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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9:57 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Democratic senator says a laptop was stolen from his office during US Capitol riots

From CNN's Pervaiz Shallwani 

Sen. Jeff Merkley attends a press conference at the Capitol on January 25, 2020.
Sen. Jeff Merkley attends a press conference at the Capitol on January 25, 2020. Shutterstock

Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, says rioters who ransacked his office at the US Capitol building Wednesday stole a laptop that was on a table.

In a video posted to his Twitter page early morning, Merkley says rioters “smashed the door virtually off its hinges.” He said the door was unlocked.

Merkley said rioters “tore things off the walls,” including art from a renowned artist, showed a Trump 2020 flag that was left behind and stole a laptop that sitting on a table. He also show a cigarette butt that was stamped out.

“So count this office is trashed. You can see the debris is all over the floor,” he says.

Watch the video here:

10:15 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Another Trump official resigns after the Capitol Hill riots

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

John Costello, the Commerce Department's deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and security, has resigned his post in the wake of the insurrection on Capitol Hill yesterday and the President's response, a senior administration official tells CNN.

Costello's resignation is the latest, but likely not the last, in a string of resignations fueled by the President's handling of yesterday's unrest.

9:46 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

A day after the Capitol riot, Trump's schedule includes giving the Medal of Freedom to golfers

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump on Thursday will return his focus to the trappings of office on Thursday, one day after a mob of his supporters breached the US Capitol and the 2020 presidential election has been certified for Joe Biden.

He is expected to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, as well as Olympic athlete Babe Zaharias, a White House official told CNN.

With 13 days left in office, the White House has been inundated with requests for the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Thursday’s presentation was not listed on Trump’s public schedule, which instead said Trump would have “many meetings” and “many calls.”

Earlier this week, Trump bestowed the Medal of Freedom upon Rep. Devin Nunes, and is expected to honor Rep. Jim Jordan. Trump is also considering granting the Medal of Freedom to Bobby Bowden, the retired Florida State University football coach.

9:49 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

White House press office was unaware of Trump's overnight statement promising "orderly transition"

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond

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's statement overnight acknowledging that there will be an "orderly transition" was released on Twitter by the President's aide Dan Scavino without the knowledge of the White House press office, a White House official said.  

Nearly six hours after Scavino posted the statement on Twitter, the White House has yet to release the statement on official White House letterhead. It has so far only been posted on Scavino's personal Twitter page.

White House press officials woke up Thursday morning to find out about the statement via the news, just like everyone else, the official said.

It remains unclear whether the White House will release the statement via official channels.

9:24 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Here is what the damage inside the Capitol looks like this morning

From CNN's Manu Raju

This is some of the damage and debris still seen throughout the US Capitol building today after a violent mob stormed the building Wednesday afternoon. 


9:26 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Former White House chief of staff: "We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect"

From CNN's Jim Acosta

John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, attends a meeting at the White House on September 5, 2018.
John Kelly, then White House chief of staff, attends a meeting at the White House on September 5, 2018. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly said he was "horrified" by the violent mob that stormed the US Capitol yesterday and urged voters to "look infinitely hard" at who they elect to public office. 

In a statement released Wednesday night, Kelly said:

"I watched today’s actions on the Hill brokenhearted. Horrified. That’s not us ... This is an attack on our democracy, our way of life, and not just by the criminals who assaulted our Congress today. The good news is our Constitution is strong, and our people are overwhelmingly devoted to the rule of law."

He continued: "We need to look infinitely harder at who we elect to any office in our land. At the office seeker’s character, at their morals, at their ethical record, their integrity, their honesty, their flaws, what they have said about women, and minorities, why they are seeking office in the first place, and only then consider the policies they espouse."

Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, served as President Donald Trump's chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019. 

9:40 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

House representative: I haven't felt like this "since I was a ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan"

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Rep. Jason Crow comforts Rep. Susan Wild, on the floor in red, while taking cover as pro-Trump rioters breach the Capitol on January 6.
Rep. Jason Crow comforts Rep. Susan Wild, on the floor in red, while taking cover as pro-Trump rioters breach the Capitol on January 6. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

As rioters breached the US Capitol, House Rep. Jason Crow said there was a 15- to 20-minute period “where we were surrounded and had no way out.”

“I haven't felt that way in over 15 years since I was a ranger in Iraq and Afghanistan, where I thought there was a possibility I would have to fight my way out.”

In the moment, he said he reverted to ranger mode and ensured the doors were locked, moved other lawmakers away from the door and “directed the other members to remove their pins so they weren't identifiable in case the mob did break through.”

He was also ready to fight.

“I had a pen in my pocket that I could use as a weapon, I was looking for other weapons as well. And then I was coordinating with the Capitol police to try to find a way out to for us.” 

Crow said he is not surprised this happened after a Trump rally that was held at a short distance from the White House on Wednesday. 

“This is the inevitable conclusion of Donald Trump. The story right now in my book is a story of the enablers — the hundreds and thousands of people, the members of Congress who are traitors to their country after last night, the people in Trump's inner circle, all of whom should know better and do know better, and have allowed this to happen."

To move forward, Crow said it should be ensured that "the terrorists from yesterday are tracked down and put in prison" and that there is a push for the safety of this country.

Watch more:

9:13 a.m. ET, January 7, 2021

Union urges flight attendants to stay vigilant on DC flights after reports of aggressive political passengers

From CNN's Pete Muntean, Gregory Wallace and Christina Maxouris

American Airlines says it is taking several new "precautionary" measures, including no longer serving alcohol on flights to and from Washington, DC, as one union reported several incidents during which flight attendants "were forced to confront passengers exhibiting politically motivated aggression towards other passengers and crew."

The airline did not provide details on specific incidents, but the announcement came on the same day thousands of rioters — supporters of President Trump — stormed the US Capitol as Congress kicked off its joint session to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

In a message to union members, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said union leadership was aware of incidents on multiple flights headed to DC.

"As safety professionals, we are well trained in handling inflight disruptions, but we should never find ourselves having to deal with politically motivated verbal or physical altercations onboard," the message said. 

It directed flight attendants to continue to "maintain situational awareness, and attempt to deal with all safety and security issues on the ground."

"Remain extra vigilant on flights departing from the Washington, D.C. area for the next few days, and involve your fellow crewmembers if you have safety concerns."

Read more here.

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.