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 10:30 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021
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3:44 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Pence plans to attend Biden's inauguration, but has not yet been formally invited 

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Sarah Westwood

Vice President Mike Pence is seen presiding over the joint session of Congress on January 6.
Vice President Mike Pence is seen presiding over the joint session of Congress on January 6. Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images

A source close to the Vice President Mike Pence says he's planning to attend the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20.

"That's the plan," the source said.

Another source said the Pence has faced pressure from many of those around him who are encouraging him to attend. He has not yet been formally invited, however.

3:42 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

GOP Sen. Graham calls Trump's role in inciting yesterday's Capitol riot “a self-inflicted wound” 

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Sarah Fortinsky 

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, said Thursday that the President’s accomplishments have been “tarnished by yesterday” and the attack “will be a major part of his presidency”.  

"As to yesterday, that my friend, a President with consequence, would allow yesterday to happen. And it will be a major part of his presidency. It was a self-inflicted wound. It was going too far,” Graham said.

"When it comes to accountability, the President needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” he added.

"I've become close to the President personally… It has been an amazing four years in terms of judges, securing the border, a vaccine in record time, deregulating the economy, cutting taxes, historic Mideast peace agreements, the destruction of the caliphate, on and on and on, was tarnished by yesterday,” he said

While he was critical of Trump at a press conference Thursday about the Capitol riot, Graham toed the line and defended Trump by also placing blame on media coverage and Trump’s advisers.

On whether he thinks Trump could incite more violence, he replied: "I'm hoping he won't.” Adding, that he is hopeful because “I spoke to some people this morning, I got some assurances... I think we are moving in the right direction.” 

On the 25th Amendment, he said “I do not believe that’s appropriate at this point.” But he added that, "If something else happens all options would be on the table."

Graham said he has “absolutely no regrets” about supporting President Trump.

“The reason I've been close to the President is I think he's done tremendous things for this country," he said, pointing to judicial nominations among other accomplishments.

Asked if he thinks Trump would run for office again in the future, he replied: “I’m not worried about the next election, I’m worried about the next 14 days.”

He also called on Trump to “accept he fell short” in the election, “and a new president will be coming.” He also asked him to “turn down the rhetoric and allow us as a nation to heal and move forward.”

“I am hopeful that the worst is behind us and we can transfer power on January 20,” he said. 

He praised Vice President Mike Pence, and said “The things he was asked to do in the name of loyalty were over the top, unconstitutional, illegal and would have been wrong for the country.”

3:40 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Trump and Pence have not spoken since attack on Capitol happened, sources say

From CNN's Pamela Brown

Getty Images
Getty Images

Two sources familiar with the matter say the divide between President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence has deepened over the last 24 hours. Trump is angry at Pence and Pence is disappointed and saddened by Trump, sources say. 

Pence’s feelings built up after weeks of Trump trying to convince him to unilaterally overturn the election and it culminated with the mayhem yesterday fomented by the President’s comments. 

Additionally, Pence was the one on the phone with Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller urging a more rapid response from the National Guard following widespread frustration among lawmakers about the lack of the response. Trump never called to check on his well-being and still has not reached out to Pence even now. 

The source said despite the current dynamic, at this point, it doesn’t appear either will do anything in response, such as Pence resigning. 

Additionally, the source says many administration officials who have been discussing invoking the 25th Amendment as CNN reported last night feel today such a move would do more harm than good. 

A separate source close to Pence says as of early this afternoon those conversations had not made their way to the his office but lawmakers have been trying to reach him on the matter. 

3:29 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Acting defense secretary calls out "reprehensible" violence at US Capitol

From CNN's Oren Liebermann

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller speaks on November 13.
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller speaks on November 13. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller called the storming of the US Capitol “reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution,” in a statement released by the Pentagon Thursday. 

Miller commended the actions of the District of Columbia National Guard, and said the Pentagon would “execute the time-honored peaceful transition of power” to President-elect Joe Biden.

“Our Republic may have been disrupted yesterday, but the resolve of our legislators to conduct the people’s business did not waver. Due to their efforts, supported by local and federal law enforcement and the National Guard, the attempts of those who tried to stop our government from functioning failed,” Miller said

“I strongly condemn these acts of violence against our democracy. I, and the people I lead in the Department of Defense, continue to perform our duties in accordance with our oath of office, and will execute the time-honored peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on January 20,” he added.

Miller was named acting secretary by President Trump after the President fired former Defense Secretary Mark Esper after the Nov. 3 election.

 

3:34 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

FEMA administrator calls attack on Capitol an "insurrection" in message to workforce

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor speaks on June 8.
FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor speaks on June 8. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Pete Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, condemned Wednesday’s riots in a message to the workforce Thursday afternoon, calling it an “insurrection,” according to an internal message obtained by CNN. 

“Yesterday we watched with shock, concern, and sadness at the senseless attack on the house of American democracy,” Gaynor said, adding that the “heartbreaking images of this insurrection have left a scar on our nation.”

Gaynor said FEMA staff worked overnight to “support efforts to ensure continuity of government operations,” later adding: “There are many questions lingering about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and it will take time to discover the answers.” 

CNN reached out to FEMA for more information on the agency’s role yesterday.

3:18 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Twitch disables Trump's channel

From CNN's Kaya Yurieff

Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images
Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Twitch said Thursday it has disabled President Trump's channel on the gaming service, making it the latest tech platform to crack down on the President's accounts after his supporters stormed the US Capitol building.

“In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel," the company said in a statement. "Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President's incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence."

The move from the Amazon-owned gaming service comes as other platforms escalate their restrictions on the President's accounts.

On Thursday, Facebook banned Trump's account from posting on the platform for at least the duration of his term in office, and possibly "indefinitely." A day earlier, Twitter locked Trump’s account temporarily, and warned for the first time that it could suspend him permanently.

Trump has a significantly smaller audience on Twitch than he does on Twitter and Facebook.

3:08 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Maryland governor calls for Trump to either resign or be removed from office

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, right, speaks during a press conference on January 7.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, right, speaks during a press conference on January 7. Maryland Governor's office

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, said he thinks the nation would be better off if President Trump were to be removed from office during a news conference Thursday.

"I think there’s no question that America would be better off if the President would resign or be removed from office. And if Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, would conduct a peaceful transfer of power over the next 13 days until President Biden is sworn in," he said.

"We need leadership right now and we need to stop all of this craziness," Hogan said.

He called the attack by pro-Trump supporters "heinous" and an attack on the rule of law.

"What we saw in the nation’s Capitol was not just an attack on the people’s representatives or historic buildings and our law enforcement. It was an attack on the rule of law, the foundation of self-government and who we are as Americans. The mob may have shattered glass but they did not and they will not shatter our democracy," he said.

Hogan also noted that while he had the state's National Guard ready to be deployed to the Capitol, he was unable to get immediate federal authorization to send them in for nearly 90 minutes.

 

4:10 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Black protesters are treated "completely different," BLM co-founder says

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, speaks during an interview on January 7.
Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, speaks during an interview on January 7. CNN via Cisco Webex

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, condemned security officials’ response to the Capitol Hill riots today, saying protesters who were marching for civil rights over the summer were treated much more harshly. 

“Black leaders, Black organizers, Black protesters are treated completely different,” Cullors told CNN. “…We are met with rubber bullets. People in Louisville, Kentucky, were met with riot gear. Here in Los Angeles we were met with tear gas and brutalized by a militarized police force.”

Cullors went on to say it was “disgusting” that there was “no to little security yesterday.” 

She also praised President-elect Joe Biden’s remarks earlier today in which he also drew a contrast between the security response to the Capitol riots and the police response to Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer.

“Hearing President-elect Joe Biden really speak to the dire situation that happened and clarifying that Black Lives Matter protesters have been and continue to be treated differently than White supremacist terrorists was huge,” she said. “He's speaking not just to the country, but speaking on a global stage.”

Watch the interview:

2:57 p.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Suspects in Capitol riot are appearing in court

From CNN's Christina Carrega, Noah Broder and Katelyn Polantz

The first defendants arrested during the Capitol riot yesterday are appearing in court now.

In some of the first appearances in the DC Superior Court on Thursday, prosecutors asked for the judge to block defendants from being in the city, noting they were not residents.

Judge Juliet McKenna ordered Michael Jared Amos, 38, of Florida, to stay out of the District of Columbia until further notice, only allowing him in the capital for court-related appearances.

Amos was charged on Wednesday with unlawful entry into the US Capitol building and violating the 6 p.m. curfew set by the mayor. Amos is accused of disobeying the commands of Capitol Police and MPD police officers, and that he ignored the citywide curfew. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Another defendant David Ross, 33, of Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty to unlawful entry and violating the 6 p.m. curfew. He also was ordered by the judge to stay away from Washington, DC.

During his court appearance Thursday over Zoom, Amos sat in a holding cell, and said his cell phone was dead. He was wearing a surgical mask and an army green T-shirt with a stars and stripe design. He said he had a hotel room in the DC area, and would be heading out of the city.

Ross, just before his brief hearing ended, asked the judge to explain the charges because he did not understand them, so the judge informed Ross to speak to his attorney.

The federal court, DC's District Court, will also be hearing new cases related to the riots on Thursday, and that hearing is set to begin shortly.

The DC Superior Court initial hearings are ongoing.