Trump adopts conciliatory tone after Capitol chaos: US News

Trump acknowledges new administration and promises a smooth transition, a day after his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

Trump pictured in a conciliatory video released on Thursday, January 7 [Screenshot via Twitter]
Trump pictured in a conciliatory video released on Thursday, January 7 [Screenshot via Twitter]
  • The storming of the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump has prompted calls for his removal from office before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20.
  • Trump has taken a more conciliatory tone – promising a smooth transfer of power and calling for ‘healing and reconciliation’.
  • The chaotic scenes unfolded after Trump addressed thousands of protesters and repeated unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. Four people died and 64 were arrested as protesters forced their way into the building.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the fallout from the chaos at the Capitol in Washington, DC. This is Tamila Varshalomidze taking over from Kate Mayberry.

UN rights office: Trump should disavow ‘very dangerous’ language

The UN rights office said that President Donald Trump should disavow “very dangerous” language he and other political leaders have used about the US election result and the storming of the Capitol in Washington this week.

“We are deeply troubled by the incitement to violence and hatred by political leaders and we are calling on the President of the United States and other political leaders to disavow, openly disavow, false and dangerous narratives that are being spread …,” UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said in response to a question about Trump’s personal responsibility for events at the Capitol.

“This kind of inciteful language can be very dangerous,” she told an online briefing.


‘We live in two Americas’: LeBron James on Capitol unrest

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said the violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters forcing their way into the US Capitol showed that there were “two Americas”.

James watched on television as the events took place, and on Thursday wondered what would have happened if the intruders had been mostly Black.

“We live in two Americas,” James said, following the Lakers’ 118-109 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

“And that was a prime example of that yesterday, and if you don’t understand that or don’t see that after seeing what you saw yesterday, then you really need to take a step back.”

The 36-year-old added: “There’s no ifs, ands or buts: we already know what would’ve happened to my kind if anyone would have even got close to the Capitol, let alone storm inside the offices, inside the hallways.”


Erdogan calls US unrest ‘disgrace for democracy’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the US Capitol Building violence a “disgrace for democracy”.

“I hope transition of presidency to Joe Biden on January 20 occurs as calmly as Trump says in his statement,” he said.

Erdogan extended his condolences to families of those killed during riots in Capitol Hill, wishes recovery to injured.


FBI offers reward for details of those behind Washington pipe bombs

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information on the individuals responsible for placing pipe bombs in the committee headquarters of the key US political parties in the capital, the agency said.

Many law enforcement agencies received reports on Wednesday of two suspected devices, one each at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee, the FBI said in a statement on Twitter.

Thursday’s statement was accompanied by an image of a masked suspect wearing gloves and a hoodie, carrying an object.

“The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the location, arrest and conviction,” the agency’s Washington field office added.


How Trump’s presidency started – and how it ended

Photos from the heart of American democracy show stark difference between Trump’s inauguration and the deadly violence at the Capitol.

More here.


Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob

Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the US Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower.

And as the mob descended on the building on Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents.

The police turned them down both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter.

Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.


Police officer dies from injuries sustained in Capitol riot

Brian Sicknick, a US Capitol police officer, has died from injuries sustained after supporters of Donald Trump forced their way into the building.

“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at the US Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” police said in a statement announcing his death late on Thursday.

Read more here.


 

China state media says US facing ‘internal collapse’

China’s state media was full of pictures on Thursday of pro-Trump supporters in the US Capitol, claiming some Chinese saw the violence as “karma” after what had happened in Hong Kong in 2019.

Editorials in Friday’s papers, meanwhile, have said the events showed the extent of the divisions within US society and politics.

The Global Times, a tabloid run by the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, described the riots as a sign of “internal collapse” that could not easily be reversed.

“The unprecedented mob in the Capitol, a symbol of the US system, is the result of the US society’s severe division and the country’s failure to control such division,” it said.

You can read more on that story here.

 


Taiwan says US democracy remains ‘beacon of hope’

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has reiterated the territory’s support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris saying the events of the past 36 hours were testament to the “strength & resilience” of democracy in the US.

“The institutions & democratic processes of the US were built to stand the test of time,” the ministry said on its official Twitter account. “Anarchy, disorder & mob rule will never prevail. But democracy & freedom will.”


Four more White House advisers quit: Reuters

Reuters news agency is reporting that four more senior advisers in the White House National Security Council have resigned.

A senior administration official and a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the officials who stepped down on Thursday were: Erin Walsh, senior director for African affairs; Mark Vandroff, senior director for defence policy; Anthony Ruggiero, senior director for weapons of mass destruction; and Rob Greenway, senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs.


Pompeo defends US after comparisons with ‘banana republic’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit back at claims Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol showed the US had become a “banana republic”.

Many foreign critics, as well as former US President George W Bush, made the analogy following the rioters’ assault on the building as Congress met to certify the results of the presidential election.

Writing on his personal Twitter account, Pompeo likened the analogy to slander and said it showed a “faulty understanding” of both “banana republics and democracy in America”.


Chao, DeVos quit in protest against storming of Capitol

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have resigned from Trump’s administration.

Chao, who is married to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, said in an email to staff that the mob attack “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.” She said her resignation will take effect on Monday.

In a letter to Trump, DeVos said the attack on the Capitol was unconscionable. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote, adding her resignation was effective from Friday.

Other officials, including deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, a leading aide on Trump’s China policy, have already resigned.


Trump issues conciliatory message promising transfer of power

Outgoing President Donald Trump on Thursday released a video condemning Wednesday’s “heinous attack” on the US Capitol and promised to focus on the transfer of power in his first public comments since Twitter suspended his account.

Trump had refused to concede the election to Biden as recently as Wednesday, when he encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol where legislators had gathered to certify the results of the presidential election.

Thursday saw the president take a different tone.

With Congress certifying Biden’s victory after the chaos at the Capitol, Trump said a “new administration will be inaugurated on January 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

Trump concluded by telling his supporters their “incredible journey is only just beginning”.


Loeffler concedes to Warnock two days after Georgia Senate race called

Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman and ardent Trump supporter, conceded the race against Reverend Raphael Warnock on Thursday.

“I fully intend to stay in this fight for freedom, for our values and for the future of this great country,” Loeffler said in a video concession.

Warnock, the son of a sharecropper, never held public office before. He defeated Loeffler during a runoff race held on Tuesday.

Loeffler was appointed to the seat by Governor Brian Kemp in 2019.


Judiciary committee head calls for Trump’s immediate removal

President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office “immediately”, House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said in a statement on Thursday.

Trump is set to leave office on January 20, but calls for his removal are growing in DC after Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol.

Nadler, a Democrat, said he is “once again urging that the president be impeached and removed from office. We have a limited period of time in which to act. The nation cannot afford a lengthy, drawn out process, and I support bringing articles of impeachment directly to the House floor”.


Day after Trump praise, White House condemns Capitol mob

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave a brief news conference on Thursday evening, where she condemned the violence at the Capitol.

“We grieve for the loss of life and those injured, and we hold them in our prayers and close to our hearts at this time,” McEnany said, a day after the Capitol was besieged by pro-Trump demonstrators.

“What we saw yesterday was a group of violent rioters undermining the first amendment rights of thousands,” she said.

“Those who besieged the Capitol are the opposite of everything this administration stands for.”

Read more here.


Trump campaign lawyer in Philadelphia withdraws

A court document filed in Pennsylvania shows a Trump campaign lawyer, Jerome Marcus, has withdrawn from representing the president’s campaign because “the client has used the lawyer’s services to perpetuate a crime”.

Marcus went on to say in the filing that “the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant and with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.”

Marcus filed a suit in federal court against the Philadelphia County Board of Elections in November which alleged Republican poll watchers and representatives were not allowed to observe ballot tallying.

The case has been dormant since November when Marcus told a judge that Republican observers were present during the tally.


Sedition charges on the table in Capitol rioting: US Justice official

Seditious conspiracy charges, as well as rioting and insurrection, will be considered in arrests related to the breach of the US Capitol, Justice Department officials said.

“All options around the table”, including charges of seditious conspiracy, rioting and insurrection, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters in a news briefing.

‘All options around the table’, including charges of seditious conspiracy, rioting and insurrection, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin told reporters [File: Reuters]

‘He hasn’t even called us’: Pelosi says Capitol Police chief should resign

US Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Capitol Police chief Steven Sund to resign, after officers of the federal police force charged with protecting Congress allowed supporters of President Donald Trump to storm the Capitol, sending lawmakers fleeing.

Officers fell back as the crowds advanced on Wednesday, allowing Trump supporters angry about his election defeat into the chambers of Congress to disrupt certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Others fought to keep lawmakers and staff safe.

“He hasn’t even called us since this happened,” Pelosi said of Sund during a news conference, adding that she made it known she would call for his resignation.

“Many of our Capitol Police just acted so bravely and with such concern for the staff, the members, for the Capitol … and they deserve our gratitude. But there was a failure at the top of the Capitol Police,” Pelosi said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to reporters a day after supporters of President Trump occupied the Capitol [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Senator: Increase Capitol security ‘dramatically’

Senator Chris Murphy said security around the Capitol building must be “dramatically” increased during protests, or the rules of engagement used by the Capitol Police need to change so they can deal with rioters more aggressively.

Murphy is the top Democrat on the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, which oversees the US Capitol Police.

Trump ally Senator Graham calls for peaceful transition to Biden

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close political ally and supporter of President Trump, threw cold water on talk of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office and called on the president to facilitate a peaceful transition to the next administration.

Trump went “too far” by inciting the crowd of his supporters to storm the Congress, and Trump “needs to understand that his actions yesterday did not help”, Graham said at a news conference.

Graham called on Trump to “turn down the rhetoric and allow us as a nation to heal and move forward”. He said he has spoken to Trump’s top aides about ensuring the transition proceeds.

Senator Lindsey Graham holds a news conference a day after supporters of President Trump occupied the Capitol building [Reuters]

John Bolton calls Capitol violence a ‘coup effort’

The former US Ambassador to the UN and Donald Trump’s one-time NSA branded Wednesday’s riot on Capitol Hill as a “coup effort”.

Speaking to UK broadcaster Sky, John Bolton, who has become one of Trump’s strongest critics since being fired from the White House, added that the outgoing US president will talk about running for re-election in 2024 but “will not run because he will fear defeat”.

Former US NSA John Bolton branded Wednesday’s riot on Capitol Hill as a ‘coup effort’ [File: AFP]

Biden: Equal justice not carried out

President-elect Joe Biden criticised law enforcement’s handling of the pro-Trump rioters at the US Capitol on Wednesday, saying they committed a “clear failure to carry out equal justice”.

“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol,” Biden said at an event to announce his nomination of Merrick Garland to be attorney general.

“We all know that’s true. And it’s unacceptable. Totally unacceptable.”

“And the American people saw it in plain view.”

President-elect Joe Biden criticised law enforcement’s handling of the pro-Trump rioters [Reuters]

House Speaker Pelosi calls for Trump’s removal

House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of Trump through emergency constitutional procedures under the 25th Amendment.

“We are in a very difficult place in our country as long as Donald Trump still sits in the White House,” Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.

“By inciting sedition as he did yesterday, he must be removed from office,” Pelosi, a Democrat, said.

“The president must be held accountable again,” she said, adding she expects to hear an answer from Vice President Mike Pence “yes or no” whether he will move to replace Trump.

Pelosi also said she had called for and expected to receive the resignation of Steven Sund, the chief of the US Capitol Police following the security failure at the Capitol.

‘We are in a very difficult place in our country as long as Donald Trump still sits in the White House,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol [File: Reuters]

Biden: ‘They weren’t protesters … They were … domestic terrorists’

President-elect Joe Biden had harsh words for the pro-Trump mob that stormed the US Capitol, as well as for President Trump himself, blaming him squarely for the violence.

“What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos,” Biden said on Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware. “They weren’t protesters. Don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists.”

“I wish we could say we couldn’t see it coming. But that isn’t true. We could see it coming.”

“The past four years, we’ve had a president who’s made his contempt for democracy, our constitution, the rule of law, clear in everything he has done,” Biden continued.

“He’s unleashed an all-out assault of our institutions, of our democracy, from the outset. And yesterday was the culmination of that unrelenting attack.”

US President-elect Joe Biden speaking before announcing his choices for attorney general [AFP]

White House tells political appointees to prepare for January 20 resignation

White House deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell sent a memo to Cabinet agencies advising political appointees to prepare to resign on January 20 as part of the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.

“As we prepare for a transition of power, we must take appropriate measures to ensure this is done in an orderly manner. Traditionally, Presidential Appointees in non-term positions have been asked to submit formal letters of resignation. In keeping with this past practice, all Presidential Appointees must submit a letter of resignation to President Donald J. Trump with a departure date of no later than 1200 pm on January 20, 2021,” said the memo, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

A White House official described the letter as part of the normal transition process.

 

Senator McConnell: ‘The ultimate blame … lies with the criminals’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned the ransacking of the Capitol.

He said, “The ultimate blame for yesterday’s events lies with the unhinged criminals who tried to disrupt our government and with those who incited them. But this fact does not preclude our addressing the shocking failures in the Capitol’s security posture and protocols.”

US transport chief resigns after Capitol attack

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said she would resign after the attack on the US Capitol.

Chao, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said her resignation would take effect on Monday. She said the attack “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside”.

Other top White House officials have also offered their resignation. Read more.

Republican Maryland governor calls for Trump’s removal

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has called for President Donald Trump to resign the White House or be removed from office, saying Vice President Mike Pence should take over to ensure a peaceful transfer of power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

“Governor Hogan is calling for Vice President Pence to take over and conduct the peaceful transition of power,” Hogan’s spokesman Mike Ricci tweeted.

“I think there is no question that America would be better off if President Trump would resign,” Hogan said, according to Baltimore-based WBAL Radio.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as called for President Trump to resign the White House [File: Reuters]

OPINION: The day Trump finally lost it

I realise this was a chilling and nauseating day but I also found “Black Wednesday” somewhat entertaining. It felt like watching the last episode of the reality TV show, The Apprentice. Except Donald Trump, the man who fires, was himself fired, finally and for good.

For four years, President Donald Trump has been messing up big time. This week, however, he messed up bigly. On November 3, he lost the election and on January 6, he lost his chance for a comeback.

Read more here.

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Washington, DC [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Is a peaceful transfer of power in the US at risk?

These are just some of the terms used to describe the chaos as the US Congress prepared to certify Joe Biden as the next US president: “An assault on American democracy”, “attempted coup” and “domestic terrorism”.

Crowds fuelled by Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen from him stormed the Capitol building to disrupt the process.

Trump is still refusing to concede, so can the US go through an orderly transition of power? For more, click here.

Schumer says he will fire Senate sergeant-at-arms over Capitol breach: Politico

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he will fire Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Mike Stenger when Democrats take control of the chamber this month after the pro-Trump riots at the Capitol.

“If Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Stenger hasn’t vacated the position by then, I will fire him as soon as Democrats have a majority in the Senate,” Schumer told Politico in a statement on Thursday.

Vice President Mike Pence, right, is escorted by Sgt-at-Arms Michael Stenger, left, from the House of Representatives to the Senate at the US Capitol [Mike Theiler/Reuters]

Woman killed in the siege of US Capitol was a veteran

The woman shot dead by police during the siege of the US Capitol was identified by police as Ashli Babbitt, a US Air Force veteran whose social media activity indicates she embraced far-fetched right-wing conspiracy theories.

Babbitt, 35, was an avid supporter of President Trump, her husband told KUSI News. Her posts and retweets on Twitter backed Trump’s false assertions that he was defeated because Democrats elaborately rigged the November 3 election.

Top China, Russia advisers among White House resignations

Top national security aides and other staffers have resigned from Trump’s administration in protest against the storming of Capitol Hill, and officials said more departures are expected soon.

Deputy NSA Matt Pottinger, a leading figure in the development of Trump’s China policy, resigned abruptly on Wednesday in response to the incident, a senior administration official told Reuters.

That was followed by Ryan Tully, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, another senior official said on condition of anonymity.

Mexican president deplores loss of life in US violence

The Mexican president has said he wanted to refrain from comments on events in Washington, DC, apart from commenting on the “regrettable” loss of life.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said “we have a very good relationship with President Trump, and we are not going to do any meddling”, adding that he also expected “no conflicts” with US president-elect Joe Biden.

Lopez Obrador has consistently prided himself on having a very good relationship with Trump, he was one of the last leaders to congratulate Democrat Joe Biden after his electoral triumph.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said ‘we are not going to do any meddling’ [File: Reuters]

UK PM condemns Trump for fomenting unrest, doubting election result

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denounced Trump after the president’s supporters stormed Congress in response to his incendiary rejection of the US election result.

“In so far as he encouraged people to storm the Capitol and in so far as the president consistently has cast doubt on the outcome of a free and fair election, I believe that was completely wrong,” Johnson said.

“And I unreservedly condemn encouraging people to behave in the disgraceful way that they did in the Capitol.”

Johnson told a news conference, welcoming Biden’s confirmation as the next president by Congress.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denounced Trump after the president’s supporters stormed Congress [File: Reuters]

Shopify removes stores affiliated with Trump

Canada’s Shopify Inc took down stores affiliated with US President Donald Trump from its e-commerce platform.

Shopify said the recent events determined that Trump’s actions violated its policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organisations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.

 

DC mayor: ‘Clearly the result of a failure’

Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the brazen attack on the US Capitol was “clearly the result of a failure” and called for an investigation into the events.

“Congress must create a nonpartisan commission to understand the security failures that happened on the Capitol,” Bowser said in a news conference on Thursday.

Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee said a total of four people died during the chaos at the Capitol, including one woman who was shot by a Capitol Police officer. Three other people died because of medical emergencies, he added and 68 people were arrested, with 41 of those on US Capitol grounds.

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has said the brazen attack on the US Capitol was ‘clearly the result of a failure’ [File: AFP]

Republican congressman calls for Trump’s removal

Republican US Representative Adam Kinzinger has called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove President Donald Trump from office, a day after the president’s supporters stormed the US Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy.

“All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said in a video he posted on Twitter.

Top Senate Democrat calls for Trump to be removed from office immediately

US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution to immediately remove Trump from office, saying if he does not act, Congress should impeach the president.

Capitol police chief calls riot ‘criminal’

The chief of the US Capitol Police has said the violent mob that stormed the building wielded metal pipes, chemical irritants and other weapons against law enforcement.

Steven Sund issued a statement on Thursday saying the rioting protesters “actively attacked” police officers and “were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage”.

A Capitol Police officer shot and killed one person, who Sund identified as Ashli Babbitt. Sund did not identify the officer but said they would be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

 

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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