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The Senate saves the electoral school ballots earlier than the rioters break into the chamber

The electoral college ballot boxes will meet as a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate to confirm the electoral college votes cast in the November election on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at the Washington Capitol.

Jim Lo Scalzo | Pool | AP

Senate officials saved paper votes for the electoral college before the pro-Trump rioters broke into the chamber during an official census on Wednesday, according to a Democratic senator.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley tweeted a photo of cases showing the results of the state-level presidential elections that Congress was about to settle Wednesday before the president's supporters stormed the legislature. Merkley said, "If our capable ground crew hadn't grabbed them, they would have been burned by the crowd."

Congress had started counting the ballot papers intended to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory over Trump as the rioters forced their way into the Capitol. Legislators were evacuated to secure sites as the President's supporters poured into the Houses of the House and Senate.

Congress resumed the voting process on Wednesday evening. The Senate met around 8 p.m. ET. Around 9 p.m. the house gathered again. ET, after what Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Called a "shameful attack" on democracy "anointed at the highest levels of government."

Legislators signaled that they would work through the night to count the votes.

"I've faced violent hatred before. I wasn't deterred then, and I will not be deterred now," said Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat and the majority whip of the chamber, in a statement tweeted.

The Capitol was secured around 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Washington, D. C., Virginia and Maryland dispatched National Guard forces, who worked with federal law enforcement agencies, to end the occupation of the building.

Before the attack began, Republican lawmakers backed by Trump had objected to the Arizona vote count. The House and Senate held separate sessions to debate and vote on the outcome. When they got back together, they resumed the Arizona debate.

Trump claimed, but failed to prove repeatedly in court, that systemic fraud led to his narrow loss in Arizona. The states have confirmed their presidential election results.

The office of Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who opposed the Arizona ballot count, did not say whether he would try to block another state's certification after violating the Capitol. Cruz, who had joined a group of about a dozen Senate Republicans to challenge key states, previously called on the mob to stop the attack on the Capitol.

The office of Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri who has supported efforts to halt the election census in key states, also did not say whether it would object to the election census for any states. Other Republicans reversed course and said they would not question the results on Wednesday, including Senator Kelly Loeffler, who lost her Senate seat to Democratic challenger Rev Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday.

Trump spoke to his supporters before they marched onto the Capitol on Wednesday. He lied again about the election results.

He continued to spread false claims about the presidential race in a video posted on Twitter later Wednesday. He tweeted again on Wednesday, calling on supporters to "go home with love and peace".

"Remember that day forever!" he added.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the only Senate Republican to vote against Trump after being impeached last year, said Wednesday, "What happened here today was a riot instigated by the President of the United States."

In a comment he intended to make earlier during the election count, Romney said: "I urge my colleagues to complete the election count, refrain from further objections and unanimously confirm the legitimacy of the presidential election."

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