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Vice President Mike Pence arrives with members of the Senate to officiate as a joint session of the House and Senate convenes to count the electoral votes cast in November’s election, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021. Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers are pressing the Trump loyalists in their party to abandon their objections to President-elect Joe Biden’s win as lawmakers huddle in an undisclosed location Wednesday afternoon to wait out the siege of the Capitol, according to multiple people familiar with the effort.

The intervention from Republicans is focused on the GOP lawmakers who have been spearheading the electoral college challenges, including Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas. Republicans eager to end the standoff are exerting similar pressure on the president’s supporters in the House, as leaders try to work out how they can bring the certification process to a swift end, while lawmakers remain unable to reenter the Capitol.

According to one person familiar with the objectors’ thinking, the effort is working. Trump’s supporters are acutely aware, the person said, that it would be untenable to continue their objections once the session is resumed, even if they have yet to admit it and formally withdraw their complaints.

The individual spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about private discussions.

Aides to Hawley and Cruz, however, have not answered queries about whether they plan to continue their objections.

It is not yet clear when the members of the House and Senate will be able to emerge from their secure location and resume the electoral college confirmation proceedings. Even once U.S. Capitol Police and the National Guard are able to clear the building of rioters, it may take several more hours before they are able to declare that the Capitol is fully secure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has been telling members to return Wednesday night to resume proceedings as a projection of strength after rioters drove lawmakers to evacuate the Capitol, according to two senior Republicans familiar with the message the leader has been sending.

Some members have suggested that Congress could reconvene elsewhere, to complete the exercise of confirming the electoral college results. It is not imperative that the House or Senate be physically present in the Capitol to be in session if a quorum can be convened elsewhere.

The protest of the electoral college results, which began as an organized exercise in the Capitol earlier Wednesday afternoon, quickly devolved into chaos as a pro-Trump mob stormed barricades, pushing their way past armed Capitol police and into the congressional office buildings and the Capitol itself, sending both the House and the Senate into lockdown. Lawmakers were evacuated soon after as protesters occupied the chambers themselves.

As they were pushed out of the Capitol, several Republicans publicly called on President Donald Trump to intervene with his supporters and urge them to stand down.

“Call it off, Mr. President. We need you to call this off,” Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Pa., said in a CNN interview, appealing to Trump to tweet to his supporters that “it’s over. Please go home.”

Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who earlier Wednesday committed to support the electoral college protest, called on Trump to “calm” his supporters and bring their “un-American” protest to an end.

Earlier Wednesday, McConnell had accused Republicans backing the electoral college objections of hypocrisy, shaming them for questioning Biden’s win after spending four years accusing Democrats of never having accepted Trump’s presidency, and urging them not to “escalate what we repudiate.”

“We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids . . . it would damage our republic forever,” McConnell said. “We cannot keep drifting apart in to two separate tribes with a separate set of facts and separate reality, with nothing in common except our hostility toward each other.”


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