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Jan. 8 Highlights: Pelosi calls for Trump's resignation or face impeachment, Twitter bans him

A growing number of lawmakers calling for removing or impeaching the president. House Speaker Pelosi also makes calls to prevent Trump from launching a nuclear strike.
Image: Navy circles show scenes from the mob at the Capitol, Joe Biden, Donald Trump and newspaper headlines.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

Democratic leaders in Congress will move on newly drafted articles of impeachment as soon as next week against President Donald Trump if he doesn't first resign, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

The news comes as Pelosi, D-Calif., reiterated her and presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's, D-N.Y., demand in a letter to her caucus Friday afternoon that Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Pelosi also said she spoke to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley on Friday morning about preventing Trump from launching a nuclear strike. "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.

This live coverage has ended.

Read the highlights:

— Twitter permanently suspends Trump's personal account.

— Read the full text of draft of new articles of impeachment against Trump.

— Trump says he won't attend Biden's inauguration.

— Clyburn says House should make Trump only president to be impeached twice.

— No evidence of antifa involvement in Capitol mob, FBI says.

— Troubled by Capitol riot, Cabinet officials DeVos, Chao resign.

694d ago / 6:48 PM UTC

W. Va. GOP lawmaker charged after videoing himself rioting inside Capitol

A West Virginia Republican legislator who recorded and then deleted a video of himself storming the U.S. Capitol with a mob has been charged in connection with Wednesday's riots.

Del. Derrick Evans, a Republican West Virginia state representative, was charged Friday, NBC News confirmed.

Despite coming under mounting pressure to resign, Evans has refused to do so.

Nearly 32,000 people signed a Change.org petition demanding that Evans step down.

Evans livestreamed a video on his Facebook page Wednesday afternoon outside the Capitol as rioters who support President Trump pushed against a police barricade.

"Bring the tear gas. We don't care," Evans is heard yelling. "We're taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today's a test run. We're taking this country back."

At another point, he's heard asking, "Where's the Proud Boys?" referring to the far-right, all-male, self-described group of "Western chauvinists."

694d ago / 6:43 PM UTC

Man with foot up on desk in Pelosi's office at Capitol arrested

WASHINGTON — A man photographed casually sitting with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at the U.S. Capitol while a pro-Trump mob rampaged the halls of Congress was arrested Friday, law enforcement officials said.

Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, was taken into custody in his home state on charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry and theft of public property. Further details were not immediately available.

Apparent images of Barnett were splashed across social media as the deadly mayhem unfolded in the nation's capital on Wednesday, just as Democratic and Republican lawmakers convened to count the Electoral College votes

Click here to read the full story.

694d ago / 6:40 PM UTC
694d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

At least two Dems in Congress say rioters stole computers

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At least three Democrats in Congress said that the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday stole computers from their offices, raising cybersecurity concerns.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had a laptop stolen, as did Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who tweeted about the theft. 

It wasn't immediately clear what protections were on those devices, though Congress generally lags behind the federal government in implementing cybersecurity measures. Not all Senate computers automatically encrypt their hard drives or require a password to log in if they're unused for a few minutes. Emails were visible on a desktop computer left running in Pelosi's office.

While experts say most congressional laptops shouldn't provide easy access to classified material, both the Senate and House connect to a centralized email server, and staffers' computers likely contain months or years of emails and other sensitive material.

“There’s a very good chance that a lot of sensitive and possibly secret information could have been leaked by those people being in there and taking stuff,” said Lou Rabon, the CEO of Cyber Defense Group, a cybersecurity consultancy based in Los Angeles.

694d ago / 6:20 PM UTC
694d ago / 6:15 PM UTC

Clyburn: House should make Trump only president to be impeached twice

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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said that the House must impeach President Donald Trump, musing that doing so would give the president another opportunity to be part of something unprecedented.

“He's always wanting to do stuff that has never been done before. There's never been a president impeached twice before. So, let's impeach him and give him what he wants," Clyburn said during a Zoom call with reporters.

“This is bad stuff. And it's time for everybody to call it what it is," he said. "It is time for the Republican leadership to invoke the 25th Amendment. They need to do it. Pence needs to do it. But if he doesn't, we need to impeach. We need to impeach."

694d ago / 6:15 PM UTC
694d ago / 6:15 PM UTC

Extremists made little secret of ambitions to 'occupy' Capitol in weeks before attack

A digital flyer made public on Instagram and Facebook in December made little secret of the ambitions of some of the people planning to visit Washington on Jan. 6: “Operation Occupy the Capitol.”

That call to arms is just one of the many warning signs on extremist sites and mainstream social media platforms that extremism experts say were easy to spot but ultimately disregarded by law enforcement in the runup to Wednesday's riot at the Capitol, which led to the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, 42, who was reportedly hit with a fire extinguisher during the melee.

On the fringe message board 8kun, which is popular with QAnon followers, for example, users talked for weeks about a siege of the Capitol, some talking about it like a foregone conclusion. Others simply debated how violent the uprising should be, and if police should be exempt.

Read the full story here.

694d ago / 6:12 PM UTC

Hope Hicks plans to leave the White House next week, two sources say

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's most loyal aides, is planning to leave the White House next week, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News' Peter Alexander.

The sources said that Hicks decided to exit the West Wing after Trump's election defeat, and that the decision was made before a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Hicks joins a growing list of people in Trump's orbit who are planning to leave the administration following the violent riots.

694d ago / 6:01 PM UTC

Speaker Pelosi called military chief about ‘unhinged’ Trump’s access to nuclear launch codes

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House members Friday that she called Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to ask what was being done to prevent President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch codes, calling the president “unhinged.”

The California Democrat's move comes after calling for the vice president and Cabinet to remove Trump from office in the wake of his inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol on Wednesday in a deadly assault.

"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 said in a letter to House Democrats.

Continue reading at NBCNews.com

694d ago / 5:32 PM UTC

RNC Chairwoman condemns violence on Capitol Hill at RNC Winter Meeting, thanks Trump for his support

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This morning, at the RNC Committee meeting in Amelia Island, FL, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel condemned the actions that happened at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. 

“Violence does not represent acts of patriotism, but an attack on our country and its founding principles. Our founding fathers established a nation of laws, not a nation of anarchy," she said. 

McDaniel was unanimously re-elected to her position as RNC chair though she ran unopposed.

Thursday during a private breakfast at the RNC Winter Meeting, President Trump called into this smaller and more private event. He was met with a warm and enthusiastic reaction from the members in attendance.

Trump was originally meant to address the larger group in a video message during evening festivities. However, due to the violence at the Capitol, the plan changed. 

The newly re-elected chairwoman didn’t discuss the mob or Trump's role. Instead, she said the Republican Party can “do things peacefully. And that is the path we need to take.”

McDaniel then went on this morning to thank Trump for his support in her nomination. 

694d ago / 5:03 PM UTC

Family of fallen Capitol Police officer recall their 'hero'

The U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after being injured in clashes with pro-Trump rioters in the Capitol was a veteran who served in Operation Desert Shield and "a hero," his family said in a statement Friday.

Officer Brian D. Sicknick, 42, was injured while engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in a statement. He was taken to a hospital, where he died about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

In a statement released on behalf of Sicknick's family and close friends, Ken Sicknick said his brother, a New Jersey native, was the youngest of three siblings and had "wanted to be a police officer his entire life."

Sicknick said his brother joined the New Jersey Air National Guard "as a means to that end," and "served his country honorably in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Shield, of which my family is very proud."

He joined the Capitol Police in 2008, "serving there in support of our country for the past 12 years," Sicknick said.

The family said it was still in the dark about what happened, but they don't want Sicknick's death to become "a political issue."  

"Many details regarding Wednesday's events and the direct causes of Brian's injuries remain unknown, and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian's passing a political issue," the statement said. "Please honor Brian's life and service and respect our privacy while we move forward in doing the same. Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember.” 

694d ago / 4:19 PM UTC

Federal investigation underway into death of Capitol Police officer

A senior Department of Justice official confirms to NBC News that there is a federal death investigation into the events surrounding the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

The investigation will be conducted jointly by the FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department with supervision by the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sicknick was injured while physically engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in a statement Thursday night. He was taken to a hospital, where he died about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008, is the fifth person to die from Wednesday's violent clash in Washington.

In a statement Friday, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and fellow officers of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick."

He added that the Justice Department would "spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible.”

694d ago / 4:09 PM UTC

Senate to hold joint hearings on Capitol security failures

The bipartisan leaders of two Senate committees announced Friday that they would hold joint hearings on the security failures that allowed to the Capitol to be overrun by rioters earlier this week. 

"It is our duty as bipartisan leaders of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over homeland security, oversight and Capitol operations to examine the security failures that led to Wednesday’s attack," Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Rob Portman R-Ohio, leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., leaders of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, said in a joint statement.

"An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American," the said. "We plan to conduct oversight and hold bipartisan hearings on these horrific events, and work together to make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again.” 

 

694d ago / 4:01 PM UTC
694d ago / 3:55 PM UTC

Trump says he won't attend Biden's inauguration

President Donald Trump said Friday that he would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, putting to rest any lingering questions about whether he would go.

"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," Trump tweeted.

NBC News reported Thursday night that Vice President Mike Pence would likely attend the inauguration if invited.

There have been only a handful of times in American history that an outgoing president did not attend the inauguration of his successor. John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson all skipped the event, while Richard Nixon departed the White House after his resignation and did not attend Gerald Ford's swearing-in.

694d ago / 3:54 PM UTC

GOP Sen. Sasse open to impeaching Trump

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Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska on Friday became the first GOP senator to publicly say he is open to the idea of impeaching and removing President Donald Trump from office following the riot on the U.S. Capitol this week.

Sasse made multiple media appearances Friday morning, first telling CBS News that if members of the House "come together and have a process, I will consider whatever articles they might move.”

“I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office," Sasse aded. "He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against that. What he did was wicked. That said, the question of what the House does now and how the Senate responds to it over the next 12 days is a critically important question."

Later, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Sasse, asked if Trump should be impeached and removed, said: "There are more things that I need to understand before I get to a conclusory judgment about that, but I think that the question of was the president derelict in his duty, that’s not an open question. He was.”

694d ago / 3:05 PM UTC

Dejected Trump supporters leave Washington, create new theories for Capitol violence

WASHINGTON — A Trump supporter cried in the lobby of the Capitol Hill Hotel on Thursday as she poured herself a cup of coffee and told her friend that her son had disowned her for joining in Wednesday's chaos at the U.S. Capitol. But minutes later, when the driver of a car yelled at a group of haggard Trump supporters to "get the f--- out of our city," she joined a chorus of others to respond with their own expletives.

While supporters of President Donald Trump checked out of their hotels in Washington on Thursday morning, sharing feelings of sadness, anger, defensiveness and paranoia with one another, residents of the nation's capital said they were glad to see them leave after a day of terror.

Image: Washington DC Tense After U.S. Capitol Is Stormed By Protestors
A Trump supporter complains of election fraud outside the Capitol on Jan. 7, 2021.John Moore / Getty Images

"As a brown person, I wasn't allowed to go out," said a man who lives near Capitol Hill, who asked to remain anonymous because he is a government employee. "I watched it on television. It's really unbelievable that something like that could happen. When the BLM protests were going on, we saw so much more police presence. I don't know or understand what happened yesterday."

Trump supporters did not have many answers, either, although they provided numerous conspiracy theories.

Read the full story here.

694d ago / 2:54 PM UTC

Sen. Manchin asks Twitter to suspend Trump's account in the run-up to Inauguration Day

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Friday called on Twitter to suspend President Donald Trump's account in the run-up to Inauguration Day, saying it would be "in the best interest of our national security and public safety." 

Twitter removed three tweets from Trump's account Wednesday and suspended it for 12 hours after he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election following the riot in the U.S. Capitol. The company also warned that further violations of its rules would result in the "permanent suspension" of Trump's account.

Former first lady Michelle Obama also called on Twitter and other social media networks to permanently ban Trump, in a statement posted to her social media accounts Thursday.

Trump has not tweeted since posting remarks Thursday night in which he condemned the rioters and said there would be a smooth transition of power on Jan. 20, a remarkable about-face that comes amid growing calls for his removal.

694d ago / 2:14 PM UTC

Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff after death of police Officer Brian Sicknick

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, the speaker's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said on Twitter.

Sicknick was injured while engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said in a statement Thursday night. He was taken to a hospital, where he died at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

694d ago / 2:11 PM UTC

George W. Bush, others criticized for comparing Capitol unrest to 'banana republics'

As mobs stormed the building at the heart of American democracy Wednesday, stunned U.S. officials, among them a former president, reached for the same phrase to draw comparisons: "banana republic."

"This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic — not our democratic republic," former President George W. Bush said in a statement.

His sentiment more colorfully echoed on Twitter by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.: "We are witnessing absolute banana republic crap in the United States Capitol right now."

While Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a former presidential candidate, tweeted, "This is 3rd world style anti-American anarchy."

But American comparisons of the violent and frenzied pro-Trump mobs who plunged the Capitol into chaos, leaving at least five dead, with events in countries in the so-called Third World, have been met with derision and offense by many who live and work in developing countries.

Read the full story here

Image: Trump Supporters Storm US Capitol
Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building after a Save America Rally.Joel Marklund / Bildbyran via ZUMA Press
694d ago / 2:11 PM UTC

House Democrats looking at impeachment vote next week, senior Democrat says

House Democratic leaders are eyeing a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as early as the middle of next week, Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark said Friday.

"We know that we have limited time, but that every day that Donald Trump is president of the United States, is a day of grave danger. So we can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the floor for a House vote quickly," Clark, D-Mass., said on CNN’s "New Day."

Asked how early the House Judiciary Committee could bring the articles to the floor, Clark said, "That will be ... as early as mid-next week."

Democratic leaders met Thursday evening to discuss how to remove the president from office, according to a member of Congress who was in the room. They discussed how to expedite the process and could call the House back into session as soon as Monday.

Read the story.

694d ago / 2:09 PM UTC

U.S. foes like China and Iran see opportunity in the chaos

LONDON — For America's adversaries, there was no greater proof of the fallibility of Western democracy than the sight of the U.S. Capitol shrouded in smoke and besieged by a mob whipped up by their unwillingly outgoing president.

Already ChinaIran and Russia have pointed to the tumult in Washington as evidence that the much-vaunted U.S. system of government is fundamentally flawed and riddled with hypocrisy.

Across Europe there is grave concern, too. Not just at the division and instability rocking their powerful trans-Atlantic ally, but also at what it means for their relationship with Washington after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated in two weeks.

Many question how the U.S. can ever again lecture other countries about democratic values or how it can tell other countries that they aren't internally stable enough to have nuclear weapons.

Read the full story here

Image: A Capitol Police officer stands with members of the National Guard behind a crowd control fence surrounding Capitol Hill
A Capitol Police officer stands with members of the National Guard behind a crowd control fence surrounding Capitol Hill.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
694d ago / 12:18 PM UTC

More Trump administration resignations

Five officials at the Federal Aviation Administration, the entire non-career political staff except the agency's administrator, have resigned, according to an email sent by the FAA's chief-of-staff to senior managers on Thursday evening and obtained by NBC News.

"This evening, the Secretary and the Administrator received resignation letters from all our non-career staff members here at FAA. These resignations will be effective Monday evening. Our colleagues’ decisions, given the gravity of yesterday’s events, are understandable. Like all of us, they are outraged by the brazen and violent attack on one of the sacred institutions of American democracy," said Angela Stubblefield. 

The assistant secretary for mental health and substance use, Elinore F. McCance-Katz, at the Department of Health and Human Services also resigned on Thursday, according to a statement she released. She said that she had planned to stay on until Biden became president but her plans "abruptly changed" after she saw the violent takeover of the Capitol.

"I believe that this behavior was totally unacceptable and, in my own heart, I simply am not able to continue," she wrote, and then subtly implied that Trump is to blame. "Because I believe that the mental health of our people has suffered so greatly under the stresses of COVID-19, the social justice issues that have been so painful for so many, and now with the rending of our nation over questions raised about the presidential election, I cannot support language that results in incitement of violence and risks our very existence."

694d ago / 11:52 AM UTC

More than 200 lawmakers support removing Trump from office

More than 200 members of Congress are calling for Trump to be removed from office either through the 25th Amendment, impeachment or the president resigning. That's up from 100 lawmakers on Thursday morning, hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

The group of lawmakers includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who publicly urged Vice President Mike Pence yesterday to meet with the president's Cabinet and invoke the 25th Amendment. Pelosi made clear that the House is prepared to move forward with impeachment if Pence decides not to take action. He said Thursday he opposes using the 25th Amendment. 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is the lone Republican explicitly calling on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, though Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, said in a local TV interview Thursday, "If the Cabinet decided to do that, I would not oppose it." 

694d ago / 11:26 AM UTC
694d ago / 11:24 AM UTC
694d ago / 5:23 AM UTC

Day after clashing with pro-Trump mob, Capitol officer dies

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A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died a day after clashing with a pro-Trump mob at the Capitol.

Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured while engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed, Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said. He was taken to a local hospital where he died about 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police department in 2008, is the fifth person to die from Wednesday's violent clash in Washington.

Read the full story here

694d ago / 4:39 AM UTC

FBI offers $50,000 to find DC pipe bomb suspect

The FBI on Thursday announced it is offering a $50,000 reward to find the person responsible for two pipe bombs at the Democratic and Republican national committee headquarters on Wednesday when there were riots by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol. 

The bombs, which did not explode, were discovered at the two headquarters after reports received around 1 p.m. Wednesday. United States Capitol Police said that its bomb squad "determined that both devices were, in fact, hazardous and could cause great harm to public safety." They were disabled and turned over to the FBI.

Law enforcement is now trying to identify the Capitol rioters, and the FBI Washington Field Office said earlier Thursday it had received more than 4,000 tips.

The Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters are a short distance from the Capitol grounds.

695d ago / 6:31 PM UTC

Capitol rioter who put feet on Pelosi's desk got PPP loan

Image: US-POLITICS-ELECTION-TRUMP
Richard Barnett sits in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office Wednesday.Sau Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

Richard Barnett, the Capitol rioter photographed with his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, received a $9,300 forgivable loan under the Paycheck Protection Program last April, records show. 

An independent glass and glazing contractor in Gravette, Arkansas, Barnett was an early participant in the federal program that aimed to help small businesses survive COVID-related shutdowns and continue paying their employees. In his PPP application, Barnett, 60, said the loan would preserve one job, presumably his own, and was based on total payroll costs of $44,640 at his enterprise. 

Barnett did not mention receiving government assistance when he bragged to The New York Times about breaking into Pelosi's office and leaving her a nasty note. 

Efforts to reach Barnett were unsuccessful.