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Fallout intensifies over Trump’s response to Capitol riot

The online warning signs of the violent Capitol siege
03:18

What you need to know

  • The political fallout over President Trump’s response to the deadly Capitol attack continues to escalate as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.
  • House Democrats are quickly building momentum toward impeaching Trump next week as pressure grows for the President to be removed from office before Jan. 20.
  • Federal prosecutors are looking at everyone involved in the unrest, including Trump, as charges are filed against Capitol rioters. At least five people have died as a result of the riot.

 Our live coverage has ended for the night. For the latest, follow CNN Politics.

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Article of impeachment could be introduced Monday, Democratic congressman says

In this December 9, 2019 file photos, Rep. Ted Lieu speaks during House impeachment inquiry hearings before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Rep. Ted Lieu, one of the House members leading the calls for impeachment against President Trump, said if Trump does not resign or the 25th amendment is not invoked by the Cabinet, House members will introduce one article of impeachment on Monday.

Lieu said he expects a vote on the article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” this week.

“All of us including Speaker Pelosi will prefer that Donald Trump simply do the right thing and resign, or that Vice President Pence actually shows some spine, at least for himself and his own family and invoke the 25th amendment,” Lieu told CNN. “If none of that happens, then on Monday, we will introduce the article of impeachment which is incitement to insurrection and we do expect a floor vote this coming week.”

In a tweet earlier Saturday, Lieu announced that there are 180 Democratic co-sponsors on the article of impeachment.

“There will be Republicans who do vote for it,” Lieu said, adding that he is in talks with some Republicans to co-sponsor the resolution, but would not specify how many Republicans he expects to vote for the article.

When asked about the likelihood of the article of impeachment being taken up by the Senate, Lieu responded that Trump is unpredictable, and could do something in the next 10 days to change the mind of Senators.

“Anything is possible and first of all, none of us know what Donald Trump is thinking right now, what he might do tomorrow. He could do something even crazier two days from now and that could change what the Senate may or may not do,” Lieu stated.

Watch the moment:

05:24

NYC mayor calls for Trump to be impeached

Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of New York's congressional delegation hold a press conference at City Hall in New York on January 9.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and five members of New York’s congressional delegation called for the impeachment of President Trump on the steps of City Hall Saturday morning.

This comes after the group believes the sitting President incited violence last week at the US Capitol.

The mayor added, he supports the call for a “full investigation” into the matter.

“We are going to act next week and impeach, and show the world America is stronger than Donald Trump,” Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez said.

When asked by a reporter what’s the importance of impeachment, Rep. Thomas Suozzi responded in part by saying it would remove his pardon powers.

“If the President is impeached, I believe that he loses his power under the constitution to pardon people for the impeachable offense,” Suozzi said.

Suozzi added, “that’s the most important thing, I believe, is removing his pardon powers.”

Lone protester seen outside the US Capitol carrying "impeach" sign

Bill Zawacki, 70, walks in front of the US Capitol on Saturday, January 9, in silent protest. He said he flew to Washington, DC, on Thursday from his home in Portland, Oregon, after seeing the violent attack on Congress.

Bill Zawacki, 70, was seen walking in front of the US Capitol on Saturday in silent protest just days after scores of rioters stormed the venerable American landmark.

Zawacki said he flew to Washington, DC, on Thursday from his home in Portland, Oregon, after seeing the violent attack on Congress. 

“I expected there to be 10,000 people out here,” Zawacki told CNN as he walked along the sidewalk surrounding the Capitol Reflecting Pool. “We need to mark Trump as a criminal so this can never be done again.” 

Zawacki, a retired bus driver, said he has only been to the nation’s capital to protest once before, at a climate rally a few years back. But he was compelled to travel again this week to make his voice heard after the siege on the Capitol.

US Capitol rioter in headdress told FBI he came to Washington based on prompt from Trump

Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, confronts Capitol Police outside the Senate Chamber on January 6.

Jacob Anthony Chansley, the man wearing a bearskin headdress during the US Capitol siege, has told the FBI he came to Washington earlier this week “as a part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to DC on January 6, 2021,” according to a narrative from investigators in his court record.

Chansley had called the FBI the day after the attack Wednesday and confirmed to them he was the person in the photos in the vice president’s chair in the Senate, the court document said.

His voluntary disclosure to the FBI is the strongest wording in court filings yet indicating coordination between followers of the President that led to the violent and destructive overrun of the Capitol, and how much they sought to follow Trump’s prompts.

No conspiracy charges have been brought related to the siege.

From the statement of facts supporting his arrest:

“On January 7, 2021, CHANSLEY called in to the Washington Field Office of the FBI, to voluntarily speak with law enforcement. Your affiant and an FBI agent spoke on the phone with CHANSLEY, who confirmed that he was the male in the face paint and headdress in the Vice President’s chair in the Senate. CHANSLEY stated that he came as a part of a group effort, with other “patriots” from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”

Seattle police investigating whether its officers took part in Capitol riot

Rioters gather outside the Capitol on January 6.

The Seattle Police Department has placed at least two officers on administrative leave while officials investigate whether they took part in Wednesday’s deadly riot at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, the department’s chief, Adrian Diaz, said in a statement on Friday night.

“Today the Seattle Police Department was made aware that at least two of its officers were reportedly in Washington, DC, on Wednesday,” the statement read. “The department fully supports all lawful expressions of First Amendment freedom of speech, but the violent mob and events that unfolded at the US Capitol were unlawful and resulted in the death of another police officer. The incident has been forwarded to the Office of Police Accountability for full review of any SPD employee activities at the US Capitol.”

The chief added he will immediately fire any officer found to have taken part in the mob at the US Capitol.

Man seen carrying Pelosi's podium in US Capitol riot arrested

A pro-Donald Trump rioter, identified as Adam Johnson, carries the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi through the Capitol on January 6.

Adam Johnson, 36, of Florida, was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; one count of theft of government property; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the United States Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Johnson, 36, was booked into the Pinellas County jail on Friday night.

It is alleged that on Jan. 6, Johnson illegally entered the US Capitol and removed the Speaker of the House’s lectern from where it had been stored on the House side of the Capitol building, the attorney’s office said.

CNN’s Evan Pérez reports:

01:26

At least 5 people were killed in the Capitol riot. Here's what we know about them.

A US Capitol police officer died Thursday from injuries sustained after a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.

A federal murder probe has now been opened to investigate the officer’s death.

Four other people died Wednesday during the stunning attack at the heart of American democracy as mob members vandalized the building and assaulted police officers. One woman was fatally shot by police and three people died of apparent medical emergencies.

Here’s what we know about the people who died:

  • Officer dies after being injured: Capitol Police released a statement saying Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away Thursday night “due to injuries sustained while on-duty.” Officer Sicknick was injured while physically engaging with the rioters and collapsed after returning to his division office. “He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” the Capitol Police statement said. Officer Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department’s First Responder’s Unit.
  • Air Force veteran fatally shot by police: A woman was fatally shot by a US Capitol Police employee as the mob tried to force its way toward the House Chamber where members of Congress were sheltering, US Capitol Police said in a statement. The woman was given medical assistance immediately and taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Authorities identified her as Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old from Huntington, Maryland.
  • Three others died of “medical emergencies:” Three other people who had come from out of state died of “medical emergencies” during the riot, police said. “One adult female and two adult males appear to have suffered from separate medical emergencies, which resulted in their deaths,” DC Police Chief Robert Contee said. “Any loss of life in the District is tragic and our thoughts are with anyone impacted by their loss.” Police identified them as Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania; Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia. The three were on the grounds of the Capitol when they experienced their medical emergencies, Contee said.

Read more here,

We asked our viewers how they felt as they watched the Capitol riot unfold. Here's what they said.

Pro-Donald Trump rioters storm the Capitol during clashes with police on January 6.

Sadness, fear and outrage.

Calls to “lock them up,” and yet … also “heartbreak” at the state of the nation.

Comparisons to 9/11.

We asked our viewers how they felt as they watched the chaotic scenes of a pro-Trump mob breaching the nation’s Capitol on January 6. Usually a ceremonial day — with little fanfare in previous years — when Congress meets to certify the results of the election. Now, a day that will go down as one of the darkest in America’s history.

We received more than 7,000 responses. Here’s a snapshot of what you told us:

Pam B., Effort, Pennsylvania

“The saddest and most upsetting day regarding our country, in my lifetime. Our democracy was at stake, and the sitting president supported all of this. I was angry, afraid, but mostly angry. That nobody reined this President in months/years prior to this says a lot about the Republicans’ inability to be objective. And yesterday was the icing on the cake. How many lives must be threatened before Trump is stopped? I live in a great amount of fear now … as the emotions of the people rioting will, no doubt, trickle down to residents in my community.”

Janet B., Las Vegas, Nevada

“I was watching the confirmation process and saw the Capitol, MY Capitol, being stormed. I told my husband that, after watching many movies with foreign agents attacking the White House, I never expected to see so-called Americans attacking. We wept.”

Ken A., Memphis, Tennessee

“I am so totally disgusted and disappointed. So many people I know and consider friends, are in total support of Trump. They consider the people who invaded the Capitol as patriots and that the election was a fraud. Things will never be the same.”

Jake, Indianapolis

“My wife calls me a robot because I don’t show my emotions very often. Yesterday, on my drive home, I was so angry with the terrorists who desecrated our Temple of Liberty, I cried. This was almost as surreal as 9/11. I was texting with my British friend who, along with his wife, just became permanent residents. I apologized to him for what he was seeing. This is the United States of America. We do not act this this. We are the example to the world of what freedom and democracy look like. Not by screaming, or bravado, or force, but by going about our business and letting our normal be how we show the world … this is how it is done, this is who we are. Yesterday, we lost this. Yesterday, America failed.”

Democrats plan to introduce impeachment articles against Trump as soon as Monday. Here's what you need to know.

President Donald Trump arrives at a rally near the White House on January 6.

House Democrats are planning to introduce an impeachment resolution on Monday, a move that would allow Democrats to fast-track an impeachment vote next week, though Democrats have not committed yet to holding such a vote. The latest draft of the impeachment resolution, obtained by CNN, includes one article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.”

But Democrats are cognizant of the fact they have little time to force Trump out of office and moving forward with impeachment could force the Senate to hold an impeachment trial in the first days of the new Biden administration, which would amount to a major distraction from the new President’s ambitious new agenda.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus on a call Friday afternoon that she prefers Trump resigning or Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from power. But she made clear that if that does not happen, impeachment is another option. There is more backing within the House Democratic caucus for impeaching Trump now than there was in 2019 when Trump was first impeached, Pelosi said, according to multiple sources on the call.

“The President chose to be an insurrectionist,” Pelosi said, according to one source said. “How we go forward is a subject for this caucus.”

Pelosi began the call solemn and emotional about the events that have transpired over the last 72 hours. She did not give a sense of timing or details on potential articles of impeachment, but she made clear the House has the power to impeach even with less than two weeks left in Trump’s term. Democrats also discussed the possibility of creating a commission to examine Trump’s fitness for office through the 25th Amendment, an option that could be used as an alternative to impeachment.

As Pelosi and her leadership team ran through their options Thursday night, the overwhelming sentiment was that impeachment was the way forward, according to multiple sources. While there were some dissenters concerned that the move could be perceived as an overreach and turn off Trump supporters in their districts, the view among most top Democrats — including Pelosi — is that Trump should be held accountable for his actions.

Trump said he's skipping the inauguration. Here's how Biden responded.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7.

President-elect Joe Biden said President Donald Trump’s decision to skip his inauguration is “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on.”

“He exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. He’s not worthy to hold that office,” Biden said.

However, Biden said he is glad Vice President Mike Pence will attend his inauguration.

“He’s welcome. I think it’s important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how an administration changes should be maintained. And so Mike, the vice president, is welcome to come. We’d be honored to have him there, and to move forward in the transition,” Biden said.

House Democrats are preparing articles of impeachment, expected to be introduced as soon as Monday. The President-elect did not weigh in on whether Congress should impeach Trump and remove him from office over his actions leading up to his supporters’ riot at the Capitol this week.

He said he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are focused on preparing their agenda to combat the coronavirus pandemic and bolster a battered economy.

Biden said there’s no doubt he wants Trump, who he called “one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America,” out of office as soon as possible. He said if Trump had several months left in office, he would push for his impeachment. Now, though, Biden said, “The quickest way that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th. What action happens before or after that is a judgment for Congress to make.”

READ MORE

Democratic momentum builds for potential fast-track impeachment next week
Biden says Trump skipping inauguration is 'a good thing'
Americans watched the Capitol riot in 'horror' and 'disgust.' Here's what they told us.
White House in 'crisis management' mode: lawyers being consulted about potential impeachment

READ MORE

Democratic momentum builds for potential fast-track impeachment next week
Biden says Trump skipping inauguration is 'a good thing'
Americans watched the Capitol riot in 'horror' and 'disgust.' Here's what they told us.
White House in 'crisis management' mode: lawyers being consulted about potential impeachment