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Kate Duffy

CEOs of major companies across the US said they have fired employees who stormed the US Capitol Wednesday after seeing photos and videos of them on social media. The pro-Trump mob forced their way into the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to confirm the victory of President-elect Joe Biden in the presidential election. Business leaders spoke up about the violence in Washington, condemning it "sad and shameful." But others who have seen their employees participating in the riots on social media have taken matters into their own hands. Goosehead Insurance announced Thursday that Paul Davis, an associate general counsel, was no longer working at the Texas-based company. Davis, wearing a red cap with the words "make America great again," had posted on Instagram that he was peacefully demonstrating in Washington and had later been tear gassed. more...

By AJ Willingham and Carma Hassan, CNN

(CNN) As images and social media posts of Wednesday's insurrection at the US Capitol circulate online, some of those who were present are being identified, and some have lost or left their jobs because of it. Navistar, a direct marketing company in Maryland, announced that an employee had been terminated after he was photographed wearing his company ID badge inside the breached Capitol building. "While we support all employees' right to peaceful, lawful exercise of free speech, any employee demonstrating dangerous conduct that endangers the health and safety of others will no longer have an employment opportunity with Navistar Direct Marketing," the company said in a statement provided to CNN.

A Texas attorney named Paul Davis is no longer employed at his company, Goosehead Insurance, after social media posts appeared to show him talking about his participation in Wednesday's events. In one video, Davis says, "we're all trying to get into the Capitol to stop this." In further posts on Facebook's Stories feature, Davis said he was "peacefully demonstrating" the whole time, and was not trying to actively break into the Capitol. "I said 'trying to get into the Capitol,' meaning to voice a protest. Not in any violent way," he wrote. On Thursday, a Twitter account belonging to the Westlake, Texas-based company tweeted: "Paul Davis, Associate General Counsel, is no longer employed by Goosehead." CNN reached out to Goosehead for further comment and was directed to a voicemail message that stated, "The Goosehead employee involved at the Capitol is no longer employed." more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) In case there was any doubt that President Donald Trump and his allies see Wednesday's votes in Congress as a pure loyalty test, Eric Trump cleared that up with a single tweet Tuesday night. "I will personally work to defeat every single Republican Senator / Congressman who doesn't stand up against this fraud - they will be primaried in their next election and they will lose," tweeted the son of the 45th president of the United States. Eric Trump's tweet is in keeping with what has been coming out of his father's political account for weeks now: Vote to object to the Electoral College results on Wednesday (with no proof of any wrongdoing!) -- or else. "The 'Surrender Caucus' within the Republican Party will go down in infamy as weak and ineffective 'guardians' of our Nation, who were willing to accept the certification of fraudulent presidential numbers!" President Trump tweeted earlier this week.

Add to that Donald Trump, Jr., who reminded Republican members of Congress during a rally Wednesday morning that in the upcoming vote, they can choose to be a "hero" or a "zero." "The choice is yours, but we are all watching," Trump Jr. said to cheers from the crowd gathered in Washington. Don't gloss over what is happening here. The President of the United States -- and his sons! -- are openly threatening sitting Republican members of Congress with political opposition. And the threat revolves around a totally and completely debunked notion: That the Electoral College votes, which have already been certified in all 50 states, are somehow tainted or wrong. more...

By COLLEEN LONG, LOLITA BALDOR, MICHAEL BALSAMO, and NOMAAN MERCHANT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted 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 senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter. Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration. more...

By Jennifer Jacobs, Justin Sink, and Josh Wingrove

President Donald Trump has prepared a sweeping list of individuals he’s hoping to pardon in the final days of his administration that includes senior White House officials, family members, prominent rappers -- and possibly himself, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump is hoping to announce the pardons on Jan. 19 -- his final full day in office -- and his ideas are currently being vetted by senior advisers and the White House counsel’s office, the people said.

The biggest question facing his legal team may be whether the president has the authority to pardon himself, as he has discussed in recent weeks with top aides, according to the people familiar with his conversations. Trump has previously claimed the power, though it’s a matter of legal dispute and has never before been attempted by a president. A self-pardon could also prove a major political liability and hamstring another presidential bid, with opponents sure to suggest the self-pardon amounted to an admission that he thought he might be prosecuted for breaking the law. more...

By Jaclyn Peiser

As he strolled past gold-framed portraits of past Congressional leaders, one rioter who stormed the Capitol in a pro-Trump mob on Wednesday wore a red Trump hat, a commemorative sweatshirt from the president’s inauguration and a lanyard around his neck. When a photo of him went viral, it didn’t take Internet sleuths long to realize that the lanyard held his work badge — clearly identifying him as an employee of Navistar Direct Marketing, a printing company in Frederick, Md. On Thursday, Navistar swiftly fired him. He’s not alone among the rioters who wreaked havoc in Congress. While police and the FBI work to identify and arrest members of the mob, online detectives are also crowdsourcing information and doxing them — exposing the rioters to criminal prosecution, but also more immediate action from their bosses.

Since most of the rioters stormed the Capitol maskless, online detectives had a unique opportunity to easily identify them. And many made it even easier — they live-streamed their participation and later bragged about their escapades. Using journalists’ photos and videos, as well as live-streamed videos from rioters, untold Twitter users and Instagram accounts have been feverishly working since Wednesday to ID and name the participants who stormed the halls of the Capitol, ransacking lawmakers’ offices and occupying the House Chamber. Some, like the Instagram account @homegrownterrorists, amassed huge followings in a few hours. When posters believe they’ve identified someone, the images are updated with names and details about the person — like their social media handle, hometown or job title. more...

Delusional claims of fraud — rejected time and again by the courts — are not a difference of opinion. They are a conspiracy to overthrow democracy.
Catherine Cherkasky

The rioters in Washington, D.C. this week converged on the Capitol Building in the name of protesting “election fraud" — or so they say. As a defense lawyer and a so-called right-leaning legal commentator on Fox News, I am very sensitive to claims of unfairness or illegality in our nation’s institutions and processes, particularly in our elections. In fact, I spend much of my private practice defending clients, in part, by pointing out the breakdown or failure of processes, and arguing why it should invalidate the charges against them. I am, you could say, highly sensitive to such possibilities.

In this case, however, these violent protests are not about a breakdown in the election process rendering the outcome invalid. They are about nothing more than the bruised ego of President Donald Trump, who lost an election then failed to present any tangible legal grounds upon which it should be reversed. This is not just me saying so. This is the Supreme Court, state election officials, the president’s own attorney general, and dozens upon dozens of other courts, many with judges appointed by PresidentTrump himself. Legally speaking: The jig is up. more...

Time for Republicans to help Democrats impeach Trump. He must be punished for unleashing a mob on lawmakers in his quest to reverse an election he lost.
Tom Nichols

As a regular contributor to USA TODAY, I had planned weeks ago to write about the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. I wanted to talk about both the constitutional necessity and the political importance of observing this ritual of our democracy. I expected some protests in the capital area, and I knew that the members of the “Sedition Caucus” — the Republicans who want to overturn a democratic election — would lodge their inane and doomed objections, but I hoped as well that Vice President Mike Pence would simply do his duty, read the votes and we would all move on.

Instead, I am writing to demand that the Congress of the United States impeach, convict and remove the president of the United States. The violence and chaos that engulfed the Capitol building Wednesday were the direct result of seditious incitement by President Donald Trump, and he must be removed from office for violating his oath to the Constitution and endangering the safety of the American republic. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, Jim Acosta, Jeremy Diamond and Zachary Cohen, CNN

(CNN) Inquiries about invoking the 25th Amendment have been coming into Vice President Mike Pence's advisers and those discussions have been under way, a source close to the vice president said Thursday, with several Cabinet secretaries informally discussing the matter. But it is "highly unlikely" that Pence would pursue that path at this point, the source said, given that the effort is expected to be unsuccessful. Pence himself has not discussed invoking the 25th Amendment with any Cabinet officials, an administration official told CNN. However, two Cabinet secretaries have called fellow members of the Cabinet to take their "temperatures" about demanding a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump to confront him about his behavior, three senior administration officials told CNN. The two Cabinet secretaries discussed the possibility of demanding the President deliver a public address committing to a peaceful transfer of power, which Trump did Thursday evening in a pre-recorded video. more...

There is once again a 25 percent tariff for GPUs coming from China
By Sean Hollister

“Don’t Build a High-End Gaming PC Right Now,” Tom’s Hardware declared in November. “This Is a Bad Time to Build a High-End Gaming PC,” ExtremeTech echoed last month. But it’s looking like the worst time to build a new gaming rig is still to come. That’s because a perfect storm is pushing the price of components like must-have Nvidia or AMD graphics cards even further skyward — and because Donald Trump is now part of that storm. The Trump administration is now imposing a 25 percent tax on graphics cards imported from China, and at least one PC component manufacturer has announced it’ll pass along part of that cost to consumers. We’ve known for two years that PC components were being swept up in Trump’s trade war on China. In 2018, GamersNexus, in particular, explained in depth how PC parts might see a price increase between 10 and 25 percent due to the categories the Trump administration tried to tax. Apple famously cozied up to Trump to avoid some (but not all) of the import taxes on PC parts, allowing it to build its Mac Pro in the United States using parts imported from China. (Apple didn’t reply to a request for comment on the tariffs.) more...

The former U.N. ambassador said Trump's words and actions since losing the 2020 election have been "badly wrong."
By ALEX ISENSTADT

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley sharply criticized President Donald Trump over the Capitol riot and his behavior since the election, telling Republican National Committee members in a closed-door speech Thursday evening that Trump’s actions “will be judged harshly by history.” “President Trump has not always chosen the right words,” Haley said during an appearance at the RNC’s winter meeting on Amelia Island, Fla., according to a person familiar with her remarks. “He was wrong with his words in Charlottesville, and I told him so at the time. He was badly wrong with his words yesterday. And it wasn’t just his words. His actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history.”

Haley is one of several former senior Trump administration officials to scold the president in the wake of Wednesday’s mob uprising at the U.S. Capitol. Former Attorney General Bill Barr and ex-White House chief of staff John Kelly are among those who’ve spoken out. Haley, who is widely regarded as a likely 2024 presidential candidate, called out Democrats and technology and social media companies for “inflam[ing] the American people’s passions beyond constructive boundaries.” But she also said the GOP played a role, adding that “if we are the party of personal responsibility, we need to take personal responsibility.” “We can and should talk about our major differences,” Haley said. “But we must stop turning the American people against each other — and this Republican Party must lead the way.” more...

By Pamela Brown and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump has been asking aides and lawyers, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone, about his self-pardon power, multiple sources told CNN. Some of those conversations have happened in recent weeks, one of the sources says. It is unclear if it has come up since Wednesday's mayhem at the Capitol building fomented by the President's rhetoric or after his recent controversial call with the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump has asked about the legal and political consequences of a self-pardon, according to a source close to Trump. The New York Times reported earlier Thursday that Trump has suggested in conversations since Election Day that he wants to pardon himself, citing two people familiar with the discussions. He has also asked for legal opinions on whether he has the authority to issue a self-pardon and has been advised on the potential political fallout. This person said it was not yet clear whether the President would follow through with a pardon for himself.

by: ZEKE MILLER and MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers of both parties raised the prospect Thursday of ousting President Donald Trump from office, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if he wasn’t removed, the House may move forward with a second impeachment. Though Trump has less than two weeks in office, lawmakers and even some in his administration began discussing the issue Wednesday afternoon as Trump first refused to forcefully condemn the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, and then appeared to excuse it.

Senior Trump administration officials raised the long-shot possibility of invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment — the forceful removal of Trump from power by his own Cabinet. Pelosi told a news conference she is waiting for a decision from Vice President Mike Pence and other Cabinet officials. She challenged several of them by name, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. “Do they stand by these actions?” Pelosi asked. “Are they ready to say that for the next 13 days this dangerous man can do further harm to our country?” more...


"Load your guns and take to the streets!" wrote Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama.
By Ben Kesslen

A computer programmer who founded a social media website for supporters of President Donald Trump and an Alabama man who posted online “Load your guns and take to the streets!” were among the four who died when a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Another victim was Ashli Babbitt, 35, who was fatally shot by Capitol Police during the Wednesday incursion by rioters who demanded Congress reject the presidential election results. An ardent Trump supporter, Babbitt followed and promoted many well-known radical conservative activists and conspiracy theories.

The others, Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama; Benjamin Philips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgias—died of medical emergencies, Washington, D.C., police said Thursday. Greeson had a history of high blood pressure and suffered a heart attack, his family said, and is survived by his wife, Kristi, and children. “Kevin was an advocate of President Trump and attended the event on January 6, 2020 to show his support,” the family said in a statement. “He was not there to participate in violence or rioting, nor did he condone such actions.” Greeson appeared to be active on Parler, the “Twitter for conservatives,” where an account with his name and picture lodged threats against Democrat and Republican politicians who Greeson said did not sufficiently support Trump. more...

W.G. Dunlop, AFP USA

Social media posts claim Antifa, a far-left movement, stormed the US Capitol. But Donald Trump loyalists -- some with hats or flags identifying them as such -- breached the building where Congress meets, and images provided as evidence of Antifa involvement show one man who is a supporter of the president and another who is allegedly linked to a skinhead group. “Indisputable photographic evidence that antifa violently broke into Congress today to inflict harm & do damage. NOT @realDonaldTrump supporters,” pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood wrote on January 6, 2020 in a tweet that included two images. “Do not be fooled. Trump supporters are peaceful. It was antifa that created the violence in our cities over the past several months,” said Wood, on a day when the president’s backers clashed with police in Washington. Wood’s account has since been suspended by Twitter. more...

Once again, the president focused on what really mattered—Twitter and Facebook locking him out of his accounts.
Asawin Suebsaeng, Noah Shachtman

Four people were dead. The Capitol was in shambles. Several members of his team had resigned. His allies were quickly abandoning him. Naturally, President Donald Trump was livid. About being locked out of his Twitter feed, that is. Twitter and Facebook locked Trump’s accounts on Wednesday after he had used his social channels to incite a riot of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol. Not long after, the outgoing, increasingly authoritarian Republican president grew increasingly upset about the social media giants robbing him of his online voice, according to two people familiar with the matter.

One of the sources said that since Wednesday, Trump has specifically complained that he was trying to send a tweet during his Twitter lockout, and that he was furious that he couldn’t. The other person familiar with the situation said the president privately claimed this was another instance of Big Tech silencing conservatives and trying to help cover up the “crime” of the century that occurred during the 2020 presidential election. more...

Actual peaceful protesters who have been cuffed at the Capitol could not believe the cops just let insurrectionists storm in and then walk away.
Michael Daly

The pro-Trump thugs who charged up the Capitol steps on Wednesday were met with what seems like a different police department than 32-year-old disability activist Stephanie Woodward has encountered when being arrested at least 15 times. Woodward had never been left with hard feelings, even after a half-dozen cops lifted her from her wheelchair, carried her out to the street, and set her on the sidewalk with her hands cuffed behind her back. “I had a job to do and they had a job to do,” she said. “I wasn’t upset they were arresting me.” more...

By COLLEEN LONG, LOLITA BALDOR, MICHAEL BALSAMO, and NOMAAN MERCHANT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted 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 senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter.

Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration. Still stinging from the uproar over the violent response by law enforcement to protests last June near the White House, officials also were intent on avoiding any appearance that the federal government was deploying active duty or National Guard troops against Americans.

The result is the U.S. Capitol was overrun Wednesday and officers in a law enforcement agency with a large operating budget and experience in high-security events protecting lawmakers were overwhelmed for the world to see. Four protesters died, including one shot inside the building. The rioting and loss of control has raised serious questions over security at the Capitol for future events. The actions of the day also raise troubling concerns about the treatment of mainly white Trump supporters, who were allowed to roam through the building for hours, while Black and brown protesters who demonstrated last year over police brutality faced more robust and aggressive policing. more...

His mob wasn’t there to find evidence of fraud, or force legislators to listen to their grievances; they were there for the lulz. They were there because Trump had sent them.
Rick Wilson

Donald Trump's violent insurrectionist forces stormed the U.S. Capitol yesterday and, even after five long years of Trump’s increasingly obvious combination of evil and insanity, the disgust America felt at seeing his MAGA mayhem crew ransack the Capitol like redneck Visigoths was unexpectedly powerful. As an anthropologist of the shittiest human being on the planet, a scholar of all Trump’s pathologies, a plumber in the vast deeps of his fuckwit necromancy, I should be past shock, but even I was appalled by not only the order to march on the Capitol spitting from his blubbery lips but by the organized teams of rioters who then invaded the House and Senate. more...

An armed rioter and another man who slugged a cop were among the first charged in connection with the Capitol coup attempt.
William Bredderman, Adam Rawnsley, Pilar Melendez

So much for a “peaceful” protest. Authorities announced the first federal charges this afternoon against the Trump mob who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon—including a rioter armed to the teeth with a semi-automatic rifle and nearly a dozen Molotov cocktails “ready to go.” Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C, put it simply at a press conference Thursday afternoon: “It was a very dangerous situation.” He said prosecutors are filing federal charges in 15 criminal cases related to Wednesday’s violence. They include the man arrested with his “military semi-automatic rifle” and 11 Molotov cocktails, another rioter wielding a pistol, and a third protester who repeatedly punched a police officer.

“We will bring the most maximum charges we can,” Sherwin said. “This is just the beginning.” When asked whether he was planning to investigate the White House, Sherwin insisted that all options are still on the table and that his probe of the riots is ongoing. The top prosecutor added his office is also looking to bring charges against people who may have organized the riot. “We’re trying to deal with the closest alligators to the boat right now,” Sherwin said. “Those are the people who obviously breached the Capitol, created violence and mayhem there and then exited. But yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building.” more...

By Niv Elis

One Capitol Police officer is in critical condition and 15 were hospitalized after up to 60 officers were injured after a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. "I'm livid about the whole thing," said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who added that several police were hit in the lead with lead pipes. Ryan chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the more than 2,000-member police force. The panel has opened investigations into the security failure that led to protesters supporting President Trump breaching the Capitol. That included entering the Senate chamber. The Ohio Democrat said police were able to hold off the violent mob for an hour and fifteen minutes, but backup such as the National Guard did not arrive in time to prevent the crowds from overtaking law enforcement. Ryan said that the up to 1,500 Capitol Police present plus another 1,000 D.C. Metropolitan Police were overwhelmed by an estimated crowd of over 10,000 people. more...

“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” Barr said in a statement obtained by POLITICO.
By QUINT FORGEY

Former Attorney General William Barr accused President Donald Trump on Thursday of a “betrayal of his office” — the latest rebuke of the president by a former high-ranking administration official after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. “Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable,” Barr said in a statement obtained by POLITICO. “The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”

Barr’s criticism on Thursday was not his first public comment on the chaos at the Capitol. As the president’s supporters breached the building on Wednesday afternoon, he released a statement through his spokesperson that did not refer to Trump by name. “The violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable,” Barr said on Wednesday. “Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it.” Lawmakers were forced to shelter in place as both chambers of Congress went into lockdown amid the violence, which resulted in four deaths. The rioters sought to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory after Trump had encouraged them to march on the Capitol earlier Wednesday. more...

Jonathan Shieber

Facebook isn't the only big tech company taking action against Donald Trump's web presence in the wake of yesterday's riots in Washington, D.C. Shopify, which hosted shops related to Trump's campaign paraphernalia and the outgoing President's personal brand, TrumpStore, has apparently taken down both of those properties. "Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence. Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause," a Shopify spokesperson wrote in a statement to TechCrunch. "As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump." News of the move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. more...

Michael Curzio, of Summerfield, faces charge of unlawful entry

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Central Florida man was among those arrested Wednesday after Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in what police called “criminal riotous behavior.” Michael Curzio, of Summerfield, was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police on a charge of unlawful entry. Details about Curzio’s activity inside the Capitol were not immediately known. According to online records, Curzio served eight years in prison on a charge of attempted first-degree murder. He was released from prison in February 2019, records show. Capitol Police arrested five others, including John Anderson, of St. Augustine, and Matthew Council, of Riverview, Florida. more...

Firefighter pictured pointing at Nancy Pelosi placard
Adrienne Cutway

SANFORD, Fla. – A photo emailed to News 6 has led to the identification of a Sanford firefighter who was among the President Donald Trump supporters who entered the Capitol building on Wednesday. The picture shows Andrew Williams wearing a Trump 2020 hat and pointing at a placard for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi’s office was vandalized during the riots and other photos show rioters sitting at her desk. The Sanford Fire Department said Thursday that an investigation has been launched. more...

by: Talia Naquin, Associated Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJW/AP) – President Donald Trump has acknowledged his loss of the 2020 election, following the Electoral College certification of President-elect Joe Biden.

   “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!” - Donald j. trump

A violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. The nation’s elected representatives scrambled to crouch under desks and don gas masks, while police futilely tried to barricade the building, one of the most jarring scenes ever to unfold in a seat of American political power. A woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol, and Washington’s mayor instituted an evening curfew in an attempt to contain the violence. The rioters were egged on by Trump, who has spent weeks falsely attacking the integrity of the election and had urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress’ formal approval of Biden’s victory. Some Republican lawmakers were in the midst of raising objections to the results on his behalf when the proceedings were abruptly halted by the mob. more...

By Clare Foran, CNN

(CNN) A growing number of lawmakers -- including from Democratic leadership -- are calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office either through impeachment or the 25th Amendment to the Constitution after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer put out a statement Thursday denouncing the "insurrection" at the Capitol "incited by the President," and saying, "This President should not hold office one day longer." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the call later Thursday at a news conference. "I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the Vice President to remove this President by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment," Pelosi said.

"If the vice president and the Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment that is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus and the American people." The calls have come largely from Democrats so far, but at least one congressional Republican has joined in. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a frequent critic of the President, has called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, saying in a video message on Thursday, "the President must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily." Invoking the 25th Amendment would require Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office due to his inability to "discharge the powers and duties of his office" -- an unprecedented step. more...

*** Trump’s coup attempt has failed but the damage he has done will last for years. ***

Rioters encouraged and praised by Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, leaving the halls of Congress vandalized and strewn with debris.
By Wilson Wong

Hundreds of President Donald Trump's supporters swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, leaving the halls of Congress with broken windows, vandalized walls and ransacked offices. Among the wreckage were pieces of broken furniture, battered doors and heaps of trash littering the hallway floors. A thick film of dust and tear gas residue remained throughout the building that contains the Senate and the House of Representatives. Stolen and damaged items were reported in elected officials' offices, including the wood and gold placard above House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Staff spent the night cleaning up the debris of the chaotic and at times violent riot that left four people dead — three who died of "medical emergencies" and one woman who was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer. In one photo, four bullet holes can be seen in the glass of the House doors. Stickers on the glass contained phrases like, "F--- antifa!" and "Not my president" under a photo of Biden. more...

Separately, a group of Democratic lawmakers drafted articles of impeachment after Trump incited a crowd of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.
By Adam Edelman

Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office and a group of House Democrats began circulating articles of impeachment in response to Trump's incitement of a crowd of supporters that violently stormed the U.S. Capitol. Those efforts joined a growing chorus of calls from elected officials in both parties for Trump to be removed from office — either by using the 25th Amendment or through impeachment — following Wednesday's terrifying attack.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Thursday. "This president should not hold office one day longer." “The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment,” Schumer said. “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president." more...

Amanda Macias

WASHINGTON — Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff, told CNBC on Thursday he has resigned as special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland. “I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney said in an exclusive interview on “Squawk Box.” “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,” Mulvaney said. But he said other officials may resign after Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

An administration official confirmed to CNBC’s Eamon Javers that National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien was considering resigning over the insurrection. O’Brien’s deputy, Matthew Pottinger, has reportedly resigned. Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, and Sarah Matthews, White House deputy press secretary, resigned Wednesday. “We didn’t sign up for what you saw last night,” Mulvaney said. “We signed up for making America great again, we signed up for lower taxes and less regulation. The president has a long list of successes that we can be proud of.” more...

Steve Kovach

It was the last straw. Following the takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, Twitter and Facebook pulled the plug on President Donald Trump’s accounts, suspending him from posting based on the fear that his messages would incite even more violence than we already saw in the halls of Congress. But Wednesday was hardly the first time Trump had violated policies on social media that would get a normal person banned. Wednesday’s events were an inevitable conclusion thanks to the conspiracy-laden chatter in the darker corners of the internet that social media companies allowed to freely spread.

Over the course of Trump’s presidency, Facebook and Twitter rewrote their policies to give the president more runway to say dangerous things under the guise that it was important for the public to know the stream-of-consciousness thoughts from world leaders. These policies were clearly designed around Trump’s online behavior and gave him the freedom to spread messages of hate, conspiracy and violence. At best, those policies simply enabled Trump’s lies and calls for violence. At worst, they let those dangerous messages go viral and be believed by enough people who were willing to break down the doors of the Capitol. more...

Jennifer Elias, Kevin Breuninger, Marty Steinberg

At least 50 police officers were injured in the Capitol riot that also killed four people after supporters of President Donald Trump invaded the building to prevent the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. One woman was shot by a police officer, while another woman and two men died from “medical emergencies,” police said. Authorities later identified the woman who was shot as Ashli Babbitt, described in media reports as a pro-Trump, 35-year-old California native and a veteran of the Air Force.

“As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said in a statement Thursday. “Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.”  Based on Capitol Police policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation, he said. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said investigators are trying to determine details of the three other deaths. more...

Annie Palmer

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said the company would block President Donald Trump from posting to his Facebook and Instagram accounts for an indefinite amount of time and at least until President-elect Joe Biden assumes the Oval Office. “We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.” The suspension represents Facebook’s most aggressive action yet against Trump during his four-year term. Calls had been mounting for Twitter and other social media platforms to shut down the president’s account or take other extreme action. Facebook, Twitter, Snap and Google’s YouTube began taking steps on Wednesday to limit Trump’s posts on their platforms after he continued to make false claims about the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. more...

As a pro-Trump mob stormed the government building, the flag was visible in different places.
Nur Ibrahim

Violence grew on Jan. 6, 2021, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the heart of the government, the U.S. Capitol, in opposition to the results of the November 2020 presidential election. The attack came after a “Stop the Steal” speech from U.S. President Donald Trump on the National Mall earlier in the day, where he again refused to accept his election loss. Reports of a Confederate flag being seen around the Capitol were confirmed by journalists on the ground. A Washington Post metro reporter said it was being flown outside the Capitol, a Huffington Post reporter spotted the flag outside the Senate chamber, while a New York Post reporter shared a video taken near Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office, where a protester is seen standing with the Confederate flag. more...

Kim Hjelmgaard, Elinor Aspegren USA TODAY

LONDON – "Disgraceful," said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "Terribly distressing," was Australia leader Scott Morrison's reaction. The Chinese Embassy in the U.S. advised Beijing's nationals to "exercise caution before going to public places."

After a day of drama and violence in Washington where hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed and ransacked the U.S. Capitol building, world leaders and top diplomats greeted Wednesday's mayhem with a mixture of strong condemnations, shock and outright disbelief that a country long relied upon for its global leadership and democratic ideals had descended into unprecedented political chaos.

"When in one of the world's oldest democracies supporters of an outgoing president take up arms to challenge the legitimate results of an election, a universal idea – that of 'one person, one vote' – is undermined," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a video message released on Twitter on Thursday morning. "What happened in Washington D.C. is not American – definitely. We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy," he added. more..

One woman shot and killed, three others dead in riot that began with a pro-Trump rally and swept through the halls of Congress
George Petras, Janet Loehrke, Ramon Padilla, Javier Zarracina and Jennifer Borresen, USA TODAY

Protesters swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday as Congress met to formally ratify Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY As a shocked nation watched on Twitter and TV, a pro-Trump mob battled police, broke into the U.S. Capitol, and sent members of Congress fleeing as lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes to confirm the presidential victory of Democrat Joe Biden. Many of the rioters came directly from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier on the Ellipse, a park near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting, without evidence, that the election had been stolen. “Our country has had enough,” Trump said. “We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.” When he was finished, supporters headed for the Capitol building. Here is how events unfolded. Times are estimates. more...

By Michael Warren, Jamie Gangel and Jim Acosta, CNN

Washington (CNN) After violent pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials told CNN that they believe Donald Trump should be removed from office before January 20. Four of them called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, and two others said the President should be impeached. "He has to be impeached and removed," said one current Republican elected official. A former senior official said the President's actions were egregious enough to remove him even with such a short time left in his tenure. "I think this has been a huge shock to the system," said the former official. "How do you keep him in place for two weeks after this?"

By impeaching and removing Trump, even at this late stage of his term, the Senate could subsequently vote to disqualify Trump from ever holding federal office again. On the other hand, invoking the 25th Amendment would require Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office due to his inability to "discharge the powers and duties of his office" -- an unprecedented step. Some Cabinet members are holding preliminary discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment, a well-placed GOP source told CNN. The discussions are ongoing but it's unclear if there will be enough Cabinet members to result in Trump's removal. The conversations have reached Capitol Hill where some senators have been made aware of the discussions, the source said. Within minutes of protestors breaching the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Republicans were revisiting the idea of removing Trump from office, a choice that nearly all of them passed on making a year ago during last year's impeachment trial.  more...

By Meryl Kornfield

After supporters of President Trump descended on the U.S. Capitol building, hoping to stop the counting of electoral college votes, lawmakers and experts alike repeated a phrase to describe the violent mob: “domestic terrorists.” “Those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters; no, these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a speech after lawmakers reconvened. “They do not represent America.”

“What happened today was domestic terrorism,” GOP spokesman Michael Ahrens tweeted. “Our soldiers have died carrying the American flag into battle for our freedom. To see that flag used in the name of unfounded conspiracy theories is a disgrace to the nation, and every decent American should be disgusted by it.” Members of both political parties pointed to the destruction of government property, threats to law enforcement and two explosive devices found near the Capitol as acts of terrorism as far-right extremist groups rallied in the nation’s capital to contest the results of the presidential election. In the media, CNN executives told the organization’s journalists that they could refer to the siege as “domestic terrorism.” more...

John L. Dorman

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, a beacon of American government, became the scene of a dystopian nightmare on Wednesday, fueled by the debunked electoral grievances of President Donald Trump. Trump's 2016 victory was a breakthrough for many Republicans who wanted a more confrontational form of conservatism, but nearly four years after the president's single term, the skies were lit by flash-bangs from law enforcement munitions trying to maintain order in the nation's capital. The country has long been politically polarized, with sharp ideological divergences over issues like abortion, race, and guns dominating the public sphere for years. But peaceful presidential transitions have been the norm throughout American history, with supporters of political candidates respecting the democratic process. more...

By Jenny Gross and Luke Broadwater

Even after a mob of Trump supporters swarmed and entered the Capitol on Wednesday, a handful of Republican senators and more than 100 Republican representatives stood by their decisions to vote against certifying the results of the presidential election. Congress certified the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. early Thursday, ending attempts to overturn the results in two states. Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas and John Kennedy of Louisiana voted to overturn the results in Arizona, while 93 senators voted against. Mr. Hawley, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Tuberville, Ms. Hyde-Smith, Mr. Marshall and Senators Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Rick Scott of Florida voted to overturn the results in Pennsylvania, while 92 voted against it. The House rejected the Arizona challenge by a vote of 303 to 121 and rejected the Pennsylvania challenge by a vote of 282 to 138. more...

Jason Owens

Following a violent attack by supporters of President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had a message for Republican senators who stoked the election conspiracy theories that sparked Wednesday’s insurrection. Speaking with media ahead of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, Kerr suggested that Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley do the same before meeting at the Capitol.

   “I wish that people like Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley had to do pregame media before they met in Congress,” Kerr said. “It would be great for them to answer the question: ‘Are you happy now? Do you keep moving the line back? Does this change anything? Are you going to continue to enable?’”

Why did Kerr single out senators? Hawley, a Trump loyalist representing Missouri, was the first senator to announce that he would object to the counting of electoral college votes that confirm President-elect Joe Biden as Trump’s successor. Hawley cited baseless election theories spouted by Trump that votes in some states that went for Biden were invalid. more...

By Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) Across the United States, millions watched in horror Wednesday as unprecedented scenes of chaos unfolded at the US Capitol. Supporters of President Donald Trump breached the building -- just as Congress kicked off a joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win. At least four people died. But in the hours that authorities scrambled to control the rioters, it wasn't just the US that was watching. Here's how newspapers from around the globe reacted to the violence. more...

Savannah Behrmann USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Several House Democrats called for President Donald Trump to be impeached afterhis supporters rioted and stormed the United States Capitol Building, saying that the president "incited violence." After the pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol while Congress was counting Electoral Votes, Vice President Mike Pence had to be swept to a secure location, and the Senate chamber evacuated. Lawmakers, staff members, reporters and others on Capitol Hill were forced to shelter-in-place for hours as the rioters forced their ways onto the Senate floor, and into the office of lawmakers. In social media posts later removed by Twitter and Facebook, Trump told the rioters "we love you" but asked them to "stay peaceful,'' and taped a video urging them to go home while referring to "a fraudulent election'' that "was stolen from us.'' more...

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Allie Malloy, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Thursday finally pledged to an orderly transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden while repeating false claims about the 2020 election that led a mob of his supporters to storm the US Capitol and delay Congress' affirmation of Biden's Electoral College win. "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," Trump said in the statement released overnight after Congress certified his defeat. "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, who has repeatedly refused to concede the election, on Wednesday egged on his supporters who would later breach the US Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers from counting the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election. "We're going to walk down to the Capitol. And we're gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we're probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong," Trump said addressing his supporters who gathered maskless on the ellipse near the White House Wednesday morning. more...


Vice President Mike Pence condemned pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol while Congress conducted a ceremonial counting of electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win. video...

By Robert Klemko, Kimberly Kindy, Kim Bellware and Derek Hawkins

When Chanelle Helm helped organize protests after the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor, Louisville police responded with batons, stun grenades and tear gas. The 40-year-old Black Lives Matter activist still bears scars from rubber bullets fired at close range. So Helm was startled and frustrated Wednesday to see a White, pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol — breaking down barricades, smashing windows and striking police officers — without obvious consequence.

“Our activists are still to this day met with hyper-police violence,” Helm said. “And today you see this full-on riot — literally a coup — with people toting guns, which the police knew was coming and they just let it happen. I don’t understand where the ‘law and order’ is. This is what white supremacy looks like.” Helm and other activists across the country who spent much of 2020 facing off with law enforcement officers while protesting police brutality and racial inequality watched with a mixture of outrage and validation as the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol building during sessions of the House and Senate. more...

By Nicole Chavez, CNN

(CNN) As hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, breaking windows and wreaking havoc, politicians and activists were among the many who drew comparisons between the police response on Wednesday to that of last year's Black Lives Matter protests. The death of George Floyd -- a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck -- in May of 2020 prompted hundreds of protests nationwide over the summer. In many cities, including the nation's capital, police met protesters with tear gas, violence and arrests.

However, Wednesday's protests, many pointed out, were different. The Black Lives Matter Global Network, one of the most well-known organizations fighting for the well-being of Black people, described Wednesday's riots as a "coup." The group said it was "one more example of the hypocrisy in our country's law enforcement response to protest." "When Black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas and battle helmets," the group said in a statement. "Make no mistake, if the protesters were Black, we would have been tear gassed, battered, and perhaps shot." Here's a look at the protests from last year, compared to those on Wednesday. more...


“I thought I might not make it out,” says Rep. Veronica Escobar who was in the House gallery as violent rioters forced their way in.
By Suzanne Gamboa, Carmen Sesin and Nicole Acevedo

Trapped in the House gallery as violent supporters of President Donald Trump pushed their way into the chamber, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, thought back to the Aug. 3, 2019 El Paso mass shooting and feared for her life. “I thought I might not make it out,” said Escobar, who described watching police push furniture against a door to keep out what she labeled “terrorists,” being told to grab a gas mask and hearing glass in the doors break. Escobar’s district includes El Paso, where a gunman targeting Latinos opened fire in a Walmart, killing 23 people and wounding 26 others. Locked down in their offices or taking refuge in undisclosed locations, Latino lawmakers who were in the Capitol and on the Hill Wednesday to count the vote electing Joe Biden as president found themselves in the midst of the chaos and the rioters' confrontations with police.

Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., who also was in the House gallery when the pro-Trump rioters entered the chamber and is a medical doctor, said he felt vulnerable, but his emergency physician skills kicked in. He began planning for the worst, a mass shooting, and planning with others what to do if shooting started. “There is no doubt the president and his loyalists were inciting the violence. They invited this. They welcomed and encouraged this to happen,” said Ruiz, who took over this year as the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “We knew the president had invited and incited mass protest and gave the wink for violence to occur and really made people believe in a conspiracy theory so gross and so visceral, that this was a possibility," said Ruiz, "but you go on believing the Capitol is safe, determined to fulfill your oath to the Constitution.” The potential for violence was so certain for Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., that Tuesday night, she called her husband to tell him where she keeps her will because of a “premonition” that the day would become violent. more...

Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

As the Capitol came under siege from an angry mob incited by President Trump so did the nation’s leading social media companies. Civil rights groups including the NAACP and Muslim Advocates as well as longtime allies widely condemned Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube for failing to stop the flood of extremist and dangerous content from Trump and his supporters that they say fueled Wednesday's violence. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt blamed the president for the deadly events but said the responsibility also rests on the shoulders of the major tech companies to take away his megaphone. “Social media companies should suspend his accounts ASAP as they would do for anyone else advocating disinformation and promoting violence,” Greenblatt said. Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos also called on the companies to take immediate action. "Twitter and Facebook have to cut him off," tweeted Stamos who now works with the Stanford Internet Observatory and the Election Integrity Partnership. "There are no legitimate equities left and labeling won't do it." more...

Jessica Guynn USA TODAY

Thousands of President Donald Trump's supporters and other rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as Congress prepared to formally declare Joe Biden president fomented the violence and chaos in the days leading up to the protest. Violent rhetoric including threats against elected officials and police officers flooded all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube, not just online forums popular with extremists. “We are seeing significant volumes of rhetoric online,” Daniel Jones, president of Advance Democracy, told USA TODAY. “And we’re seeing this rhetoric – fueled by President Trump’s voter fraud claims – across all social media platforms.” There were calls from Boogaloos, an extremist group, to “Burn down DC.” One person asked on Twitter, “Whos running arms and ammo to dc for when the fun starts.” more...

By Melissa Quinn, Grace Segers, Kathryn Watson, Stefan Becket, Audrey McNamara, Caroline Linton

Washington —Vice President Mike Pence announced just after 3:40 a.m. Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden had won the presidency after Congress completed the counting of the Electoral College votes. What was largely seen as a perfunctory last step before Mr. Biden's inauguration had turned into a day of chaos after an angry mob of rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to halt the process. Congress had to recess for nearly six hours after the angry mob of President Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, leaving four people dead in the melee and sending members of Congress fleeing from the floor during what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had earlier branded "the most important vote I've ever cast."

Earlier Wednesday, President Trump had encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the U.S. Capitol as Congress counted the Electoral College votes, the largely ceremonial final step affirming President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Although Mr. Trump has lately been insisting Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to overturn the election results, Pence defied Mr. Trump on Wednesday and issued a lengthy statement saying he could not change the outcome. Chaos erupted at the U.S. Capitol a few hours later as an angry mob of rioters — many waving Trump flags or carrying Trump gear — breached the building. more...

By Shashank Bengali, Kate Linthicum, Erik Kirschbaum

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. “This is a reckoning or a coming to terms with the fact that the U.S. can no longer be seen as a beacon of hope and democracy.” more...

DC updates: 4 dead, 52 arrested, 14 police officers injured after pro-Trump rioters breach US Capitol; FBI opens investigation
N'dea Yancey-Bragg, John Bacon, Ryan W. Miller, Jorge L. Ortiz, Trevor Hughes, Grace Hauck, Will Carless, Jordan Culver - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The nation's lawmakers took to their electoral duties late Wednesday amid broken glass and smashed doors in the U.S. Capitol following an historic day of havoc wrought by pro-Trump rioters who breached the building in hopes of thwarting President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Vice President Mike Pence affirmed Biden's win early Thursday. Thousands of rioters had gathered at the National Mall to protest the election results. At a campaign-style rally about an hour before the mob broke through police lines at the Capitol, Trump had urged them to go to the building. D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the chaotic day included four fatalities: a woman who was shot by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as three others — two men and one woman — who died in “separate medical emergencies.” Police had made "in excess of 52 arrests," including 26 on U.S. Capitol grounds, he said. more...

The Trump ally dismissed the president’s ploy to challenge the election results in Congress as “not going to do any good.”
By MATTHEW CHOI

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham blasted efforts to challenge the Electoral College votes as "the most offensive concept in the world," urging Vice President Mike Pence to certify President-elect Joe Biden as the next president. Speaking emphatically from the Senate floor Wednesday night, Graham said he and President Donald Trump had had "a hell of a journey. I hate it to end this way. Oh, my god, I hate it." And while he briefly applauded Trump as a "consequential president," he dismissed the president's ploy to challenge the election results in Congress as "not going to do any good." more...

Seven senators who promised to object to certification changed their minds.
By Haley Yamada

Many of the Republican senators who had promised to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the general election changed their mind late Wednesday after a violent mob of President Donald Trump's supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., who promised Trump in person at a rally two days ago she would object to the certification, reversed course, saying she could not "in good conscience" follow through on objecting to Biden's presidency.

"When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object," said Loeffler, in what could be her last speech in the chamber after losing reelection to Rev. Raphael Warnock in Georgia's Senate runoff one day earlier. more...

Pro-Trump rioters also stormed legislative buildings in Kansas and Minnesota as a mob in D.C. breached the Capitol.
Pilar Melendez, Blake Montgomery

As violent chaos unfolded Wednesday inside the U.S. Capitol, rioters fueled by President Donald Trump’s election conspiracies clashed with cops at legislative buildings across the country. Armed militia members gathered outside the Georgia Capitol building just as the pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. House and Senate chambers around 2 p.m. ET. According to reporters on the scene, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the most recent subject of the president’s pressure campaign to overturn the results of the election, was evacuated along with senior staff members.

Rioters also stormed the statehouse in Kansas, reportedly moving inside the first floor of the Topeka Capitol’s rotunda before gathering in a circle, according to KSN. In St. Paul, Minnesota, a mob entered the state Capitol building and banged on the door of the House press gallery. At least a thousand protesters also gathered at the state Capitol building in Phoenix, Arizona, where some in the crowd reportedly brought a guillotine. “We will never recognize Joe Biden as our president, ever,” activist Stacy Gentile said to the crowd, according to the Arizona Mirror. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a statewide state of emergency over the violence in Washington, D.C., and a curfew in Alexandria and Arlington. more...

By Julia Horowitz, CNN Business

London (CNN Business) The New York Stock Exchange will delist three Chinese telecommunications stocks to comply with an executive order from the Trump administration — its second about-face on the issue this week. The exchange said Wednesday that it would end trading of shares in China Mobile (CHL), China Telecom (CHA) and China Unicom (CHU) on Jan. 11. The decision comes after President Donald Trump banned Americans late last year from investing in firms that the US government suspects are either owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The NYSE has now abruptly changed its position on the issue twice, sowing confusion among investors and whipsawing the companies' stocks. The exchange first announced last week that it would bar shares of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. But it reversed course on Monday, citing "further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities." more...

by Solomon Jones

I felt a growing sadness as I listened to a recording of Donald Trump begging, bullying, cajoling and threatening Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in an attempt to make him do something he can’t—overturn Trump’s loss in the presidential race, via the state now poised to send a historic rebuke to the GOP’s exclusionary politics. Others, including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, have said the president’s roughly hourlong call to Raffensperger, published by the Washington Post, could expose the president to state and federal charges of election fraud. In listening to what Trump said, I thought Bharara and others were right. “But they are shredding ballots, in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard,” Trump told Raffensperger as lawyers and staffers listened in. “And they are removing machinery, and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen, and you are letting it happen. You know, I mean, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen. So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.” more...

There was no evidence anyone but a mob of Trump supporters stormed Capitol grounds.
Bethania Palma

On Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump violently converged on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in support of Trump’s false claims that the November 2020 presidential election was beset by massive scale voter fraud that led to his loss. Trump supporters at the Capitol brawled with police and broke through barricades, eventually breaking into the building while Congress was in the process of counting electoral college votes and confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Some on social media started spreading unfounded rumors that the violent chaos was being instigated not by Trump supporters, but by anti-fascist activists, colloquially known by the portmanteau antifa. There is no evidence that the mob storming Capitol grounds and violently engaging police are antifa — in fact the social media accounts spreading the rumor are followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Here is one example of one such tweet, which reads, “BREAKING: PATRIOTS ARE NOT STORMING ANYTHING!! PAID FOR ANTIFA DOES, PERIOD!!”: more...

By Julia Horowitz, CNN Business

London (CNN Business) The New York Stock Exchange will delist three Chinese telecommunications stocks to comply with an executive order from the Trump administration — its second about-face on the issue this week. The exchange said Wednesday that it would end trading of shares in China Mobile (CHL), China Telecom (CHA) and China Unicom (CHU) on Jan. 11. The decision comes after President Donald Trump banned Americans late last year from investing in firms that the US government suspects are either owned or controlled by the Chinese military. The NYSE has now abruptly changed its position on the issue twice, sowing confusion among investors and whipsawing the companies' stocks. The exchange first announced last week that it would bar shares of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. But it reversed course on Monday, citing "further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities." more...

Kevin Breuninger, Dan Mangan

Congress on Wednesday night overwhelmingly defeated an effort to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in Arizona, setting the stage for what could be final confirmation of his national victory over President Donald Trump. The separate votes in both chambers of Congress came as it resumed the process of counting electoral votes and confirming Biden’s victory, hours after swarms of Trump’s supporters broke into the U.S. Capitol and derailed the proceedings for around six hours. One woman was shot and killed during the riot.

The leaders of both the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the Senate said they would confirm Biden’s election “tonight.” That seemed to indicate that there would be no more sustained challenges to the results of individual state’s elections. Just six GOP senators voted against Biden’s Arizona electoral votes being counted as legitimate by Congrees: Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Alabama freshman Tommy Tuberville, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, and Roger Marshall of Kansas. In the House, 121 Republicans voted to sustain the objection to Arizona’s slate. But 303 other House members voted against the measure. more...

By Joseph Choi

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) blasted President Trump and his supporters in a statement released on Wednesday in response to the Capitol being breached and temporarily occupied by violent rioters. “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. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States," Romney said. "Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy." New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin said Romney told him "This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection." more...

By Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas, CNN

(CNN) The US Capitol is once again secured but a woman is dead after supporters of President Donald Trump breached one of the most iconic American buildings, engulfing the nation's capital in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win. Shortly after 1 p.m. ET Wednesday hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from the chamber, he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes. An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon. A woman is dead after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, DC police confirmed to CNN. More information on the shooting was not immediately available and a police spokesperson said additional details will come later. more...

President-elect Joe Biden spoke live on national television Wednesday after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
TEGNA

President-elect Joe Biden called Wednesday for the restoration of “simple decency” as a mob incited by his predecessor stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed Congress from certifying the results of November's election. Biden had planned to deliver a speech focused on how to revive the economy and provide financial relief for small-business owners reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, giving routine political remarks from a theater in his native Delaware. But shortly before he was to begin speaking, demonstrators broke into the Capitol building, reaching as far as the Senate floor.

“Our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,” Biden said adding that the violent and chaotic events were “an assault on the rule of law.” The Capitol building was locked down and police moved in with guns drawn as Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were evacuated to secure locations. National Guard troops were deployed and a citywide curfew called for shortly after dusk, as rioters continued to occupy the seat of Congress for hours. “I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward,” said the president-elect. more...

Bobby Allyn

President Trump's preferred means of public communication — Twitter — on Wednesday put him on notice: If he does not stop breaking the platform's rules, he will be permanently banned. "Future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account," Twitter officials said in a statement. The announcement follows Twitter's taking the unprecedented move of locking Trump's account for 12 hours following the removal of three tweets that it required Trump remove over "severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy." more...

By Joseph Choi

Democratic lawmakers called on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment on Wednesday and remove President Trump from office, blaming the president for inciting the rioters that violently breached the Capitol building.

"Dear @VP @Mike_Pence: You need to start the 25th Amendment. @realDonaldTrump is detached from reality," wrote Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) tweeted, "Donald J. Trump should immediately be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate as soon as Congress reconvenes. This is dangerous & unacceptable." more...

By Sarah Polus

The Washington Post editorial board on Wednesday called for President Trump's immediate removal from office, saying he is solely responsible for the violent mob that stormed the Capitol. In a scathing editorial, the newspaper said Trump incited violence by encouraging rioters to take action as Congress convened a joint session to tally and record the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory. "Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy," the Post wrote. "He should be removed." "The president is unfit to remain in office for the next 14 days," the op-ed continued. "Every second he retains the vast powers of the presidency is a threat to public order and national security." more...

“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,” Vice President Mike Pence said as he reconvened Congress just after 8 p.m.
Rachel Olding

Several shocked Republican lawmakers said they would abandon their effort to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s win as Congress resumed on Wednesday night to count Electoral College votes—hours after an extraordinary attack on the building by Trump supporters. “To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,” Vice President Mike Pence said as he reconvened Congress just after 8 p.m. “Violence never wins. Freedom wins and this is still the people’s house. And as we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the reliance and strength of our democracy.”

Congress was in the middle of certifying the votes for President-elect Joe Biden when the Capitol went into lockdown and lawmakers were evacuated amid gunfire, broken windows, and bouts of teargas. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had told members they should return to the chamber tonight “to project strength” after a catastrophic day, CNN reported, citing two senior GOP sources. When the vote resumed late Wednesday, he said Congress would vote to certify the winner. “We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution... and we’re going to do it tonight,” he said, calling rioters who invaded the Capitol “unhinged.” more...

Not all of the crimes committed today can be pinned on the president. But the trespassing itself, breaking into the Capital, is exactly what he called for.
Albert Fox Cahn

First President Trump denied reality. Then he fanned the flames of insurrection. And on Wednesday, his speech actually broke the law, and he should be prosecuted for it. Trump didn’t ask people to read between the lines on Wednesday, he was explicit: “[Y]ou’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong…We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, … and we’re going to the Capitol, … and we’re going to try [to] give our Republicans…the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

Speaking to a crowd about political views lies at the very heart of our democracy. But weaponizing that crowd, inciting them, directing them, and turning them into a weapon, that’s not democracy — that’s an attack on the democratic process. And when a person, even a president, crosses that line, the Constitution and case law are quite clear: they lose their usual First Amendment protections and commit a crime.

The Supreme Court’s 1969 Brandenburg test, still in effect today, is named for a noxious Klan leader who was tried for his words at a 1964 Ohio KKK rally where speakers speculated about “revengeance’ against their enemies, talked about expelling Blacks and Jews from America and planned a march on Washington. The Supreme Court threw out his conviction for advocating violence, holding that his speech was awful, but not illegal. That’s because Brandenburg referenced the far-off possibility of violence, but no immediate crimes. The resulting test asks two questions: (1) is the speech directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action, and (2) is the speech likely to incite or produce such action? In short: are you asking people to commit a crime they’re actually about to commit? more...

They weren’t protesters or rioters. They were terrorists. Will they be brought to justice for their assault on our democracy?
Jay Michaelson

In a lawful society, in which our laws were administered fairly to all, the armed terrorists who shook the nation, attempted an insurrection, and forcibly occupied our Capitol would be thrown in jail for decades. Specifically, these terrorists (they are not protesters; they are not rioters; they are terrorists, insurrectionists, and traitors) have violated the following federal laws:

   18 U.S.C. § 2385. Seditious Conspiracy. If “two or more people… conspire… by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof,” penalties are fines and twenty years imprisonment.
   18 U.S.C. § 1361. Destruction of Government Property. If the damage exceeds $100, penalties are fines up to $250,000 and ten years imprisonment.
   18 U.S.C. § 111. Assaulting Federal Officers. Fines vary, 20 years imprisonment.
   18 U.S.C. § 351. Assault on Members of Congress. One year imprisonment.
   41 CFR 102-74.380. Creating a Hazard on Federal Property. Penalties vary.
   36 CFR 2.34 (and elsewhere). Disorderly Conduct. 90 days imprisonment, $300 fine.

Will any of those charges be filed? Will the smiling, white, unmasked faces of these thieves—stealing podiums, breaking into offices, smashing windows—be identified, and will the thieves be prosecuted? more...

Trump spoke to a crowd of protesters in D.C. just moments before Congress was set to consign his presidency to the history books.
Pilar Melendez, Rachel Olding

Shortly before Trump supporters smashed their way into the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, President Donald Trump whipped up a crowd of protesters in D.C., vowing to demolish any Republican who opposes him and pinning all hopes of overturning the election on a vice president who has no political power to do anything.

“You have to get your people to fight, and if they don’t fight we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight. We’re going to let you know who they are,” Trump said in a rambling speech to a large protest in D.C. held on Wednesday to coincide with Congress officially counting the Electoral College votes.

“It almost seems like they’re going out of their way to hurt all of us and to hurt our country,” he added about the elected officials. But, as he was speaking, Vice President Mike Pence released a lengthy statement saying he could not, and would not, block President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes on Wednesday—essentially dooming Trump’s last fantasy-driven path to winning the presidency. more...

By Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas, CNN

(CNN) The US Capitol is once again secured but a woman is dead after supporters of President Donald Trump breached one of the most iconic American buildings, engulfing the nation's capital in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that will confirm President-elect Joe Biden's win. Shortly after 1 p.m. ET Wednesday hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. Vice President Mike Pence was also evacuated from Capitol, where he was to perform his role in the counting of electoral votes.

An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon. A woman is dead after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, DC police confirmed to CNN. More information on the shooting was not immediately available and a police spokesperson said additional details will come later. Multiple officers have been injured with at least one transported to the hospital, multiple sources tell CNN. Smoke grenades were used on the Senate side of the Capitol, as police work to clear the building of rioters. Windows on the west side of the Senate have been broken, and hundreds of officers are amassing on the first floor of the building. more...

Lawmakers were evacuated during the counting of Electoral College votes after a mob of supporters descended on the Capitol at Trump's urging.

Congress's effort to count the Electoral College votes that gave President-elect Joe Biden his election victory devolved into chaos and violence Wednesday after pro-Trump protesters stormed the Capitol. The breach of the building occurred after President Donald Trump called on supporters at a rally in downtown Washington to march to the Capitol complex. One person has died, according to multiple law enforcement sources. The woman shot in the Capitol amid violent breach of the complex has died. more...

After being harassed in the airport by self-proclaimed “patriots,” the true patriotism of all involved was revealed.
By Samuel Benson

As the Utah Territory launched a bid for statehood in 1862, Brigham Young — speaking as the proposed governor — made his case in The New York Times: “(Utah) will, with equal patriotism, adopt such measures as will best sustain our Government,” he said, appealing to the territory’s “tried and firm supporters of the Constitution and every Constitutional right.” A century-and-a-half later, Utah is certainly tried and firm in many regards — but how we define “patriotism,” or how we view support of the Constitution, could use some reevaluation. A case in point is Mitt Romney. The Utah senator headed to Washington Tuesday, and while waiting for his flight, was verbally harassed by a group of self-proclaimed “Utah Patriots.” “You’re a joke. An absolute joke,” a woman shouted at him. “It’s a disgusting shame.” He was greeted on his flight by more of his jeering constituents, chanting “traitor” and calling for him to retire. All in the name of patriotism. more...


By Tamar Hallerman - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tia Mitchell - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tia Mitchell, the AJC’s Washington correspondent, was sitting in the House chamber Wednesday afternoon watching lawmakers debate an objection to Arizona’s Electoral College votes when a group of rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building. Tensions ran high as the mob, which was protesting President Donald Trump’s election loss, entered the Rotunda, the lavishly-decorated temple to American exceptionalism at the heart of the Capitol that’s steps from both the House and Senate chambers. Both chambers were locked down by the Capitol Police. House leaders attempted to keep debate over the Electoral College going, but eventually “things started getting chaotic,” Mitchell said. “Tempers started to flare.” Several of the lawmakers locked inside the House chamber began to snipe at one another in frustration. more...

Elena Moore, Alana Wise, Benjamin Swasey

The U.S. Capitol was engulfed in chaos on Wednesday, as supporters of President Trump, responding to his call to head there, breached the complex, resulting in violence in the seat of America's federal government. The surreal and dangerous scene interrupted proceedings in the House and Senate, as members of Congress were tallying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. For two months, Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen from him, and dozens of fellow Republicans have planned to object to slates of electors from various states they considered contested.

Lawmakers were debating an objection to Arizona's results — a state Trump lost narrowly — when the sessions were recessed as the U.S. Capitol Police attempted to put the complex on lockdown. Violent protesters were seen smashing windows and occupying the House and Senate floors and various offices. Police were seen with guns drawn in the House chamber, pointing their firearms at windows that were smashed. more...

Opinion: For shame, President Trump. Is this how we make America great again?
Laurie Roberts Arizona Republic

The United States Capitol stormed. Tear gas deployed in the rotunda. An armed standoff on the House floor as members of Congress duck under chairs. This, as Congress is debating whether to accept Arizona's election of Joe Biden. On what should have been a day to celebrate democracy in America, we are witnessing a stunning attempt to overthrow the government. Or at least to interrupt what has been the hallmark and the strength of America – the peaceful transition of power, as directed by the people.

Instead, we have rebellion and anarchy. Absolute pandemonium, fueled by two months of baseless conspiracy theories and outright lies that the election was stolen from President Donald Trump.

Were you looking for a coup, Rep. Gosar?
The Capitol erupted just as the House and Senate were debating whether to disenfranchise Arizona voters by rejecting the state’s 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden. As the doors to the nation's Capitol were being breached by a mob of angry Trump supporters, Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., was on the floor, waxing on about the non-existent widespread fraud that led Arizona to vote for a Democrat for only the third time since 1952. more...

Utah members report they are safe amid melee.
By Lee Davidson

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was furious after protesters — fired up by President Donald Trump at a rally saying he was robbed in the elction — stormed the U.S. Capitol and managed to stop the official count of the Electoral College vote,. “This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection,” he told New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin after senators arrived at a secure location. Reporter David Freedlander with Politico tweeted that Romney earlier yelled in the Senate chamber, “This is what you’ve gotten” to Ted Cruz and his colleagues who raised objections to the electoral vote counts.

Protesters managed to gain entrance eventually into the Senate chamber, and even pose in senators’ chairs. Television pictures showed protesters firing tear gas, and carrying weapons. Members of Congress were evacuated by police reportedly to secure locations. Sen. Mike Lee urged the Senate to continue the electoral count, and not let protesters stop it. “Congress was elected to govern. We need to get back on the floor and gavel in the Senate as soon as possible,” he tweeted. Lee added, “Whether we get back in the chamber or convene in a different location, the Senate should continue the work of the American people immediately. This outrage cannot be allowed to disrupt that work for a minute longer.” more...


Lauren Feiner

Hackers who tapped into government networks through SolarWinds software potentially accessed about 3% of the Justice Department’s email accounts, but there’s no indication they accessed classified systems, a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. The DOJ Office of the Chief Information Officer learned of the hack the day of Christmas Eve, according to the statement, where agents accessed the Department’s Microsoft Office 365 email environment. more...

By Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas, CNN

(CNN) Police are clearing supporters of President Donald Trump from the US Capitol after they breached one of the most iconic American buildings, engulfing the nation's capital in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's win. Shortly after 1 p.m. ET hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police.

An armed standoff took place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who was trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais earlier in the afternoon. A woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The sources could not provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting. Multiple officers have been injured with at least one transported to the hospital, multiple sources tell CNN. Smoke grenades were used on the Senate side of the Capitol, as police work to clear the building of rioters. Windows on the west side of the Senate have been broken, and hundreds of officers are amassing on the first floor of the building. The Senate floor was cleared of rioters as of 3:30 p.m. ET, and an officer told CNN that they have successfully squeezed them away from the Senate wing of the building and towards the Rotunda, and they are removing them out of the East and West doors of the Capitol. more...

New Day

Hundreds of law enforcement officers have mobilized across Washington DC as thousands of supporters who refuse to accept President Donald Trump's election loss have flocked to the nation's capital to protest as Congress gathers to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory. CNN's Boris Sanchez reports. video...

The Kentucky Republican characterized Wednesday’s vote as the most important he’d ever cast in his 36 years in the Senate.
By MARIANNE LEVINE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is leading the charge against President Donald Trump and a dozen Senate Republicans’ efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. In a floor speech following the first objection to Arizona’s election results, McConnell (R-Ky.) warned that the effort to object to certifying the Nov. 3 election, if successful, would spur U.S. democracy into a “death spiral.” “The voters, the courts and the states have spoken,” McConnell said. “If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever.”

The Kentucky Republican characterized Wednesday’s vote as the most important he’d ever cast in his 36 years in the Senate. “I will not pretend such a vote would be a harmless protest gesture while relying on others to do the right thing,” McConnell said. “I will vote to respect the people’s decision and defend our system of government as we know it.” McConnell’s remarks come as more than a dozen Senate Republicans are planning to object to the certification of a handful of states, following Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is leading one effort, is calling for the establishment of a ten-day electoral commission to investigate fraud allegations, which he acknowledged Tuesday is “extraordinarily uphill.” more...

By Ted Barrett, Manu Raju and Peter Nickeas, CNN

(CNN) Supporters of President Donald Trump have breached the US Capitol and one woman has been shot as one of the most iconic American buildings is engulfed in chaos after Trump urged his supporters to fight against the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes that confirmed President-elect Joe Biden's win. Shortly after 1 p.m. ET hundreds of pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers "traitors" for doing their jobs. About 90 minutes later, police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Shortly after, the House floor was evacuated by police. An armed standoff was taking place at the House front door as of 3 p.m. ET, and police officers had their guns drawn at someone who is trying to breach it. A Trump supporter was also pictured standing at the Senate dais. A woman is in critical condition after being shot in the chest on the Capitol grounds, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The sources could not provide further details on the circumstances of the shooting. more...

Cleta Mitchell had been quietly helping President Trump’s attempt to subvert the election results when the recording of him pressuring Georgia elections officials was revealed.
By Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel

As President Trump has sought to overturn the election results, his personal lawyers paraded themselves before television hosts, state elections officials and anyone else willing to entertain their baseless claims of voter fraud. But behind the scenes, a longtime conservative lawyer named Cleta Mitchell quietly helped. Her work for Mr. Trump drew widespread attention for the first time over the weekend, when a recording was released of an hourlong call in which Mr. Trump threatened Georgia elections officials with “a criminal offense” if they failed to “find” enough votes to change the state’s presidential results.

On the call, Ms. Mitchell repeatedly jumped in to help Mr. Trump, showing an intimate level of involvement in his efforts as they made baseless claims about the election and pressed Georgia officials to hand over election data. Ms. Mitchell is a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner, which has over 1,000 lawyers and an office in nearly every major city in the United States and represents large corporations such as CVS Pharmacy. Her presence on the call stood out because Mr. Trump has struggled to attract high-profile lawyers to aid his attempts to overturn the election, instead relying on a group that has included Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who has pushed outlandish claims in defense of Mr. Trump throughout his presidency, and Sidney Powell, who has espoused conspiracy theories. more...

The events of the past few weeks suggest the principles animating modern conservative constitutionalism are merely arguments of convenience.
By Steve Vladeck, professor at the University of Texas School of Law

There are any number of reasons to criticize the dozens of congressional Republicans who have vowed to object to duly certified slates of presidential electors Wednesday, when Congress meets to ratify President-Elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Among other things, there remains no substantiated evidence that the results in any states were inaccurate. Nor is that for lack of trying; in some states (including Georgia) there have been multiple audits of the final tallies using paper receipts, each of which has confirmed the results. As with any election, there have been infinitesimal discrepancies at the margins, but none of them come close to overcoming Biden's margins of victories in the tipping-point states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and some have only increased his margins.

Rather, the goal seems to be to try to appease and appeal to the president's supporters — to whom no amount of contrary evidence and/or rejections of these claims in court have sufficiently established that 81 million Americans voted for the other guy. In the process, these objections will serve only to perpetuate conspiracy theories and delegitimize the clearly legitimate election of our country's 46th president. Worse still, they may also set the stage for similar machinations four years from now — when they might be sufficient to overturn narrower election results.

Wednesday's antics aren't just dangerous political theater; they are also a betrayal of two of the foundational legal principles conservative Republicans have pushed for decades: The first of these is "originalism" — the theory that any debate over the meaning of specific constitutional provisions should be conclusively resolved by how those provisions would have been understood when they were adopted. The second, related principle is a particular understanding of "federalism" — the division of power between state and federal governments — through which our founding charter preserves the regulatory primacy of states over most topics, including federal elections. more...

By Benjamin Fearnow

President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said any Republican who is against overturning the November election results should be removed from the party, labeling several GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Arizona "liars" and a "disgrace." Giuliani told Arizona Governor Doug Ducey he "should join another political party" alongside any Republican state legislators who have failed to assist Trump's legal team in overturning President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Giuliani explained Trump and Vice President Mike Pence's final legal options to remain in office included their submission of "two sets of state electors" for Congress to count this week. Giuliani said one outcome that allows Trump to remain in office is if "you can't determine a winner, but you can determine the election was illegal."

Giuliani laid out the legal options for Pence to refuse to count at least six states where "confusing" results were contested by Trump. Making several demands for party loyalty on conservative Charlie Kirk's podcast, Giuliani said the GOP should be taking down the names of anyone "not supporting us." Giuliani railed against the "coward" Senate Republicans who are not joining the 12 "sedition caucus" members who plan to disrupt Wednesday's Electoral College vote count. The former New York City mayor said Pennsylvania's election officials are a "disgrace," and he called Georgia GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger "a liar." more...

*** Trump is still trying to steal the election. Trump lost he should man up get over it, move on and admit he is a sore LOSER. ***
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) Desperate, deluded and dangerous, President Donald Trump drove America deeper into a political abyss on Monday night in his zeal to steal an election he lost and to destroy faith in the democracy that fairly ejected him from office. The President spewed lies, conspiracy theories and nonsensically false claims of vote fraud before an angry crowd in Georgia on a trip scheduled to help two Republicans in toss up run-offs Tuesday set to seal the Senate balance of power. But as usual, and as it has been for the last four years, including during the fast-worsening pandemic that he ignored, the outgoing President's primary concern was himself. "By the way, there is no way we lost Georgia, that was a rigged election," Trump said in the first, inaccurate words out of his mouth after disembarking from his Marine One helicopter, before broadening his disinformation to the November 3 election as a whole.

"When you win in a landslide and they steal it and it's rigged, it is not acceptable," Trump said in an embittered screed, rooted in false claims that he prevailed in an election President-elect Joe Biden won 306-232 in the Electoral College. Though he often wove GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue into his remarks -- and warned of the dangers of a Democratic monopoly of power in Washington if they lost -- the President's appearance was essentially a wild, on-stage prime-time TV version of Saturday's call in which he leaned on Georgia state officials to conjure votes out of thin air in order to discredit Biden's already certified Peach State victory -- a flagrant and possibly unlawful abuse of power. The President's rants on Monday night contrasted sharply with the stunning point-by-point denunciation of his case by a top GOP election official who used facts and evidence to dismiss false claims of electoral corruption. "This is all easily, provably false. Yet the President persists," Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems implementation manager for the Georgia secretary of state's office, said in a calm, reasoned news conference on Monday. more...

By Morgan Chalfant

President Trump is heaping the pressure on Mike Pence ahead of a joint session of Congress where the vice president will preside over challenges to the Electoral College vote in several states. Trump in a Tuesday tweet suggested he believes that Pence should overturn the results in some states by rejecting chosen electors, a power the vice president doesn't have in what is largely a ceremonial role.

In the tweet, Trump claimed incorrectly that Pence “has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.” The Constitution does not grant the vice president such power. Congress could reject the results of a state's Electoral College vote, but it would require majorities in both chambers. There are not enough votes to overturn the results in either chamber given opposition from Democrats and many Republicans.

A federal judge in Texas last week dismissed a far-fetched effort by Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas) and other Republicans that aimed to give Pence the legal authority to effectively overturn the election results. Pence, represented by a Justice Department attorney, had asked that the judge dismiss the suit, saying the vice president’s office was not the proper defendant. more...

By William Booth and David A. Fahrenthold

LONDON — The speculation began with curious activity by U.S. military aircraft reported circling President Trump's Turnberry golf resort in western Scotland in November. Then the Sunday Post in Scotland reported that Glasgow Prestwick Airport “has been told to expect the arrival of a US military Boeing 757 aircraft, that is occasionally used by Trump, on January 19.” Could the American president, on his last full day in office, wing his way to his ancestral Scotland to hit the links at his shuttered resort, possibly missing the inauguration? Unknown and unconfirmed. But on Tuesday, the leader of Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was asked if Trump was headed her way, and what might be her message to him? At her daily news briefing, Sturgeon said, “I have no idea what Donald Trump’s travel plans are, you’ll be glad to know.” more...

Trump’s move came after the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung “BJ” Pak, abruptly resigned Monday.
By JOSH GERSTEIN

President Donald Trump has replaced the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta with another Trump-appointed prosecutor from southern Georgia, bypassing a top career prosecutor. Trump’s move came after the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, Byung “B.J.” Pak, abruptly resigned Monday. Justice Department officials have declined to say whether Pak resigned voluntarily or was asked to do so. U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Georgia Bobby Christine said on his office’s website that he was named as the acting U.S. attorney in Atlanta on Monday “by written order of the President.” Christine, a former state prosecutor and magistrate, has served as the senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, which includes the cities of Savannah and Augusta. In tapping Christine, Trump bypassed the prosecutor who would normally take over on an acting basis in the event of an emergency or sudden vacancy, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine. more...

Richard Wolffe

Our concern shouldn’t focus on whether Trump can derail Biden’s inauguration. Instead we should be deeply concerned about whether this cult can derail our democracy Eleven Christmases ago, a student boarded a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit with a singular mission. As the plane crossed the US border, he spent 20 minutes in the bathroom and then returned to his seat. There he tried to detonate his underwear, but only succeeded in burning his leg. The likely reason Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab failed to kill almost 300 people was because he was sweating too much.

The US has often been lucky that its enemies are too incompetent to detonate their own devices. But rather than relying on good fortune, successive presidents have spent trillions of dollars building a post-9/11 military order that is supposed to protect our freedoms. After listening to the outgoing president’s call with Georgia officials, it’s painfully clear that Donald Trump is the underwear bomber of our democracy. We are blessed to have such incompetent enemies, but the next assailant will not sweat quite so much, or so obviously. We cannot wait until someone comes along who knows how to light the fuse. How incompetent is the soon-to-be-ex-president? Trump wields the awesome power of the presidency with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer trying to crack a safe. more...

*** Trump the conspiracy nut in the White House. ***

The call offered a look at just how much Trump is now relying on some of the most outlandish theories from obscure corners of the internet to make his case for election fraud.
By Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny and Jane C. Timm

President Donald Trump cataloged a series of false conspiracy theories during an hourlong call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday in which he sought to overturn the state's election results, and they were familiar to anyone following the far fringes of the internet. Trump floated fragments of several baseless conspiracy theories that were primarily pushed by QAnon followers over the last two months, including a widely debunked theory about voting machines from Dominion Voting Systems.

The wide-ranging slew of theories, spawned on extremist forums like 4chan, were repeatedly referred to by Trump as “rumors” that are “trending on the internet.” He claimed they were reasons Raffensperger should “re-examine it [the election] with people that want to find answers.” And while Trump has embraced conspiracy theories for much of his tenure as president, Saturday's call offered a look at just how much he is now relying on some of the most outlandish theories from obscure corners of the internet to make his case for election fraud. more...

By Kaitlan Collins, CNN

(CNN) Before he leaves office, President Donald Trump will award the nation's highest civilian honor to two of his most vocal political allies who defended him throughout his impeachment, Rep. Devin Nunes of California and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, as the White House has been inundated with requests for others, multiple sources told CNN. Though it wasn't listed on his public schedule released by the White House, Trump on Monday will award the Medal of Freedom to Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee who is a close political ally of Trump's and who has worked closely with him to undermine the Justice Department's Russia investigation. Trump is also considering granting the Medal of Freedom to Bobby Bowden, the retired Florida State University football coach. more...

In his final weeks in office, the president is honoring friends and allies with pardons and medals.
David Mack BuzzFeed News Reporter

Devin Nunes, the California Republican who helped undermine the Trump impeachment proceedings and Russia inquiry by spreading unfounded conspiracies, was rewarded for his actions by the president on Monday with the nation's top civilian honor. President Donald Trump announced he would bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the member of Congress, thanking him for his work exposing what Trump called the "Russia Hoax." "Congressman Devin Nunes is a public servant of unmatched talent, unassailable integrity, and unwavering resolve," Trump said in a statement. "He uncovered the greatest scandal in American history."

A White House spokesperson told media on Monday afternoon the ceremony was held — apparently privately — earlier in the day. Trump is also expected to soon bestow the award to Jim Jordan, the Ohio member of Congress who has also been a close ally and who has been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual assault at Ohio State University when he coached wrestling there — a charge he denies. The decision to honor Nunes and Jordan with an award previously given to figures such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Neil Armstrong, and Sandra Day O'Connor is part of a pattern of behavior of Trump rewarding allies with honors or presidential pardons during his final weeks in office. more...

By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) Many conservative House Republicans defended President Donald Trump in the aftermath of his phone call demanding Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger "find" the votes needed for him to win the elections in his state -- as Democrats began drafting a resolution seeking to censure Trump over the matter. After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy downplayed Trump's stunning demand, other Republicans rushed to his defense -- and some refused to take issue with the President's actions. "I wasn't involved in the call," said Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, who chairs the House GOP's campaign arm. Rep. Paul Gosar, a conservative Arizona Republican who is joining his colleagues' effort to overturn the election results on Wednesday, contended that Trump's call was a simple expression of "enormous frustration."

"Politically correct speech doesn't run well," Gosar said when asked about Trump. Trump's call with Georgia's secretary of state, audio of which was reported by CNN, the Washington Post and others on Sunday, comes ahead of a Republican effort to object to President-elect Joe Biden's victory when Congress counted the Electoral College votes on Wednesday. At least 140 House Republicans and a dozen Senate Republicans are preparing to vote against Biden's victory in a push to overturn the election results despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud, though the effort has divided Republicans, with some Republicans openly criticizing their colleagues for an effort they charge is dangerous to democracy. Trump has attacked those Republicans not joining with his push to overturn the election results, tweeting Monday at Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, one of Trump's typical Senate GOP allies, after Cotton announced he wouldn't support the objections. more...

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