National Guard heads to Capitol after rioters overrun Electoral College count

The National Guard and state forces responded at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after pro-Trump rioters overran the building during the Electoral College vote count.The Washington D.C. National Guard was mobilized to help federal law enforcement tamp down the insurrection, according to chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman. The Department of Justice will lead the federal law enforcement response, Hoffman said. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam also said he would send his state’s National Guard along with 200 state troopers to the Capitol. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan added that he told the Maryland National Guard to send a force to the federal legislature.Both Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office asked for the National Guard to respond, two sources told NBC. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the guard was “on the way along with other federal protective services” on Wednesday afternoon. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., told NBC News she spoke to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. She said that by sending the National Guard the government aims to “bring the Capitol complex back under control with as little bloodshed as possible.”Trump supporters stand on the U.S. Capitol Police armored vehicle as others take over the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress works to certify the electoral college votes.Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty ImagesProtesters spurred by President Donald Trump’s calls to overturn the 2020 presidential election entered the Capitol with relative ease Wednesday afternoon despite efforts by U.S. Capitol Police to stop a surge toward the floors of the legislature. Photos from reporters in the Capitol at one point showed officers in an armed standoff behind a barricade as rioters tried to enter the House chamber. The breach forced lawmakers, some of whom had to don gas masks to travel through clouds of tear gas, to evacuate to secure locations. As the government tried to take back control of the Capitol, an FBI swat team was among the forces entering the building, according to an NBC News video.The breach of the Capitol stopped the formal congressional count of President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over Trump. Dozens of Republicans in Congress, backed by the president, had started to challenge state results based on unfounded accusations of widespread fraud. Trump spoke to his supporters Wednesday and again lied that he had won the election before they descended upon the Capitol. As rioters swarmed the building, Trump tweeted, “No violence!” He later told his supporters to “go home” — even as he reiterated the election lies that brought them to siege the Capitol in the first place.Democrats and many Republicans had urged Trump to put an end to the siege. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward,” Biden said on Wednesday afternoon. In a joint statement, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Trump “to demand that all protesters leave the U.S. Capitol and Capitol Grounds immediately.” Former law enforcement and defense officials also questioned how Trump supporters broke into the Capitol when the federal government knew for weeks that rioters could descend on Washington. “I think it’s the most shocking failure of security imaginable to place the Congress of the United States at physical risk in an occupied congressional chamber because they weren’t prepared to deal with it,” Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”— CNBC’s Amanda Macias and Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this reportThis story is developing. Please check back for updates.Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

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