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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8:18 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Cruz's former spokeswoman says she does not recognize him anymore

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Cruz speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, on Saturday, January  2, in Cumming, Georgia.
Cruz speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Kelly Loeffler, on Saturday, January 2, in Cumming, Georgia. Brynn Anderson/AP

A former communications director for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Amanda Carpenter, sharply criticized the Texas lawmaker today for his role in supporting President Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election and incite the attack on the Capitol. 

"The new Ted Cruz, post-Trump, is one I don't recognize," said Carpenter, who is a CNN contributor. "I can surmise he thinks he's a smart lawyer who can parse his his way out of it, and in his mind he has some kind of rational but that's just not believable."

"He has to come to terms with the fact that through his actions directly played into the hands of the mob and stop," she continued. 

"It is so horrifying to watch someone descend into this and not be able to admit what happened when you worked for him and you believed in him," Carpenter told CNN's Erin Burnett.

"It is really hard to watch," she added.

7:54 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Twitter says Trump's final tweets violated its glorification of violence policy 

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Twitter’s decision to suspend President Trump's account followed two tweets Friday afternoon that would end up being his last.

The tweets violated the company’s policy against the glorification of violence, Twitter said in a blog post, and “these two Tweets must be read in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilized by different audiences, including to incite violence, as well as in the context of the pattern of behavior from this account in recent weeks.”

The first tweet was about Trump’s supporters. 

The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”

The second indicated Trump did not plan to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration.  

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”

Twitter said the tweet concerning the inauguration could be viewed as a further statement that the election was not legitimate. It also said that the tweet could be interpreted as Trump saying that the inauguration would be a “safe” target for violence because he would not be attending. 

Trump’s other statement about American patriots suggested that “he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election,” Twitter said.

Twitter told CNN the company will enforce its policy against ban evasions to ensure that Trump does not circumvent his personal account's suspension.

"If it is clear that another account is being used for the purposes of evading a ban, it is also subject to suspension," Twitter said in a statement. "For government accounts, such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse, we will not suspend those accounts but will take action to limit their use. However, these accounts will be transitioned over to the new administration in due course and will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary to alleviate real-world harm."

Twitter's policy would also prohibit Trump from directing a third party to operate a Twitter account on his behalf.

Civil rights leaders who have long criticized tech platforms for spreading hate speech and division welcomed Twitter’s decision.  

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called it an “excellent step.” 

“A fitting end to a legacy of spewing hate and vitriol,” Greenblatt said. “President Trump incited the violent riots at the Capitol using social media & paid the price.”

Eric Naing, a spokesperson for Muslim Advocates, said Twitter “is showing real leadership.”

“As Twitter notes, letting Trump continue to post tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube videos for his white nationalist supporters risks ‘further incitement of violence,’” Naing said. “Now it is up to Facebook and Google/YouTube to follow Twitter’s lead.”

7:52 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Trump is "a violent and dangerous man," congressman says

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Rep. Jason Crow
Rep. Jason Crow CNN

President Trump presents a danger to the nation's domestic security and should be removed from office as quickly as possible, Democratic Rep. Jason Crow said today.

"Donald Trump is a very violent and dangerous man," Crow said, speaking on CNN this afternoon. "He is unstable. He is not well ... he is a danger to ... the domestic security of our nation and the security of individual Americans." 

"It has to stop as quickly as we can make it stop," added the Colorado lawmaker, who was one of many members of Congress trapped by a mob inside the US Capitol on Wednesday. 

Crow, who was an impeachment manager during the first impeachment of Trump, said it was too soon to say when a vote on impeachment might take place in the House, but it could be mid-to-late next week. 

6:40 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Twitter suspends Donald Trump "permanently"

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Twitter
Twitter

Twitter has suspended President Trump from its platform, the company said Friday evening. 

“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said

Twitter added: “In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action.”

Read the statement:

6:15 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Pelosi says House is prepared to move ahead with impeachment if Trump doesn't resign

From CNN's Manu Raju and Suzanne Malveaux 

Pelosi walks down a hallway at the US Capitol on Friday, January 8, in Washington, DC.
Pelosi walks down a hallway at the US Capitol on Friday, January 8, in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House is prepared to move ahead with impeachment if President Trump doesn't resign.

She said in a statement Friday that she has instructed the House Rules Committee to prepare for a meeting to approve a rule that would govern floor debate for an impeachment resolution as well as a bill Rep. Jamie Raskin has proposed to create a congressional commission that would allow the 25th Amendment to be invoked.

Read her statement:

“Today, the House Democratic Caucus had an hours-long conversation that was sad, moving and patriotic. It was a conversation unlike any other, because it followed an action unlike any other.
It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign. But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment. Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment.
With great respect, our deliberations will continue.”
5:26 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

As riot raged at Capitol, Trump tried to call senators to overturn election

From CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, Devan Cole and Alex Rogers

President Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani both mistakenly made calls to Republican Sen. Mike Lee as deadly riots were unfolding at the US Capitol earlier this week, a spokesperson for the senator confirmed to CNN — calls that were intended for another GOP senator the White House was frantically trying to convince to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.  

Lee's spokesperson said the two calls from Trump and his attorney were intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newly elected Republican from Alabama.

The effort by the White House to get Tuberville to delay certification of the votes provides insight into the President's thinking and priorities as a mob of his supports lay siege on the iconic building.

As the President worked to convince Tuberville to delay the process, he and other top White House officials did little to check in on Vice President Mike Pence while he and members of his family were inside the Capitol when the rioters stormed it, a source close to the vice president told CNN.

Trump first called the personal cell phone of Lee, a Republican from Utah, shortly after 2 p.m. ET. At that time the senators had been evacuated from the Senate floor and were in a temporary holding room huddling in place, as a pro-Trump mob began breaching the Capitol.

Lee picked up the phone and Trump identified himself, and it became clear he was looking for Tuberville and had been given the wrong number. Lee, keeping the President on hold, went to find his colleague and handed him his phone, telling him the President was on the line and had been trying to reach him.

Tuberville spoke with Trump for less than 10 minutes, with the President trying to convince him to make additional objections to the Electoral College vote in a futile effort to block Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win, according to a source familiar with the call. The call was cut off because senators were asked to move to a secure location.

CNN has reached out to Tuberville's office for comment.

The second call to Lee came in at 7 p.m. ET from Giuliani. Lee did not answer the call so it went to voicemail. Lee's office confirmed to CNN that the voicemail was intended for Tuberville and that the message left from Giuliani was very similar to one another unnamed GOP senator received. The transcript of that call was published by the news blog emptywheel.

"Sen. Tuberville? Or I should say Coach Tuberville. This is Rudy Giuliani, the President's lawyer," he said according to the transcript.

"I'm calling you because I want to discuss with you how they're trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you," Giuliani said, referring to unfounded claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. 

"I know they're reconvening at 8 tonight, but it ... the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow — ideally until the end of tomorrow." 

Tuberville was unaware that Giuliani had tried to reach him until it was publicly reported, according to the source.

Tuberville was likely seen by Trump and Giuliani as someone who could help further their cause on Wednesday, as the Republican senator was among a group of six GOP senators who voted to sustain an objection raised against Arizona's electoral votes, which failed 93-6.

CNN reported on Wednesday that even after Congress was reconvening that night following the riot, Trump was still urging senators to push ahead with the protest on the certification of Biden as president, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

5:57 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

GOP Sen. Murkowski calls on Trump to resign: "I want him out"

From CNN's Manu Raju and Jim Acosta

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images/FILE
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images/FILE

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is calling on President Donald Trump to resign following the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday, making her the first Republican senator to take that step.

"I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski said in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

“I think he should leave. He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with Covid. He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president," Murkowski told the paper.

4:51 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Republican senator: "There is no way we're going to impeach the President"

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Caroline Brehman/AFP/Pool/Getty Images
Caroline Brehman/AFP/Pool/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of GOP leadership, said an impeachment of President Trump is “not going to happen.”

"There is no way we're going to impeach the President. There's not the time to do it,” the Missouri Republican said in an interview with local Kansas City TV station, KSHB.

“When (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer were talking about it, it's obviously just another political point trying to be made. It's disappointing. It'd be much more disappointing if people can't through see that." Blunt said.

House Democrats are currently planning to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump as soon as Monday, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. 

That could set up a vote in the House early to the middle of next week. Pelosi has not explicitly said when this will go to the floor. 

4:05 p.m. ET, January 8, 2021

13 people will face federal charges stemming from riot at Capitol

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Friday announced that 13 people are facing federal charges stemming from a riot Wednesday at the Capitol.

The full court records have not yet been made available for all defendants and only a handful of the individuals have made court appearances. 

In addition to those who have been charged, the Justice Department says that additional complaints “have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.”

“The lawless destruction of the U.S. Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation’s greatest institutions,” said Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin. “My Office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol.”