Trump-Biden transition updates: Trump acknowledges defeat, focuses on transition of power
By LIBBY CATHEY, CATHERINE THORBECKE, MORGAN WINSOR and ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 13 days.
Here is how the scene is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 07, 9:52 pm
Betsy DeVos resigns in wake of Capitol attack
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has resigned, according to a letter obtained by ABC News Thursday night.
She is the second Trump Cabinet member to step down in the wake of Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol, following Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s resignation earlier Thursday.
In her resignation letter, addressed to Trump, DeVos cited the president’s role in Wednesday’s “unconscionable” attack on the Capitol.
“We should be highlighting and celebrating your Administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” she wrote. “Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.”
“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she added.
The resignation is effective Friday, according to the letter.
She joins a growing list of other Trump officials to resign following the Capitol breach.
-ABC News’ Sophie Tatum contributed to this report
Jan 07, 9:07 pm
McConnell receives resignation of Senate sergeant-at-arms
Following the resignation of the House sergeant-at-arms and the Capitol police chief, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday night that he’s received the resignation of the Senate sergeant-at-arms.
This comes following Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s statement earlier Thursday that he would fire the Senate sergeant-at-arms when Democrats claim the majority in the chamber if he did not resign.
“Today I requested and received the resignation of Michael Stenger, the Senate Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, effective immediately,” McConnell said in a statement Thursday.
“Deputy Sergeant at Arms Jennifer Hemingway will now serve the Senate as Acting Sergeant at Arms, pursuant to statute,” McConnell continued. “I thank Jennifer in advance for her service as we begin to examine the serious failures that transpired yesterday and continue and strengthen our preparations for a safe and successful inauguration on January 20th.”
-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin
Jan 07, 8:24 pm
Trump effectively concedes, says focus on ensuring smooth transition of power
For the first time since losing the election to President-elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump acknowledged he lost.
A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, he said.
“My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power,” Trump said in a video Thursday night.
Trump also spoke directly to his supporters, saying serving as president has been the honor of his lifetime.
“To all of my wonderful supporters, I know you’re disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey has only just begun.”
The president did not congratulate Biden or recognize him as the president-elect in the video.
His speech comes a day after a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol, in an incident that left at least four people dead and forced Congress to evacuate and seek shelter in the middle of certifying the electoral votes.
Thursday night, the president spoke of the need for peace and calm, a day after speaking to those same pro-Trump protesters, saying he would never concede.
“This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said Thursday night.
Jan 07, 6:39 pm
US Capitol police chief resigns
A spokeswoman for the United States Capitol Police has confirmed to ABC News that Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is resigning, effective Jan. 16.
The resignation comes after rioters seized the Capitol building on Wednesday and following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for him to step down due to the botched response.
Sund does not mention the Capitol riot in his three-sentence resignation letter. “It has been a pleasure and true honor to serve the United States Capitol Police Board and the Congressional community alongside and the women and men of the United States Capitol Police,” he wrote.
The Capitol Police Union had released a statement saying they were “frustrated and demoralized by the lack of leadership” and called for the chief and his deputy to resign.
“We have several protesters dead, multiple officers injured and the symbol of our Democracy, the U.S. Capitol, desecrated. This never should have happened,” Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said in a statement.
“This lack of planning led to the greatest breach of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812,” he added. This is a failure of leadership at the very top.”
-ABC News’ Mariam Khan, Benjamin Siegel and Luke Barr
Jan 07, 5:47 pm
White House condemns violence but takes no responsibility
More than 24 hours after a violent siege on the Capitol by supporters of the president, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany condemned the violence of the rioters who desecrated the hallowed halls of Congress “on behalf of the entire White House.”
For the first time, she also recognized that there would be a new administration, although she did not mention Biden’s name, saying, “Those who are working in this building are working to ensure an orderly transition of power.”
“Let me be clear. The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way. We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable,” McEnany said during remarks in the White House briefing room.
McEnany referred to those who stormed the Capitol as “violent rioters” and sought to draw a distinction between them and “the many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard in our nation’s capital.”
While she condemned the rioters, she did not acknowledge the role Trump had in inciting the mob and praising the insurrectionists. She also did not acknowledge her own role in repeatedly spreading disinformation about the election results.
McEnany read from prepared remarks, and the entirety of the event lasted just under two minutes.
She took no questions and exited as reporters shouted questions.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson, Jordyn Phelps and Elizabeth Thomas
Jan 07, 5:18 pm
Trump mulling self-pardon, sources say
Trump has suggested to advisers that he wants to grant himself a pardon before leaving office, sources familiar with the discussions told ABC News.
The conversations with top aides have happened in recent weeks.
It’s not clear if the issue has been discussed between the president and his advisers since the riots on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
However, following the riots Trump’s White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, advised the president that he could face legal jeopardy for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol building, according to sources familiar with their discussions.
If a self-pardon happens, it’s unclear when it would be announced. Trump is already expected to issue several pardons over the next two weeks.
-ABC News’ John Santucci, Katherine Faulders and Olivia Rubin
Jan 07, 5:06 pm
House Dems call on FBI to provide ‘immediate briefing’ on Capitol Hill ‘terrorist attack’
Five House Committees led by Democrats have sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking an “immediate briefing on the FBI’s efforts to investigate the deadly attack on the US Capitol.”
“We request an urgent briefing for the Chairs and Ranking Members of the undersigned Committees on how the FBI is working to investigate and hold responsible the domestic terrorists who incited and executed yesterday’s attack on the Capitol, as well as how the FBI has been tracking this domestic terrorist group, how it prepared for the events on January 6, 2021, and how it plans to disrupt any further violent plans,” they wrote.
The letter was signed by Committee on Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney, Committee on the Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, Committee on Homeland Security Chair Bennie Thompson, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, Committee on Armed Services Chair Adam Smith and Rep. Stephen Lynch.
“Given the incendiary environment caused and exacerbated by President Trump’s rhetoric, along with the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, it is imperative that the FBI leverage all available assets and resources to ensure that the perpetrators of this domestic terrorist attack and those who incited and conspired with them are brought to justice, and that this domestic terrorist group is disrupted from further actions against our government,” the Chairs wrote in a press release.
According to the release, the letter detailed how Trump incited the attack on the Capitol by repeatedly making false claims about the election being “stolen.”
-ABC News’ Mariam Khan
Jan 07, 5:04 pm
Georgia Secretary of State’s office says Trump legal team has ‘voluntarily dismissed’ election lawsuits
According to the secretary of state’s office, the president’s and the Georgia GOP’s legal teams have voluntarily dismissed four lawsuits related to the general election.
“On the eve of getting the day in court they supposedly were begging for, President Trump and Chairman David Shafer’s legal team folded Thursday and voluntarily dismissed their election contests against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger rather than submit their evidence to a court and to cross-examination,” a press release from Raffensperger’s office read.
The release also said that the president’s legal team is falsely claiming one case was dismissed “due to an out of court settlement agreement.” Raffensperger’s office said that isn’t true and that “correspondence sent to Trump’s legal team prior to the dismissals makes perfectly clear that there is no settlement agreement.”
The three other lawsuits were also voluntarily dismissed by the Trump legal team with no settlement agreements, according to Raffensperger’s office.
-ABC News’ Quinn Scanlan
Jan 07, 4:43 pm
John Kelly to CNN: ‘I would’ vote to remove Trump from office
Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Thursday afternoon if he had the opportunity now to remove Trump from office with the 25th Amendment, he would vote to do it.
“You were a former member of the Cabinet, in addition to being White House chief of staff. If you were in the Cabinet right now, would you vote to remove him from office?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked.
“I — yes, I would. One thing we have going for us here, Jake, it’s only 13 more days,” Kelly said.
“I don’t think it will happen, but I think the Cabinet should meet and discuss this,” Kelly said of the move. “The behavior yesterday and in the weeks and months before that have just been outrageous from the president. And what happened on Capitol Hill yesterday is a direct result of his poisoning the minds of people with the lies and the fraud.”
Kelly said the president’s actions Wednesday “didn’t surprise” him but that he was “very surprised that those people would assault the people’s house, do the damage they did and embarrass us all.”
He went on to very bluntly criticize Trump, calling him “a very, very flawed man” with “serious character issues.”
-ABC News’ Elizabeth Thomas
Jan 07, 4:40 pm
Biden transition deflects on taking position on Trump’s potential removal from office
The Biden transition is deflecting when asked questions about Trump’s potential removal from office, saying both Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are focused on their duties and taking office in less than two weeks.
A spokesperson said Biden and Harris will “leave it to Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and the Congress to act as they see fit,” when it comes to Trump’s removal, and again urged Trump stop blocking cooperation with the transition.
-ABC News’ John Verhovek
Jan 07, 4:33 pm
McMaster condemns Trump in blistering statement
Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Twitter joined a growing list of former officials bluntly denouncing Trump’s actions leading up to Wednesday’s riot.
“The reasons for yesterday’s criminal assault on our Congress and election process are many. But foremost among them is the sad reality that President Trump and other officials have repeatedly compromised our principles in pursuit of partisan advantage and personal gain,” McMaster said in a Twitter thread.
“Those who engaged in disinformation and demagoguery in pursuit of self-interest abdicated their responsibility to the American people. It was, in every sense of the phrase, a dereliction of duty,” he continued, calling on the public to “reject conspiracy theories and false narratives designed to polarize us and pit us against each other.”
Jan 07, 4:29 pm
Graham says breach of Capitol by ‘domestic terrorists’ will ‘tarnish’ Trump presidency
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina forcefully condemned “domestic terrorists” who breached the Capitol Wednesday and said the events will “tarnish” the Trump presidency.
“A band of people who are terrorists — not patriots — literally occupied the floor of the house drove us out of this chamber and the question for the country is how could that happen 20 years after 9/11,” Graham said to reporters at a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon. “Yesterday they could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham calls for a joint task force to “identify every person” involved in breach of the U.S. Capitol. “The people sitting in the chairs need to be sitting in a jail cell… sedition may be a charge for some of these people.” https://t.co/aZkOVNzOm1 pic.twitter.com/78ZAnASRN0
— ABC News (@ABC) January 7, 2021
Graham said he does not support invoking the 25th Amendment “right now” and is focused on peacefully moving through the next two weeks until Biden is sworn in.
Reflecting on his relationship with Trump, Graham said he does not regret supporting the president but believes Trump is frustrated and receiving bad guidance from some in his inner circle, adding that he “needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”
“It breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, would allow yesterday to happen and it will be a major part of his presidency,” Graham said. “It was a self-inflicted wound.”
-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin
Jan 07, 3:45 pm
Biden introduces DOJ nominees including Merrick Garland
Biden introduced his nominees to the Justice Department on Thursday afternoon with a message that his administration will restore the law enforcement agency’s political independence, which he argued has been damaged during Trump’s tenure.
“I want to be clear to those who lead this department who you will serve: You won’t work for me. You are not the president or the vice president’s lawyer. Your loyalty is not to me. It is to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation to guarantee justice,” Biden told the group.
Pres.-elect Biden on nominating judge Merrick Garland: “For attorney general of the United States I nominate a man of impeccable integrity, judge Merrick Garland.” https://t.co/TIpdrrypHW pic.twitter.com/Rc9WKs2Lqm
— ABC News (@ABC) January 7, 2021
On his nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to serve as attorney general, Biden praised Garland’s experience, character and bipartisan credentials, noting that it was “no surprise” that then-President Barack Obama once put his name forward to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Garland grew emotional when taking the podium, thanking his family with a quiver in his voice. He spoke about what drew him to the law, recalling the swearing in of former federal Judge Ed Leavy who said “our law is not an instrument of partisan purpose,” and addressed Wednesday’s chaos.
“As everyone who watched yesterday’s events in Washington now understands, if they did not understand before, the rule of law is not just some lawyer’s turn of phrase. It is the very foundation of our democracy,” he said.
Garland committed, as Biden and Harris have, that the Department of Justice under his control would remain an independent entity.
Biden also introduced Lisa Monaco as his nominee for deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta as his nominee for associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke as his nominee for assistant attorney general for the department’s Civil Rights Division.
Before that, he squarely placed blame on Trump for Wednesday’s events at the Capitol, calling the riots the “culmination” of Trump’s “unrelenting attack” and “all-out assault on our institutions of democracy.”
“They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic. It’s that simple. And I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming. But that isn’t true,” Biden said.
-ABC News’ John Verhovek, Molly Nagle and Beatrice Peterson
Jan 07, 3:14 pm
Biden expected to name RI Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary
Biden is expected to name Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as his pick to be the next secretary of commerce, sources familiar with the decision told ABC News on Thursday.
Raimondo, who was first elected governor in 2014 and chaired the Democratic Governors Association from December 2018 to December 2019, was one of the women under consideration to be Biden’s running mate and was a potential choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.
The governor, who has earned praise for her state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, is currently quarantining after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, according to her office, but that quarantine period is expected to end on Friday.
When officially announced, she will be the 10th woman picked to serve in Biden’s Cabinet thus far.
-ABC News’ Luke Barr, Molly Nagle and John Verhovek
Jan 07, 1:38 pm
First Cabinet secretary to resign over Capitol violence
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning from her position in the wake of rioting at the U.S. Capitol.
She cites the storming of the Capitol by “supporters of the President” as an “entirely avoidable event” in a letter she is sending out to her colleagues announcing her resignation.
“Yesterday, our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the President stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed. As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside,” Chao said.
It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the U.S. Department of Transportation. pic.twitter.com/rFxPsBoh6t
Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Jan 07, 1:38 pm
More Guardsmen headed to DC, fencing to go up around Capitol
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, at a press conference alongside Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Thursday morning, said that 6,200 Guardsmen will be deployed to the DC area by the weekend and, as of noon, 850 personnel are on Capitol grounds.
He also announced the National Guard will set up seven-foot fencing surrounding the Capitol complex from Constitution, Independence and First Ave to the front of the Capitol pond.
Around 4,000 new Guardsmen will arrive from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Some of these troops were already going to be arriving in D.C. to help out with the inauguration, as they have in the past. The official said that their arrival has been accelerated and that they will be on month-long deployments to help out with the current situation and continue beyond the inauguration.
Jan 07, 1:38 pm
SCOTUS rejects Gohmert’s appeal
After Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, filed an appeal to the Supreme Court in his suit against Vice President Mike Pence, the Supreme Court formally rejected the effort by Gohmert and nearly a dozen other Trump allies.
The suit attempted to force Pence to acknowledge he has the authority to reject electoral votes and effectively overturn the election, which was not within his power.
Jan 07, 12:46 pm
FBI director releases statement on Capitol breach
FBI Director Chris Wray has released a statement on Wednesday’s violence and destruction of property at the Capitol, slamming the rioting as “a blatant and appalling disregard for our institutions of government and the orderly administration of the democratic process.”
“As we’ve said consistently, we do not tolerate violent agitators and extremists who use the guise of First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc. Such behavior betrays the values of our democracy. Make no mistake: With our partners, we will hold accountable those who participated in yesterday’s siege of the Capitol,” Wray said in the statement.
He said the FBI has deployed its full investigative resources and is working its partners to pursue those criminally involved. He also encouraged members of the public to provide tips.
“We are determined to find those responsible and ensure justice is served,” he added.
Jan 07, 12:38 pm
White House withdraws DHS official’s nomination, says it doesn’t have to do with his call for Trump to condemn violence
Soon after acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf issued a statement calling on Trump to condemn Wednesday’s violence, the White House said that his nomination to be DHS secretary had been withdrawn from the Senate.
But a White House spokesman said the withdrawal took place Wednesday and had nothing to do with Wolf’s statement Thurdsay.
“The withdrawal occurred yesterday and was not related at all to Wednesday’s events or the Acting Secretary’s comments this morning,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said. “Acting Secretary Wolf remains the acting secretary and continues to perform the duties of his office.”
Wolf is currently on a flight back from the Middle East, according to a person familiar with his whereabouts.
Wolf’s nomination was only sent to the Senate on Sunday, the same day the new Congress was sworn in. He had previously been nominated in September.
Jan 07, 12:31 pm
Romney puts out scathing statement on divided nation
Sen. Mitt Romney came out with a lengthy statement Thursday morning analyzing the various divisions in the country and urging a unified path forward.
Romney writes that factors including leadership, the media, social media, the downfall of communities and others “have combined to threaten” the success of the founders’ vision for the country.
“Most disappointing of all, too many political figures have stoked these divisions. Demagogues on the left scapegoat the rich; demagogues on the right scapegoat the immigrant. They each scapegoat the other,” he writes.
Romney said when selecting elected officials it is important to consider their character. He’s looking for someone who “calls upon our better angels”
“Today when I vote, I pay as much attention to the character of the candidate as I do to their policies. If we choose leaders who inflame resentment and division, our nation will be angry and divided. We have a choice to make: Would we rather have our “side” win to punish the “other side” or would we rather have our nation united?”
Jan 07, 12:30 pm
Federal charges against some rioters expected Thursday
Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has issued an updated statement in response to Wednesday’s [storming of the U.S. Capitol](], saying federal prosecutors have been working overnight to identify perpetrators to draw up charges when warranted, including on some who he says will be charged Thursday.
“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law,” Rosen said in a statement, noting law enforcement officials are working with the public to gather evidence.
“Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law,” he added.
A law enforcement official confirms to ABC News that thus far at least a dozen individuals involved in Wednesday’s violence are already expected to face charges and that list will grow significantly as more are identified.
Jan 07, 11:55 am
Schumer calls for immediate removal of Trump from office
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has called for the immediate removal of President Trump from office.
He said in a statement Thursday morning the “quickest and most effective” way to do this would be through use of the 25th Amendment but that if Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet don’t act, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.
“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,” Schumer said in the statement.
“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. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he said.
There have been discussions among some members of Trump’s Cabinet and his allies over invoking the 25th Amendment, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the discussions told ABC News.
Jan 07, 11:52 am
Facebook ‘indefinitely’ blocks Trump’s account
Facebook has taken the unprecedented step of indefinitely blocking Trump’s account after removing a video and temporarily suspending his account amid eruptions of violence at the Capitol on Wednesday.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
As the world watched a pro-Trump mob storm the Capitol Wednesday, Trump shared a video on his social media accounts telling the group “we love you” and “you’re very special” while he told them to go home. The video was soon removed by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and as pressure mounted, Facebook and Twitter temporarily suspended Trump’s accounts.
Jan 07, 11:33 am
John Boehner calls storming of Capitol an ‘invasion,’ slams GOP
Another prominent former Republican leader has broken his silence on Trump and the Republican Party Thursday, with former House Speaker John Boehner calling for the GOP to “awaken” following Wednesday’s “invasion” of the U.S. Capitol.
“I once said the party of Lincoln and Reagan is off taking a nap. The nap has become a nightmare for our nation. The GOP must awaken. The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic,” Boehner said in a tweet.
I once said the party of Lincoln and Reagan is off taking a nap. The nap has become a nightmare for our nation. The GOP must awaken. The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic.
— John Boehner (@SpeakerBoehner) January 7, 2021
Jan 07, 11:20 am
First GOP lawmaker publicly calls for invocation of 25th Amendment
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., now one of Trump’s fiercest critics on Capitol Hill, is the first Republican to publicly call for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
“Sadly, yesterday it became clear that the president not only abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people’s house, he invoked and inflamed passions that gave fuel to the insurrection we saw here,” Kinzinger said in a video posted to Twitter. “When pressed to move and denounce the violence he barely did so, while, of course, victimizing himself.”
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his health, but from reality itself. It is for this reason that I call for the vice president and members of the Cabinet to ensure that the next few weeks are safe for the American people, and that we have a sane captain of the ship,” he added.
Kinzinger also spoke forcefully against the Electoral College challenge — and his colleagues’ support of it — during the House debate Wednesday night over the ratification of Pennsylvania’s vote.
Jan 07, 11:09 am
Senior White House National Security Council official resigns
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger resigned on Wednesday, according to a White House official and a person familiar with his resignation, joining a slate of White House staff to resign in the wake of Wednesday’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol.
The White House’s National Security Council did not respond to questions about Pottinger, who was an assistant to the president.
Jan 07, 11:05 am
Barr speaks out against Trump, calls his conduct a ‘betrayal of his office and supporters’
Former Attorney General Bill Barr, once one of President Trump’s most loyal allies, is speaking out against his former boss in light of Wednesday’s storming of the U.S. Capitol, saying in a statement that his conduct “was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable. The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters,” he said in a statement obtained by ABC News.
Barr resigned last month with five weeks remaining in Trump’s term after months of growing tensions with Trump that culminated in Barr’s refusal to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents and his public rebuke of Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Jan 07, 10:13 am
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigns from position as special envoy
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has resigned from his position as U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, telling CNBC during an interview Thursday morning he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday night with the news.
“I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney said. “It’s a nothing thing. It doesn’t affect the outcome. It doesn’t affect the transition. But it’s what I’ve got, right, and it’s a position I really enjoy doing. But you can’t do it. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of my friends resign over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Asked if, in retrospect, he considered himself an enabler of Trump, he said, “it’s a fair question.”
“The answer is I don’t know what I feel yet, entirely. I can tell you this, there are, most of us, almost all of us, except I guess the people who are on the inner circle right now who didn’t sign up for what you saw last night.”
He said all of Trump’s “successes” — “all of that went away yesterday, and I think you’re right to ask the question as to how did it happen.”
Mulvaney went on to say the issue now is that Trump’s inner circle consists of people like trade adviser Peter Navarro and personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“Clearly he is not the same as he was eight months ago, and certainly the people advising him are not the same as they were eight months ago, and that leads to a dangerous sort of combination as you saw yesterday,” he said. “I imagine a lot of folks in the building, a lot of folks who served him from the beginning who are no longer in the beginning, are asking the same things this morning.”
Jan 07, 10:05 am
Threats that will outlast Donald Trump exposed in siege of Capitol: Analysis
It was bad, unspeakably and unfathomably so — utter lawlessness and disorder, carnage in the seat of American government, happening with the seeming encouragement of the outgoing president.
It could have been worse. It might still get there, even with President Trump’s statement Thursday morning pledging “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th.”
Until Wednesday’s siege, when a mob of extremists engaged in an attempted insurrection and violent occupation of the Capitol, there seemed to be little cost to some Republicans in indulging Trump’s conspiracy theories, lies and fantasies.
That fiction was exposed by Wednesday’s horror. The trauma of the day saw seemingly sincere concerns about election security melt away, amid a newfound bipartisan resolve to finish final certification of Biden’s victory.
Now, there’s something approaching bipartisan unity in disgust for Trump’s behavior through the post-election period. Denunciations and even some resignations are flowing in more steadily after Tuesday’s Georgia runoff losses and Wednesday’s repulsive events.
“Remember this day,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. He will surely get that wish.
Even aside from impeachment and 25th Amendment talk, Trump will be an ex-president in 13 days. The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part.
Cleansing the movement he commands, or getting rid of what he represents to so many Americans, is going to be something else.
Jan 07, 8:08 am
Congressman recalls moment woman was shot inside Capitol building
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said he witnessed the moment a police officer fatally shot a woman inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, as Trump supporters stormed the building.
Mullin said the shooting happened as an angry, pro-Trump mob that had been protesting outside broke into the Capitol building and attempted to force entry into the House chamber, which was still in session.
“They were trying to come through the front door, which is where I was at in the chamber, and in the back they were trying to come through the speaker’s lobby, and that’s problematic when you’re trying to defend two fronts,” Mullin told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Thursday on Good Morning America.
“When they broke the glass in the back, the (police) lieutenant that was there, him and I already had multiple conversations prior to this, and he didn’t have a choice at that time,” Mullin said. “The mob was going to come through the door, there was a lot of members and staff that were in danger at the time. And when he [drew] his weapon, that’s a decision that’s very hard for anyone to make and, once you draw your weapon like that, you have to defend yourself with deadly force.”
A U.S. Capitol Police officer in plainclothes fired his service weapon as “multiple individuals” tried to gain access to the House room, striking a woman. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to Robert Contee, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. Authorities have not yet released the woman’s identity.
Mullin said police “showed a lot of restraint” and “did the best they could.”
“That young lady’s family’s lives changed and his (the officer’s) life also changed,” Mullin said. “But what also happened is that mob that was trying to go through that door, they left. And his actions will may be judged in a lot of different ways moving forward, but his actions I believe saved people’s lives even more. Unfortunately, it did take one though.”
Mullin said he “never thought” he would witness such a scene unfold in the United States.
“I get people being passionate and being frustrated, but there’s a right way and and wrong way to do things and yesterday was wrong. There was absolutely no excuse for it,” he said. “We’re very fortunate a lot more people didn’t actually lost their life. One is way too many.”
Jan 07, 7:31 am
WV lawmaker took video of himself rushing into US Capitol with pro-Trump mob
A West Virginia lawmaker was among the people — mostly pro-Trump protesters — who broke into the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.
Del. Derrick Evans took a video of himself and others rushing into the building after attacking Capitol police. In it, he is seen wearing a helmet and yelling, “We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!”
Once inside, Evans walked around the Capitol Rotunda, which is filled with historical works of art, and yelled, “No vandalizing!”
He has since deleted the video from his social media.
“I want to thank everyone for their prayers today,” Evans wrote in a Facebook statement after the Capitol break-in. “I am on the bus headed back home to WV. As many of you know, for the last few years I have traveled across the country to film many different events. Today, I had the opportunity to film another event in DC. I want to assure you all that I did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement, nor did I participate in any destruction that may have occurred. I was simply there as an independent member of the media to film history.”
Jan 07, 6:58 am
Biden unveils pick for AG, other key Justice Department nominations
Biden officially announced key nominations for the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.
Judge Merrick Garland is his nominee for attorney general, Lisa Monaco is his nominee for deputy attorney general, Vanita Gupta is his nominee for associate attorney general, and Kristen Clarke is his nominee for assistant attorney general for the department’s civil rights division.
Biden said he is “honored” that the nominees have “accepted this call to serve at such a critical time in our nation’s history.”
“Our first-rate nominees to lead the Justice Department are eminently qualified, embody character and judgment that is beyond reproach, and have devoted their careers to serving the American people with honor and integrity,” Biden said in a statement Thursday. “They will restore the independence of the Department so it serves the interests of the people not a presidency, rebuild public trust in the rule of law, and work tirelessly to ensure a more fair and equitable justice system. They are among the most accomplished legal minds in our country who also reflect the best of America’s full range of talents and background.”
Jan 07, 3:45 am
Pence announces Biden as next president, Trump accepts defeat
Hours after a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol to protest the results of the 2020 election, congressional tellers have ascertained Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won.
The announcement was made by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar at 3:39 a.m. Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence then repeated the totals at 3:40 a.m., first for president, then for vice president.
Biden will take President Donald Trump’s place in the White House on Jan. 20.
Rep. Louie Gohmert and other House Republicans attempted to object to Wisconsin but did not have a senator join the objection. Gohmert said a senator withdrew his objection.
Biden and Harris finished with 306 electoral votes, while Trump and Pence finished with 232.
In a statement tweeted by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino following the news, Trump said: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”
This is the first time Trump has publicly accepted Biden’s victory and agreed to a peaceful transfer of power.
Jan 07, 3:24 am
House also rejects challenge to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes
After two hours of heated debate, the House of Representatives rejected the Republican objections to certify Pennsylvania’s Electoral College ballots early Thursday.
There were 138 House Republicans who voted to sustain the objection, while 64 voted against it and 218 Democrats also voted against it.
No House Democrats voted in favor of the objection, while a majority of House Republicans (68%) did.
The GOP effort to overturn the will of Pennsylvania voters failed in the Senate just a few hours earlier, after the upper chamber completely bypassed debate and went straight to a vote.
With no further objections anticipated, Congress is expected certify Pennsylvania’s Electoral College ballots. Congress will then continue counting electoral votes from the rest of the states.
Jan 07, 3:00 am
Heated confrontation between House members amid debate over Pennsylvania electoral vote count
A brief but tense confrontation unfolded on the floor of the House of Representatives early Thursday morning, with some members appearing ready to come to blows while debating challenges put forth by Republican lawmakers seeking to reverse Biden’s win.
Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., used his five minutes to give an impassioned speech during the debate over the Electoral College votes from Pennsylvania.
“These objections don’t deserve an ounce of respect. Not an ounce,” Lamb said, aiming his comments towards the Republicans in the room. “A woman died out there tonight, and you’re making these objections!”
“That attack today, it didn’t materialize out of nowhere. It was inspired by lies,” he continued. “The members who are repeating those lies should be ashamed of themselves. Their constituents should be ashamed of them.”
Rep. Morgan Griffiths, R-Va., then jumped in, attempting to make a point of order and asking for some of Lamb’s words to be stricken from the record.
“The gentleman said there were lies on this floor today, looking over this direction. I ask that those words be taken down,” Griffiths said to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi regarding Lamb’s speech.
Pelosi dismissed Griffiths because he spoke out of turn. Lamb then told Republicans: “The truth hurts.”
As Pelosi banged her gavel, attempting to get the lower chamber in order, several members ran toward the back of the room. Sources, as well as reporters who were in the room, told ABC News that House Republicans and Democrats appeared to be confronting each other in the aisle, and a shouting match ensued about who should sit down.
Reps. Andy Harris, R-Md., and Colin Allred, D-Texas, appeared to be on the verge of a fist fight, sources told ABC News. There was shouting, but no punches were thrown.
The heated moment passed just as quickly as it began, and the debate resumed.
The House is expected to vote soon on the Republican objections to certify Pennsylvania’s Electoral College ballots. Just hours earlier, the Senate voted 92-7 against the measure.
Jan 07, 12:50 am
Senate rejects objections to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes
The Republican effort to overturn the will of Pennsylvania voters failed in the Senate early Thursday morning by a vote of 7-92.
The upper chamber had completely bypassed debate and went straight to a vote.
After the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not expect any additional challenges to the Electoral College results.
The Senate now stands ready to return to a joint session of Congress, as the Pennsylvania objection goes to the House of Representatives for a vote. Both chambers of Congress must vote in favor of the challenge for it to succeed.
Jan 07, 12:45 am
Objection made for Pennsylvania, House and Senate to vote
As certification of the vote continues in Congress, an objection was made to electors from the state of Pennsylvania, which was supported by both a Republican representative and a senator, forcing a vote.
GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania objected to the state’s electoral count, and said he was joined by 80 of his Republican colleagues.
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley objected for the Senate.
The Joint Session of Congress is now on hold, so that the respective chambers can split up for two hours of debate. In the Senate, they chose to skip debate and immediately moved to vote.
When both do vote, the objection is expected to fail, as the one over Arizona’s electors did previously.
Earlier, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama attempted to object to the electoral college votes from Nevada, but because no senators joined him, the objection was not sustained.
“Unfortunately, no United States senator has joined in this effort,” Brooks said.
Jan 07, 12:12 am
Objection to Georgia, Michigan electoral votes fail after no senator signs on
GOP Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia objected to the Georgia electoral votes but said he does not have a senator that will sign on because of the events of Wednesday.
Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler reversed course and said she would not object after the riot activity on the Hill.
After Hice announced senators had withdrawn their objection, there were cheers from the Democratic side.
Additionally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and 70 Republicans are objecting to Michigan, but no senator signed on to support the objection.
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