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
13 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:34 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Some Republicans will consider voting for second Trump impeachment

From CNN's Jamie Gangel, Lauren Fox and Manu Raju

Republican sources have told CNN they do want President Trump removed before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. Two members have told CNN they would consider voting for impeachment if the articles of impeachment seem reasonable.

“We experienced the attack; we don’t need long hearings on what happened," one of those sources said.

Some background: House Democrats are furious at Trump and are quickly building momentum to move on impeachment of Trump in the next several days -- as soon as the middle of next week.

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.

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.

CNN's Manu Raju reports from Capitol Hill: 

9:03 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Ex-White House communications director: Trump lied about election and should “seriously consider” resigning

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, on January 8.
Alyssa Farah, former White House communications director, on January 8. CNN

Former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said President Trump lied to the American people about the 2020 presidential election and he should “seriously consider” resigning.  

Farah told CNN this morning that the President and his advisers are directly responsible for inciting the mob at the Capitol. She said it’s “unacceptable” that Trump didn’t more forcefully tell rioters to leave the Capitol grounds. 

“They allowed this myth, this lie, to take a life of its own that the election might be overturned,” she said on CNN’s “New Day.”

When asked directly if Trump lied to the American people, Farah said "he did, on the election."

“People around him know better. We know that the results were not going to be overturned. We knew that it was a stunt to carry this on for days longer,” she said.

Farah told CNN’s John Berman that she’d feel safer if President Trump resigned from office and Vice President Mike Pence took over.

“I think that it's something he should seriously consider. I don't think that when you've got just a number of days left, there's any need to carry on kind of the charade of an impeachment, the people's house needs to get back to work,” she added.

Farah, who resigned in December, also explained why she left her post. 

“I had growing concerns about the fact that I felt like we were misleading the public with this endeavor to say that the election was stolen,” she said. 

Watch part of Alyssa Farah's interview on CNN:

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

What we know about the 5 deaths tied to the Capitol attack

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

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,

8:52 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Aides warned Trump he'd be removed from office if he didn't condemn mob attack and concede

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Rioters walk through the Capitol after breaching barricades to the building on January 6.
Rioters walk through the Capitol after breaching barricades to the building on January 6. Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Trump's top aides delivered a blunt warning to him Thursday as he sat sullenly in the West Wing and watched as his Republican allies, Cabinet secretaries and former senior staffers criticized or denounced him one by one.

The President's daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others told Trump that there was a real chance he would be removed from office — whether by his own Cabinet or lawmakers — if he did not more forcefully denounce the actions of his supporters the day before.

Trump did not initially want to issue a video decrying the loyalists, whose actions he largely supported, but he told aides to prepare a speech and then he would decide.

Once he read over the brief speech they had prepared, Trump agreed to record it Thursday evening, a relief to the senior staff, though there are still concerns he could backtrack during his final days in office given his actual position — that he lost the election unfairly —has not changed.

8:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Federal murder investigation will be opened in Capitol Police officer’s death

From CNN's Evan Perez

Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official says.

Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol.

He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement. 

CNN previously reported that the death was being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.

8:43 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Trump contemplating how he will spend final 12 days in office after publicly conceding

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Donald Trump arrives at a rally near the White House on January 6.
President Donald Trump arrives at a rally near the White House on January 6. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump, having now publicly conceded he will no longer serve a second term, had begun contemplating how he will spend his final days in the White House, according to people familiar with the matter.

Aides still have a long list of executive actions they are hoping he will sign in his waning days, including one teed up on buy-American provisions. There is talk of a trip next week to view progress on the border wall, one of Trump's proudest achievements. And a raft of pardons, including potentially for himself, are expected in the coming days.

Aides are still discussing a farewell address or interview. Trump's highly-scripted video acknowledging he will be leaving the White House is the tone his advisers hope he will stick with as he leaves office.

Trump called off a visit to Camp David this weekend, which would likely have been his final time at the presidential retreat. He had been planning to go before the riots but decided Thursday, amid questions about resignations and Cabinet defections, to remain in Washington. Other "lasts" are still up in the air, like his final flight aboard Air Force One.

Trump must also decide soon when and how he wants to depart the White House. Officials still do not expect him to attend the inauguration, though he has been asking advisers whether he should. To some he has signaled that it's not ruled out.

At this point he is expected to go to Mar-a-Lago, despite his displeasure (first reported by CNN's Kate Bennett) at the renovations there.

As he contested the results of the election, Trump refused to engage in discussions about how he wanted to spend his final days in the White House, or what he wanted to do afterward.

Officials are eager those conservations can now begin, hopeful to spend some time focusing on Trump's "legacy," even though many inside the building believe it will be irrevocably tarred by his behavior that led to this week's riots.

9:27 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi and her leadership team spoke last night about whether to push quick impeachment vote

From CNN's Manu Raju

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference at the US Capitol on January 7.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference at the US Capitol on January 7. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team spoke last night about whether to hold a quick impeachment vote, and the overwhelming sentiment was to move ahead, 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.

The full Democratic caucus will speak today at noon ET.

Remember: Moving ahead with impeachment, of course, doesn’t mean Congress would be able to remove Trump from office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could let the clock run out and not hold an impeachment trial in his chamber given that Joe Biden will be President on Jan. 20.

McConnell, sources said, hasn’t spoken to Trump for weeks — fallout from McConnell acknowledging Biden won the presidency in mid-December.

Hear Pelosi's remarks on impeachment and removing Trump from office:

8:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

FBI seeks public's help identifying individuals inside Capitol

From CNN's Brian Rokus 

The FBI Washington Field Office has tweeted a bulletin seeking help identifying ten individuals who the agency says made unlawful entry into the Capitol on Wednesday.

The alert includes pictures of the ten people.

See the tweet:

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

Trump publicly acknowledged for the first time last night he won't serve a second term

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Veronica Stracqualursi and Allie Malloy

President Donald Trump addresses the violence at the US Capitol in a recorded statement released via his Twitter account on January 7.
President Donald Trump addresses the violence at the US Capitol in a recorded statement released via his Twitter account on January 7. From Donald J. Trump/Twitter

President Trump conceded publicly for the first time Thursday 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 a pre-recorded video taped at the White House. "My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power."

Trump's recognition of his loss comes two months after the fact and amid growing calls for either his removal from office or a fresh impeachment. It also came as legal questions swirled about his culpability for inciting rioters who invaded the US Capitol a day earlier.

In the video, released more than 24 hours after Wednesday's riot, Trump made calls for "healing and reconciliation" and said the country must move forward.

But he also misstated his role in activating the National Guard to combat his supporters who stormed the Capitol, who only a day earlier he called "special."

Earlier Thursday, Trump issued a dark-of-night statement vowing an "orderly transition," which came about in part to stanch a wave of resignations from within the West Wing and the broader administration, according to a person familiar with the matter.