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Today’s Headlines: The call for Trump’s removal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) says President Trump should immediately be removed from office or Congress may proceed to impeach him.

Congress’ Democratic leaders have warned of impeaching President Trump if his Cabinet doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him. Either way, there may not be time.

TOP STORIES

The Call for Trump’s Removal

After inciting a mob that stormed the Capitol this week, President Trump is facing intensifying calls for him to be removed in an effort to stop him from unleashing more chaos in his final, rage-filled days in office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer demanded that Trump’s Cabinet oust him by invoking the 25th Amendment, which was designed to remove a president who is incapacitated or unwell. If that does not happen — which seems likely, given the complexities of the amendment and after Schumer said Vice President Mike Pence would not take his and Pelosi’s call to discuss the matter — they warned that the House would quickly consider impeachment articles.

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Dozens of House Democrats, including some from conservative districts, echoed the call for a second impeachment. The conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal said Trump should resign, and longtime Trump apologist Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he’d contemplate supporting the Cabinet’s resorting to the 25th Amendment. “If something else happens, all options would be on the table,” he said, adding, “I am hopeful that the worst is behind us and that we can transfer power on Jan. 20.”

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other White House officials resigned their posts, and Trump’s head of Homeland Security, his former attorney general and two former chiefs of staff — John F. Kelly and Mick Mulvaney — condemned the president.

But forcibly ousting a president — even if a Cabinet were to invoke the 25th Amendment — is a laborious, time-intensive process. And even if Trump were impeached again, removing him requires a two-thirds vote of the Republican-controlled Senate, which acquitted him nearly a year ago and has shown no sign of openness to the idea now.

As the pressure mounted to drive him from office before Jan. 20, Trump finally delivered what amounted to a concession speech in a video meant to mollify the critics. But his video statement was probably too little, too late to quiet the clamor.

Here is the latest.

How Was Security Breached?

In images seen around the world, small clusters of U.S. Capitol Police officers retreated, fell away from violent assaults or simply moved aside as a mob descended on the seat of American legislative power. In many cases, the officers were in normal uniform, not in riot gear seen during other recent events, including Black Lives Matter protests — which immediately emerged as a new flashpoint in the national discourse about race and policing.

The stunning collapse of national security has left many of the nation’s leaders angry and demanding answers. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced he would leave the department on Jan. 16, after Pelosi called for his resignation. Pelosi also announced the resignation of House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, and McConnell said he “requested and received” the resignation of Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) suggested Trump and other administration officials may have contributed to the chaos as well by failing to quickly approve D.C. National Guard deployment.

On Thursday evening, a U.S. Capitol Police officer who had been in a violent confrontation with the mob died in the hospital. His is the fifth death associated with the siege of the Capitol. As of Thursday night, 82 people had been arrested in connection with the incident.

Who Will Get Care? Who Will Die?

Stretched to the breaking point by a deluge of COVID-19 patients, Los Angeles County’s four public hospitals are preparing to take the extraordinary step of rationing care, with a team of “triage officers” set to decide which patients can benefit from continued treatment and which are beyond saving and should be allowed to die.

The county’s top health officials have not yet declared a shift to a crisis level of care, which would trigger the rationing system, but the leader of the public hospitals acknowledged in a letter reviewed by The Times this week that “there will likely come a point when we simply don’t have sufficient staffing or critical supplies to care for all our patients in the way we normally would.”

The crisis designation would empower the newly named triage officers — usually critical care and emergency room doctors — to decide which patients at county hospitals would get access to resources such as ventilators, respiratory therapists and critical care nurses when they become too scarce. Hospitals outside the county system will have to decide on their own whether to invoke similar urgency measures.

Inside many overflowing Southern California hospitals, a form of undeclared rationing appears already to be taking place. Ambulances carrying COVID patients have been diverted from overtaxed medical centers. Critically ill patients sometimes wait days to get intensive care beds.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The coronavirus test being provided daily to tens of thousands of residents in Los Angeles and other parts of California may be producing inaccurate results, particularly false negatives, according to guidance from federal officials that could raise questions about the accuracy of infection data shaping the pandemic response.

About 1 in 5 coronavirus tests performed daily in L,A. County are coming back positive, an astoundingly high rate.

— With 1 in 3 students testing positive for the coronavirus in some L.A. neighborhoods, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s push to reopen campuses is clashing with reality.

— Meanwhile, state officials have sent refrigerated trucks across California as deaths overwhelm funeral homes.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

John Dean served as White House counsel for the Nixon administration.

But in April 1973, he was fired as the president spiraled in an attempt to distance himself from the Watergate scandal. Dean would prove instrumental: His testimony to prosecutors was key in revealing a cover-up and Nixon’s involvement. For his assistance, Dean was given a reduced sentence on an obstruction of justice charge. On Jan. 8, 1975, he left prison.

He returned home to Los Angeles the next day and reunited with his wife, a sequence of events captured by a Times photographer. Reporters were given a further look at Dean’s post-Watergate life on Jan. 15. He held a large press conference at his house and spoke sympathetically of Nixon.

Jan. 9, 1975: John W. Dean III and his wife Maureen are driven home from airport
Jan. 9, 1975: John W. Dean III and his wife Maureen are driven home from the airport to their Coldwater Canyon home after Dean’s release from prison for his Watergate-related conviction.
(Fitzgerald Whitney / Los Angeles Times)

YOUR WEEKEND

— Thirteen culture picks, from a streaming David Bowie musical to a chamber music performance.

Italian food is there for you. Take comfort in this guide to Italian restaurants from The Times’ 101 list.

— What goes into writing a great recipe? Cooking columnist Ben Mims gets into the details and unveils some changes in our approach.

— If you made a new year’s resolution to run more, Run Every Day challenges on Instagram can hold you to it.

CALIFORNIA

— A sharp rise in deaths of homeless people starting in the spring of 2020 was driven by drug overdoses involving fentanyl, a report released by the L.A. County Department of Public Health concludes.

— A real estate developer whose 35-story residential tower is a major part of the Los Angeles City Hall corruption investigation will pay $1.2 million to resolve its portion of the probe, prosecutors say.

— A La Mesa police detective who fired a beanbag round at a 59-year-old protester during a riot in May, leaving her partially blind, will not face criminal charges, the San Diego County district attorney’s office announced.

— Lobbyist and longtime campaign consultant Steve Afriat has died at age 68. He worked with politicians in L.A., West Hollywood and elsewhere on dozens of campaigns, but he was especially proud to have been the first openly gay man to run a Los Angeles City Council office.

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NATION-WORLD

— From Honduras to Peru, the attack by pro-Trump extremists on the U.S. Capitol is prompting widespread alarm in Latin America — and dark reminders of political upheaval in some countries in the region.

President-elect Joe Biden will select Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his Labor secretary.

— As vice president, Kamala Harris will be able to break Senate ties, but her staff hopes she won’t need to.

Identical twins are not genetically identical, new research shows.

Indonesia’s Mt. Merapi volcano spewed giant plumes of hot clouds as thousands of residents were evacuated from the area surrounding the country’s most active volcano.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The race is on to succeed Alex Trebek as “Jeopardy!” host, and Sony Pictures Television has begun a formal search, people familiar with the plans say.

— After years of criticism, “The Bachelor’s” treatment of race and politics is evolving. Matt James, the first Black “Bachelor,” has joined the effort, speaking out against Wednesday’s violent attack on the Capitol.

— A billboard featuring a painting that depicts George Floyd’s brutal killing has gone up in West Hollywood. The group behind the work says it was worth the fight to display it.

— Millions of guests to Disney’s theme parks live vicariously through Joe Rohde, the famed theme park designer and patriarch of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. He’s retiring this week.

BUSINESS

Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal charge of defrauding safety regulators in connection with the development of the 737 Max aircraft, which was involved in two deadly crashes.

— Holland America, Carnival and Princess cruise lines announced they are canceling more sailings through spring, triggering a new round of refunds.

Elon Musk, the outspoken founder of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is now the richest person on the planet, eclipsing Jeff Bezos.

SPORTS

— Now that the Mets have found their answer to Mookie Betts with shortstop Francisco Lindor, they might suddenly be the team no one wants to draw in the first round — and the Dodgers could very well be defending their championship in a short series against them.

UCLA women’s basketball has avoided a dreaded COVID-19 postponement due to positive tests within its program, but the Bruins are now battling another bug: injuries. The team won’t play its scheduled game against Colorado today.

Free online games

Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

— The pro-Trump mob shows how incapable America is of protecting its most hallowed temple of democracy. It’s an inexcusable failure, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— The next few weeks are crucial for Gov. Gavin Newsom as he faces a GOP-led recall effort. Columnist George Skelton writes that timely vaccinations, school openings and business restrictions could mean political life or death.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth spent years promoting Josh Hawley. Now he calls his support for Hawley “the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.” (Kansas City Star)

— How will the Biden administration deal with reporters from far-right media wishing to cover the Pentagon? (Defense One)

ONLY IN L.A.

“Mr. Mayor,” the new NBC sitcom starring Ted Danson as an unlikely Los Angeles mayor, may rely on what our TV critic calls “carpetbagger humor,” but it’s also chock-full of real-life L.A. references. We put together a guide to how they compare to the real things, including mayoral Spanish, the Bob’s Big Boy mascot and Angelyne.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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