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Pelosi calls for invoking 25th Amendment; prosecutors 'looking at all actors,' including Trump

Pelosi calls for invoking 25th Amendment; prosecutors 'looking at all actors,' including Trump

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump should immediately be removed from office or Congress may proceed to impeach him.

Pelosi on Thursday joined those calling on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump from office. It came a day after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing the building into lockdown. Trump called them “very special” people and said he loved them.

She said at the Capitol: “The president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America.”

Pelosi says he could do further harm to the country: “Any day can be a horror show for America."

Democrats and some Republicans want Trump removed before his term ends on Jan. 20 with Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration.

The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president.

Earlier Thurday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also called on Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office.

In a statement, Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.” He added, “This president should not hold office one day longer.”

Two Republican governors — Phil Scott of Vermont, Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts — have also supported Trump's removal from office.

Former White House chief of staff and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said he would vote to remove Trump if he were in the Cabinet.

* * *

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia says “all options are on the table” for charges against the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, including sedition.

Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C., says prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases on Thursday for crimes including unauthorized access and theft of property, and investigators are combing through scores of evidence to bring additional charges.

Asked directly by a reporter on a press call if investigators were looking at the role Trump played at the rally, Sherwin said, "We're looking at all actors here and anyone that had a role and, if the evidence fits the elements of the crime, they're going to be charged."

He says 40 other cases had already been charged in a District of Columbia superior court.

The announcement comes a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Police say more than 90 people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

* * *

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the Trump administration found the siege of the U.S. Capitol to be “appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way.”

But while McEnany’s statement to the press Thursday afternoon broke the White House’s silence a day after the violence, Trump himself remained quiet.

McEnany, for the first time, said that the White House was committed to the “orderly transition of power” to Biden’s incoming administration. She also took pains to try to draw a distinction between the “violent rioters” and other Trump supporters who attended the president’s rally in Washington just before the siege of the Capitol.

But McEnany took no questions. And the impact of the statement would likely be muted, as Trump has long said that only he speaks for his White House.

The president has yet to condemn the violence that was meant to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s victory.

* * *

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

That’s according to two people — one close to Pence and one familiar with the inauguration planning. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the plans had yet to be finalized.

The news comes a day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the congressional confirmation of Biden’s victory, with some angrily shouting that they were looking for Pence.

Trump had told his supporters that Pence had the power to reject electoral votes and make him the president instead of Biden, even though he didn’t have that authority. The pressure campaign created a rare public rift between the men after years of Pence’s uncheckered loyalty.

Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley tweeted Thursday: “You can’t attend something you haven’t received an invitation to....”

But it is customary for an outgoing vice president to attend the inauguration. Trump has not said whether he plans to attend.

* * *

Biden on Thursday denounced the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorists” and he blamed Trump for the violence that has shaken the nation's capital and beyond.

The riot by Trump supporters who breached the security of Congress on Wednesday was “not dissent, was not disorder, was not protest. It was chaos.”

Those who massed on Capitol Hill intending to disrupt a joint session of Congress that was certifying Biden’s election victory over Trump “weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob — insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic,” Biden said.

In solemn tones, Biden said the actions Trump has taken to subvert the nation’s democratic institutions throughout his presidency led directly to the mayhem in Washington.

“In the past four years, we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, our Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done,” Biden said. "He unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”

* * *

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s top congressional allies, says the president must accept his own role in the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol.

The South Carolina senator said Thursday that Trump “needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution.”

Graham was a foe of Trump's during the 2016 campaign and questioned his mental fitness for office. Once Trump was in office, however, Graham became one of his closest confidants and often played golf with him.

Graham added that he had no regrets of his support of Trump but that “it breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, would allow yesterday to happen.”

Graham complimented Vice President Mike Pence’s decorum during the Electoral College vote certification process, saying that any expectation that Pence could have overturned the results was “over the top, unconstitutional, illegal and would have been wrong for the country.”

* * *

District of Columbia police have identified the three people who had medical emergencies and died during the storming of the Capitol.

They are 55-year-old Kevin Greeson, of Athens, Alabama; 34-year-old Rosanne Boyland, of Kennesaw, Georgia; and 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania.

Police Chief Robert Contee would not go into detail about the exact causes of their deaths and would not say if any of the three was actively involved in breaching the Capitol building on Wednesday.

Contee would only say that all three “were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced their medical emergencies.”

Greeson’s family says he had a heart attack. They described him as a supporter of President Donald Trump's but denied that he condoned violence.

The Capitol Police say a fourth person, identified as Ashli Babbitt, was shot by an employee of Capitol Police while the rioters were moving toward the House chamber. She died at a hospital.

* * *

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is resigning effective Monday, becoming the highest ranking member of President Donald Trump’s administration to resign in protest after the pro-Trump insurrection at Capitol.

In a statement Thursday, Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, said the violent attack on the Capitol “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”

She said her department will continue to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s designated nominee to head the department, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

* * *

Pelosi also says she’s seeking the resignation of Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund. She also said Thursday that House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving, another key security official, had already submitted his resignation. He reports directly to Pelosi, while Sund answers to both House and Senate.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’ll fire the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger.

Lawmakers have mixed praise for the Capitol Police with harsh criticism for the outfit, which was overwhelmed by Wednesday’s mob and unprepared for it.

* * *

Facebook will bar Trump from posting on its system at least until the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

In a post Thursday morning, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the risk of allowing Trump to use the platform is too great, following his incitement of a mob that later touched off a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg says Trump's account will be locked "for at least the next two weeks" but could remain locked indefinitely.

Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday also temporarily locked President Donald Trump's accounts after he repeatedly posted false accusations about the integrity of the election.

A message left with the White House on Thursday morning was not immediately returned.

* * *

Former Attorney General William Barr says Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, Barr said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.

His comments come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.

Photos from a violent day in Washington

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