As a shocked nation watched on Twitter and TV, a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol, and sent members of Congress fleeing as lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes to confirm the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden.
Many of the rioters came directly from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier on the Ellipse, a park near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting, without evidence, that the election had been stolen.
“Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” When he was finished, supporters headed for the Capitol building.
Here is how events unfolded. Times are estimates.
Crowds of Trump supporters, estimated in the thousands, prepare for a pro-Trump rally near the Ellipse. Many began gathering the night before. Trump tweeted about the rally on Dec. 19 saying, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, be wild!”
Trump’s “Save America Rally” begins first with the president’s sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., then his lawyer, Rudy Guiliani. President Trump starts speaking shortly before noon at about 11:50 a.m. and says, “And after this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women.” Trump speaks for more than an hour. At the conclusion, thousands walk to the Capitol.
Lawmakers gather for a joint session in the House of Representatives chamber to count Electoral College votes.
Rioters begin grappling with police on the Capitol steps.
Capitol police order evacuation of Library of Congress, Madison Building and Cannon House Office Building (on Independence Avenue across from the Capitol).
C-SPAN reports rioters have crossed Statuary Hall, the chamber that separates the House and Senate, heading for the House and Senate.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser orders citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday and ending at 6 a.m. Thursday. CNN reports District police are asking for more law enforcement.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., tweets she is being evacuated after reports of a pipe bomb outside. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots.”
Rioters breach police lines on the west side of the Capitol.
Moments later rioters scale the walls.
Reports say Vice President Mike Pence has been escorted out of the Senate chamber.
Trump tweets, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Trump tweets,”Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Rioters are photographed breaking Capitol windows.
Shots are reported fired in the House chamber.
Huffington Post reporter tweets image of rioters at dais. “They’re in the chamber.”
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV, tweets he has been safely moved from the House chamber. He says he and others were given an escape hood, a respiratory hood and mask for protection in fires or chemical accidents.
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, texts “shots fired.”
Rioters are photographed on the Senate floor.
Trump tweets “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
CBS reports a woman is in critical condition after being shot in the neck inside the Capitol. Police later report the woman died.
The District of Columbia National Guard, about 1,100 troops, is mobilized to support local law enforcement.
A Congressional correspondent tweets that congressional leaders are being evacuated from the Capitol.
In a tweeted video lasting just over a minute, Trump says, in part: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. … So go home. We love you, you’re very special. … I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”
Some of Trump’s tweets addressing the riot were deleted. Twitter bans the President from tweeting for 12 hours. Twitter first froze the tweets and wouldn’t allow comments or retweets, then the ban was imposed.
Congress reconvenes to resume counting Electoral College votes.
SOURCE USA TODAY Network reporting and research; Associated Press; multiple media reports
PHOTO CREDIT AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite; Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images; AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Will Carless contributed with reports from the Capitol in Washington D.C.
Carlie Procell, Sean Dougherty, Rachel Stassen-Berger, Dinah Pulver, and Shawn Sullivan also contributed to this report.