Fallout intensifies over Trump's response to Capitol riot

By Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT) January 9, 2021
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12:54 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi says she has received assurances that safeguards in place if Trump wants to launch a nuclear weapon

From CNN's Dana Bash and Manu Raju

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

After speaking with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus that she has gotten assurances there are safeguards in place in the event President Trump wants to launch a nuclear weapon, according to multiple sources on the caucus call.

What we know: Pelosi told members in a letter that she spoke to Milley about Trump and the nuclear codes.

"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. "The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy."

12:37 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi tells colleagues there is more Democratic support for impeachment this time than last time

From CNN's Manu Raju

U.S. Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. 
U.S. Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walks in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2021 in Washington, DC.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells her caucus she prefers Trump resigning or the 25th Amendment before impeaching him. But she made clear that there is more backing within the House Democratic Caucus for impeaching Trump now than there was in 2019. 

She has not yet given a sense of timing or detailed the articles they are pursuing, but the call is ongoing.

“The President chose to be an insurrectionist," Pelosi said, according to a source on the call. “Impeachment encourages conversation on the 25th Amendment. That’s picked up a lot of steam.”  

According to this person, she also said, “How we go forward is a subject for this caucus.”

Some background: A source tells CNN that the current draft of the impeachment resolution now includes 131 members, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, a further sign of the growing momentum.

12:10 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Senate committees will investigate security failures of Capitol riot

From CNN's Nicky Robertson

A supporter of President Donald Trump gestures to Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate Chamber on January 6.
A supporter of President Donald Trump gestures to Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate Chamber on January 6. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees jointly announced they will hold hearings on the security failures ahead of the attack on the Capitol on Wednesday.

“An attack on the Capitol Building is an attack on every American. We plan to conduct oversight and hold bipartisan hearings on these horrific events, and work together to make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again,” the chairman and ranking members of the two committees wrote in a statement. 

US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned yesterday following criticism over his apparent lack of preparedness to deal with Wednesday's violent mob.  

The House Appropriations and Administration committees, which both have oversight of the Capitol Police, say they intend to investigate the riots, and multiple congressional aides said "heads should roll" at the Capitol over the security failures.  

11:59 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Democrats have 131 co-sponsors on their impeachment articles

From CNN's Lauren Fox

A source tells CNN that the current draft of the impeachment resolution now includes 131 members, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern, a further sign of the growing momentum.

12:33 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Speaker Pelosi says she spoke to top US general about Trump and nuclear codes

From CNN's Phil Mattingly 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during Electoral College vote certifications at the Capitol on January 6.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pictured during Electoral College vote certifications at the Capitol on January 6. Caroline Brehman/Pool/AP

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told members in a letter that she spoke to the chairman of the joint chiefs about President Trump and the nuclear codes.

"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. "The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy."

In the letter she also thanks members following Wednesday's insurrection, shared the news of USCP officer Brian Sicknick's death following the breach, and that she hopes to hear from Pence "as soon as possible" about removing Trump from office. 

"Nearly fifty years ago, after years of enabling their rogue President, Republicans in Congress finally told President Nixon that it was time to go. Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately. If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action," Pelosi wrote. 

The letter also announced that there will be a letter coming from the Office of the Attending Physician and the Office of the Employee Assistance about resources available to members for responding to trauma in the wake of Wednesday's attack. 

See the latest:

11:56 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau says Trump incited rioters

From CNN's Paula Newton

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a news conference today that the "current president" incited the violent rioters that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians. As shocking and deeply disturbing and frankly, saddening as that event remains, we’ve also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbor. Violence has no place in our societies and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau is among other American allies that have decried the attack against the Capitol.

11:51 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

White House in “crisis management” as it consults with lawyers about potential rapid impeachment process

From CNN's Jim Acosta

The White House is pictured on January 7.
The White House is pictured on January 7. Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Outside lawyers are being sought for consultation by the White House about the prospect of a last minute, rapid impeachment of President Trump, a source familiar with the matter said. 

The source said at this point lawyers advising the White House believe there is not enough time logistically for Democrats to move articles of impeachment out of the House and into the hands of Senators for a speedy removal of the president before January 20th. But the source said lawyers for the president have started to game out the impeachment possibility as the likelihood of the vice president and Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment seems remote. 

The source added the President’s attorneys have been consulted about the language used in Trump’s video messages in the aftermath of the Capitol riots. During that process, White House counsel Pat Cippolone and chief of staff Mark Meadows went to Trump to urge him to record the videos to save his presidency and hold off efforts to remove him from office. 

The White House is in “crisis management” mode following the siege at the Capitol, the source said. 

“The lawyers are involved,” the source said. 

Meetings have been almost non-stop inside the White House to hash out plans to bring the Trump presidency to an end in the least chaotic way possible, the source said. 

“Can you land the plane with 12 days left,” the source said, summing up the goal of the remaining staffers and advisers around the president. 

1:30 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Clyburn's spokesperson tells CNN they found his iPad, was not taken by rioters

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Brian Fung

Rep. Jim Clyburn attends a news conference at the Capitol on November 18, 2020.
Rep. Jim Clyburn attends a news conference at the Capitol on November 18, 2020. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

As questions continue to arise over the potential security ramifications after the Capitol building was stormed on Wednesday, Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, told reporters on a call today that his iPad was stolen during the breach. 

A spokesperson for Clyburn now tells CNN that the iPad has been found and was not stolen.

"Whip Clyburn’s iPad is safe and sound. In the chaos on Wednesday, a staffer moved it to a more secure location and other staff was unaware," a spokesperson for Clyburn told CNN.

Some lawmakers have reported that they had items stolen, Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, said rioters who ransacked his office at the US Capitol stole a laptop that was on a table.

According to authorities, multiple senators' offices were hit during the breach of the Capitol.

"This is probably going to take several days to flesh out exactly what happened, what was stolen, what wasn't," said Michael Sherwin, acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, said on a call with reporters Thursday afternoon. "Items, electronic items, were stolen from senators' offices. Documents, materials, were stolen, and we have to identify what was done, mitigate that, and it could have potential national security equities. If there was damage, we don't know the extent of that yet."

Why this matters: The thefts raise questions about Congress's cybersecurity posture and whether US officials have done enough to secure their computing devices and networks from direct, physical access.

1:20 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Clinton and Obama will attend Biden's inauguration

From CNN’s Jeff Zeleny

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Delaware, on January 7. Susan Walsh/AP

Three former American presidents do plan to be in attendance for the inauguration of Joe Biden on Jan. 20, officials say, with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and George W. Bush all making plans to be in Washington for the official transfer of power.

With President Trump making it clear today that he will not attend, an official tells CNN that Bush, Clinton and Obama all plan to attend. Jimmy Carter is unable to travel.

All four living former presidents derided the rioters who forced an evacuation of the House and Senate chambers of the Capitol in strongly worded statements that stressed the need for a peaceful transfer of power.

The attack on the Capitol has raised security concerns ahead of inauguration.