The Countdown: Unprecedented chaos breaks out in Washington

New York News
NEW YORK (WABC) — As we get closer to Inauguration Day, Eyewitness News will have a special election edition of “The Countdown” to get you caught up with all of the day’s political and campaign news.

You can watch it online, on the ABC7NY app or on our Connected TV apps for Fire, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Chaos, riots at US Capitol
Violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

The National Guard and state and federal police were called in for control, and the mayor of Washington imposed a rare evening curfew. One person was shot and killed.

The protesters were egged on for weeks by Trump, who since the November presidential election had launched a barrage of false attacks on the integrity of the results. While rallying his supporters outside the White House Wednesday morning, he urged them to march to the Capitol. But later – hours after they fought police and breached the building – he told them in a video that although they were “very special people” and he backed their cause, they should “go home in peace.”

Other than a pair of tweets and that minute-long video, Trump was largely disengaged from the occupation of a main seat of the nation’s government. It was Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump, who spoke with senior defense leaders about calling up the National Guard.

Local leaders react
Politicians and officials from the Tri-State area are responding to the pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol in Washington D.C.

Many took to social media to express their sadness and outrage.

Mitch McConnell breaks from Trump in blistering speech
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke from President Donald Trump, strongly rebuking the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election loss using “sweeping conspiracy theories.”

The Kentucky Republican spoke as Congress convened for a special joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again,” McConnell said.

Joe Biden calls on Capitol mob to ‘pull back,’ urges restoring decency
President-elect Joe Biden called Wednesday for the restoration of “just simple decency” as a mob incited by his predecessor stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election in which Biden won the White House.

Georgia election results: Democrats projected to gain control of Senate after Ossoff, Warnock
Democrats won both Georgia Senate seats – and with them, the U.S. Senate majority – as final votes were counted Wednesday, serving President Donald Trump a stunning defeat in his last days in office while dramatically improving the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challengers who represented the diversity of their party’s evolving coalition, defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler two months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Georgia runoff election latest
Georgians cast high-stakes final votes Tuesday in elections to determine the balance of power in the new Congress, deciding Senate runoff elections sure to shape President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to enact what could be the most progressive governing agenda in generations. Republicans are unified against Biden’s plans for health care, environmental protection and civil rights, but some have feared that outgoing President Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to undermine the integrity of the nation’s voting systems might discourage voters in Georgia.

State election officials reported light turnout Tuesday morning, including in the deeply conservative northwest region where Trump held a rally Monday night to encourage GOP voters to turn out in force. Wait times at polling sites were “almost nonexistent,” averaging about one minute statewide, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Pence torn between Trump, Constitution when presiding over Congress’s tally of Electoral College votes
He has been President Donald Trump’s most loyal soldier, dutifully backing the unpredictable leader through one chaotic situation after another. Now Vice President Mike Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, the last front in Trump’s futile attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, Pence will bear witness to the formalization of Trump’s – and his own – election defeat, as tellers from the House and Senate record states’ electoral votes. At the end of the count, it will be his job to announce who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.

Monday, Jan. 4

President Trump, on tape, presses Georgia official to ‘find’ him votes
President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state’s presidential election, repeatedly citing disproven claims of fraud and raising the prospect of a “criminal offense” if officials did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation.

The phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to press a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The president, who has refused to accept his loss to Democratic president-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Georgia runoff election: What to expect as state counts votes Tuesday
This week will find us back in a familiar place – waiting for Georgia to count votes.

With control of the U.S. Senate at stake, all eyes are on a runoff election that has Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Millions of dollars have poured in, Georgians have been bombarded by advertisements and messages urging them to vote, and both sides have sent their heavy hitters to help turn out voters.

Click here for some things to keep in mind as the polls close Tuesday night.

What happens when Congress meets Jan. 6? How count Electoral College votes are counted on Capitol Hill

Wednesday’s congressional joint session to count electoral votes has taken on added importance this year as congressional Republicans allied with President Donald Trump are pledging to try and undo Democrat Joe Biden’s victory and subvert the will of the American people.

The Republicans – a dozen senators and many more House members – are citing Trump’s repeated, baseless charges of widespread fraud. They say they will officially object to the results, forcing votes in the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled House that will almost certainly fail.

There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Neither Trump nor any of the lawmakers promising to object to the count have presented credible evidence that would change the outcome.

Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices, has also denied requests to hear a pair of cases aimed at invalidating the outcome of the election in key battleground states.

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