Joe Biden has been officially certified as the next President of the United States today. It comes despite violent protests from Donald Trump supporters storming the US Capitol, forcing a delay in the electoral vote certification.
This live updates article has now concluded. 1 NEWS's coverage will continue tomorrow morning on 1NEWS.co.nz. See today's updates as they happened below.
9:53pm: Outgoing President Donald Trump has issued his first statement since the protests raged, comments which saw his social media accounts temporarily suspended for inciting violence.
Trump says there will be an "orderly transition on January 20" even though he "totally disagree[s]" with the outcome of the election.
"I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. 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!"
The statement was shared on Twitter by his social media director Dan Scavino, as Trump's own account remains locked.
9.44pm: The joint session of the US House and Senate has now been formally dissolved, at 3.44am local time.
9.43pm: New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has reacted to the official certification of Biden's victory.
"Aotearoa welcomes Congressional confirmation of the election of President-elect Biden, reasserting US democratic processes in unprecedented circumstances," she wrote on Twitter.
"[New Zealand] values its strong [relationship] w/ [the US] & we look forward to working closely w/President-elect Biden & his team from 20 January."
9.39pm: The US Congress has officially certified Biden's electoral college victory.
Joe Biden will be the next president of the US with 306 electoral college votes, with Kamala Harris as vice president.
He'll be sworn in on January 20 (US time, January 21 NZT).
Incumbent Trump secured 232 electoral college votes.
9.33pm: 270 electoral votes have now been certified for Joe Biden, officially putting him over the mark to become the next US president.
Several states are still to be counted but there is no way for Trump to catch up at this point, even if other states are contested.
Biden's votes reached the mark at 3.32am local time.
9.24pm: The House and Senate is resuming its joint session to continue certifying the electoral college votes.
9.10pm: The US House of Representatives has also voted down the objection against certifying the Pennsylvania vote count.
The only lawmakers voting in favour of the objection were Republicans.
8.45pm: Trump's account has deleted the tweets leading to his suspension on the social media site.
A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed to 1 NEWS the tweets were removed by Trump's account tonight.
It starts a 12-hour timer where the account remains locked, before he's able to post on the account once more.
Twitter warned further breaches of its rules would result in a permanent suspension - effectively banning Trump from the site.
8.01pm: White House deputy national security Matt Pottinger has resigned, CNN reports.
A source told the news outlet he resigned in response to Trump's reaction to the Capitol protests.
Pottinger is one of the senior staff CNN earlier reported was considering resignation, along with national security adviser Robert O'Brien and New Zealand-born deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell.
7.27pm: The Senate has quickly killed Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.
Senators voted 92-7 after midnight to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes no other states’ votes will be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.
7.11pm: The FBI is asking people to help identify individuals "actively instigating violence" at Washington, D.C.
It's set up a page on its website for people to submit tips and videos from today "depicting rioting and violence".
"If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitol," the FBI says.
"Our goal is to preserve the public’s constitutional right to protest by protecting everyone from violence and other criminal activity."
6.22pm: The debates are starting again after objections were raised against certifying the Pennsylvania result.
A Republican representative and senator both objected against the certification, meaning the House and Senate will now split to debate the issue.
It could take up to two hours.
5.57pm: Senators have withdrawn their planned objections to the Georgia results, a key battleground in the election.
It comes despite pressure from Trump, who was captured on audio released this week pushing a Georgian official to "find 11,780 votes".
The results were certified today without objection.
5.36pm: The House has also voted overwhelming to reject the objection to Biden's win in Arizona, echoing the Senate's move.
The objection failed 303 to 121; only Republicans voted in support.
Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the states that have objections.
5.03pm: Four people have died in today's protests at the US Capitol, according to the D.C. Police Department.
One of them is a woman who died after being shot by police earlier today within the Capitol building.
Three others were medical emergencies, police say.
Fourteen police officers were injured.
In addition to the deaths, 52 people have been arrested on Capitol grounds.
4.45pm: New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning Kiwis in the US to avoid protest areas, avoid unnecessary travel around D.C. and adhere to curfew restrictions amid the violence.
A spokesperson told 1 NEWS there are currently 46 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Washington, D.C.
4.24pm: The Senate has overwhelmingly turned aside a challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona, guaranteeing the result will stand.
The challenge was rejected 93-6. The six hold-outs were all Republicans, but a fewer number than earlier anticipated after today's violence prompted some senators to change their mind.
3.51pm: Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has denounced the US violence as "an affront to democracies around the world".
"True and genuine democracy is a precious treasure that no nation should ever take for granted," he said in a statement on Twitter.
"We are confident the USA will soon close this ugly chapter once and for all."
Bainimarama initially took power after instigating a military coup in 2006. A court of appeal later found his coup to be unlawful, ordering democratic elections to be held.
3.37pm: Cabinet members are discussing invoking the 25th amendment, which would see Trump removed from his position and replaced by Vice President Mike Pence, US media reports.
CNN, ABC and CBS News are all reporting sources holding "preliminary discussions" about invoking the amendment.
President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take over as the nation's leader on January 20 (US time, January 21 NZ time).
CNN reports there are questions about Trump's mental state.
It comes as multiple top White House security officials are considering resigning, CNN reports.
3.13pm: New Zealand-born Chris Liddell, Trump's deputy chief of staff, is considering resigning amid the protests, according to CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
When contacted by 1 NEWS, Liddell declined to comment on the record.
2:50pm: Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican, has withdrawn her objection against certifying the electoral college vote, earning applause.
"I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors," she says.
"There is no excuse for the events that took place in these chambers today, and I pray that America never suffers such a dark day again."
2.37pm: Facebook has now blocked Trump's page for 24 hours for "two policy violations", the social media site confirms, following in the steps of Twitter.
2.14pm: US lawmakers have returned to count the electoral college votes after the uprising, with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell saying: "We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats."
Minority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats, says today "will live forever in infamy", calling the attackers "domestic terrorists" and "extremists".
2.05pm: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has issued a statement on the capitol violence in a rare series of tweets.
"Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US - what is happening is wrong," she wrote on Twitter.
"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. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail."
2.02pm: Former US President Barack Obama says history will remember the violence as "a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation", but not a surprise.
"For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20," he said in a statement.
"Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo."
Obama says Republican leaders "have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy".
"They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.
"I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably.
"We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal."
1.50pm: National MP Todd Muller says Trump has "totally demeaned the office" of the US president.
"I am stunned that the self proclaimed shining city on the hill has come to this," he wrote on Twitter.
"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."
Early on during his stint as the party's leader last year, Muller came under fire for his display of a 'Make America Great Again' cap in his office.
After initially doubling down, Muller removed the cap from display.
1.34pm: First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff has resigned amid the violent protests, CNN reports.
Stephanie Grisham was the former White House communications director and press secretary before her role as the First Lady's chief of staff.
1:07pm: Twitter has locked Trump’s account temporarily.
"As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy," Twitter says in a statement on the site.
"This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, 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."
1:00pm: BBC reports the Senate is expecting to reconvene in about an hour's time.
"The night may still be long but we are hopeful for a shorter agenda, but our purpose will be accomplished," Pelosi says of the counting of electoral votes. She says the attacks on the Capitol "cannot ... deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden".
"We also knew that we would be a part of history in a positive way, today, despite ill-founded objections to the Electoral College vote.
"We now will be part of history, as such a shameful picture of our country was put out to the world, instigated at the highest level."
12.36pm: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will resume counting of electoral votes today after the Capitol is cleared of pro-Trump occupiers.
12.34pm: Twitter has now started deleting and hiding Trump’s tweets amid growing calls for for his account to be either suspended or deleted. Facebook has removed a short video from Trump where he told his "special" supporters to go home.
12.30pm: Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has called the violent protest at US Capitol an "intolerable attack on a fundamental institution".
12:23pm: A Kiwi musician living in Washington DC has described the protests at Capitol Hill as “heartbreaking”.
Speaking to 1 NEWS, Emma G says it was "scary" to hear people on their way to the protests. She lives in in Fort Totten, about 8km from the Capitol.
"I’ve definitely heard yelling, I’ve definitely heard shouts, I’ve definitely seen that MAGA hat heading from one train to another as they go and fight for whatever they’re fighting for.”
She says tension has been heightened between people in the US since Joe Biden won the election last November, and she’s “not surprised at all” by the riots.
“Tension has definitely been rising between people … now everyone asks who are you, what do you do and who do you vote for? And I think that has been exacerbated over the last few months in particular.
“It’s heartbreaking but it’s inevitable."
12:21pm: Facebook has removed Trump’s video from its platform.
Guy Rosen, VP of "integrity" at Facebook tweeted: “This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video. We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence.”
12:18pm: Police are continuing to push protestors away, nearly 20 minutes after the start of the DC curfew.
Former President George W. Bush has issued a statement, tweeted by journalist Jim Acosta, saying today's scenes were "sickening and heartbreaking".
"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic ... I am appalled by the reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election," Bush says.
12:05pm: A new tweet from Trump as he reiterates untrue statements about the election result: "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!"
12:00pm: The curfew in DC is starting now, but many are ignoring it.
11:57am: An announcement saying “the Capitol is secure” rang out inside a secure location for officials of the House. Lawmakers applauded.
The occupation interrupted Congress’ Electoral College count that will formalise President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration on January 20.
Lawmakers were evacuated to secure locations around the Capitol complex and Washington DC after thousands of Trump supporters breached the building and skirmished with police officers.
Lawmakers have signalled that they would resume the constitutionally mandated count as soon as it was safe to do so.
11:55am: Officials declare Capitol "secure" nearly four hours after violent pro-Trump occupiers disrupted electoral count, AP reports.
11:51am: "We regret unfolding events in Washington DC. Our thoughts are with the American people. Violence has no place in thwarting democracy," Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has tweeted.
"We look forward to the peaceful transition of the political administration, which is the hallmark of democracy. Kia tau ngā manaakitanga."
11:48am: NBC is reporting the woman who was shot inside the Capitol has died.
11:40am: Police are using tear gas to begin clearing protestors from the Capitol, ahead of the 6pm curfew, AP reports.
The Washington DC police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot.
As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protestors, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.
Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
11:21am: CNN is reporting multiple officers have been injured in the violence at the Capitol. Crowds are starting to file out of the Capitol area.
Reuters reports police are dispersing crowds with drawn guns and tear gas.
Lawmakers remain in an undisclosed location, saying they are wanting to finish what they started today, CNN reports.
11:20am: Leaders around the world are condemning the storming of the Capitol, expressing shock at the chaos unfolding in a country they once relied upon for global leadership, AP reports.
“Disgraceful scenes in US Congress," tweeted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “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.”
“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter
11:13am: Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris says she joins Biden in calling for an end to the "assault on the Capitol and our nation’s public servants".
The acting Secretary of Defence said it was Pence, not Trump, who authorised the deployment of the National Guard, journalist Mike Hanna says.
11:08am: Washington DC police chief tells media at a briefing that police will take action against those breaching the 12-hour curfew, which is just under an hour away.
He confirmed there was a person shot inside the Capitol, and says it was evident the crowd was there intending to cause harm.
11:05am: National leader Judith Collins tweets: "What we are seeing in the US is a disgraceful attack on democracy. The @NZNationalParty supports the peaceful and orderly transition of power."
Labour MP for Hamilton West Gaurav Sharma: "Spent two years living in Washington DC and made numerous visits to the Capitol. Never thought would witness this in one of the most beautiful cities filled with history and inspiration."
10:50am: The National Guard are still en route. Some rioters are starting to disperse, while others say they'll stay.
About one hour now until the 6pm curfew is implemented in the city.
AP is reporting the DC police chief says protestors deployed "chemical irritants on police" to gain access to US Capitol.
10:40am: Georgia’s largest county is stopping ballot processing and tabulation for the day after supporters ofTrump stormed the Capitol.
Fulton County spokeswoman Jessica Corbitt says tabulation in Georgia’s two US Senate runoffs was halted “out of an abundance of caution".
“We have also closed all of our offices in downtown Atlanta,” Corbitt says.
10:38am: The FBI SWAT team is in the Capitol complex, according to video shot by NBC News' Leigh Ann Caldwell.
10:30am: Democrats take US Senate majority with Democrat Jon Ossoff's win in the Senate runoff election, the second such seat captured by the party in twin contests that were held in Georgia today.
Earlier in the day, the AP declared Democrat Raphael Warnock the winner of the other race.
10:26am: At least one explosive device found near US Capitol; law enforcement officials say it's no longer a threat.
10:19am: Trump is calling for peace.
"I know your pain, I know your hurt. ... You have to go home now," Trump says in an address posted on Twitter.
"We don't want anybody hurt. ... We can't play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So, go home."
Trump continues to make untrue claims of a "landslide" election win.
He called supporters "very special".
10:08am: "At this hour our democracy is under unprecedented assault," Biden says.
"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 siege."
10:05am: Biden is due to speak.
10:00am: The Pentagon says about 1100 DC National Guard members are being mobilised to help support law enforcement as violent supporters of Trump breached the US Capitol.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman says defense leaders have been in contact with the city and congressional leadership.
The Guard forces will be used at checkpoints and for other similar duties and could also help in the enforcement of the 6pm curfew being implemented in the city. It will be in place until 6am.
The officials says the DC request for National Guard was not rejected earlier in the day. Instead, according to officials, the Guard members have a very specific mission that does not include putting military in a law enforcement role at the Capitol. As a result, the Guard must be used to backfill law enforcement outside the Capitol complex, freeing up more law enforcement to respond to the Capitol.
Hoffman says the law enforcement response to the violence will be led by the Justice Department.
9:55am: Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that “At President @realDonaldTrump’s direction, the National Guard is on the way along with other federal protective services.”
She added, “We reiterate President Trump’s call against violence and to remain peaceful.”
Protestors have stormed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.
9:50am: Protestors are smashing windows as they try to climb into a building.
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are increasingly calling on Trump to act to deescalate the violent protests at the US Capitol by his supporters angry about his election loss.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says he spoke with the president earlier Wednesday and told him to make a statement to “make sure that we can calm individuals down".
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that “it is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down".
9:45am: US correspondent for Canada's Globe and Mail Adrian Morrow says protestors are beginning to leave.
Senator Ted Cruz tells protestors they "need to stop NOW".
9:40am: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy tells CBS: "I completely condemn the violence in the Capitol. What we're currently watching unfold is un-American. ... This has to stop and this has to stop now."
Virginia’s governor says he is sending 200 state troopers and members of the state National Guard to the US Capitol.
Pence has told protestors to leave.
"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," he tweeted.
9:38am: Former Prime Minister Helen Clark tweets: "Never in one's wildest imagination could one have envisaged the dangerous events involving mob violence unfolding in Washington DC today.
"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."
Pressure continues to mount on Trump to condemn the protestors.
9:27am: White House Correspondent for CNN Pamela Brown reported a woman was shot in the chest and is in critical condition, according to two sources.
The exact circumstances surrounding the shooting were unclear, and the victim had been taken to a hospital.
Police from surrounding areas have been called to help with the situation, Brown says.
9:25am: Trump encourages supporters occupying US Capitol to "remain peaceful" but doesn't call for them to disperse.
9:20am: Pressure is mounting on Trump to condemn supporters who are violently clashing with law enforcement on Capitol Hill.
Among those urging Trump to act: his former communications director, Alyssa Farah, who tweeted that Trump should “Condemn this now.”
She says, “you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!”
His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, also addressed Trump supporters in a tweet, calling them the “patriots challenging the fraudulent election” and telling them that ”POTUS wants you to EXPRESS YOUR OPINION PEACEFULLY".
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the US elections.
9:12am: A woman has been seen wheeled out of the Capitol on a gurney, her head covered in blood.
9:05am: Protestors are now inside the Senate chamber. One got up on the dais and yelled “Trump won that election".
Several dozen are roaming through the halls, yelling, “Where are they?”
Some were also in the visitors’ galleries.
8:55am: Washington Post reporter Aaron Davis tweets: A source tells me The Defense Department has just denied a request by DC officials to deploy the National Guard to the US Capitol.
8:50am: Law enforcement officers point their guns from the House Chamber in Washington DC, as protestors storm the Capitol.
8:38am: Trump has tweeted: "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"
8:10am: Vice President Mike Pence and congressional lawmakers have been evacuated from the Senate floor.
A Press Gallery member quoted a message saying staff members inside the Capitol have been asked to stay away from windows and doors.
Earlier: Protestors backing President Donald Trump have breached the US Capitol, forcing a delay in the constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.
Trump urged his supporters to come to Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s win.
Several Republican lawmakers have backed his calls, despite there being no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing in the election.