Calls grow for Trump's removal after Capitol riot

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha, Mike Hayes and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:01 p.m. ET, February 8, 2021
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8:42 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Twitter says Trump has deleted tweets needed to unlock account — but unclear when he'll be able to tweet again

From CNN’s Brian Fung

President Trump has removed the three tweets from his profile that prompted a temporary lock of his account on Wednesday, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN. The move clears the way for Trump to regain control of his tweeting privileges as early as today. 

The official confirmation comes after Trump appeared to comply Wednesday evening with Twitter’s requirement that he delete the tweets or face a continued lock on his account. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Twitter said Trump’s account would be placed in a temporary time out for policy violations, lasting for 12 hours from the moment he deleted the tweets. Twitter also threatened Trump with a permanent ban from the platform for further violations. No sitting president has ever been banned from Twitter.

Asked what time Trump will be able to tweet again, Twitter declined to comment. 

9:12 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Former Capitol Police chief says "We failed"

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Terrance Gainer, former chief of the US Capitol Police, on January 7.
Terrance Gainer, former chief of the US Capitol Police, on January 7. CNN

Following the Capitol Hill riot yesterday, former Chief of the US Capitol Police Terrance Gainer said, "We failed. We did not secure the Capitol and people need to be held responsible and explain what went on."

Speaking on CNN’s New Day on Thursday, Gainer said police were "outnumbered." They "underestimated their strength" and "overestimated their ability to control the crowd," he said.

"No one was supposed to get that close to the doors and windows of the building," Gainer said, adding that must be thoroughly investigated. 

Gainer said watching police try to hold the crowd outside, while also clearing the building inside "was a slow, ugly process."   

Gainer said over the summer authorities "mishandled" how they dealt with Black Lives Matter protests in Lafayette Square. "I’m pretty sure the Capitol Police were trying to do something a little softer, as we try to welcome protestors up there, but it got out of hand." 

Though Gainer was clear to say it’s not fair to compare how police managed the two different groups, he added, "I think it’s a little more complicated and deeper than that."

"It’s heartbreaking when I know the goodness and the hard work that the Capitol Police do and the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms and the House Sergeant-At-Arms. They will analyze this and make sure it doesn’t happen again," he said. "But it was a failure and I apologize on behalf of the security people. We failed." 

WATCH:

9:08 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Police response during riots at the US Capitol show "double standards" around race, Van Jones says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

The police response to rioters storming the US Capitol on Wednesday was a message on "double standards" around race for young people of color in the country, CNN commentator Van Jones said.

"Every young person I have spoken to, especially young people of color, got the message loud and clear, that they can be beaten, arrested and worse for jaywalking, for just being an African American in a store. And yet, you can have a band of White traitors go and tear up the Capitol building and walk out," CNN commentator Van Jones said.

13 people were arrested for the riots on Wednesday. But many drew comparisons between the police response yesterday and last year's Black Lives Matter protests, where police met protesters with tear gas, violence and arrests.

"If you're Black, if you are a progressive, the price of protesting — I don't mean a riot, I just mean civil disobedience — ...the price of that is you go to jail for it," he said. "So to watch a complete lawless band of traitors and insurrectionists go and tear up the Capitol, bring guns to the Capitol, put their feet up on people's stuff, take pictures of emails, walk out ... and now those people are eating a pancake someplace," Jones added.

He continued:

"You just sent the best message you could ever send or the worst to a whole generation, black, white, brown and otherwise that there is a double standard like you would not believe," he added.

10:16 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

These are the Trump officials who have resigned following Wednesday's riots

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, submitted her resignation Wednesday afternoon, effective immediately, in the wake of the violent protests.

Grisham was the first person to resign in reaction to the pro-Trump mob attack on the nation's Capitol. She was one of the longest-serving Trump administration officials, having begun working for then-candidate Trump in 2015 as a press wrangler on the campaign trail.

Grisham's resignation was followed by Matt Pottinger, President Trump's deputy national security adviser, who also resigned Wednesday afternoon.

Early this morning, Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, confirmed his resignation. In an interview with CNBC he said he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday night and resigned.

"I called Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay," Mulvaney said in the interview.

WATCH MORE HERE:

8:19 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

House representative says she feared for her life as rioters breached Capitol

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng on January 7.
New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng on January 7. CNN

New York Democratic Rep. Grace Meng said it was “very frightening” as a mob breached the Capitol yesterday. 

Meng said she was in a room close to the House chambers and realized rioters were “literally right outside my door.” She barricaded herself by moving furniture in front of her door and stayed there for over five hours, she said on CNN's "New Day."

Meng sent a tweet during the chaos saying she said goodbye to her family.

“I texted them and I did a quick phone call. I didn't really want to talk out loud. I had to turn off the lights and turn off any sound. I was watching the TV on mute, and I just texted them that I loved them,” she said. 

Meng said she was surprised at how the mob was able to breach the Capitol. 

“I honestly did not fully expect…that they would be able to in such a quick amount of time be able to break through the barriers and come into the people's house. The pace of them being able to infiltrate our Capitol was not expected,” she said. 

Meng said she wants to see people held accountable for yesterday’s actions. 

President Trump “did not do anything until it was way too late to tell these folks to taper down and to be peaceful,” she said. 

“These dangerous words and actions by this President and how it impacted people across the Capitol yesterday, from members to staff and to the public who might have been around, it’s unacceptable. And something must be done. A clear message that those actions were wrong must be sent,” she added. 

Watch:

10:16 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Trump's former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigns

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Mick Mulvaney, then acting White House chief of staff, listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on March 2, 2020.
Mick Mulvaney, then acting White House chief of staff, listens during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on March 2, 2020. Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, has resigned.

He told CNBC in an interview this morning that he called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last night and resigned.

"I called Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay," Mulvaney said in the interview.

He added: "Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the President might put someone worse in."

Mulvaney's resignation follows the departure of at least two other Trump loyalists. Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, submitted her resignation Wednesday afternoon, as did President Trump's deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger. 

WATCH:

10:16 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Trump's statement pledging an "orderly transition" was meant partly to prevent further resignations

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Donald Trump greets the crowd at a "Stop The Steal" rally in Washington, DC, on January 6.
President Donald Trump greets the crowd at a "Stop The Steal" rally in Washington, DC, on January 6. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's dark-of-night statement vowing an "orderly transition" was designed in part to prevent a wave of resignations from the West Wing and broader administration, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At least one person, who was believed to be considering resigning on Wednesday, is now planning to remain in the administration. National security adviser Robert O'Brien has told aides he now intends to remain in his post until Trump leaves office, though his plans could still change depending on how Trump approaches the day. He made his decision before Trump released the statement.

O'Brien was persuaded to stay by other senior staffers who expressed concern about the national security implications of a vacant post in the final days of the administration.

The statement from the President, released through his deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino's twitter account at 3:50 a.m. ET, said "there will be an orderly transition on January 20th" even though he disagreed with the outcome of the election.

Trump agreed to the statement after being advised of the dismay and disgust among many of his aides, though the person familiar said it was not the sole reason for its release. It also came after reports that early discussions were underway about evoking the 25th Amendment and restarting impeachment proceedings.

It was meant as a signal from Trump that the next 13 days will proceed without incident. But it came months after Joe Biden won the election and hours after Trump urged his supporters to protest at the Capitol. Even among his team and close allies it is viewed as coming far too late and offering far too little condemnation for what happened at the Capitol building.

8:27 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Congress affirmed Biden's win overnight. Here's what you need to know this morning.

Just after Congress met yesterday for a joint session to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College win, pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol, prompting lawmakers to evacuate the building.

The Capitol was secured later that evening, and Congress returned to resume the certification process, with proceedings stretching into the early hours of this morning.

If you're just reading in now, here's what you need to know about what happened over night:

  • Biden's win certified: Congress formally affirmed Biden's 2020 victory just before 4 a.m. ET. The House and Senate easily defeated Republican objections against the votes sent by two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania.
  • Trump pledges an "orderly" transfer of power: President Trump posted a statement to his Facebook page following Congress’ certification saying, "Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition."
  • Some White House officials resign: Several White House staffers have resigned, including Trump's deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger and Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to first lady Melania Trump, and more are reportedly considering resignation following the violent riots.
  • Some in the GOP begin considering removing Trump: In addition to expressing obvious horror and anger, a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials have told CNN they believe Trump should be removed from office before Biden's January 20 inauguration, even if it means invoking the 25th Amendment or disqualifying him from ever holding office again.
7:12 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Russian Foreign Ministry reacts to "dramatic moment" of violence in Washington

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina

In its first comments on the chaotic events at the US Capitol on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it wishes "the friendly people of America" to go through this "dramatic moment in their own history with dignity."

A spokesperson for the ministry criticized the US election system, calling it "archaic," and claimed it created "opportunities" for violations:

"At the same time, we once again point to the fact that the electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meet modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle," spokesperson for the ministry, Maria Zakharova, said as quoted by RIA Novosti. 

"This largely caused the split in society that can be now observed in the United States," she added.

Reminder: Elections in Russia have been long criticized for multiple violations, from ballot stuffing to lack of real competition, according to both foreign and domestic observing organizations. 

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said that 2018 Russian presidential elections have been characterized by "restrictions on fundamental freedoms and lack of genuine competition."