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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.

2 Seattle officers on leave after reports they were in D.C. during riot

Two Seattle police officers are on leave after reports they were in Washington, D.C., Wednesday when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, the police chief said.

Chief Adrian Diaz said in a statement that the department was made aware Friday that at least two officers were reportedly in the nation's capital on the day of the riot. The statement does not allege any illegal actions. 

"The Department fully supports all lawful expressions of First Amendment freedom of speech, but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer," Diaz said.

"If any SPD officers were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, I will immediately terminate them," he said.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave while the police accountability office investigates, police said. The office is an independent body that deals with allegations of misconduct.

Five people died in and around the riot at the U.S. Capitol, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick who died Thursday of injuries suffered while "physically engaging with protesters," police said.

McConnell sends potential impeachment timeline memo to Senate Republicans

Late Friday, NBC News has obtained a memo circulated to Senate Republicans by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell entitled “Impeachment Procedure Summary.”

The memo lays out a timeline for a potential impeachment trial, and states that without a unanimous consent agreement from all 100 Senators to bring the Senate back from recess on the next 10 days, the soonest the Senate could receive articles of impeachment from the House would be on January 19th. 

This memo essentially states that if Democrats want to impeach President Trump, it will take up floor time during the first moments of Joe Biden’s presidency, and a Democratic Congress.

A source familiar said that Republican Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer were briefed by the Senate parliamentarian today.

Republican AGs group sent robocalls urging march to Capitol

An arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national group representing the top law enforcement officers in their states, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the day before the building was stormed by a pro-Trump mob.

“At 1:00 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” said the voice on the recording, which was obtained by NBC News.

The calls, which did not advocate violence or suggest the building should be breached, was sent out by the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a fundraising arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association. The groups share funding, staff and office space in Washington, D.C.

In a statement to NBC News, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who runs the fund, said the calls were sent out without his knowledge.

“I was unaware of unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff with regard to this week’s rally,” said Marshall, who assumed his role Nov. 10.

Click here for the full story. 

Capitol riots renew calls for D.C. to become 51st state

Haley Talbot

Julie Tsirkin and Haley Talbot

The aftermath of the violence on Wednesday as police lost control of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol renewed calls for Washington, D.C., to become the 51st state.

“We must get statehood on the president’s desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Thursday. “Congress must immediately transfer command of the District of Columbia National Guard from the president of the United States and put it squarely under the command and control of the District of Columbia.”

It took hours for National Guard to be deployed as lawmakers, staff and reporters took cover from pro-Trump rioters storming the halls of Congress who were being met with little resistance from outnumbered Capitol officers.

Under law, the federal government controls the D.C. National Guard — meaning Bowser had no say over the matter as she watched her city get torn apart. Over the summer during the Black Lives Matter protests, President Trump promptly deployed National Guard and other federal protective services to counter largely-peaceful demonstrators.

Click here to read the full story.

Trump circumvents Twitter ban with POTUS account, vowing to take on social media giant

Dartunorro Clark

President Trump tweeted Friday night from the official POTUS Twitter account, vowing to fight the social media giant for its permanent suspension of his personal account. 

However, those tweets, which a harangue about silencing free speech, were quickly removed. 

Trump promised to fight back against the social media giant and possible create a platform of his own. 

Michael Cohen says he's cooperating with agencies looking into Trump and family

Deepa Shivaram

Flashback: Harris called on Twitter to suspend Trump's account in Oct. 2019 debate

Deepa Shivaram

Back when she was still a presidential candidate, Vice president-elect Kamala Harris had called on Twitter to suspend President Trump’s Twitter account, saying he violated their terms of service.

Her stance made headlines in the October presidential debate in Ohio when she called on Elizabeth Warren to join her and Warren denied. Harris’ stance, for the most part, was questioned and called a debate stunt.

She also had penned a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explaining her stance and Twitter at the time responded with a blog post explaining their position.

Twitter permanently suspends president's @realDonaldTrump account

Twitter on Friday permanently suspended President Donald Trump's account, citing his recent comments ahead of a mob of his supporters that stormed the Capitol.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter's official "Safety" account tweeted.

Read the full story here.

Right-wing extremists vow to return to Washington for Joe Biden's inauguration

After Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol, Trump supporters with extremist views feel emboldened and are vowing to return to Washington for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, using online platforms to rally each other.

“Many of Us will return on January 19, 2021, carrying Our weapons, in support of Our nation's resolve, towhich the world will never forget!!! We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match,” wrote a popular Parler user who frequently posts about QAnon, and is being tracked by the Anti-Defamation League.

Parler, Telegram chat rooms and the platform were all used to plan and coordinate the rally on Wednesday that turned into a riot. Posters explicitly stated their intentions to “occupy” the Capitol. QAnon conspiracy theorists and people associated with militia groups had a visible presence in the crowd.

“Round 2 on January 20th. This time no mercy. I don’t even care about keeping Trump in power. I care about war,” an anonymous person posted on the platform, which is filled with comments posted by people who lauded those who rioted Wednesday as “heroes.”

Read the story.

Feds announce charges against 13 in Capitol riot

Thirteen people have been hit with federal charges stemming from Wednesday's storming of the Capitol, the Department of Justice said Friday, and additional criminal complaints are pending. 

Another 40 have been charged in state court, the DOJ said in a statement.

“My office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol," said Washington's acting U.S. Attorney, Michael Sherwin. 

Among those facing federal charges are Richard Barnett of Arkansas, who was photographed with his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk; Cleveland Meredith, who allegedly made threats against Pelosi; Mark Leffingwell, 51, who's accused of striking a law-enforcement officer in the head and chest; Christopher Alberts of Maryland, who allegedly had a 9 mm handgun and ammunition on the Capitol grounds; and Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, whose truck allegedly had guns and 11 Molotov cocktails.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the charges against Coffman, Coffman allegedly told police the explosive devices contained "melted Styrofoam and gasoline.”

"An explosive enforcement officer with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has advised that melted Styrofoam and gasoline are an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm insofar as it causes the flammable liquid to better stick to objects that it hits upon detonation," the affidavit noted.

Most of the others accused of are charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Pelosi says if Trump doesn't resign, House will look to 25th Amendment, impeachment

Alex Moe

House Speaker Pelosi in a statement following a meeting with House Democrats called on President Trump to resign or the House will enact the 25th Amendment or start new impeachment proceedings

“It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign," she 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 said.  

Click here for the full story

Durbin, Schumer pledge quick Judiciary Committee hearings on right-wing extremist groups

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is going prioritize investigations into right-wing extremist groups and whether law enforcement agencies have adequately addressed the growing threat, NBC News has learned.  

Durbin expects to begin holding hearings shortly after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20 and says the focus will include extremist groups including The Proud Boys, QAnon, white nationalist groups and boogaloo. 

Durbin and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the groups “a disturbing cancer that has grown exponentially since President Trump took office.”

“Senate Democrats, along with the Biden administration, will work together to investigate, expose, and hold accountable domestic terrorism threats in our country,” Durbin and Schumer said in a joint statement to NBC News. 

Pro-Trump rioters associated with those groups stormed the Capitol in the insurrection on January 6, the day the Congress met to count the Electoral College votes. 

Democrats will gain majority in the Senate after the Inauguration because Democrats won two runoff Senate races in Georgia.

'Extremely complex': DOJ declines to rule out charges against speakers at rally that preceded riot

The Justice Department has again recalibrated its answer on whether charges could be filed against any of the speakers at the Wednesday rally that preceded the assault on the Capitol.

After declining Thursday to rule out incitement charges, a DOJ official said Friday that "we don't expect any charges of that nature."

A few hours later, a Justice Department spokesman issued the following statement, which again leaves the door open: "Our focus is on the events at the Capitol. As of now, we have not charged anyone with incitement or insurrection. This is an extremely complex and ongoing investigation and we will continue to follow the facts and the law."

Full text: Draft of articles of impeachment against Trump

NBC News

A copy of the draft, provided to NBC News by Cicilline's office, charges: "Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States."

The articles, if approved, seek to ban Trump from running for president again. The Constitution limits a president to two terms, even if they are not consecutive.

It says Trump has demonstrated he would be a "threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office." And it concludes: "President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."

Read the full text here

Proud Boy leader charged in connection to Capitol riot

Federal authorities issued an arrest warrant Thursday for a Proud Boy leader from Hawaii who was allegedly among rioters who stormed into the U.S.Capitol.

Nicholas "Nick" Ochs  is wanted on one count of entry into a restricted building or grounds, according to an affidavit written by FBI special agent Roger Dean and signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey.

Ochs should be arrested based on a photo he posted on his own Twitter feed and footage him on cable news inside the building, Dean wrote. Ochs is "the leader and founder of  a Hawaii chapter of the 'Proud Boys' organization," a far right extremist group, and has "PROUD BOY" tattooed on his right forearm, according to the FBI agent.

Ochs could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon using phone numbers and an email address listed in public directories. Ochs ran for a seat in the Hawaii state House of Representatives as a Republican in November, and lost to Democrat Adrian Tam, 63 percent to 29.7 percent.

Behind the viral photo of Rep. Andy Kim cleaning up at midnight after riots

Claire Wang

Unlike many of his congressional colleagues, Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., was in his office in a separate federal building when President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. So he didn’t actually see the damage live until nearly midnight, after the House had voted down the last challenge to the presidential election result.

When he finally did walk around the rotunda — his favorite and arguably the most storied room of the building — the disarray left him speechless. Water bottles, broken furniture, tattered Trump flags and pieces of body armor and clothing were strewn on the marble floor as if it were an abandoned parking lot.

“I was just overwhelmed with emotion,” Kim, 38, told NBC Asian America. “It’s a room that I love so much — it’s the heart of the Capitol, literally the heart of this country. It pained me so much to see it in this kind of condition.”

So for the next hour and a half, he crouched down and filled a half dozen trash bags with debris. When he finished cleaning up the rotunda, he began working on the adjacent rooms, including the National Statuary Hall and the Capitol crypt downstairs.

Read the whole story here. 

Can Trump be tried in the Senate on impeachment charges even after he leaves office? Some experts say yes.

Image: Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, and Kellyanne Conway Talk to the Media
Donald Trump talks to the media outside the White House on Oct. 11, 2019.Mark Peterson / Redux

Some legal experts on the congressional power of impeachment believe President Donald Trump could be impeached and tried in the Senate even after he leaves office at noon on Jan. 20.

As House Democratic leaders consider a vote on articles of impeachment as early as the middle of next week, here's a look at how the procedure would work.

The House can bring an impeachment resolution to the floor for an immediate vote, bypassing the process of committee hearings, which were held when Trump was impeached in 2019 and acquitted in by the GOP-controlled Senate. In the normal course, skipping hearings would deprive impeachment proponents of the opportunity to build credibility and support by calling witnesses.

But in the current circumstances, supporters may consider that unnecessary.

Read the story.

GOP Sen. Murkowski calls on Trump to resign

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is widely seen as one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, said in an interview Friday that President Donald Trump should resign immediately after the riots at the Capitol.

"I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage," Murkowski said in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

"He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing," the lawmaker said, adding that she believed the president was responsible for the deadly riots in the nation's capital.

Murkowski, asked whether she intended to remain a Republican, said her party registration depends on the trajectory of the GOP.

"I will tell you, if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” Murkowski told the newspaper.

'Traitor!': Trump supporters harangue Sen. Lindsey Graham at airport

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Donald Trump's top Republican allies during his four years in office, was swarmed by Trump supporters blasting him as a "traitor" at a Washington, D.C., airport on Friday. 

"Lindsey Graham, you are a traitor to the country! You know it was rigged!" one of the Trump supporters screamed as Graham, who was flanked by police officers, briskly walked through the airport. "You garbage human being! It's going to be like this forever, wherever you go!" the woman yelled as other supporters recorded the encounter on their phones and laughed.

Video of the encounter — which went viral on social media — showed at least six Trump supporters circling around the South Carolina senator. 

During the electoral vote count that was delayed because of the Capitol riot on Wednesday, Graham pushed back at allegations that Democrats had "rigged" the presidential election and that the results should be overturned.

"All I can say Is count me out, enough is enough," Graham said. "I cannot convince people, certain groups, by my words, but I will tell you by my actions, that maybe I — among, above all others in this body — need to say this: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the president and the vice president of the United States on January the 20th."

ADL calls for Trump's removal from office

The Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit organization that combats bigotry and tracks extremist groups, called on Friday for the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

“In our over 100 years of history, ADL has never called for the President of the United States to be removed from office, but what occurred on Wednesday was inexcusable," the group's CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement. "It will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days of American democracy and it makes unambiguously clear: President Trump is unfit for office and needs to be removed." 

Greenblatt said Trump should be removed "either by the means afforded by the U.S. Constitution or through his own resignation."

“Violence and sedition. Confederate flags being proudly displayed by rioters in the United States Capitol. White supremacists and far-right extremists marauding through the hallowed halls of one our nation’s most sacred institutions. This was incited by President Trump and organized on social media for all the world to see,” Greenblatt said. “The horrific events of this week are a culmination of years spent denigrating our democratic institutions, months of delegitimizing the electoral process, and innumerable tweets demonizing his perceived enemies, with zero regard for the consequences of his actions.”

U.S. diplomats ask State Dept. to denounce Trump's incitement of Capitol riot

Abigail Williams

Dan De Luce and Abigail Williams

Dozens of U.S. diplomats have signed on to a dissent cable asking for the State Department to publicly denounce President Donald Trump's incitement of a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, several State Department officials tell NBC News. Foreign Policy Magazine first reported on the cable.

"The Department of State should explicitly denounce President Trump's role in this violent attack on the U.S. government. Just as we routinely denounce foreign leaders who use violence and intimidation to interfere in peaceful democratic processes and override the will of their voters, the Department's public statements about this episode should also mention President Trump by name," a draft of the cable obtained by NBC News reads. "It is critical that we communicate to the world that in our system, no one — not even the President — is above the law or immune from public criticism."

The language of the dissent cable may change before being formally submitted to State Department leadership, according to the officials. A draft of the cable was first shared by the Washington Post.

Biden says Pence is 'welcome' at his inauguration

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that Vice President Mike Pence was "welcome" at his inauguration, while also saying he agreed with President Donald Trump's decision to not come.

"The vice president is welcome to come. We'd be honored to have him there," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

NBC News reported Thursday night that Pence would likely attend the inauguration if invited, although a spokesman for Pence said Friday that Pence and second lady Karen Pence had not yet made a decision.

Trump, meanwhile, tweeted Friday that he would not attend Biden's inauguration, adding his name to a very short list of outgoing presidents who did not attend the inauguration of their successors.

Biden said at his news conference that he was told about Trump's decision and quipped it was "one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on."

No evidence of antifa involvement in Capitol mob, FBI says

Despite suggestions from conservative pundits and some Republican members of Congress, there is no evidence that anti-fascist activists were involved in the pro-Trump Capitol riots, FBI Assistant Director Steven D'Antuono said on a call with reporters Friday. 

"We have no indication of that, at this time,” D'Antuono said when asked whether antifa activists had disguised themselves as Trump supporters in an effort to frame them for the violent riots in which five people died, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick.

Immediately following the violence on Wednesday, conspiracy theorists, radical conservative activists and Trump allies took to social media and conservative news networks to make the evidence-free claim that antifa was behind the riots, reviving old rumors about anti-fascist activists long used in Trump campaign fundraising advertisements.

The false claims of antifa involvement in Wednesday’s melee spread early on social media from longtime Trump supporters, including televangelist Mark Burns and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. By evening, the rumors were being floated on Fox News and Fox Business Network by Sarah Palin and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala. 

Late Wednesday evening, during the continuation of the certification, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., also used his time to promote a poorly sourced and later-retracted report to claim antifa was “masquerading as Trump supporters.”

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray calls on Hawley, Cruz to resign

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the third-most senior Democrat in the Senate, is calling on Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz to resign, accusing them of inciting Wednesday's riots at the Capitol.

"Any Senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office," Murray said in a statement. "Senators Hawley and Cruz should resign."

Hawley, R-Mo., and Cruz, R-Texas, led an effort in the Senate to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College, leveling baseless and discredited claims of voter fraud that were encouraged by President Donald Trump.

The lawmakers, who are widely believed to be eyeing bids for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, have been fiercely criticized this week for their roles in stoking the unrest that led to the deadly clashes in the nation's capital.

Photo: Capitol riots inspire graffiti in Syria

NBC News

Ghaith Alsayed / AP
Image: Congress Holds Joint Session To Ratify 2020 Presidential Election
Syrian graffiti artist Aziz Al-Asmar, at left in top photo, creates an image Friday inspired by this photo of a rioter carrying a lectern in the U.S. Capitol, on the wall of a house destroyed in an airstrike in Binish, Idlib province, Syria.Win McNamee / Getty Images

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 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."

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.

At least two Dems in Congress say rioters stole computers

Ezra Kaplan

Kevin Collier and Ezra Kaplan

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.

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


Haley Talbot

Alex Moe

Adam Edelman, Haley Talbot and Alex Moe

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."

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.

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.

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.

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

Natalia Abrahams

Amanda Golden

Natalia Abrahams and Amanda Golden

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. 

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.” 

Federal investigation underway into death of Capitol Police officer

Michael Kosnar

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.”

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.” 


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.

GOP Sen. Sasse open to impeaching Trump

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.”

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.

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

Randi Richardson

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.

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

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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.

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

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

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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.

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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

More Trump administration resignations

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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."

More than 200 lawmakers support removing Trump from office

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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." 

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

Dartunorro Clark

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Dartunorro Clark and Frank Thorp V

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.

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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.

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

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.