Joe Biden said the mob who invaded the US Capitol should be hunted down and brought to justice as the FBI began a nationwide search for the intruders.
The president-elect said they should be treated as a “bunch of thugs, anti-Semites and white supremacists.”
He added: “They’re terrorists. Domestic terrorists. the fact is they should be prosecuted. The difference here is this had the active encouragement of a sitting President of the United States.”
It came as many of those who roamed the corridors of power, including the so-called “QAnon shaman,” had already left Washington for their home states.
Before setting out for a long drive back to Phoenix, Arizona Jake Angeli, 33, who was seen bare-chested in a fur headdress and buffalo horns, declared America’s day of infamy a “win,” and compared himself to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
Mr Angeli, 33, a conspiracy theorist and would-be actor, said: “The fact that we had a bunch of our traitors in office hunker down, put on their gas masks and retreat into their underground bunker, I consider that a win.
“What I was doing was civil disobedience. I didn’t do anything wrong. I walked through an open door, dude.”
Michael Sherwin, the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, expressed shock that the rioters were allowed to leave without being arrested.
He said: “Hundreds of people flooded the Capitol and were not handcuffed by police. I don’t want to be Monday morning quarterbacking to say why they didn’t do it, but it made our job more difficult.
“I can’t answer why those people weren’t zip-tied as they were leaving the building by the Capitol Police. We have to now go through cell site orders, collect video footage to try to identify people and then charge them, and then try to execute their arrest. We have a lot of lessons to learn from this.”
A rogues’ gallery of people it was looking for across the US was issued and police have already received more than 4,000 tips.
There was expected to be an avalanche of subpoenas to Twitter and Facebook as they use posts to track people down.
Those who were in the Capitol included a man dressed in fur pelts and carrying a police riot shield, who was identified by media outlets in New York as Aaron Mostofsky, the son of a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge.
Mr Mostofsky’s brother said: “He did nothing illegal, He definitely was not part of the riot.”
A man carrying off a lectern was identified as a psychology graduate from Florida who was married to a doctor.
One man was sacked by his employer, a direct marketing company, after he wore his work badge during the riot.
Another, Bradley Rukstales, 52, chief executive and president of a data company in Illinois, confirmed he had been arrested.
He said: “My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so. It was the single worst personal decision of my life. I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back.”
Police in Arkansas arrested one of the highest profile figures Richard Barnett, 60, who was photographed with his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
Mr Barnett claimed: “I didn’t break the doors. I was shoved in. I didn’t mean to be in there. Hell, I was looking for the bathroom,” Capitol Police only arrested about a dozen people at the riot, allowing hundreds more to leave.
At least 55 people have now been charged with crimes including unlawful entry.
They included Derrick Evans, an elected Republican member of West Virginia’s state legislature.
Mr Evans filmed himself in the mob shouting: “Trump! Trump!, We’re going in! We’re going in! “We’re in! We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
He was charged with entering a restricted area, which has a maximum sentence of a year in prison.
Among the others charged was a man has been accused of being found with a semi-automatic rifle and 11 Molotov cocktails.
Steven Sund, the Capitol Police police chief, praised his 1,700-strong force for heroism but resigned in the wake of the debacle.
Congress’s two top security officials – the Sergeant at Arms for both the Senate and House of Representatives – also resigned. Both are former Secret Service agents.
It emerged that, ahead of the planned protests, the Pentagon had decided the role of the National Guard should be limited.
That was at the request of the Democrat mayor of Washington Muriel Bowser that they should help with traffic problems.
It was decided that a rapid reaction force should be used for riot control only as a last resort.
Capitol Police, who patrol the building, had not asked in advance for help form National Guard forces based in Washington and nearby states like Maryland and Virginia.
As the situation escalated an emergency request was made but Pentagon officials balked at sending soldiers into the Capitol building because of the “optics” that would create.
Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, said he received a desperate phone call from the Democrat leader in the House, Congressman Steny Hoyer.
Mr Hoyer had been rushed to a secure location with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, and Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate.
Mr Hogan said: “I was actually on the phone with Leader Hoyer, who was pleading with us to send the [National] Guard. He was yelling across the room to Schumer and they were back and forth saying we do have the authorisation, and I’m saying, ‘I’m telling you we do not have the authorisation’.”
It was only 90 minutes later that Mr Hogan received a call on his mobile phone from the Pentagon telling him to send the National Guard “as soon as possible.”
Virginia’s Democrat Governor Ralph Northam said he got a call from Ms Pelosi as the Capitol was besieged.
He said: “It showed up ‘Nancy Pelosi’. She was really concerned. She said they needed help. She said ‘Ralph, there’s glass being broken around me. I’ve heard there’s been gunfire. We’re just very, very concerned right now’.”
From the time the first request for the National Guard to the time they arrived took nearly three hours. Meanwhile, many of those who had roamed Congress were walking freely back down the National Mall to their hotels.
Joe Biden says US Capitol ‘terrorists’ must be hunted down as FBI launches nationwide search The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ The Telegraph.