Twitter on Wednesday took the extraordinary step of locking President Trump’s account, depriving the president of his favorite means of communications after violent Trump supporters stormed the capitol and swarmed the streets of Washington.
Twitter took the harder line after removing three of Mr. Trump’s tweets, which it said had violated a company policy that forbids using the platform “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.”
Twitter said it was acting “as a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C.”
“This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets,” the company said on Twitter. “If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.”
The tweets that were removed repeated Mr. Trump’s false claims of election fraud and expressed praise and sympathy for those who had forced their way into the capitol and disrupted Congress’s certification of the election results. Twitter also removed a video in which Mr. Trump repeated his baseless claim that “the election was stolen” and advised the mob to “go home,” while adding, “We love you.”
Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, condemned President Trump on Wednesday night for the breaching of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, saying that the president bore direct responsibility for the violence that disrupted the counting of electoral votes by Congress.
“What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the president of the United States,” Mr. Romney said in a statement. “Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”
Mr. Romney, the lone Republican in the Senate who voted to convict Mr. Trump last year on one of two articles of impeachment, has been the target of verbal attacks by Mr. Trump’s supporters in recent days. Videos showed one of the president’s followers confronting Mr. Romney before a flight at Salt Lake City International Airport earlier this week. He was later heckled by Mr. Trump’s supporters aboard a flight.
In his statement, Mr. Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, said that the objections to the counting of Electoral College votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. was because of “a selfish man’s injured pride.” He said that Mr. Trump had misinformed his supporters and stirred their outburst.
“They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history,” he said of Mr. Trump’s supporters. “That will be their legacy.”
Former President George W. Bush, the only living Republican former president, also denounced the actions of those who stormed the Capitol. He did not mention Mr. Trump by name.
“It is a sickening and heartbreaking sight,” Mr. Bush said. “This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement.”
Some of the protesters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday came in costume — dressed like Vikings, pioneers or soldiers in camouflage. Many had faces painted with American flags and others carried elaborate signs.
Lawmakers will resume counting Electoral College votes on Wednesday after a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, as she vowed that the attack could not “deter us from our responsibility to validate the election of Joe Biden.”
Ms. Pelosi, in a letter to colleagues, said she had reached that decision after consulting with her leadership team and a series of calls with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and Vice President Mike Pence. She made no mention of the president.
‘We always knew this responsibility would take us into the night,” Ms. Pelosi wrote. “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.”
In what could be interpreted as an attempt to stoke the flames of a Capitol mob which has begun to disperse, President Trump sent a tweet at around 6 p.m. in which he reiterated the false claim that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters to “remember this day” going forward.
“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,” he tweeted. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Twitter later took down the tweet, saying that it had violated the company’s rules.
Mr. Trump also posted a video in which he repeated his baseless claims of widespread election fraud on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. All three social media sites removed the video.
A woman who was shot inside the Capitol building after it was overrun by a pro-Trump mob has died, Washington D.C. police officials said on Wednesday.
The woman has not been identified and no information has been released about who may have shot her. Chief Robert J. Contee of the Metropolitan Police Department said earlier that she was a “civilian” and that his officers were leading the investigation.
The woman was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the police department, said in an email. Mr. Sternbeck said he did not yet know who shot her or have any other details.
A video posted to Twitter earlier on Wednesday appeared to show a shooting in the Capitol.
The woman in the video seemed to climb onto a small ledge next to a doorway inside the building immediately before a single loud bang is heard. The woman, draped in a flag, fell to the ground at the top of a stairwell. A man with a helmet and a military-style rifle stood next to her after she fell, and shouts of “police” could be heard as a man in a suit approached the woman and crouched next to her.
“Where’s she hit?” people yelled as blood streamed around her mouth.
Within minutes of the mob breaching the Capitol complex, rioters were pounding on the doors of the House gallery, where a group of lawmakers were trapped.
“I thought we’d have to fight our way out,” said Representative Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado and a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq.
Mr. Crow said he moved other members away from the barricaded door inside the gallery, helped them don gas masks, told them to take off the lapel pins assigned to all House members and took out his only possible weapon — a pen.
After 15 minutes, he said, Capitol Police and SWAT team members on a rescue mission hustled the members out by clearing a path outside the gallery, above the House floor.
With police in the lead, guns drawn, the lawmakers entered a scene of chaos and mayhem, Mr. Crow said. Some police rushed to barricade doors to block rioters. Others pinned protesters to the ground to allow the lawmakers to pass.
“We heard yelling through the halls,” said Mr. Crow, who described bringing up the rear to ensure all the members made it to safety. As police led the members down stairwells and into the subterranean maze of tunnels to a secure location, Mr. Crow said he called his wife, who had been watching the terrifying scene on television from Colorado.
Mr. Crow said lawmakers were determined to resume their work in the Capitol on Wednesday night, if possible, once the buildings were cleared of remaining threats. “We want to go back and finish the business of the people to show that we are a democracy, and that the government is stronger than any mob,” he said.
Police seized five guns and arrested at least 13 people during the violent protests involving supporters of President Trump at the Capitol on Wednesday, Chief Robert J. Contee of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department said on Wednesday.
Chief Contee said the firearms included handguns and long guns. He also noted that none of the people arrested were residents of the District of Columbia.
At the same news conference, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called the violent protests, where Trump supporters looted and vandalized congressional offices, “shameful” and “unpatriotic.”
And she pledged that “anyone who has engaged in these activities” will be held accountable. “There will be law and order and this behavior will not be tolerated,” she said.
The sergeant-at-arms, who is responsible for Congress’s security, has told lawmakers and reporters that the Capitol is now secure, though lawmakers, staff and reporters continue to shelter in much of the Capitol complex.
Lawmakers in both parties have called for the certification process of the Electoral College votes to resume with the securing of the building. No word yet if and when that will begin.
Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House, vowed that Congress would continue the counting on Wednesday night.
“I have faced violent hatred before,” Mr. Clyburn said on Twitter. “I was not deterred then, and I will not be deterred now. Tonight, Congress will continue the business of certifying the Electoral College votes.”
Mr. Clyburn, an instrumental early supporter of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., condemned the breach of the Capitol.
“This authoritarian menace will not succeed in his attempts to overthrow our democratically elected government,” he said, apparently referring to President Trump. “I am praying for the safety and security of the public servants who are dedicated to making this country a ‘more perfect union.’ ”
One of the members of the mob that breached the Capitol was seen outside the building displaying part of the sign that marked the entrance to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Multiple photos haven been tweeted out from inside Ms. Pelosi’s offices, which were vacated so quickly that some staffers left their email programs up on their screens.
Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska, was unsparing in his criticism of President Trump as the instigator of the day’s events.
“Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his vice president for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution,” he said in a statement.
“Lies have consequences,” he continued. “This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the president’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”
He added: “Americans are better than this: Americans aren’t nihilists. Americans aren’t arsonists. Americans aren’t French revolutionaries taking to the barricades.”
A column of F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security agents in riot gear entered the Dirksen Senate Office Building around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and officers from Washington’s police force headed to the Capitol in a show of force to end violent protests, looting and vandalism.
A Metropolitan Police commander instructed his officers to stay calm because “it could get crazy in there.”
The F.B.I. had previously considered sending officers to patrol Washington streets in the wake of protests last June, but ultimately decided not to deploy the agents for the planned rally.
“The F.B.I. has been deployed to assist our U.S. Capitol Police partners, as requested, in protection of federal property and public safety,” the F.B.I. statement said.
The F.B.I. would not say how many of its agents were deployed to the Capitol. But a former government official said that earlier on Wednesday all F.B.I. agents in the Washington region were alerted that they could be called to Downtown Washington.
Chris Miller, the acting secretary of defense, also pledged support, saying he had spoken to Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leaders and has “fully activated the D.C. National Guard to assist federal and local law enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation.”
He continued, “Our people are sworn to defend the Constitution and our democratic form of government and they will act accordingly.”
The pro-Trump mob scaled walls, knocked over barriers and occupied the Capitol for hours. The unrest continued, even as President Trump asked for protesters to remain peaceful, and Vice President Mike Pence asked for the group to disperse.
Just after 1 p.m., when President Trump ended his speech to protesters in Washington by calling for them to march on Congress, hundreds of echoing calls to storm the building were made by his supporters online.
On social media sites requested by the far-right, such as Gab and Parler, directions on which streets to take to avoid the police and which tools to bring to help pry open doors were exchanged in comments. At least a dozen people posted about carrying guns into the halls of Congress.
Calls for violence against members of Congress and for pro-Trump movements to retake the Capitol building have been circulating online for months. Bolstered by Mr. Trump, who has courted fringe movements like QAnon and the Proud Boys, groups have openly organized on social media networks and recruited others to their cause.
On Wednesday, their online activism became real-world violence, leading to unprecedented scenes of mobs freely strolling through the halls of Congress and uploading celebratory photographs of themselves, encouraging others to join them.
On Gab, they documented going into the offices of members of Congress, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Dozens posted about searching for Vice President Mike Pence, who had been the target of Mr. Trump’s ire earlier in the day.
At 2:24 p.m., after Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” dozens of messages on Gab called for those inside the Capitol building to hunt down the vice president. In videos uploaded to the channel, protesters could be heard chanting “Where is Pence?”
As Facebook and Twitter began to crack down groups like QAnon and the Proud Boys over the summer, they slowly migrated to other sites that allowed them to openly call for violence.
Renee DiResta, a researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory who studies online movements, said the violence Wednesday was the result of online movements operating in closed social media networks where people believed the claims of voter fraud and of the election being stolen from Mr. Trump.
“These people are acting because they are convinced an election was stolen,” DiResta said. “This is a demonstration of the very real-world impact of echo chambers.”
She added: “This has been a striking repudiation of the idea that there is an online and an offline world and that what is said online is in some way kept online.”