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Here's what happened -- and how -- on one of America's darkest days

CNN's Erin Burnett takes a look at what President Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters before rioters gathered at the US Capitol to protest the 2020 election.

Posted: Jan 7, 2021 8:11 AM
Updated: Jan 7, 2021 8:11 AM

At this time yesterday, it was already shaping up to be a busy news day: Two Georgia Democrats were poised to flip the Senate with imminent runoff wins. Congress was getting ready to confirm the results of the Electoral College amid objections by several Republican members. Coronavirus deaths in the US were rocketing to a new all-time high. Then, around midday, a violent mob of Trump supporters, egged on by the President himself, breached the US Capitol, sending politicians into hiding and sparking hours of chaos, violence and insurrection on what is sure to go down as one of the darkest days in American political history.

Here's the latest on the situation, plus everything else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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CAPITOL RIOT

What happened: Washington was already planning for pro-Trump groups to protest yesterday's Electoral College count. But in the early afternoon, some protesters began tussling with police. About 90 minutes later, they were inside the Capitol, and Capitol police say they were overwhelmed by the crowd. Others inside the building, including Congressional staff, legislators and Vice President Mike Pence, were evacuated or told to seek shelter. Images show rioters with Confederate flags and Trump paraphernalia ransacking offices and parading about the Senate floor. One woman died after being shot on Capitol grounds, and three other people died following medical emergencies during the riot. The Capitol was finally cleared at 5:40 p.m. ET, and all in all, 52 people were arrested. Elsewhere across the nation, smaller but similar scenes unfolded, including in front of Georgia's capitol building and the governor's mansion in Washington state.

The President's response: It took President Trump hours to respond to the domestic terrorism. In tweets and a video message, the President offered only lukewarm admonition and repeated some of the baseless claims that motivated the protests in the first place. "We love you," he said to rioters in the video. "You're very special." The video and some of his tweets were taken down by Twitter and Facebook in what the companies said was an attempt to prevent more violence. Both platforms temporarily locked Trump's accounts.

Electoral College affirmation: After abandoning the proceedings as rioters forced their way inside the Capitol, House and Senate members reconvened last night and, just a few hours ago, finally affirmed Joe Biden's Electoral College win. Several GOP senators who'd planned to object changed their minds because of the day's events. The process was understandably tense. Two House members nearly came to blows during a debate over Pennsylvania's election results, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch supporter of Trump, vigorously defended certifying the electoral votes. Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence had voiced their belief in the legitimacy of Biden's victory and rejected Trump's claims of voter fraud.

Political response: In addition to expressing obvious horror and anger, a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials have told CNN they believe Trump should be removed from office before Biden's January 20 inauguration, even if it means invoking the 25th Amendment or disqualifying him from ever holding office again. Several White House staffers have resigned, including Trump's deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger and Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump, and more are reportedly considering resignation. Former military officials who served under Trump, including his first defense secretary, James Mattis, strongly condemned Trump's actions and the actions of others they say have interfered with a peaceful transfer of power. Even industry leaders have weighed in. The National Association of Manufacturers, one of the most influential business groups in the US, called on Pence to consider working to remove Trump from office. All four living former US Presidents decried the Capitol breach.

World response: US allies and adversaries looked on in shock and revulsion at yesterday's events. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the "disgraceful scenes in US Congress." German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas compared the violence to the Nazis burning the Reichstag parliament building in 1933, saying, "The enemies of democracy will rejoice at these inconceivable images." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Trump a "sick person" who had disgraced his country. Top diplomats and leaders in Iceland, France, Austria, Poland, Ecuador, Colombia and Scotland, among others, reminded the US of its role as a global model of democracy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been notably silent so far.

What happens next: The US Secret Service is significantly ramping up coverage and bringing more agents to the White House in the wake of the scenes of domestic terror. Trump, meanwhile, issued a statement pledging an "orderly" transition on January 20 -- but not without baselessly reiterating that he still thinks the election was stolen from him. The President's ongoing refusal to accept reality has led to concern, both within the White House and beyond, over what Trump may do -- and how his supporters, rivals and, indeed, the world will respond -- in his final two weeks in office.

OTHER TOP NEWS

• The US reported new single-day records for coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations yesterday, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the total national Covid-19 death toll could exceed 430,000 by month's end. At least 52 cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in the UK have now been found in the US.

• President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Judge Merrick Garland as his attorney general, people familiar with the matter tell CNN.

• Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated incumbent Georgia Sen. David Perdue, solidifying a 50-50 Senate split, with Kamala Harris as the Democratic tiebreaker after she's sworn in as vice president, CNN projects.

• The Louisville Metro Police Department fired two detectives connected with the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March. According to termination papers, one was fired for using deadly force during the encounter, and the other was fired for failing to complete a search warrant operations document and failing to verify details that justified the search warrant.

TODAY'S WEATHER

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AND FINALLY

Through the years

The US Capitol building has stood for generations as an icon of American democracy. Watch how it has weathered change from one era to the next. (Click here to view.)

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3095814

Reported Deaths: 35549
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles104602114641
San Bernardino2587421561
Riverside2558082739
San Diego2197312222
Orange2178492546
Santa Clara959361158
Kern87240572
Fresno83591968
Sacramento816871128
Alameda69107842
Ventura63413462
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Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43392773
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo33207309
San Francisco29665274
Solano26191108
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25380486
Merced24570316
Sonoma24262242
Kings19588148
Placer17584186
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13585151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10852138
Shasta9750123
Butte9582128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa773145
Lassen519916
San Benito504246
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323874
Mendocino319232
Amador303631
Lake264631
Humboldt245825
Glenn195520
Colusa17969
Calaveras163723
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
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