By Miriam Raftery
Photo courtesy of C-Span: Capitol Police draw guns moments before protester storm into the legislative chamber.
Update January 8, 2020: The FBI seeks tips from the public to help identify, arrest and prosecute participants in the insurrection which has resulted in several deaths incuding a police officer, dozens of injuries, widespread damage to the capitol, theft of federal property, and multiple bombs found in the vicinity. The FBI has posted numerous photographs of suspects which you can view at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence.
January 6, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – San Diego’s Congressional representatives are safe, ECM confirms, after a terrifying takeover of the House and Senate chambers today by armed supporters of President Donald Trump. Legislators were evacuated and the capitol locked down after the insurrections stormed the building and forced their way inside.
Shots were fired. NBC news reports that a woman shot by police has died. Several officers were also injured. At least two improvised explosive devices have been found, one at the capitol, the other at Republican National Committee headquarters. A hangman's platform and noose were erected outside the capitol.
Riot police are currently moving into the chaotic scene, CNN reports. The National Guard has reportedly been deployed to aid capitol police overwhelmed by the mob. There are reports of tear gas and smoke bombs dispersed.
Congressional leaders have pledged that the vote certification will continue as soon as members can safetly reconvene to complete their constitutional duty. While several Republicans had earlier announced plans to challenge outcomes in some swing states, there are not enough votes to halt the certiifcation, only delay the process with debate. Election officials in all 50 states have assured that results are accurate and judges in some two dozen court cases found no evidence of fraud.
San Diego Congressional members react to ordeal
San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, a Democratic sworn in earlier this week, was in the House chamber during the siege. “My staff and I are safe. The Capitol complex remains on lockdown and everyone should stay clear of the area.”
Photo, right: Congresswoman Sara Jacob tweeted shortly before the siege began ,"I am honored to be one of the Members selected to attend the start of today's proceedings from the House Gallery."
Congressman Mike Levin tweeted, “I am sheltering in place due to multiple threats from suspicious packages and Trump supporters storming the Capitol, but I am safe. I am incredibly grateful for the brave Capitol Police officers trying to keep us safe.”
Democratic representative Scott Peters posted in response to text messages from supporters, “I’m safe. Thanks for the texts. More later.”
Rep. Juan Vargas, also a Democrat, posted a video stating, “We’ve had people now breach the security here in the Capitol. We are prepared here. We are going to defend democracy…The people voted for Joe Biden to be president. Joe Biden will be president…As soon as they breach that wall, we will fight back…That’s anarchy out there. We’re here to fight for democracy. God bless America.”
Republican Darrell Issa newly elected to fill the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter’s resignation, tweeted, “The violence we saw today is totally inexcusable. Nothing justifies it and I condemn it in the strongest way possible. Everyone protesting in the Capitol should leave immediately.”
Calls for arrests
Photo, left: Insurrectionist occupies Speaker of the House seat after forcible takeover of House chamber, via C-Span.
Issa’s opponent in the November election, Ammar Campa-Najjar, tweeted, “Where are the arrests?”
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, “Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Biden and Trump address nation
President-elect Biden forcefully condemned the violence, stating, “It’s not protest. It’s insurrection.” He added that it “borders on sedition” and called on Trump to publically address the nation and call for an end to the siege. “The words of a president matter….At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite.”
Minutes later, President Trump posted a brief one-minute video to tell the insurrectionists, “You have to go home now. We have to have peace…We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t wany anybody hurt,” although at least five people had reportedly already been transported to a hospital including law enforcement officers.He also told the rioters "I love you."
But the President went on to repeat false claims that the election had been stolen, stoking conspiracy theories and fanning the flames. Earlier this morning, just before the siege on the Capitol, Trump spoke to a rally at the White House Ellipse and encouraged his backers to march to the Capitol and asked legislators to challenge the results from swing states. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” Trump stated. “You have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated.”
Photo, right: Tear gas deployed at Capitol; Tyler Merbler, creative commons image
Tom Bossert,, former Homeland Security advisor appointed by Trump, called the siege “illegal” and “unAmerican” also blaming Trump. “The President undermined American democracy baselessly for months. As a result, he’s culpable for this siege, and an utter disgrace.” He called for prosecution of those involved in the insurrection.
Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois described the riot at the Capitol as a “coup attempt” and called the president’s video message “cowardice.”
Calls to remove the President
Photo, left: President Trump addresses "Stop the Steal" rally before storming of the capitol; public domain, VOA
CNN correspondent April Ryan reports that Congressional leaders are meeting in an undisclosed location to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump and make Pence President until January 20, when Biden will be sworn in.
The normally conservative National Manufactuers Association today issued this stated: “Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with th Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy. This is not the vision of America that manufacturers believe in and work so hard to defend.”
Several Democrats today called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was among them, adding in his tweet that Trump is detached from reality.”
Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline seeks a different remedy. “We should impeach and convict him tomorrow.”
View more photos of destruction here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/pictures-of-capitol-destruction
Photo, right: Full-size gallows and hangman's noose erected outside the capitol. Some of the insurrectionists inside the capitol were shown carrying zip ties and guns.
Update January 8, 2020: The FBI is investigating whether there was a plot to kidnap and/or kill elected officials. The insurrectionists committed numerous acts of vandalism and theft of items inside the Capitol ranging from stolen laptop computers to a historic statue spattred with blood.