10 things you need to know today: January 7, 2021
A pro-Trump mob storms the U.S. Capitol building, Congress certifies Biden's victory over Trump, and more
Pro-Trump mob attacks U.S. Capitol
A mob of President Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building Wednesday in a failed attempt to prevent Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Rioters smashed windows and sent lawmakers fleeing. A woman shot during the chaos died. Three others died in medical emergencies. Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the electoral vote count, was rushed to an undisclosed location. Biden made a televised appeal to Trump to call for a halt to what some Republican lawmakers called an attempted coup. Before the riot, Trump urged a crowd of supporters to fight to overturn what he claimed, without evidence, was a stolen election. He later released a video telling the mob to "go home," but repeated his false election fraud allegation.
Congress, Pence certify Biden's electoral victory
Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden's election victory early Thursday, hours after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol and tried to derail the process. Members of the House and Senate returned to their joint session to count Electoral College votes hours after pro-Trump rioters ransacked offices, broke onto the Senate floor, and sent lawmakers fleeing. Republicans and Democrats alike condemned the insurrectionists for trying to derail America's democracy. After Congress confirmed Biden's victory, President Trump publicly acknowledged that he would leave office on Inauguration Day in a peaceful transfer of power. "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," Trump said in the statement.
Democrats win Senate control with Georgia runoff sweep
Democrat Jon Ossoff won his runoff Senate election against incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue, The Associated Press projected Wednesday. Ossoff's narrow lead widened as the final votes were counted. Most of the ballots remaining to be tallied were from Democrat-leaning counties around Atlanta, suggesting Ossoff's lead will only grow. Ossoff's win gave Democrats victories in both of the state's runoff, a sweep that gave the party control of the Senate. The Rev. Raphael Warnock, also a Democrat, beat the other Republican incumbent, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, by a slightly larger margin. Warnock is the state's first Black senator. Ossoff is Georgia's first Jewish senator. He also will be the youngest sitting senator, at age 33.
Biden reportedly picks Merrick Garland as attorney general
President-elect Joe Biden has picked Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, Politico reported Wednesday, citing two people with knowledge of the decision. Biden settled on Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated for the Supreme Court in 2016, after Democrats swept Georgia's two Senate runoff elections, giving the party control of the Senate. Biden also had reportedly strongly considered former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates. Jones, who strong relationships with former colleagues across the aisle, had been considered more likely to be confirmed if Republicans had held onto control of the Senate by winning at least one of the Georgia races. Biden also plans to nominate former Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general.
U.S. coronavirus deaths hit single-day record near 4,000
The turmoil in Washington overshadowed the latest dark day in the coronavirus crisis, as U.S. health officials reported about 4,000 new COVID-19 deaths, the most yet in a single day. The surge might have been partly due to a delay in reporting deaths due to the holidays. "Most Americans don’t want to know, don't want to acknowledge, don't really want to recognize, and… do not appear to understand the dire circumstances that we are facing," said Dr. Marjorie Bessel, the chief clinical officer at Banner Health in Arizona, which has seen record numbers of cases and deaths in recent days. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that the highly infectious new coronavirus strain first detected in Britain could soon spread widely through the U.S.
Pipe bomb found at RNC headquarters
A pipe bomb was found at the Republican National Committee's Washington, D.C., headquarters on Wednesday as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to prevent lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. The Democratic National Committee's headquarters were evacuated after a suspicious package was found there. A bomb squad reportedly destroyed the bomb at the RNC. The package at the Democratic Party's offices was also reportedly rendered safe. Both parties' headquarters are located near the Capitol, where a mob of President Trump's supporters remained into the night in defiance of a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by the mayor of the nation's capital.
Family identifies woman killed in Capitol
A man who said he was the husband of the woman reportedly shot and killed by a Capitol police officer in Wednesday's mob attack on the Capitol building identified her as Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and avid supporter of President Trump. Babbitt's social media posts also showed her wearing a "We are Q" shirt and suggested she believed in QAnon conspiracy theories. A day before rioters stormed the Capitol, Babbitt tweeted that "nothing will stop us" and "the storm is here." Her husband, Aaron, confirmed to a San Diego, California, television station that the woman who died was his wife. His mother, Robin Babbitt, told the New York Post the family found out about her daughter-in-law's death through TV reports. "I'm numb," she said. "I'm devastated."
2 more Louisville detectives fired over Breonna Taylor killing
The Louisville Police Department has fired two detectives over the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in her apartment during a botched drug raid that turned up no sign of criminal activity. Detectives Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes were fired Tuesday for violating police procedures on use of force and failing to use body cameras during the March raid. A third detective, Brett Hankison, was fired in June after an internal investigation concluded that he had fired "blindly" into Taylor's apartment, where she had been sleeping. The police opened fire after Taylor's boyfriend fired a shot, thinking someone was breaking in. The FBI concluded Cosgrove fired the shot that killed Taylor, 26.
DOJ emails breached by Russian hackers
The Department of Justice said Wednesday that suspected Russian hackers accessed its email systems, making it the latest in a series of government agencies affected by a cyberattack on software company SolarWinds. Details were not immediately on the scale of the breach at the Justice Department, but the department said three percent of its Office 365 mailboxes might have been affected. DOJ has more than 100,000 employees that include prosecutors and agents at the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The department's statement said there was no evidence hackers had accessed any classified information, although the data in what could be thousands of email accounts could have provided the hackers with valuable intelligence. Russia has denied responsibility for the cyberattack.
Twitter, Facebook lock Trump accounts
Twitter locked President Trump out of his account late Wednesday and removed three tweets in connection with the mob of insurrectionist Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The restrictions — the harshest ones the social media giant has ever imposed on Trump — were set to last 12 hours, but Twitter warned Trump could face a permanent suspension unless he stops spreading inflammatory and baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud and inciting violence. Facebook blocked Trump's account for 24 hours over what it said were violations of its policies. Facebook and YouTube also removed a video Trump posted in which Trump told the insurrectionists to go home but repeated his false claim that the election was stolen.