deterred now,” said Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat and the chamber’s majority whip, in a statement tweeted.

The Capitol was secured around 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland dispatched National Guard forces, who worked with federal law enforcement agencies, to end the occupation of the building.

Before the attack began, Trump-backed Republican lawmakers opposed counting Arizona votes. The House and Senate held separate sessions to debate and vote on the outcome. When they got back together, they resumed the Arizona debate.

Trump claimed, but failed to prove repeatedly in court, that systemic fraud led to his narrow loss in Arizona. The states have confirmed their results of the presidential elections.

The office of Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who spoke out against the Arizona ballot count, did not say whether he would attempt to block another state’s certification after violating the Capitol. Cruz, who had joined a group of about a dozen Senate Republicans to challenge key states, previously called on the mob to stop the attack on the Capitol.

The office of Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri who has supported efforts to halt the election census in key states, also did not say whether it would object to the election census for any states. Other Republicans reversed course and said they would not question the results on Wednesday, including Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her Senate seat to Democratic challenger Rev Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday.

Trump spoke to his supporters before they marched onto the Capitol on Wednesday. He lied again about the election results.

He continued to spread false claims about the presidential race in a video posted later on Wednesday on Twitter. He tweeted again on Wednesday, calling on supporters to “go home with love and peace”.

“Remember that day forever!” he added.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the only Senate Republican to vote against Trump after being impeached last year, said Wednesday: “What happened here today was a riot instigated by the President of the United States.”

In a comment he was due to make earlier during the election count, Romney said: “I urge my colleagues to complete the election count, refrain from further objections and unanimously confirm the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

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