Congress confirms Joe Biden's presidential win after rioters attack Capitol
Congress on early Thursday morning formally affirmed President-elect Joe Biden's election victory after a mob supporting President Trump violently broke into the Capitol the day before.
The extraordinary attack on the symbolic epicenter of the U.S.'s democracy left the building in tatters, at least one rioter dead and lawmakers in both parties shell-shocked by the unprecedented threat to their safety in a building previously thought to be virtually impenetrable.
Shortly before 4 a.m., after lawmakers formally tabulated each state's Electoral College votes, Vice President Pence announced before a joint session of Congress that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had won 306 votes over Trump's 232.
The images of chanting Trump supporters smashing windows, brawling with Capitol Police and marching unimpeded through the Rotunda quickly ricocheted around the globe, stunning Washington, the nation and the entire free world while leading to accusations from lawmakers in both parties that it was the president himself who had incited the riot.
"There is no question that the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob," said Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican. "He lit the flame."
The vote to certify the president-elect's victory in the Electoral College, the final step before his inauguration on Jan. 20, is largely a matter of course, but party leaders in both chambers decided that delaying it, even briefly, would deliver the message that the mob had won.
Instead, they raced to finalize their votes accepting the state tallies, hoping it would send a very different signal to the stunned country: The nation's democratic institutions remain strong even under direct attack.
"We must and we will show to the country — and indeed to the world — that we will not be diverted from our duty, that we will respect our responsibility to the Constitution and to the American people," Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said while presiding over the House floor.
"The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said as he reconvened the upper chamber Wednesday night.
The US Congress has formally confirmed Joe Biden's victory hours after violent protesters stormed the Capitol building.
Vice President Mike Pence makes the announcement. Joe Biden has said it is "time to turn the page" after his presidential election victory was confirmed by the US electoral college.
In a speech after the announcement, he said US democracy had been "pushed, tested and threatened" and "proved to be resilient, true and strong".
He condemned President Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the result.
Later Russian President Vladimir Putin became one of the last world leaders to congratulate Mr Biden on his victory.
Moscow had said it would wait for the official results before doing so. Most other national leaders contacted Mr Biden days after the vote on 3 November.
Confirmation by the electoral college was one of the steps required for Mr Biden to take office.
Under the US system, voters actually cast their ballots for "electors", who in turn formally vote for candidates after the election.
Democrat Joe Biden won November's contest with 306 electoral college votes to Republican Donald Trump's 232. The Electoral College gathered today in all 50 states to cast their votes for President. While many eyes were on the state of Georgia, there were no surprises in any of the battleground states and no elector turned rogue and voted for Trump. This is one of the final steps to formalizing Joe Biden's victory. Many prominent Republicans are urging Trump to accept his loss. Karl Rove said that the president is at risk of tarnishing his legacy and permanently branding himself a "sore loser." New video shows rioters violently attacking Capitol police. Terrorism analyst Jim Cavanaugh explains what the video shows about the tactics and motive of the group.