A showdown involving police and protesters with guns drawn took place outside the body’s quarters, according to pool reporters, who did not immediately note any injuries or shots fired.
Hordes of President Trump’s supporters breached the US Capitol on Wednesday, overpowering police, forcing the building into lockdown and disrupting the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Thousands of protesters had previously broken through a fence and stormed the building, according to reporters on the ground.
Some carried American, others the Confederate stars and bars.
Several protesters made it onto the building’s balcony, where at least one Gadsden flag was draped.
Among those in the Senate chamber was Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump has fiercely criticized for what he perceives as a lack of effort to stop the election certification process.
It was not immediately clear if the vice president had been evacuated from the building.
At least one congressional office building was evacuated earlier in the day.
“Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement,” he wrote. “They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”
Meanwhile, Washington Post reporter Rebecca Tan tweeted an 11-second video clip of the throngs streaming toward the building, with some stomping over a flimsy fence marked with an “Area Closed” sign.
In a follow-up tweet, Tan said that some attempted to push inside the building, but were rebuffed by police.
“Protesters are charging toward the Captiol [sic] steps. Some tried to scale the construction structures and have been tackled by police,” Tan wrote. “They want to enter the building and are making attempts at intervals. Capitol police trying to hold them back.”
Other journalists on the ground also tweeted footage of the wild scene.
Trump himself delivered a fiery speech in the hour leading up to the joint session of Congress, in which he repeated his claim that the election was rigged against him, without providing hard evidence to support the allegation.