WASHINGTON (CN) — A woman who was shot in the chest at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the building during a violent clash with police, has died.
D.C. Police were the first to confirm her death. San Diego news station KUSI identified the woman as Ashli Babbit, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
As a mob moved unrestricted around the Capitol for its second consecutive hour, Trump posted a video to his Twitter feed in which he sandwiched encouragement for the president’s supporters and other unruly participants to “go home” between a proclamation of love for them and false claims about the election.
“You have to go home now, we have to be peaceful,” Trump said. “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.”
At least one U.S. Capitol Police officer was injured during the melee.
Reports of a police officer being shot during the melee began circulating not long before Trump’s post.
“This was a fraudulent election. We love you, you’re very special. You see what happens. You see the way others are treated who are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go in peace,” Trump said.
Members of the press pool did not identify the secondary location they were moved to during an armed standoff in the House gallery. Swat teams have been deployed to quash the tumult, which broke out amid a tense ceremony in the House and Senate where lawmakers allied with the president lodged their objections to Biden’s victory.
Members of Congress could be heard shouting to Capitol Police to lock doors leading lawmakers away from the House floor.
Shortly after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was confirmed safe, an unmasked man was photographed with his feet on the California Democrat’s desk. Another photo surfaced from within the Senate chamber of a Trump supporter sitting in the chair of the Senate president. The president pro tempore of the Senate is Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley.
Explosive devices were found at the offices of both the Republican and Democratic National Committees, following building evacuations.
The device found at the RNC office was a pipe bomb, officials have reported. It is yet unclear what type of explosive was found at the DNC. Both buildings are near to the U.S. Capitol where, as Wednesday afternoon turned to night, a CSPAN broadcast captured protesters shouting such chants as “U.S.A.,” “Freedom,” “Get out of here!” and “Fuck ANTIFA!”
U.S. Capitol Police regained control of the Senate side just after 3 p.m., as tear gas was dispersed outside the House chamber doors in the Capitol Rotunda. Statuary Hall, a section of the Capitol that bridges the House and Senate, was slowly cleared out after an intense half hour.
Both Pelosi and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have requested that the National Guard be sent to secure the building and remove the protesters. President Trump has also called for the National Guard, according to White House pool reports.
Representative Al Green, who was one of the first to call for Trump’s impeachment, called on Trump to “stop this madness that YOU incited,” in a statement on Twitter. (Emphasis in original.)
“The Constitution intended a peaceful transfer of power. This is seditious. Only a dictator or would-be dictator would encourage this. Which are you?” Green said.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat, called for Trump’s immediate impeachment on Twitter, as soon as the body reconvened. Representative Ilhan Omar, a Michigan Democrat, also said she would begin drafting articles of impeachment as the sun set on the defiled Capitol.
Green — who leads Texas Democrats’ delegation in the House — wrote while sheltering in place at the Capitol that while he hadn’t reviewed the articles, the president’s behavior was impeachable.
“While I will make a decision upon reviewing the finalized text of the articles, I have consistently held that Donald J. Trump is unfit to be president and has engaged in impeachable behavior,” he said.
GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy appears to be safe, tweeting his gratitude to Capitol Police who scrambled to shut down the president’s supporters.
A request for comment to his office went unanswered Wednesday night.
“Protesters have a Constitutionally-protected right to be heard, but I urge them to remain peaceful,” the California Republican wrote.
Mayor Muriel Bowser instituted a curfew in the district, urging residents to return to their homes by 6 p.m. Nearby Arlington and Alexandria, just across the Potomac, were also placed under lockdown after local police reported that all 13 individuals initially arrested in Washington hailed from the suburban alcove.
Congressional leadership vowed to return as the damage unfolded, and NBC in particular quoted a House Democrat who sounded undeterred.
“Yep. We’re going back. Fuck these assholes,” the lawmaker said.
Trump meanwhile, after news of the woman’s death was less than a half hour old, was still divisive.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!” he tweeted.
Attempting to throw another wrench in the mix, a dozen Republicans who have been mounting objections on Trump’s behalf in Congress invited the Supreme Court on Wednesday to block Biden’s certification by Vice President Mike Pence.
Represented by attorney Sidney Powell and others, Congressman Louie Gohmert said he “faces imminent threat of injury that the Respondent [Pence] will follow the unlawful Electoral Count Act and, in so doing, eviscerate Rep. Gohmert’s constitutional right and duty to vote for President under the Twelfth Amendment.”
“With injuries directly caused by a defendant, plaintiffs can show an injury in fact with ‘little question’ of causation or redressability,” the emergency application states. “Although the Respondent did not cause the underlying election fraud, the respondent nonetheless will directly cause Rep. Gohmert’s injury.”
Early Wednesday morning before the lockdown, throngs of Trump devotees donning the campaign’s iconic red caps and Trump-branded ephemera moved in large groups through downtown Washington. Unmasked, despite the mounting devastation of the novel coronavirus, they hoisted yellow Gadsden flags heralding “Don’t Tread on Me” or dark blue banners bearing Trump’s name.
The mob eventually breached the building by ramming a portion of a U.S. Capitol door, which shattered glass and gained them entry to where lawmakers were debating.
Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat, said on Twitter as the chaos unfolded: “Violent Trump supporters have stormed the Capitol. We’re on lockdown right now in the Chamber. Blood will be on the hands of those perpetrating the big lie that Trump won.”
Before the Senate called a temporary recess to its debate, objections were just getting underway.
“We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history: Whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said from the well of the Senate floor, at times visibly emotional.
As he gave his stamp of approval on the impending peaceful transition of power from Trump to Biden on Jan. 20, McConnell called his vote during Wednesday’s session “the most important vote I’ve ever cast” over his 36 years serving in the Senate.
Protesters used what appeared to be a small cart to scaffold the Capitol’s facade, adjacent to what appeared to be the Senate majority leader’s office, to bang on the windows of the room.
Biden spoke briefly from Wilmington, Delaware, about the scenes unfolding at the Capitol, condemning the “God-awful display,” as he called it, as acts of “insurrection.”
“Through war and strife, America’s endured much, and we will endure here and we will prevail again and we will prevail now,” Biden said. “The work of the moment and the work of the next four years must be the restoration of Democracy, of decency, honor, respect, the rule of law.”