4 months ago

Capitol Police chief resigning after mob attack

The head of the U.S. Capitol Police will resign effective Jan. 16 following the breach of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Chief Steven Sund said Thursday that police had planned for a free speech demonstration and did not expect the violent attack. He said it was unlike anything he’d experienced in his 30 years in law enforcement.

He resigned Thursday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on him to step down. His resignation was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

The breach halted the effort by Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Protesters stormed the building and occupied for hours. The lawmakers eventually returned and finished their work.

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

AP report: Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob

Three days before the pro-President Donald Trump riot at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower.

And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to a defense official and two people familiar with the matter.

Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration. (READ MORE)

4 months ago

Head of Capitol Police union calls for chief to resign

Gus Papathanasiou, head of the Capitol Police union, said yesterday’s riot showed “failure of leadership at the very top” and called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to resign, saying planning failures left officers exposed without backup or equipment against surging crowds.

“We cannot leave our officers and the Capitol Hill community they protect to the mercy of further attacks amid a vacuum of leadership,” he said.

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

Founder of site Trumparoo among dead at Capitol

One of the people who died of a medical emergency during the storming of the Capitol was the founder of a pro-Trump social media site called Trumparoo and had coordinated transportation for several dozen people from Pennsylvania to Washington.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 50-year-old Benjamin Phillips drove there in a van along with Trump-related memorabilia he had produced. The Inquirer and the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise both spoke with Phillips before the rally.

He was a web developer and founder of Trumparoo, a social media site for supporters of President Donald Trump. His profile on the site said he was organizing a bus from the Bloomsburg area to go to the rally and expressed anger at Democratic officials and moderate Republicans.

The Inquirer reports that members of his group say they last saw Phillips around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and that he did not show up to meet them for a 6 p.m. departure. They learned from police that he had died and had a somber ride back to Pennsylvania.

Phillips told the Bloomsburg Press Enterprise on Tuesday that people from other states were staying at his home. He said, “My ‘hostel’ is already full.”

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

Federal prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases today for crimes related to Capitol siege

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia says “all options are on the table” for charges against the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, including sedition.

Michael Sherwin, acting U.S. attorney for D.C., says prosecutors plan to file 15 federal cases on Thursday for crimes including unauthorized access and theft of property, and investigators are combing through scores of evidence to bring additional charges.

He says 40 other cases had already been charged in a District of Columbia superior court.

The announcement comes a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Police say more than 90 people were arrested on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

Pelosi calls for Trump’s removal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office after, she said, he “incited an armed insurrection against America,” referencing the siege on the U.S. Capitol carried out by a violent pro-Trump mob on Wednesday.

“The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeted Congress, are horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history, instigated by the president of the United States,” Pelosi said in a news conference. “In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people.”

Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove the president “by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment.” If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, she said, the Congress is prepared to move forward with impeachment — which would be the second of Trump’s presidency.

To be removed from office, though, a Senate majority would have to agree. Until the two new Democratic senators who won their runoff races in Georgia this week are sworn in later this month, Republicans still hold a small majority. The process would also likely be drawn out and not conclude before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on Jan. 20, whereas Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet could have him removed from power immediately, with Pence taking over the duties of the president.


4 months ago

Transportation Secretary Chao steps down

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao put out a statement today saying she is stepping down from her role in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet less than two weeks before the end of his term. Her resignation will take effect Monday, Jan. 11.

Chao said she was “deeply troubled” by the “entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed.” But she did not go so far as to blame the president for the mob’s actions.

Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who condemned both the assault on the Capitol on Wednesday, as well as his Republican colleagues who were objecting to the electoral vote counts in certain states — an effort that had no chance of overturning the results of the presidential election but nonetheless sowed further doubt in whether the elections were fair.

President-elect Joe Biden has already signaled his intent to appoint former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg to head the Transportation Department. Chao mentioned Buttigieg in her statement, saying her office would help her announced successor “with taking on the responsibility of running this wonderful department.”


4 months ago

Schumer urges Cabinet to remove Trump from office

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office following Wednesday’s violent assault on the Capitol by the president’s supporters.

In a statement Thursday, Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.” He added, “This president should not hold office one day longer.”

Schumer said Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove Trump from office. He added, “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

-The Associated Press

4 months ago

GOP member of Congress calls for Trump’s removal from office

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called for President Donald Trump’s removal from office using the 25th Amendment in a video statement Thursday.

Kinzinger called on Vice President Mike Pence “to ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people” and to begin the process of removing the president, which according to section 4 of the Amendment requires the vice president and a majority of the president’s Cabinet to submit a written declaration to Congress that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

If Trump were removed, Pence would become president for the less than two weeks remaining in the term before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

4 months ago

Barr says Trump conduct ‘betrayal’ of presidency

Former Attorney General William Barr says President Donald Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, Barr said Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the Cabinet.

His comments come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s baseless claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.

-The Associated Press