Far-right extremists want to attack more capitols, but are divided after D.C. riot
Josiah Colt was all bravado on his way to Washington this week to protest what he saw as a stolen election.
“Ready for any battle,” the Boise, Idaho, man wrote on Facebook after waking up in Memphis, Tenn., to find that a “fellow patriot” had posted a photo of him clutching a handgun while sleeping. His friend wrote that Colt was “ready for the boogaloo,” a far-right term for a violent overthrow of government.
In a video he recorded Wednesday after storming the U.S. Capitol, Colt, 34, was breathless with excitement after sitting in what he believed was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s chair — actually the Senate chamber seat reserved for the vice president.
But a short time later, in agitated tones outside the ransacked building, he voiced misgivings.
“I’m sitting here, and I don’t know what to do,” Colt told his social media followers on video. “I’m all over the news now, but like, I’m just like every single one of those people that was marching — a peaceful protest, came here to represent America. You know, I didn’t hurt anybody in there.”
Capitol’s shocking fall to pro-Trump mob reflects array of security failures
In images posted on social media and beamed around the world Wednesday, small clusters of U.S. Capitol Police officers retreated, fell away from violent assaults or simply moved aside as a large mob descended on the seat of American legislative power.
Officers at a U.S. Capitol perimeter fence tried to hold their line but failed as intruders overturned the barrier. Officers at another gate, seemingly overwhelmed, appeared to walk off as the intruders passed by. Another lone officer tried to hold back an advancing group before fleeing through the halls of Congress.
In many cases, the officers were in normal uniform. Nowhere were there the skirmish lines of officers in riot gear seen during other recent events, including Black Lives Matter protests.
The stunning collapse of national security left many of the nation’s leaders cowering behind benches and fearing for their lives. But by Thursday, much of their shock had been supplanted by anger — with leading lawmakers demanding resignations from the Capitol’s top security officials and calling for broad investigations into the array of tactical failures under their watch.
Several GOP state lawmakers observed or joined assault on Capitol
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia lawmaker who filmed himself and supporters of President Trump storming the U.S. Capitol is facing bipartisan calls for his resignation as federal prosecutors step up their pursuit of those who participated in the assault.
Derrick Evans was among Republican lawmakers from at least seven states who traveled to Washington for demonstrations rooted in the baseless conspiracy theory that President-elect Joe Biden won the presidential election through fraud. Wearing a helmet, Evans ultimately joined a screaming mob as it pushed its way into the Capitol building, and livestreamed himself joyfully strolling inside.
It’s unclear if Evans was the only elected official to participate in what Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and many others called a “failed insurrection.” It’s also not known if any of them will be prosecuted.
Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania said he helped organize a bus ride to the demonstrations but left the Capitol area after the eruption of violence, which he called “unacceptable.” The top Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate and eight of Mastriano’s colleagues want him to resign, saying his actions and words disputing the election’s integrity encouraged a coup attempt and inspired the people behind it.
Banks: When you give the devil a ride, don’t be shocked when the U.S. Capitol is stormed
If you give the devil a ride, sooner or later he’s going to want to drive.
I heard that phrase from the pulpit when I was a teenager, and it’s resounded in my head as I moved through life: Don’t venerate the hoodlums, don’t dabble in wrongdoing, don’t give your heart to someone whose values you can’t trust.
I thought about the aphorism a lot this week, as our boasts about America’s singularly great democracy began to look like so much sanctimony.
I guess Donald Trump’s minions never heard my pastor’s advice. Trump’s fervent supporters — and the Republicans who represented them in Congress — were so eager to bask in his orange glow, they handed Trump the wheel and then cheered as he steered us off a cliff.
Capitol siege raises security concerns over Biden inauguration
WASHINGTON — The violent siege of the U.S. Capitol is intensifying scrutiny over security at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, a ceremony already reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the prospect that his predecessor may not attend.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office from the Capitol’s West Front, one of the very locations where a violent mob in support of President Trump overpowered police and stormed the building. The extremists also scaled and occupied the scaffolding and bleachers in place for the inauguration.
Plans for the ceremony had already been scaled back because of the coronavirus. But the brazen attack raises new questions about preparedness for an event designed to highlight the U.S.’ usually peaceful transfer of power.
The congressional leaders responsible for coordinating the inauguration insisted Thursday night that events would go ahead.
News analysis: Romney’s speech culminated years of warning about Trump
Sen. Mitt Romney was visibly angry. Hours earlier on Wednesday, the Capitol had been breached by violent supporters of President Trump.
As he and his peers huddled in a safe part of the complex, Romney fumed that the president and his enablers in Congress were responsible for the assault on American democracy. Late in the evening, as senators confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Romney delivered a scathing speech excoriating the elected officials who put political ambition ahead of the nation — the natural culmination of a danger Romney had been warning about for more than four years.
“We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning,” said Romney, speaking in the Senate chamber about Trump’s baseless claims that the November election was rigged.
“I don’t know I’ve ever seen him this angry,” said Katie Packer Beeson, deputy campaign manager of Romney’s 2012 presidential bid. “But I also thought I’ve never been more proud to be identified as a ‘Romney person.’”
LeBron James on Trump and the riot: ‘Those events were because of him’
A day after a violent mob seeking to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the U.S. presidential election stormed the Capitol, Lakers star LeBron James unleashed a scathing rebuke of President Trump.
“The events that took place yesterday [were] a direct correlation, the president that’s in the seat right now, of his actions, his beliefs, his wishes,” James said of Trump following the Lakers game Thursday, a loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
“He cares about nobody besides himself. Nobody. Absolutely nobody. He doesn’t care about this country. He doesn’t care about his family. ... And we’ve seen the tweets that have happened along this whole path to the destruction of what happened yesterday.
“Those events were because of him.”
Top federal prosecutor in Michigan seeks tips on Capitol mob
LANSING, Mich. — A top federal prosecutor in Michigan — home to at least six people arrested in Washington in the Capitol riot — has urged people to give tips to the FBI if they are aware of people who joined the mob that stormed the building.
U.S. Atty. Matthew Schneider, whose jurisdiction covers a 34-county area, including metropolitan Detroit, said investigators will review video footage and other evidence. Six Michigan men ranging in age from 25 to 64 were arrested by Washington police — four on suspicion of curfew violations, one on suspicion of unlawful entry and violating the curfew, and one on suspicion of gun charges.
Those types of crimes will be prosecuted by the U.S. attorney for Washington, Schneider said. But more serious charges — destruction of property over $1,000, inciting a riot, civil disorder, sedition, using a destructive device such as a pipe bomb — could potentially be handled in Michigan, he said, if there are connections to the state.
Meshawn Maddock, who is expected to be elected the next co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party, told a crowd in Washington on Tuesday — a day before the violence — that at least 19 busloads of supporters of President Trump were traveling there from Michigan. Her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, also spoke and was among GOP state lawmakers who unsuccessfully asked Vice President Mike Pence to delay confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
McNamara: If we didn’t know before that Trump and his supporters hate democracy, we do now
Jan. 6, 2021, is now — or so we have been told — a day that will live in infamy. And certainly infamy, n. “the state of being well known for some bad quality or deed,” feels accurate.
But Wednesday was also the Feast of the Epiphany, and epiphany, n. “a moment of sudden revelation of insight,” is just as accurate. Democracy was threatened, specifically and spiritually, by anti-American domestic terrorists, incited by a sitting president and several members of Congress, and while the world gasped and gagged, democracy held.
So a bad news/good news day, really, and one that revealed exactly what America is — a democratic country being threatened from within by people who are not at all interested in living in a democracy. And those people are now easily identifiable — the officials who took part have done little to hide their intentions and the members of the extremist mob that illegally broke into the Capitol building spoke into cameras and took selfies.
Here’s how many people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol riot
While officials are still making arrests and scouring videos and images from social media in pursuit of suspects, data released by the Washington Metropolitan Police and U.S. Capitol Police reveal the charges brought against those accused of participating in the riot.
The most common charge was for violating the curfew imposed by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser which took effect at 6 p.m. EST on Wednesday. More than 60 people have been arrested on suspicion of curfew violations.
Another 37 were arrested on suspicion of unlawful entry. Others were charged with assault, property damage and an assortment of gun charges. Many were charged with more than one offense.
‘White supremacy was on full display.’ Double standard seen in police response as mob storms Capitol
The image of a young Black man, curled up on a Dallas sidewalk with blood gushing from his left eye after being struck by a police officer’s rubber bullet during a protest for racial justice, was seared into the national psyche last spring.
Days earlier, protesters outraged over the police killing in Minneapolis of another Black man, George Floyd, in late May, sprinted through the streets of a leafy neighborhood as police in tactical gear sprayed the crowd with tear gas.
But this week, as a mostly white mob of extremists loyal to President Trump smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol, at times shoving police officers to the ground, ransacking congressional offices for several hours and posing for photos with stolen items, police took a decidedly hands-off approach.
On Thursday, as Americans began to dissect the muted police response to such an attack on the seat of government, the violence emerged as a central focus in the long-standing national discourse about race and policing.
“This disgusting contrast in policing is far too familiar to the Black community,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.
As the rioters stormed the capitol Wednesday, the NAACP offered a simple message on Twitter: “They have killed us for less.”
Trump faces demands for his removal, but is there time to act?
WASHINGTON — Congress’ Democratic leaders on Thursday demanded President Trump’s removal from office — vowing a swift impeachment, if necessary — in an effort to stop him from unleashing more chaos in his final, rage-filled days.
Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called on Trump’s Cabinet to oust him by invoking the 25th Amendment, which was designed to remove a president who is incapacitated or unwell. They warned that the House would quickly consider impeachment articles if that does not happen.
Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday morning to urge him to follow the 25th Amendment, but Pence would not take their call.
“While there are only 13 days left, any day could be a horror show for America,” Pelosi said, calling Trump “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office” and adding: “This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”
Dozens of House Democrats, including some from conservative districts, echoed the call for a second impeachment and at least one Republican called for Trump’s removal by the Cabinet.
The attack on the Capitol may pose a cybersecurity risk. Here’s how
The pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday that stormed the Senate floor and Capitol Rotunda may have breached more than just the building’s physical security.
Photos show rioters in congressional offices, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). Any computers left on could be vulnerable, and so could papers — such as personal schedules or mail — that weren’t locked away, information security experts said. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said his office was ransacked and a laptop stolen. Officials also said multiple electronic items were taken from the building, according to CNN.
What does this mean for the security of the nation’s information? Here are insights from experts who spoke with The Times.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigns
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has become the second Cabinet secretary to resign a day after a pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In a resignation letter Thursday, DeVos blamed President Trump for inflaming tensions in the violent assault on the seat of the nation’s democracy. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she said.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao tendered her resignation earlier Thursday. News of DeVos’ resignation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In a farewell letter to Congress earlier this week, DeVos urged lawmakers to reject policies supported by President-elect Joe Biden, and to protect Trump administration policies that Biden has promised to eliminate.
Column: The Capitol insurrection was domestic terrorism; the police response was America as usual
Many members of the mob came outfitted for a riot. They had weapons to break down doors and windows as they stormed the building. They had riot gear. Some waved the Confederate flag — which represents a government that tried to overthrow ours. None of this is opinion. Domestic terrorism is defined by the FBI as “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”
If the people forcing their way into the Capitol wore turbans instead of MAGA hats, what transpired would not be described as a protest.
Trump’s final self-destructive days leave him weaker, more alone
WASHINGTON — After the mob he incited had been cleared from the Capitol and Congress resumed the work of formally announcing his electoral defeat, President Trump was on the phone late Wednesday night, grousing to an ally about what he saw as the day’s betrayals.
He was livid, according to one individual who spoke with him, at both Vice President Mike Pence, who carried out the constitutional role of overseeing Congress’ electoral vote count against the president’s wishes, and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Georgia Republican who at a rally alongside him Monday had vowed to join the challenge to the final vote, then refused after the riot.
Pelosi and Schumer release joint statement on invoking the 25th Amendment
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is soon to become majority leader, released the following statement Thursday on efforts to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump
“This morning, we placed a call to Vice President Pence to urge him to invoke the 25th Amendment which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses. We have not yet heard back from the Vice President.
“The President’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office. We look forward to hearing from the Vice President as soon as possible and to receiving a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people.”
Also on Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued a statement saying he supported the immediate impeachment of the president and his removal from office.
“Since taking office, President Trump has encouraged violence against the citizens of this country whenever it serves his selfish interests,” the statement said.
“I have called upon the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office because he is unfit to serve,” it said.
“And now, I am once again urging that the President be impeached and removed from office. We have a limited period of time in which to act. The nation cannot afford a lengthy, drawn out process, and I support bringing articles of impeachment directly to the House floor.”
Trump releases video statement amid growing calls to impeach for second time
President Trump delivered something of a concession in a videotaped statement, released on Twitter on Thursday night amid growing calls on Capitol Hill to impeach him a second time.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said, a day after telling supporters he would “never concede” and encouraging their ultimately violent siege on the Capitol.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
It was the sort of remarks Trump’s allies had urged him to make 24 hours earlier, as thousands of supporters, galvanized by his own dishonest claims that the election had been stolen from him, were wreaking havoc on the Capitol.
Unlike the video he posted to Twitter on Wednesday evening in which he told supporters “we love you,” resulting in the 28-hour suspension of his account, Trump rebuked the insurrectionists in his latest missive.
“You do not represent our country,” he said in the statement. “To those who broke the law, you will pay.”
Trump did defend his two-month crusade to overturn the election, and claimed falsely that he “immediately deployed the National Guard” to the Capitol on Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence was the one who coordinated with the Pentagon, according to multiple administration officials.
Although the remarks amounted to a valedictory of sorts, Trump closed with an uplifting message to his supporters, declaring that his political journey “has only just begun.”
Head of the U.S. Capitol Police says he’ll resign
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said Thursday that he had planned for a free-speech demonstration and did not expect Wednesday’s violent attack on the Capitol. He said it was unlike anything he’d experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.
He resigned Thursday, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called on him to step down earlier in the day. His resignation, effective Jan. 16, was confirmed to the Associated Press by a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The security breach halted Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol and occupied it for hours. The lawmakers returned Wednesday night and finished their work.
Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob
Three days before the pro-President Trump riot at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S. Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to a Defense official and two people familiar with the matter.
Capitol Police had planned for a free-speech demonstration and didn’t need more help, those three told the Associated Press. The police weren’t expecting what actually happened — an insurrection.
The Capitol ended up being overrun, overwhelming a law enforcement agency sworn to protect the lawmakers inside. Four rioters died, including one who was shot inside the building.
The head of the union representing U.S. Capitol Police is calling on the department’s chief to resign
The head of the union representing U.S. Capitol Police is calling on the department’s chief to resign, saying the Capitol riot “should never have happened.”
Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement Thursday that a lack of planning led to officers exposed to violent protesters storming the Capitol. He says officers lacked the backup and equipment needed to control rioters and argues that Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund must be replaced to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Police have been criticized for not immediately arresting many people who stormed the Capitol. Papathanasiou said, “Once the breach of the Capitol building was inevitable, we prioritized lives over property, leading people to safety.”
Papathanasiou is chair of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee.
Reality TV star Lawson Bates denies participating in D.C. riots
Reality TV personality and singer Lawson Bates is rejecting accusations that he and his brother Trace Bates participated in Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol building.
On Twitter, the “Bringing Up Bates” star wrote he and his brother attended a pro-Trump event on the Ellipse — but denied any involvement in the Capitol siege — after photos of the siblings posing among other Trump supporters went viral.
“I’m sorry you haven’t done your research (or maybe you have and just didn’t like the truth) but this was a peaceful public event at the Ellipse, and not at the Capitol buildings,” Lawson, 28, replied to a woman who accused him of “domestic terrorism.” “We were not there and have ALWAYS roundly condemned violence, as we still do.”
Litman: We have legal recourse against President Trump. We should use it
On the day after the Trump riot in Washington, the nation’s urgent priority is clear. Our legal and political systems have “in case of fire break glass” tools to try to prevent President Trump from further poisoning the country. It is plainly in the national interest to remove him from the White House and keep him from ever holding office again.
Removal is extreme but exigent. Despite Trump’s tweeted promise on Thursday of an orderly transfer of power on Inauguration Day, for the next two weeks he is at his most dangerous.
Trump has become his own worst nightmare: a repudiated, ostracized loser. Desperate and feral, the president is a clear and present danger to the national security. The man who once bragged that he had a bigger nuclear button than Kim Jong Un of North Korea should not possess the keys to the nuclear codes (especially with one of his cronies now heading up the Department of Defense) or the ability to invoke the Insurrection Act.
D.C. police identify three who died Wednesday
District of Columbia police have identified the three people who had medical emergencies and died during the storming of the Capitol.
They are 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, of Athens, Ala.; 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland, of Kennesaw, Ga.; and 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips, of Ringtown, Pa.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee would not go into detail about the exact causes of their deaths and would not say if any of the three were actively involved in breaching the Capitol on Wednesday.
Contee would say only that all three “were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced their medical emergencies.”
Greeson’s family said he had a heart attack. They described him as a supporter of President Trump but denied that he condoned violence.
The Capitol Police said a fourth person, identified as Ashli Babbitt, was shot by a Capitol Police employee while the rioters were moving toward the House chamber. Babbitt died at a hospital.
The siege at the Capitol by Trump loyalists came as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Top federal prosecutor says ‘all options are on the table’ for charging violent mob
The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia says “all options are on the table” for charges against participants in the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, including sedition.
Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C., says prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases on Thursday for crimes including unauthorized access and theft of property, and investigators are combing through reams of evidence to bring additional charges.
He says 40 other cases had already been charged in a District of Columbia superior court.
The announcement came a day after an armed mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Joe Biden’s election and flee from the House and Senate chambers.
Police said more than 90 people were arrested on Wednesday and on Thursday morning.
Maryland marketing firm fires employee seen in assault on U.S. Capitol
A Maryland marketing firm has fired an employee who was seen wearing his company badge when he stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.
Navistar Direct Marketing, based in Frederick, said in a statement Thursday that it was made aware that a man wearing a Navistar badge was seen inside the Capitol during the security breach. The statement said that after the company reviewed the photos, the unidentified employee was fired for cause. No additional details were released.
The statement also said that any other Navistar worker who engages in conduct that endangers the health and safety of others will lose their jobs, too.
A violent mob loyal to President Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in an attempt to overturn the presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep the president in the White House.
Michelle Obama says she has ‘been feeling so many emotions since yesterday’
Former First Lady Michelle Obama took to Twitter to say that she woke up Wednesday “elated” by the news that the Rev. Raphael Warnock had won his Senate race, but that her “heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember” as violent supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol.
“The day was a fulfillment of the wishes of an infantile and unpatriotic president who can’t handle the truth of his own failures,” she continued.
She called those who stormed the Capitol a “gang” and described how they waved the Confederate flag, “desecrated the center of American government” and then were mostly led out of the building freely.
“It all left me with so many questions — questions about the future, questions about security, extremism, propaganda, and more. But there’s one question I just can’t shake: What if these rioters had looked like the folks who go to Ebenezer Baptist Church every Sunday? What would have been different?”
Mike Pence to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
That’s according to two people — one close to Pence and one familiar with the inauguration planning — who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the plans had yet to be finalized.
The news comes a day after supporters of President Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the congressional confirmation of Biden’s victory, including some who angrily shouted that they were looking for Pence.
Trump had told his supporters that Pence had the power to reject electoral votes and make him the president instead of Biden, even though he didn’t have that authority. The pressure campaign created a rare public rift between the men after years of Pence’s unwavering loyalty.
Pence’s press secretary, Devin O’Malley, tweeted Thursday: “You can’t attend something you haven’t received an invitation to ....”
But it is customary for an outgoing vice president to attend the inauguration. Trump has not said whether he plans to attend.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated in Washington on Jan 20.
More uncertainty at Homeland Security amid domestic security threat
WASHINGTON — When pro-Trump rioters overran police and attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers into lockdown, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was in Bahrain, meeting with U.S. Coast Guard personnel working in South Asia.
On Thursday, amid a spate of resignations in Washington and talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, Wolf — still in the Middle East — put out a stronger statement than his initial condemnation Wednesday. He called the violence from Trump’s supporters “tragic and sickening,” and urged the president to do the same. He also said he’d stay on until the end of Trump’s term.
Less than 90 minutes later, the White House announced it had withdrawn Wolf’s nomination to lead the Homeland Security Department, throwing the government’s third-largest department, charged with protecting against domestic threats, into even more turmoil at a moment of national insecurity.
Here are the White House resignations triggered by Trump’s incitement of this week’s mob violence
WASHINGTON — They stuck with President Trump through Charlottesville, Helsinki and Lafayette Square. They defended him through the Russian investigation and his impeachment. But now, with less than two weeks left in his term, some of Trump’s loyalists are quitting his administration.
Here’s a look at who has left so far. We will be updating this page if more people resign.
She has led the Department of Transportation as one of the original members of Trump’s Cabinet, and she’s also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Chao stood with the president when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the racist violence in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.
Capitol Police chief defends response to ‘mass riots’
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said his forces had had a “robust” plan in place to deal with anticipated protests at the Capitol on Wednesday but were met with “mass riots.”
These “were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior,” he said, defending his officers in his first written statement in response to the security breach. “The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced.”
The department is conducting a “thorough review” of the events, which he called “unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement.”
Ban D.C. riot participants, flight attendants union urges airlines
Members of the mob that stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday should not be allowed to fly out of Washington on commercial flights, said the nation’s largest flight attendants union, citing the fear of unrest and violence in the air.
The Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA called for the ban after several incidents of raucous, unruly behavior on flights into Washington in the days leading up to the riot, attributed to supporters of President Trump. And at an airport and on a flight this week, travelers heckled Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the few prominent Republicans to publicly criticize Trump.
Biden places blame for Capitol violence on Trump
President-elect Joe Biden is calling the violent group that descended on the U.S. Capitol “domestic terrorists” and laying the blame for the violence squarely at President Trump’s feet.
During remarks Thursday in Wilmington, Del., Biden said people should not call the hundreds of Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol “protesters.” Rather, he said, they are “a riotous mob — insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.” Biden said Trump was guilty of “trying to use a mob to silence the voices of nearly 160 million Americans” who voted in November’s presidential election.
Biden said the president had “made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done” and unleashed an “all-out attack” on the country’s democratic institutions that ultimately led to Wednesday’s violence.
Nancy Pelosi joins lawmakers calling for Trump’s removal through 25th Amendment
In the wake of the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, the top two Democrats in Congress called for the removal of President Trump from office.
If the Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence don’t move forward to exercise the 25th Amendment, “the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). “That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus.
“This is urgent. This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” she said.
House Democrats were preparing articles of impeachment against the president for the second time this year, determined to show that Congress took a stand against the violence even if Trump is to leave office in less than two weeks.
While conviction seems unlikely — Senate Republicans have shown no sign that they would go along with it — Democrats feel as though they can’t let Wednesday’s events appear in history books without a response.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) called it “important to show future generations that Congress didn’t just ignore what happened yesterday and that we put on record our efforts to try to remove a president that instigated an attempted coup.”
Democrats were expected to introduce articles as soon as Monday. Members were discussing whether to try to convince Democratic leaders to hold a vote on the House floor or to at minimum get articles through the House Judiciary Committee, according to lawmakers involved in the discussions.
There is also discussion about issuing a censure against the president.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat in the Senate, also called on the Cabinet and Pence to use the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove him. If they don’t, he said, Congress should convene to impeach him.
Both impeachment and invoking the 25th Amendment remain logistically difficult given the expiration of Trump’s tenure Jan. 20. Congress formally adjourned early this morning and is not scheduled to return until shortly before the inauguration.
Schumer says he will fire Senate sergeant at arms over Capitol breach
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will become majority leader on Jan. 20, said Thursday that he intends to fire the Senate’s chief law enforcement officer following Wednesday’s bloody pandemonium on Capitol Hill.
“If Senate Sergeant at Arms [Michael C.] Stenger hasn’t vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Schumer said.
In addition to other duties, the sergeant at arms oversees the Capitol Police, along with the House sergeant at arms. According to the U.S. Senate website, Stenger was sworn into his position on April 16, 2018. He previously had served as assistant sergeant at arms.
In other developments Thursday related to Wednesday’s security lapses, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-Ky.) praised “those front-line U.S. Capitol Police officers who stood bravely in harm’s way during yesterday’s failed insurrection.”
But McConnell went on to add, “With that said, yesterday represented a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government. A painstaking investigation and thorough review must now take place and significant changes must follow. Initial bipartisan discussions have already begun among committees of oversight and Congressional Leadership.”
“The ultimate blame for yesterday lies with the unhinged criminals who broke down doors, trampled our nation’s flag, fought with law enforcement, and tried to disrupt our democracy, and with those who incited them. But this fact does not and will not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”
7-foot fence to be set up around Capitol grounds
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said Thursday that the military was erecting a 7-foot fence around the U.S. Capitol grounds after extremists incited by President Trump stormed the building.
“Yesterday was a horrible and shameful day in our history,” McCarthy said of the attempt to take over the Capitol.
Around 6,200 National Guard troops from D.C. and six states have been mobilized to help police provide security in the capital. All of the military personnel will reach Washington by the weekend, he said.
“These personnel and these security measures will be in place for no less than the next 30 days,” McCarthy said.
He spoke at a news conference with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. He said city officials only asked the Pentagon for military assistance on Wednesday afternoon, after protesters had broken through the police security cordon around the Capitol.
“When they called us over at the Pentagon, we started getting awareness yesterday afternoon about the breach within the Capitol,” McCarthy said, adding that he “quickly worked to move our resources forward.”
McCarthy controls the D.C. National Guard — unlike Guard units in states, which are under control of governors unless mobilized for federal missions.
McCarthy said that 850 Guard members were at the Capitol on Thursday.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigning, says she ‘cannot set aside’ pro-Trump insurrection at Capitol
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she is resigning, effective Monday, becoming the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration to quit in protest after he inciting the insurrection at Capitol.
In a statement Thursday, Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, said the violent attack on the Capitol “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
She said her department will continue to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s designated nominee to head the department, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Watch live: Nancy Pelosi speaks on Capitol mob violence
D.C. police department seeks assistance identifying militants
Rep. David Cicilline says he is circulating articles of impeachment
Federal charges against pro-Trump extremists expected as soon as today
Acting Atty. Gen. Jeffrey Rosen said he expected arrests to be made as soon as Thursday of pro-Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol to interrupt the counting of electoral college votes.
“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order,” Rosen said in a statement. “Our criminal prosecutors have been working throughout the evening with special agents and investigators from the U.S. Capitol Police, FBI, ATF, Metropolitan Police Department and the public to gather the evidence, identify perpetrators, and charge federal crimes where warranted.”
Rosen added that “some participants in yesterday’s violence” would face charges Thursday and promised that agents and prosecutors would track down others to “ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”
Rosen took over as attorney general last month, replacing William Barr, who stepped aside after drawing the ire of President Trump for asserting the Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread election fraud in his loss to Joe Biden.
In a statement issued Thursday, the former attorney general — nearly always a staunch ally of Trump during his tenure — blasted the president for inciting supporters to storm the Capitol.
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” Barr said. “The president’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Thursday issued a statement saying, “the FBI has deployed our full investigative resources and is working closely with our federal, state, and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in criminal activity during the events of January 6.”
He encouraged members of the public to provide “tips, information, and videos of illegal activity.”
Trump withdraws Chad Wolf’s nomination to be permanent Homeland Security chief
Schumer urges Cabinet to oust Trump
Senate Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer is calling on the Cabinet to remove President Trump from office after Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol by supporters he incited.
In a statement Thursday, Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.” He added, “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
Schumer said Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove Trump from office. “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he said.
Schumer’s statement adds to a growing number of current and former elected and administration officials, both Democrats and Republicans, such as Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who have advocated removing Trump under the 25th Amendment.
Capitol Police chief defends response to ‘mass riots’
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said Capitol Police had a “robust” plan in place to deal with anticipated protests at the Capitol on Wednesday, but defended his officers in the face of “mass riots.”
“Make no mistake — these mass riots were not First Amendment activities; they were criminal riotous behavior,” he said in his first written statement in response to the security breach. “The actions of the USCP officers were heroic given the situation they faced.”
The department is conducting a “thorough review” of the events, which he called “unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement.”
Sund offered no explanation as to how Capitol Police were seemingly overrun by the mob.
“These individuals actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers,” he said. “They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.”
Sund identified Ashli Babbitt as the woman who was killed inside the Capitol. The Capitol Police officer who fired his weapon was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Capitol Police and other law enforcement also responded to reports of a pipe bomb at two locations near the Capitol. The bombs were found to be hazardous and disabled. In sum, 18 state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and the National Guard responded to the events at the Capitol.
More than 50 Capitol Police and D.C. police officers were injured. Several officers were hospitalized with serious injuries. Thirteen people were arrested.
The Capitol stormed, an election completed: Jan. 6 in six minutes
Trump banned from Facebook at least until inauguration
Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday morning that President Trump would be banned from Facebook and Instagram at least until the inauguration on Jan. 20.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Zuckerberg has previously been accused of being too accommodating of the president. He said the company was reluctant to restrict his access to the platform “because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”
The mob attack on the Capitol, however, had shifted his thinking, he said.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours,” Zuckerberg wrote, “clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.”
Barr says Trump conduct ‘betrayal’ of presidency
WASHINGTON — Former Atty. Gen. William Barr says President Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, Barr said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”
Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.
His comments came a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.
Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.
Trump’s former acting White House chief of staff resigns as special envoy to Northern Ireland
President Trump’s former acting White House chief of staff resigned his post as special envoy to Northern Ireland on Thursday, saying he could no longer serve after seeing the siege of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.
Mick Mulvaney joined a growing list of Trump administration officials who were leaving following the violent riot by pro-Trump extremists at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. The mob stormed the building after the president addressed a massive rally and repeated groundless allegations that he lost the November election because of fraud.
Mulvaney said he called Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on Wednesday night to tell him that he was resigning.
Mulvaney served as acting White House chief of staff from January 2019 until March 2020. Before that, he was director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney told CNBC, which was first to report the resignation. “Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in.”
Trump says there ‘will be an orderly transition on January 20th’
President Trump said early Thursday there would be “an orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress finished certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and after a day of violence when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The pledge, in a statement tweeted by Trump’s social media director, came alongside a continued spurious claim by Trump that he was the real winner of the election.
“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.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
Trump’s account is currently locked by Twitter.
Trump has spent the last two months refusing to concede the election and making baseless allegations of mass voter fraud that have been rejected by dozens of courts and Republican officials, including his former attorney general.
Vice President Mike Pence presided over the formal joint session of Congress that tallied the electoral college vote. The session was adjourned after confirmation of Biden’s victory of 306 electoral votes over Trump’s 232.
After day of high drama, Congress confirms Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win
Congress has confirmed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win in the general election, counting electoral votes in their favor despite GOP objections.
The 270-vote threshold was crossed early Thursday in Washington when lawmakers from both chambers certified the election results from Vermont without objection in a joint session. That came after the Senate and House separately swept aside objections brought by some Republicans to Biden’s win in Pennsylvania, the state where he was born, which accounts for 20 electoral votes.
Vermont’s three electoral votes for Biden were quickly accepted by Congress, putting him over the top with 271.
The vote on Vermont’s results came hours after a mob in support of President Trump stormed into the Capitol in scenes that shocked both the nation and the world. Lawmakers were hustled to secure locations while law enforcement officers fought to secure the building.
The joint session was reconvened Wednesday evening, with several GOP lawmakers who had earlier pledged to object to some states’ results saying they would no longer do so.
Confirmation of Biden and Harris’ win by Congress is the final procedural step before the inauguration Jan. 20.
House shuts down Republican objections to Pennsylvania vote
The House has joined the Senate in turning aside Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral vote for President-elect Joe Biden.
Lawmakers in the House voted 282 to 138 against the objection as the counting of electoral college votes continued into the early hours of Thursday. The Senate shut down the same objection 92 to 7 just after midnight and, unlike the House, declined to debate before voting.
After a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it was the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some GOP lawmakers have backed President Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.
Those objecting to Pennsylvania’s votes included 80 House Republicans and Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley, who is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender.
‘Second revolution begins’: Armed right-wing groups celebrate Capitol attack
HOUSTON — Members of armed right-wing groups that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in blind support of President Trump’s futile attempt to stay in office said they supported the mob attack, calling it the beginning of another American revolution.
As the rabble pushed through barricades and swept through government corridors, Trump’s followers — wearing camo, backpacks and MAGA hats — created a disturbing, surreal scene that revealed the loyalty and violent inclinations among the extreme elements of the president’s base.
The attackers, mostly white men, some of whom espoused the sentiments of hate groups and white nationalists, were condemned by President-elect Joe Biden, who said of the mob violence: “This is not dissent. It’s disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now.”
Members of some armed right-wing groups — whipped up by Trump’s speech earlier in the day in which he refused to accept his election loss — praised the rioters for entering the Capitol by force.
Siege on Capitol renews talk of ousting Trump through 25th Amendment
The siege on the U.S. Capitol by rioting supporters of President Trump has renewed talk of an extreme remedy: declaring that the president is unfit to do his job and removing him from office under the 25th Amendment.
It is not the first time detractors have sought Trump’s ouster through invocation of the amendment. Early in the president’s term, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) introduced a resolution urging Trump to seek a medical and psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness for office, with an eye on the law governing presidential succession.
The proposal went nowhere.
Many Democrats took up the cause again Wednesday after a pro-Trump mob, egged on by the president, briefly invaded the Capitol and disrupted certification of Joe Biden’s November election victory. An unlikely ally, the National Assn. of Manufacturers, echoed the call for Trump’s ouster less than two weeks before his term ends, urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment as a way to “preserve democracy.”
Senate rejects GOP objections to Pennsylvania vote
The Senate quickly knocked down Republican objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
Senators voted 92 to 7 to derail the GOP attempt to overturn Pennsylvania’s support for the Democrat.
In a long day dominated by pro-Trump rioters’ deadly storming of the Capitol, it was the second state for which a group of Republicans tried and failed to reverse the will of voters. Some GOP lawmakers have backed President Trump’s bogus claims that the election was fraudulent.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed no other states’ votes would be challenged. That means Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory could finish quickly once the House votes on the Pennsylvania challenge.
Woman fatally shot in U.S. Capitol was a San Diego resident, family says
SAN DIEGO — The woman shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol Building during a violent pro-Trump siege Wednesday was an Ocean Beach resident, according to her extended family and media reports.
Her husband confirmed to KUSI that the woman, whose shooting was captured on video, was 35-year-old Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, and said she was an Air Force veteran.
A family member who said they saw videos of the shooting — the bystander footage has flooded the internet — and are convinced that the woman was Babbitt.
Congress debates objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral college results
Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have objected to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, triggering up to two hours of debate in the House and Senate.
The objections come 11 hours after the congressional count to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory began, and after lawmakers had to evacuate both chambers for several hours to escape a mob that had violently breached the Capitol.
Hawley said last week that he would object to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes, saying Congress should investigate voter fraud. President Trump has falsely said since his defeat that there was widespread fraud in the election.
Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 80,000 votes. Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his allies filed at least a half-dozen lawsuits challenging Biden’s win on various grounds, including that many or all of the state’s mail-in ballots were illegal.
The lawsuits failed as judge after judge found no violation of state law or constitutional rights, or no grounds to grant an immediate halt to certifying the election.
‘This is not America’: World gapes in horror at pro-Trump insurrection
SINGAPORE — For four years, the world has watched with surprise, horror and in some places glee as President Trump battered one democratic norm after another, exposing the so-called leader of the free world as just another troubled and deeply divided nation.
Still, the planet was little prepared for the stunning scenes Wednesday, when a pro-Trump mob, some flying Confederate flags, stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt a congressional vote certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“That rhetoric of American exceptionalism has lost a lot of shine in recent years, but nobody expected this to happen,” said Carlos Bravo Regidor, a political analyst and a professor at CIDE, a public research center in Mexico City.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney tweets that Trump ‘incited the mob’
House rejects objection to Biden’s Arizona win
The House has voted overwhelmingly to reject an objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s win in Arizona, joining the Senate in upholding the results of the election there.
The objection failed 303 to 121 on Wednesday night, with only Republicans voting in support.
Earlier Wednesday, supporters of President Trump breached the U.S. Capitol, forcing a lockdown of the lawmakers and staff inside. Trump has claimed widespread voter fraud to explain away his defeat to Biden, though election officials have said there wasn’t any.
Now that Arizona is out of the way, Congress will reconvene as the joint session and make its way through the rest of the states that have objections.
Four died as Trump supporters stormed Capitol
Four people died as supporters of President Trump violently occupied the U.S. Capitol.
Washington Police Chief Robert Contee said those who died Wednesday included a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others who died in “medical emergencies.”
Police said both law enforcement and Trump supporters deployed chemical irritants during the hours-long occupation of the Capitol building before it was cleared Wednesday evening by law enforcement.
The woman was shot earlier Wednesday as the mob tried to break through a barricaded door in the Capitol where police were armed on the other side. She was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and later died.
District police officials also say two pipe bombs were recovered, one outside the Democratic National Committee and one outside the Republican National Committee. Police recovered a cooler from a vehicle that had a long gun and a Molotov cocktail on Capitol grounds.
Several congressional Democrats urge Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment
Several congressional Democrats on Wednesday urged the Cabinet to either invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office two weeks ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, or called on the House of Representatives to impeach Trump again, citing damage he might do to the country in his final days of office.
After sparking violent demonstrations in Washington and inside the Capitol building on the day Congress was to count and certify the electoral college vote, Trump could further degrade the nation’s foundational principle of a peaceful transition of power, they said.
“The President incited an insurrection in the U.S. Capitol today,” tweeted House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.). “The 25th Amendment should be invoked, and he should be removed from office. What we witnessed in Washington today was an assault on the citadel of democracy.”
The 25th Amendment was established, in part, as a means to remove a president from office when they were unable to discharge their duties and responsibilities. Discussions of invoking the amendment were underway among Democratic lawmakers since Wednesday afternoon — even as some sought shelter from a mob of demonstrators, according to the members.
Seventeen Democrats wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence saying Trump demonstrated in a video he released today — in which he expressed “love” for the demonstrators, while telling them to leave the Capitol — that he is not fit for office.
The video “revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election,” they wrote. “President Trump’s willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard.”
The letter was signed by Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), among others.
Other Democrats said that if the 25th Amendment was not invoked, articles of impeachment should be drafted.
The House voted in early 2020 to impeach the president and there is no rule against doing so again.
Other Californians who expressed support include Reps. Jackie Speier of San Mateo, Jared Huffman of San Raphael, Mike Thompson of St. Helena and Jimmy Gomez of Los Angeles.
‘I’m in a roomful of people panicked that I might inadvertently give away their location’
WASHINGTON — I love to be in the House or Senate chambers on big days. There’s just something about being in the room where it happens. It’s more than just a news story. It’s history, and a privilege to tell people about it.
Even amid a pandemic — I have an 18-month-old son — I leaped at a chance to attend the counting of the electoral college votes. It’s normally a ceremonial moment, an epilogue of sorts to the long campaign. But this time was different. There would be objections lodged by President Trump’s allies to seek to overturn an election the president lost. It promised to be dramatic, this cementing of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Watch Lindsey Graham’s speech during the electoral college vote count
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says on the floor of the Senate that he objects to the contesting of electoral college votes, and that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are legitimate winners of the 2020 election.
Senate votes down objection to electoral college vote in Arizona
The Senate quashed an objection to the electoral college vote in Arizona, voting 93 to 6 in a significant but expected defeat for the conservatives who mounted the challenge.
A handful of Republicans who had planned to support President Trump and his effort to overturn the election said they would not do so after a violent mob of his loyalists stormed the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
The senators who continued to support the objection were Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Republican Rep. Tom Reed objects GOP motion on electoral college certification
Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) walked over to the Democratic side of the aisle to speak against the GOP motion objecting to Electoral College certification.
He is just the second House Republican to speak against it today. He seemed close to tears and furious about the mob that stormed into the Capitol Wednesday.
“We settle our differences through elections and when those elections are over we have peaceful transitions of power,” Reed said. “What we saw today was not American.”
Long warned against inciting violence, Trump does so with supporters’ Capitol siege
WASHINGTON — Four years of incendiary, divisive and dishonest rhetoric from President Trump culminated with long-predicted violence Wednesday as a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking its windows and doors, vandalizing offices and disrupting a constitutional ceremony intended to validate the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
The mob’s march on the Capitol came just after Trump encouraged supporters to do so during a 70-minute address rehashing his false claims that Democrats stole the election. Congress had just begun formally ushering in the post-Trump era by taking up the states’ electoral college results.
Video explainer on the 25th Amendment
A president can be removed from office through impeachment. He can also be replaced under the 25th Amendment. (Aug. 25, 2017)
California lawmakers describe harrowing day inside U.S. Capitol
California’s congressional leaders widely condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, even as some continued to shelter inside the building, waiting for law enforcement to control violent demonstrators.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) reaffirmed her commitment to continue the electoral college count that would certify Joe Biden as president-elect, despite an hours-long delay as parts of the Capitol were evacuated when supporters of President Trump mobbed the building. Four people died in the chaos.
In a letter to colleagues Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi condemned the day’s events, saying that “a shameful assault was made on our democracy.”
Sen. Hawley defends role in objecting to electoral college count
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) defended his role in objecting to the electoral college ballot count, arguing that raising an objection to a congressional vote count was the lawful alternative to the violence that overtook the Capitol earlier in the day.
Addressing “those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said on the Senate floor that “this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place where those objections and concerns should be heard.”
”Other Republicans have pointed to the courts as the appropriate venue for addressing grievances with the vote count — not Congress. Some conservatives have said neither the federal government nor Congress should overrule a state’s vote.”
Hawley was the first senator who signed on to objecting to the electoral college, giving credence to the unfounded claims of voter fraud pushed by President Trump.
Hawley, who had planned to object to the vote in Pennsylvania, did not explicitly say whether he still planned to do so. But he addressed his critique of the vote in that state during the debate time pegged for Arizona, perhaps indicating that he might not do so.
Sen. Kelly Loeffler withdraws her objection to certification of electoral college vote
Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) who lost her reelection contest Tuesday evening and had planned to object to the electoral college vote, said Wednesday night that she no longer will do so.
“The events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification,” she said. “The violence, lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent.”
McConnell pledges Senate will continue its work; Schumer likens today to Pearl Harbor attack
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged that the Senate would continue its work counting the electoral college tally in the wake of the “insurrection” in the Capitol building.
“The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of the chamber by thugs, mobs or threats,” he said as the Senate reconvened about 8 p.m. Eastern time. “We’ve never been deterred before and we’ll be not deterred today.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) likened Wednesday’s events to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor in the threat they posed to democracy.
“Unfortunately, we can now add Jan. 6, 2021, to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy,” he said. “This temple to democracy was desecrated. The world saw American elected officials hurriedly ushered out” because their lives were in danger.
Schumer laid blame at the feet of President Trump.
“Today’s events did not happen spontaneously,” he said. “This president bears a great deal of the blame.”
Barack Obama’s statement on today’s violence at the Capitol
Former President Obama has tweeted the following statement on violence at the Capitol on Wednesday:
“History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation.
“But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise. For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth — that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.
“Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.
“Right now, Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.
“I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably. We need more leaders like these — right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal.”
Watch Live: Electoral college vote count
GOP senators who planned to object to electoral college vote now no longer plan to
GOP senators who had planned to raise objections to the electoral college vote say in the wake of a mob insurrection at the Capitol building today that they no longer plan to do so.
“Today changed things drastically,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) who had planned to object. “Get this ugly day behind us.”
“We will not let today’s violence deter us from certifying the election,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) who also planned to object.
Lawmaker blasts security planning by Capitol Police after rioters storm building
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who leads the House subcommittee that funds the Capitol Police, blasted the security planning in the Capitol hours after pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.
“There were clearly enormous strategic and planning failures by the Capitol police, by the Sergeant at Arms and anyone else who was part of coordinating the effort here,” he said.
“This is the United States Capitol building with United States Congress in session handling the presidential election process.”
President Trump’s repeated calls for supporters to come to Washington for the electoral college vote counting provided ample time to prepare, Ryan said.
“There was a strategic breakdown,” he told reporters. “You can bet your ass we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” Ryan cited numerous videos that circulated online showing Capitol police officers being outmanned by rioters.
He said he was told ahead of time that the National Guard and D.C. police would be on standby. He did not call for any specific individual to be fired but said leadership should be held responsible.
“It’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon,” Ryan said. “This is an embarrassment both on behalf of the mob and the president and the insurrection and the attempted coup but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur.”
Rep. Lucy McBanks asks Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office
Sen. Mitt Romney condemns violence by Trump supporters at Capitol
Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who was his party’s presidential nominee in 2