From The New York Times, I'm Michael Barbaro. This is The Daily. Today, a mob incited by President Trump stormed the Capitol building, disrupting the certification of Joe Biden's victory in the presidential race. My colleagues, Nick Fandoms, Jonathan Martin and Emily Cochran, were inside the building.
It's Thursday, January 7th. Nic, I wonder if you can tell us how this day started, so Wednesday was always going to be a tense day in Washington because President Trump and his allies had decided that Congress's quadrennial meeting to certify the Electoral College votes would be a venue for him to make one final stand for his baseless and frankly, unprecedented campaign to try and overturn the results of the election. America first, America first, the president had invited and encouraged many of his supporters to come to Washington, they gathered by the thousands Wednesday morning on the Mall near the White House.
The Republican Party has the ability right now to save themselves, to save it. And if they turn their backs on these people, these people are not using a Republican flag out here anywhere. No Trump in American flags as far as the eye could see.
State flags, they need to open their eyes and go, oh, if I ever want to even attempt to get elected again, I switched parties. Or I help these guys out here because these people are very angry. They might not look at it reburying like 30 seconds away at any time in this country for the revolution. We're waiting and we're ready. And could you elaborate on that? You know, suggested we're ready, we're tired. That's the only way.
If this doesn't work, it's just a matter of time it's going to happen. Does that take the form of, you know, we don't know what's going to start. We don't know where it's going to start. We don't know who's going to start it. But that's next. American Revolution. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 44th president of the United States of America, President Donald J. Prom. The president gave a pretty remarkable address.
All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical left Democrats, which is what they're doing and stolen by the fake news media. That's what they've done and what they're doing. We will never give up. We will never concede it doesn't happen.
You don't concede with this. Our country is. And he worked himself up to basically encourage the thousands of people that were gathered there to head on down to the Capitol, where early in the afternoon Congress was set to meet in this joint session overseen by Vice President Mike Pence to formally count and then finalize Joe Biden's victories as president of the United States.
So we're going to you we're going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania and we're going to the Capitol and we're going to try and give the Democrats a hopeless. They never voted for anything. Not even one vote, but we're going to try and give our Republicans the weak ones, because the strong ones don't need any of our help. We're just going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.
So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Let's go forward and go to Congress and go. Right, and so over at the Capitol, how was this certification process supposed to unfold?
We knew that this was going to be a long day, full of a lot of objections. There were 14 different senators and dozens and dozens of House Republicans who said they were ready to lodge objections to key swing states that Joe Biden won fair and square. These are going to force long debates, but at the end of the day or maybe early Thursday morning, there is very little doubt that Joe Biden was going to be formally declared the president elect by the Congress of the United States whether or not President Trump wanted that to happen.
So it all gets started at one o'clock, Madam Speaker. The vice president and the United States Senate, when Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Senate parade into the House of Representatives behind two large mahogany boxes that contained the certificates certifying the votes from all 50 states.
Madam Speaker, members of Congress, pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of the United States, the Senate and House of Representatives are meeting in joint session to verify the certificates and count the votes of the electors of the several states for president and vice president of the United States.
This process opens up pretty much as we expected. Are there any objections to counting the certificate of vote of the state of Alabama?
There's a couple of states starting with Alabama, hearing none. And Alaska, a vote in the state of Alaska. They come and go and are accepted by the Congress. And then this certificate from Arizona, as we expected, get to the state of Arizona, one of a half dozen that President Trump lost that he's contesting.
Are there any objections to counting the certificate of vote of the state of Arizona that the teller is verified, appears to be regular in form and authentic, didn't I? Paul Gosar from Arizona on purpose. Does the gentleman from Arizona write?
I write for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots from Arizona and Representative Paul Gosar from that state is the objection in writing and signed by a senator and Ted Cruz rose together to object?
Yes, it is. It is triggering essentially this two hour debate in the House, in the Senate that would culminate in an up or down vote on whether or not to throw out Arizona's Electoral College votes.
The Senate will now retire to its chamber.
The senators then marched out and went back to their chamber. The House started to debate. President Trump's allies are laying out their arguments in the Senate, though. This president, Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, already leader, is the first to rise and speak. We're debating a step.
That has never been taken in American history. Whether Congress should overrule the voters. And overturn a presidential election now McConnell had tried to head off this effort in the first place, he saw it as a dangerous exercise that would divide his party and could hurt them electorally down the line. But the speech he gave was even more striking, I think, than we expected.
Absurd 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I've ever cast. President Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations. The constitutional arguments. The sweeping conspiracy theories. The voters. The court. And the stage. They've all spoken and then he did something that he really hasn't done for four years, frankly, which is directly rebuke the president this election were overturned.
By mere allegations from the losing side and say that this drive by Donald Trump out of the White House and some of his allies on Capitol Hill to overturn the results of the election, our democracy would enter a death spiral, would send American democracy into a death spiral.
United States Senate has a higher calling. Than an endless spiral of partisan vengeance. So McConnell gives his speech to a rap Senate chamber, but still several of his colleagues promptly get up and start to defy him as president Senator. Starting with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, we gather together.
At a moment of great division, obviously a conservative firebrand who has run for president, once people think he wants to run for president again, maybe trying to make a name for himself here.
Recent polling shows that 39 percent of Americans believe the election that just occurred, quote, was rigged and his message for his colleagues is a little bit different than the president.
I mean, he basically argues that, like it or not, huge swaths of Americans, including a lot of people who vote for Republicans, don't trust the results of this election.
You may not agree with that assessment. But it is nonetheless a reality for nearly half the country.
And that's not going away and senators need to confront it is the responsibility, I believe, of this office to acknowledge that is a profound threat to this country and to the legitimacy of any administration that will come in the future.
He's followed by another colleague, eventually, James Lankford, a small group of senators, including myself, have demanded that we not ignore the questions that millions of people are asking in our nation. Who's backing up?
Senator Cruz paused the count get more facts to the states before January the 20th. And then all of a sudden, my challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.
Things start going very strangely in the chamber and it will stand in recess until the call of the chair will force protesters are in the building. Thank you.
Great to hear your fucking. And all of a sudden, cameras are cut off, security rushes in and pulls Vice President Mike Pence out of the chair where he's presiding and pulls him out of the room. The police step forward and announce that there has been a breach of the Capitol. There's an emergency and senators are immediately being locked into their chamber. Press is sealed in with them. Every door is closed in this frantic dash with police officers and staff of the Capitol run around slamming each door shut.
And senators are all almost all 100 of them or ninety nine right now since Senate short member are in this room together in an incredibly tense moment, wondering what is about to happen. Things are initially kind of playful. Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest serving senator who loves to take photographs, pulled out a digital camera and started snapping pics until the police told him to cut that out pretty quickly. Senator Amy Klobuchar quickly yells out to everyone to quiet their voices that she's heard that there's been a shooting in the Capitol complex.
Now, this really sent a chill through the chamber, as you can imagine. And within only a few minutes after that, police start pushing all one hundred senators or ninety nine that are in the chamber into the well of the Senate and out through the back doors. There's chaos and commotion in the room. The senators don't know what's happening. And the police then point up at us who were locked into the chamber in a press gallery over where the vice president had been seated and said, get down to the basement and follow us.
So we scramble, as senators do, down a series of elevators into the subterranean tunnels that connect the Capitol complex. And all of a sudden, I found myself, you know, in a kind of fast moving sea of the United States Senate, Republicans and Democrats not certain where we were going, not certain where the mob had entered the building that preached at several points that had turned out at one point. We seem to be redirected based on the fact that spaces that were supposed to be secure were not up ahead of me was Senator Chuck Schumer, who's the Democratic leader who earlier in the morning had been declaring himself the majority leader triumphantly after Democrats had unexpectedly and surprisingly won the two Senate runoffs in Georgia the night before.
Right now, his security detail was holding the back of his neck, hustling him, you know, down this underground tunnel towards a safe space. I also passed by Senator Mitch McConnell, who was the Republican leader and now the outgoing majority leader, 78 years old. He had polio when he was a young man and his security detail had their arms up under his armpits, usher him as quickly as they could down through this long tunnel towards ultimately a secure space elsewhere near the Capitol where all of us ended up for several hours.
This is Jonathan Martin with The New York Times. We were brought to what I can only say is a secure location because I'm still in a secure location and they have to report if you're not to reveal where we are. When I got to the room and again, keep in mind, people were notably panicked, I dropped half of Mitt Romney and I've known Senator Romney for 15 years and we grilled each other. And then as we parted ways, I heard Senator Romney say, Jonathan and I turned around and I saw him beckoning me over with his hand and with rage written all over his face and fury and his voice, he said to me, this is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.
I've never seen him in that kind of frame of mind. But clearly, what he was trying to do was convey to the world that he blames President Trump for this, for this this desecration of the American capitol. And he obviously wanted that. Dinner down last night. The purpose of storming Congress itself because they work for us. They don't get to steal it from us. They don't get to tell us we didn't see what we saw. Traditional medicinals looks to the earth for all her healing gifts, they believe that plants can do some pretty amazing things.
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Hi, I'm Emily Cochran. I'm currently sheltering in a congressman's office on Capitol Hill with a few lawmakers and a few reporters after is essentially a mob stormed the Capitol during the certification of the Electoral College. Right now, everyone just going through what happened, what we saw and.
I went to the House chamber at just before one, just before I was about to start. There it is. She's gaveling the House into session to hear the debate over the electoral vote from Arizona. Let's listen in. Let the record show that there is a gross violation of this guidance from the attendance on the. I was sitting in the front row and around 130 or so you started getting these notices from from sources, from aides and other parts of the Hill.
Capitol Police are closing my building. They're going from door to door telling us to leave. But the debate was still going in the chamber. It was like you were in a bubble. People were looking at the phones, but there wasn't any real indication that anyone other than the reporters in the press gallery were fully aware of the extent of the protest and how things were escalating. I rise to support the objection. The gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes.
Thank you, Madam Speaker. And to ease everyone's nerve, I want you to all know that I am not here to challenge anyone to a duel like Alexander Hamilton or Aaron Burr.
At around just after 2:00, I got up because I wanted to have the. With who?
I wanted to look out the window.
I wanted to see see it for myself and gauge what the situation was like. But the minute I stepped outside the gallery with a member of the the gallery staff, a police officer came over and said that they were ordering everyone to shelter in place and go back inside.
We gather today, Madam Speaker, to ensure the survival of our grand American experiment, the greatest democracy this world has ever known. And there are millions of people watching today's proceedings. The eyes of the world are on us now. My colleagues wondering if our constitutional republic will hold.
You could start to feel this nervous energy as more and more lawmakers grew aware and they began to close the gallery doors. The chamber doors had always been closed, but the gallery doors had been open for the purpose of ventilation, and those were trying to be closed.
Press gallery staff really shortly after came and told us there was a possibility that we would be locked in the chamber, so if you get your chargers, you get whatever you have from outside and then bring it in and be and be ready to spend time in the chamber. The House will be in order. The House will be in order. OK, congressional leadership pretty soon after that was pushed, rushed out, you saw your staff come and escort them out really quickly.
The rest of lawmakers and staff were told to stay, stay, become. The House will be in order. House will be in order.
Board members will take their seats up in the gallery overlooking the floor. We were quietly being told we know where the exits were, where to, where to look.
And then a Capitol police officer stood at the dais where Speaker Pelosi had been overseeing the proceedings right before that and said that there had been a breach, that protesters were then around and to be prepared to duck under more chairs for lawmakers to go hide and. Without objection, the chair declares the House in recess pursuant to Clause 12, be a rule one or the House resist and everyone just sat sit there. At one point, Dean Phillips just shouted out, this is because of you and his Republican colleagues, then it was just sort of you you were meeting and a Capitol police officer told us that we now have individuals in the rotunda and he instructed lawmakers to take out gas masks that were stored under the chairs in front of them press.
We are in the gallery overlooking this whole thing. Capitol Police came over and were passing out our own silver fox, wrapped in aluminum in your eye, crouched down behind a chair, just trying to rip this open, trying to figure out how to just open the package, let alone put the mask on. They told us we didn't need to put the mask on just yet, but there had been tear gas in the rotunda, so to be prepared for it.
These maps have a red one that's just flashing. So all these all of a sudden there's these little red lights all over the place and they weren't there's this whirring noise that hasn't stopped since. So you were just surrounded by this. Anxious, murmuring, worried. And then you could hear banging on the doors of the chamber, a couple of security.
One lawmaker pulled a giant wooden chest and just pushed it up against the chamber doors, the chamber doors that Mike Pence had just walked through the chests of a certifications. That was not barricaded. They put this protest in front of the door and they started yelling for us to evacuate, to just form these orderly lines. Best you could, clambering over banisters, over chairs to try to get to the doors and then down.
You heard bangs again and people stop, everyone just drop to the ground. These chairs are like the auditorium chairs, they're not really meant, not that they don't really have high backs. So I was just basically lying on the floor hoping that my head was behind this small chair where typically a tourist is sitting watching.
They're never give a speech and. They broke the glass or froze frozen like that with with some some officers pointing guns at the door at the barricaded to where you could see Mark going all in there with them. I ostensibly and I think he was trying to reason with whoever was on the other side. We were just kind of frozen, paralyzed, just this whirring of the gas masks. And then after a few minutes, we started moving again. I don't know what prompted it, but we just started moving, which started jumping over these banisters, stepping on the cushions, doing whatever you could to get through that door as fast as possible and clambering down a marble staircase.
We went down a side exit, so I have no idea what the rest of the capital was. Phone's just going off. Family is watching this. Your colleagues are watching this. Where are you? Are you OK? And eventually we made it to an office building, which is where we are now, that lawmakers are mostly sequestered in one room. And they took some of the press in another room where we're just sort of waiting. So for now, I am recording this in a congressman's bathroom, waiting for the clear to go.
So that's that's where we are. There's some talk that will take some time for them to clear out the Capitol with a couple of lawmakers I've spoken to remain adamant that they're going to see this through. But this isn't going to stop the process. And even if it's delay, they're going to keep going with the with the Electoral College. Nic, how did this standoff come to an end? So as lawmakers and Vice President Pence remain locked down in these secretive locations which were ultimately not breached, Capitol Police get reinforcements from the National Guard, the FBI, other law enforcement, and they start to slowly basically hunt, hunt down and remove these individuals that had come into the building.
And so in the 6:00 o'clock hour, finally another alert went out over the kind of emergency system in the capital that had been going off all day to say that finally at that point, law enforcement had successfully taken back the building and reestablished a large perimeter around the Capitol that held for the rest of the night.
So this mob, they were inside the United States Capitol for four hours.
It's pretty extraordinary. It is. Shots were discharged. One woman ended up dead. The police here in D.C. said there's tear gas deployed in the Capitol. Grit from it seemed to be on the tiles when we all came back into the building. It's just unthinkable that this would happen.
And Nick, what was the president saying and doing during this period, during these hours when supporters were storming the Capitol in his name?
So at first he said nothing. He was just silent after he gave his rally earlier in the day outside the White House. He had gone back inside and had very little to say. Eventually he started, though, as he does to tweet, including sending out a short video of himself filmed outside the White House. And this, I got to say, was just as remarkable as the rest of all of this.
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 that, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great. People in law and order, we don't want anybody hurt. It's a very tough period of time. There's never been a time like this where.
Such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us. The president did call for those doing violence to stop. He said it was time to go home. But in the next breath, he praised them. He said he identified essentially with what they were doing.
So go home. We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. He expressed love for them, I mean, these are these are terms of affection for, you know, a violent insurrection in the capital of the country that he has sworn an oath to protect and defend.
And during this time, Nic, the reality and this is a pretty unsettling thing to say, but it's true, is that this mob, they did something that the president so far had not been able to do through the courts or through the political process. At his encouragement, at his incitement, they disrupted the certification of Joe Biden's. When they did, they did for several hours on Wednesday. They gave the president vividly what he has wanted.
But in the aftermath of it, what emerged was striking in its own way, particularly in the Senate, where those of us that have been locked down for hours walked under armed guard back into the Capitol, where Republicans and Democrats, when it was finally safe for them to come out, came out with arms locked and oh, my gosh, that's Electoral College, maybe where everybody a little bit through this Electoral College for the Electoral College boxes that they just carried out, carrying that beside the tracks of the Senate subway back to the Capitol, came back to the floor of the Senate, intent on finishing the process that they had started hours before and not leaving until they'd done the work to make Joe Biden officially the president elect Senate will come to order and the vice president as president of the Senate, would like to give a brief statement with the indulgence of the senators.
Actually, Vice President Pence asked to speak first.
Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. To those who wreaked havoc in our capital today. You did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins, and this is still the people's house. Senator McConnell rose right after him and said the United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber. By thugs, mobs. Northrup's.
We will not bear the lawlessness. Or intimidation. We are back at our post. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution. And for our nation. And we're going to do it tonight. Saw several of the senators, not all but several who had planned to lodge objections.
You mentioned the senator from Georgia, Senator Lefler, came to speak quickly on the Senate floor to say, When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider that.
In light of what had happened, they would drop them.
And I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors.
You had President Trump's critics and even some of his most loyal allies from the last four years, Lindsey Graham, dropping out.
We've had a hell of a journey. I hate it this way. Oh, my God, I hate it. From my point of view, he's been a consequential president standing up and saying, all I can say is count me out.
Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful. This is over.
I've seen enough. President Trump lost Joe Biden. One, Joe Biden.
And Kamala Harris, our lawfully elected and will become the president and the vice president of the United States on January the 20th, and by the time the Senate voted on that first objection to the state of Arizona, who after ten o'clock on this vote, the yeas are six, the nays are 93, the objection is not sustained.
All but six senators as 93 Republicans and Democrats voted to uphold President elect Biden's victory. Nic, how do you explain that, because fidelity to this president has been so unwavering over so many episodes and so many years, what changed in those few hours? I think it's a question that everybody that was involved in this here today is going to continue to ask themselves for weeks ahead, I think on the one hand, Republicans who have sided with the president have always been able to tell themselves there's another exit down the road, that if things get bad enough, they can get off.
And this was, you know, basically the end of the road for Trump. This was his last option. And it turned out that he made it as ugly and dangerous and vile as it possibly could have been. And I think so many members of his party just said enough. We have gone along with so much. We're not going past the end of the road with you. We're not going to crash into whatever that is. Now, I don't want to overstate this.
This is one fleeting moment. There are still going to be, in the end, dozens of members of the House of Representatives that vote to toss out legitimate election results because President Trump has asked them to. Essentially, there are, you know, as this episode has demonstrated, probably many more million Americans at home that don't believe this election was legitimately decided, that don't view President elect Biden as a rightful occupant of that office. And and though elected officials perhaps made a responsible decision today.
You know, there's going to be a lot of days after this. The country remains, I think, in a deeply polarized and troubling and dangerous place. I mean, a culture that could create what I was in the middle of today. It's not something that's just going to dissipate overnight. Well, thank you very much. We appreciate it. On a strange day, it was a strange pleasure. Thanks, Michael. I'm glad you're safe. I appreciate that.
On Wednesday night, after we spoke with Nick, 121 House Republicans voted to object to Joe Biden's victory in Arizona. More than half of the chamber's Republicans, but that was not enough votes to sustain the objection. Soon after, a similar objection to Biden's win in Pennsylvania also failed, and both the House and Senate voted to certify Biden as president elect. We'll be right back. The daily showcases the New York Times best journalism, if you're running your own business or championing a social cause, you need an easy and effective way to show your best work to get the message out with Squarespace.
Squarespace is an all in one platform that helps you bring your ideas to life and to the world. Had to Squarespace dot com slash daily for a free trial. Then when you're ready to launch, use code daily for 10 percent off your first purchase of a website or domain. Here's what else you need to know. It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate. Thank you for the confidence and trust that you have placed in me.
Democrats have taken control of the U.S. Senate after John Asaph, the Georgia Senate candidate, was declared the winner in his race against Republican David Perdue, completing a Democratic sweep of the state's two runoffs earlier in the day. Also, fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock narrowly defeated his Republican rival, Senator Kelly Lefler.
Democrats now control 50 seats in the Senate, where Vice President elect Kamala Harris will break the tie, giving Democrats control over committees, legislation and nominations brought to the floor. Today's episode was produced by Rachel Quester, Michael Simon Johnson, Oster Chaturvedi, Sydney Harbour, Claire Tennis Geter, Stella Tahn and Alexandra Lee Young. It was edited by Dave Sharpe, Lisa Tobin and Paige Kowit and engineered by Chris Wood. Special thanks to Zolensky New York's Matt Rosenberg and John Esmay.
That's it for the day, I'm Michael Mama. See you tomorrow. This podcast is supported by the Cornell, SC Johnson College of Business. We all have goals, especially career goals, like enhancing and diversifying our skills or tapping into a broader network of opportunity. The Cornell executive MBAs designed with Ivy League prestige for goal achievers from any industry. By advancing your career without interruption, by providing global perspectives, an intimate classroom settings, by challenging, informing, connecting and propelling, you achieve your goals with a Cornell executive MBA on the weekends and close to home.
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