WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - Supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol Wednesday, forcing members of Congress to evacuate the Senate and House chambers as they were starting to debate the outcome of November’s presidential election.
Thousands of people were gathered around the capitol, urged to come to Washington by President Trump.
CNN reported a woman was in critical condition after being shot in the chest. CNN also showed a picture of an armed stand off at the capitol, and there were reports of suspicious packages around the capitol.
On Twitter, north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik said “Americans have a constitutional right to protest and freedom of speech, but violence in any form is absolutely unacceptable and anti-American.
“My staff and I are safe. We pray that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, their staffs and all Americans remain safe, too.”
Members of Congress and their staffs were ordered to “shelter-in-place,” and Vice-President Mike Pence, who was presiding over Wednesday’s count of the Electoral College vote, was evacuated.
President Trump took to Twitter after the capitol had been breached to urge “everyone at the U.S. capitol to remain peaceful. No violence!”
President-elect Joe Biden urged President Trump to “go on national television now” and “demand an end to this siege.”
The insurrection in the capitol drew quick condemnation from New York state officials.
Attorney General Letitia James said “The coup attempt initiated by outgoing President Trump has been despicable. Today, it became violent.
“If blood is shed, it will be on his hands. These actions, fueled by lies and wild conspiracy theories espoused by President Trump, must be unequivocally condemned by every corner of our society.”
Debate began Wednesday afternoon in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives over the outcome of November’s presidential election.
The extraordinary debate was forced when Republicans objected to the votes for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cast by electors from the state of Arizona. Republicans planned to object to votes in four other states Biden won - Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The revolt will fail - there are more than enough votes in both the Senate and the House to ensure Biden and Harris’s election is confirmed.
But Wednesday’s vote will further a deep divide which separates supporters of President Trump and Democrats, as well as Republicans who oppose the president.
Perhaps nothing showed that divide more clearly than what happened Wednesday afternoon, as supporters of President Trump gained access to the capitol building, forcing the House and Senate into recess.
CNN reported several suspicious packages were found around the capitol grounds.
Politicians from New York , and the north country, are playing a big role in Wednesday’s developments.
The leader of Democrats in the Senate, New York Senator Charles Schumer, declared “The Congress does not determine the outcome of elections, the people do.”
“The American people elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the next president and vice president of the United States.”
Of the Republicans who are mounting the challenge, Schumer said “They have no evidence of widespread voter fraud. That’s because there is none.”
One of those Republicans is north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who is joining challenges to electors from four states.
Stefanik continues to insist “there are serious questions with respect to the Presidential election.”
Schumer said the Republican rebels “will embarrass themselves, they will embarrass their party and worst of all, they will embarrass their country.”