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Biden win certified, Trump agrees to peaceful handover

Following a harrowing and violent night in which four died and 52 arrests were made, Biden's win was certified and Trump has finally agreed to hand over.

Biden win certified, Trump agrees to peaceful handover
OLIVIER DOULIERY AFP

(Reuters) -Hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy, a shaken Congress on Thursday formally certified Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Trump says there will be an orderly transition to Biden presidency

Immediately after the certification, the White House released a statement from Trump in which he pledged an “orderly transition” on 20 January when Biden will be sworn into office.

“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 a statement posted on Twitter by White House spokesman Dan Scavino.

Biden Electoral College win certified hours after riots in the Capitol building

Congress had resumed its work certifying Biden’s Electoral College win late on Wednesday after the chaotic scenes on Capitol Hill, with debate stretching into the early hours of Thursday.

After debate the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected two objections to the tally and certified the final Electoral College vote with Biden receiving 306 votes and Trump 232 votes.

Vice President Mike Pence, in declaring the final vote totals behind Biden’s victory, said this “shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take office alongside Biden on 20 January.

The outcome of the certification proceedings had never been in doubt, but had been interrupted by rioters – spurred on by Trump – who forced their way past metal security barricades, broke windows and scaled walls to fight their way into the Capitol.

Violence inside the Capitol: four dead, 52 arrested

Police said four people died during the chaos - one from gunshot wounds and three from medical emergencies - and 52 people were arrested.

Some besieged the House of Representatives chamber while lawmakers were inside, banging on its doors and forcing suspension of the certification debate. Security officers piled furniture against the chamber’s door and drew their pistols before helping lawmakers and others escape.

The assault on the Capitol was the culmination of months of divisive and escalating rhetoric around the 3 November election, with the Republican president repeatedly making false claims that the vote was rigged and urging his supporters to help him overturn his loss.

In a public speech to the right wing extremists gathered in Washington yesterday, Rudy Guiliani called for called for “trial by combat” to dispute the result of the election.

Follow rolling live updates on this developing story.