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A Capitol Police officer with members of the National Guard on Thursday, a day after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building.Credit…Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
With less than two weeks before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office, it seemed on Thursday that the wheels might finally be coming off the Trump administration.
In 24 hours, Congress reconvened in a Capitol breached and battered by a pro-Trump mob, formalized Mr. Biden’s victory over the objections of more than 100 Republican lawmakers and found itself on the brink of impeaching President Trump a second time.
A growing cohort of legislators, including at least one Republican, expressed support for stripping Mr. Trump of his powers under the 25th Amendment, even as Vice President Mike Pence — who would have to lead that process — was said to oppose the idea.
Several high-ranking administration officials announced that they would resign, a late and purely symbolic gesture by people who had stood by Mr. Trump even as he promoted baseless claims of election fraud and repeatedly refused to accept his loss.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, claimed that “the entire White House” abhorred the violence that Mr. Trump himself had incited, then walked off without answering any questions. She spoke for two minutes in the White House press briefing room and did not mention the president by name, or his speech that set the violence at the Capitol in motion.
All of this unfolded amid the strange silence of a Trump-free Twitter, with the president’s account temporarily locked after he tweeted praise for the mob that had ransacked the Capitol, leading to at least four deaths.
On Capitol Hill, the number of Republicans willing to publicly defend Mr. Trump dwindled. One, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, said he supported the invocation of the 25th Amendment; another, Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, said he “would not oppose” the move if cabinet members decided to proceed.
Maggie Haberman contributed reporting.
Trump Pledges Orderly Transfer of Power
President Trump said a day after a mob stormed the Capitol that a “new administration” would be sworn in after a “smooth, orderly, seamless transition of power.”
Now Congress has certified the results. A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. 2020 has been a challenging time for our people.
President Trump said a day after a mob stormed the Capitol that a “new administration” would be sworn in after a “smooth, orderly, seamless transition of power.”CreditCredit…@realDonaldTrump
President Trump came the closest to a concession statement on Thursday as he has so far in a videotaped address from the White House, a day after he helped steer his supporters toward the Capitol, where they rioted and overtook the building.
After his Twitter account was locked on Wednesday and he was unable to post for nearly 24 hours, the president said that there would be a “new administration” sworn in on Jan. 20, and that “serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime.”
He also condemned the violence that came shortly after he told his supporters to fight against the election results, falsely claimed that the vote was stolen from him and said that Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the outcome.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” said Mr. Trump, reading from a teleprompter.
In his opening, Mr. Trump claimed that he “immediately deployed the National Guard” to “expel the intruders,” despite accounts from people familiar with the events saying he resisted those calls and that it was, in fact, Mr. Pence who ordered the National Guard to deploy.
“The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy,” Mr. Trump said, a day after he ended a video telling the rioters to “go home” but ended with, “I love you.”
“You do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said in the latest video.
The video was vital in the sense that Mr. Trump’s ardent supporters will only accept his words, not anyone else’s, and officials throughout government are concerned about unrest for the next 13 days around the country. But the president has a long history of recording such videos only to undermine his own remarks a short time later.
“Now tempers must be cooled, and calm restored,” he said. “We must get on with the business of America.”
Michael C. Stenger had been the Senate sergeant-at-arms since April 2018.Credit…Win Mcnamee/Getty Images
Three top security officials on Capitol Hill are stepping down a day after a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, congressional leaders said on Thursday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced that Paul D. Irving, the House sergeant-at arms, intended to resign from his position during her weekly news conference, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said Thursday evening he had accepted the resignation of Michael C. Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms.
News of Mr. Stenger’s resignation came after Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said he would fire Michael C. Stenger, the Senate sergeant-at-arms, as soon as Democrats took the majority.
Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief, will also leave his position on Jan. 16 after Ms. Pelosi called for his resignation, saying “Mr. Sund, he hasn’t even called us since this happened.” Mr. Sund, in his letter of resignation, said he would use his remaining paid sick leave — 440 hours, about 55 days — after departing.
The swift departure of the top three security officials just two weeks before a presidential inauguration reflected bipartisan outrage over the law enforcement failure to prevent a mob of violent protesters from storming the Capitol as lawmakers debated the formal certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. The sergeants-at-arms are responsible for security in their respective chambers and related office buildings, while Mr. Sund oversaw more than 1,800 Capitol Police personnel.
It was unclear immediately who would replace Mr. Stenger and Mr. Sund. In his statement, Mr. McConnell said Jennifer Hemingway, the deputy sergeant-at-arms, would serve as acting sergeant-at-arms.
Lawmakers in both chambers and from both parties vowed on Thursday to find out how those responsible for Capitol security allowed a violent mob to infiltrate the Capitol. House Democrats announced a “robust” investigation into the law enforcement breakdown.
Mr. McConnell said in a separate statement that “a painstaking investigation and thorough review,” was needed after the events of Wednesday, which he described as “a massive failure of institutions, protocols, and planning that are supposed to protect the first branch of our federal government.”
Mr. McConnell added that “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.”
The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, normally a supporter of President Trump, wrote that it would best if he stepped down.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times
The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal, the American flagship of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, denounced President Trump on Thursday for inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol, declaring his behavior “impeachable” and encouraging Mr. Trump to resign his office to prevent a second impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House.
In an unsigned article titled “Donald Trump’s Final Days,” the Journal’s editorial page — a bellwether for the conservative establishment — excoriated the president for “an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election” and said “this week has probably finished him as a serious political figure.”
“If Mr. Trump wants to avoid a second impeachment, his best path would be to take personal responsibility and resign,” the Journal wrote, concluding, “It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly.”
The Journal’s editorial page, led by the editor Paul Gigot, has criticized Mr. Trump in the past, sometimes harshly. But its latest salvo was a striking repudiation of the president by a news outlet controlled by Mr. Murdoch, whose Fox News cable network is home to several of Mr. Trump’s most loyal and longstanding media defenders.
Mr. Murdoch’s publicists had previously indicated that he did not expect Mr. Trump to recapture the presidency, and another Murdoch publication, The New York Post, trumpeted President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory even as Mr. Trump refused to accept the results.
The Post, in its own unsigned editorial on Thursday, stopped short of arguing that Mr. Trump should prematurely exit the White House, instead urging his aides “to stay and stop the crazy.” But given Mr. Murdoch’s influence on his publications’ political views, the Journal’s blunt words for Mr. Trump — who once craved Mr. Murdoch’s approval — signal that the mogul is now looking ahead to the start of the Biden presidency.
Rep. Susan Wild, Democrat of Pennsylvania, on the floor of the House early Thursday debating objections to confirming the Electoral College vote from Pennsylvania.Credit…House Television, via Associated Press
A day after members of Congress were relocated to secure locations as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, raising fears about widespread transmission of the coronavirus, a House member revealed on Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus.
Representative Jake LaTurner, Republican of Kansas, announced on Twitter — hours after sharing space with colleagues on the House floor throughout a late-night session to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College victory — that he had received a positive test, prompting further concern that the virus might have spread more widely.
While in lockdown on Wednesday, Representative Susan Wild, Democrat of Pennsylvania, told CBS News by phone that “about half” of the people sheltering in the secure location in the Capitol complex had refused to wear masks, even though masks were made available. When asked which lawmakers had declined to cover their faces, Ms. Wild said they had been “people from the Republican delegation.”
“It’s what I would call a Covid superspreader event,” she said. “It’s exactly the kind of situation that we’ve been told by the medical doctors not to be in, you know — close proximity — especially with people who aren’t wearing masks.”
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. LaTurner had been in the same location as Ms. Wild, though Ms. Wild said roughly 300 to 400 people were being held in the room with her.
As the violent mob stormed the Capitol, groups of lawmakers were kept together at secure locations, while others reported being stranded for a time in offices and hideaways throughout the building. Videos of the siege showed hundreds of members of the mob, most of them unmasked, clashing with Capitol Police officers and journalists inside the Capitol and on the surrounding grounds.
Mr. LaTurner’s announcement came after two other Republicans, Representatives Kevin Brady and Kay Granger, both from Texas, had tested positive for the virus earlier in the week. Both Mr. Brady and Ms. Granger were not in the Capitol on Wednesday because they were in quarantine.
Pelosi Calls for Trump’s Removal From Office
Following the U.S. Capitol riot, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip President Trump of his powers.
In calling for this seditious act, president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people. I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment. If the vice president and cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus. To those whose purpose was to deter our responsibility, you have failed. You did not divert the Congress from our solemn constitutional purpose to validate the overwhelming election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president and vice president of the United States. We’re very pleased now that we have in 13 days President Joe Biden, a Democratic House majority and a Democratic Senate majority that will work to heal, to heal and restore the soul of our nation.
Following the U.S. Capitol riot, Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip President Trump of his powers.CreditCredit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times
The top Democrats in Congress called on Thursday for President Trump’s immediate removal from office for his role in urging on the violent mob that overtook the Capitol a day before, disrupting the ratification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s electoral victory.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows him and the cabinet to wrest the power of the presidency from Mr. Trump.
If Mr. Pence declines to act, they said, Democrats were prepared to impeach Mr. Trump for a second time.
“While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America,” Ms. Pelosi said, calling Mr. Trump’s actions on Wednesday a “seditious act.”
The speaker’s plan was announced during an extraordinary news conference in the reclaimed Capitol, hours after the building was overrun by a mob of Trump supporters who temporarily halted Congress’s confirmation of Mr. Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Speaking to reporters, Ms. Pelosi singled out members of the cabinet by name, asking why they would not intervene.
“Are they ready to say for the next 13 days this dangerous man can assault our democracy?” Ms. Pelosi said of the cabinet.
She said she hoped to have an answer from Mr. Pence by the end of the day on whether he would attempt to use the 25th Amendment. The two leaders tried to call the vice president directly on Thursday but were left on a holding line for 20 minutes without him picking up.
It was unclear how quickly Democrats could move to impeach Mr. Trump. There is no clear precedent for putting a former official on trial in the Senate, and with only 13 days left in his term, it was not certain Democrats could actually accomplish such a complicated and politically fraught process on a compressed timetable.
Mr. Schumer, the top Democrat in the Senate, said: “What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer.”
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden transition, did not take a stand on the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are focused on their duty — preparing to take office on Jan. 20 — and will leave it to Vice President Pence, the cabinet and the Congress to act as they see fit,” Mr. Bates said. “In the meantime, Donald Trump must stop blocking cooperation with the transition that could harm the readiness of the United States government to overcome the pandemic and the other crises he has worsened.”
Vice President Mike Pence after a Joint Session of Congress certified the electoral college votes for 2020 Presidential Election on Wednesday. Mr. Pence opposed calls to invoke the 25th Amendment.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
Vice President Mike Pence is opposed to a call by Democrats in Congress and some Republicans to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip President Trump of his powers before his term ends, a person close to the vice president said.
It is unclear when Mr. Pence will alert Congress of his position. But the decision by Mr. Pence is said to be supported by several Trump cabinet officials. Those officials, a senior Republican said, viewed the effort as likely to add to the current chaos in Washington rather than deter it.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in October. “An angry mob cannot be allowed to attack our Capitol,” she wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.Credit…Matt York/Associated Press
All but one of President Trump’s cabinet secretaries condemned the violent mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday. Some pointed to the president for inciting the violence, and one cabinet member resigned. Here’s what they said:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement released hours after the melee, said, “The storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable.”
Jeffrey A. Rosen, the acting attorney general, called the violence “an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy” in a statement on Wednesday. On Thursday, Mr. Rosen added that law enforcement officials were working to find, arrest and charge those who breached the Capitol.
“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions.
“We will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”
Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, wrote in a statement on Thursday that he supported a “peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on Jan. 20.”
“Yesterday’s violence at the Capitol was reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also condemned the violence in the immediate aftermath on Wednesday, writing that “an angry mob cannot be allowed to attack our Capitol.”
“The peaceful transfer of power is what separates American representative democracy from banana republics.
“The work of the people must go on.”
“Our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Ms. Chao wrote in a letter posted on Twitter. “It has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Chad F. Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, denounced the president’s supporters who participated in the riot and called on Mr. Trump to more forcefully condemn them.
“What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,” Mr. Wolf wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “We now see some supporters of the president using violence as a means to achieve political ends.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will remain in his post and carry out his responsibilities until the inauguration, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Mr. Mnuchin, who was traveling in Israel on Thursday, condemned the violence but made no mention of the president. “These actions are unacceptable and must stop,” he said.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tweeted a six-word statement in the hours after the riot on Wednesday: “Violence is never the proper solution.”
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette condemned what he called a “tragic event in our Nation’s Capitol.”
“Politically-motivated violence, regardless of ideology or cause, must always be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” he wrote on Twitter. “No American should excuse wanton disregard for one of our Nation’s most sacred institutions.”
“I am disgusted by the attack on the Capitol we witnessed today. Physical violence and the desecration of this hallowed symbol of our democracy must end.”
“Violence is never an appropriate response regardless of legitimate concerns. Please remember: if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt condemned the violence and praised the actions of the U.S. Park Police, an agency in his department, on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Today’s violence and lawlessness at the U.S. Capitol cannot and will not be tolerated.”
“Thank you U.S. Park Police for always fulfilling your selfless duties to safeguard lives and protect our symbols of democracy.”
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia on Wednesday called the attack “a low point in the history of our democracy. We must immediately rise above this.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said to reporters in Georgia that he was “disappointed” in the president for inciting the mob, adding it “was not the right thing to do.”
“I’m very discouraged by the people who were there that felt compelled to breach the Capitol and do the things they did.”
“We’re going to go forward as America. We have a new president.”
Robert L. Wilkie, the secretary of veterans affairs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland during a news conference in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday. He said President Trump should resign or be removed from office.Credit…Brian Witte/Associated Press
Some Republican lawmakers on Thursday joined a chorus of Democrats calling for the removal of President Trump from office for his role in inciting a riotous mob to storm the U.S. Capitol.
They did not, however, say if they would support impeaching the president, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi had threatened if Vice President Mike Pence and Mr. Trump’s cabinet failed to strip the president of his powers by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois and the first Republican lawmaker to call for invoking the 25th Amendment after the riot, said that Mr. Trump had “abdicated his duty to protect the American people” by inciting an “insurrection.”
“The president has become unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Mr. Kinzinger, an early opponent of efforts to subvert the results of the election, said in a video posted on Twitter. “It is time to invoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare.”
Gov. Larry Hogan, Republican of Maryland and a frequent critic of President Trump within his party, echoed those calls.
“I think there’s no question that America would be better off if the president would resign or be removed from office,” Mr. Hogan said in a news conference addressing the violence. “Enough of the lies. Enough of the hate. Enough of the total dysfunction. Just, enough.”
Representative Steve Stivers, Republican of Ohio, said that he also supported stripping Mr. Trump of his powers through the 25th Amendment. He did not rule out supporting impeachment but argued that Congress could not remove the president through the impeachment process in the time remaining in Mr. Trump’s term.
“The cabinet decides on the 25th Amendment, and if the cabinet decided to do that, I would not oppose it,” Mr. Stivers, a former chairman of the House Republican campaign arm, said in a television appearance. “I do not believe that an impeachment can happen in 13 days.”
McEnany Calls for Full Prosecution for Rioters
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday the Trump administration condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on Wednesday and called for their prosecution.
Let me be clear: The violence we saw yesterday in our nation’s capital was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way. We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable. And those that broke the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. What we saw yesterday was a group of violent rioters undermining the legitimate First Amendment rights of the many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard in our nation’s capital. Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live in safety, peace and freedom. Those who are working in this building are working to ensure an orderly transition of power. Now it is time for America to unite, to come together, to reject the violence that we have seen. We are one American people under God.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday the Trump administration condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on Wednesday and called for their prosecution.CreditCredit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, read a statement to reporters on Thursday “on behalf of the entire White House” condemning the violence by Trump supporters at the Capitol complex a day earlier in “the strongest possible terms.”
“Those who violently besieged our Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for,” she said, though she made no mention of President Trump or his speech that set the violence in motion.
The president’s silence on the violent mob stretched to nearly 24 hours as Ms. McEnany spoke for two minutes, then immediately left the White House’s press briefing room without questions from reporters.
She called for full prosecution of those who breached the Capitol. “What we saw yesterday was a group of violent rioters undermining the legitimate First Amendment rights” of Trump supporters who had gathered by the National Mall to protest the results of the election, which Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared was stolen from him.
President Trump spoke to a crowd of supporters in Washington on Wednesday before a mob rushed the Capitol.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times
The Justice Department said on Thursday that it would not rule out pursuing charges against President Trump for his possible role a day earlier in encouraging a mob of his supporters to march on the Capitol just before thousands stormed the building.
“We are looking at all actors, not only the people who went into the building,” Michael R. Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in Washington, told reporters.
Mr. Sherwin was asked whether such targets would include Mr. Trump, who exhorted supporters during a rally near the White House, telling them that they could never “take back our country with weakness.” Propelled by Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of election irregularities, the protesters had gathered to demonstrate against Congress’ certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College victory and moved on to the Capitol after the president’s rally.
Mr. Sherwin said that he stood by his statement. “We’re looking at all actors,” he said. “If the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they’re going to be charged.”
His comments were an extraordinary invocation of the rule of law against a president who has repeatedly pressured law enforcement officials to advance his personal and political agendas. The Justice Department generally views that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
Mr. Trump is also said to have discussed in recent weeks the possibility of pardoning himself, an unprecedented and untested use of presidential power, but it is uncertain whether that would ultimately protect him.
Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also told the crowd on Wednesday that Republicans in Congress should back Mr. Trump’s efforts to undo the election result: “We’re coming for you,” he said of lawmakers who refused. And Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, said that to win the election, his supporters would need to engage in “trial by combat” against Democrats.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday filed their first charges stemming from the riot, charging one man with assaulting a police officer and another with illegally possessing a loaded handgun.
Both criminal complaints were filed in Federal District Court in Washington. The city’s Metropolitan Police Department had announced earlier that its officers had arrested nearly 70 people at the riot on charges that included unlawful entry, gun possession and assault.
In a separate statement, the Capitol Police announced the arrests of 14 other people on Thursday.
The first federal complaint accused Mark J. Leffingwell of assaulting a Capitol Police officer around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in a hallway in the Senate wing of the Capitol building. The officer, Daniel Amendola, said in the complaint that Mr. Leffingwell was part of a crowd that had “breached a window.” When Officer Amendola sought to stop him and others from entering the building any further, Mr. Leffingwell punched him repeatedly in the head and chest, according to the complaint. Mr. Leffingwell then “spontaneously apologized.”
Prosecutors also unsealed charges against a Maryland resident, Christopher Alberts, accusing him of illegally carrying a black Taurus 9-millimeter pistol at the riot. Officers first saw Mr. Alberts leaving the Capitol complex around 7:30 p.m. and noticed “a bulge” on his right hip. When they stopped Mr. Alberts, the officers found the pistol, which had one round in the chamber and a magazine filled with 12 rounds, according to the complaint. They also discovered that he was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a gas mask in his backpack.
After he was taken into custody, the complaint said, Mr. Alberts told the police that he had the weapon for “personal protection” and did not intend to harm anyone.
John F. Kelly, a former chief of staff to President Trump, also called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
John F. Kelly, a former chief of staff to President Trump who has criticized him on several occasions since leaving his post two years ago, said on Thursday that if he were still in the cabinet, he would vote to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Mr. Trump “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“I don’t think it’ll happen, but I think the cabinet should meet and discuss this, because the behavior yesterday and the weeks and months before that has just been outrageous from the president,” Mr. Kelly said on CNN. “And what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the frauds.”
When the CNN host Jake Tapper asked whether he would support invoking the 25th Amendment if he were in the cabinet, Mr. Kelly paused for a moment before saying, “Yes, I would.”
Mr. Trump’s incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday led multiple administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, to resign and has drawn criticism even from Republicans who previously stood by the president.
But given that members of the Trump administration will be out of a job in 13 days and that Democrats will control the White House and both chambers of Congress, the resignations and rebukes have little, if any, practical significance.
In his interview on CNN, Mr. Kelly said that Mr. Trump simply did not listen to dissent within his administration.
“You don’t survive on telling this president the truth,” he said. “Not for very long, anyway.”
Michelle Obama in 2019. “Now is the time for Silicon Valley to stop enabling this monstrous behavior,” she said of the president in a statement on Thursday.Credit…Paul R. Giunta/Invision, via Associated Press
Michelle Obama, the former first lady, called on social media companies to permanently ban President Trump on Thursday in the aftermath of a violent mob he incited at the Capitol.
“Now is the time for Silicon Valley to stop enabling this monstrous behavior — and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms,” Mrs. Obama wrote in a lengthy statement posted on Twitter. “If we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences.”
Earlier on Thursday, Facebook said it would block Mr. Trump on its platforms at least until the end of his term on Jan. 20, as the mainstream online world moved forcefully to limit the president after years of inaction.
Mrs. Obama also highlighted the contrast in police response to the mob at the Capitol, when compared with the Black Lives Matter protests that were met with brutal force last year.
“In city after city, day after day, we saw peaceful protesters met with brute force. We saw cracked skulls and mass arrests, law enforcement pepper spraying its way through a peaceful demonstration for a presidential photo op,” she wrote, adding that seeing the inequality of force used was “so painful. It hurts.”
“Yesterday made it painfully clear that certain Americans are, in fact, allowed to denigrate the flag and symbols of our nation,” Mrs. Obama wrote. “They’ve just got to look the right way.”
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island for Commerce Secretary.Credit…Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. picked Gina M. Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, as his commerce secretary and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston as his labor secretary, as he moves to fill key economic positions that are expected to play a significant role in his administration.
Mr. Biden also named Isabel Guzman, a small business advocate and former Obama administration official, to run the Small Business Administration.
Mr. Walsh, 53, led Boston’s powerful Building and Construction Trades Council for two years before winning his race for mayor in 2013 with strong backing from organized labor. He is expected to work on fulfilling Mr. Biden’s promise to implement stronger worker protections amid the pandemic and to boost worker pay.
It will fall to the next labor secretary to revisit a number of key regulations issued by the department under President Trump, including a rule that makes it harder for employees of contractors and franchises to recover stolen wages from parent companies when their direct employers lack the resources to do so.
Ms. Raimondo, a moderate Democrat with a background in the financial industry, has served as governor since 2015. She is seen as a relatively traditional choice for commerce secretary, a sprawling post that oversees relations with the business community but also technology regulation, weather monitoring and the gathering of economic data, among other duties.
As governor of Rhode Island, Ms. Raimondo introduced training programs, cut taxes and eliminated regulations to support businesses. She clashed with unions but ultimately found compromise as she overhauled the state pension plan.
Before running for office, she was a founding employee at the investment firm Village Ventures, which was backed by Bain Capital, and co-founded her own venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital. Ms. Raimondo has a law degree from Yale University and earned a doctorate from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar.
As commerce secretary, Ms. Raimondo will control an agency that was at the forefront of an economic fight with China during the Trump administration.
A sprawling agency with nearly 50,000 employees, the Commerce Department has used its vast power to curtail the access of Chinese companies to the American market and technology. The department also played a role in levying significant tariffs on trading partners on the basis of national security, under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
It carried out investigations into the effect of imported steel and aluminum on the domestic industry, which led to President Trump imposing global metal tariffs. It also investigated whether imports of cars and car parts, uranium and titanium sponges posed a threat to national security. While those investigations determined that imports harmed American interests, the Trump administration did not impose tariffs.
Mr. Biden has criticized Mr. Trump for imposing national-security-related tariffs on America’s closest allies, suggesting he may ultimately choose to roll back such an authority.
Former Attorney General William Barr in September.Credit…Oliver Contreras for The New York Times
Former Attorney General William P. Barr said Thursday that President Trump betrayed his office by encouraging a mob of supporters to intimidate Congress into overturning the election results by storming the Capitol, joining former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in blaming Mr. Trump for the violence.
Mr. Barr, who stepped down from office last month under pressure from Mr. Trump, said in a statement to The Associated Press that the president’s conduct betrayed “his office and supporters” and that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”
Mr. Barr was widely seen as the cabinet member who did the most to advance the president’s political agenda, and the statement was unusually strong given Mr. Barr’s praise for the president in his departure letter even as Mr. Trump pressured the Justice Department to help his effort to overturn the election results.
Immediately after a violent mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, Mr. Mattis was among the first former cabinet officials to directly blame Mr. Trump, calling the attack “an effort to subjugate American democracy by mob rule” that was “fomented by Mr. Trump.”
Former Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and retired Gen. Joseph Dunford, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Mr. Trump, also criticized the politicians who had supported Mr. Trump’s claims and spread false information about the election.
Current law enforcement officials have not gone so far as to acknowledge Mr. Trump’s role in encouraging the attack.
The acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, called the violence at the Capitol “an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy,” and said that law enforcement officials were working to find, arrest and charge rioters. And the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said that the bureau would “pursue those involved in criminal activity” during the mayhem.
Also on Thursday, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Eric S. Dreiband, told his staff that he was leaving the Trump administration effective the following day. While many department leaders left after the election, his abrupt announcement took some people who worked for him by surprise.
He did not cite a reason or say whether his departure was tied to Mr. Trump’s conduct and the riots, but he quoted Martin Luther King Jr. at length, saying: “Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.”
The National Guard patrolling the perimeter of the Capitol Thursday morning.Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times
The Pentagon is deploying more than 5,000 additional National Guard troops from six states to Washington, and the troops will stay through the inauguration later this month, a senior Pentagon official said Thursday.
After pleas from Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, the Pentagon mobilized all 1,100 available District of Columbia National Guard troops on Wednesday afternoon to confront the violent mob that had stormed the Capitol. About 340 D.C. National Guard had been called up earlier in the week to help with crowd and traffic control.
An additional 5,100 Guard troops from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are expected to arrive in Washington over the next several days and remain through Jan. 20 for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, the senior official said.
That will bring the total number of Guard troops in the capital to 6,200.
Pentagon officials said that the additional Guard personnel would support local police and federal law enforcement officers.
In June, some 5,000 Guard troops — from the District of Columbia and a dozen states — were rushed to the streets of the capital to help in the crackdown on mostly peaceful protesters and occasional looters after the killing of George Floyd in police custody.
Elaine Chao is the first cabinet official to join a growing exodus of administration officials in the final days of the Trump administration.Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
Elaine Chao, the secretary of transportation, is resigning after President Trump’s incitement of a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, she announced in a letter posted on Twitter.
Ms. Chao, who is married to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is the first cabinet official to join a growing exodus of administration officials in the final days of the Trump administration — largely symbolic resignations given that most would have been out of jobs with the change of administration anyway.
In the letter, she said that she would leave her post on Jan. 11 and that her office would cooperate with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominee for transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Ms. Chao wrote. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Ms. Chao decided to quit on Wednesday as she watched the events at the Capitol unfold on television, but held off until speaking with her department staff, according to a person with direct knowledge of her actions.
She briefly discussed the matter with Mr. McConnell when he returned, exhausted, from the Capitol at about 5 a.m. Thursday, then consulted with him again after he had rested. Both agreed it was the right thing to do, the person said, adding that one of her primary concerns was staying on long enough to ensure a smooth transition to Mr. Buttigieg, whom she plans to speak with on Friday.
Nicole Perlroth and Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.
Biden Introduces Attorney General Nominee in Wake of Capitol Riot
While introducing his nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said the nation needed to restore the independence and integrity of the Justice Department.
“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest — it was chaos. They weren’t protesters — don’t dare call them protesters — they were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple. I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming. But that isn’t true. We could see it coming. The past four years, we’ve had a president who has made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done. We need to restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the Department of Justice in this nation that’s been so badly damaged. And so many former leaders of that department in both parties have so testified and stated that. I want to be clear to those who lead this department, who you will serve. You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It is to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice.” “As everyone who watched yesterday’s events in Washington now understands, if they did not understand before, the rule of law is not just some lawyer’s turn of phrase. It is the very foundation of our democracy.”
While introducing his nominee for attorney general, Merrick Garland, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said the nation needed to restore the independence and integrity of the Justice Department.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday introduced his pick for attorney general, Judge Merrick B. Garland, declaring that the longtime federal jurist would serve as an impartial arbiter of justice and not as the president’s “personal attorney” — a pointed rebuke of President Trump’s approach.
Judge Garland will be “the people’s lawyer,” Mr. Biden declared at an event in Wilmington, Del.
“You won’t work for me,” Mr. Biden said of the leaders of his Justice Department. “You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It’s to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to guarantee justice.”
Mr. Biden also introduced three other nominees for top positions at the Justice Department, which experienced a period of increased politicization under Mr. Trump. And he began by angrily denouncing the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday incited by the outgoing president.
Calling it “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation,” Mr. Biden forcefully laid blame at the feet of Mr. Trump, pointing to his conduct not just in the aftermath of the November election, but over the past four years.
“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent,” Mr. Biden said. “It was not disorder. It was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic. It’s that simple.”
“And I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming,” he continued. “But that isn’t true. We could see it coming.”
Mr. Biden also spoke of how the rioters were treated by law enforcement. “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” he said. “We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”
The position of attorney general had been the most prominent role in Mr. Biden’s cabinet that was still unfilled with Inauguration Day approaching.
Judge Garland currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. President Barack Obama nominated him to the Supreme Court in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senate Republicans blocked his nomination.
“As everyone who watched yesterday’s events in Washington now understands, if they did not understand before, the rule of law is not just some lawyer’s turn of phrase,” Judge Garland said at the event with Mr. Biden. “It is the very foundation of our democracy.”
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday rebuked the mob that stormed the Capitol.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
The events of the last 48 hours — Tuesday’s Democratic takeover of the Senate and Wednesday’s mob violence at the Capitol by President Trump supporters — fundamentally altered the trajectory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidency two weeks before his hand touches the bible.
Once chatty, malaprop-prone and accessible, Mr. Biden has transformed himself into a figure of distance and dignity, taking advantage of the spotlight-hogging futility of Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election. He has been able to quietly assemble a team and plan for the battles ahead.
The violence, in the view of several people in Mr. Biden’s immediate orbit, has mellowed the intensity of Republican opposition to him, especially among the members of the chamber most eager to distance themselves from Mr. Trump’s antics.
Most notable among them: the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who had defined unseating President Obama as his primary goal at this point in 2009; and Lindsey Graham, the Republican from South Carolina who has buddied up to both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump over the years.
There is nothing quite like huddling behind barricaded doors with an armed mob roaming the hallways to rekindle the dying embers of bipartisanship. But nobody expects it to last.
Mr. Trump incited the riot and Mr. Biden, a senator for nearly four decades, is universally regarded as a guardian of the institution — which matters a great deal to people like Mr. McConnell.
What does this mean in the short term? For starters, it is likely to diminish (but not eliminate) opposition to Mr. Biden’s cabinet picks, although big fights loom.
Mr. Graham on Wednesday, for instance, praised Merrick Garland, the president-elect’s choice for attorney general, and other senators have signaled a less combative approach that has not been seen since the days before social media provocation dominated the discourse.
The landscape was dramatically altered even before the riot, with the double triumph of the two Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, in the Georgia Senate runoff elections on Tuesday.
The Biden team had quietly downplayed the idea that they would actually win — in part out of superstition, several jittery Democratic aides suggested in the days leading up to the election.
In the most basic sense, the addition of two Democrats means Mr. Biden needs fewer Republican votes and, just as important, has control over which bills are sent to the floor, a major lever of power unappreciated outside of Washington.
But the pressure from Mr. Biden’s left flank to use these powers will be great. Democrats fear a Republican takeover of the House in 2022, and a similar possibility looms in the deadlocked upper chamber.
Many in Mr. Biden’s circle believe he has two years to jam through Democratic priorities, starting with his pledge to pass a $2,000 payment to Americans to ease the economic hardship of the pandemic. That tension — whether to go it alone or wait for compromise — is likely to define his presidency.
“Biden will say all the public things about how he needs to get Republican support, but the truth is that this fundamentally changes the dynamic,” said David Krone, former chief of staff to former Senator Harry Reid, the last Democratic majority leader. “Democrats now control the floor. So he can bring up all kinds of bills that would have been blocked by the Republicans, and force votes on big bills — like a major infrastructure package.”
Then there’s Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who will have more power as the tiebreaking presiding office in a 50-50 deadlocked Senate.
It will also ensure her visibility as Mr. Biden’s partner and natural successor.
Source by www.nytimes.com