In letter to members of House, senior Democrat says impeachment will proceed unless Trump leaves office ‘imminently’.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of the fallout from the chaos at the United States Capitol. These were the updates by Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto and William Roberts in Washington.
Jim Anderson, CEO of Social Flow, a social media optimisation company, told Al Jazeera the suspension “had a sense of inevitably” after its temporary suspension of this account.
“What’s a little bit surprising is that Twitter got together” and “preemptively decided” to suspend Trump’s account due to fear of further violence, Anderson said.
Twitter’s statement said the company had determined that two tweets Trump sent today “are likely to inspire others to replicated the violent acts that took place on January 6, 2021, and there are multiple indicators that they are being received and understood as encouragement to do so”.
Trump had been required to delete three rule-breaking tweets before his account was unblocked on Thursday. He returned with a video acknowledging that Joe Biden would be the next US president.
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo noted this is “a big deal”. Trump has used his Twitter account “effectively” and used it as “his own personal newspaper”, Elizondo said.
“He’s used this as a very powerful tool for many years now. This move by Twitter was quite significant.”
Twitter cited two of President Trump’s tweets today for its decision to permanently suspend his account which had more than 88 million followers.
In the first tweet that violated Twitter’s policy, Trump said 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!!!”
Twitter said in its assessment the tweet “is being interpreted as further indication that President Trump does not plan to facilitate an ‘orderly transition’ and instead that he plans to continue to support, empower, and shield those who believe he won the election”.
In a second tweet, Trump said: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter judged that second tweet was “received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate” and “may also serve as encouragement to those potentially considering violent acts that the Inauguration would be a ‘safe’ target because he would not be attending”.
Twitter Inc has permanently suspended President Trump’s account due to the risk of further incitement of violence, the company said in a statement on Friday.
“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.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who broke with Trump to certify Biden’s Electoral College victory, was harangued by Trump supporters at the airport in Washington.
Video posted on social media showed Graham being escorted by police through National Airport while Trump supporters screamed slogans and obscenities.
“You traitor. You traitor. You traitor,” a woman is heard screaming at Graham.
“You knew it was rigged. You garbage human being.”
Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has said that President Trump should resign after his supporters stormed the US Capitol.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News newspaper.
“I think he should leave,” Murkowski said. “He needs to get out.”
Murkowski blamed Trump for inciting his followers to attack the Capitol and for divisive the two Republican losses in the Georgia Senate races.
“If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” she said.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez warned Republicans in a tweet President Trump would allow his supporters to kill or harm them.
“To my GOP colleagues: know that this president incited an insurrection against and incited his mob to find, harm and possibly kill not just Democrats, but you, too,” Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez said.
Some of the protesters marauding through the Capitol on Wednesday were heard saying they wanted to capture and execute Vice President Mike Pence, according to reporters in the hallways.
To my GOP colleagues: know that this President incited an insurrection against and incited his mob to find, harm, and possibly kill not just Democrats, but you, too.
He *will* allow opportunities of physical harm against you if you aren’t sufficiently loyal to him. Remove him.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 8, 2021
Federal authorities have taken into custody a man who broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during this week’s riot, the Justice Department has confirmed.
Richard Barnett has been arrested in his home state of Arkansas, spokesman Joshua Stueve confirmed in an email exchange with Anadolu Agency.
He has been charged with one count each of entering restricted grounds, violent entry, and public property theft.
Barnett was photographed posing on Pelosi’s desk during the riot in a photo that went viral and stirred outrage.
A West Virginia state legislator has been charged with entering a restricted area of the US Capitol after he livestreamed himself rushing into the building with a mob of Trump’s supporters.
Ken Kohl, a top deputy federal prosecutor in Washington, announced the charge against Republican state Delegate Derrick Evans on a call in which he presented dozens of new charges against members of the crowd that violently stormed the Capitol.
His lawyer, John Bryan, said he had not seen the complaint against Evans and could not comment. He did not say if Evans had been taken into custody, but television station WSAZ posted a video on Twitter showing FBI agents escorting the handcuffed lawmaker from a home.
Fifty-seven percent of Americans want Trump to be immediately removed from office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans surveyed also said they disapprove of Trump’s actions in the run-up to Wednesday’s assault.
American author Don Winslow has increased his offer to $20,000 for the first person to identify the name of a Capitol Police officer who took selfies with the protesters on Wednesday.
He had shared a photo of the masked officer on Twitter earlier when he had offered $10,000.
I'm offering $10,000 cash to the first person who identifies to me the NAME of this @CapitolPolice officer who took selfies while 5 people were being killed – and something that I can use to VERIFY.
If it has already been reported, please send to me. https://t.co/qjH5vCz1Yc
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) January 8, 2021
Biden said those who stormed the Capitol should be considered as “thugs, insurrectionists, white supremacists, anti-Semites … and domestic terrorists”.
He called for the attack to be “thoroughly investigated” and said those responsible should be “held accountable”.
“The way in which the breakdown in security occurred needs to be investigated,” Biden said.
He said he wants his Justice Department to take steps to ensure “this never happens again”.
Biden said his administration’s economic package will be in the trillions of dollars and include unemployment insurance and rent forbearance.
“It is necessary to spend the money now,” Biden told reporters.
“The answer is yes, it will be in the trillions of dollars, an entire package.”
Biden says Trump’s decision not to attend inauguration is “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on”.
“It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” Biden said.
“He has exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. [He’s] not worthy to hold that office.
“I am focused now on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can.”
Asked whether he supports Trump’s impeachment, Biden says his “number one concern” is on the urgency of the coronavirus as well as economic growth.
He said he believed for a long time that Trump was not fit for office, but it is for Congress to decide on a second impeachment of the Republican president.
“We’re going to do our job and Congress can decide how to proceed,” Biden told reporters in his hometown of Wilmington.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met Biden’s nominee for secretary of State Antony Blinken to “facilitate an orderly transition, and to ensure American interests are protected abroad,” a senior State Department official has said.
“Their meeting was very productive,” the official said, adding that Pompeo and Blinken and their teams “will continue to work together on behalf of America throughout the transition”.
Republican US Senator David Perdue has conceded his Georgia Senate race to Democratic rival Jon Ossoff after a pair of victories in runoff elections handed control of the US Senate to Democrats.
“I want to congratulate the Democratic Party and my opponent for this runoff win,” Perdue said in a statement.
Two US Senate seats were up for grabs in Wednesday’s runoffs.
Trump’s decision to call for calm in a video came at the urging of senior aides, some arguing he could face removal from office or legal liability over his supporters’ storming of the US Capitol, two sources familiar with the matter have said.
Senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, along with senior adviser Stephen Miller, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all pressed Trump to clearly state that he did not support the violence, the sources said.
Biden has slammed the Trump administration’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccine as a “travesty”.
“Vaccines give us hope, but the roll-out has been a travesty,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.
He said distribution of the vaccine would be “the greatest operational challenge we will ever face as a nation”.
Biden has expressed sympathy to the family of the US Capitol police officer killed in Wednesday’s invasion of Congress by pro-Trump supporters.
“The people responsible should be held accountable, and they will be,” Biden told reporters.
Biden said the US jobs report issued on Friday shows Americans need more immediate relief now and that taking action now will help the economy even with deficit financing.
He said more direct relief is needed to families, including $2,000 stimulus checks to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The violent insurrection at the Capitol is intensifying scrutiny over security at the inauguration ceremony for Biden, already reshaped by a pandemic.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will take the oath of office from the Capitol’s West Front, one of the very locations where a violent mob overpowered police and stormed the building.
Read more here.
The US Justice Department has charged a delegate in the West Virginia state legislature for his role in storming the US Capitol, federal prosecutor Ken Kohl has told reporters.
Other people who were charged include a man who was photographed in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and an Alabama man who had Molotov cocktails and firearms in his truck parked near the US Capitol, Kohl said.
Biden is set to introduce the governor of Rhode Island, the mayor of Boston and a small-business advocate from California as the newest members of his economic team.
Biden on Thursday announced Governor Gina Raimondo as his choice to become commerce secretary, Mayor Marty Walsh as his candidate for labour secretary and Isabel Guzman as his pick to lead the Small Business Administration.
One of Biden’s top challenges after he takes office will be to nurse an economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic back to health.
Read more here.
Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott is “urging” Trump “to reconsider his decision to skip” Biden’s inauguration.
“I plan to attend and believe it is an important tradition that demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power to our people and to the world,” he wrote on Twitter.
I am urging @realDonaldTrump to reconsider his decision to skip the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
I plan to attend and believe it is an important tradition that demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power to our people and to the world. pic.twitter.com/8YgtBwQZgY
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) January 8, 2021
Scott, a Trump ally, was one of seven senators who supported an objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes as Congress tallied them Wednesday.
The objection failed and Biden’s victory was certified early Thursday morning.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blamed Trump for inciting this week’s attack on the US Capitol.
“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa during his daily briefing on Canada’s COVID-19 situation.
The strong statement by Trudeau is in stark contrast to the normally carefully measured tone of the Canadian leader, who has had to walk on eggshells not to offend Trump throughout his four-year presidency given Canada’s dependence on the US for trade and security.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has called Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “arrogant” for statements he made on Thursday condemning Trump’s role in inciting the violence on Capitol Hill and indefinitely blocking from Facebook.
Lopez Obrador said he had read the “Facebook owner’s” comments with alarm.
“I felt he was very self-important and very arrogant,” Lopez Obrador said during his daily news conference adding that it was “bad sign” that private companies could “censor” opinion.
“A court of censorship like the Inquisition to manage public opinion,” he said. “This is really serious.”
A Congressional aide to House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said a laptop was stolen from her office during the storming of the US Capitol.
The aide said the laptop belonged to a conference room and was used for presentations. He declined to offer further details.
The theft of electronic devices from congressional offices has been a persistent worry following their invasion by pro-Trump rioters.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has spoken to the top US military commander about taking precautions to ensure Trump cannot initiate hostilities or order a nuclear attack in his remaining two weeks in office.
“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,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
Read more here.
Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Sidney Powell, seeking at least $1.3bn for Powell’s “wild accusations” that the company rigged the presidential election for Biden.
Powell has for weeks claimed without evidence that the election technology vendor, whose vote-counting equipment was used in several states, was part of a scheme to steal the election from Trump.
Read more here.
Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate have announced plans to conduct an inquiry into security failures that allowed a pro-Trump mob to invade the Capitol on January 6.
The Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Rules and Administration committees will conduct oversight hearings, Democratic and Republican leaders said.
Democrats Gary Peters and Amy Klobuchar together with Republicans Rob Portman and Roy Blunt said they would “work together to make the necessary reforms to ensure this never happens again”.
Belgium’s parliament has launched a security review of its premises in Brussels.
“After the incidents in Washington, I took stock of the security of our parliament with the commander in charge of the military police,” the president of the federal parliament, Eliane Tillieux, wrote on Twitter.
Brussels is home to the European Union’s main institutions and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance’s headquarters, where small protests on issues from climate change to migration policies are routine.
The FBI and the Washington, DC police department will jointly investigate the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries he sustained while defending the US Capitol, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen has said.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow will stay in his post until Biden is inaugurated, but will take unused vacation days this month, CNBC has reported as a wave of officials from Trump’s administration quit following the violent Capitol Hill demonstrations.
A Republican senator has said he would “definitely consider” Democratic moves to impeach Trump.
“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because … I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Ben Sasse told CBS News.
Trump says he will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly planning to attend the ceremony.
Trump will become only the fourth president in US history to skip the inauguration of his successor and the first since President Andrew Johnson missed Ulysses S Grant’s swearing-in ceremony in 1869.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says those responsible for police officer Brian Sicknick’s death from the siege at the Capitol “must be brought to justice”.
Pelosi said she was lowering flags at the Capitol in his honour.
Sicknick died “after defending the Capitol complex and protecting those who serve and work here. The perpetrators of Officer Sicknick’s death must be brought to justice,” she said.
Biden is focused on preparing to take office and will leave to Congress, Vice President Mike Pence, and Trump’s Cabinet to “act as they see fit” on the issues of impeachment and the 25th Amendment, a Biden transition spokesman has said.
Spokesman Andrew Bates made the statement in response to a question by the Reuters news agency.
“President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are focused on their duty – preparing to take office on January 20th – and will leave it to Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and the Congress to act as they see fit,” Bates said.
Trump promises Americans who voted for him “will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form” in a Friday morning tweet.
Twitter suspended Trump’s account on Wednesday after a tweet which praised those attacking the Capitol Building with the president saying “we love you” and “you’re very special”. Trump’s account was reinstated on Thursday after Trump deleted the tweets.
House Democratic leaders say the House could take up articles of impeachment against Trump as soon as next week if Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet do not act to remove him.
Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts said the House “can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the House floor quickly”, as early as the coming week, if Pence does not invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
The Democratic members of the US House of Representatives will have a conference call at noon local time (17:00 GMT) on Friday, a Democratic aide has said.
He said the topic was “general business”, but congressional Democrats have been weighing options in impeaching President Trump for a second time.