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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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.

11:51 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

White House in “crisis management” as it consults with lawyers about potential rapid impeachment process

From CNN's Jim Acosta

The White House is pictured on January 7.
The White House is pictured on January 7. Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Outside lawyers are being sought for consultation by the White House about the prospect of a last minute, rapid impeachment of President Trump, a source familiar with the matter said. 

The source said at this point lawyers advising the White House believe there is not enough time logistically for Democrats to move articles of impeachment out of the House and into the hands of Senators for a speedy removal of the president before January 20th. But the source said lawyers for the president have started to game out the impeachment possibility as the likelihood of the vice president and Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment seems remote. 

The source added the President’s attorneys have been consulted about the language used in Trump’s video messages in the aftermath of the Capitol riots. During that process, White House counsel Pat Cippolone and chief of staff Mark Meadows went to Trump to urge him to record the videos to save his presidency and hold off efforts to remove him from office. 

The White House is in “crisis management” mode following the siege at the Capitol, the source said. 

“The lawyers are involved,” the source said. 

Meetings have been almost non-stop inside the White House to hash out plans to bring the Trump presidency to an end in the least chaotic way possible, the source said. 

“Can you land the plane with 12 days left,” the source said, summing up the goal of the remaining staffers and advisers around the president. 

1:30 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Clyburn's spokesperson tells CNN they found his iPad, was not taken by rioters

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Brian Fung

Rep. Jim Clyburn attends a news conference at the Capitol on November 18, 2020.
Rep. Jim Clyburn attends a news conference at the Capitol on November 18, 2020. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As questions continue to arise over the potential security ramifications after the Capitol building was stormed on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, told reporters on a call today that his iPad was stolen during the breach. 

A spokesperson for Clyburn now tells CNN that the iPad has been found and was not stolen.

"Whip Clyburn’s iPad is safe and sound. In the chaos on Wednesday, a staffer moved it to a more secure location and other staff was unaware," a spokesperson for Clyburn told CNN.

Some lawmakers have reported that they had items stolen, Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, said rioters who ransacked his office at the US Capitol stole a laptop that was on a table.

According to authorities, multiple senators' offices were hit during the breach of the Capitol.

"This is probably going to take several days to flesh out exactly what happened, what was stolen, what wasn't," said Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, said on a call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "Items, electronic items, were stolen from senators' offices. Documents, materials, were stolen, and we have to identify what was done, mitigate that, and it could have potential national security equities. If there was damage, we don't know the extent of that yet."

Why this matters: The thefts raise questions about Congress's cybersecurity posture and whether US officials have done enough to secure their computing devices and networks from direct, physical access.

1:20 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Clinton and Obama will attend Biden's inauguration

From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7. Susan Walsh/AP

Three former American presidents do plan to be in attendance for the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20, officials say, with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush all making plans to be in Washington for the official transfer of power.

With President Trump making it clear today that he will not attend, an official tells CNN that Bush, Clinton and Obama all plan to attend. Jimmy Carter is unable to travel.

All four living former presidents derided the rioters who forced an evacuation of the House and Senate chambers of the Capitol in strongly worded statements that stressed the need for a peaceful transfer of power.

The attack on the Capitol has raised security concerns ahead of inauguration.

11:34 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Transportation Secretary Chao makes no mention of her reasons for resigning in farewell video

From CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace

Elaine Chao, secretary of transportation, listens during a policy announcement in Washington, DC, in September 2019.
Elaine Chao, secretary of transportation, listens during a policy announcement in Washington, DC, in September 2019. Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after saying she would resign following the attack on the Capitol, outgoing Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has posted a farewell video.

In a three-minute video posted to YouTube and tweeted from her official account, Chao thanked employees and said she is “especially proud” of the Department of Transportation’s response to the Covid-19 crisis which “will be remembered as one of the department’s finest moments.” 

DOT never mandated mask-wearing on airlines and other transportation systems, despite calls from unions and airlines for increased federal help and leaving carriers to draft their own policies. 

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has been tapped to lead the department under President-elect Biden, who has said he will mandate masks on all forms of transportation. 

11:22 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham weighs in on impeachment, saying it would be "unsuccessful" in Senate

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Nicky Roberston

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on January 7.
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on January 7. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in a Twitter thread on Friday impeaching President Trump in his final days would “do more harm than good," adding that it would be “unsuccessful” in the Senate.

"If Speaker Pelosi pushes impeachment in the last days of the Trump presidency it will do more harm than good. I’m hopeful President-elect Biden sees the damage that would be done from such action," one of the tweets said.

Graham said that it is "time to heal and move on."

"Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a dangerous precedent for the future of the presidency. It will take both parties to heal the nation," he said in the tweets.

Some context: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team ran through their options Thursday night and the overwhelming sentiment was impeachment was the way forward, according to multiple sources.

One representative said that articles of impeachment could be voted on “as early as mid-next week.” 

See Graham's tweets:

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

US Capitol flags lowered to half-staff in honor of dead police officer

From CNN's Eric Levenson, Amir Vera and Mallika Kallinga

The US flag at the Capitol is lowered to half-staff on January 8 following the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
The US flag at the Capitol is lowered to half-staff on January 8 following the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered that the flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-staff due to the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, according to a tweet from Pelosi’s Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill.

Capitol Police released a statement saying Sicknick died Thursday night "due to injuries sustained while on-duty."

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.

Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department's First Responder's Unit.

1:20 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Trump will not attend Biden's inauguration 

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Kevin Liptak

President Donald Trump is pictured in the White House on November 26.
President Donald Trump is pictured in the White House on November 26. Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump will not attend the peaceful transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden on Capitol Hill in 12 days, he confirms in a tweet.

He just tweeted this:

Additionally, a source with knowledge of her plans, tells CNN that first lady Melania Trump will also not attend Biden’s inauguration.

The Trumps are right now scheduled to leave Washington on Jan. 19, this source says, but cautions those plans could always change.

Trump conceded publicly for the first time last night that he will not serve a second term, stopping short of congratulating President-elect Joe Biden but acknowledging a transfer of power is now underway.

"A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20," Trump said in the video, which was taped at the White House. "My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power."

A White House adviser in discussions with senior officials said Trump recorded the video only because his presidency is threatened by looming resignations and potential impeachment.