Politics live updates: Sen. Lisa Murkowski is first GOP senator to call on Trump to resign

This post was originally published on this site
CLOSE

Here’s the multiple members of President Trump’s Cabinet and administration who have resigned in the wake of the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol. USA TODAY

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, hit her breaking point with President Donald Trump.

In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, she called on Trump to resign and said she might not have a future in the Republican Party if it remained the party of Trump.

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” she told the newspaper in an interview. Trump was to blame for inciting the riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob that left at least five people dead, she said, calling Trump’s remarks to supporters an “order” from him to fight.

Asked if she’d remain a Republican, she reminded her home-state newspaper she’d won a write-in campaign in 2010 after losing a primary to another Republican and said, “if the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me.”

She did not address impeachment, which she did not support when the House impeached Trump a year ago. The House is poised to introduce new articles of impeachment against Trump as early as next Monday, charging him with inciting the riot at the Capitol. Another Republican senator, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said Friday on “CBS This Morning” he would consider the articles if the House advanced them.

— Nicholas Wu

Biden says Cruz, Hawley should be voted out after objection to electoral count

President-elect Joe Biden said disputes with President Donald Trump and rioting at the Capitol might actually smooth his relations with Republicans in Congress, but that lawmakers who continued to challenge the legitimacy of the election should be voted out of office.

Biden said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech Wednesday supporting Biden’s victory at the start of the Electoral College vote count was “the right thing to do.” Biden said he campaigned with former President Barack Obama against Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, but that the former rival showed “enormous integrity” in denouncing Trump.

“Many of them are as outraged and disappointed and mortified by the president’s conduct as I am,” Biden, a former 36-year Democratic senator, said of congressional Republicans. “What this president has done is rip the Band-aid all the way off, to let the country know who he is and what he’s about, how thoroughly unfit for office he is.”

But Biden said others should be ashamed of themselves. He said lawmakers such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who raised objections to the Electoral College count, should be driven from office now that voters “got a real clear look at who they are.”

“I think they should just be flat beaten the next time they run,” Biden said. “They’re part of a big lie,” Biden added.

Biden said Cruz and other acolytes of Trump are as responsible as Trump for corrosive relations in politics and distrust in government.

“They are as responsible as he is,” Biden said. “It’s not about whether they are impeached. It’s about whether or not they continue to hold power because of the disgust the American people have for their actions.”

Hawley called Biden comparing him to a Nazi propagandist “shameful.” And Hawley defended how he raised questions about Pennsylvania’s conduct of the election as similar to how Democrats challenged election results in 2001, 2005 and 2017.

“This is undignified, immature, and intemperate behavior from the President-elect,” Hawley said. “It is utterly shameful. He should act like a dignified adult and retract these sick comments. And every Democrat member of congress should be asked to disavow these disgusting comments.”

– Bart Jansen

Biden: Capitol rioters are ‘terrorists,’ should be prosecuted

President-elect Joe Biden said the Justice Department will decide what charges to bring for the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday, but that perpetrators should be prosecuted.

“They are a bunch of thugs, insurrectionists, white supremacists, anti-Semites,” Biden said. “They are terrorists – domestic terrorists.”

“The fact is they should be prosecuted,” Biden added.

Biden called President Donald Trump one of the most incompetent chief executives the country has ever had.

“This had the active encouragement of a sitting president of the United States,” Biden said.

Biden said Trump announcing he wouldn’t show up for the inauguration Jan. 20 was something that he and Trump agreed on.

“He’s embarrassed us around the world,” Biden said.

Biden said an investigation of the breakdown in security must examine whether Maryland offered National Guard troops, but couldn’t get authorization, and that officers took pictures with rioters.

“It deserves a full-blown investigation,” Biden said, to prevent it from ever happening again. “People have to be held accountable.”

– Bart Jansen

Biden says whether to impeach Trump is ‘a decision for Congress’

President-elect Joe Biden said whether to impeach President Donald Trump before his term ends Jan. 20 is “a decision for Congress to make,” but that Biden plans to “hit the ground running” with health and economic proposals when he takes office.

“I’ve thought for a long, long time that President Trump wasn’t fit to hold the job. That’s why I ran,” Biden said. “What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide.”

Biden said he is focused on three major issues: getting COVID-19 under control, distributing the vaccines and reviving the economy.

“I’m going to have to be ready to hit the ground running,” Biden said.

– Bart Jansen

Pelosi says she spoke to Joint Chiefs chair about how to ensure ‘unstable’ Trump doesn’t launch strike

In a letter to House Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she had talked with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, the country’s highest-ranking military officer, about taking precautions to prevent President Donald Trump from launching a nuclear strike.

“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.

Milley’s spokesman, Army Col. Dave Butler, acknowledged Pelosi’s call in a brief statement.

“He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” Butler said.

Pelosi, on a Friday call with House Democrats, said she received assurance from Milley that safeguards are in place to prevent Trump from illegally ordering a nuclear strike, according to person on the call not authorized to speak on the record.

Pelosi has called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment in the aftermath of a riot by a pro-Trump mob at the Capitol Wednesday. Under the amendment’s fourth section, a majority of the Cabinet and the vice president can declare the president unfit for office and transfer power to the vice president. If they failed to do so, the House could initiate impeachment proceedings, Pelosi said.

– Nicholas Wu and Tom Vanden Brook

Pence tweets ‘deepest sympathies’ for family, friends of officer who died after Capitol riot

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday tweeted his “deepest sympathies and prayers” for the friends, family and fellow officers of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol.

Pence called Officer Brian Sicknick was an American hero who gave his life defending the Capitol.

Pence had been in the Senate when the mob began its rampage.

President Donald Trump, who encouraged protestors to march to the Capitol, has not acknowledged Sicknick’s death.

Sicknick was injured while “physically engaging with protesters” who swarmed the Capitol building, Capitol Police said. He collapsed after returning to his office and was taken to a hospital, where he died Thursday night.

His death is being investigated as a homicide by federal and local authorities.

Pence sent the tweet shortly after he arrived at the White House for the first time since he left Wednesday to preside over Congress’ acceptance of the Electoral College votes.

President-elect Joe Biden, a former senator, offered sympathy Friday to the family of Sicknick.

“Let me begin by expressing my deep sympathy to the family of Capitol Hill Officer Sicknick,” Biden said during a news conference. “The people responsible should be held accountable and they will be.”

– Maureen Groppe

Obamas ‘look forward’ to attending Biden inauguration, spokeswoman says

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama “look forward” to attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill tweeted

“President and Mrs. Obama look forward to attending the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20 in Washington, D.C.,” Hill wrote Friday.

The tweet came two hours after President Donald Trump said he would not attend the inauguration. Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence “have yet to make a decision regarding their attendance,” Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley said Friday.

– Sean Rossman

Trump-backed Ronna McDaniel unanimously wins another term as GOP chairwoman

Despite the turmoil surrounding President Donald Trump, members of the Republican National Committee on Friday unanimously reelected Trump-backed Ronna McDaniel as party chairwoman.

McDaniel, handpicked by Trump after his 2016 election to lead the formal Republican Party, remains popular with many leaders, despite growing divisions about Trump himself.

In her speech, McDaniel condemned Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, saying “the violence does not represent acts of patriotism.”

She did not mention Trump in connection with the riots, but later praised the outgoing president for growing the Republican coalition. 

Trump “has redrawn the political map for our Party,” McDaniel said.

She also expressed sympathy for Trump’s protests of Joe Biden’s victory, saying Republicans would fight in the future for “fair” election laws.

Three RNC members challenged Tommy Hicks – a friend of Donald Trump, Jr. – for the role of party co-chair. But Hicks prevailed with a majority of the votes.

– David Jackson

CLOSE

In a video on Twitter, President Trump acknowledged his President-elect Biden’s election victory and called for a “smooth” transition of power. USA TODAY

Moderate Sen. Joe Manchin says he supports Trump’s removal from office: ‘Country would be safer’

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., a key moderate Democrat, came out in support of President Donald Trump’s removal from office, telling USA TODAY in a phone interview the “country would be safer” if Trump could “leave in any way he can immediately legally” in the aftermath of a riot at the Capitol that left at least five people dead, including a police officer.

Manchin explained that if the Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence invoked the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, he would support their decision; or if impeachment came up for a vote, he would support it too. Trump’s conduct to incite the riot was “without a doubt’ impeachable, Manchin said, adding that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were “just as culpable” in inciting the “insurrection.”

But he noted that given the 12 days remaining in Trump’s presidency and the lack of Republican support for impeachment, it may not be practical to remove him from office. And so he urged Cabinet officials to stay in office and “please stay the course,” and if necessary, speak truth to power on their situation.

Both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced their resignations and cited the riot as part of their decision to leave the Trump administration.

Impeachment and the invocation of the 25th Amendment have only secured the support of a few Republican lawmakers.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a Trump critic, said Friday on “CBS This Morning” that if the House advanced impeachment articles, “I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move” because he believed Trump had disregarded his oath of office

Manchin supported Trump’s impeachment last year too. Democrats had moved to impeach Trump for allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. The Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit Trump in February 2020.

– Nicholas Wu 

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Trump says he won’t attend Joe Biden’s inauguration

President Donald Trump confirmed Friday what has been suspected for weeks: He will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” he announced on Twitter.

Trump’s decision to skip Biden’s swearing-in ceremony comes after weeks of his refusal to acknowledge that Biden had defeated him in the Nov. 3 election. Trump finally acknowledged his loss in a video on Thursday, saying that a new administration will take office in January.

After reports Thursday that Vice President Mike Pence was expected to attend the inauguration, Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley tweeted: “You can’t attend something you haven’t received an invitation to….”

But a spokeswoman for Biden’s inaugural committee said Pence is “of course invited to attend the Inaugural.”

Pence and his wife “have yet to make a decision regarding their attendance,” O’Malley said Friday.

She said the president and vice president traditionally do not receive formal invitations. Attendance is coordinated at a staff level “and that is taking place,” the spokeswoman said.

– Michael Collins and Maureen Groppe

GOP Sen. Sasse would ‘consider’ supporting Trump impeachment

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said Friday he was not opposed to removing President Donald Trump from office through impeachment for the president’s encouragement of an “insurrectionist mob” that stormed the Capitol Wednesday.

“Donald Trump has acted shamefully. He has been in flagrant dereliction of his duty and he will be remembered for having incited this and for having drawing more division into an already divided people. That is who Donald Trump is. That is what his legacy is going to be,” The Nebraska Republican told CBS “This Morning.”

“What he did was wicked,” said Sasse, who even before this week’s violence repeatedly denounced Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and his GOP colleague’s plan to challenge the results.

Congressional Democrats have said that if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet did not remove the president from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, they plan to file articles of impeachment.

“The House, if they come together and have a process. I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I have told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said.

Sasse also called for an investigation into why it took so long to deploy the National Guard in response to the breach of the Capitol and why offers of assistance from other regional law enforcement agencies were not immediately accepted.

– William Cummings

Colin Powell: ‘I wish he would just do what Nixon did. And that’s step down.’

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that President Donald Trump should resign immediately in the wake of Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“I wish he would just do what Nixon did and that’s step down,” Powell said in an interview on NBC.

Powell said impeachment – a step House Democrats are preparing for as early as next week – is too time consuming.

“Somebody ought to go up there and tell him, ‘It’s over. Plane’s waiting for you. You’re out,’” Powell said.

Powell said that would also help “cut the guts out from underneath” the Trump allies who are seeking to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election, which President-elect Joe Biden won. Trump has falsely claimed the election was rigged and rife with fraud, allegations that have been repeatedly debunked and rejected by courts, election officials and state leaders.

On Wednesday, as Congress was preparing to formally recognize Biden’s win, Trump encouraged a group of his supporters to march to the Capitol. They were able to breach security, ransack the building and temporarily halt the Electoral College count. An officer with the U.S. Capitol Police was among those who died in the wake of the attack.

“What he is responsible for is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen,” Powell, a retired four-star general, said of Trump. “He should be totally ashamed of himself, and he should take that shame and turn it into a resignation as quickly as possible.”

Powell called those who stormed the Capitol “idiots” and said Trump “encouraged them every step of the way.”

He said Vice President Mike Pence and other current government officials can easily take over for the remaining days of Trump’s term, which will end of Jan. 20 when Biden is inaugurated.

Powell also expressed shock at the poor planning ahead of Wednesday’s events. He said there was not a clear line of command and the delay in deploying the National Guard was inexplicable.

“I don’t know what they were waiting for,” he said.

– Deirdre Shesgreen

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Dominion voting systems sues Sidney Powell for more than $1.3 billion

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against attorney Sidney Powell for her baseless claims that the company, which manufactured electronic voting machines used by some districts in the 2020 election, changed votes for President Donald Trump to votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Powell’s wide-ranging conspiracy theory variously implicated Dominion, deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the CIA and Chinese communists in a plot to rig the election against Trump. But her efforts to prove her unfounded assertions in court were repeatedly rejected, sometimes derisively, by federal and state judges.

“Powell’s wild accusations are demonstrably false,” the lawsuit reads. “Far from being created in Venezuela to rig elections for a now-deceased Venezuelan dictator, Dominion was founded in Toronto for the purpose of creating a fully auditable paper-based vote system that would empower people with disabilities to vote independently on verifiable paper ballots.”

The company says the paper ballot safeguards used by its machines would have made the sort of plot alleged by Powell impossible and that her claims are not rooted in any factual basis.

Dominion seeks compensatory damages of $651,735,000, punitive damages of $651,735,000 and reimbursement for its legal costs. It also is asking the court to grant “a narrowly tailored permanent injunction requiring the removal of all the Defendants’ statements that are determined to be false and defamatory.”

– William Cummings

Rep. Katherine Clark says impeachment process could start next week

Rep. Katherine Clark, the assistant House speaker, told CNN Friday that if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet do not agree to remove President Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, the House will move forward with impeachment proceedings as “early as mid-next week.” 

“We know that we have limited time, but that every day that Donald Trump is president of the United States is a day of grave danger,” Clark said. “We can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the floor for a House vote quickly. We have already had Chairman Jerry Nadler, chair of the Judiciary Committee, say that he will use those tools to bring the articles as fast as possible.” 

Clark said that if Pence does not act, the House would “not have a choice” to impeach Trump, who she said “incited a seditious mob to storm the Capitol. We now have five deaths from that and the harm to our democracy is really unfathomable.” 

“We have a president who has turned on us. He is a traitor. He has incited violence and perpetuated a lie that he won this election,” she said. 

When asked if it would be possible to hold a Senate impeachment trial before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20, Clark said, “We can act very quickly when we want to.” 

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told CBS on Friday that if the House advanced impeachment articles, “I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move” because he believes Trump disregarded his oath of office

– William Cummings

Betsy DeVos, more Trump officials resign

Two days after an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol, several members of President Donald Trump’s White House and Administration have resigned. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a letter to Trump obtained by USA TODAY the “behavior was unconscionable for our country,” and there “is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

More: Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao, Mick Mulvaney, other Trump administration officials resign after Capitol riot

Her resignation followed those of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Trump’s former acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney from his role as the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, and Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser, among others.

Trump on Thursday acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in the clearest terms yet and called for a smooth transition of power at a time when he faces increasing criticism for his handling of the violence that erupted a day earlier at the U.S. Capitol.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter late Thursday. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

The change in messaging followed Congressional leaders calling Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, threatening to draw up articles and move forward with impeachment if not enacted. 

– Savannah Behrmann

Capitol Police officer dies after being injured by pro-Trump mob

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday night from injuries sustained the previous day during clashes with the mob of Trump’s supporters. 

According to a statement from the Capitol Police, Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and collapsed after returning to his division. He was then taken to the hospital for treatment, where he remained until his death. 

Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008, was a part of the department’s first responder unit. His death is being investigated by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and federal agencies, according to the statement. 

“The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends,” the federal law enforcement agency said. “We ask that Officer Sicknick’s family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this time.” 

Many have accused Trump of inciting Wednesday’s violence with his continued baseless claims that the election was “rigged” against him and a fiery speech in which he encouraged the crowd to head toward the Capitol. 

– Savannah Behrmann

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/08/politics-live-updates-donald-trump-joe-biden-capitol/6590781002/