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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8:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

House impeachment vote could happen by next week if 25th Amendment not invoked, House Democrat says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Democratic Rep. Katherine Clark, assistant House speaker, said that if Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, lawmakers will quickly move forward with impeachment. 

“Donald Trump needs to be removed from office. And we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,” Clark told CNN’s John Berman. 

Clark said that articles of impeachment could be voted on “as early as mid-next week.” 

“We know that we have limited time, but that every day that Donald Trump is President of the United States is a day of grave danger. We can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the floor for a House vote quickly,” she said. 

It is "highly unlikely" that Pence would pursue the 25th Amendment path at this point, a source close to the vice president told CNN.


8:32 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

House Leader McCarthy got into “heated” exchange with Trump as he refused to grasp severity of Capitol attack

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks in the House Chamber on January 6.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks in the House Chamber on January 6. Win McNamee/Getty Images

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, as rioters were overrunning the Capitol Building, engaged in a “heated exchange” with President Trump as He pushed them to denounce the attack, according to a source briefed on the back and forth.

McCarthy, Trump’s closest ally and confidante on Capitol Hill, was impressing on Trump the real-time severity of the situation and implored him to forcefully denounce the attackers. Trump demurred, leading to a heated back and forth.

Leadership had been evacuated to an undisclosed location, as other lawmakers were still in the process of being evacuated — all as the Capitol corridors had been breached and filled with attackers.

Punchbowl News first reported the McCarthy-Trump exchange.

McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. McCarthy, when Congress reconvened after the attack, later voted to object to the counting of electors from the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania - an effort Trump touted as a way to overturn the election results.

8:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

Law enforcement missed these key signs ahead of the attack on US Capitol

From CNN's Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez

Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the US Capitol on January 6.
Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the US Capitol on January 6. Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Despite weeks of planning between federal and local police agencies ahead of Wednesday's Trump rally—including tracking social media—officials said that going into Wednesday they had no intelligence indicating there was a threat the US Capitol could be overrun.

It would turn out to be a catastrophic failure after an angry mob overwhelmed police and stormed into the Capitol building, ransacking lawmakers' offices, injuring dozens of officers and stealing electronics and documents that could possibly include sensitive national security information. Five people died during the riots, including a woman shot by US Capitol Police and a Capitol Police officer.

During conference calls that included federal agencies and the city's police ahead of the rally, federal law enforcement officials say the US Capitol Police assured counterparts they had the situation under control—they knew how to deal with large demonstrations at the Capitol, in large part because the complex was already being prepared for Inauguration Day, one of the most secure events in the city, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Federal and local officials said Thursday they did not have intelligence suggesting any violent mob was preparing to attack the Capitol, even as demonstrators were publicly saying on social media they were not planning a typical protest.

Despite weeks of preparations, "obviously, what happened no one anticipated," Michael Sherwin, acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, told reporters in a telephone press conference Thursday. "Things could have been done better."

Of course, there were reports of violence when Trump's backers had come to town last month, and the FBI was monitoring everything from social media to the hotels where some of the rioters were staying. One sign of the preparations came in the days before the rally, when, acting on the FBI's intelligence information, Washington's Metropolitan Police arrested Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, after he left the airport en route to his hotel.

Read the full story here.

8:45 a.m. ET, January 8, 2021

You might hear a lot about the 25th Amendment today. Here are key things to know

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

The White House is pictured at dusk on January 6.
The White House is pictured at dusk on January 6. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

After violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials told CNN that they believe Donald Trump should be removed from office before Jan. 20.

Some of them called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked — as has at least one GOP lawmaker, Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

The amendment has periodically been discussed as a means of last resort to remove a rogue or incapacitated president.

Here's what you need to know about the amendment:

  • How it works: To forcibly wrest power from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would have to be on board, according to the text of the amendment. Read the full language here.
  • Trump could dispute their move: He would need to write a letter to Congress. Pence and the Cabinet would then have four days to dispute him. Congress would then vote — it requires a two-thirds supermajority, usually 67 senators and 290 House members to permanently remove him.
  • Some history about the amendment: The 25th Amendment was enacted in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, whose predecessor Dwight Eisenhower suffered major heart attacks. It was meant to create a clear line of succession and prepare for urgent contingencies.