Fallout intensifies over Trump's response to Capitol riot

By Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 7:35 AM ET, Sat January 9, 2021
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1:18 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

GOP senator says Trump "wanted chaos on television" and was "excited" watching rioters enter the Capitol

From CNN's Sarah Fortinsky

US President Donald Trump speaking to supporters near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.
US President Donald Trump speaking to supporters near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, citing conversations with senior White House officials, said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show that President Trump "wanted chaos on television" on Wednesday and was "confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building."

In an interview Friday morning with Hugh Hewitt, Sasse also said Trump was talking about "a path by which he was going to stay in office after January 20."

On impeachment, Sasse signaled he was seriously considering whether he would vote to remove the President from office, but that "there are a lot of questions that we need to get to the bottom of," specifically citing delays with deploying the National Guard. 

"But I think that the question of was the President derelict in his duty, that’s not an open question. He was," Sasse added.

1:10 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pence arrives at White House for first time since Capitol riot

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at the White House for the first time since the insurrection at the US Capitol incited by President Trump and since he certified the 2020 election results for President-elect Joe Biden.

He emerged from his SUV and walked into the West Wing.

Pence did not come to the White House on Thursday.

12:56 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Hope Hicks discussing resigning, sources say

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Hope Hicks steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, New Jersey, on October 31, 2020.
Hope Hicks steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, New Jersey, on October 31, 2020. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

One of President Trump's closest confidants and top aides, Hope Hicks, is discussing resigning from her role before he leaves office, according to two people familiar with her thinking.

She has told people if she does resign, she would leave within the next 48 hours. It's not clear she has made a final decision.

12:54 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi says she has received assurances that safeguards in place if Trump wants to launch a nuclear weapon

From CNN's Dana Bash and Manu Raju

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

After speaking with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus that she has gotten assurances there are safeguards in place in the event President Trump wants to launch a nuclear weapon, according to multiple sources on the caucus call.

What we know: Pelosi told members in a letter that she spoke to Milley about Trump and the nuclear codes.

"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," Pelosi wrote. "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."

12:37 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi tells colleagues there is more Democratic support for impeachment this time than last time

From CNN's Manu Raju

U.S. Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. 
U.S. Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells her caucus she prefers Trump resigning or the 25th Amendment before impeaching him. But she made clear that there is more backing within the House Democratic Caucus for impeaching Trump now than there was in 2019. 

She has not yet given a sense of timing or detailed the articles they are pursuing, but the call is ongoing.

“The President chose to be an insurrectionist," Pelosi said, according to a source on the call. “Impeachment encourages conversation on the 25th Amendment. That’s picked up a lot of steam.”  

According to this person, she also said, “How we go forward is a subject for this caucus.”

Some background: A source tells CNN that the current draft of the impeachment resolution now includes 131 members, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, a further sign of the growing momentum.

12:10 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Senate committees will investigate security failures of Capitol riot

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

A supporter of President Donald Trump gestures to Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate Chamber on January 6.
A supporter of President Donald Trump gestures to Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate Chamber on January 6. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees jointly announced they will hold hearings on the security failures ahead of the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday.

“An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American. 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,” the chairman and ranking members of the two committees wrote in a statement. 

US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned yesterday following criticism over his apparent lack of preparedness to deal with Wednesday's violent mob.  

The House Appropriations and Administration committees, which both have oversight of the Capitol Police, say they intend to investigate the riots, and multiple congressional aides said "heads should roll" at the Capitol over the security failures.  

11:59 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Democrats have 131 co-sponsors on their impeachment articles

From CNN's Lauren Fox

A source tells CNN that the current draft of the impeachment resolution now includes 131 members, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, a further sign of the growing momentum.

12:33 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Speaker Pelosi says she spoke to top US general about Trump and nuclear codes

From CNN's Phil Mattingly 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during Electoral College vote certifications at the Capitol on January 6.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during Electoral College vote certifications at the Capitol on January 6. Caroline Brehman/Pool/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members in a letter that she spoke to the chairman of the joint chiefs about President Trump and the nuclear codes.

"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," Pelosi wrote. "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."

In the letter she also thanks members following Wednesday's insurrection, shared the news of USCP officer Brian Sicknick's death following the breach, and that she hopes to hear from Pence "as soon as possible" about removing Trump from office. 

"Nearly fifty years ago, after years of enabling their rogue President, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately. If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action," Pelosi wrote. 

The letter also announced that there will be a letter coming from the Office of the Attending Physician and the Office of the Employee Assistance about resources available to members for responding to trauma in the wake of Wednesday's attack. 

See the latest:

11:56 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says Trump incited rioters

From CNN's Paula Newton

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference today that the "current president" incited the violent rioters that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians. As shocking and deeply disturbing and frankly, saddening as that event remains, we’ve also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbor. Violence has no place in our societies and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau is among other American allies that have decried the attack against the Capitol.