Explosive device found near US Capitol building, another at RNC headquarters

Both bombs neutralized without injuries; woman seriously injured after being shot by law enforcement in Capitol

Trump supporters gesture to US Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, January 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Trump supporters gesture to US Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, January 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

At least one explosive device was found Wednesday near the US Capitol building amid a violent occupation of the building by supporters of US President Donald Trump.

Law enforcement officials said the device was no longer a threat, according to a US official who spoke anonymously.

Another explosive device was uncovered at the Republican National Committee headquarters and was destroyed by a bomb squad.

The Democratic National Committee headquarters was evacuated due to a suspicious package, The New York Times reported.

The attempted bombings at the Capitol and RNC came amid astonishing scenes of violence and chaos in Washington that played out on national television and social media.

Violent protesters loyal to Trump stormed the US Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

The National Guard and state and federal police were called in for control, and the mayor of Washington imposed a rare evening curfew. One person was reported to have been shot.

The protesters were egged on by Trump and his false attacks on the integrity of the November presidential election. While rallying his supporters outside the White House Wednesday morning, he urged them to march to the Capitol. But later — hours after they fought police and breached the building — he told them that although they were “very special people” and he backed their cause, they should “go home in peace.”

US Capitol police officers point their guns at a door that was vandalized in the House Chamber during a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, in Washington. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, had declared in Wilmington, Delaware: “I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,”

Biden said that democracy was “under unprecedented assault,” a sentiment echoed by many in Congress, including some Republicans.

The chaotic protests halted Congress’s constitutionally mandated counting of the Electoral College results, in which Biden defeated Trump, 306-232.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump wears a gas mask as he protests after storming the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Brendan SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had tried to steer Congress away from Wednesday’s formal protest of those results, and he said at the start of proceedings that Trump had clearly lost.

Wednesday’s ordinarily mundane procedure of Congress certifying a new president was always going to be extraordinary, with Republican supporters of Trump vowing to protest election results that have been certified by the states. But even the unusual deliberations, which included Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader McConnell defying Trump’s demands, were quickly overtaken by the chaos.

In a raucous, out-of-control scene, protesters fought past police and breached the building, shouting and waving Trump and American flags as they marched through the halls. One person was reported shot at the Capitol, according to a person familiar with the situation. That person’s condition was unknown. At least one explosive device was found that was detonated.

The protesters abruptly interrupted the congressional proceedings in an eerie scene that featured official warnings directing people to duck under their seats for cover and put on gas masks after tear gas was used in the Capitol Rotunda.

Senators were being evacuated. Some House lawmakers tweeted they were sheltering in place in their offices.

The Pentagon said about 1,100 District of Columbia National Guard members were being mobilized to help support law enforcement at the Capitol.

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