Washington DC has descended into chaos with pro-Donald Trump insurrectionists storming Capitol Hill as the US Congress looked to certify the election results.
One person has been shot dead in the riot which marks the end of more than 200 years of the peaceful transfer of power in the United States.
World leaders and foreign ministers have condemned the violence. Prime Minister Jaicnda Ardern and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta have commented, along with National leader Judith Collins.
The US Congress is currently meeting to certify the results.
What you need to know:
- Protesters attended a 'March to Save America' rally in Washington before Congress was set to meet. Donald Trump spoke, telling supporters, which included members of far-right groups, "we will not take it anymore".
- Vice President Mike Pence was due to count the electoral college votes on Thursday. He counted the first 12 before a challenge was received on Arizona's votes. Congress went to debate the challenge but this was halted as protesters attempted to storm the building.
- Shots were fired during the protest, with one woman confirmed dead after receiving critical injuries, NBC reported.
- Donald Trump tweeted throughout Thursday urging protesters to remain "peaceful". He reiterated the message in a pre-recorded speech which was posted to his account but later removed by social media outets.
- President-elect Joe Biden made a speech where he said that democracy is under assault and is calling on Trump to go on TV live and 'call for an end to this insurrection'.
- The world has reacted in shock to the protests with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the riots are "wrong" and National Party leader Judith Collins calling it "disgraceful".
- Several staffers for both Donald and Melania Trump has resigned as a result of the riots. One Kiwi, Chris Liddell, who is the President's deputy chief of staff, is also reportedly considering resigning.
- The attempt to overturn Biden's victory in Arizona was overwhelmingly voted down in the Senate.
- During the mayhem, the Democrats have secured the Senate. Edison Research projected victory for Jon Ossoff on Wednesday afternoon after fellow Democrat Raphael Warnock was projected as the winner in his Senate race in the early hours of Wednesday.
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9:50pm - Trump has broken his silence on Biden's confirmation.
"Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted," he said in a statement.
"While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again."
9:45pm - Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta has tweeted her response to Biden's victory confirmation.
"Aotearoa welcomes Congressional confirmation of the election of President-elect Biden, reasserting US democratic processes in unprecedented circumstances," she wrote.
"[New Zealand] values its strong r/ship w/ [the United States] & we look forward to working closely w/President-elect Biden & his team from 20 January."
9:35pm - Biden's electoral college victory has been affirmed by Congress now that the required 270 electoral votes to become president have been certified.
9:25pm - The certification of electoral votes in 12 states remain. The Guardian is reporting that Wisconsin is the most likely to be objected to, but it doesn't appear a senator has signed on to back it.
9:15pm - The joint session will now reconvene to complete the certification of Biden's victory.
9:10pm - The results are in and, as expected, the objection failed. The final tally is 282-138.
8:30pm - The House of Representatives is voting on whether or not they agree to the objection regarding Pennsylvania's electoral votes. A result should be available soon.
8:20pm - Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is a member of the Senate's GOP leadership team, said on Wednesday during the riots, "we hit bottom".
"You get that many people together and get them stirred up, you simply can't control them," he said.
"And I don't know what the crowd's composed of - that's one reason why you don't stir people up and say 'go up and tell the people in the Capitol what you think about it', because you're gonna get some people potentially infiltrating those groups that are gonna do things that you're not gonna want them to do."
He added he doesn't know whether Trump hurt himself among high-ranking Republicans with his actions during the riots, but he thinks "this will open up, I think, some backlash, because I don't think anybody accepts this as a satisfactory outcome."
7:55pm - Thursday was a historic day for the United States. Watch Newshub's coverage of the dramatic events in the video at the top of the page.
7:50pm - White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger has resigned following the riots.
7:40pm - Republican Senator Jim Inhofe says Mike Pence became furious after Trump directed disdain towards the Vice President for not illegally refusing to accept the final election results.
"I've known Mike Pence forever. I've never seen Pence as angry as he was today," he told Tulsa World.
"I had a long conversation with him. He said, 'After all the things I've done for [Trump]'."
He added that Trump directing this contempt towards Pence, he may have alienated one of his most steadfast allies.
7:20pm - Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger says he open to removing Trump via the 25th Amendment.
"That's something we need to look at ... that's a conversation that will happen tomorrow morning," he said during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
7pm - Seven senators, who are all Republicans, voted to sustain the objection against Pennsylvania's votes.
They are Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Rick Scott, Tommy Tuberville, and Cindy Hyde-Smith.
6:45pm - In the Senate, there wasn't any interest in using up the full two hours to debate the objection for Pennsylvania's electoral votes.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell immediately moved to end the debate, and the motion was seconded.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly against the objection 92-7.
McConnell is calling to adjourn for the day, with plans to reconvene a joint session on January 8.
The debate in the House of Representatives is still going strong.
6:25pm - The objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes has come signed by a senator and representatives.
There will now be two hours of debate in both chambers.
It's worth bearing in mind it's currently 12:25am in Washington DC.
6:15pm - Green Party co-leader James Shaw has commented on today's riots.
"Seeing the insurrection and violence in the US Capitol, my heart goes out to all my American friends, their families and their communities, at what has befallen their country. I am certain democracy and the rule of law will ultimately triumph and a level of rationality restored," he tweeted.
"These are the consequences, the predictable - and predicted - logical conclusion, of decades of scorched-earth, partisan politics which says it is better to burn down the house than to allow progress.
"This should be a wake-up call for all in politics, in the US, around the world, and at home in New Zealand. We cannot allow this cancer to take root here."
6:10pm - A Republican representative objected to the Georgia certification, but was unable to get a senator to sign on, meaning it couldn't be "entertained".
The same thing happened again when it came to certifying Michigan's electoral votes.
"The objection cannot be entertained," Vice President Mike Pence said once again.
There was, again, a third objection to the electoral votes of Nevada, but no senator joined the effort.
6pm - It's time for Newshub Live at 6pm. Watch online here or tune in on Three.
5:45pm - The joint session of Congress has begun again. Arkansas, which voted for Trump, and California, which voted for Biden, both pass through without objections.
5:35pm - Chris Liddell, the Kiwi who is reportedly considering resigning as Trump's deputy chief of staff, says he is "horrified" at the riots and "unconditionally" condemns them, he told the NZ Herald.
However, he wouldn't comment on the record about whether he is resigning from his role.
Sources have told multiple news outlets that Liddell, along with a number of other senior Trump staff, are considering resigning on Thursday (local time).
5:25pm - A total of four people have died during the riots at the Capitol.
One of these is the woman who was fatally shot earlier in the day, and the three others are described by Washington DC Police as "medical emergencies". No other information is given on their deaths.
"One adult female and two adult males appear to have suffered from separate medical emergencies, which resulted in their deaths. Any loss of life in the District is tragic and our thoughts are with anyone impacted by their loss," Police Chief Robert Contee said in a press conference on Wednesday (local time).
He added 52 people have been arrested in connection with the riots. Additionally, two pipe bombs were found at both the Democratic and Republican National Headquarters.
5:10pm - The US Secret Service (USSS) is bringing every available agent to the White House, Navy, and USSS headquarters, a source has told CNN.
An official said the Secret Service was the first federal agency deployed when police asked for help from local and federal law enforcement.
4:50pm - Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has extended the public emergency, that was first declared earlier in the day, for 15 days. This means it will last through the end of Trump's time in office.
"Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction," she said in a statement.
"They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns. They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotus behavior has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol. Their motivation is ongoing."
4:45pm - Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, has deleted a tweet calling the people who stormed the Capitol "American patriots".
"American patriots - any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable," she said.
"The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful."
4:40pm - American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are stepping up their safety measures after they faced "mob mentality behaviour" from Trump supporters.
American Airlines has increased staffing at Washington-area airports "as a precautionary measure" and won't serve alcohol on flights to and from the area.
"The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the DC area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on board," Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president Sara Nelson said.
4:35pm - Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he's "embarrassed" by some of his Republican colleagues on the Senate floor.
"They have defaulted to political points for fame and have failed to rise to this moment," he tweeted.
4:20pm - The Senate has voted down the attempt to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win Arizona. The final vote was 93-6.
Six Republicans voted against the results of the election.
4:15pm - All Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have written to Vice President Mike Pence, asking him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
"Even in his video announcement this afternoon, President Trump revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election," they wrote.
"President Trump's willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard. So too are his recent Tweets, which Twitter has since deleted, saying the election was 'stolen' and that today's riots 'are the things and events that happen'."
The 25th Amendment is a legal mechanism for designating a head of state when the president is disabled or dead. It also formalises the practice of the vice president taking over if the president dies or resigns.
4:10pm - Former President Jimmy Carter said he and his wife, Rosalynn, are "troubled" by the violence.
"This is a national tragedy and is not who we are as a nation," he said in a statement.
"Having observed elections in troubled democracies worldwide, I know that we the peeople can unite to walk back from this precipice to peacefully uphold the laws of our nation, and we must.
"We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries."
4pm - The woman who was fatally shot inside the Capitol has been identified as Ashli Babbit.
Her husband told KUSI News she was a strong supporter of Trump and a veteran who served four tours with the US Air Force.
3:40pm - Republican Senator Mitt Romney had strong words for today's riots and those who vote to object the election outcome.
"Now we gather due to a selfish man's injured pride. And the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning," he said in the Senate.
"What happened here today was an insurrection. Incited by the President of the United States."
He said this was a "legitimate democratic election" and those who keep objecting "will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy".
"The truth is that President-elect Biden won the election, President Trump lost. I've had that experience myself, it's no fun."
Romney has unsuccessfully run for president twice - first in 2008, and then in 2012.
3:30pm - USA Today journalist Christal Hayes, who covers Congress, says the aftermath of the riot is "jarring".
"Glass everywhere, dust blankets the ground, broken benches turned on their side, used medical kit with an IV & AED machine that was used on a woman who was squeezed in the chaos," she tweeted.
"For those who haven't visited the Capitol, it is not only a secure building, it has a certain decorum. It holds so much history and I've always felt a sense of amazement walking around the building. To see it like this was heartbreaking."
3:20pm - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is sending 1000 National Guard troops to the Capitol to "aid and facilitate peaceful transfer of power".
"For 244 years, the cornerstone of our democracy has been the peaceful transfer of power, and New York stands ready to help ensure the will of the American people is carried out, safely and decisively," he said in a statement.
The troops will be deployed for up to two weeks.
3:10pm - Another staffer of Melania Trump's has resigned. A White House official told CNN Anna Cristina Niceta, who was White House social secretary, resigned effective immediately on Wednesday (local time).
Stephanie Grisham, former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, resigned earlier on Wednesday afternoon.
3:05pm - Trump's deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell, who is a Kiwi, is reportedly considering resigning, sources are telling multiple news outlets.
3pm - White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews has resigned from the Trump Administration after today's riots.
"I was honored to serve in the Trump Administration and proud of the policies we enacted," she said in a statement.
"As someone who as worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today. I'll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately.
"Our nation needs a peaceful transition of power."
2:55pm - Former Vice President Al Gore has tweeted his views on today's riots.
"Today, America looked into the abyss created by Donald Trump and my fervent hope is that even his enablers will now finally draw back in horror," he wrote.
"And that today will serve as the beginning of healing our democracy."
2:50pm - Facebook has locked Trump's page for 24 hours, meaning he is unable to post on the platform during that time.
"We've assessed two policy violations against President Trump's Page which will result in a 24-hour feature block," the company tweeted.
2:48pm - What's happening now?
Before Congress was locked down on Thursday morning, Mike Pence had read out the electoral votes for Alabama and Alaska which were certified.
He then read out the results for Arizona, a battleground state won by Biden by a small margin, which was challenged by a group of House Republicans led by Republican Paul Gosar and Senator Ted Cruz.
The House and Senate went to debate the challenge, which takes a maximum of two hours, but was interrupted by the protests and disbanded to get the lawmakers to safety.
Now that they are back in session, they are continuing the debate on Arizona's electoral votes.
2:35pm - It has been implied that some Republicans who had planned to challenge the electoral votes out of principle, may now decide not to to ensure the votes are certified on Thursday night.
Every challenge has to be debated by the House and Senate, which takes a maximum of two hours, and would push the certification process back even further into the night. However none were expected to succeed.
Republicans were expected to originally challenge the results of at least five states.
2:25pm - Senator Chuck Schumer thanked police and law enforcement for their role in protecting the building.
He also praised the leaders, House and Senate for their drive to finish counting the votes late into Thursday night, hours after the protests began.
"This will be a stain on our country, not so easily washed away."
Schumer also criticised President Donald Trump.
"Make no mistake, today's events did not happen spontaneously," he said.
"The President who promoted these conspiracies, egged them on, he hardly ever disparages violence. This President lays a lot of the blame… these events would certainly have not happened without him."
He said the day would go down in history as one of the country's "darkest days".
"As we reconvene tonight, in the end, all this mob has accomplished is to delay our duties by a few hours….
"Democracy will triumph as it has for centuries."
2:10pm - Mike Pence is addressing Americans, as Congress got back to certifying the election results.
He said he condemns the violence "in the strongest possible term" and grieves the loss of life and those who were injured in defending "this historic place".
"To those who wreaked havoc today you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house... let's get back to work."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now speaking.
"I want to say to the American people: The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats... We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation.
"We will certify the results of the 2020 election."
2:04pm - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she has been watching the protests in the US and shares the sentiment that "what is happening is wrong".
"Democracy - the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob," she said.
"Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail."
Former leader of New Zealand's National Party Todd Muller also released a statement.
"I have always loved American politics since my parents bought a World Book Encyclopaedia when I was 10," he said.
"Each time I visit the US Capitol I am moved by the living history and testament to democratic values. It’s not a perfect place, but you sense it’s constant striving...
"Today demonstrates that democracy and respect for the rule of law is never assured. It is a fragile flower and it has been assaulted by a President that has totally demeaned the office. I am stunned that the self proclaimed shining city on the hill has come to this.
"These actions can’t be undone, the best we all hope for is that it leads to honest introspection by America’s leaders. The partisanship has become toxic to the point of poisoning the body politic. It has to stop."
1:58pm - Former US President Bill Clinton has issued a statement saying the protests were "unprecedented".
"The assault was fueled by more than four years of poison politics spreading deliberate misinformation, sowing distrust in our system, and pitting Americans against one another. The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost," Clinton said.
"The election was free, the count was fair, the result is final. We must complete the peaceful transfer of power our Constitution mandates.
"I have always believed that America is made up of good, decent people. I still do. If that’s who we really are, we must reject today’s violence, turn the page, and move forward together—honoring our Constitution, remaining committed to a government of the people, by the people, and for the people."
1:55pm - Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, following several other lawmakers amid Thursday's protests.
1:52pm - Senators are being escouted back into the Senate chamber ahead them resuming the counting of the electoral votes at around 2pm (NZ time).
1:45pm - YouGov America completed a snap poll on Thursday asking 1397 registered voters about their thoughts on the protests.
It found that most (62 percent) voters perceive these actions are a threat to democracy.
Democrats (93 percent) overwhelmingly saw it that way, however only 27 percent of Republicans agreed it was a threat.
Also interesting was around half of voters said they think Donald Trump should be removed from office immediately for his part in the demonstrations.
1:35pm - CNN reports that Melania Trump's Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham has resigned in the wake of the Washington riots. Grisham is Donald Trump's former press secretary.
1:30pm - The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday urged Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc to remove US President Donald Trump from the social media platforms.
"Enough is enough! Trump is inciting violence and spreading dangerous misinformation that is undermining our democracy and our way of life. Social media continues to amplify his anti-democratic rhetoric. It's time for @jack and Mark Zuckerberg to remove Trump from their platforms," Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat said in a message on Twitter.
Twitter said on Wednesday it had locked Trump's account for at least 12 hours and removed three of his tweets, while Facebook took down a video message from Trump.
1:25pm - The Washington Armed Services Committee Chairman, Adam Smith, a Democrat, has rounded on the President calling him a narcissistic psychopath who is only interested in himself.
"Trump is throwing matches on the powder keg," Smith told CNN. "He is a narcissistic psychopath and is only concerned about himself.
"We saw this morning the president has totally abdicated his job. He was not in the chain of people making decisions around how to stop the riots.
"He is incompetent, he only cares about himself, we saw that over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic."
1:20pm - The electoral college votes - which still need to be counted and likely will be at 2pm (NZT) - are heading back to the Senate chamber.
1:15pm - Yet another Republican has directly blamed the US President for the riots in Washington DC. Senator Richard Burr says the nation needs to move forward.
"I supported President Trump’s legal right to contest the election results through the courts, but the courts have now unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits. No evidence of voter fraud has emerged that would warrant overturning the 2020 election.
"The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point. It is past time to accept the will of American voters and to allow our nation to move forward."
1:05pm - Twitter says that Donald Trump's Twitter account will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of three tweets. If he does not remove the tweets, Twitter says the account will remain locked.
"Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."
1:01pm - The Capitol has been put back into lockdown due to an unknown security threat, according to The Spectator Index and Matt Fuller, a Huffington Post reporter.
12:55pm - Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has told journalists that Congress is expected to reconvene in just over an hour at 8pm local time (2pm NZ time).
12:45pm - Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Peolsi has announced that Congress will proceed with the certification of Joe Biden's victory at night.
"Today, a shameful assault was made on our democracy. It was anointed at the highest level of government. It cannot, however, deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden," she said.
"To that end, in consultation with Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn and after calls to the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the Vice President, we have decided we should proceed tonight at the Capitol once it is cleared for use. Leader Hoyer will be sending out more guidance later today."
12:30pm - Twitter restricted users from retweeting a video and tweet from President Donald Trump "due to a risk of violence".
The social media company said it would take action against threats of and calls for violence and that it had been "significantly restricting engagement" with tweets labeled under its civic integrity policy. It said these tweets would not be able to be replied to, retweeted or liked.
Two of Trump's tweets, including his pre-recorded video speech telling protesters to "go home", have now been removed.
12:25pm - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that America is "better than what we saw today".
"The storming of the US Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting - here or around the world - is always unacceptable," he tweeted.
"I have travelled to many countries and always support the right of every human being to protest peacefully for their beliefs and their causes.
"But violence, putting at risk the safety of others including those tasked with providing security for all of us, is intolerable both at home and abroad. Let us swiftly bring justice to the criminals who engaged in this rioting."
12:10pm - New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta has spoken out, saying we regret the events in Washington DC.
"Our thoughts are with the American people. Violence has no place in thwarting democracy. We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy. Kia tau ngā manaakitanga."
Australian Prime Minister also tweeted about the "very distressing scenes".
"We condemn these acts of violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of Government to the newly elected administration in the great American democratic tradition," he said.
12:06pm - Former US President George Bush has put out a statement, obtained by NBC News, which said he and his wife Laura are watching the scenes of mayhem in "disbelief and dismay".
"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic," he said.
"I am appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement.
"The violent assault on the Capitol - and disruption of a Constitutionally-mandated meeting of Congress - was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes. Insurrection could so grave damage to our Nation and reputation."
12pm - The 6pm curfew for Washington DC residents is now in place, however protesters remain outside the Capitol building.
11:50am - NBC News has reported that the woman who was shot during the protests at the Capitol on Thursday has died.
She was reportedly inside the building when she was critically injured.
11:43am - The Huffington Post has reported that the Sergeant at Arms said the Capitol is secure and the room broke out into applause.
11:42am - Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley confirmed that the Electoral College votes, which were being counted on Thursday morning (NZ time), had been rescued from the building.
"If our capable floor staff hadn’t grabbed them, they would have been burned by the mob," he tweeted.
Senator Tammy Duckworth went on to tell CBS News that she was thankful for their "quick thinking".
"So we have them with us, and we will be able to proceed as long as Mitch McConnell calls us back into session."
11:35am - Night is falling in Washington and there's now less than 30 minutes to curfew. The demonstrations appear to be settling down.
11:26am - Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has tweeted, saying that she is joining Biden in calling for the assault on the Capitol to end.
11:20am - Leader of New Zealand's National Party Judith Collins has condemned the US protesters in a tweet on Thursday.
"What we are seeing in the US is a disgraceful attack on democracy," she said. "The @NZNationalParty supports the peaceful and orderly transition of power."
The Labour Party and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have not yet commented on the incident.
11:15am - Ilhan Omar, a congresswoman from Minnesota, has tweeted that she is currently drawing up articles of impeachment.
"Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate," she said.
"We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath."
11:08am - It's now after 5pm on a winter night in Washington DC where the temperatures are already around 5C.
Protesters are being escorted out of the Capitol by police and back down the steps of the building.
Smaller protests are also happening at other Capitol buildings around the United States including: Salem, Oregon; Atlanta, Denver, and Topeka.
CNN reported that several hundred people were at a demonstration in Oregon where they played Trump's Twitter speech over speakers.
“That was the President. We’re not going home here; we’re just getting started,” a rally leader said.
10:58am - President-elect Joe Biden criticised protesters during his speech, but said the United States will prevail.
"To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials - it's not protest, it's insurrection.
"The world is watching, and like so many other Americans I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation - so long the beacon of light and hope of democracy - has come to such a dark moment."
He said the certification of the Electoral College vote is supposed to be a "sacred ritual" that needs to be preserved.
"Think what our children watching television are thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at. For nearly two-and-a-half centuries we the people, in the search of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good. America's so much better than what we've seen today. "
10:43am - At least two suspected pipe bombs discovered in Washington DC have been rendered safe, a federal law enforcement official told CNN.
The source said they were real explosives and were blown up safely.
10:35am - Police and security reinforcements can be seen outside the Capitol, creating a barrier between the building and protesters.
This comes as journalist Scott Dworkin reports that Congress is getting ready to reconvene to continue the counting of the votes.
Only 12 of the 538 electoral votes had been certified by Congress when the session was put into lockdown - just two states (Alabama and Alaska).
10:29am - AP Politics has announced that Democrat Jon Ossoff has won the Georgia Senate runoff election race, beating incumbent Senator David Perdue.
The win will create a 50-50 split in the Senate and give Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote after she and Biden take office on January 20. The party already has a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
10:26am - A Washington DC police officer has been taken to hospital after being pepper sprayed, Douglas Buchanan for the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services told CNN.
Others have also been taken to hospital throughout the day with injuries including cardiac arrest to someone who suffered multiple fractures after falling from scaffolding.
10:23am - Donald Trump has released a pre-recorded election saying the election was stolen from the Republican party, but that his supporters should go home.
"I know how you feel but go home and go home in peace."
10:13am - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken out, saying they are "disgraceful scenes in the US Congress".
"The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power," he tweeted.
10:10am - Biden has said that democracy is under assault and is calling on Trump to go on TV live and 'call for an end to this insurrection'.
"I was initially going to talk about the economy, but all of you have been watching what I've been watching. At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault... an assault on the citadel of liberty. The Capitol itself.
"An assault on the people's representatives and the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them and the public servants who work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we've ever seen it. An assault on the most American of undertakings - the doing of the people's business."
He went on to accuse Trump of inciting the violence.
"Let me be very clear - the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are. What we're seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent - it's disorder, it's chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end now.
"I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward. You heard me say before in a different context - the words of a President matter. No matter how good or bad that President is. At their best, the word of a President can inspire. At their worst, they can incite. I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfil his oath and defend the constitution and demand an end to this seige."
10:08am - The FBI has been deployed to the Capitol to help protect federal property.
10:07am - US President-elect Joe Biden is now making a speech on the protests.
10:06am - NBC News is reporting that at least one improvised explosive device has been found on the grounds of the Capitol.
10:04am - Meghan McCain, daughter of the late John McCain who ran against Barack Obama, has called the chaos "domestic terrorism".
"Stop calling it protesting," she tweeted.
Before his death McCain often feuded with Trump, and was magnanimous in his defeat to Obama in 2008.
10am - Neighbouring states Maryland is sending state troopers and a rapid response force from the National Guard to support law enforcement in Washington DC.
9:56am - One person has been shot inside the US Capitol by a law enforcement officer, NBC News reports.
9:55am - The National Guard has finally been called in to quell the insurrection taking place at the US Capitol, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
"At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services," she tweeted.
"We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful."
It's not clear why it took this long for the Guard to be activated. Trump was quick to urge states to bring in the National Guard during the largely peaceful BLM protests earlier this year.
9:54am - Trump ally Nigel Farage, the man behind the Brexit movement, has called the protest "wrong".
"Storming Capitol Hill is wrong. The protesters must leave," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, video has emerged of police inside the Capitol taking selfies with protesters.
9:52am - NZ-British journalist Anita McNaught, who for a time presented for Al Jazeera in the Middle East, has called the protest a coup attempt.
"It’s not Africa or the M/Near East. But it’s just the same thing," she tweeted. "Serious consequences for participants & Perp in Chief *must* follow."
Dissident singer Sinead O'Connor said if the protesters were black, and not majority white, "there'd be a whole other and evil response".
9:50am - Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has blamed Trump directly for the violence in the US Capitol, calling it the "culmination of Trump’s sustained assault on American democracy".
"The President should call on the mob he incited to disperse and go home. And Trump’s supporters in the GOP and the media should reflect on what they have enabled."
There are also reports of protesters storming the Kansas state capitol.
9:48am - Democrat Presidential-elect Joe Biden is expected to comment on the protests on Thursday (NZ time).
He is giving a speech at The Queen theater in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, where he will make remarks on COVID-19, the economy and the Georgia election results.
An aide told CNN he has been monitoring the protests and is planning to say "it's time to turn the page".
9:45am - US Vice President Mike Pence, who was earlier at the Capitol reading out the electoral college votes, has called for an end to the violence.
"The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now. Anyone involved must respect Law Enforcement officers and immediately leave the building," he tweeted.
"Peaceful protest is the right of every American but this attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
9:40am - CNN reports the Senate floor has been cleared of protesters.
Meanwhile, Green MP Julie Anne Genter has weighed in, saying it was "entirely predictable" the Trump presidency would end this way.
"Wait, NOW Trump and his cheerleaders are saying, 'no, no violence'?" she tweeted.
"What did you think was going [to] happen?? It's all (entirely predictably) gone too far."
9:38am - Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clarke has tweeted on the protests.
"Never in one’s wildest imagination could one have envisaged the dangerous events involving mob violence unfolding in Washington DC today," she said.
"An invasion of the premises of a democratic legislature anywhere is an affront to democracy and the rule of law and must be condemned as such."
9:33am - Ivanka Trump has called the insurrectionists storming the US Capitol "patriots".
In a tweet, the President's daughter told them to "stop immediately", at the same time appearing to offer her support.
9:30am - The National Guard could soon be on its way to the Capitol in Washington DC to help stop the attempted 'coup' by supporters of the outgoing President.
The Speaker's office and the Mayor have both put in the request, MSNBC reports. There were earlier reports the National Guard - which reports directly to Trump - had refused to intervene.
9:26am - Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has told CNN this is a 'coup attempt' by Trump's supporters. He said if this were happening in another country it would be widely condemned.
He said America needs to find where this cancer has come from and go after it.
9:24am - A woman is in critical condition after being shot on the Capitol grounds, CNN reports.
"The sources could not provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting."
9:23am - Republican Congressman for Wisconsin Mike Gallagher, who is a Trump supporter and former Marine, has called for the outgoing President to call off the riots.
"This is insane," Gallagher told CNN. "I haven't seen anything like this since I was deployed to Iraq."
"The President needs to call it off, it is all over. Countries around the world are laughing at us, the Chinese Governmentt will be sitting back and laughing at this "Call it off Mr President, you lost.
"This will be the first time in the past four years I am encouraging the President to tweet but I want him to go to Twitter and call it off."
9:17am - Donald Trump has again urged protesters to stay peaceful.
9:15am - A topless man wearing Viking-style horns and a fur hat, carrying an American flag, has been photographed posing in the Senate.
9:13am - One of the protesters that has stormed the US Capitol claims to have entered Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi's office, uploading an image showing what appears to be her computer.
"To put into perspective how quickly staff evacuated, emails are still on the screen alongside a federal alert warning members of the current revolution," wrote Elijah Schaffer.
9:11am - Politico's Congress reporter Olivia Beavers has reported that people are crying inside the Capitol building and "fear is coursing through the House right now".
9:08am - The Washington Post reports a source has said the Defense Department has refused a request to deploy the US National Guard, which Trump wanted used to quell peaceful BLM protests earlier this year.
Democrat House representative Dan Kildee has called the protest an "attack on America".
9:05am - New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin says he's spoken to former Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney, who's blamed the violence directly on Donald Trump.
"'This is what the President has caused today, this insurrection,' he said [with] fury in his voice," Martin wrote on Twitter.
Celebrities have also hit out at Trump. Foodie Nigella Lawson in a tweet said he "should be behind bars", Blink182 rocker Tom DeLonge called it "treason" and filmmaker Rob Reiner called for his arrest for "sedition, treason and inciting violence".
8:54am - Donald Trump has called for protesters to "Stay peaceful!" in his latest tweet.
"Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country."
8:50am - Mike Pence has been evacuated from the US Capitol, CNN has heard from a law enforcement source.
8:48am - Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger has tweeted that this is "a coup attempt".
8:46am - A reporter for the Huffington Post says police have disbursed tear gas in the Senate's rotunda and members have been told to put on gas masks.
He says guns are have been drawn in the chamber and shots have been fired.
8:43am - Before the session in Congress began on Thursday, Vice president and President of the Senate Mike Pence released a lengthy statement saying that his role in the proceedings is "largely ceremonial".
Pence was under pressure from Trump and other Republicans to publicly push back on Biden's win during the session, however Pence is reportedly considering a future run for president and doing so would affect that.
Trump has now criticised Pence's decision in a tweet.
"Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!"
8:38am - Washington DC's mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a 6pm curfew amid the rising tensions at the Capitol.
The House of Representatives and Senate have both recessed due to the concerns.
8:32am - There are several suspicious packages being found around the building, CNN reports.
8:28am - Protesters have made it to the Senate chamber. CNN is now reporting that it is a coup.
8:20am - CNN reports protesters have breached the police line on the steps of the Capitol and are now attempting to scale up the building's sides.
The protesters appear to be in control and there no law enforcement can be seen in the area.
The building is reportedly in lockdown during the tense situation with employees unable to leave.
Journalist Manu Raj told CNN in his 20 years as a political reporter he has never seen scenes like this.
8:10am - Elaine Luria, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, has tweeted that her office in the Capitol building has been evacuated.
8:05am - Republican supporters have reportedly breached the Capitol building in an attempt to disrupt the counting of the votes.
Writer Elijah Schaffer tweeted that it is " the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life".
He said that thousands of people are trying to break in and have successfully torn down four layers of security fencing.
Schaffer said police are struggling to stop them.
8am - Less than 15 minutes into the session in Congress, a group of congressional Republicans, led by Ted Cruz, made the first challenge.
They challenged the electoral college vote made by battleground state Arizona, which was won by Democrat Joe Biden with 49.36 percent of the vote compared to Trump's 49.06 percent.
Only about 10,000 votes separated the candidates.
7:55am - Donald Trump addressed supporters outside the White House on Thursday who are protesting the results of the 2020 election.
"You don't concede when there's theft involved," Trump said at the Save America March. "Our country has had enough and we will not take it anymore."
Members of militia groups and far-right groups, some decked in body armor, mingled with the crowds.
7:40pm - Republican Senator Jim Inhofe says Mike Pence became furious after Trump directed disdain at the Vice President for not illegally refusing to accept the final election results.
"I've known Mike Pence forever. I've never seen Pence as angry as he was today," Inhofe told Tulsa World.
"I had a long conversation with him. He said, 'After all the things I've done for [Trump]'."
Inhofe added by directing this contempt towards Pence, he may have alienated one of his most steadfast allies.