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Donald Trump is impeached for the SECOND TIME after bipartisan vote

The House voted Wednesday 232-197 to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ exactly a week after the MAGA mob stormed Capitol Hill.  

The Democratic majority was joined by 10 Republicans, making the House’s move bipartisan – unlike Trump’s first impeachment less than 13 months ago.  

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he would not bring the Senate back before January 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. It means that Trump cannot be removed from office before he leaves anyway. 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED ‘YES’ ON IMPEACHMENT

Liz Cheney – Wyoming. Republican royalty and House Number 3

‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’ 

Adam Kinzinger – Illinois. Outspoken Trump critic and Air Force veteran

‘If these actions are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?’

John Katko – New York. Holds swing district and co-chairs moderate group

‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy.’ 

Fred Upton – Michigan. 14-term rep who co-chairs moderate group 

‘It is time to say: Enough is enough.’

Jaime Herrera Beutler  – Washington

Five-term rep in deep blue state 

‘The President of the United States incited a riot. That riot led to five deaths.’ 

Dan Newhouse – Washington

One of only two GOP reps from state 

‘Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republican is not an option.’ 

Peter Meijer – Michigan 

Holds Gerald Ford’s seat  

‘There was no such courage from our President who betrayed and misled millions.’ 

Tom Rice – South Carolina 

Still to explain vote 

Anthony Gonzalez  – Ohio 

‘The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties.’

Former NFL starting wide receiver 

David Valadao – California 

‘His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.’ 

Reclaimed district from Dems in 2020

McConnell’s move was revealed as the House debated the impeachment article. Then he added to the drama with a statement suggesting he could convict, saying: ‘While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.’ 

Just before he entered history as the first president to be impeached twice, the White House put out a statement from Trump, which called for peace but did not address his impeachment.

‘In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You,’ the president’s statement said. 

The call for calm did nothing to quell a Republican rebellion against him, led by the House number three Liz Cheney, which ended with a total of 10 GOP members voting to impeach Trump.

Halfway through the debate another defiant Republican, Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington, said: ‘Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republic is not an option.

‘A vote against impeachment is a vote to validate this unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital. It is also a vote to condone President Trump’s inaction. He did not strongly condemn the attack nor did he call in reinforcements when our officers were overwhelmed.’ 

‘Our country needed a leader and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office,’ Newhouse added. His floor speech got Democratic applause.

The 10 votes make the impeachment the most bipartisan ever, another historical marker which also creates a deep split in the Republican party which is unlikely to end with Trump’s departure. 

The vote ended with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, in the chair, declaring the count of 232 to 197 – but with silence from the Democrats and handful of Republicans still present. Pelosi had warned her members not to celebrate the outcome.

It concluded a day of debate in which Pelosi had called Trump a ‘clear and present danger,’ as Democrats said they were standing in a ‘crime scene’ and demanded that Trump pay a price for a campaign of ‘lies and conspiracy theories’ which had fomented violence.  

Trump’s Republican allies did not defend Trump’s behavior, but instead pitched censuring the president or launching a 9/11-style commission, more fitting punishments they argued for someone who was already leaving office. 

Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican, went as far to say Trump’s conduct was impeachable, but wouldn’t vote for the article, calling it ‘flawed.’  

The Republican revolt was led by Cheney, the number three in the caucus and party royalty as the daughter of the former vice president Dick Cheney.

She had issued a fiery denunciation of Trump when she announced her vote 24 hours earlier, saying he ‘lit the flame on insurrection’ but did not speak on the floor.

In the Senate, which will have to hold a trial of Trump in the wake of the vote as soon as it receives the article, McConnell’s announcement that he is willing to convict raises new questions about how Republicans will vote when the trial happens.

So far only Sen. Mitt Romney appears certain to back conviction, while on Wednesday Sen. Lindsey Graham accused McConnell of risking more violence by backing impeachment. No other Republican senator has made their position public. 

Impeachment is by a two-thirds majority of the Senate, which in principle means the 50 Democrats have to be joined by 17 Republicans, but in fact it is only a majority of those present, meaning some GOP members could stay away to let a vote go through without actively taking part.  

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer continued to push McConnell to reconvene the Senate sooner – but said there would be a trial no matter what.

‘A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate Majority Leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19th,’ Schumer said. 

‘But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.’ 

Bringing down the hammer: Nancy Pelosi gavels the end of the voting and declares that Donald Trump has been impeached again 232-197 – 10 of the majority votes coming from Republicans

The article of impeachment against President Donald Trump sits on a table before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an engrossment ceremony after Wednesday's vote

The article of impeachment against President Donald Trump sits on a table before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an engrossment ceremony after Wednesday’s vote 

Photographers lean over the article of impeachment Wednesday on Capitol Hill trying to get a good shot before an engrossment ceremony with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Photographers lean over the article of impeachment Wednesday on Capitol Hill trying to get a good shot before an engrossment ceremony with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 

Republican House number three Liz Cheney (right) led 10 of the House GOP into voting for impeachment - but is now facing a backlash from Trump ultra-loyalists. She was see n speaking to Jamie Raskin, one of the key Democrats pushing for Trump's impeachment and removal

Republican House number three Liz Cheney (right) led 10 of the House GOP into voting for impeachment – but is now facing a backlash from Trump ultra-loyalists. She was see n speaking to Jamie Raskin, one of the key Democrats pushing for Trump’s impeachment and removal 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT 

IMPEACHMENT TIMETABLE

Wednesday afternoon: House passed single Article

What happens next? Nancy Pelosi decides when to transmit Article to Senate. When she does, it must begin trial on the next sitting day and sit six days a week until it concludes 

Tuesday January 19:  Earliest date Mitch McConnell has said Senate can begin considering Article. Senate procedures may mean trial will not begin until the following day at 1pm

Wednesday January 20, noon: Trump leaves office

What happens next? If a trial is under way, it can continue. Most legal experts say if it has not begun, it can, but there is a minority who say impeachment cannot continue if the president is not in office

Rep. Tom Cole, the first GOP lawmaker to speak, argued against a hasty impeachment vote ‘not because of the president’s inappropriate and reckless words are deserving of defense but because the presidency itself demands due process.’ Cole had himself voted to overturn the election results.

Republicans also warned impeaching Trump for a second time would only make partisan hostilities worse.  

‘This is a reckless impeachment,’ complained Republican Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri. ‘This will only bring up the hate and fire more than ever before.’ 

Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona charged Democrats with wanting ‘complete destruction of your nemesis.’

‘Instead of stopping the Trump train, his movement will go stronger, for you would have made him a martyr,’ Biggs warned. 

Democrats described the terror of last week’s attack. 

‘We are debating this resolution at an actual crime scene and we wouldn’t be here if not for the president of the United States,’ said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat.

‘People were sending text messages to their loved ones, telling them they loved them. They thought they were saying goodbye,’ he added.  

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, the House’s lead impeachment manager, referred to the rioters as a ‘bloodthirsty mob.’   

‘They wounded dozens of people, hospitalizing dozens of people,’ he said. ‘They may have been hunting for Pence and Pelosi to stage their coup, but every one of us in this room right now, could have died.’

Rep. Joaquin Castro echoed Raskin’s description. 

‘Let me ask you a question? What do you think they would have done if they had gotten in? What do you think they would have done to you? And who do you think sent them here?’ he asked his fellow members. ‘The most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office.’ 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking to an InstagramLive audience Tuesday night since she was proxy voting, said, ‘I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.’ 

‘I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive,’ the high-profile progressive lawmaker said.  

On the floor Wednesday, the Democrats pointed to the Republicans’ high-profile defection: the No. 3 House Republican, Cheney. 

Cheney, the Republican Conference Chair, laced into Trump in her statement, saying he ‘lit the flame’ of insurrection – and Democrats repeated her words back to the Republicans. 

The House's No. 3 Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, walks into the Capitol Building surrounded by members of the National Guard

The House’s No. 3 Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, walks into the Capitol Building surrounded by members of the National Guard 

Armed National Guard troops are seen outside the U.S. Capitol Building as members inside debate impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time in 13 months

Armed National Guard troops are seen outside the U.S. Capitol Building as members inside debate impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time in 13 months

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally, speaks on the House floor Wednesday as impeachment proceedings began

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally, speaks on the House floor Wednesday as impeachment proceedings began 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED ‘YES’ ON IMPEACHMENT

Liz Cheney – Wyoming. Republican royalty and House Number 3

‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’ 

Adam Kinzinger – Illinois. Outspoken Trump critic and Air Force veteran

‘If these actions are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?’

John Katko – New York. Holds swing district and co-chairs moderate group

‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy.’ 

Fred Upton – Michigan. 14-term rep who co-chairs moderate group 

‘It is time to say: Enough is enough.’

Jaime Herrera Beutler  – Washington

Five-term rep in deep blue state 

‘The President of the United States incited a riot. That riot led to five deaths.’ 

Dan Newhouse – Washington

One of only two GOP reps from state 

‘Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republican is not an option.’ 

Peter Meijer – Michigan 

Holds Gerald Ford’s seat  

‘There was no such courage from our President who betrayed and misled millions.’ 

Tom Rice – South Carolina 

Still to explain vote 

Anthony Gonzalez  – Ohio 

‘The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties.’

Former NFL starting wide receiver 

David Valadao – California 

‘His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.’ 

Reclaimed district from Dems in 2020

‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,’ she said.

The decision to back impeachment by Cheney, a member of Republican royalty as the daughter of Dick Cheney, and seen as a future contender for the party’s House leadership and the Speaker’s chair, means that impeachment would be bipartisan.  

On the floor Wednesday, Democrats pointed to Cheney’s statement as evidence they were in the right. 

The Democrats’ No. 2, Rep. Steny Hoyer, recited Cheney’s words during his turn to speak. 

‘That is not some irresponsible new member of Congress of the United States,’ Hoyer said. ‘This is the daughter of the former Republican whip and former vice president of the United States of America.’ 

‘She knows of which she speaks,’ Hoyer argued. 

Cheney never gave her own floor speech.  

Reps. Jim Jordan and Paul Gosar, two of Trump’s top GOP House allies, were pushing to have Cheney removed from her leadership position. 

JIM JORDAN SAYS DEMOCRATS WANT TO ‘CANCEL’ THE PRESIDENT 

Jordan gave two fiery floor speeches Wednesday.   

He yelled ’19 minutes!’ into the microphone Wednesday afternoon, charging Democrats with waiting just 19 minutes into the Trump administration to start their impeachment hunt.   

He said Democrats were pursuing removal again because of ‘politics and the fact that they want to, they want to cancel the president.’ 

‘This is about getting the president of the United States,’ Jordan said. 

‘They spied on his campaign before he was elected, 19 minutes into his presidency they started the impeachment push, three year Mueller investigation, 19 lawyers, 40 agents, 500 witnesses, 2,500 subpoenas, $40 million to find nothing,’ Jordan went on. 

The Ohio Republican said impeachment ’round one’ was based on information from a ‘biased’ whistleblower. 

‘Now it’s impeachment round two,’ he said. ‘It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession, an obsession that’s now broadened. It’s not just about impeachment anymore it’s about canceling … canceling the president,’ Jordan argued. 

‘IT BREAKS MY HEART’ SAYS HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI 

Pelosi, who opened the formal impeachment articles debate, said she wasn’t pursuing the measure with glee. 

‘It gives me no pleasure to say this, it breaks my heart. It should break your heart. It should break all of our hearts,’ the top Democrat said. 

Pelosi encouraged the Senate to act, calling the president a ‘clear and present danger.’ 

‘I believe the president must be convicted by the Senate, a constitutional  remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man, that was so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear, and hold us together,’ she said.  

She also slammed those who engaged in the riot. 

‘Those insurrectionists were not patriots. They were not part of a political base to be catered to and managed. They were domestic terrorists and justice must prevail,’ the House speaker said. 

TOP HOUSE REPUBLICAN SAYS ANTIFA NOT RESPONSIBLE 

Pelosi’s Republican counterpart, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, let other, more pro-Trump members speak before he took a turn on the floor, where he cleared up some right-wing misinformation. 

‘Some say the riots were caused by Antifa,’ McCarthy said. ‘There is absolutely no evidence of that. And conservatives should be the first to say so,’ he advised. 

McCarthy said he planned to vote no on impeachment because it was too hasty. 

‘I believe impeaching the president in such a short timeframe would be a mistake,’ McCarthy argued. ‘No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held.’  

‘What’s more, the Senate has confirmed that no trial will begin until after President-Elect Biden is sworn in,’ McCarthy added, a nod to the breaking McConnell news. 

TRUMP’S TOP ALLIES POINT FINGERS BACK AT DEMOCRATS 

Most of the Republicans lining up to speak were Trump hard-liners – and pointed to what they considered to be Democratic hypocrisy. 

‘The left in America has incited far more political violence than the right for months. Our cities burned police stations burned or businesses were shattered. And they said nothing,’ Rep. Matt Gaetz yelled. 

‘Well they lit actual flames. Actual fires,’ Gaetz exclaimed. 

That comment cued boos from the Democratic side.  

Rep. Ken Buck compared the capitol assault to Trump administration officials being harassed at restaurants. 

‘The press secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant for being a Trump employee, the DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen harassed at her home,’ Buck said on the floor. 

Nielsen was confronted by a crowd at a D.C. restaurant over the Trump administration’s child separation policy.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, who has openly supported the QAnon conspiracy theory, called for ‘accountability on the left.’

‘After encouraging and normalizing violence,’ she said. 

‘I call bull crap when I hear the Democrats demanding unity. Sadly they are only unified in hate,’ she blasted.   

the other ‘QAnon congresswoman,’ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green gave her floor remarks wearing a ‘CENSORED’ mask.

Rep. Brian Mast, a Florida Republican, used a dramatic pause to make his point. 

‘Has any one of those individuals who brought violence on this capitol been brought here to answer whether they did that because of our president?’ Mast asked. 

He stood unanswered for 30 seconds until his time elapsed. ‘It appears I will receive no answer,’ he said.

Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Washington state, became the sixth GOP member to say he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump

Rep. Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Washington state, became the sixth GOP member to say he would vote to impeach President Donald Trump 

(SOME) REPUBLICANS REVOLT 

Joining Cheney in voting for the Democratic-prepared article of impeachment was Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York,  Fred Upton of Michigan,  Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington,  Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina and Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio.  

‘My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision,’ Herrera Beutler said during her floor speech. ‘I am not choosing a side I am choosing, it’s the only way to defeat fear.’   

Newhouse announced Wednesday mid-debate that he would vote yes on impeachment. 

‘Turning a blind eye to this brutal assault on our Republic is not an option,’ Newhouse said.

‘A vote against impeachment is a vote to validate this unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital,’ Newhouse said in a statement. ‘It is also a vote to condone President Trump’s inaction. He did not strongly condemn the attack nor did he call in reinforcements when our officers were overwhelmed.’ 

‘Our country needed a leader and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office,’ Newhouse added. 

His remarks were applauded on the House floor.

Cheney’s decision came minutes after McConnell was revealed to believe that Trump had committed impeachable offenses.

The New York Times’ bombshell was still echoing in Washington D.C. when the House started its 25th Amendment debate – and as it dragged to a close Tuesday night, Axios reported that McConnell was leaning towards a vote to convict the president and was ‘more than 50/50’ on it.  

Cheney was seen speaking to Raskin on Tuesday night as he led the Democrats arguing for a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment removing Trump from power.

The House passed it late Tuesday despite Pence sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he’ll refuse. 

Hundreds of National Guard troops wer sleeping on the stone floor of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning as security in Washington intensified a week out from Joe Biden's inauguration

Hundreds of National Guard troops wer sleeping on the stone floor of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning as security in Washington intensified a week out from Joe Biden’s inauguration 

The troops could be seen spreading out inside the Rotunda of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning

The troops could be seen spreading out inside the Rotunda of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning

The troops cradled their weapons and huddled together as they slept inside the Capitol on Wednesday

The troops cradled their weapons and huddled together as they slept inside the Capitol on Wednesday 

In a vote that wrapped up around 11.30pm Tuesday, the House voted 223-205 to approve the resolution, which can’t actually force the vice president’s hand.   

‘I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution,’ Pence said in his letter to Pelosi, refusing to pull the trigger on the 25th. 

‘Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation,’ Pence added. 

Pence’s letter came as the House was holding procedural votes on the resolution.   

No Republicans joined on until the final vote – with Rep. Adam Kinzinger joining Democrats in the push to have Pence to use the 25th.  

Trump ultra-loyalist Jim Jordan says he will try to oust Liz Cheney from her position as party’s House number three in revenge for voting to impeach president 

Jim Jordan said he wanted Republicans to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position over her push to impeach President Donald Trump

‘I think she’s, I think she’s totally wrong,’ Jordan said. ‘The conference should have a second vote on that,’ the Ohio Republican told reporters, saying he believed lawmakers should get a say on removing Cheney from her No. 3 position. 

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, another top Trump ally, was circulating a petition to GOP members pushing for Cheney’s removal, C-SPAN and CNN reported.   

The House Republican caucus held leadership elections for the 117th Congress on November 17, two weeks after Election Day. 

Cheney, again, was selected to be the Republican Conference chairman, and ran for the position unopposed. 

On Tuesday she announced she would side the the Democratic majority and vote to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection.’ 

In an explosive statement, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney laced into Trump saying he ‘lit the flame’ of insurrection. 

‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,’ Cheney said.  

Four other GOP House members have said they will vote for Trump’s impeachment: Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Fred Upton, John Katko and Jaime Herrera Beutler. 

Speaking to Capitol Hill reporters, Jordan was unsure if there was a mechanism to push a member out of leadership.

‘I don’t know about that – it’s just where I’m at,’ he told the press.   

When asked if the conservative Freedom Caucus, of which Jordan is a leader, was supportive of pushing Cheney out, Jordan replied sarcastically, ‘What do you think?’ 

‘You know the answer. You know the answer to that question,’ he went on. ‘Of course.’ 

Jordan was also asked if Republicans had a ‘cohesive leaderhip team’ with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Cheney appearing to be in direct conflict. ‘Leader McCarthy and whip Scalise have done a great job,’ Jordan answered.

Rep. Steve Scalise is the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives.  Jordan was recently given a Presidential Medal of Freedom behind closed doors by Trump.  Both voted to overturn the election. 

That set the scene for an impeachment debate and vote Wednesday entirely different from the first impeachment vote on October 31, 2019.

Then the only non-Democratic vote was from Justin Amash, who was essentially forced out of the Republican party before he even cast it.

But after a day in which they feared for their lives, the mood in Congress had changed rapidly.

LINDSEY GRAHAM IN BITTER PUBLIC SPLIT WITH MITCH MCCONNELL OVER IMPEACHMENT

Lindsey Graham slammed Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders in the Senate on Wednesday as the House began debate to impeach President Donald Trump a second time.

In a lengthy statement, delivered the day after Graham traveled to Texas with President Trump to visit a new section of the border wall, the senator argued: ‘The last thing the country needs is an impeachment trial of a president who is leaving office in one week.’

Graham, a staunch Trump ally, warned another impeachment trial ‘could invite further violence’ and decried Democrats for wanting to do a ‘do-over impeachment.’

Senator Lindsey Graham jumped back on the Trump plane - literally - on Tuesday as he accompanied the president on Air Force One to Texas

Senator Lindsey Graham jumped back on the Trump plane – literally – on Tuesday as he accompanied the president on Air Force One to Texas

‘The House impeachment process seeks to legitimize a snap impeachment totally void of due process. No hearings. No witnesses. It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents. As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better,’ he said. 

Graham jumped back on the Trump plane – literally – on Tuesday as he accompanied the president on Air Force One to Texas.

Senator Lindsey Graham Statement 

‘Supporting the impeachment of President Trump under these circumstances will do great damage to the institutions of government and could invite further violence at a time the President is calling for calm. If there was a time for America’s political leaders to bend a knee and ask for God’s counsel and guidance, it is now. The most important thing for leaders to do in times of crisis is to make things better, not worse.

‘The process being used in the House to impeach President Trump is an affront to any concept of due process and will further divide the country. The President, who will be leaving office in less than a week, has committed to an orderly transfer of power, encouraging calm and rejecting violence.

‘The House impeachment process seeks to legitimize a snap impeachment totally void of due process. No hearings. No witnesses. It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents. As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better.

‘The last thing the country needs is an impeachment trial of a president who is leaving office in one week.

‘Democrats have already impeached the President once over a matter which was not worthy of that process. Now they seek to do it again, believing that this effort will wash for history the fact that the first impeachment was based on the thinnest of pretenses: a phone call with the leader of Ukraine. Impeachment should never be a ‘do-over,’ but that is what Democrats are seeking to do today.

‘To my Republican colleagues who legitimize this process, you are doing great damage not only to the country, the future of the presidency, but also to the party. The millions who have supported President Trump and his agenda should not be demonized because of the despicable actions of a seditious mob. The individuals who participated in the storming of the Capitol should be met with the full force of the law. They should and will be held accountable.’

The trip comes after Graham broke with the president last Wednesday, refusing to join a Trump-backed effort to contest Electoral College counts in the hours after the MAGA riot. 

‘All I can say is count me out, enough is enough,’ Graham told his Senate colleagues then. ‘When it’s over it is over.’   

But his tune changed.

Graham on Wednesday called out Republicans who are voting for impeachment. Ten Republican House members supported impeaching Trump under the charge he violated his oath of office by inciting the mob of insurgents that attacked the Capitol on Wednesday.

‘To my Republican colleagues who legitimize this process, you are doing great damage not only to the country, the future of the presidency, but also to the party,’ Graham said. 

The House approved the articles of impeachment against Trump on Wednesday afternoon, 232-197.

Republican leaders in the Senate were weighing whether to launch a trial on Friday to consider removing him from office, a source familiar with the deliberations told Reuters.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruled it out.

‘Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week. The Senate has held three presidential impeachment trials. They have lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively,’ he said in a statement after the House vote.

‘Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office. This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact. The President-elect himself stated last week that his inauguration on January 20 is the ‘quickest’ path for any change in the occupant of the presidency,’ he noted.

He said the trial would begin after Biden took the oath of office. 

‘In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,’ McConnell said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had pressured McConnell to agree to bring the Senate back sooner under emergency circumstances – to no avail. 

That means the first days of Biden’s presidency will be taken up with impeaching his predecessor. 

If impeached, Trump would not be able to run for president again. Several Republican senators are thought to be considering 2024 presidential bids.

To impeach Trump, a two-thirds majority is needed to convict him.

 

 

 

Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, criticized the Democrats' effort to have Vice President Mike Pence utilize the 25th Amendment. He also complained about the House's new fines for lawmakers who don't wear masks - and the metal detectors outside the House chamber

Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, criticized the Democrats’ effort to have Vice President Mike Pence utilize the 25th Amendment. He also complained about the House’s new fines for lawmakers who don’t wear masks – and the metal detectors outside the House chamber 

HOW TRUMP’S SECOND IMPEACHMENT WILL UNFOLD

The House is expected to impeach President Donald Trump for his encouragement of supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, a vote that would make him the first American president to be impeached twice.

While the previous three impeachments – those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump – took months before a final vote, including investigations and hearings, this time it will have only taken a week. After the rioting at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ‘we must take action,’ and Democrats – and some Republicans – share her view ahead of Wednesday’s vote. 

For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as president Jan. 20. Still, Democrats feel that action by the House would send an important message to the country.

A look at what will happen as the House moves closer to impeaching Trump in his last week in office:

THE BASICS OF IMPEACHMENT: 

In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full House. That’s what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.

This time, with so few days to act – and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened, since most members of Congress heard Trump speak to his supporters and were in the Capitol when the mob broke in – impeachment is going straight to the House floor for a vote, which would come as soon as Wednesday.

Once the House votes to impeach, the articles and evidence would be sent to the Senate, where a trial would be held and there would be final votes to convict or acquit. That’s what the Senate did in early February of last year after Trump was impeached the first time. 

THE ARTICLES

Democrats will begin debate Wednesday on a single impeachment charge: ‘incitement of insurrection.’

‘President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,’ reads the four-page impeachment article, which was introduced by Democratic Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

‘He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,’ it reads.

The article says the behavior is consistent with Trump’s prior efforts to ‘subvert and obstruct’ the results of the election and references his recent call with the Georgia secretary of state, in which he said he wanted him to find him more votes after losing the state to Biden.

Trump has falsely claimed there was widespread fraud in the election, and the baseless claims have been repeatedly echoed by congressional Republicans and the insurgents who descended on the Capitol. Just before the riots, Trump spoke to the supporters near the White House and encouraged them to ‘fight like hell.’

As the protesters broke in, both chambers were debating GOP challenges to the electoral vote count in Arizona as part of the process for certifying Biden’s election win. 

REPUBLICAN SUPPORT 

On Tuesday, five Republicans said they would support impeachment. No Republicans supported Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Trump because ‘there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’

Cheney said Trump ‘summoned’ the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, ‘assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.’

New York Rep. John Katko was the first Republican to say he’d vote to impeach. A former federal prosecutor, he said he did not make the decision lightly.

‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,’ Katko said. ‘I cannot sit by without taking action.’

Also saying they would vote for impeachment were Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.

SENDING TO THE SENATE 

Once the House passes the articles, Pelosi can decide when she sends them to the Senate. Under the current schedule, the Senate is not set to resume full sessions until Jan. 19, which is the day before Biden’s inauguration.

Some Democrats suggested Pelosi might wait to send the articles and allow Biden to begin his term without impeachment hanging over him. But many other Democrats have urged Pelosi to move immediately.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who will be in charge once Biden is sworn in, suggested in a letter to colleagues Tuesday the chamber might divide its time between confirming Biden’s nominees, approving COVID relief and conducting the trial.

If the trial isn’t held until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.

Biden has said it’s important to ensure that the ‘folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable.’

SENATE POLITICS

It’s unlikely, for now, that enough Republicans would vote to convict, since two-thirds of the Senate is needed. Yet some Republicans have told Trump to resign, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and few are defending him.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse has said he would take a look at what the House approves, but stopped short of committing to support it.

Other Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, long a key ally of the president, has been critical of his behavior in inciting the riots but said impeachment ‘will do far more harm than good.’

Only one Republican voted to convict Trump last year — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.

WHAT IMPEACHMENT WOULD MEAN

Democrats say they have to move forward, even if the Senate doesn’t convict.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted on Friday that some people might ask why they would try to impeach a president with only a few days left in office.

‘The answer: Precedent,’ he said. ‘It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.’     

In the hours after the riot, Pence did his Constitutional duty and certified President-elect Joe Biden, something he had been pressured by Trump not to do. 

‘You can either go down in history as a patriot,’ Trump had told Pence by phone before he headed to the Capitol Wednesday, according to The New York Times. ‘Or you can go down in history as a p****.’   

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for impeachment, The New York Times reported Tuesday evening

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for impeachment, The New York Times reported Tuesday evening 

Pence was inside when the violent mobbed attacked, with some Trump supporters calling out, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’  

The Times reported that Trump had invited Pence to the Oval Office Monday night to try to smooth things over in the run-up to the House’s 25th Amendment vote. 

The official description of the meeting was ‘good,’ according to the newspaper. 

Unofficially sources called it ‘nonsubstantive’ and ‘stilted.’  

Tuesday night’s vote on the 25th Amendment is considered the appetizer for Wednesday’s main course: the House pursuing impeachment again. 

Nowhere in his letter did Pence say he objected to that move.   

Shortly after Pence sent out his letter, Pelosi sent out the names of impeachment managers. 

She picked Raskin, who introduced the 25th Amendment resolution, as the head manager. 

‘I think every member of this body should be able to agree that this president is not meeting the most minimal duties of office,’ Raskin argued Tuesday night. 

Raskin also warned his fellow lawmakers that Trump could pardon the Capitol Hill attackers during his waning days. 

Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, recently lost his son. 

Additionally, Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Joe Neguse and Madeleine Dean were also chosen.  

Earlier Tuesday, McConnell signaled his support for the impeachment effort that includes an article charging the president with ‘incitement of insurrection.’

The view of the GOP powerbroker emerged shortly before Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the House GOP leadership, announced that she would vote for impeaching President Trump.  

‘On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic,’ wrote Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.

‘Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,’ she continued.

‘I will vote to impeach the President,’ Cheney concluded.   

Neither Cheney nor McConnell backed Democrats impeachment effort a year ago.  

McConnell worked successfully to scuttle the impeachment effort during a trial last year on different charges. 

His current view follows reports that McConnell never wants to speak to Trump again after the Capitol riots that had Trump supporters invading the Capitol, trashing leadership offices, and endangering the lives of lawmakers.

McConnell backs the effort because it will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the New York Times reports.

One feature of impeachment – which can grind the Senate to a halt and lead to furious partisan arguments – is that it allows lawmakers to vote to prohibit the person being impeached from ever holding public office with the U.S. government.

Trump may run for president in 2024, and many of his potential rivals happen to hold Senate seats.  

McConnell has made clear in private discussions that ‘now is the moment to move on the weakened lame duck, whom he blames for Republicans losing the Senate,’ according to the report.

Trump ignored McConnell’s advice and launched his election challenge despite two run-off elections in Georgia which the GOP lost – stripping the party of its majority. 

A source told CNN McConnell ‘hates’ Trump and is ‘furious’ with him after the Capitol riots. 

The siege left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was based on the Senate side.  

McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, quit the Trump cabinet after the riots, which included an angry mob getting blocked steps from the door to the Senate chamber that McConnell uses when he normally strolls from his leadership office.  

McConnell’s view emerged as Trump, rather than express contrition, called impeachment a ‘hoax’ and a ‘witch hunt,’ and defended his pre-riot comments that Democrats have already said was incitement. Trump called his speech minutes before the siege ‘totally appropriate.’         

Cheney’s statement denouncing the president comes after Trump told supporters they need to ‘get rid’ of people like her. 

‘We got to get rid of the weak Congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We got to get rid of them,’ Trump said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised her, amid speculation numerous House Republicans might follow her lead. 

‘Good for her for honoring her oath of us. Would that more Republicans would honor their oaths of office,’ Pelosi said. 

GOP Rep. John Katko also announced he would back impeachment Tuesday night. 

‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,’ Katko said in a statement, Syracuse.com reported. ‘For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president,’ he said. 

During floor debate, Katko said he wasn’t supporting the 25th Amendment resolution because it was ‘non-binding,’ calling it ‘merely a symbolic gesture.’  

Katko confirmed his plans to vote for impeachment. 

Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton also told Forbes he would vote to impeach. 

As midnight approached, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler also said she was a yes.   

Convicting Trump on an impeachment article requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 50 votes – a high bar to meet.  

Assuming passage in the House, it has not been determined when Democratic leaders will transmit the impeachment article, or when the Senate might take it up. 

A McConnell memo that emerged over the weekend cited scheduling challenges for impeachment – a trial might not even begin until after Jan. 19th, since the Senate is not in session. 

President-elect Joe Biden said Monday there was the possibility of dual-tracking an impeachment and Senate session that would be needed to get his cabinet confirmed.

Biden phoned McConnell on Monday, according to the Times on the subject of a trial, and McConnell said he would consult the Senate parliamentarian and get back. 

There are Senate rules and precedents governing impeachment, but leaders also might be able to negotiate a way to handle it, with the possibility of a special impeachment committee taking up some of the burden. 

Trump has continued his usual pattern of lashing out at political adversaries when under attack. 

‘Free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden Administration. As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for,’ Trump said Tuesday, before lawmakers cast their votes Tuesday night.  

Post-riot accounts from last Wednesday reveal that not only did President Trump egg on supporters who wreaked havoc in the Capitol – but he was glued to the television as the events unfolded, incapable of responding to desperate pleas to use influence to stop it and enjoying seeing it unfold. 

There were two major areas where the president fell dramatically short of what was being asked of him: using his personal popularity with his followers to urge them to vacate the Capitol immediately; and using the vast powers of his office to try to speed a federal response. 

But when key current and former aides and family members tried to reach him, he was ‘busy enjoying the spectacle,’ according to a Washington Post account.

What Trump told supporters before they ransacked the Capitol in ‘totally appropriate’ speech

We’re going to have to fight much harder

‘Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder.’

 

We’re going to walk down to the Capitol 

‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to 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.

 

‘Get tougher’ / You are allowed to go by very different rules  

‘The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher. They want to play so straight. They want to play so serious. “The United States, the Constitution doesn’t allow me to send them back to the states.” Well, I would say yes, it does, because the Constitution says you have to protect our country, and you have to protect our Constitution, and you can’t vote on fraud, and fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening toWhen you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.’

 

Takes ‘more courage not to step up’ 

‘I also want to thank our 13 most courageous members of the U.S. Senate …  I actually think, though, it takes, again, more courage not to step up, and I think a lot of those people are going to find that out. And you better start looking at your leadership, because your leadership has led you down the tubes.’

 

Never concede 

‘We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough.’

 

On ‘fake news’ and ‘Big tech’

‘They rigged an election, they rigged it like they have never rigged an election before.’

‘All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.’

 

‘We will not take it anymore’

‘Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.’ And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.’

Denied Biden’s vote count

‘He had 80 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace. There’s never been anything like that. You can take Third World countries, just take a look, take Third World countries, their elections are more honest than what we have been going through in this country. It’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Even when you look at last night, they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off with boxes, and nobody knows what the hell is going on. There’s never been anything like this. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen.’

[Note: Biden got more than 81 million votes; Trump rounded up his own total to 75 million.]

 

Call for military and law enforcement to join

‘And I would love to have, if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the Secret Service and we want to thank you — and the police and law enforcement — great, you’re doing a great job. But I would love it if they could be allowed to come up with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them, please?’

 

Pressure on Mike Pence: Says it takes ‘courage’ to do nothing

‘I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election … All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.’

‘And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.’

 

Won’t stand for Biden win

‘We want to go back, and we want to get this right, because we’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there, and our country will be destroyed. And we’re not going to stand for that.’

 

‘You’re not the people that tore down our nation’

‘If this happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on. There’d be hell all over the country.

But just remember this, you’re stronger, you’re smarter. You’ve got more going than anybody, and

they try and demean everybody having to do with us, and you’re the real people. You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation.’

 

March peacefully … we will see whether Republicans stand strong

‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for the integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country — our country, our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four-year period’

 

‘Ashamed … throughout eternity’ 

‘Today, we see a very important event, though, because right over there, right there, we see the event that’s going to take place, and I’m going to be watching because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity. They’ll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget.’

 

Calls Republicans who voted not to count certified votes ‘warriors’

‘I want to thank the more than 140 members of the House. Those are warriors.15

They’re over there working like you’ve never seen before, studying, talking, actually going all the way back studying the roots of the Constitution because they know we have the right to send a bad vote that was illegally gotten.’

 

Biden will be ‘illegitimate’

‘But think of this: If you don’t do that, that means you will have a president of the United States for four years with his wonderful son, you will have a president who lost all of these states, or you will have a president, to put it another way, who was voted on by a bunch of stupid people who lost all of these states. You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.’

 

Call to ‘do something’ about radical left

‘The radical left knows exactly what they were doing. They are ruthless, and it’s time that somebody did something about it.

And Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.’

 

Election was ‘stolen’

‘Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country, and not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.

This should absolutely occur in every single contested state before the election is certified.’

 

Alleges ‘criminal enterprise’

‘So, when you hear — when you hear, “While there is no evidence to prove any wrongdoing,” this is the most fraudulent thing anybody’s — this is a criminal enterprise. This is a criminal enterprise.’

 

Fight like hell
 

‘And again, most people would stand there at 9 o’clock in the evening and say, “I want to thank you very much,” and they go off to some other life.

But I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’

 

As the historic mob invasion of the U.S. seat of legislative government unfolded, a variety of people with influence over Trump sought to get to him to urge action.

The routes they took were typical of the loosely organized web of influence within the Trump White House. 

Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham – who only after the riot firmly declared Joe Biden the winner of the election – reached out to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. 

‘It took him a while to appreciate the gravity of the situation,’ Graham told the Post. ‘The president saw these people as his allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen,’ Graham said of the rioters who took the Capitol. 

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who Trump believes is so much under his wing that he has publicly called him ‘My Kevin,’ was pleading for action. 

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Protesters attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation's capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. One Capitol Police officer died in the action

Protesters attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. One Capitol Police officer died in the action

Police officers in riot gear line up as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. It took hours to regain control of the building

Police officers in riot gear line up as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. It took hours to regain control of the building

McCarthy phoned Trump directly to try to plead for assistance – but also called the president’s son in law, Jared Kushner, who was returning form a trip to the Middle East.

Former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who doesn’t even work for Trump anymore, tried to get through to him to urge action. 

She phoned an aide she knew was in close proximity to Trump. 

The office of the Mayor of Washington, desperate to get more National Guard forces amid logistical and jurisdictional hurdles, also reached out to Conway.

Chief of staff Mark Meadows urged Trump to speak out after an aide told him: ‘They are going to kill people,’ in reference to the rioters. 

A primary area of the pleas related to something Trump was capable of doing on his own without engaging with the bureaucracy: issuing simple Twitter or video pleas for protesters to get out of the Capitol.

The appeals he finally made either lacked a direct call to fall back, or sprinkled in approving language even as the riot that would become deadly unfolded.

At 2:30 pm, about half an hour after the Capitol breach, Trump told his supporters to ‘Please support our Capitol Police’ and to ‘Stay peaceful!’ 

His next message was more explicit, writing ‘No violence!’ – but claimed ‘WE are the Party of Law & Order.’

After he finally put out a video at about 4 pm, Trump finally told his backers to ‘go home.’ But he also called them ‘very special,’ called the election ‘fraudulent,’ and said: ‘You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.’

Trump himself had egged on his supporters with demands that they ‘fight,’ calling the election fraudulent, and putting pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, whose only role was ceremonial and involved opening and reading from envelopes containing electoral votes.

Trump was glued to the television as the storming of the Capitol was broadcast. 

Prior reporting has revealed that the Washington D.C. government had requested a National Guard presence, but Guard were assigned to traffic and other assistance and weren’t issued ammo or riot gear. 

The now resigned chief of Capitol Police says he wanted more Guard support in advance of Wednesday but had been told by superiors to ask for it informally. The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, says there were delays getting approval to send Guard forces from the Pentagon.

But it wasn’t mere distraction that kept Trump from springing into action. It’s not atht he was too busy because he was so consumed, which he was,’ the New York Times reported.

‘He was pleased because it was people fighting on his behalf. He was pleased because he liked the scene. And he was pleased because it was delaying the certification of the Electoral College vote,’ the New York Times reported. ‘He knew what was happening… He just didn’t want to do anything.’

Although McCarthy told colleagues on a call Monday Trump had accepted ‘some responsibility’ for the riot, on Tuesday the president was back to his defiant posture familiar from impeachment and the Russia probe. 

Trump said a second impeachment Democrats are lining up is a ‘continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.’

House Democrat accuses Republican lawmakers of leading MAGA rioters on Capitol ‘reconnaissance’ before riot as Stop the Steal organizer revealed to have boasted of help from three GOP congressmen

Rep. Mikie Sherrill said Tuesday she saw lawmakers giving tours she perceived to be 'a reconnaissance to groups Tuesday, January 5

Rep. Mikie Sherrill said Tuesday she saw lawmakers giving tours she perceived to be ‘a reconnaissance to groups Tuesday, January 5

A Democratic representative revealed Tuesday she witnessed members of Congress leading ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol the day before the mob stormed the building – as more details emerged over the attack indicating three Republican lawmakers may have helped protesters get inside.

Mikie Sherrill, who represents New Jersey’s 11th district, said during a Facebook Live video Tuesday night that she wants members of Congress who ‘abetted’ President Donald Trump and the violent crowd who descended on the Capitol to be held accountable and prevented from running for office in the future.

‘We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,’ Sherrill said of her colleagues she claims assisted Trump in inciting a crowd to storm the Capitol last Wednesday, January 6.

‘Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material,’ she continued in her straight-to-camera remarks. 

‘I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy – I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.’

At the same time, new revelations are surfacing that a pro-Trump activist, Ali Alexander, claimed he was assisted by three GOP representatives to help organize the January 6 assault on the Capitol to disrupt the election certification.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram Live video Tuesday night that she feared for her life during the riots, specifically expressing her concerns that some GOP lawmakers would give away her location to the mob.

Sherrill's comments come as pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander revealed in a video on Periscope that three GOP lawmakers helped in organizing the disruption of Congress certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6

Sherrill’s comments come as pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander revealed in a video on Periscope that three GOP lawmakers helped in organizing the disruption of Congress certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn walks past members of the National Guard Wednesday morning as they try to get some sleep inside the U.S. Capitol

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn walks past members of the National Guard Wednesday morning as they try to get some sleep inside the U.S. Capitol

‘I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense,’ the progressive lawmaker said during the hour-long live stream.

She called the close encounter ‘traumatizing’ and claimed her ‘near assassination’ is ‘not an exaggeration’.

‘There were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers, and frankly white supremacist members of Congress, in that extraction point who I have felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.

She did not name any of the lawmakers she felt could have jeopardized her situation.

It is now known that Alexander told his followers on Periscope late last month that Republican Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama were planning something big.

Alexander helped organize one of the demonstrations that converged on the Capitol lawn Wednesday – since then, his Facebook and Twitter accounts have been locked and he is banned from the social media platforms.

He said in a since-deleted video: ‘I want to let you guys know how we’re responding because I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks and then Congressman Andy Biggs.’

All three lawmakers are hard-line Trump supporters.

‘We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,’ Alexander detailed.

In the video to Periscope, he said the purpose of the rally was ‘to build momentum and pressure’ on the day Congress moved to certify the election for Joe Biden. He also vowed that his group ‘Stop the Steal’ would find rooms in the nation’s capital if hotels shut down in the midst of the unrest.

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the 'Stop the Steal' protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the ‘Stop the Steal’ protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

WHO IS ALI ALEXANDER?

Ali Abdul-Razaq Ali, 35, is a far-right activist who who goes by Ali Alexander. He identifies as black and Arab, according to Politico. 

He helped organize ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, which oppose Joe Biden’s election win and is pushing to prove that President Donald Trump won reelection on November 3.

Ali also takes responsibility for organizing the January 6 rally that convened outside the Capitol before it was stormed by thousands of pro-Trump protesters. He said in a live-streamed video that GOP Representatives Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs and Mo Brooks assisted with the effort to disrupt the join session of Congress moving to certify the Electoral College results for Biden.  

‘I want to let you guys know how we’re responding because I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks and then Congressman Andy Biggs,’ Ali said in the now-deleted video.  

‘We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,’ he continued.

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the 'Stop the Steal' protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the ‘Stop the Steal’ protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

Mugshot of Ali in January 2007 in a case where he pleaded guilty to  felony property theft

Ali also pleaded guilty a year later to a credit card abuse felony. This mugshot was taken August 2007

Ali Alexander pleaded guilty to two  separate felony charges in 2007 and 2008 in Forth Worth Texas

The activist runs with with Trump’s circle. In the summer of 2019 he gathered at the White House for the president’s ‘social media summit’ to bash platforms for their supposed anti-conservative and anti-Trump bias. 

This week, following reports of his involvement in the storming of the Capitol, Ali was banned from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and his accounts were removed. 

Ali Abdul-Razaq Ali, 35, who goes by Ali Alexander, is a far-right activist from Fort Worth, Texas

Ali Abdul-Razaq Ali, 35, who goes by Ali Alexander, is a far-right activist from Fort Worth, Texas

Ali raised questions during the Democratic primary race over then-candidate Kamal Harris’s ‘black-ness’, sparking speculation he was waging a ‘birther’-like campaign against her. The now vice president-elect is half Indian and half Jamaican. 

‘Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves,’ he wrote on Twitter in June 2019. ‘She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.’ Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. retweeted and then deleted the post, asking if it was true, and helping it go viral.  

Ali resides in Forth Worth, Texas. In 2007 he pleaded guilty to felony property theft in the Lone Star state and the next year also pleaded guilty to to a credit card abuse felony – also in Texas. 

Alexander did not specifically call for violence and instead claimed the left is ‘trying to push us to war.’

Biggs’ office sent out a statement claiming the congressman has not met or spoken with Alexander.

Biggs’ office responded to CNN, claiming he has not met or spoken with Alexander.

‘Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,’ the representative’s spokesperson said.

‘He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests,’ they continued. ‘He was focused on his research and arguments to work within the confines of the law and established precedent to restore integrity to our elections, and to ensure that all Americans — regardless of party affiliation — can again have complete trust in our elections systems.’

Biggs, Gosar and Brooks all came under fire after going forward with objecting to the election results even after the violent Capitol riot forced them to evacuate the chamber and delayed proceedings for hours.

Sherrill, in her thirteen-and-a-half minute video posted to Facebook Tuesday, did not reveal which lawmakers she saw showing constituents around the Capitol last week – but she did make the shocking claim that the January 5 tours were part of some effort to get protesters familiar with the building before storming it the next day.

While some GOP lawmakers have come under fire for inciting the riots – whether directly or indirectly – or standing idly by as they unfolded, this is the most serious charge yet against sitting members of Congress regarding the unprecedented attack last week.

The six-hour riot resulted in hundreds of injuries and five deaths, including one Capitol Police officer and a female Trump supporter.

The House voted Tuesday evening on a non-binding resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to get Trump out of office now. The vote passed 223-205, with Sherrill voting in favor of it, even though Pence notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Tuesday that he would not comply with the measure.

With the 25th Amendment off the table, and no hope of Trump resigning before his last seven days are up, House Democrats are likely to move forward Wednesday on impeaching the president for the second time.

Sherrill said in her video that she intends to support the effort.

She also voiced the sharp divide, which is widening in Congress, claiming those who do not agree with Democratic ideals of democracy are ‘now on different sides of this line.’

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US Capitol riots: Congressmen accused of ‘abetting’ protesters

Rep. Mikie Sherrill said Tuesday she saw lawmakers giving tours she perceived to be ‘a reconnaissance to groups Tuesday, January 5

A Democratic representative revealed Tuesday she witnessed members of Congress leading ‘reconnaissance’ tours through the Capitol the day before the mob stormed the building – as more details emerged over the attack indicating three Republican lawmakers may have helped protesters get inside.

Mikie Sherrill, who represents New Jersey’s 11th district, said during a Facebook Live video Tuesday night that she wants members of Congress who ‘abetted’ President Donald Trump and the violent crowd who descended on the Capitol to be held accountable and prevented from running for office in the future.

‘We can’t have a democracy if members of Congress are actively helping the president overturn the elections results,’ Sherrill said of her colleagues she claims assisted Trump in inciting a crowd to storm the Capitol last Wednesday, January 6.

‘Not only do I intend to see that the president is removed and never runs for office again and doesn’t have access to classified material,’ she continued in her straight-to-camera remarks. 

‘I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him; those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 – a reconnaissance for the next day; those members of Congress that incited this violent crowd; those members of Congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy – I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.’

At the same time, new revelations are surfacing that a pro-Trump activist, Ali Alexander, claimed he was assisted by three GOP representatives to help organize the January 6 assault on the Capitol to disrupt the election certification.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram Live video Tuesday night that she feared for her life during the riots, specifically expressing her concerns that some GOP lawmakers would give away her location to the mob.

Sherrill's comments come as pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander revealed in a video on Periscope that three GOP lawmakers helped in organizing the disruption of Congress certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6

Sherrill’s comments come as pro-Trump activist Ali Alexander revealed in a video on Periscope that three GOP lawmakers helped in organizing the disruption of Congress certifying the election for Joe Biden on January 6

Alexandria Ocasi-Cortez said in an Instagram Live video Tuesday night that she feared her GOP colleagues would disclose her location to the mob during the riot last week ¿ she did not name who she thought would do so

Alexandria Ocasi-Cortez said in an Instagram Live video Tuesday night that she feared her GOP colleagues would disclose her location to the mob during the riot last week – she did not name who she thought would do so

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn walks past members of the National Guard Wednesday morning as they try to get some sleep inside the U.S. Capitol

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn walks past members of the National Guard Wednesday morning as they try to get some sleep inside the U.S. Capitol

‘I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense,’ the progressive lawmaker said during the hour-long live stream.

She called the close encounter ‘traumatizing’ and claimed her ‘near assassination’ is ‘not an exaggeration’.

‘There were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers, and frankly white supremacist members of Congress, in that extraction point who I have felt would disclose my location and would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.,’ Ocasio-Cortez said.

She did not name any of the lawmakers she felt could have jeopardized her situation.

It is now known that Alexander told his followers on Periscope late last month that Republican Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama were planning something big.

Alexander helped organize one of the demonstrations that converged on the Capitol lawn Wednesday – since then, his Facebook and Twitter accounts have been locked and he is banned from the social media platforms.

He said in a since-deleted video: ‘I want to let you guys know how we’re responding because I was the person who came up with the January 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks and then Congressman Andy Biggs.’

All three lawmakers are hard-line Trump supporters.

‘We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside,’ Alexander detailed.

In the video to Periscope, he said the purpose of the rally was ‘to build momentum and pressure’ on the day Congress moved to certify the election for Joe Biden. He also vowed that his group ‘Stop the Steal’ would find rooms in the nation’s capital if hotels shut down in the midst of the unrest.

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the 'Stop the Steal' protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

Alexander, pictured here with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones during a demonstration in Georgia in November, helped organize the ‘Stop the Steal’ protesters who gathered near the Capitol before the chaos broke out last Wednesday

National Guard members get some shut eye on the floor of the Capitol as they cradled their weapons and huddled together

National Guard members get some shut eye on the floor of the Capitol as they cradled their weapons and huddled together

Troops were called in following the Capitol breach last week and by the end of the week there will be 10,000 National Guard members in Washington D.C. Some are shown spreading out inside the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning

Troops were called in following the Capitol breach last week and by the end of the week there will be 10,000 National Guard members in Washington D.C. Some are shown spreading out inside the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning

Alexander did not specifically call for violence and instead claimed the left is ‘trying to push us to war.’

Biggs’ office sent out a statement claiming the congressman has not met or spoken with Alexander.

Biggs’ office responded to CNN, claiming he has not met or spoken with Alexander.

‘Congressman Biggs is not aware of hearing of or meeting Mr. Alexander at any point — let alone working with him to organize some part of a planned protest,’ the representative’s spokesperson said.

‘He did not have any contact with protestors or rioters, nor did he ever encourage or foster the rally or protests,’ they continued. ‘He was focused on his research and arguments to work within the confines of the law and established precedent to restore integrity to our elections, and to ensure that all Americans — regardless of party affiliation — can again have complete trust in our elections systems.’

Biggs, Gosar and Brooks all came under fire after going forward with objecting to the election results even after the violent Capitol riot forced them to evacuate the chamber and delayed proceedings for hours.

Sherrill, in her thirteen-and-a-half minute video posted to Facebook Tuesday, did not reveal which lawmakers she saw showing constituents around the Capitol last week – but she did make the shocking claim that the January 5 tours were part of some effort to get protesters familiar with the building before storming it the next day.

While some GOP lawmakers have come under fire for inciting the riots – whether directly or indirectly – or standing idly by as they unfolded, this is the most serious charge yet against sitting members of Congress regarding the unprecedented attack last week.

The six-hour riot resulted in hundreds of injuries and five deaths, including one Capitol Police officer and a female Trump supporter.

The House voted Tuesday evening on a non-binding resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to get Trump out of office now. The vote passed 223-205, with Sherrill voting in favor of it, even though Pence notified House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Tuesday that he would not comply with the measure.

With the 25th Amendment off the table, and no hope of Trump resigning before his last seven days are up, House Democrats are likely to move forward Wednesday on impeaching the president for the second time.

Sherrill said in her video that she intends to support the effort.

She also voiced the sharp divide, which is widening in Congress, claiming those who do not agree with Democratic ideals of democracy are ‘now on different sides of this line.’

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Headlines UK

Democrats in Congress prepare to begin impeachment process of Donald Trump

The current president is again trying to remove from power

A group of congressmen from the Democratic Party is preparing to begin the process of impeachment of the country’s incumbent President Donald Trump for the second time, The Guardian reports. Democrats said he deliberately made several “stolen elections” statements in order to gather a rally outside the Capitol. The protests resulted in the deaths of five people: four participants and one police officer, who was seriously injured and died in hospital.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced that 218 congressmen supported the impeachment resolution. This is enough for the document to be approved for voting in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, writes Politico. In addition, there is the possibility of removing the president from power under the 25th amendment to the Constitution, if Vice President Mike Pence declares his incapacity. In 2019, Democrats already tried to impeach Trump, but the project was blocked by a Republican majority in the Senate.

Following the protests, the current US president announced on Twitter that he did not intend to attend the inauguration of Democratic candidate Joe Biden. US intelligence agencies are preparing for a possible repeat of the protests. The leadership of Facebook and Twitter have decided to permanently block Donald Trump’s accounts.

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The Buzz

House Democrats introduce impeachment resolution against Trump


WASHINGTON, January 11

US House Democrats on Monday introduced a resolution containing a single article of impeachment against President Donald Trump charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

The resolution noted that Trump addressed a rally shortly before his supporters mounted the attack and says he made statements that “encouraged and foreseeably resulted in” the lawless actions at the Capitol.- Reuters

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Democrats announce that they will impeach Trump | The State

The president of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, assured this Sunday that she will seek to pass a resolution in Congress tomorrow Monday to urge the vice president, Mike Pence, to invoke the 25th amendment to the Constitution to remove President Donald Trump, and that otherwise he will initiate the legislative process in order to open an impeachment trial to the president on Tuesday.

“When it comes to protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act urgently, as this President represents an imminent threat to bothPelosi said in a letter to legislators after the assault on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, which left five dead, including a police officer.

“As the days go by, the Democratic leader remarked in the letter, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President intensifies and with it the immediate need for action“.

On Monday morning, Pelosi will ask the House for a unanimous resolution to ask the vice president Pence to invoke Amendment 25 to the US Constitution. that allows to disqualify the president due to his inability to govern.

For it, Pence should step up and have the backing of half the presidential cabinet, something that seems unlikely at the moment.

“We are asking to the vice president who responds within 24 hours. Then we will proceed to bring the legislation for impeachment to the plenary session of the House, ”reported Pelosi.

The House Majority Democrats Plan “Inciting Insurrection” Charge against the president of the United States to open a new political trial against him, and that would make him the only president in the history of the United States to be tried on two occasions.

Later, should be properly put to trial in the Senate, Although it is in recess and does not plan to resume activity until January 19, a day before the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden as president.

Given the tight time frame, several Democratic heavyweights in the House today raised the possibility of bringing the charges against Trump, but not send them to the Senate until the first 100 days of Biden’s arrival in the White House have passed not to condition the beginning of his mandate.

This scenario was endorsed by Democratic Representative James Clyburn, who pointed out this Sunday that this would be given to Biden “The 100 days you need to get your schedule up and running, and we may ship the items sometime after that.”

Meanwhile, continues the silence of Trump, whose accounts on Twitter and Facebook were suspended this Friday for “risk of inciting violence.”

The White House has reported that its first official act after the assault on the Capitol will take place on Tuesday when the still president travel to Texas to visit the construction of the border wall with Mexico, the symbol of his tough hand in immigration control matters.

It may interest you:

The difficult position Vice President Mike Pence is in and why he became a key figure in the political crisis in America.

Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas in trouble over his wife’s support of Trump supporters

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Lindsey Graham begs Joe Biden to order Nancy Pelosi not to impeach Donald Trump again

Lindsey Graham has begged Joe Biden to call off a second impeachment, insisting that Donald Trump should be given credit for having made a ‘helpful’ statement, and pleading with Biden that impeachment ‘will destroy the country even further.’ 

The South Carolina senator appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Friday night, hours after the articles of impeachment were unveiled.

House Democrats are planning to impeach Trump with a single impeachment article charging him with ‘incitement of insurrection’. 

The move is on a hyper-fast track after Wednesday’s Capitol riot – with the article set to be introduced Monday.  

A draft of the article prepared by Reps. David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin states that, ‘Incited by Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol,’ injured law enforcement, menaced lawmakers and the vice president, and interfered with the count of the Electoral College.  

But Graham, looking shaken, urged Biden to call his colleagues and tell them not to proceed. 

Lindsey Graham on Friday night appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, after a day spent with Donald Trump

Graham pleaded with Joe Biden to call Nancy Pelosi, and ask her to end plans to impeach the president for a second time

Graham pleaded with Joe Biden to call Nancy Pelosi, and ask her to end plans to impeach the president for a second time

‘I wanted President Trump to win so badly,’ Graham admitted.

‘Now, tonight, I am calling on President-elect Biden to pick up the phone and call Nancy Pelosi and the squad to end the second impeachment.

‘President Trump gave a statement last night that was helpful. It hit the mark. He wants to move on to a peaceful transfer of power. He wants this to end.’

Graham, a regular golfing partner of the president’s, said he had spent the day with the increasingly-isolated Trump, who since Wednesday has had two Cabinet members and a series of officials resign in disgust at his incitement of the rioters.

On Friday evening had his Twitter page deleted permanently, which will likely add to his fury. 

‘I’ve been with him most of the day; he’s going to focus on his agenda and his successes for the American people, in the next few days,’ said Graham, attempting to hold out an olive branch on behalf of Trump.

‘Joe Biden said it’s up to Congress regarding impeachment. 

‘No, President-elect Biden, it’s up to you. 

‘Pick up the phone and call Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the squad and tell them: stand down; this will destroy the country even further.

‘You have the power to do that. The question is, do you have the courage to do it.’ 

Nancy Pelosi, House speaker, is pressing ahead with plans to file articles of impeachment on Monday if Trump does not resign

Nancy Pelosi, House speaker, is pressing ahead with plans to file articles of impeachment on Monday if Trump does not resign

Biden seems unlikely to be inclined to do Trump any favors, but has not responded to Graham’s plea. 

The impeachment document cites Trump’s false claims that ‘We won this election’ and ‘We won it by a landslide, and cites his effort to ‘subvert and obstruct the certification of the results.’

With the Capitol still cleaning up broken windows, smashed historic doors, and mourning a deceased Capitol Police officer, the article states that he ‘gravely endangered the security of the United States.’

Trump ‘betrayed his trust as president,’ it reads, calling his conduct ‘grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.’ 

It calls for him not just to be removed but to be banned from public office – which would prevent a 2024 presidential run, and potentially make the idea more attractive to Republicans than simple conviction.

But the White House said that a ‘politically motivated impeachment against a president with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.’

House Democrats hashed out the plan for hours on a conference call. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi provided a Friday afternoon update on plans – with several options in the mix.

‘It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign,’ Pelosi said. ‘But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment. Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment.’

She was referencing separate legislation by Raskin to establish a commission as outlined in the 25th Amendment, which allows for such a commission to determine whether a president is fit for office. But it would have to clear the Senate and require the president’s approval to become law. 

Her comment about a privileged resolution suggests the move could happen rapidly, setting off a chain of events that are still difficult to predict. 

If the House passes and impeachment article, Pelosi could quickly transmit it to the Senate – although she stalled late last year. The terms of a Senate impeachment trial are governed by the standing rules of the Senate, so Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would have major say in how quickly the effort might proceed and under what terms. 

What was unknown Friday afternoon was the extent of Senate Republican support.

The last impeachment featured public committee hearings and a long investigatory process, but Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerold Nadler said he supports bringing articles ‘directly to the House floor.’

Voting them forward would make him the first president to be impeached twice. No president has even been convicted. 

The articles were published just after Pelosi demanded that Trump resign his office ‘immediately’ or face impeachment.

And it came on a day that: 

  • Trump said he would snub Joe Biden’s inauguration, in yet another rejection of tradition and norms; 
  • Biden responded saying it was ‘one of the few things we’ve ever agreed on’ but said impeachment and removal were up to Congress, not him; 
  • Pelosi revealed she has asked General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, how he is stopping a ‘deranged president’ from using the nuclear codes or launching military action – but did not say how he responded; 
  • The prospect of the 25th Amendment being deployed appeared to fade. Pence was reported to be ‘reluctant’ to use it, if only because of the legal chaos which would ensue over whether the cabinet has enough members to vote to invoke it – partly because Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary and Betsy DeVos, the education secretary have resigned in disgust and partly because Trump had filled the cabinet with acting secretaries whose legal authority to invoke it is unclear;
  • Republican senator Ben Sasse said he was willing to impeach and remove Trump, making him the first of the GOP caucus who had voted against convicting the president last year to change position – but so far no others have followed; 
  • After his cabinet was rocked by resignations, one of his closest aides Hope Hicks announced she would resign next week – although she claimed it was her plan all along – and White House counsel Pat Cipollone was reported to be on the brink too; 
  • Washington D.C.’s district attorney Karl Racine hinted that he is investigating Trump, Don Jr, and Rudy Giuliani over inciting the riot at the wild rally held just outside the White House where the president demanded ‘strength’ and said he would lead a march on the Capitol and Giuliani demanded ‘trial by combat’;
  • The FBI launched a murder hunt to find the MAGA rioters who killed Officer Brian Sicknick during the storming of the Capitol, apparently hitting him over the head with a fire extinguisher;
  • Cops across the country began rounding up suspected rioters after putting out wanted pictures, with those arrested including the self-proclaimed white supremacist who was pictured with his feet up on Pelosi’s desk.
A draft impeachment article charges Donald Trump with 'incitement of insurrection'

A draft impeachment article charges Donald Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’

Scene of the crimes: Nancy Pelosi inspects the Rotunda of the Capitol with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. A massive clean-up effort in the wake of the MAGA riots has been under way

Scene of the crimes: Nancy Pelosi inspects the Rotunda of the Capitol with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes. A massive clean-up effort in the wake of the MAGA riots has been under way 

Room where it happened: MAGA rioters rampaged through the Rotunda and one of the four who died was apparently trod on there. She had been carrying a 'don't tread on me' flag

Room where it happened: MAGA rioters rampaged through the Rotunda and one of the four who died was apparently trod on there. She had been carrying a ‘don’t tread on me’ flag

High-profile interview: Nancy Pelosi will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday

High-profile interview: Nancy Pelosi will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday 

Seeking answers: Nancy Pelosi is facing questions on the details of how she impeaches Donald Trump for a second time

Seeking answers: Nancy Pelosi is facing questions on the details of how she impeaches Donald Trump for a second time

She issued the demand as her separate push to have Vice President Mike Pence seek to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip away power from Trump appears to be collapsing. 

Pelosi made the demand in a letter to colleagues released just minutes before House Democrats joined on a conference call discuss whether to go ahead with a second impeachment of Trump, after the death toll in the Capitol riot rose to give, including a Capitol Police officer. 

‘If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,’ she said, referencing the impeachment power without naming it.

She issued the call after members of her leadership team said an impeachment effort would move forward within days.

‘As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses,’ she told lawmakers.

‘Yesterday, Leader [Charles] Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people,’ she said. 

Schumer said Thursday the joint call resulted in them waiting for 25 minutes and Pence being unwilling to come to the phone.

Pelosi pointed to the key role senior Republicans played in getting Richard Nixon to resign. 

‘Nearly fifty years ago, after years of enabling their rogue President, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately,’ she wrote.

House Democrats held a conference call Friday to discuss a plan to rush through articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the final 13 days of his presidency – with leaders saying the votes are likely there for it.

Pelosi blasted Trump on the call.  ‘The President chose to be an insurrectionist,’ a source told The Hill. ‘Impeachment encourages conversation on the 25th Amendment. That’s picked up a lot of steam,’ she said.  

Leaders of both chambers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Charles Schumer – said they would support impeachment if Vice President Mike Pence fails to act with the Trump cabinet under the 25th amendment to strip him of authority following the Capitol riot on Wednesday.

Pence appears not to be interested in that route – rebuffing a call from the two leaders Thursday morning. Yesterday, two Trump cabinet members who would vote in a 25th Amendment scenario, Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, announced their resignations – taking them out of the mix of cabinet members who could vote to strip away power. 

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said if Mike Pence and the cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment the House will likely go forward with impeachment. She says Trump cited 'sedition' against the U.S. 'If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,' she said

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said if Mike Pence and the cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment the House will likely go forward with impeachment. She says Trump cited ‘sedition’ against the U.S. ‘If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,’ she said

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the assistant speaker, said the House 'will move forward with impeachment' if Mike Pence fails to act under the 25th Amendment

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the assistant speaker, said the House ‘will move forward with impeachment’ if Mike Pence fails to act under the 25th Amendment

Assistant House Speaker Rep. Katherine Clarke (D-Mass.) said a floor vote could come next week.

‘Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,’ she said. 

‘If the reports are correct, and Mike Pence is not going to uphold his oath of office and remove the president and help protect our democracy, then we will move forward with impeachment to do just that,’ she told CNN.

Top Democrats say they must act to prevent Trump from doing anything dangerous in his final days in office – but the move is fraught with political implications during an unstable period.  

Trump tweeted Friday morning that he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration, hours after finally releasing a video where he called for a ‘seamless’ transition despite curing up a volatile post-election period.

Even getting impeachment articles through the House in an expedited fashion should be a manageable lift for Democratic leaders.

The role of the Senate, where a trial would be held, is less certain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke with Trump over his demands that Congress throw out electors in states he lost, and his wife, Chao, quit the cabinet on Thursday.

But during Trump’s impeachment trial in January just one GOP senator, Utah’s Mitt Romney, voted for an impeachment article to remove Trump from office. 

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he would ‘consider’ impeachment articles against Trump. 

‘The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,’ he told CBS, after public comments denouncing aspects of Trump’s conduct and voting to count certified electors for Biden.  

He said an ‘insurrectionist mob’ tried to ‘disrupt the people’s house’ after Trump ‘told them to go to the Capitol and go wild.’ He said Trump was ‘flagrantly disregarding his oath of office’ – but said it was open what was the ‘best thing’ for the country. He said what Trump did was ‘wicked’ – but still stopped short of saying going ahead with impeachment was the right call.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said party members believe Trump needs to be ‘held accountable.’ 

‘I think we’re probably getting ready to go down that path next week,’ she said of impeachment.  But she told CNN there is a risk of causing further division.

‘How do you hold somebody accountable for the damage that they have done to our democracy? That is a real question. And how do you manage this without causing further division to this country?’ she asked. 

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska discusses a possible second impeachment of President Donald Trump

Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska discusses a possible second impeachment of President Donald Trump

It is unclear how many House Republicans might go along with an effort following the riot in the Capitol. Scores of House Republicans voted to reject electors for Joe Biden from states that had certified the results, backing Trump’s false claims of massive fraud. 

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy blasted the idea as divisive, following a report he engaged in a screaming phone call with Trump as Trump supporters besieged the Capitol, with the lawmaker pleading with Trump to tell them to stop.

McCarthy and a majority of his conference nevertheless voted to back Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud by rejecting Electoral College votes certified in two states.  

‘Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more,” McCarthy said. “I have reached out to President-elect Biden today and plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country to solve America’s challenges,’ McCarthy said in a statement.

Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office on Wednesday night, according to a report, but ultimately decided against it.

The Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary’s deliberations were reported as the two top Democrats in Congress, Sen. Charles Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reached out directly to Vice President Mike Pence Thursday to try to push him to act immediately to remove Trump from office, only to be rebuffed.

Pompeo and Mnuchin held discussions with their aides and staff, CNBC reported on Thursday.

Both men concluded that the 25th Amendment was not the right course of action for three main reasons, four sources told the channel.

Firstly, it would take longer than a week, which made it not worth the effort given there remain only 13 days of the Trump presidency.

Secondly, it was unclear whether the three acting Cabinet members, not yet confirmed by the Senate, would be able to cast a vote.

And finally, it was likely to pour further fuel on the fire, and enrage Trump’s supporters. 

‘The general plan now is to let the clock run out,’ said one former senior administration official aware of the discussions. 

‘There will be a reckoning for this president, but it doesn’t need to happen in the next 13 days.’ 

The State Department denied the discussions had taken place; the Treasury did not comment. 

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State (pictured December 11), reportedly considered invoking the 25th Amendment

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State (pictured December 11), reportedly considered invoking the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Their deliberations came as the two leaders called Pence hours after he had overseen a Joint Session of Congress to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden the next president, despite intense pressure by President Trump that Pence move against it.

Late Thursday sources told CNN that Trump’s mental state was deteriorating and he was ‘ranting’ and ‘raving’ as he watched the 25th Amendment being discussed on television – with Pelosi and Schumer’s demand being played repeatedly. 

But if they had hopes that Pence might join in a speedy potential effort to seize the reins of power from a volatile Trump in his final days in office, the reception they got may provide an answer.

‘Speaker Pelosi and I tried to call the vice president this morning to tell him to do this,’ Schumer told reporters in New York Thursday. ‘They kept us on hold for 25 minutes and then said the Vice President wouldn’t come on the phone.’

‘So we are making this call public because he should do it and do it right away,’ Schumer said, explaining why both he and Pelosi are calling on Pence and the Trump cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Trump unfit and install Pence as president in an acting capacity.

The call preceded furious comments from Pelosi charging Trump with fomenting ‘insurrection’ and inciting ‘sedition.’

‘Yesterday the President of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,’ Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference a day after Trump supporters stormed the building after attending a rally where Trump spoke.

She used stark language beyond even the tough talk of impeachment in last December and January, accusing him of crimes against the nation he leads. 

‘In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,’ said Pelosi.

Unlike 2019 and 2020 she has just days to force through an impeachment, but this time has a far greater chance that 12 Republican senators join the Democrats to convict after some openly expressed disgust for the president or his actions. Among those Democrats would target are Pennsylvania’s retiring Pat Toomey and ultra-conservative Tom Cotton, Utah’s Mike Lee and Ohio’s Rob Portman. 

 

Nancy Pelosi reveals she asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley today how he is keeping ‘unhinged president’ from using the nuclear codes or starting military action – and does NOT reveal his answer

Pelosi told colleagues Friday that she phoned the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss ‘precautions’ to prevent Trump from starting a war or accessing nuclear launch codes.

She said she had asked Army General Mark Milley how to keep a ‘deranged president’ away from the nuclear codes and stop him from launching a unilateral military action. 

Pelosi released the letter just minutes before House Democrats were to meet on a conference call to discuss whether to go ahead with a second impeachment of Trump, after he egged on his supporters in their march to the Capitol that led to a riot and multiple deaths – including of a Capitol Police officer.   

She headed her comment: ‘Preventing an Unhinged President From Using the Nuclear Codes’ in a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter.

‘This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,’ she informed them.

Notably, she did not reveal what response Milley provided, or whether any security guardrails have been established.  

‘The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,’ she wrote.  

She also revealed that Vice President Mike Pence has not returned her call seeking to discuss the 25th Amendment, whereby he and a majority of the Trump cabinet might move to strip Trump of power and make Pence the ‘acting president.’

A White House military aide and member of the US Navy carries a briefcase known as the "football," containing emergency nuclear weapon codes, as US President Barack Obama departs on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 30, 2012

Pelosi says she spoke with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army US Army General Mark Milley, but provided no information on his response

A White House military aide and member of the US Navy carries a briefcase known as the ‘football,’ containing emergency nuclear weapon codes. Pelosi says she spoke with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army US Army General Mark Milley, on their use but provided no information on his response

‘As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses,’ she wrote.

‘Yesterday, Leader [Charles] Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people,’ she said.  

Pelosi referenced impeachment in a letter to colleagues

Pelosi referenced impeachment in a letter to colleagues

She said she spoke about preventing an 'unhinged' president from using the nuclear codes

She said she spoke about preventing an ‘unhinged’ president from using the nuclear codes

‘Nearly fifty years ago, after years of enabling their rogue President, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately. If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action.’ 

Under current procedures, a military aide travels with the president wherever he goes with the nuclear ‘football’ containing the nuclear codes.

The executive as commander in chief maintains control over the entire U.S. military – and has the ability to order strikes, subject to War Powers Act consultation requirements with Congress.

All military members have all sworn oaths to the constitution, and the Code of Military Justice states that members of the military must fall ‘lawful orders of his/her superior.’

WHAT DOES THE 25TH AMENDMENT SAY? CAN TRUMP’S CABINET REALLY TOPPLE HIM?

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution deals with presidential authority in the event of death or removal from office, and was ratified in 1967, in the wake of John F Kennedy’s assassination.

What does the 25th Amendment say?

It is in four sections, all dealing with the president leaving office during his or her elected term. 

The first section states that the vice president takes over the Oval Office if the president dies or resigns – or is removed – something which the original Constitution did not clearly state.

Presidents of course can be removed by impeachment, a feature of the constitution from the start. They can also be removed through the 25th Amendment – of which more below.

Section II states that if the vice president dies, or resigns – or is fired – both the House and Senate have to confirm a new vice president. Until 1967, presidents could change vice presidents mid-term on their own if they got the vice president to agree to resign – not something that actually happened, but which was possible in principle.

Section III makes clear that a president can temporarily delegate his powers to the vice president, and later reclaim them when he – or she – is capable of serving. This is most often invoked if a president is under the influence of surgical anesthetic for a short period of time. 

Section IV is the amendment’s most controversial part: it describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.

The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’

The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.

So at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.

Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.

The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate. 

Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.

As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.

But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.

What could happen to trigger the 25th Amendment?

Vice President Mike Pence and eight of the 15 ‘principal’ Cabinet members would have to agree to notify Congress that President Donald Trump was incapable of running the country.

That group is made up of the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Labor Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Transportation Secretary, Energy Secretary , Education Secretary, Veterans Affairs Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary.

Their formal notification would go to the House Speaker and, in the senate, to the ‘president pro tempore’, the Senate’s most senior member. As soon as the letter is sent, Pence would become ‘acting president.’

Alternatively, Congress could set up its own mechanism to decide if he is fit for office – maybe a commission, or a joint committee. Pence would still have to agree with its conclusion and then write formally to the Speaker and president pro tempore.

Or another possibility is that the pool of ‘principal officers’ is considered to be bigger than the 15 and a majority of that group call Trump incapable.

What if Trump does not agree?

If Trump claims he is capable of holding office, he would write to the House Speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate within four days, setting up three weeks of intense debate in both houses of Congress.

Trump would be removed from office if both two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate agreed with Pence and his cabal. 

If either of both chambers fell short of that mark, Trump would retain his powers and likely embark on a wholesale housecleaning, firing Pence and replacing disloyal Cabinet members.

Are there any loopholes?

The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on  a course of action.

It specifies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

That commission could hypothetically include anyone from presidential historians to psychiatrists, entrusted to assess the president’s fitness for office. 

Another loophole is that it does not spell out that the Cabinet is needed to agree, but says that the ‘principal officers’ of the departments are needed. That term is undefined in the constitution. In some departments legislation appears to name not just the secretary but deputies and even undersecretaries as ‘principal officers’, so many more people could be called in to the assessment of Trump’s fitness. 

But Trump’s cabinet has a swathe of ‘acting’ cabinet officer – and it is unclear if they could therefore take part in removing him. 

Could Trump fire Pence if he rebelled?

Yes, in principle.  If Trump smelled a whiff of trouble – if Pence and a cabal of Cabinet members, or Pence and a panel assembled by Congress seemed ready to judge him incapacitated – he could dismiss his vice president with the stroke of a pen to stop the process.

But installing a more loyal VP could be problematic since the 25th Amendment includes its own poison pill: Both houses of Congress must vote to approve a new vice president.

That means Trump would find himself up against the same Congress that would vote on his fitness for office, unless the process were to unfold in the weeks before a new Congress.

Theoretically, a Democratic-controlled Congress could make life dramatically more difficult for the president if it came into power in the midst of the constitutional crisis. 

One scenario has appeared to stump presidential historians, however: Firing Pence before the process is underway, and then leaving the vice presidency vacant, would give Congress no practical way forward. That would present its own constitutional crisis.

Is there any precedent for this?

No.  Only Section III, the voluntary surrender of presidential powers, has ever been used – and only very briefly.

In December 1978, President Jimmy Carter thought about invoking Section III when he was contemplating a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. 

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both voluntarily relinquished their powers while undergoing procedures under anesthetic. 

Section IV has also never been invoked, although there have been claims that Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Donald Regan told his successor, Howard Baker,  in 1987 that he should be prepared to invoke it because Reagan was inattentive and inept.

The PBS documentary ‘American Experience’ recounts how Baker and his team watched Reagan closely for signs of incapacity during their first meeting and decided he was in perfect command of himself.  

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Democrats join to decide on impeaching Donald Trump again

House Democrats held a conference call Friday to discuss a plan to rush through articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the final 13 days of his presidency – with leaders saying the votes are likely there for it.

Leaders of both chambers, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Charles Schumer – said they would support impeachment if Vice President Mike Pence fails to act with the Trump cabinet under the 25th amendment to strip him of authority following the Capitol riot on Wednesday.

Pence appears not to be interested in that route – rebuffing a call from the two leaders Thursday morning. Yesterday, two Trump cabinet members who would vote in a 25th Amendment scenario, Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, announced their resignations – taking them out of the mix of cabinet members who could vote to strip away power. 

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the assistant speaker, said the House ‘will move forward with impeachment’ if Mike Pence fails to act under the 25th Amendment

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi spoke to the chair of the joint chiefs to discuss precautions about 'accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,' she told colleagues

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said if Mike Pence and the cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment the House will likely go forward with impeachment. She says Trump cited ‘sedition’ against the U.S. House Democrats meet Friday to decide on their course of action

Assistant House Speaker Rep. Katherine Clarke (D-Mass.) said a floor vote could come next week.

‘Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,’ she said. 

‘If the reports are correct, and Mike Pence is not going to uphold his oath of office and remove the president and help protect our democracy, then we will move forward with impeachment to do just that,’ she told CNN.

Top Democrats say they must act to prevent Trump from doing anything dangerous in his final days in office – but the move is fraught with political implications during an unstable period. 

President Trump tweeted Friday morning that he would not be attending Joe Biden’s inauguration, hours after finally releasing a video where he called for a ‘seamless’ transition despite curing up a volatile post-election period.

Even getting impeachment articles through the House in an expedited fashion should be a manageable lift for Democratic leaders.

The role of the Senate, where a trial would be held, is less certain. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke with Trump over his demands that Congress throw out electors in states he lost, and his wife, Chao, quit the cabinet on Thursday.

But during Trump’s impeachment trial in January just one GOP senator, Utah’s Mitt Romney, voted for an impeachment article to remove Trump from office. 

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said he would ‘consider’ impeachment articles against Trump. 

‘The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,’ he told CBS, after public comments denouncing aspects of Trump’s conduct and voting to count certified electors for Biden.  

He said an ‘insurrectionist mob’ tried to ‘disrupt the people’s house’ after Trump ‘told them to go to the Capitol and go wild.’ He said Trump was ‘flagrantly disregarding his oath of office’ – but said it was open what was the ‘best thing’ for the country. He said what Trump did was ‘wicked’ – but still stopped short of saying going ahead with impeachment was the right call.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said party members believe Trump needs to be ‘held accountable.’ 

‘I think we’re probably getting ready to go down that path next week,’ she said of impeachment.  But she told CNN there is a risk of causing further division.

‘How do you hold somebody accountable for the damage that they have done to our democracy? That is a real question. And how do you manage this without causing further division to this country?’ she asked. 

It is unclear how many House Republicans might go along with an effort following the riot in the Capitol. Scores of House Republicans voted to reject electors for Joe Biden from states that had certified the results, backing Trump’s false claims of massive fraud.  

Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office on Wednesday night, according to a report, but ultimately decided against it.

The Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary’s deliberations were reported as the two top Democrats in Congress, Sen. Charles Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reached out directly to Vice President Mike Pence Thursday to try to push him to act immediately to remove Trump from office, only to be rebuffed.

Pompeo and Mnuchin held discussions with their aides and staff, CNBC reported on Thursday.

Both men concluded that the 25th Amendment was not the right course of action for three main reasons, four sources told the channel.

Firstly, it would take longer than a week, which made it not worth the effort given there remain only 13 days of the Trump presidency.

Secondly, it was unclear whether the three acting Cabinet members, not yet confirmed by the Senate, would be able to cast a vote.

And finally, it was likely to pour further fuel on the fire, and enrage Trump’s supporters. 

‘The general plan now is to let the clock run out,’ said one former senior administration official aware of the discussions. 

‘There will be a reckoning for this president, but it doesn’t need to happen in the next 13 days.’ 

The State Department denied the discussions had taken place; the Treasury did not comment. 

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State (pictured December 11), reportedly considered invoking the 25th Amendment

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State (pictured December 11), reportedly considered invoking the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Their deliberations came as the two leaders called Pence hours after he had overseen a Joint Session of Congress to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden the next president, despite intense pressure by President Trump that Pence move against it.

Late Thursday sources told CNN that Trump’s mental state was deteriorating and he was ‘ranting’ and ‘raving’ as he watched the 25th Amendment being discussed on television – with Pelosi and Schumer’s demand being played repeatedly. 

But if they had hopes that Pence might join in a speedy potential effort to seize the reins of power from a volatile Trump in his final days in office, the reception they got may provide an answer.

‘Speaker Pelosi and I tried to call the vice president this morning to tell him to do this,’ Schumer told reporters in New York Thursday. ‘They kept us on hold for 25 minutes and then said the Vice President wouldn’t come on the phone.’

‘So we are making this call public because he should do it and do it right away,’ Schumer said, explaining why both he and Pelosi are calling on Pence and the Trump cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Trump unfit and install Pence as president in an acting capacity.

The call preceded furious comments from Pelosi charging Trump with fomenting ‘insurrection’ and inciting ‘sedition.’

‘Yesterday the President of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,’ Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference a day after Trump supporters stormed the building after attending a rally where Trump spoke.

She used stark language beyond even the tough talk of impeachment in last December and January, accusing him of crimes against the nation he leads. 

‘In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,’ said Pelosi.

Unlike 2019 and 2020 she has just days to force through an impeachment, but this time has a far greater chance that 12 Republican senators join the Democrats to convict after some openly expressed disgust for the president or his actions. Among those Democrats would target are Pennsylvania’s retiring Pat Toomey and ultra-conservative Tom Cotton, Utah’s Mike Lee and Ohio’s Rob Portman. 

In a series of developments Thursday:

  • Just after 1pm, another bombshell dropped as Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell resigned over the violence – the first member of Trump’s cabinet to quit
  • Democratic House members circulated draft articles of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting violent sedition and being a threat to national security
  • Facebook banned Trump from his account until at least his last day in office and possibly indefinitely
  • Joe Biden – unprompted – raised the use of the 25th Amendment as he called the mobs ‘an assault on democracy’ 
  • Washington D.C, prosecutors say Trump is being investigated for inciting the riots while Lindsey Graham said if the president does one more thing he should be removed 
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr said ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable’ 
  • White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany abruptly called a press briefing Thursday evening where she condemned violence but did not take responsibility for it 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said President Donald Trump had incited 'sedition' against the United States – and demanded the president's removal from office

Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded the president's removal from office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said President Donald Trump had incited ‘sedition’ against the United States as she and Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded the president’s removal from office

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Both Democrat leaders called Pence to demand Trump's removal from office - but were put on hold. Pence is pictured Thursday being escorted to the House Chamber

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Both Democrat leaders called Pence to demand Trump’s removal from office – but were put on hold. Pence is pictured Thursday being escorted to the House Chamber

'What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,' Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday

‘What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,’ Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday 

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her press conference: 'Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now'

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her press conference: ‘Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now’

Amid the focus on methods of removing the president from office, the New York Times reported that the President Trump has spoken to his advisors about the possibility of granting himself a self-pardon in the days before he leaves office.

It is an untested question courts would consider a self-pardon by the president valid. Richard Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford when he resigned after Watergate.

Trump has told advisors since Election Day that he was thinking about the idea, even as he doled out pardons to political supporters like former national security advisor Gen. Mike Flynn, who withdrew his guilty plea to lying to the FBI in the Russia probe.

Trump has tweeted that he has the power to self-pardon but has said he doesn’t need one. The U.S. Attorney in D.C. said Thursday that the office would investigate those who instigated the rioters who stormed the Capitol, not just the vandals themselves.

WHO’S RESIGNED FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SINCE MAGA MOBBED CAPITOL HILL?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos 

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao 

Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham

White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta

Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security John Costello 

Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and former OMB Director and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney 

The National Security Council’s Senior Director for Europe and Russia Ryan Tully  

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews 

Entire non-career staff of the Federal Aviation Administration 

Trump has also considered pardons for family members Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He also has considered one for personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who addressed the rally crowd Wednesday urging ‘trial by combat.’

The talks came before Monday’s events, and also before Trump’s Jan. 2 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom her urged to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would make him the winner there, in a call leaked to the Washington Post.

That call could bring legal exposure for potential violation of laws on interfering in an election. State officials have said they are looking into it. Trump could only pardon himself from federal crimes.

Wednesday’s chaotic events are unlikely to prompt Trump to abandon thoughts of pardoning himself. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday he had incited an armed insurrection against America.’ 

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence – who presided over at joint session to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden president in a race Trump falsely claims he won – and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

‘The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeting Congress, are horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history – instigated by the president of the United States. That’s why it’s such a stain,’ she intoned.

‘By inciting sedition like he did yesterday, he must be removed from office,’ she said of Trump. ‘While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America,’ she said of Trump’s remaining time in office.

‘I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment. If the vice president and cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,’ she said.

She said it was an idea backed by her caucus. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer made a similar threat in a brief statement earlier Thursday.

She called Trump ‘a complete tool of Putin.’

‘Putin’s goal was to diminish the view of democracy in the world. That’s what he has been about … the president gave him the biggest, of all of his many gifts to Putin, the biggest yesterday,’ she said of the Russian president.

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her event: ‘Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now.’  

Schumer  will become majority leader once Joe Biden is sworn in.

He spoke out amid escalating concern among Trump cabinet officials, former top aides, and his recently departed attorney general Bill Barr about the president’s conduct and continued risks the president could pose to the country.

But there was no indication of how Republicans will act – and early in the afternoon, Elaine Chao, the Transportation Secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell quit, a move which stops her taking part in removing Trump from office.

‘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,’ Schumer added.

His statement came shortly after Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first elected House Republican to call for the Trump cabinet and Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip away Trump’s power.  

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger demanded Mike Pence and the Cabinet remove Donald Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment immediately. He posted a video to Twitter in which he said he is calling for Donald Trump to be removed from office 'for the sake of our Democracy'

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger demanded Mike Pence and the Cabinet remove Donald Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment immediately. He posted a video to Twitter in which he said he is calling for Donald Trump to be removed from office ‘for the sake of our Democracy’ 

‘It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked,’ Kinzinger said in a statement he posted on Twitter.’  

Kinzinger said Trump ‘invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection we saw.’

His comment followed reporters that members of Trump’s cabinet have been discussing use of the 25th Amendment to the constitution to declare him unfit for office 

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has released articles of impeachment he has drafted with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

The articles state that Trump ‘engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors’ by ‘willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.’

The articles cite Trump’s Wednesday remarks to supporters shortly before they stormed the Capitol during the electoral vote count. ‘Shortly before the Joint Session of Congress commenced,’ Trump addressed supporters where he ‘reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide,’ the articles state. Trump also ‘wilfully made statements that encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’

AOC says Cabinet should use 25th Amendment and Congress should impeach - and wants Republican inciters expelled from House and Senate

AOC says Cabinet should use 25th Amendment and Congress should impeach – and wants Republican inciters expelled from House and Senate

The articles say a mob ‘incited by President Trump’ breached the Capitol and ‘interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty’ to certify the results.

They say the actions were ‘consistent with his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct’ the certification of the results. They mention his Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he asked the official to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would give him victory.

Georgia certified the vote for Joe Biden.

Trump ‘gravely endangered the security’ of the U.S. and its institutions of government, the articles say. IT calls his actions ‘grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.’

If Trump were impeached and convicted, he would be unable to hold future office of ‘honor, trust or profit’ under the U.S

Joe Biden said he would not be taking questions on whether the 25th amendment should be used to remove President Trump from office.

Biden made the statement at the top of his announcement of his nominee for attorney general, explaining he wants to ‘focus on the ideas today’ instead.

‘I know you will have a lot of questions, but I want to focus on the idea today, the judiciary as well as talking about the attorney general’s office so I’ll have time to answer the questions you want to ask about everything from 25th amendment but I won’t speak to that today. I want this to be the issue to focus because I think it’s so important,’ he told the room of reporters in Wilmington, Del.

Biden went on to call Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol as ‘one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.’

He called the mob ‘domestic terrorists.’

‘They weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists,’ he said. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar has presented article's of impeachment. 'We need to move quickly to remove this President from office,' she said

Rep. Ilhan Omar has presented article’s of impeachment. ‘We need to move quickly to remove this President from office,’ she said 

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has released articles of impeachment he has drafted with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). The articles state that Trump ‘engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors’ by ‘willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States’

Former Attorney General Bill Barr – who departed his post before Christmas – called out Trump for ‘orchestrating a mob.’

Barr called it a ‘betrayal of his office and supporters.’

He told the Associated Press that ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.’

The talk of using the 25th Amendment comes amid fears of what damage Trump might we able to due even in the short two weeks left in his tenure as aides flee his White House and he continues to lash out at enemies – with control of the military and massive executive power.

Several House Democrats have begun talk of rushing through an impeachment, after the failed January impeachment trial in the Senate.

The 25th Amendment, which also governs a president who voluntarily relinquishes power on a temporary basis, requires that the vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ inform the Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’ 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said 'orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable'

Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable’

Game over: Mike Pence put the final seal on Joe Biden's election victory in the early hours of Thursday morning, declaring once and for all that Donald Trump had lost the election by a 306-232 margin in the electoral college

Game over: Mike Pence put the final seal on Joe Biden’s election victory in the early hours of Thursday morning, declaring once and for all that Donald Trump had lost the election by a 306-232 margin in the electoral college 

Rep. Andy Kim is seen cleaning up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday

Rep. Andy Kim is seen cleaning up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday

Sen. Tim Scott stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday

Sen. Tim Scott stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday

WHAT DOES THE 25TH AMENDMENT SAY? CAN TRUMP’S CABINET REALLY TOPPLE HIM?

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution deals with presidential authority in the event of death or removal from office, and was ratified in 1967, in the wake of John F Kennedy’s assassination.

What does the 25th Amendment say?

It is in four sections, all dealing with the president leaving office during his or her elected term. 

The first section states that the vice president takes over the Oval Office if the president dies or resigns – or is removed – something which the original Constitution did not clearly state.

Presidents of course can be removed by impeachment, a feature of the constitution from the start. They can also be removed through the 25th Amendment – of which more below.

Section II states that if the vice president dies, or resigns – or is fired – both the House and Senate have to confirm a new vice president. Until 1967, presidents could change vice presidents mid-term on their own if they got the vice president to agree to resign – not something that actually happened, but which was possible in principle.

Section III makes clear that a president can temporarily delegate his powers to the vice president, and later reclaim them when he – or she – is capable of serving. This is most often invoked if a president is under the influence of surgical anesthetic for a short period of time. 

Section IV is the amendment’s most controversial part: it describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.

The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’

The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.

So at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.

Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.

The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate. 

Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.

As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.

But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.

What could happen to trigger the 25th Amendment?

Vice President Mike Pence and eight of the 15 ‘principal’ Cabinet members would have to agree to notify Congress that President Donald Trump was incapable of running the country.

That group is made up of the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Labor Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Transportation Secretary, Energy Secretary , Education Secretary, Veterans Affairs Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary.

Their formal notification would go to the House Speaker and, in the senate, to the ‘president pro tempore’, the Senate’s most senior member. As soon as the letter is sent, Pence would become ‘acting president.’

Alternatively, Congress could set up its own mechanism to decide if he is fit for office – maybe a commission, or a joint committee. Pence would still have to agree with its conclusion and then write formally to the Speaker and president pro tempore.

Or another possibility is that the pool of ‘principal officers’ is considered to be bigger than the 15 and a majority of that group call Trump incapable.

What if Trump does not agree?

If Trump claims he is capable of holding office, he would write to the House Speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate within four days, setting up three weeks of intense debate in both houses of Congress.

Trump would be removed from office if both two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate agreed with Pence and his cabal. 

If either of both chambers fell short of that mark, Trump would retain his powers and likely embark on a wholesale housecleaning, firing Pence and replacing disloyal Cabinet members.

Are there any loopholes?

The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on  a course of action.

It specifies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

That commission could hypothetically include anyone from presidential historians to psychiatrists, entrusted to assess the president’s fitness for office. 

Another loophole is that it does not spell out that the Cabinet is needed to agree, but says that the ‘principal officers’ of the departments are needed. That term is undefined in the constitution. In some departments legislation appears to name not just the secretary but deputies and even undersecretaries as ‘principal officers’, so many more people could be called in to the assessment of Trump’s fitness. 

But Trump’s cabinet has a swathe of ‘acting’ cabinet officer – and it is unclear if they could therefore take part in removing him. 

Could Trump fire Pence if he rebelled?

Yes, in principle.  If Trump smelled a whiff of trouble – if Pence and a cabal of Cabinet members, or Pence and a panel assembled by Congress seemed ready to judge him incapacitated – he could dismiss his vice president with the stroke of a pen to stop the process.

But installing a more loyal VP could be problematic since the 25th Amendment includes its own poison pill: Both houses of Congress must vote to approve a new vice president.

That means Trump would find himself up against the same Congress that would vote on his fitness for office, unless the process were to unfold in the weeks before a new Congress.

Theoretically, a Democratic-controlled Congress could make life dramatically more difficult for the president if it came into power in the midst of the constitutional crisis. 

One scenario has appeared to stump presidential historians, however: Firing Pence before the process is underway, and then leaving the vice presidency vacant, would give Congress no practical way forward. That would present its own constitutional crisis.

Is there any precedent for this?

No.  Only Section III, the voluntary surrender of presidential powers, has ever been used – and only very briefly.

In December 1978, President Jimmy Carter thought about invoking Section III when he was contemplating a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. 

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both voluntarily relinquished their powers while undergoing procedures under anesthetic. 

Section IV has also never been invoked, although there have been claims that Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Donald Regan told his successor, Howard Baker,  in 1987 that he should be prepared to invoke it because Reagan was inattentive and inept.

The PBS documentary ‘American Experience’ recounts how Baker and his team watched Reagan closely for signs of incapacity during their first meeting and decided he was in perfect command of himself.  

In another blow to Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump will be blocked from both the Facebook and Instagram platforms at least through Inauguration Day, because the risks are ‘too great.’

Several Trump cabinet members serve on an ‘acting’ basis and have not been confirmed by the Senate, lowering the number from the threshold of 16 department heads who would take part in a 25th Amendment scenario. A post election purge took out the Defense secretary, and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Half the cabinet would have to vote, and Pence would then submit information to the Congress, making him acting president while other processes go forward.

Kinzinger for years has been an outlier in the GOP conference, bashing Trump publicly and in cable TV interviews when he believes Trump runs astray of democratic norms. But his public statement, made from his Capitol office in front of a U.S. flag, illustrates how quickly the possibility of action has jumped from fantasy to reality after Wednesday’s stunning events in the Capitol.

The new talk of the 25th Amendment came as officials in the Trump administration continued to resign and issued statements denouncing Trump’s conduct.

Former White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney quit his diplomatic post in protest of the effort to ‘overtake the government.’

‘I can’t do it,’ said Mulvaney, who called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another former House Republican, to convey his views.

Mulvaney, a former House member from South Carolina who left Congress to join Trump’s team, spoke out on CNBC hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol after being egged on to march there by President Trump and his unsupported claims of mass election fraud.

‘I called Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,’ he said, relinquishing his post as special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland in the final weeks of the Trump Administration.

He said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ to see ‘more of my friends resign over the next 24 to 48 hours.’ Mulvaney served in the House with Pompeo.

‘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,’ he said – voicing an argument made by many top Trump officials who lingered for months or years despite harboring doubts they later shared about Trump’I can’t stay here. Not after yesterday,’ he said – with a model of Air Force One and a presidential seal in the background behind him during a video interview.

Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said he was not quitting and had not discussed the 25th Amendment with Pence or anyone else, CNN reported. 

But he did condemn Trump, saying: ‘Inciting people to not have a peaceful transition of power was not the right thing to do.’

Donald Trump – pictured at the Wednesday rally near the White House where he whipped his supporters into a frenzy by repeating his false claims of election fraud – finally accepted his fate on Thursday morning and promised an ‘orderly transition’ on January 20, when Joe Biden will take office after being confirmed once and for all as the election winner 

Trump's statement was posted by an aide

Scavino posted the statement after Trump's account was locked

Trump’s grudging acknowledgement that Joe Biden will take office on January 20 was posted on Twitter by White House aide Dan Scavino, after the president’s own account was locked for stirring up violence on Wednesday

Thousands of Donald Trump's most fervent supporters descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the results of the presidential election and obstruct Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory

Thousands of Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the results of the presidential election and obstruct Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called the actions by Trump supporters who rampaged through the Capitol ‘sickening’ – and publicly pleaded with President Trump to condemn the violence.

‘What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,’ Wolf said in a statement Thursday.

‘While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends. This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday,’ Wolf said.

‘DHS takes the safety and security of all Americans very seriously—it’s at the core of our mission to defend our homeland. Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans,’ Wolf continued.

He said he would remain in his post ‘to ensure the Department’s focus remains on the serious threats facing our country and an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team.’  

Guns on the floor of the House: Capitol police point their firearms at a vandalized door during the hours-long carnage that erupted on Wednesday after Trump told his supporters to protest the election result

Guns on the floor of the House: Capitol police point their firearms at a vandalized door during the hours-long carnage that erupted on Wednesday after Trump told his supporters to protest the election result 

Mockery: A Trump supporter puts his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk after storming into the Capitol during an unprecedented effort to subvert a democratic election and keep Donald Trump in power

Mockery: A Trump supporter puts his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk after storming into the Capitol during an unprecedented effort to subvert a democratic election and keep Donald Trump in power 

Fire and fury: The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob

Fire and fury: The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob 

A huge crowd of Trump supporters had turned up at the president's urging to protest the results of a fair democratic election

A huge crowd of Trump supporters had turned up at the president’s urging to protest the results of a fair democratic election

Donald Trump finally accepted his fate just before 4am Thursday after Vice President Mike Pence ended his desperate campaign to overturn the election – still not properly conceding and instead boasting it was the ‘end of the greatest first term in history’ in a tweet from an aide’s cellphone.

The VP brought the gavel down on the Trump coup at 3:41 a.m. Thursday morning and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win – despite the attempt of scores of Republicans and a violent MAGA mob to overturn it. 

After Pence defied his boss to settle the 2020 election once and for all, Trump finally said there would be an ‘orderly transition’ – a hallmark of American democracy he has repeatedly called into question – but still claimed falsely that the election was stolen despite all 50 states, a series of judges and now the U.S. Congress dismissing challenges to the result. 

Banned from twitter, the message was sent by Dan Scavino, his golf caddy-turned social media guru. 

‘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 20,’ Trump said in a statement that aides posted on Twitter after the president’s account was locked for stirring up violence. 

‘I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,’ Trump said. ‘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.’  Pence made the final announcement after a nearly 15-hour saga that saw rioting supporters of President Trump mob the U.S. Capitol Building in a day of carnage and shame that left four dead, saw pipe bombs, long guns and Molotov cocktails discovered in the Capitol grounds – and left America’s image as the beacon of democracy reeling.   

The mob walked right through the halls of Congress, ransacking offices and brazenly taking photos

The mob walked right through the halls of Congress, ransacking offices and brazenly taking photos 

Trump supporters attempt to ram their way through a police barricade as they raged at the president's election defeat

Trump supporters attempt to ram their way through a police barricade as they raged at the president’s election defeat 

Trump supporters marched through the Capitol Rotunda after breaching what appeared to be flimsy security - a stark contrast with the heavy-handed crackdowns that Trump ordered against Black Lives Matter protesters last summer

Trump supporters marched through the Capitol Rotunda after breaching what appeared to be flimsy security – a stark contrast with the heavy-handed crackdowns that Trump ordered against Black Lives Matter protesters last summer 

Trash and Trump signs are seen piled beside the statue of Andrew Jackson - months after the president condemned the desecration of monuments to controversial figures in American history

Trash and Trump signs are seen piled beside the statue of Andrew Jackson – months after the president condemned the desecration of monuments to controversial figures in American history 

A protester sits in the Senate Chamber, amid an invasion that forced Congress to suspend its joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump

A protester sits in the Senate Chamber, amid an invasion that forced Congress to suspend its joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump

The MAGA mob – which included white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and Q Anon followers – interrupted the certification of results as they smashed through police barricades, stormed into the halls of the Capitol and even sat in the Senate chamber.

They looted offices, vandalized statues and confronted police as they rampaged through the Capitol, carrying Confederate flags, in hours of anarchy which shocked the world and which Biden called an ‘insurrection’. 

As the world watched in disbelief, many were shocked at how easily the invaders had breached the hallways of American democracy – contrasting the lax security with the heavy-handed crackdowns ordered by Trump at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.  

Even as intruders desecrated the Capitol, Trump was said to be reluctant to deploy the National Guard, with reports saying that he ‘rebuffed and resisted’ the request before Pence and others finally made it happen. 

Lawmakers were rushed off the floor of the House and Senate – and brought back at 8pm under armed guard while outside the mob defied a curfew in D.C. The president who had whipped them into fury tweeted: ‘You are special. You are loved.’

One woman – 14-year Air Force veteran Ashli Babbit – was shot dead inside the building, with three others dead from unspecified ‘medical emergencies’ during the carnage. Washington police chief Robert Contee said 14 officers were injured, one of them pulled into a crowd and assaulted, while 52 people were arrested.  

Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday amid questions over how they breached security so easily

Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday amid questions over how they breached security so easily

A woman was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died at a hospital hours later, law enforcement sources said

A woman was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died at a hospital hours later, law enforcement sources said

The siege brought an hours-long halt to what is usually the solemn democratic ritual of putting a final seal on the election result. When lawmakers eventually returned to their chambers, the Republicans trying to resist Biden’s victory found that their numbers had dwindled, and all of their objections were voted down. 

The spectacle of a violent gang rampaging through the legislature trying to overturn an election result prompted outrage and anguish from America’s fellow democracies, with Britain’s Boris Johnson condemning the ‘disgraceful scenes’ and Germany’s Angela Merkel saying she was ‘furious and saddened’ by the chaos. 

It was also seized on by America’s authoritarian rivals to mock the state of US democracy, with Iran calling it ‘fragile and vulnerable’ and Russia saying that the election system ‘does not meet modern democratic standards’. 

Former president Barack Obama described the riot as a ‘moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation’, while his predecessor George W. Bush said that ‘this is how election results are disputed in a banana republic’. 

Congress’ overwhelming rejection of attempts to overturn the vote and Pence’s role in it will surely further enrage Trump, who wanted his VP to unilaterally overrule Biden’s win – and he was left further isolated by the resignation of multiple White House aides including former press secretary Stephanie Grisham. 

Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, social secretary Rickie Niceta and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also quit, with more resignations expected from aides disgusted with Trump’s conduct. 

The president was banished from Twitter for 12 hours Wednesday due to violating the company’s rules meaning he could not vent on his favorite medium. The ban was due to expire at 5am Thursday morning, but there was no immediate word on whether Trump’s access had been restored. 

The Republican bid to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory ended early Thursday morning after the Senate voted 92-7 to dismiss a challenge to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College vote

Protesters broke windows to gain access to the Capitol as lawmakers were whisked to safety on Wednesday afternoon

Protesters broke windows to gain access to the Capitol as lawmakers were whisked to safety on Wednesday afternoon 

America’s rivals gloat over Capitol chaos 

America’s authoritarian rivals have delighted in the chaos at the Capitol, with Iran reveling in the ‘fragility of Western democracy’ and Venezuela mimicking the kind of criticism it usually receives from Washington.  

In a speech broadcast by state television, Rouhani said: ‘What we saw in the United States yesterday evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is.’ 

In China, state-run tabloid Global Times crowed that ‘bubbles of democracy and freedom have burst’ in America. It also compared the chaos to the Hong Kong protests in 2019, mocking US politicians who had praised the demonstrations there.  

In Russia, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ‘archaic’ US system was to blame for the rampage. 

‘The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meed modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle,’ Zakharova said.     

And in Veneuzela, parodying the kind of statements that usually come from Washington, authorities expressed ‘concern’ about the violence while calling for the US follow a path of ‘stability’ and ‘social justice’.  

Although Trump still refuses to accept he lost the election, his early-morning statement was the first time he had fully acknowledged that he will be leaving the White House on January 20. 

The president has spent the last two months refusing to concede and lobbing baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, even though his own Justice Department, federal courts and state governments have said repeatedly the vote was carried out freely and fairly.  

With just 13 days left of his presidency, Trump is now at war with Mitch McConnell, facing whispers of his own cabinet trying to force him out and Democrats openly discussing impeaching him again – while just a handful of senators led by Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and the majority of the House GOP remain loyal. 

It was Hawley who forced Congress to sit late into the night. Biden was at 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed when a final challenge of Pennsylvania’s count pushed lawmakers back into their respective chambers.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell skipped the two hours of permitted debate and went straight to a vote.

The upper chamber voted 92-7 to overrule the Republicans’ objection – with some Republicans changing sides to vote with the majority after the carnage of the preceding hours. 

‘We don’t expect additional votes tonight,’ McConnell said when things were done. McConnell had been against the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College vote counts from the beginning.

The House proceeded with debate and then voted 282 to 138 to overrule the challenge of Pennsylvania, with 64 Republicans voting alongside Democrats to make up the majority.

Both houses have to vote in favor of a challenge for it to succeed.

Republicans in the House and Senate had earlier challenged the votes in Arizona – which prompted two hours of debate, interrupted by the MAGA riot – and that objection was overwhelmingly overruled.

House Republicans also tried to challenge the results in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but GOP senators would no longer sign on after the day’s dramatic events. 

‘Mr. President prior to the actions and events of today we did but following the events of today it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection,’ admitted Georgia Rep. Jody Hice when challenging the results in his state. 

Congressional staffers barricade themselves inside their offices as Trump supporters rampage through the Capitol Building

Congressional staffers barricade themselves inside their offices as Trump supporters rampage through the Capitol Building

Trump's supporters had gathered to demand that the will of the American people be overturned by the House and Senate

Trump’s supporters had gathered to demand that the will of the American people be overturned by the House and Senate

The Confederate flag was flew in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after a Trump supporter brought it inside

The Confederate flag was flew in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after a Trump supporter brought it inside

People wearing gas masks take shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into America's lower chamber

People wearing gas masks take shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into America’s lower chamber 

Trump taken off social media after praising rioters 

Twitter has suspended Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours and for the first time deleted his tweets after he praised the mob who stormed Congress and said he ‘loved’ them.

YouTube and Facebook also followed suit in removing the posts, with Facebook and Instagram also blocking Trump from their platform for 24 hours.

Snapchat blocked him on Wednesday morning, before he filmed the video. The platform said their locking of his account was indefinite. 

In the deleted video, he poured more fuel on the fire, claiming the election was ‘stolen’ and telling the rioters that he ‘loved’ them.

Twitter said it had removed the tweets for violating their ‘Civic Integrity policy’.

‘As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,’ the social media company said.

‘This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.’

At nearly 4 a.m., Rep. Louie Gohmert tried to get one more challenge through – for the state of Wisconsin – but, again, a senator had withdrawn.

That spelled the end of the MAGA campaign to upend an election and Pence went on to read out the results of the Electoral College: Biden 306, Trump 232.

But he managed to avoid saying ‘Joe Biden is the winner’ or similar words – a minor softening of the blow to Trump by the deputy who had been until this week perhaps his most devoted follower.

‘To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win,’ Pence said after lawmakers returned to their seats. ‘Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.’

The vice president, who chaired the special joint session as provided under the Constitution, called it a ‘dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.’

‘But thanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured and the people’s work continues,’ Pence said.

But astonishingly – and to the disgust of Republicans including Mitt Romney and every Democrat – some Republicans continued their doomed bid to overturn the election result.

The most senior was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who claimed that persisting was proof that Congress was not cowed by violence. And Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who gave a clenched fist salute to the mob before it stormed the Capitol, also refused to back down even as other senators who had planned to object abandoned the campaign.

‘Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate,’ McCarthy said.

‘We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. 

‘We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect.’ 

Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states' Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely

Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely

Sen Ted Cruz looks on as the certification proceedings continue despite objections by him and other Republicans

Sen Ted Cruz looks on as the certification proceedings continue despite objections by him and other Republicans

Sen. Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely. 

The Missouri Republican argued that the Senate floor was the appropriate place to address any election fraud concerns – as opposed to a violent riot.

Pence ordered National Guard to the Capitol after Trump ‘resisted’ 

Mike Pence made the call to activate the National Guard after Trump supporters ran wild in the Capitol Building, it has been revealed.

Acting Pentagon chief Christopher Miller revealed that he spoke to Pence and not Trump, the Commander in Chief, before sending in the Guard to clear out rioters.

Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’s White House correspondent, later revealed that Trump had ‘rebuffed and resisted’ attempts to call in the guard before ‘White House advisers’ intervened to get the move approved. 

Meanwhile White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien praised Pence’s courage for certifying the state election results – a typically routine task that was thrust under the spotlight after Trump falsely suggested that Pence had the power to reject the result and declare him the victor.

‘I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him,’ wrote O’Brien. 

‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ Hawley said. ‘And that’s why I submit to my colleagues that what we’re doing here tonight is actually very important. Because of those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections … this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place, where those objections and concerns should be heard.’

He said he hoped the Senate could address concerns ‘peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.’

Hawley also used the Arizona debate to complain about Pennsylvania, correctly foreseeing that there would be no full debate about that state’s results.   

‘And so Mr. President let me just say now, that briefly, in lieu of speaking about it later, a word about Pennsylvania – this is a state that I have been focused on, objected to,’ Hawley said.

He then went on to complain that the state set-up ‘universal mail-in balloting.’

‘And did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution says,’ Hawley said, using the improper word for regardless.

The senator then objected to how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made its decision, holding up the law that allowed for enhanced mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Directly after Hawley spoke, Sen. Mitt Romney applauded those senators, like Loeffler and Lankford, who had abandoned Hawley and the ‘dirty dozen’s’ effort. 

‘The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,’ Romney implored.

And the truth, he said, was ‘President-Elect Biden won the election. President Trump lost.’

‘I’ve had that experience myself, it’s no fun,’ Romney said, a reference to losing the 2012 presidential election to Democratic President Barack Obama.

As he concluded, Romney was given a standing ovation by some senators – but not by Hawley, who was sitting directly in front of him. 

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, 'The United States Senate will not be intimidated.'

Pence's condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer - a New York Democrat - placing the blame squarely on Trump

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’ Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump

An armed security agent tries to maintain order in the Capitol during what Joe Biden described as an 'insurrection'

An armed security agent tries to maintain order in the Capitol during what Joe Biden described as an ‘insurrection’ 

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state.

Lamb first read from the speech he had planned to give pre-riot, including that Allegheny County’s vote-counting operation had ’31 video cameras!’ he said, raising his voice.

‘These objections don’t deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce,’ he then said.

‘A woman died out there tonight and you’re making these objections,’ Lamb went on. ‘Let’s be clear about what happened in this chamber today: invaders came in for the first time since the War of 1812.’

Lamb nodded over in the direction of a group of his Republican colleagues.

‘We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere. It was inspired by lies, the same lies you’re hearing in this room tonight, and the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves,’ Lamb said. ‘Their constituents should be ashamed of them.’

Rep. Morgan Griffith shouted to have Lamb’s comments struck from the record.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled his request down, later explaining that he wasn’t quick enough, saying it needed to happen ‘exactly when the words are spoken.’

Nearby, a scuffle among lawmakers nearly broke out involving Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, and Rep. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, according to Capitol Hill reporters.

Allred is a former professional football player.

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb (pictured), a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb (pictured), a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state

Speaker Nancy Pelosi reopened the House of Representatives Wednesday night with a vow to stay as long as it takes to certify the election and Joe Biden’s victory.

‘Congress has returned to the Capitol,’ she said seven hours after the chamber was closed because rioters were trying to breach its doors. ‘We always knew that this responsibility would take us into the night, and will stay as long as it takes. Our purpose will be accomplished. We must and we will show to the country.’

‘We know that we’re in difficult times, but little could we have imagined the assault, that was made on our democracy,’ she said in reference to the pro-Trump insurgents who tried to stop the Joint Session.

She said it was the duty of lawmakers to show the world ‘the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.’

Shortly before all House members were evacuated around 2.30pm, Capitol Police approached Pelosi, who was presiding over the chamber from the speaker’s rostrum, telling her she had to leave.

Pelosi didn’t make a fuss and turned over her duties to House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern.

He told reporters on Capitol Hill that she whispered ‘thank you’ and handed him the gavel as she was led away.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over the House Chamber after they reconvened

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over the House Chamber after they reconvened

Some Republican senators backed down from the original plan to object after pro-Trump insurgents rushed the Capitol.

But House Republican Leader McCarthy said it was lawmakers’ duty to conduct ‘healthy debate’ and to hear ‘valid concerns about election integrity.’

WHO’S STILL IN TRUMP’S CAMP? 

Josh Hawley 

Kevin McCarthy 

Ted Cruz 

Matt Gaetz

Louie Gohmert

Paul Gosar

Jim Jordan 

Ronny Jackson

Tommy Tuberville 

Marjorie Taylor Greene

‘When Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a Congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate. We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect,’ he said on the House floor after the chamber reopened.

But he also condemned the rioters.

‘We saw the worst of America this afternoon,’ he said.

McCarthy also warned lawmakers to think twice about what they post on social media. Posts by Republicans, including President Trump, falsely stating the election was rigged and fraudulent were believed to have contributed to inciting the mob that ran sacked the Capitol.

‘We also should think for a moment about what do we put on social media,’ he said. ‘Just because you have a personal opinion different than mine, you have a right to say it, but nobody has a right to become a mob. And we all should stand united to condemning them all together.’

Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump.

‘Today’s events would certainly not have happened without him,’ Schumer said. 

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’

‘Will not be kept out of its chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bend for lawlessness or intimidation,’ the Kentucky Republican said.

He said senators would discharge their Constitutional duty – to certify the results of the presidential race.

‘And we’re going to do it tonight,’ McConnell said.

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’

Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

‘I have never lived through, or even imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol,’ he said. ‘This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized.’

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., helps ATF police officers (special highly trained officers) clean up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., helps ATF police officers (special highly trained officers) clean up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC

Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday

Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday

He spoke of the woman who was shot during the riots, who has since died of her injuries.

‘We mourn her and feel for her friends and family,’ Schumer said.

‘This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away,’ he added.

And the soon-to-be majority leader, after Democrats were successful in both Georgia Senate run-off races, pointed a finger at Trump, calling the day’s events the ‘final terrible indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States.’

‘Undoubtedly our worst,’ Schumer argued.

‘Today’s events did not happen spontaneously, the president who promoted conspiracy theories, who motivated these thugs, a president who exhorted them to come to our United States capitol, egged them on, who hardly ever discourages violence. This president deals a great deal of the blame,’ Schumer said.

He said that those responsible for overtaking the capitol could not be called ‘protesters.’

‘These were rioters and insurrectionist goons and thugs, domestic terrorists,’ Schumer said. ‘They do not represent America

Senate Majority Leader spoke immediately after Pence to declare that the chamber would not be intimidated by ‘thugs.’

McConnell found himself denouncing Trump’s bid to overturn the election for the second time in a day, after earlier delivering a strong speech blasting the effort by members of his own caucus seeking to throw out electors in states that went for Joe Biden.

Wednesday night, after Trump supporters breached hallways that McConnell has walked for decades on ‘unhinged’ invaders – without mentioning that it was President Trump who encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol.

Nevertheless, he eviscerated the Trump backers who ran wild inside the chamber.

‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,’ vowed McConnell.

‘We are back at our post. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation.

And we’re going to do it tonight,’ said McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, 'Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.' Schumer followed, admitting that he didn't quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’ Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors' efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states - South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida - sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War

His words were both strengthened and undercut by his close association with Trump’s tenure: McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao serves as Trump’s Transportation secretary. McConnell spent weeks without denouncing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims the election was rigged. And it was in partnership with Trump that he achieved his life’s goal of stacking the judiciary with conservative jurists.

He spoke with contempt towards the mob who invaded the Capitol, saying the country had ‘faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today.’

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz

‘We’ve never been deterred before and we’ll be not deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed,’ he intoned.

He called it a ‘failed insurrection’ and said it ‘only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.’

‘Now we’re going to finish exactly what we started,’ said McConnell. ‘We’ll complete the process in the right way: by the book.’

He said the Senate would follow its precedents and laws and Constitution ‘to the letter.’

‘And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election,’ he said forcefully. ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress. This institution is resilient. Our democratic republic is strong. The American people deserve nothing less,’ he said.  

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz.

‘Why in god’s name would someone think attacking law enforcement occupying United States Capitol is the best way to show that you’re right? Why would you do that?’ he asked.

‘Rioters and thugs don’t run the capitol we’re the United States of America. We disagree on a lot of things and we have a lot of spirited debate in this room. But we talk it out and we honor each other.

Lankford had been on the Senate floor defending the opposition to votes in states Biden won when officials evacuated the chamber and locked down the Capitol.

‘I was literally interrupted mid-sentence speaking here. Because we’re all aware of what was happening right outside this room,’ he said, praising law enforcement who protected the Capitol.

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes

He quickly bowed to the new reality.

‘Obviously the commission that we’ve asked for is not going to happen at this point and I understand that and we’re headed towards tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden to be the president of the United States,’ he said. Cruz and his compatriots wanted a special commission to investigate electoral fraud claims tossed out of courts over a ten-day period.

‘And we will work together in this body to be able to send peaceful example in the days ahead,’ he concluded.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War.

‘It led to Jim Crow,’ Graham said. ‘If you’re looking for historical guidance, this is not the one to pick.’

The South Carolina Republican also said that a forming a commission to look into fraud wouldn’t change minds.

‘Having a commission chosen by Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and John Roberts is not going to get you to where you want to go, it ain’t going to work,’ Graham said. ‘It’s not going to do any good, it’s going to delay and it gives credibility to a dark chapter of our history.’

Graham maintained Trump was a ‘consequential president.’

‘But today … all I can say is count me out, enough is enough, I’ve tried to be helpful.’

Graham praised Pence, telling him: ‘what they’re asking you to do, you won’t do, because you can’t.’

Trump has pressured Pence to choose between Electoral College votes and ‘alternate’ slates of electors, which the vice president doesn’t have the power to do.

Graham also mentioned how he had traveled the world with Biden, when they served together in the Senate.

‘I prayed he would lose,’ Graham said. ‘He’s the legitimate president of the United States.’

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes.

‘When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,’ she said. ‘However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.’

Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, also announced that he no longer supported senators filing objections.

The newly minted Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, who had joined Sen. Ted Cruz’s ‘dirty dozen,’ seemed to still back the effort in his debut floor speech.

‘We must restore faith and confidence in one of our republic’s most hallowed and patriotic duties: voting,’ Marshall said.

Marshall said he backed the creation of an electoral commission to give states to constructive suggestions’ going forward, due to the ‘jarring irregularities’ he claimed took place in the 2020 race.

It’s unclear if Marshall would back additional challenges in states going forward, as the Senate’s discussion was only focused on Electoral College votes in Arizona.

Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol

Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol 

Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber

Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber

A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi's lectern after storming the Capitol

A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern after storming the Capitol

Republican Congressman Thomas Reed announced he is against the GOP objections to the certification, earning a round of applause from Democrats.

Reed walked to the Democratic side of the House to speak about his opposition, citing the day’s violence in the Capitol as the reason.

‘We settle our differences through elections,’ he said, denouncing the ‘mob rule’ that took place earlier in the afternoon.

‘What we see tonight in this body shall be what we do in America. And that is to transfer power in a peaceful way,’ he said as Democrats gave him a standing ovation.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, pushed a conspiracy theory that some of the mob that raided the Capitol were members of Antifa, who are opposed to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology. President Trump has tried to label Antifa as a terrorist group but they a political philosophy. There is no evidence they were involved in Wednesday’s insurrection.

Gaetz cited the conservative newspaper The Washington Times when he spoke on the House floor to defend Republican objections to the electoral college votes in some states won by Biden.

‘The Washington Times has just reported, some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company, showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today, were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters, and in fact, we’re members of the violet terrorist group Antifa,’ he said as Democrats loudly booed him.

Gaetz, a frequent guest at Trump’s Florida residence Mar-a-Lago, also defended the president, who was criticized by many, including members of the Republican Party, for his lackluster response to the riots.

‘Another important point for the country is that this morning President Trump explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful,’ Gaetz said.

Trump, in tweets, did say the protesters should be peaceful but he didn’t call for them to stand down and leave the Capitol.

Democrats booed Gaetz as he spoke, which he acknowledged: ‘You can moan and groan but he was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left wing writers were this summer, when we saw violence sweep across this nation.’

Gaetz also got in a dig at liberal Democrats, who have called to defund the police.

‘I’m sure glad that at least for one day, I didn’t hear my Democratic colleagues calling to defund the police,’ he said as his Republican colleagues cheered.

Members of Congress are pictured rushing to evacuate the House Chamber as protesters attempted to enter

Members of Congress are pictured rushing to evacuate the House Chamber as protesters attempted to enter

National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew

National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew

The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from Capitol Police

The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from Capitol Police

The DC National Guard was deployed to the streets to help enforce a 6pm curfew

The DC National Guard was deployed to the streets to help enforce a 6pm curfew 

Trump – after remaining silent for much of the afternoon – posted a video telling his ‘very special’ supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them ‘to go home’. 

He had initially encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol after a rally earlier in the afternoon before asking them only to remain peaceful when violence broke out.   

The Capitol was briefly secured before being placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officer was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked.     

But just before 8pm lawmakers who had been whisked to safety when the siege kicked off began arriving back at the Capitol to resume the Joint Session to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election. 

The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way into the Capitol. A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, who is residing over the Joint Session, said he was already in the building because he’d never left. 

As the protesters broke down police barricades and stormed into the Capitol, lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Officers at the front door of the chamber had their guns drawn at a protester trying to break down the door.

The Capitol was placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an 'internal security threat' after an officers was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked

The Capitol was placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officers was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked

For those fleeing, it was a race against time: Protesters were getting in as quickly as members of Congress could get out. 

One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled: ‘Trump won that election’. Some protesters even occupied Pelosi’s office, sitting mockingly at a desk. 

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters and urged them to march to the Capitol. The protesters organized via far-right social media sites, including Gab and Parler, telling each other the best routes to avoid police on their way to the Capitol.

After protesters started clashing with law enforcement, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’. 

‘Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!’ the president wrote.

As the violence escalated, Trump tweeted: ‘I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!’ 

He did not initially tell the protesters to leave. 

Biden on Wednesday evening called for the restoration of ‘simple decency’ after the mob delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election. 

‘At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,’ Biden said. He called it ‘an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.’ 

‘I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward. 

In an address that took less than 10 minutes and was televised against a split screen of the still-occupied Capitol building, Biden attempted to project calm and to say that a deeply divided country can still come together – while also expressing outrage. 

He stopped short of accusing Trump of treason but said the events ‘bordered on sedition’. 

‘At their best, the words of a president can inspire,’ Biden added. ‘At their worst they can incite.’ 

Minutes after Biden’s address, Trump posted his own video telling his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’. In the same breath he also continued to peddle his baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’. 

‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,’ he said.

‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.’ 

The video was later removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because it violated their policies.  

The president then posted another tweet reiterating his false claim that the election was stolen and encouraging supporters to ‘remember this day’. The tweet was perceived by some as an attempt to rile up the Capitol crowds.  

‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,’ he tweeted. ‘Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!’

Twitter removed the tweet for violating its rules. 

Mob smashes through police barriers and wall of tear gas to stop Biden’s victory being certified: How Trump protesters turned Congress into a battlefield 

Capitol Police used tear gas as hundreds of people were seen climbing the marble steps outside the building. They banged on the locked doors of the Capitol and smashed the glass in the doors.

Demonstrators fought with police and then forced their way into the building. 

Asked how so many people were able to get in, officials said they were focusing their attention on keeping lawmakers inside safe. 

‘We love you. You are special.’ Trump finally addresses Capitol mob HE unleashed and says ‘Go home now. We have to have peace’ 

Donald Trump told his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’ after they rampaged past police barriers to storm the U.S. Capitol.

But despite calling for his supporters to stand down, he continued to peddle the baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’ in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.

‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,’ Trump said.

It came hours after Trump stirred them into a frenzy at his ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, telling them to march on the U.S. Capitol. 

The president still has not conceded the election and earlier Wednesday addressed a crowd at the ellipse spouting conspiracy theories that he still had a path to win – if Vice President Mike Pence did his bidding, as well as if GOP lawmakers revolted.

Pence did no such thing.

 

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. After protesters started clashing with law enforcement following the Capitol breach, Trump tweeted to his supporters to 'stay peaceful'

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. After protesters started clashing with law enforcement following the Capitol breach, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’

One video posted on TikTok appeared to show a group of about four officers standing by as protesters pushed past a barricade near the Capitol building. 

The officers did not appear to try to block the stampede, instead walking with it toward the building.  

One protester jumped up on the dais, where the president of the Senate presides, and yelled: ‘Trump won that election.’

Several dozen protesters roamed the halls of the Capitol, yelling: ‘Where are they?’

Tear gas was being used by Capitol Police as protesters filled both the House and Senate side of the Capitol.

Another protester in the Senate yelled: ‘Where’s Pence, show yourself!’

The chaos caused the Capitol to go on lockdown and disrupted the certification of the electoral college vote that would cement Biden’s victory. 

Mayor Bowser declared a 6pm curfew for the city and said multiple law enforcement agencies would be patrolling the streets. Just before the curfew went into effect she was asked multiple by times by CNN if curfew violators would be arrested, but she refused to give a clear answer. 

Bowser said ‘many’ arrests had already been made but did not have a specific number.  

As footage started coming out of Capitol Hill being breached by angry Trump supporters, Donald Trump Jr  tried to quell the outburst with a tweet – that was critical of Democrats and liberals.

‘This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side,’ Trump Jr. wrote. ‘We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone.’

Meanwhile, the president continued to direct his rage at Pence, who earlier announced he would not single-handedly overturn the election results from his position of the chair.

‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!’ the president tweeted.

The extraordinary breech was a departure from security mishaps of the past. Protesters have routinely disrupted televised hearings while in progress and even events inside the House chamber. But trained Capitol Police are usually able to arrest disruptors and remove them immediately. Often formal charges are never filed.

But in Wednesday’s storming of the building, dozens of people made it by armed police officers and entered the building without going through any security set up to keep out those with weapons or dangerous items.

There were occasions after September 11th when the building was placed on lockdown and people were ordered to leave, but this usually happened when suspicious packages were discovered.

When the building is open, as it was before the pandemic, members of the general public are not allowed to walk unescorted on the second floor where lawmakers enter and exit the legislative chambers.

The protesters were aided by scaffolding constructed for the upcoming inauguration. 

In another tense piece of video from inside, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tweeted video of protesters repeatedly rushing Capitol Police officers in the crypt, in the ground floor part of the building under the rotunda.

‘I like many people voted for President Trump in the 2020 election and hoped for a different result,’ McCaul wrote. ‘But violence and destruction is not the way to express your grievances. This is disgraceful and has to end.’

Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon

Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon

Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather

Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather 

A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside

A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside

Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday's chaos at the Capitol

Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday’s chaos at the Capitol 

Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday

Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday 

A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening

A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening 

Trump’s mob causes chaos nationwide: MAGA fans take to the streets in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Kansas and surround Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office   

As the US Capitol was stormed, Trump supporters staged smaller rallies outside statehouses in several cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. 

Protesters swarmed into the Kansas statehouse in Topeka and gathered inside the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda, though the rally remained orderly, television station KSNT reported.

There were no immediate reports of violence, despite the flurry of demonstrations by pro-Trump demonstrators echoing his baseless claims that he was robbed of a re-election victory due to voter fraud.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter that he had instructed city agencies to close municipal offices early in Colorado’s state capital ‘out of an abundance of caution’ after about 700 demonstrators gathered at the statehouse downtown.

‘My hope is that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray for our nation,’ he tweeted.

A major courthouse complex and two other government buildings in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, were also ordered closed due to protests near the statehouse.

Among those whose daily routines were altered were aides to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, the Republican election official pressured by Trump in a weekend telephone call to ‘find’ enough additional votes for the president to overturn the November victory of President-elect Joe Biden, due to take office in two weeks.

Raffensperger’s spokesman, Walter Jones, said staff left their offices after lunch out of an abundance of caution because of protests. He said Raffensperger was not in the office at the time.

In Salt Lake City, Dana Jones, director of the state Capitol Preservation Board, said she had asked building staff to work from home on Wednesday afternoon on the advice of the Utah Highway Patrol and public safety commissioner, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The precaution was taken, the newspaper said, in response to a crowd of about 250 pro-Trump demonstrators who posted signs on the Capitol building that read: ‘Stop the steal!’ and ‘Trump won!’

A Utah state police spokesman said security had been beefed up at the Capitol, though he said protesters there were ‘very peaceful,’ the Tribune reported. It said one of its photographers was pepper-sprayed by individuals upset that he was documenting their protest.

Several hundred Trump supporters also staged a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, cheering and jeering while exhibiting a guillotine. 

MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump

MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump

ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles

ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles

LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters

LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters

OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem

OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem

TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin

TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin

ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm

ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm

‘I won’t betray my oath’: Pence publicly defies Trump’s demand to block Biden’s confirmation 

Trump told thousands of supporters just outside the White House that he wanted Pence to ‘come through’ for us and demanded that he reject electoral votes out of hand over that the president claims is ‘fraud.’

He threatened Pence saying ‘I’m not hearing good stories’ and telling him to have ‘courage’ to strike down swing states’ votes – a move which would defy the constitution.

But minutes before arriving on Capitol Hill to preside over the joint session of Congress to certify the election’s outcome, Pence bluntly told lawmakers that he would refuse to obey Trump’s orders.

Pence sent a letter to the 535 senators and representatives on Capitol Hill ahead of his presiding over the Joint Session that will certify Joe Biden’s victory.

In it, he outlined his belief in his role in the proceedings, which he notes is ‘ceremonial’ and adds that it doesn’t include the authority to ‘determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.’

Trump has tried to put the blame on Pence for his expected loss on Wednesday but the president also lacks support among the majority of senators in his own party, which dooms his efforts for a congressional overthrow of the results. 

Pence acknowledged Trump’s allegations the election was rigged, of which there has been no proof and no court has upheld, in a likely peace offering to the president.

‘I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election,’ he wrote. 

In a letter Wednesday, Pence said, 'It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution contains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not'

In a letter Wednesday, Pence said, ‘It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution contains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not’

But he noted as vice president he does not have the power from the constitution to decide which electoral votes are counted and which are not.

‘As a student of history who loves the constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founds of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,’ Pence noted.

He added vice presidents in the past have conducted ‘the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy’.

‘It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,’ he said.

He concluded his letter with a prayer to God: ‘When the Joint Session of Congress convenes today, I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we count the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a manner consistent with our Constitution, laws and history. So Help Me God.’  

Pelosi reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor

Pelosi reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor

'The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don't care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,' Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona

‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session

REPUBLICANS OBJECT TO ARIZONA’S VOTES 

When the certification process got underway shortly after 1pm Wednesday, lawmakers got through Alabama and Alaska, two states that went for Trump, before the first objection was filed for Arizona.

Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, objected to his state’s Electoral College votes going to Biden and Harris. He confirmed that his objection had been signed on to by a US senator.

Democrats in the chamber audibly groaned while droves of Republicans in the chamber stood up and clapped.

The move forced Pence to order the houses out of Joint Session. The senators in the House chamber started moving back toward their side of the US Capitol. 

On the House side, during their debate on the Arizona objection, Republican lawmakers used their time to complain about the treatment of the president, particularly the impeachment process and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

They did not offer any proof of voter fraud but complained that voter laws were changed ahead of the November contest, which is not illegal.

‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona.

Many states had their voter registration deadlines extended because of the coronavirus pandemic – the extension applied to voters of both parties. Other states extended the time period allowing mail-in voting, again because of the pandemic and it applied to all voters.

Democrats argued the election was legally conducted.

‘Under some of the most trying circumstances in our history, our fellow citizens conducted a free and fair election vindicating our founders belief once again that we were capable of self government, and a peaceful transition of power,’ Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said.

Speaker Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session.

Pelosi also reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor.

MITCH MCCONNELL SLAMS ELECTION ‘CONSPIRACY THEORIES’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shamed Trump and his own Republican colleagues for mounting challenges to the Electoral College vote count, saying their doing so could lead to a ‘death spiral’ of American democracy – and pointing out there’s no real evidence of widespread voter fraud.

‘We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,’ he said on the Senate floor, after Rep Gosar and a batch of GOP senators, including Sen Ted Cruz, objected to Arizona’s Electoral College vote count.

McConnell ridiculed Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech, which will be one of his last as majority leader, and which he said was about the most important vote of his career.

‘The assertions range from specific, local allegations to Constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,’ McConnell said.

He reminded senators that he was supportive of Trump using the country’s legal system, which handed the president and his team loss after loss. And pointed out that these cases were heard by some of the ‘all-star judges whom the president himself nominated’ – including on the U.S. Supreme Court.

McConnell said that every election is plagued by some instances of vote irregularity. ‘And of course that’s unacceptable,’ he said.

McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career

McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career

The top Senate Republican also said he supported ‘strong state-led voting reforms,’ adding that he didn’t wan tto see ‘last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures’ – like mail-in ballots that gave Democrats an edge – ‘become the new norm.’

‘But my colleagues nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election,’ McConnell argued. ‘Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break, when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence.’

He pointed out that the Constitution gives Congress a ‘limited role.’

‘We simply can’t declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,’ McConnell said.

Twisting the knife into Trump, McConnell also pointed out that the race between Biden and Trump ‘was not unusually close.’

‘The Electoral College margin was almost identical to what it was in 2016,’ McConnell pointed out.

‘If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side our democracy would enter a death spiral,’ McConnell warned. ‘We’d never see a whole nation accept an election again.’

‘Every four years there would be a scramble for power at any cost,’ he added. 

TRUMP’S STOP THE STEAL RALLY 

This came after Trump excoriated ‘weak’ Republicans and demanded fealty from Pence to a rally crowd near the White House on Wednesday, where he demanded Pence and Congress overturn the election results that lead to his defeat.

In an extraordinary speech, Trump once again called his election ‘rigged’ just minutes before a joint meeting of Congress was to begin counting the certified electoral votes that have him losing to Joe Biden. 

Trump referred to votes that came in after 10pm election night – which consisted of in-person and mail-in ballots and denied him the lead he said he and his pollsters anticipated – as ‘these explosions of bullsh*t.’ 

Members of the crowd immediately chanted ‘Bullshi*t!’ in response. 

‘Our election was over at 10 in the evening,’ Trump said.

Trump mocked his party’s 2012 Republican presidential nominee, now-Sen. Mitt Romney, for conceded his own race back then.

‘We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,’ he said – although losing candidates have conceded for generations. ‘There’s never been anything like this. It’s a pure theft.’ 

Trump’s comments amounted to a declaration of war on elements of his party, after his lawyer Rudy Giuliani demanded ‘trial by combat’ against opponents of his claims of election fraud.

Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand – but referred to them as consisting of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of supporters fathered on a lawn south of the White House that doesn’t hold that many.

He said his election was ‘stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and that’s what they’re doing.’

Trump addressed his thousands of his supporters near the White House Wednesday at his 'Save America' rally and declared war on his own party, calling Republicans who opposed him 'weak'

Trump addressed his thousands of his supporters near the White House Wednesday at his ‘Save America’ rally and declared war on his own party, calling Republicans who opposed him ‘weak’

Hours after a humiliating defeat in one Georgia Senate race and the prospect of losing another, Team Trump showed no sign of conceding

Hours after a humiliating defeat in one Georgia Senate race and the prospect of losing another, Team Trump showed no sign of conceding

A stand was being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for Biden

A crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

He urged his supporters to march down to the Congress, which was to commence the count at 1 pm.

‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,’ he said, speaking from behind a pane of bullet-proof material.

He turned up the heat on Pence, a potential 2024 contender who will preside over the count. His role is set in the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act, and is largely ceremonial.

‘Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,’ he said.

Trump acknowledged that he has tried to pressure Pence into rejecting votes from states he lost, quoting from a conversation he has denied happened.

‘All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify and we become president and you are the happiest people,’ he told his fans, who cheered ‘Stop the Steal!’ at times.

‘I said Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage. And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that,’ he said of Biden.

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COVID-19: Joe Biden will release ALL available vaccine doses

President-elect Joe Biden will distribute all doses of coronavirus vaccines Pfizer and Moderna provide to the US as soon as they are available, reversing the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half the supply as booster doses for those who get their first shots, a transition team spokesperson told CNN. 

President-elect Jo Biden’s transition team said he will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines 

‘The President-elect believes we must accelerate distribution of the vaccine while continuing to ensure the Americans who need it most get it as soon as possible,’ said transition spokesman TJ Ducklo said. 

‘He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now. 

‘He will share additional details next week on how his Administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th.’ 

Releasing all available doses would double the supply of vaccines to US states, in the hopes of speeding the agonizingly slow rollout.  

The US has only vaccinated 6.25 million people against coronavirus, despite distributing nearly 21.5 million doses of the shots and fewer than two percent of Americans have gotten their first shots, Bloomberg data reveals. 

But some of the states that have gotten through the doses allocated to them fastest  got smaller initial shipments, raising questions over whether the additional doses could simply clog an already-sluggish distribution and administration chain. 

Patience is wearing thin in the US, where a record 4,085 people died of COVID-19 Thursday, bringing the death toll to more than 365,000, with nearly 275,000 new infections in the past 24 hours. 

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated - less than 2% of the population - and ending Trump's plan to hold back doses

President-elect Biden will release all available doses of coronavirus vaccines in an effort to speed the US rollout that has seen just 6.25 million Americans vaccinated – less than 2% of the population – and ending Trump’s plan to hold back doses 

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised

More than 21 million doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed to states but some like North Dakota have received fewer than promised 

Vaccination is off to a ‘rocky start,’ Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Francis Collins, admitted, adding that he was unsurprised by the stumbling blocks the US has hit so far. 

Nationally, the rollout effort is in chaos, with every state, county, city and even hospital creating its own plan. 

As a result, the success of each of these programs varies wildly from state to state. While millions of doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine are sitting on shelves in some states, others are quickly getting shots and arms. Some cities and counties are running out of doses before the federal government can restock them. 

North Dakota leads the pack for turning doses delivered into shots-in-arms. It has used 62 percent of its 43,950 doses – more than any other state. 

West Virginia – a state known for some of the worst health problems in the nation and the seat of ‘deaths of despair’ – has already vaccinated more than four percent of its residents, the highest percentage of any state, according to Reuters. 

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

BEST AND WORST: North Dakota and West Virginia have consistently used more  than half of the doses allocated to them, while Mississippi an Georgia have struggled to give out a third of their supplies

States in the South have struggled. Mississippi has given out just 18 percent of nearly 160,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine sent there. Georgia hasn’t done much better, using less than 20 percent of its doses. 

Those states as well as Alabama and South Carolina have vaccinated just one percent of their populations, falling below even the abysmal national vaccination rate. Just 1.8 percent of Americans have gotten their first doses of vaccines. 

Dr Anthony Fauci said that starting close to the holidays is in part to blame for the delays in the US vaccine rollout  and Americans should ‘give it a little slack’ as anger mounts over the slow rollout. But he added that: ‘If we don’t catch up on what the original goal was, then we really need to make some changes about what we’re doing.’ 

WHERE THE VACCINE ROLLOUT IS GOING WELL: STATES THAT GOT FEWER DOSES THAN EXPECTED AND HAVE FLEXIBLE PLANS ARE AVOIDING DELAYS

North Dakota was promised more than 9,750 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine per week, but was initially only receiving about half that many. The state was short-changed on Moderna doses too, but by a smaller margin. 

The state is slated to receive about 10,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine a week this month.  

Disappointing initial allocations turned out to have a silver lining: while states like New York are leaving hundreds of thousands of doses on the self – igniting fury from Governor Andrew Cuomo – North Dakota is flying through them. 

‘I think the biggest challenge is not having enough doses for (getting) everybody vaccinated who wants to be vaccinated,’ state Immunization Director Molly Howell told the Dickinson Press. 

‘I think so far things have gone well. I haven’t been sitting here thinking, ‘oh I wish we had done this,’ or ‘we could have done that.” 

She added that the state may run into delays as they receive higher volumes of vaccine doses, and still thinks the timeline between the arrival of dose in North Dakota and actual vaccinations could be shorter. 

But things are going smoothly in long-term health care facilities, where  the manager of one chain said they were seeing no delays between the delivery of vaccine doses and their administration.  

‘A lot of people are looking to us as a state, because after the first week we had, I believe, something like 90% of doses allocated to our state in arms – which was really unheard of elsewhere,’ says Gretchen Garofoli, a pharmacist and clinical associate professor at West Virginia University, told NPR.  

West Virginia has also gone its own way in some respects of the rollout. 

While most states partnered with pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate care home residents and staff through a federal program, West Virginia is the only state that declined. 

Garofoli says that the state has a large number of small family-run pharmacies, especially in rural areas. 

So West Virginia has tapped up these local shops to take on the vaccination effort, delivering doses to 250 pharmacies – and it seems to be working, as the state becomes the unlikely dark horse, leading the nation for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

WHERE THE ROLLOUT IS GOING WORST: GEORGIA, MISSISSIPPI, SOUTH CAROLINA AND ALABAMA HAVE ONLY VACCINATED 1% OF THEIR POPULATIONS  

As a whole the US has only vaccinated 1.8 percent of the population – but some states are falling behind even that painfully slow rate. 

Mississippi has the nation’s worst rate. The state has given out only 28,000 doses of vaccine, inoculating 0.95 percent of its population. 

Alabama is fairing little better. With 49,000 doses injected, the state has vaccinated exactly one percent of its population. 

Georgia and South Carolina have eked out slightly better results, vaccinating 1.16 percent and  1.17 percent of their populations, respectively. 

Rigidity has proved a recipe for disaster. As of January 4, Mississippi was still trying to get its health care workers  inoculated. It requires workers to schedule appointments at drive-thru vaccination sites. 

That might now be feasible for Mississippi nurses and doctors. The state hit its peak of 1,500 hospitalized coronavirus patients on January 5 – but health officials there suspect the worst is yet to come.  

HOW CONNECTICUT IS VACCINATING AT TWICE THE RATE OF NEW YORK WITH A FLEXIBLE ROLLOUT AND ‘LAST-MINUTE’ DOSE SHARING

Connecticut has led the race to vaccinate residents against COVID-19 since it received its first doses – thanks, in part, to a willingness to play a little fast and loose.  

The Constitution State was one of the first in the U.S. to get shots in the arms of more than two percent of its population, with at least 93,000 immunized as of Thursday.  

What’s more, Gov Ned Lamont (D) said on Monday that, by the end of the week, all nursing home residents and staff who want an initial dose of the jab will have received it.

By comparison, Connecticut’s neighbor, New York, has had a sluggish rollout.

The Empire State, with five times Connecticut’s population, has administered just 313,000 jabs to frontline health care workers and nursing home staff and residents.

New York has used just one-third of the vaccine doses allocated to it by the federal government, and vaccinated just 1.6 percent of its population. 

In New York City – which has seen more deaths than any other city in the nation – only about 145,000 people have received at least one dose – 1.7 percent of the city’s population.

So why the discrepancy?  

Public health experts say that New York has been more rigid in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying fewer people to get the vaccines, and does not have a plan –  like Connecticut’s – to send unused doses from one location to another.

The result is a painfully slow rollout and hundreds of thousands of doses of vaccines sitting on shelves in New York. 

Connecticut has administered at least 93,000 initial doses of its coronavirus vaccine (blue bar, right)  – inoculating more than 2% of its population, compared to 313,000 doses for New York (red bar, right), which has vaccinated just 1.6% of its population 

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Connecticut has also used more doses of its distributed coronavirus jabs at 62% compared to just 33.5% for New York

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Over the last week, Connecity has used between 50% and 65% of its vaccine supply with New York has used between 40% and 28%

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

Public health experts say Connecticut has been more lax in its definition of who classifies a healthcare worker, qualifying more people to get immunized. Pictured: Nurse Susan McCarthy gives the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to Lino Fernandes, an Environmental Services Aide, at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut, December 15,

There is no single national vaccine rollout plan and instead each state has had to come up with its own plan.

Despite sharing a border, New York’s and Connecticut’s plan differ drastically especially with who is included in each state’s first phase.

New York’s first phase is very rigid and includes solely frontline healthcare workers as well as residents and staff in nursing homes and care facilities.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s first of three phases is much more lax and more loosely defines who is classified as a healthcare worker.

This includes:

  •  Doctors, nurses, and allied healthcare providers seeing patients
  • Licensed pharmacists and registered pharmacy technicians working on site in pharmacies 
  • Custodial, dietary, administrative & support staff working in patient care settings 
  • Students doing clinical rotations  
  • School nurses
  • First Responders actively responding to medical 911 calls or involved in care for COVID or suspected COVID cases
  • Home health providers, homemaker companions, PCAs 
  • Dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral health staff 
  • Death care workers entering healthcare settings, homes, or with exposure to decedents 

Dr Howard Forman, director of the Yale School of Public Health Health Care Management Program, told Medium that Connecticut is letting healthcare facilities determine who qualifies as a phase one candidate. 

‘If you look at New York, it’s far more prescriptive as to who is a health care worker and who is a frontline and who is a patient-facing health care worker,’ he said. 

‘I think our hospitals and health care systems have it in their interest to vaccinate health care workers and frontline health care workers first, but you also want to make sure that if you have doses around, that you are getting them out there as quickly as possible.’ 

He added that New York’s strictness may be causing a conundrum for hospitals.

What’s more, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (D) has said that if hospitals or healthcare systems vaccinate someone out of the state-designated order, they face a $1 million fine.

But, at the same time, any hospital that does not use all its COVID-19 vaccine supply within seven days of receipt is slapped with a $100,00 fine. 

‘I think [Lamont] put fewer rules in place than a state like New York did about who can get the doses and who can’t get the doses,’ Forman told Medium. 

‘I don’t think he scared people [distributing vaccines] by saying: ‘If you go anywhere outside these lines I am going to take you to jail.’ 

‘I think right now we need compassionate stewardship so that we get through this process as well as we can.’ 

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

Meanwhile, New York has been very rigid, only giving out vaccines to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staff. Pictured: A staff member at Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitationreceives the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacist Craig Brandt in Brooklyn, New York, Janaury 4

This more broader definition has led to more people per 100,00 being given their first dose in Connecticut than in New York.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker, 2,830 per 100.000 Connecticut residents have received an initial dose.

In New York, this rate falls to 1,819 per 100,000.

What’s more, a tracker from Bloomberg shows that Connecticut has used 62.1 percent of the shots that the federal government had distributed to the state so far.

By comparison, New York has used just 31 percent.

The slow pace of the rollout in New York has led to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio clashing with Cuomo. 

De Blasio has called for more flexibility in vaccine administration with all essential workers being include in the phase one plan.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines. Pictured:  De Blasio at a press confrence on Thursday

De Blasio has called for more flexibility and Cuomo has argued that guidelines need to be followed strictly. Pictured: Cuomo at a press conference on Wednesday

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (right) have clashed over how to distribute coronavirus vaccines with de Blasio calling for more flexibility and Cuomo arguing that guidelines need to be followed strictly  

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city's first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

De Blasio has argued for eliminating fines and including first responders in the city’s first vaccination phase. Pictured: Dr Scott Asnis, a dentist, receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Nassau County Community College in Long Island, New York, January 5

On Thursday, for example, the mayor announced a plan to offer coronavirus vaccines to most New York Police Department officers

However, Cuomo has pushed back, insisting hospital staff and everyone in nursing homes be inoculated first. 

‘Police who are not health care workers are not yet eligible,’ the governor said at his own press conference.

‘We need to get the health care population done first because they are the front line, as I mentioned before.’ 

De Blasio has also criticized Cuomo’s implementation of fines. 

‘Give [hospitals] the freedom to vaccinate and they will vaccinate thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions,’ de Blasio said’What they don’t need is to be shamed. What they don’t need is more bureaucracy. What they don’t need is a threat of fines.’

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Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin ‘discussed 25th Amendment on Wednesday night’

Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office on Wednesday night, according to a report, but ultimately decided against it.

The Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary’s deliberations were reported as the two top Democrats in Congress, Sen. Charles Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, reached out directly to Vice President Mike Pence Thursday to try to push him to act immediately to remove Trump from office, only to be rebuffed.

Pompeo and Mnuchin held discussions with their aides and staff, CNBC reported on Thursday.

Both men concluded that the 25th Amendment was not the right course of action for three main reasons, four sources told the channel.

Firstly, it would take longer than a week, which made it not worth the effort given there remain only 13 days of the Trump presidency.

Secondly, it was unclear whether the three acting Cabinet members, not yet confirmed by the Senate, would be able to cast a vote.

And finally, it was likely to pour further fuel on the fire, and enrage Trump’s supporters. 

‘The general plan now is to let the clock run out,’ said one former senior administration official aware of the discussions. 

‘There will be a reckoning for this president, but it doesn’t need to happen in the next 13 days.’ 

The State Department denied the discussions had taken place; the Treasury did not comment. 

Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State (pictured December 11), reportedly considered invoking the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, on Wednesday night reportedly considered whether to push for the 25th Amendment

Their deliberations came as the two leaders called Pence hours after he had overseen a Joint Session of Congress to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden the next president, despite intense pressure by President Trump that Pence move against it.

Late Thursday sources told CNN that Trump’s mental state was deteriorating and he was ‘ranting’ and ‘raving’ as he watched the 25th Amendment being discussed on television – with Pelosi and Schumer’s demand being played repeatedly. 

But if they had hopes that Pence might join in a speedy potential effort to seize the reins of power from a volatile Trump in his final days in office, the reception they got may provide an answer.

‘Speaker Pelosi and I tried to call the vice president this morning to tell him to do this,’ Schumer told reporters in New York Thursday. ‘They kept us on hold for 25 minutes and then said the Vice President wouldn’t come on the phone.’

‘So we are making this call public because he should do it and do it right away,’ Schumer said, explaining why both he and Pelosi are calling on Pence and the Trump cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare Trump unfit and install Pence as president in an acting capacity.

The call preceded furious comments from Pelosi charging Trump with fomenting ‘insurrection’ and inciting ‘sedition.’

‘Yesterday the President of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,’ Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference a day after Trump supporters stormed the building after attending a rally where Trump spoke.

She used stark language beyond even the tough talk of impeachment in last December and January, accusing him of crimes against the nation he leads. 

‘In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,’ said Pelosi.

Unlike 2019 and 2020 she has just days to force through an impeachment, but this time has a far greater chance that 12 Republican senators join the Democrats to convict after some openly expressed disgust for the president or his actions. Among those Democrats would target are Pennsylvania’s retiring Pat Toomey and ultra-conservative Tom Cotton, Utah’s Mike Lee and Ohio’s Rob Portman. 

In a series of developments Thursday:

  • Just after 1pm, another bombshell dropped as Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell resigned over the violence – the first member of Trump’s cabinet to quit
  • Democratic House members circulated draft articles of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting violent sedition and being a threat to national security
  • Facebook banned Trump from his account until at least his last day in office and possibly indefinitely
  • Joe Biden – unprompted – raised the use of the 25th Amendment as he called the mobs ‘an assault on democracy’ 
  • Washington D.C, prosecutors say Trump is being investigated for inciting the riots while Lindsey Graham said if the president does one more thing he should be removed 
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr said ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable’ 
  • White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany abruptly called a press briefing Thursday evening where she condemned violence but did not take responsibility for it 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said President Donald Trump had incited 'sedition' against the United States – and demanded the president's removal from office

Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded the president's removal from office

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said President Donald Trump had incited ‘sedition’ against the United States as she and Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded the president’s removal from office

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Both Democrat leaders called Pence to demand Trump's removal from office - but were put on hold. Pence is pictured Thursday being escorted to the House Chamber

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Both Democrat leaders called Pence to demand Trump’s removal from office – but were put on hold. Pence is pictured Thursday being escorted to the House Chamber

'What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,' Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday

‘What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer,’ Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday 

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her press conference: 'Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now'

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her press conference: ‘Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now’

Amid the focus on methods of removing the president from office, the New York Times reported that the President Trump has spoken to his advisors about the possibility of granting himself a self-pardon in the days before he leaves office.

It is an untested question courts would consider a self-pardon by the president valid. Richard Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford when he resigned after Watergate.

Trump has told advisors since Election Day that he was thinking about the idea, even as he doled out pardons to political supporters like former national security advisor Gen. Mike Flynn, who withdrew his guilty plea to lying to the FBI in the Russia probe.

Trump has tweeted that he has the power to self-pardon but has said he doesn’t need one. The U.S. Attorney in D.C. said Thursday that the office would investigate those who instigated the rioters who stormed the Capitol, not just the vandals themselves.

WHO’S RESIGNED FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SINCE MAGA MOBBED CAPITOL HILL?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos 

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao 

Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham

White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta

Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security John Costello 

Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and former OMB Director and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney 

The National Security Council’s Senior Director for Europe and Russia Ryan Tully  

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews 

Trump has also considered pardons for family members Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He also has considered one for personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who addressed the rally crowd Wednesday urging ‘trial by combat.’

The talks came before Monday’s events, and also before Trump’s Jan. 2 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom her urged to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would make him the winner there, in a call leaked to the Washington Post.

That call could bring legal exposure for potential violation of laws on interfering in an election. State officials have said they are looking into it. Trump could only pardon himself from federal crimes.

Wednesday’s chaotic events are unlikely to prompt Trump to abandon thoughts of pardoning himself. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday he had incited an armed insurrection against America.’ 

Pelosi applied pressure to Vice President Mike Pence – who presided over at joint session to count the electoral votes to make Joe Biden president in a race Trump falsely claims he won – and urged him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

‘The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeting Congress, are horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history – instigated by the president of the United States. That’s why it’s such a stain,’ she intoned.

‘By inciting sedition like he did yesterday, he must be removed from office,’ she said of Trump. ‘While it’s only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America,’ she said of Trump’s remaining time in office.

‘I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment. If the vice president and cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,’ she said.

She said it was an idea backed by her caucus. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer made a similar threat in a brief statement earlier Thursday.

She called Trump ‘a complete tool of Putin.’

‘Putin’s goal was to diminish the view of democracy in the world. That’s what he has been about … the president gave him the biggest, of all of his many gifts to Putin, the biggest yesterday,’ she said of the Russian president.

Pelosi tweeted shortly after her event: ‘Trump is deadly to our democracy and our people. He needs to go now.’  

Schumer  will become majority leader once Joe Biden is sworn in.

He spoke out amid escalating concern among Trump cabinet officials, former top aides, and his recently departed attorney general Bill Barr about the president’s conduct and continued risks the president could pose to the country.

But there was no indication of how Republicans will act – and early in the afternoon, Elaine Chao, the Transportation Secretary and wife of Mitch McConnell quit, a move which stops her taking part in removing Trump from office.

‘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,’ Schumer added.

His statement came shortly after Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the first elected House Republican to call for the Trump cabinet and Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip away Trump’s power.  

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger demanded Mike Pence and the Cabinet remove Donald Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment immediately. He posted a video to Twitter in which he said he is calling for Donald Trump to be removed from office 'for the sake of our Democracy'

Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger demanded Mike Pence and the Cabinet remove Donald Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment immediately. He posted a video to Twitter in which he said he is calling for Donald Trump to be removed from office ‘for the sake of our Democracy’ 

‘It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked,’ Kinzinger said in a statement he posted on Twitter.’  

Kinzinger said Trump ‘invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection we saw.’

His comment followed reporters that members of Trump’s cabinet have been discussing use of the 25th Amendment to the constitution to declare him unfit for office 

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has released articles of impeachment he has drafted with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

The articles state that Trump ‘engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors’ by ‘willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.’

The articles cite Trump’s Wednesday remarks to supporters shortly before they stormed the Capitol during the electoral vote count. ‘Shortly before the Joint Session of Congress commenced,’ Trump addressed supporters where he ‘reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide,’ the articles state. Trump also ‘wilfully made statements that encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’

AOC says Cabinet should use 25th Amendment and Congress should impeach - and wants Republican inciters expelled from House and Senate

AOC says Cabinet should use 25th Amendment and Congress should impeach – and wants Republican inciters expelled from House and Senate

The articles say a mob ‘incited by President Trump’ breached the Capitol and ‘interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty’ to certify the results.

They say the actions were ‘consistent with his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct’ the certification of the results. They mention his Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he asked the official to ‘find’ 11,780 votes that would give him victory.

Georgia certified the vote for Joe Biden.

Trump ‘gravely endangered the security’ of the U.S. and its institutions of government, the articles say. IT calls his actions ‘grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.’

If Trump were impeached and convicted, he would be unable to hold future office of ‘honor, trust or profit’ under the U.S

Joe Biden said he would not be taking questions on whether the 25th amendment should be used to remove President Trump from office.

Biden made the statement at the top of his announcement of his nominee for attorney general, explaining he wants to ‘focus on the ideas today’ instead.

‘I know you will have a lot of questions, but I want to focus on the idea today, the judiciary as well as talking about the attorney general’s office so I’ll have time to answer the questions you want to ask about everything from 25th amendment but I won’t speak to that today. I want this to be the issue to focus because I think it’s so important,’ he told the room of reporters in Wilmington, Del.

Biden went on to call Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol as ‘one of the darkest days in the history of our nation.’

He called the mob ‘domestic terrorists.’

‘They weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists,’ he said. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar has presented article's of impeachment. 'We need to move quickly to remove this President from office,' she said

Rep. Ilhan Omar has presented article’s of impeachment. ‘We need to move quickly to remove this President from office,’ she said 

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has released articles of impeachment he has drafted with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). The articles state that Trump ‘engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors’ by ‘willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States’

Former Attorney General Bill Barr – who departed his post before Christmas – called out Trump for ‘orchestrating a mob.’

Barr called it a ‘betrayal of his office and supporters.’

He told the Associated Press that ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.’

The talk of using the 25th Amendment comes amid fears of what damage Trump might we able to due even in the short two weeks left in his tenure as aides flee his White House and he continues to lash out at enemies – with control of the military and massive executive power.

Several House Democrats have begun talk of rushing through an impeachment, after the failed January impeachment trial in the Senate.

The 25th Amendment, which also governs a president who voluntarily relinquishes power on a temporary basis, requires that the vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ inform the Congress that the president is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’ 

Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said 'orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable'

Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said ‘orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable’

Game over: Mike Pence put the final seal on Joe Biden's election victory in the early hours of Thursday morning, declaring once and for all that Donald Trump had lost the election by a 306-232 margin in the electoral college

Game over: Mike Pence put the final seal on Joe Biden’s election victory in the early hours of Thursday morning, declaring once and for all that Donald Trump had lost the election by a 306-232 margin in the electoral college 

Rep. Andy Kim is seen cleaning up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday

Rep. Andy Kim is seen cleaning up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday

Sen. Tim Scott stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday

Sen. Tim Scott stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday

WHAT DOES THE 25TH AMENDMENT SAY? CAN TRUMP’S CABINET REALLY TOPPLE HIM?

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution deals with presidential authority in the event of death or removal from office, and was ratified in 1967, in the wake of John F Kennedy’s assassination.

What does the 25th Amendment say?

It is in four sections, all dealing with the president leaving office during his or her elected term. 

The first section states that the vice president takes over the Oval Office if the president dies or resigns – or is removed – something which the original Constitution did not clearly state.

Presidents of course can be removed by impeachment, a feature of the constitution from the start. They can also be removed through the 25th Amendment – of which more below.

Section II states that if the vice president dies, or resigns – or is fired – both the House and Senate have to confirm a new vice president. Until 1967, presidents could change vice presidents mid-term on their own if they got the vice president to agree to resign – not something that actually happened, but which was possible in principle.

Section III makes clear that a president can temporarily delegate his powers to the vice president, and later reclaim them when he – or she – is capable of serving. This is most often invoked if a president is under the influence of surgical anesthetic for a short period of time. 

Section IV is the amendment’s most controversial part: it describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.

The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’

The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.

So at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.

Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.

The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate. 

Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.

As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.

But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.

What could happen to trigger the 25th Amendment?

Vice President Mike Pence and eight of the 15 ‘principal’ Cabinet members would have to agree to notify Congress that President Donald Trump was incapable of running the country.

That group is made up of the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Labor Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Transportation Secretary, Energy Secretary , Education Secretary, Veterans Affairs Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary.

Their formal notification would go to the House Speaker and, in the senate, to the ‘president pro tempore’, the Senate’s most senior member. As soon as the letter is sent, Pence would become ‘acting president.’

Alternatively, Congress could set up its own mechanism to decide if he is fit for office – maybe a commission, or a joint committee. Pence would still have to agree with its conclusion and then write formally to the Speaker and president pro tempore.

Or another possibility is that the pool of ‘principal officers’ is considered to be bigger than the 15 and a majority of that group call Trump incapable.

What if Trump does not agree?

If Trump claims he is capable of holding office, he would write to the House Speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate within four days, setting up three weeks of intense debate in both houses of Congress.

Trump would be removed from office if both two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate agreed with Pence and his cabal. 

If either of both chambers fell short of that mark, Trump would retain his powers and likely embark on a wholesale housecleaning, firing Pence and replacing disloyal Cabinet members.

Are there any loopholes?

The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on  a course of action.

It specifies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

That commission could hypothetically include anyone from presidential historians to psychiatrists, entrusted to assess the president’s fitness for office. 

Another loophole is that it does not spell out that the Cabinet is needed to agree, but says that the ‘principal officers’ of the departments are needed. That term is undefined in the constitution. In some departments legislation appears to name not just the secretary but deputies and even undersecretaries as ‘principal officers’, so many more people could be called in to the assessment of Trump’s fitness. 

But Trump’s cabinet has a swathe of ‘acting’ cabinet officer – and it is unclear if they could therefore take part in removing him. 

Could Trump fire Pence if he rebelled?

Yes, in principle.  If Trump smelled a whiff of trouble – if Pence and a cabal of Cabinet members, or Pence and a panel assembled by Congress seemed ready to judge him incapacitated – he could dismiss his vice president with the stroke of a pen to stop the process.

But installing a more loyal VP could be problematic since the 25th Amendment includes its own poison pill: Both houses of Congress must vote to approve a new vice president.

That means Trump would find himself up against the same Congress that would vote on his fitness for office, unless the process were to unfold in the weeks before a new Congress.

Theoretically, a Democratic-controlled Congress could make life dramatically more difficult for the president if it came into power in the midst of the constitutional crisis. 

One scenario has appeared to stump presidential historians, however: Firing Pence before the process is underway, and then leaving the vice presidency vacant, would give Congress no practical way forward. That would present its own constitutional crisis.

Is there any precedent for this?

No.  Only Section III, the voluntary surrender of presidential powers, has ever been used – and only very briefly.

In December 1978, President Jimmy Carter thought about invoking Section III when he was contemplating a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. 

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both voluntarily relinquished their powers while undergoing procedures under anesthetic. 

Section IV has also never been invoked, although there have been claims that Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Donald Regan told his successor, Howard Baker,  in 1987 that he should be prepared to invoke it because Reagan was inattentive and inept.

The PBS documentary ‘American Experience’ recounts how Baker and his team watched Reagan closely for signs of incapacity during their first meeting and decided he was in perfect command of himself.  

In another blow to Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump will be blocked from both the Facebook and Instagram platforms at least through Inauguration Day, because the risks are ‘too great.’

Several Trump cabinet members serve on an ‘acting’ basis and have not been confirmed by the Senate, lowering the number from the threshold of 16 department heads who would take part in a 25th Amendment scenario. A post election purge took out the Defense secretary, and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Half the cabinet would have to vote, and Pence would then submit information to the Congress, making him acting president while other processes go forward.

Kinzinger for years has been an outlier in the GOP conference, bashing Trump publicly and in cable TV interviews when he believes Trump runs astray of democratic norms. But his public statement, made from his Capitol office in front of a U.S. flag, illustrates how quickly the possibility of action has jumped from fantasy to reality after Wednesday’s stunning events in the Capitol.

The new talk of the 25th Amendment came as officials in the Trump administration continued to resign and issued statements denouncing Trump’s conduct.

Former White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney quit his diplomatic post in protest of the effort to ‘overtake the government.’

‘I can’t do it,’ said Mulvaney, who called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, another former House Republican, to convey his views.

Mulvaney, a former House member from South Carolina who left Congress to join Trump’s team, spoke out on CNBC hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol after being egged on to march there by President Trump and his unsupported claims of mass election fraud.

‘I called Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,’ he said, relinquishing his post as special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland in the final weeks of the Trump Administration.

He said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ to see ‘more of my friends resign over the next 24 to 48 hours.’ Mulvaney served in the House with Pompeo.

‘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,’ he said – voicing an argument made by many top Trump officials who lingered for months or years despite harboring doubts they later shared about Trump’I can’t stay here. Not after yesterday,’ he said – with a model of Air Force One and a presidential seal in the background behind him during a video interview.

Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue said he was not quitting and had not discussed the 25th Amendment with Pence or anyone else, CNN reported. 

But he did condemn Trump, saying: ‘Inciting people to not have a peaceful transition of power was not the right thing to do.’

Donald Trump – pictured at the Wednesday rally near the White House where he whipped his supporters into a frenzy by repeating his false claims of election fraud – finally accepted his fate on Thursday morning and promised an ‘orderly transition’ on January 20, when Joe Biden will take office after being confirmed once and for all as the election winner 

Trump's statement was posted by an aide

Scavino posted the statement after Trump's account was locked

Trump’s grudging acknowledgement that Joe Biden will take office on January 20 was posted on Twitter by White House aide Dan Scavino, after the president’s own account was locked for stirring up violence on Wednesday

Thousands of Donald Trump's most fervent supporters descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the results of the presidential election and obstruct Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory

Thousands of Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters descended on Capitol Hill Wednesday to protest the results of the presidential election and obstruct Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf called the actions by Trump supporters who rampaged through the Capitol ‘sickening’ – and publicly pleaded with President Trump to condemn the violence.

‘What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,’ Wolf said in a statement Thursday.

‘While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends. This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday,’ Wolf said.

‘DHS takes the safety and security of all Americans very seriously—it’s at the core of our mission to defend our homeland. Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans,’ Wolf continued.

He said he would remain in his post ‘to ensure the Department’s focus remains on the serious threats facing our country and an orderly transition to President-elect Biden’s DHS team.’  

Guns on the floor of the House: Capitol police point their firearms at a vandalized door during the hours-long carnage that erupted on Wednesday after Trump told his supporters to protest the election result

Guns on the floor of the House: Capitol police point their firearms at a vandalized door during the hours-long carnage that erupted on Wednesday after Trump told his supporters to protest the election result 

Mockery: A Trump supporter puts his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk after storming into the Capitol during an unprecedented effort to subvert a democratic election and keep Donald Trump in power

Mockery: A Trump supporter puts his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk after storming into the Capitol during an unprecedented effort to subvert a democratic election and keep Donald Trump in power 

Fire and fury: The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob

Fire and fury: The flash of a police munition lights up the steps of the Capitol during the invasion by a Trump-incited mob 

A huge crowd of Trump supporters had turned up at the president's urging to protest the results of a fair democratic election

A huge crowd of Trump supporters had turned up at the president’s urging to protest the results of a fair democratic election

Donald Trump finally accepted his fate just before 4am Thursday after Vice President Mike Pence ended his desperate campaign to overturn the election – still not properly conceding and instead boasting it was the ‘end of the greatest first term in history’ in a tweet from an aide’s cellphone.

The VP brought the gavel down on the Trump coup at 3:41 a.m. Thursday morning and certified President-elect Joe Biden’s win – despite the attempt of scores of Republicans and a violent MAGA mob to overturn it. 

After Pence defied his boss to settle the 2020 election once and for all, Trump finally said there would be an ‘orderly transition’ – a hallmark of American democracy he has repeatedly called into question – but still claimed falsely that the election was stolen despite all 50 states, a series of judges and now the U.S. Congress dismissing challenges to the result. 

Banned from twitter, the message was sent by Dan Scavino, his golf caddy-turned social media guru. 

‘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 20,’ Trump said in a statement that aides posted on Twitter after the president’s account was locked for stirring up violence. 

‘I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted,’ Trump said. ‘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.’  Pence made the final announcement after a nearly 15-hour saga that saw rioting supporters of President Trump mob the U.S. Capitol Building in a day of carnage and shame that left four dead, saw pipe bombs, long guns and Molotov cocktails discovered in the Capitol grounds – and left America’s image as the beacon of democracy reeling.   

The mob walked right through the halls of Congress, ransacking offices and brazenly taking photos

The mob walked right through the halls of Congress, ransacking offices and brazenly taking photos 

Trump supporters attempt to ram their way through a police barricade as they raged at the president's election defeat

Trump supporters attempt to ram their way through a police barricade as they raged at the president’s election defeat 

Trump supporters marched through the Capitol Rotunda after breaching what appeared to be flimsy security - a stark contrast with the heavy-handed crackdowns that Trump ordered against Black Lives Matter protesters last summer

Trump supporters marched through the Capitol Rotunda after breaching what appeared to be flimsy security – a stark contrast with the heavy-handed crackdowns that Trump ordered against Black Lives Matter protesters last summer 

Trash and Trump signs are seen piled beside the statue of Andrew Jackson - months after the president condemned the desecration of monuments to controversial figures in American history

Trash and Trump signs are seen piled beside the statue of Andrew Jackson – months after the president condemned the desecration of monuments to controversial figures in American history 

A protester sits in the Senate Chamber, amid an invasion that forced Congress to suspend its joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump

A protester sits in the Senate Chamber, amid an invasion that forced Congress to suspend its joint session to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump

The MAGA mob – which included white supremacists, Holocaust deniers and Q Anon followers – interrupted the certification of results as they smashed through police barricades, stormed into the halls of the Capitol and even sat in the Senate chamber.

They looted offices, vandalized statues and confronted police as they rampaged through the Capitol, carrying Confederate flags, in hours of anarchy which shocked the world and which Biden called an ‘insurrection’. 

As the world watched in disbelief, many were shocked at how easily the invaders had breached the hallways of American democracy – contrasting the lax security with the heavy-handed crackdowns ordered by Trump at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.  

Even as intruders desecrated the Capitol, Trump was said to be reluctant to deploy the National Guard, with reports saying that he ‘rebuffed and resisted’ the request before Pence and others finally made it happen. 

Lawmakers were rushed off the floor of the House and Senate – and brought back at 8pm under armed guard while outside the mob defied a curfew in D.C. The president who had whipped them into fury tweeted: ‘You are special. You are loved.’

One woman – 14-year Air Force veteran Ashli Babbit – was shot dead inside the building, with three others dead from unspecified ‘medical emergencies’ during the carnage. Washington police chief Robert Contee said 14 officers were injured, one of them pulled into a crowd and assaulted, while 52 people were arrested.  

Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday amid questions over how they breached security so easily

Supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday amid questions over how they breached security so easily

A woman was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died at a hospital hours later, law enforcement sources said

A woman was shot in the chest on Wednesday afternoon after chaotic scenes broke out when dozens of Trump supporters breached security perimeters at the Capitol. She died at a hospital hours later, law enforcement sources said

The siege brought an hours-long halt to what is usually the solemn democratic ritual of putting a final seal on the election result. When lawmakers eventually returned to their chambers, the Republicans trying to resist Biden’s victory found that their numbers had dwindled, and all of their objections were voted down. 

The spectacle of a violent gang rampaging through the legislature trying to overturn an election result prompted outrage and anguish from America’s fellow democracies, with Britain’s Boris Johnson condemning the ‘disgraceful scenes’ and Germany’s Angela Merkel saying she was ‘furious and saddened’ by the chaos. 

It was also seized on by America’s authoritarian rivals to mock the state of US democracy, with Iran calling it ‘fragile and vulnerable’ and Russia saying that the election system ‘does not meet modern democratic standards’. 

Former president Barack Obama described the riot as a ‘moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation’, while his predecessor George W. Bush said that ‘this is how election results are disputed in a banana republic’. 

Congress’ overwhelming rejection of attempts to overturn the vote and Pence’s role in it will surely further enrage Trump, who wanted his VP to unilaterally overrule Biden’s win – and he was left further isolated by the resignation of multiple White House aides including former press secretary Stephanie Grisham. 

Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, social secretary Rickie Niceta and deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also quit, with more resignations expected from aides disgusted with Trump’s conduct. 

The president was banished from Twitter for 12 hours Wednesday due to violating the company’s rules meaning he could not vent on his favorite medium. The ban was due to expire at 5am Thursday morning, but there was no immediate word on whether Trump’s access had been restored. 

The Republican bid to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory ended early Thursday morning after the Senate voted 92-7 to dismiss a challenge to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College vote

Protesters broke windows to gain access to the Capitol as lawmakers were whisked to safety on Wednesday afternoon

Protesters broke windows to gain access to the Capitol as lawmakers were whisked to safety on Wednesday afternoon 

America’s rivals gloat over Capitol chaos 

America’s authoritarian rivals have delighted in the chaos at the Capitol, with Iran reveling in the ‘fragility of Western democracy’ and Venezuela mimicking the kind of criticism it usually receives from Washington.  

In a speech broadcast by state television, Rouhani said: ‘What we saw in the United States yesterday evening and today shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is.’ 

In China, state-run tabloid Global Times crowed that ‘bubbles of democracy and freedom have burst’ in America. It also compared the chaos to the Hong Kong protests in 2019, mocking US politicians who had praised the demonstrations there.  

In Russia, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the ‘archaic’ US system was to blame for the rampage. 

‘The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meed modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle,’ Zakharova said.     

And in Veneuzela, parodying the kind of statements that usually come from Washington, authorities expressed ‘concern’ about the violence while calling for the US follow a path of ‘stability’ and ‘social justice’.  

Although Trump still refuses to accept he lost the election, his early-morning statement was the first time he had fully acknowledged that he will be leaving the White House on January 20. 

The president has spent the last two months refusing to concede and lobbing baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, even though his own Justice Department, federal courts and state governments have said repeatedly the vote was carried out freely and fairly.  

With just 13 days left of his presidency, Trump is now at war with Mitch McConnell, facing whispers of his own cabinet trying to force him out and Democrats openly discussing impeaching him again – while just a handful of senators led by Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and the majority of the House GOP remain loyal. 

It was Hawley who forced Congress to sit late into the night. Biden was at 244 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed when a final challenge of Pennsylvania’s count pushed lawmakers back into their respective chambers.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell skipped the two hours of permitted debate and went straight to a vote.

The upper chamber voted 92-7 to overrule the Republicans’ objection – with some Republicans changing sides to vote with the majority after the carnage of the preceding hours. 

‘We don’t expect additional votes tonight,’ McConnell said when things were done. McConnell had been against the GOP effort to challenge the Electoral College vote counts from the beginning.

The House proceeded with debate and then voted 282 to 138 to overrule the challenge of Pennsylvania, with 64 Republicans voting alongside Democrats to make up the majority.

Both houses have to vote in favor of a challenge for it to succeed.

Republicans in the House and Senate had earlier challenged the votes in Arizona – which prompted two hours of debate, interrupted by the MAGA riot – and that objection was overwhelmingly overruled.

House Republicans also tried to challenge the results in Georgia, Michigan and Nevada, but GOP senators would no longer sign on after the day’s dramatic events. 

‘Mr. President prior to the actions and events of today we did but following the events of today it appears that some senators have withdrawn their objection,’ admitted Georgia Rep. Jody Hice when challenging the results in his state. 

Congressional staffers barricade themselves inside their offices as Trump supporters rampage through the Capitol Building

Congressional staffers barricade themselves inside their offices as Trump supporters rampage through the Capitol Building

Trump's supporters had gathered to demand that the will of the American people be overturned by the House and Senate

Trump’s supporters had gathered to demand that the will of the American people be overturned by the House and Senate

The Confederate flag was flew in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after a Trump supporter brought it inside

The Confederate flag was flew in the hallways of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday after a Trump supporter brought it inside

People wearing gas masks take shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into America's lower chamber

People wearing gas masks take shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into America’s lower chamber 

Trump taken off social media after praising rioters 

Twitter has suspended Donald Trump’s account for 12 hours and for the first time deleted his tweets after he praised the mob who stormed Congress and said he ‘loved’ them.

YouTube and Facebook also followed suit in removing the posts, with Facebook and Instagram also blocking Trump from their platform for 24 hours.

Snapchat blocked him on Wednesday morning, before he filmed the video. The platform said their locking of his account was indefinite. 

In the deleted video, he poured more fuel on the fire, claiming the election was ‘stolen’ and telling the rioters that he ‘loved’ them.

Twitter said it had removed the tweets for violating their ‘Civic Integrity policy’.

‘As a result of the unprecedented and ongoing violent situation in Washington, D.C., we have required the removal of three @realDonaldTrump Tweets that were posted earlier today for repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,’ the social media company said.

‘This means that the account of @realDonaldTrump will be locked for 12 hours following the removal of these Tweets. If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked.’

At nearly 4 a.m., Rep. Louie Gohmert tried to get one more challenge through – for the state of Wisconsin – but, again, a senator had withdrawn.

That spelled the end of the MAGA campaign to upend an election and Pence went on to read out the results of the Electoral College: Biden 306, Trump 232.

But he managed to avoid saying ‘Joe Biden is the winner’ or similar words – a minor softening of the blow to Trump by the deputy who had been until this week perhaps his most devoted follower.

‘To those who wreaked havoc in our capitol today, you did not win,’ Pence said after lawmakers returned to their seats. ‘Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house.’

The vice president, who chaired the special joint session as provided under the Constitution, called it a ‘dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.’

‘But thanks to the swift efforts of the U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured and the people’s work continues,’ Pence said.

But astonishingly – and to the disgust of Republicans including Mitt Romney and every Democrat – some Republicans continued their doomed bid to overturn the election result.

The most senior was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who claimed that persisting was proof that Congress was not cowed by violence. And Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who gave a clenched fist salute to the mob before it stormed the Capitol, also refused to back down even as other senators who had planned to object abandoned the campaign.

‘Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate,’ McCarthy said.

‘We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. 

‘We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect.’ 

Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states' Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely

Sen. Josh Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely

Sen Ted Cruz looks on as the certification proceedings continue despite objections by him and other Republicans

Sen Ted Cruz looks on as the certification proceedings continue despite objections by him and other Republicans

Sen. Hawley, who was the first senator who pledged to back a House GOP effort to object to certain states’ Electoral College vote counts, refused to abandon the effort entirely. 

The Missouri Republican argued that the Senate floor was the appropriate place to address any election fraud concerns – as opposed to a violent riot.

Pence ordered National Guard to the Capitol after Trump ‘resisted’ 

Mike Pence made the call to activate the National Guard after Trump supporters ran wild in the Capitol Building, it has been revealed.

Acting Pentagon chief Christopher Miller revealed that he spoke to Pence and not Trump, the Commander in Chief, before sending in the Guard to clear out rioters.

Maggie Haberman, the New York Times’s White House correspondent, later revealed that Trump had ‘rebuffed and resisted’ attempts to call in the guard before ‘White House advisers’ intervened to get the move approved. 

Meanwhile White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien praised Pence’s courage for certifying the state election results – a typically routine task that was thrust under the spotlight after Trump falsely suggested that Pence had the power to reject the result and declare him the victor.

‘I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man. He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him,’ wrote O’Brien. 

‘Violence is not how you achieve change,’ Hawley said. ‘And that’s why I submit to my colleagues that what we’re doing here tonight is actually very important. Because of those who have concerns about the integrity of our elections … this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place, where those objections and concerns should be heard.’

He said he hoped the Senate could address concerns ‘peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets.’

Hawley also used the Arizona debate to complain about Pennsylvania, correctly foreseeing that there would be no full debate about that state’s results.   

‘And so Mr. President let me just say now, that briefly, in lieu of speaking about it later, a word about Pennsylvania – this is a state that I have been focused on, objected to,’ Hawley said.

He then went on to complain that the state set-up ‘universal mail-in balloting.’

‘And did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution says,’ Hawley said, using the improper word for regardless.

The senator then objected to how the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made its decision, holding up the law that allowed for enhanced mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Directly after Hawley spoke, Sen. Mitt Romney applauded those senators, like Loeffler and Lankford, who had abandoned Hawley and the ‘dirty dozen’s’ effort. 

‘The best way we can show respect to the voters who are upset is by telling them the truth,’ Romney implored.

And the truth, he said, was ‘President-Elect Biden won the election. President Trump lost.’

‘I’ve had that experience myself, it’s no fun,’ Romney said, a reference to losing the 2012 presidential election to Democratic President Barack Obama.

As he concluded, Romney was given a standing ovation by some senators – but not by Hawley, who was sitting directly in front of him. 

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, 'The United States Senate will not be intimidated.'

Pence's condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer - a New York Democrat - placing the blame squarely on Trump

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’ Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump

An armed security agent tries to maintain order in the Capitol during what Joe Biden described as an 'insurrection'

An armed security agent tries to maintain order in the Capitol during what Joe Biden described as an ‘insurrection’ 

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state.

Lamb first read from the speech he had planned to give pre-riot, including that Allegheny County’s vote-counting operation had ’31 video cameras!’ he said, raising his voice.

‘These objections don’t deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce,’ he then said.

‘A woman died out there tonight and you’re making these objections,’ Lamb went on. ‘Let’s be clear about what happened in this chamber today: invaders came in for the first time since the War of 1812.’

Lamb nodded over in the direction of a group of his Republican colleagues.

‘We know that that attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere. It was inspired by lies, the same lies you’re hearing in this room tonight, and the members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves,’ Lamb said. ‘Their constituents should be ashamed of them.’

Rep. Morgan Griffith shouted to have Lamb’s comments struck from the record.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled his request down, later explaining that he wasn’t quick enough, saying it needed to happen ‘exactly when the words are spoken.’

Nearby, a scuffle among lawmakers nearly broke out involving Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, and Rep. Colin Allred, a Texas Democrat, according to Capitol Hill reporters.

Allred is a former professional football player.

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb (pictured), a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state

As 2 am neared, Rep Conor Lamb (pictured), a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents the Pittsburgh area, unloaded on the Republicans who objected to the vote from his state

Speaker Nancy Pelosi reopened the House of Representatives Wednesday night with a vow to stay as long as it takes to certify the election and Joe Biden’s victory.

‘Congress has returned to the Capitol,’ she said seven hours after the chamber was closed because rioters were trying to breach its doors. ‘We always knew that this responsibility would take us into the night, and will stay as long as it takes. Our purpose will be accomplished. We must and we will show to the country.’

‘We know that we’re in difficult times, but little could we have imagined the assault, that was made on our democracy,’ she said in reference to the pro-Trump insurgents who tried to stop the Joint Session.

She said it was the duty of lawmakers to show the world ‘the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.’

Shortly before all House members were evacuated around 2.30pm, Capitol Police approached Pelosi, who was presiding over the chamber from the speaker’s rostrum, telling her she had to leave.

Pelosi didn’t make a fuss and turned over her duties to House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern.

He told reporters on Capitol Hill that she whispered ‘thank you’ and handed him the gavel as she was led away.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over the House Chamber after they reconvened

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., presides over the House Chamber after they reconvened

Some Republican senators backed down from the original plan to object after pro-Trump insurgents rushed the Capitol.

But House Republican Leader McCarthy said it was lawmakers’ duty to conduct ‘healthy debate’ and to hear ‘valid concerns about election integrity.’

WHO’S STILL IN TRUMP’S CAMP? 

Josh Hawley 

Kevin McCarthy 

Ted Cruz 

Matt Gaetz

Louie Gohmert

Paul Gosar

Jim Jordan 

Ronny Jackson

Tommy Tuberville 

Marjorie Taylor Greene

‘When Americans go to bed tonight their lasting memory should not be a Congress overrun by rioters. It must be a resolute Congress, conducting healthy debate. We may not disagree on a lot in America but tonight, we must show the world that we will respectfully, but thoroughly carry out the most basic duties of democracy, we will continue with the task that we have been sent here to do. We will follow the Constitution and the law and the process for hearing valid concerns about election integrity. We’ll do it with respect,’ he said on the House floor after the chamber reopened.

But he also condemned the rioters.

‘We saw the worst of America this afternoon,’ he said.

McCarthy also warned lawmakers to think twice about what they post on social media. Posts by Republicans, including President Trump, falsely stating the election was rigged and fraudulent were believed to have contributed to inciting the mob that ran sacked the Capitol.

‘We also should think for a moment about what do we put on social media,’ he said. ‘Just because you have a personal opinion different than mine, you have a right to say it, but nobody has a right to become a mob. And we all should stand united to condemning them all together.’

Pence’s condemnation was followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with Schumer – a New York Democrat – placing the blame squarely on Trump.

‘Today’s events would certainly not have happened without him,’ Schumer said. 

McConnell, who earlier chastised members of his own party who planned to file objections to the Electoral College vote count, proclaimed, ‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated.’

‘Will not be kept out of its chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bend for lawlessness or intimidation,’ the Kentucky Republican said.

He said senators would discharge their Constitutional duty – to certify the results of the presidential race.

‘And we’re going to do it tonight,’ McConnell said.

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’

Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

‘I have never lived through, or even imagined the experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol,’ he said. ‘This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized.’

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., helps ATF police officers (special highly trained officers) clean up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., helps ATF police officers (special highly trained officers) clean up debris and personal belongings strewn across the floor of the Rotunda in the early morning hours of Thursday after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC

Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday

Lawmakers cower in fear as protesters try to break down the doors of the House Chamber on Wednesday

He spoke of the woman who was shot during the riots, who has since died of her injuries.

‘We mourn her and feel for her friends and family,’ Schumer said.

‘This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away,’ he added.

And the soon-to-be majority leader, after Democrats were successful in both Georgia Senate run-off races, pointed a finger at Trump, calling the day’s events the ‘final terrible indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States.’

‘Undoubtedly our worst,’ Schumer argued.

‘Today’s events did not happen spontaneously, the president who promoted conspiracy theories, who motivated these thugs, a president who exhorted them to come to our United States capitol, egged them on, who hardly ever discourages violence. This president deals a great deal of the blame,’ Schumer said.

He said that those responsible for overtaking the capitol could not be called ‘protesters.’

‘These were rioters and insurrectionist goons and thugs, domestic terrorists,’ Schumer said. ‘They do not represent America

Senate Majority Leader spoke immediately after Pence to declare that the chamber would not be intimidated by ‘thugs.’

McConnell found himself denouncing Trump’s bid to overturn the election for the second time in a day, after earlier delivering a strong speech blasting the effort by members of his own caucus seeking to throw out electors in states that went for Joe Biden.

Wednesday night, after Trump supporters breached hallways that McConnell has walked for decades on ‘unhinged’ invaders – without mentioning that it was President Trump who encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol.

Nevertheless, he eviscerated the Trump backers who ran wild inside the chamber.

‘The United States Senate will not be intimidated. We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation,’ vowed McConnell.

‘We are back at our post. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution and for our nation.

And we’re going to do it tonight,’ said McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, 'Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.' Schumer followed, admitting that he didn't quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill

The Kentucky Republican proclaimed, ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress.’ Schumer followed, admitting that he didn’t quite have the words to describe what happened Wednesday on Capitol Hill

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors' efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states - South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida - sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War

His words were both strengthened and undercut by his close association with Trump’s tenure: McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao serves as Trump’s Transportation secretary. McConnell spent weeks without denouncing Trump’s unsubstantiated claims the election was rigged. And it was in partnership with Trump that he achieved his life’s goal of stacking the judiciary with conservative jurists.

He spoke with contempt towards the mob who invaded the Capitol, saying the country had ‘faced down much greater threats than the unhinged crowd we saw today.’

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz

‘We’ve never been deterred before and we’ll be not deterred today. They tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed,’ he intoned.

He called it a ‘failed insurrection’ and said it ‘only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.’

‘Now we’re going to finish exactly what we started,’ said McConnell. ‘We’ll complete the process in the right way: by the book.’

He said the Senate would follow its precedents and laws and Constitution ‘to the letter.’

‘And we will certify the winner of the 2020 presidential election,’ he said forcefully. ‘Criminal behavior will never dominate the United States Congress. This institution is resilient. Our democratic republic is strong. The American people deserve nothing less,’ he said.  

Among Republicans bailing on the plan to contest the results was Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, known as an institutionalist before he signed onto the effort by Sen. Ted Cruz.

‘Why in god’s name would someone think attacking law enforcement occupying United States Capitol is the best way to show that you’re right? Why would you do that?’ he asked.

‘Rioters and thugs don’t run the capitol we’re the United States of America. We disagree on a lot of things and we have a lot of spirited debate in this room. But we talk it out and we honor each other.

Lankford had been on the Senate floor defending the opposition to votes in states Biden won when officials evacuated the chamber and locked down the Capitol.

‘I was literally interrupted mid-sentence speaking here. Because we’re all aware of what was happening right outside this room,’ he said, praising law enforcement who protected the Capitol.

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes

He quickly bowed to the new reality.

‘Obviously the commission that we’ve asked for is not going to happen at this point and I understand that and we’re headed towards tonight towards the certification of Joe Biden to be the president of the United States,’ he said. Cruz and his compatriots wanted a special commission to investigate electoral fraud claims tossed out of courts over a ten-day period.

‘And we will work together in this body to be able to send peaceful example in the days ahead,’ he concluded.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies in the Senate, threw water on the objectors’ efforts recalling how in 1876 three southern states – South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida – sent two slates of electors to Congress, in a bid to end Reconstruction after the Civil War.

‘It led to Jim Crow,’ Graham said. ‘If you’re looking for historical guidance, this is not the one to pick.’

The South Carolina Republican also said that a forming a commission to look into fraud wouldn’t change minds.

‘Having a commission chosen by Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and John Roberts is not going to get you to where you want to go, it ain’t going to work,’ Graham said. ‘It’s not going to do any good, it’s going to delay and it gives credibility to a dark chapter of our history.’

Graham maintained Trump was a ‘consequential president.’

‘But today … all I can say is count me out, enough is enough, I’ve tried to be helpful.’

Graham praised Pence, telling him: ‘what they’re asking you to do, you won’t do, because you can’t.’

Trump has pressured Pence to choose between Electoral College votes and ‘alternate’ slates of electors, which the vice president doesn’t have the power to do.

Graham also mentioned how he had traveled the world with Biden, when they served together in the Senate.

‘I prayed he would lose,’ Graham said. ‘He’s the legitimate president of the United States.’

Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who lost her race in the early hours Wednesday to Democratic Rev. Raphael Warnock, announced that she would no longer be filing objections to Electoral College votes.

‘When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes,’ she said. ‘However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now, in good conscience, object.’

Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, also announced that he no longer supported senators filing objections.

The newly minted Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, who had joined Sen. Ted Cruz’s ‘dirty dozen,’ seemed to still back the effort in his debut floor speech.

‘We must restore faith and confidence in one of our republic’s most hallowed and patriotic duties: voting,’ Marshall said.

Marshall said he backed the creation of an electoral commission to give states to constructive suggestions’ going forward, due to the ‘jarring irregularities’ he claimed took place in the 2020 race.

It’s unclear if Marshall would back additional challenges in states going forward, as the Senate’s discussion was only focused on Electoral College votes in Arizona.

Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol

Police spray tear gas at a protester who picked up a police barricade in an effort to get closer to the Capitol 

Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber

Members of congress run for cover as protesters try to enter the House Chamber

A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi's lectern after storming the Capitol

A protester walks through Congress carrying Nancy Pelosi’s lectern after storming the Capitol

Republican Congressman Thomas Reed announced he is against the GOP objections to the certification, earning a round of applause from Democrats.

Reed walked to the Democratic side of the House to speak about his opposition, citing the day’s violence in the Capitol as the reason.

‘We settle our differences through elections,’ he said, denouncing the ‘mob rule’ that took place earlier in the afternoon.

‘What we see tonight in this body shall be what we do in America. And that is to transfer power in a peaceful way,’ he said as Democrats gave him a standing ovation.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, pushed a conspiracy theory that some of the mob that raided the Capitol were members of Antifa, who are opposed to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology. President Trump has tried to label Antifa as a terrorist group but they a political philosophy. There is no evidence they were involved in Wednesday’s insurrection.

Gaetz cited the conservative newspaper The Washington Times when he spoke on the House floor to defend Republican objections to the electoral college votes in some states won by Biden.

‘The Washington Times has just reported, some pretty compelling evidence from a facial recognition company, showing that some of the people who breached the Capitol today, were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters, and in fact, we’re members of the violet terrorist group Antifa,’ he said as Democrats loudly booed him.

Gaetz, a frequent guest at Trump’s Florida residence Mar-a-Lago, also defended the president, who was criticized by many, including members of the Republican Party, for his lackluster response to the riots.

‘Another important point for the country is that this morning President Trump explicitly called for demonstrations and protests to be peaceful,’ Gaetz said.

Trump, in tweets, did say the protesters should be peaceful but he didn’t call for them to stand down and leave the Capitol.

Democrats booed Gaetz as he spoke, which he acknowledged: ‘You can moan and groan but he was far more explicit about his calls for peace than some of the BLM and left wing writers were this summer, when we saw violence sweep across this nation.’

Gaetz also got in a dig at liberal Democrats, who have called to defund the police.

‘I’m sure glad that at least for one day, I didn’t hear my Democratic colleagues calling to defund the police,’ he said as his Republican colleagues cheered.

Members of Congress are pictured rushing to evacuate the House Chamber as protesters attempted to enter

Members of Congress are pictured rushing to evacuate the House Chamber as protesters attempted to enter

National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew

National Guard members line up on the Capitol grounds as protesters continue occupying the area after curfew

The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from Capitol Police

The mostly maskless crowd flooded the halls of the Capitol with little resistance from Capitol Police

The DC National Guard was deployed to the streets to help enforce a 6pm curfew

The DC National Guard was deployed to the streets to help enforce a 6pm curfew 

Trump – after remaining silent for much of the afternoon – posted a video telling his ‘very special’ supporters inside the Capitol that he loves them and understands their pain but urged them ‘to go home’. 

He had initially encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol after a rally earlier in the afternoon before asking them only to remain peaceful when violence broke out.   

The Capitol was briefly secured before being placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officer was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked.     

But just before 8pm lawmakers who had been whisked to safety when the siege kicked off began arriving back at the Capitol to resume the Joint Session to certify the Electoral College count of the presidential election. 

The lawmakers were seen flanked by armed guards as they made their way into the Capitol. A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, who is residing over the Joint Session, said he was already in the building because he’d never left. 

As the protesters broke down police barricades and stormed into the Capitol, lawmakers cowering inside the House Chamber were told to put on gas masks as tear gas was fired in the Rotunda. Officers at the front door of the chamber had their guns drawn at a protester trying to break down the door.

The Capitol was placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an 'internal security threat' after an officers was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked

The Capitol was placed on lockdown again at around 6.45pm due to an ‘internal security threat’ after an officers was reportedly found unconscious. Anyone inside a building at the Capitol complex was instructed to take cover in an office with doors locked

For those fleeing, it was a race against time: Protesters were getting in as quickly as members of Congress could get out. 

One protester occupied the Senate dais and yelled: ‘Trump won that election’. Some protesters even occupied Pelosi’s office, sitting mockingly at a desk. 

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of his supporters and urged them to march to the Capitol. The protesters organized via far-right social media sites, including Gab and Parler, telling each other the best routes to avoid police on their way to the Capitol.

After protesters started clashing with law enforcement, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’. 

‘Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!’ the president wrote.

As the violence escalated, Trump tweeted: ‘I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!’ 

He did not initially tell the protesters to leave. 

Biden on Wednesday evening called for the restoration of ‘simple decency’ after the mob delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election. 

‘At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times,’ Biden said. He called it ‘an assault on the rule of law like few times we have ever seen it.’ 

‘I call on this mob to pull back and allow democracy to go forward. 

In an address that took less than 10 minutes and was televised against a split screen of the still-occupied Capitol building, Biden attempted to project calm and to say that a deeply divided country can still come together – while also expressing outrage. 

He stopped short of accusing Trump of treason but said the events ‘bordered on sedition’. 

‘At their best, the words of a president can inspire,’ Biden added. ‘At their worst they can incite.’ 

Minutes after Biden’s address, Trump posted his own video telling his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’. In the same breath he also continued to peddle his baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’. 

‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,’ he said.

‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.’ 

The video was later removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because it violated their policies.  

The president then posted another tweet reiterating his false claim that the election was stolen and encouraging supporters to ‘remember this day’. The tweet was perceived by some as an attempt to rile up the Capitol crowds.  

‘These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,’ he tweeted. ‘Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!’

Twitter removed the tweet for violating its rules. 

Mob smashes through police barriers and wall of tear gas to stop Biden’s victory being certified: How Trump protesters turned Congress into a battlefield 

Capitol Police used tear gas as hundreds of people were seen climbing the marble steps outside the building. They banged on the locked doors of the Capitol and smashed the glass in the doors.

Demonstrators fought with police and then forced their way into the building. 

Asked how so many people were able to get in, officials said they were focusing their attention on keeping lawmakers inside safe. 

‘We love you. You are special.’ Trump finally addresses Capitol mob HE unleashed and says ‘Go home now. We have to have peace’ 

Donald Trump told his mob of supporters that he ‘loves’ them, but to ‘go home’ after they rampaged past police barriers to storm the U.S. Capitol.

But despite calling for his supporters to stand down, he continued to peddle the baseless claims that the ‘election was stolen’ in a video posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

‘There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us – from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.

‘We have to have peace. So, go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace,’ Trump said.

It came hours after Trump stirred them into a frenzy at his ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, telling them to march on the U.S. Capitol. 

The president still has not conceded the election and earlier Wednesday addressed a crowd at the ellipse spouting conspiracy theories that he still had a path to win – if Vice President Mike Pence did his bidding, as well as if GOP lawmakers revolted.

Pence did no such thing.

 

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. After protesters started clashing with law enforcement following the Capitol breach, Trump tweeted to his supporters to 'stay peaceful'

The chaotic scenes unfolded soon after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. After protesters started clashing with law enforcement following the Capitol breach, Trump tweeted to his supporters to ‘stay peaceful’

One video posted on TikTok appeared to show a group of about four officers standing by as protesters pushed past a barricade near the Capitol building. 

The officers did not appear to try to block the stampede, instead walking with it toward the building.  

One protester jumped up on the dais, where the president of the Senate presides, and yelled: ‘Trump won that election.’

Several dozen protesters roamed the halls of the Capitol, yelling: ‘Where are they?’

Tear gas was being used by Capitol Police as protesters filled both the House and Senate side of the Capitol.

Another protester in the Senate yelled: ‘Where’s Pence, show yourself!’

The chaos caused the Capitol to go on lockdown and disrupted the certification of the electoral college vote that would cement Biden’s victory. 

Mayor Bowser declared a 6pm curfew for the city and said multiple law enforcement agencies would be patrolling the streets. Just before the curfew went into effect she was asked multiple by times by CNN if curfew violators would be arrested, but she refused to give a clear answer. 

Bowser said ‘many’ arrests had already been made but did not have a specific number.  

As footage started coming out of Capitol Hill being breached by angry Trump supporters, Donald Trump Jr  tried to quell the outburst with a tweet – that was critical of Democrats and liberals.

‘This is wrong and not who we are. Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side,’ Trump Jr. wrote. ‘We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone.’

Meanwhile, the president continued to direct his rage at Pence, who earlier announced he would not single-handedly overturn the election results from his position of the chair.

‘Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!’ the president tweeted.

The extraordinary breech was a departure from security mishaps of the past. Protesters have routinely disrupted televised hearings while in progress and even events inside the House chamber. But trained Capitol Police are usually able to arrest disruptors and remove them immediately. Often formal charges are never filed.

But in Wednesday’s storming of the building, dozens of people made it by armed police officers and entered the building without going through any security set up to keep out those with weapons or dangerous items.

There were occasions after September 11th when the building was placed on lockdown and people were ordered to leave, but this usually happened when suspicious packages were discovered.

When the building is open, as it was before the pandemic, members of the general public are not allowed to walk unescorted on the second floor where lawmakers enter and exit the legislative chambers.

The protesters were aided by scaffolding constructed for the upcoming inauguration. 

In another tense piece of video from inside, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) tweeted video of protesters repeatedly rushing Capitol Police officers in the crypt, in the ground floor part of the building under the rotunda.

‘I like many people voted for President Trump in the 2020 election and hoped for a different result,’ McCaul wrote. ‘But violence and destruction is not the way to express your grievances. This is disgraceful and has to end.’

Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon

Trump supporters stand in the Capitol before storming the House Chamber on Wednesday afternoon

Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather

Leigh Ann Luck dressed up as Statue of Liberty shouts as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather 

A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside

A wall of Trump supporters are seen outside the Capitol before crowds breached barriers and stormed inside

Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday's chaos at the Capitol

Several windows inside the Capitol were shattered during Wednesday’s chaos at the Capitol 

Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday

Police deploy a stream of tear gas a protesters occupying the Capitol grounds on Wednesday 

A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening

A woman is pushed into an ambulance near the Capitol on Wednesday evening 

Trump’s mob causes chaos nationwide: MAGA fans take to the streets in California, Oregon, New Mexico and Kansas and surround Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office   

As the US Capitol was stormed, Trump supporters staged smaller rallies outside statehouses in several cities, including Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. 

Protesters swarmed into the Kansas statehouse in Topeka and gathered inside the first floor of the Capitol Rotunda, though the rally remained orderly, television station KSNT reported.

There were no immediate reports of violence, despite the flurry of demonstrations by pro-Trump demonstrators echoing his baseless claims that he was robbed of a re-election victory due to voter fraud.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said on Twitter that he had instructed city agencies to close municipal offices early in Colorado’s state capital ‘out of an abundance of caution’ after about 700 demonstrators gathered at the statehouse downtown.

‘My hope is that this situation will be resolved quickly. Pray for our nation,’ he tweeted.

A major courthouse complex and two other government buildings in Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, were also ordered closed due to protests near the statehouse.

Among those whose daily routines were altered were aides to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, the Republican election official pressured by Trump in a weekend telephone call to ‘find’ enough additional votes for the president to overturn the November victory of President-elect Joe Biden, due to take office in two weeks.

Raffensperger’s spokesman, Walter Jones, said staff left their offices after lunch out of an abundance of caution because of protests. He said Raffensperger was not in the office at the time.

In Salt Lake City, Dana Jones, director of the state Capitol Preservation Board, said she had asked building staff to work from home on Wednesday afternoon on the advice of the Utah Highway Patrol and public safety commissioner, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The precaution was taken, the newspaper said, in response to a crowd of about 250 pro-Trump demonstrators who posted signs on the Capitol building that read: ‘Stop the steal!’ and ‘Trump won!’

A Utah state police spokesman said security had been beefed up at the Capitol, though he said protesters there were ‘very peaceful,’ the Tribune reported. It said one of its photographers was pepper-sprayed by individuals upset that he was documenting their protest.

Several hundred Trump supporters also staged a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally at the Arizona state Capitol in Phoenix, cheering and jeering while exhibiting a guillotine. 

MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump

MISSOURI: Armed men stand on the steps at the State Capitol after a rally in support of President Donald Trump

ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles

ATLANTA: The crowd consisted of around 25 people, some of whom were carrying assault rifles

LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters

LA: Christian Angelo Hill, 19, a Black Lives Matter supporter, reacts after being sprayed with an unknown substance during a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump supporters

OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem

OREGON: Protesters hold a rally in support of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem

TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin

TEXAS: Jack Finger, of San Antonio, protests the election with supporters of President Donald Trump Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Austin

ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm

ATLANTA: Georgia Capitol Police escorted Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger (above) and his staff out of the building shortly before 3pm

‘I won’t betray my oath’: Pence publicly defies Trump’s demand to block Biden’s confirmation 

Trump told thousands of supporters just outside the White House that he wanted Pence to ‘come through’ for us and demanded that he reject electoral votes out of hand over that the president claims is ‘fraud.’

He threatened Pence saying ‘I’m not hearing good stories’ and telling him to have ‘courage’ to strike down swing states’ votes – a move which would defy the constitution.

But minutes before arriving on Capitol Hill to preside over the joint session of Congress to certify the election’s outcome, Pence bluntly told lawmakers that he would refuse to obey Trump’s orders.

Pence sent a letter to the 535 senators and representatives on Capitol Hill ahead of his presiding over the Joint Session that will certify Joe Biden’s victory.

In it, he outlined his belief in his role in the proceedings, which he notes is ‘ceremonial’ and adds that it doesn’t include the authority to ‘determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.’

Trump has tried to put the blame on Pence for his expected loss on Wednesday but the president also lacks support among the majority of senators in his own party, which dooms his efforts for a congressional overthrow of the results. 

Pence acknowledged Trump’s allegations the election was rigged, of which there has been no proof and no court has upheld, in a likely peace offering to the president.

‘I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election,’ he wrote. 

In a letter Wednesday, Pence said, 'It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution contains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not'

In a letter Wednesday, Pence said, ‘It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution contains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not’

But he noted as vice president he does not have the power from the constitution to decide which electoral votes are counted and which are not.

‘As a student of history who loves the constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founds of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,’ Pence noted.

He added vice presidents in the past have conducted ‘the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy’.

‘It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,’ he said.

He concluded his letter with a prayer to God: ‘When the Joint Session of Congress convenes today, I will do my duty to see to it that we open the certificates of electors of the several states, we hear objections raised by Senators and Representatives, and we count the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President in a manner consistent with our Constitution, laws and history. So Help Me God.’  

Pelosi reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor

Pelosi reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor

'The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don't care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,' Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona

‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session

REPUBLICANS OBJECT TO ARIZONA’S VOTES 

When the certification process got underway shortly after 1pm Wednesday, lawmakers got through Alabama and Alaska, two states that went for Trump, before the first objection was filed for Arizona.

Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, objected to his state’s Electoral College votes going to Biden and Harris. He confirmed that his objection had been signed on to by a US senator.

Democrats in the chamber audibly groaned while droves of Republicans in the chamber stood up and clapped.

The move forced Pence to order the houses out of Joint Session. The senators in the House chamber started moving back toward their side of the US Capitol. 

On the House side, during their debate on the Arizona objection, Republican lawmakers used their time to complain about the treatment of the president, particularly the impeachment process and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

They did not offer any proof of voter fraud but complained that voter laws were changed ahead of the November contest, which is not illegal.

‘The law says voter registration ends on October 5. Democrats said we don’t care what the law says they went to a court got an Obama appointed judge to extend in 18 days,’ Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, complained of Arizona.

Many states had their voter registration deadlines extended because of the coronavirus pandemic – the extension applied to voters of both parties. Other states extended the time period allowing mail-in voting, again because of the pandemic and it applied to all voters.

Democrats argued the election was legally conducted.

‘Under some of the most trying circumstances in our history, our fellow citizens conducted a free and fair election vindicating our founders belief once again that we were capable of self government, and a peaceful transition of power,’ Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said.

Speaker Pelosi presided over the debate. She sanitized the gavel before she used it. Pence had used it when he presided over the Joint Session.

Pelosi also reminded lawmakers that only 11 members from each party were allowed on the House floor at a time due to social distancing. She called out Republicans for having too many lawmakers on the floor.

MITCH MCCONNELL SLAMS ELECTION ‘CONSPIRACY THEORIES’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shamed Trump and his own Republican colleagues for mounting challenges to the Electoral College vote count, saying their doing so could lead to a ‘death spiral’ of American democracy – and pointing out there’s no real evidence of widespread voter fraud.

‘We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history, whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,’ he said on the Senate floor, after Rep Gosar and a batch of GOP senators, including Sen Ted Cruz, objected to Arizona’s Electoral College vote count.

McConnell ridiculed Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech, which will be one of his last as majority leader, and which he said was about the most important vote of his career.

‘The assertions range from specific, local allegations to Constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories,’ McConnell said.

He reminded senators that he was supportive of Trump using the country’s legal system, which handed the president and his team loss after loss. And pointed out that these cases were heard by some of the ‘all-star judges whom the president himself nominated’ – including on the U.S. Supreme Court.

McConnell said that every election is plagued by some instances of vote irregularity. ‘And of course that’s unacceptable,’ he said.

McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career

McConnell ridiculed President Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in a five-minute speech which will be one of his last as majority leader – and which he said was about the most important vote of his career

The top Senate Republican also said he supported ‘strong state-led voting reforms,’ adding that he didn’t wan tto see ‘last year’s bizarre pandemic procedures’ – like mail-in ballots that gave Democrats an edge – ‘become the new norm.’

‘But my colleagues nothing before us proves illegality anywhere near the massive scale, the massive scale that would have tipped the entire election,’ McConnell argued. ‘Nor can public doubt alone justify a radical break, when the doubt itself was incited without any evidence.’

He pointed out that the Constitution gives Congress a ‘limited role.’

‘We simply can’t declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids,’ McConnell said.

Twisting the knife into Trump, McConnell also pointed out that the race between Biden and Trump ‘was not unusually close.’

‘The Electoral College margin was almost identical to what it was in 2016,’ McConnell pointed out.

‘If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side our democracy would enter a death spiral,’ McConnell warned. ‘We’d never see a whole nation accept an election again.’

‘Every four years there would be a scramble for power at any cost,’ he added. 

TRUMP’S STOP THE STEAL RALLY 

This came after Trump excoriated ‘weak’ Republicans and demanded fealty from Pence to a rally crowd near the White House on Wednesday, where he demanded Pence and Congress overturn the election results that lead to his defeat.

In an extraordinary speech, Trump once again called his election ‘rigged’ just minutes before a joint meeting of Congress was to begin counting the certified electoral votes that have him losing to Joe Biden. 

Trump referred to votes that came in after 10pm election night – which consisted of in-person and mail-in ballots and denied him the lead he said he and his pollsters anticipated – as ‘these explosions of bullsh*t.’ 

Members of the crowd immediately chanted ‘Bullshi*t!’ in response. 

‘Our election was over at 10 in the evening,’ Trump said.

Trump mocked his party’s 2012 Republican presidential nominee, now-Sen. Mitt Romney, for conceded his own race back then.

‘We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,’ he said – although losing candidates have conceded for generations. ‘There’s never been anything like this. It’s a pure theft.’ 

Trump’s comments amounted to a declaration of war on elements of his party, after his lawyer Rudy Giuliani demanded ‘trial by combat’ against opponents of his claims of election fraud.

Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand – but referred to them as consisting of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of supporters fathered on a lawn south of the White House that doesn’t hold that many.

He said his election was ‘stolen by the fake news media. That’s what they’ve done and that’s what they’re doing.’

Trump addressed his thousands of his supporters near the White House Wednesday at his 'Save America' rally and declared war on his own party, calling Republicans who opposed him 'weak'

Trump addressed his thousands of his supporters near the White House Wednesday at his ‘Save America’ rally and declared war on his own party, calling Republicans who opposed him ‘weak’

Hours after a humiliating defeat in one Georgia Senate race and the prospect of losing another, Team Trump showed no sign of conceding

Hours after a humiliating defeat in one Georgia Senate race and the prospect of losing another, Team Trump showed no sign of conceding

A stand was being erected at the base of the US Capitol as a pro-Trump supporter holds a flag, hours before Congress meets to certify the electoral college vote for Biden

A crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

A crowd of Trump supporters started gathering outside of the White House for a rally on Wednesday

He urged his supporters to march down to the Congress, which was to commence the count at 1 pm.

‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,’ he said, speaking from behind a pane of bullet-proof material.

He turned up the heat on Pence, a potential 2024 contender who will preside over the count. His role is set in the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act, and is largely ceremonial.

‘Mike Pence is going to have to come through for us, and if he doesn’t that will be a sad day for our country because you’re sworn to uphold our Constitution,’ he said.

Trump acknowledged that he has tried to pressure Pence into rejecting votes from states he lost, quoting from a conversation he has denied happened.

‘All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify and we become president and you are the happiest people,’ he told his fans, who cheered ‘Stop the Steal!’ at times.

‘I said Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage. And then we’re stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot and we have to live with that,’ he said of Biden.

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Democrats demand to know how rioters were so easily able to storm the US Capitol

So how DID they get in? Democrats demand to know how rioters were so easily able to storm the US Capitol… amid claims Donald Trump refused to let troops defend the building

  • Videos shared on social media showed police apparently opening fences for the mob at the Capitol
  • Observers questioned whether other protesters would have been treated so leniently in the same scenario
  • Amid the chaos, Donald Trump initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard
  • Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops 

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Democrats last night demanded answers as to how rioters were able to storm the US Capitol so easily – amid claims that Donald Trump refused to send in the National Guard.

Videos shared on social media showed police apparently opening fences for the mob and taking selfies with them, prompting suspicions that some of them sympathised with the invasion.

Observers questioned whether other protesters would have been treated so leniently – pointing out the contrast with last summer’s reaction to Black Lives Matter gatherings in Washington DC.

Amid the chaos, Mr Trump initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard, the New York Times reported.

This meant Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops.

The scenes of carnage sparked outrage in Washington over the fact that the Capitol Police force, which has 1,879 officers and a budget of £380million, was unable to carry out its most basic function. It seemingly had no excuse for being so unprepared, as Trump supporters had telegraphed their intentions on social media and online forums, with posts on website Reddit stating: ‘Storm the Capitol’.

Another post online said they would ‘break into Congress and drag these politicians out onto the streets’.

Representative Tim Ryan, the House appropriator, said that there were ‘strategic mistakes from the beginning’ by law enforcement. He said: ‘I think it’s pretty clear that there’s going to be a number of people who are going to be without employment very, very soon because this is an embarrassment – both on behalf of the mob and the President, and the insurrection and the attempted coup, but also the lack of professional planning and dealing with what we knew was going to occur’.

Amid the chaos, Donald Trump (pictured on Wednesday) initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard, the New York Times reported. This meant Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops

Amid the chaos, Donald Trump (pictured on Wednesday) initially ‘rebuffed and resisted’ a request to mobilise the National Guard, the New York Times reported. This meant Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had to step into the breach to raise troops

And Representative Maxine Waters tweeted: ‘I had an hour-long conversation with the Chief of Police four days ago. He assured me the terrorists would not be allowed on the plaza and Capitol secured. What the hell?’ Videos shared online showed police completely outnumbered by rioters who streamed past them.

After Twitter ban, he’s now barred from Facebook 

The President’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have been suspended ‘indefinitely’.

Social media boss Mark Zuckerberg said the ‘shocking events’ spurred his decision.

Mr Zuckerberg accused Mr Trump of ‘using our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government’. He added: ‘We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our services are simply too great.’

It came after Twitter, Mr Trump’s social media platform of choice, suspended his account for 12 hours. 

However, White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino tweeted on his behalf: ‘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 20.’ 

One Capitol Police officer – his badge clearly visible – posed for a selfie with a rioter who smiled broadly as he took the image. Another held a woman’s hand to steady her as she walked down the Capitol steps.

Mr Ryan said: ‘I have no idea why that would be permissible. That’s unacceptable… We’ll be looking at all of that’. Meanwhile, Kim Dine, who was chief of the Capitol Police from 2012 to 2016, said: ‘It’s like watching a real-life horror movie.

‘I mean, we train and plan and budget every day, basically, to have this not happen. How it happened, I can’t figure that out’.

Security experts said that the police had completely underestimated the size of the crowd and their intentions. Many of the officers who were guarding the Capitol were not even dressed in riot gear and were wearing street clothes.

The treatment was a stark contrast to the thousands of officers deployed to Washington last June for a protest over the death of George Floyd.

A photograph from the Lincoln Memorial shows armed law enforcement agents standing 6ft apart for what was an overwhelmingly peaceful protest. The New York Times reported that Mr Trump’s refusal to send in the National Guard sparked outrage among even his closest allies.

He was reportedly so angry at Mr Pence for refusing to stop the certification of the election results that he would not act. The eventual authorisation of the troops was said to have been undertaken by Mr Pence and Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel.

The Army activated 1,100 troops of the DC National Guard while Virginia’s governor dispatched members of the Virginia Guard along with 200 Virginia State Troopers. Later into the evening Capitol Police and federal law enforcement agencies mounted a massive show of force to secure the Capitol building. Washington mayor Muriel Bowser declared a 6pm curfew and a state of emergency in the city for the next 15 days until the inauguration.

Officers arrested 68 people, including seven for illegal weapon possession and 61 for curfew violations and unlawful entry.