Congress members returned to the floor Wednesday night, just hours after a mob of right-wing rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The breach took place on the same day lawmakers were expected to formally certify Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over outgoing president, Donald Trump. Hundreds of right-wing demonstrators were seen outside the Capitol early Wednesday before gaining access to the building with force. At the time of the breach, Congress was in the middle of a two-hour debate over objections to Arizona's election results. Congress was subsequently forced to recess, the Capitol was placed on lockdown, and lawmakers were immediately evacuated. One woman—identified as Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt—was fatally shot during the riots; however, the circumstances surrounding the shooting have not been revealed.
Hours later, authorities determined the building was secured and permitted lawmakers to return. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer took to the floor on Wednesday night to criticize the "thugs" who've made it their mission to overturn the election results, and blamed Trump for inciting violence through baseless claims of voter fraud.
"This will be a stain on our country, not so easily washed away ..." Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor Wednesday night. "This temple to democracy was desecrated, it’s windows smashed our offices vandalized ... This mob was in good part President Trump's doing, incited by his words, his lies. This violence in good part is his responsibility, his everlasting shame. Today's events certainly would not have happened without him."
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell echoed Schumer, insisting the Senate would "not bow to lawlessness or intimidation."
"We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats ..." he said. "We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation. And we're going to do it tonight."
A number of Republican lawmakers initially entered the debate with the intentions to object the Electoral College count, but it seems at least some will abandon those plans in wake of the violent demonstrations.
"I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these voters," said Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who recently loss a runoff election against Democrat Raphael Warnock. "The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect: the sanctity of the American democratic process."
Lindsey Graham spoke about Trump's false cries of election fraud, saying, "enough is enough."
Political leaders on both sides of the aisle have blamed Wednesday's chaos on POTUS, who has continued to make baseless claims about a so-called "stolen" election. Following the Pro-Trump riot, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar announced she was drawing up the Articles of Impeachment against the president.
Meanwhile, Trump and his unhinged lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who earlier in the day called on MAGA-fanatics to engage in "trial by combat," have contacted Republican lawmakers in an attempt to get them to continue to call into question the legitimate results of the presidential election, CNN reports.