The top Democrats in Congress — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — on Thursday called for President Trump’s immediate removal from office, either by his Cabinet or possibly through impeachment.

“By inciting sedition as he did yesterday, he must be removed for office. While there’s only 13 days left, any day could be a horror show for America,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill.

In the evening, Trump released a two-and-a-half-minute video, calling for tempers to cool, acknowledging there will be a new administration Jan. 20 and saying he is now focused on a “smooth, orderly, seamless transition of power.”

“Serving as your president has been the honor of my lifetime,” he said, a tacit acknowledgment that his presidency is over.

Here’s what to know:
  • Members of Congress, shaken and angry following a violent assault on the Capitol by a mob of Trump’s supporters, put a final stamp on Biden’s victory early Thursday and brought an end to a historically turbulent post-election period.
  • An array of top Trump aides weighed resigning, and some senior administration officials began conversations about invoking the 25th Amendment — an extraordinary measure that would remove the president before his term expires Jan. 20.
  • Trump Cabinet members, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, resigned in response to the violent takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.
  • House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant of Arms Michael Stenger resigned in wake of Capitol siege. Capitol Chief of Police Steven Sund is expected to step down on Jan. 16.
  • Biden announced federal judge Merrick B. Garland, as his pick for attorney general and told him, “You don’t work for me,” a reference to Trump’s politicization of the Justice Department.
  • Election results are under attack. Here are the facts.
3:12 a.m.
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Hawley loses book deal, support from allies after actions that fueled Capitol riots

By Amy B Wang

Simon & Schuster has canceled a book deal with Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) “after witnessing the disturbing, deadly insurrection that took place on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.,” the publishing house said in a statement Thursday, which was reported by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Hawley had been slated to publish a book titled “The Tyranny of Big Tech” that argued that big tech companies “represent the gravest threat to American liberty since the monopolies of the Gilded Age,” and that Hawley would propose “a democratic, hopeful path forward,” according to a description of the book that remains on Simon & Schuster’s website.

The publisher said it did not come to the decision lightly.

“As a publisher it has always been our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints; at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,” the statement read.

Hawley responded to the cancellation with a tweet decrying the publisher as a “woke mob” and pledged to sue. He defended leading objections Wednesday to the electoral college votes as simply representing his constituents.

“This is the Left looking to cancel everyone they don’t approve of,” he said in a statement. “I will fight this cancel culture with everything I have.”

Hawley also faced rebukes from his allies for supporting President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and leading the efforts to object to the electoral college certification process on Wednesday.

A Hawley donor called on the senator to be censured for his use of “irresponsible, inflammatory and dangerous tactics,” the Missouri Independent reported.

“He has now revealed himself as a political opportunist willing to subvert the Constitution and the ideals of the nation he swore to uphold,” David Humphreys, president and chief executive of Tamko Building Products, said in a statement to the newspaper.

Separately, one of Hawley’s former mentors, former senator John Danforth (R-Mo.), said he regretted ever supporting someone he once called a “once-in-a-generation” candidate.

Nurturing Hawley’s career “was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” Danforth told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I don’t know if he was always like this and good at covering it up or if it happened. I just don’t know.”

2:09 a.m.
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Betsy DeVos resigns as secretary of education, saying Capitol riot was ‘inflection point’

By Laura Meckler and Amy B Wang

Betsy DeVos has resigned as secretary of education the day after a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol.

DeVos submitted her resignation Thursday, citing Trump’s role in the riot on Capitol Hill.

“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote in a letter to Trump. She said her resignation is effective Friday.

DeVos had been one of Trump’s most loyal and longest-serving Cabinet secretaries. In recent days, though, even as Trump disputed the election results, she acknowledged that Joe Biden had defeated him.

DeVos joined several other Trump administration officials who quit with less than two weeks left in Trump’s term, in protest of the violence that unfolded Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Elaine Chao — who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — also resigned as transportation secretary, saying she was “deeply troubled” by what had happened at the Capitol.

Mick Mulvaney quit his job as the U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland.

1:51 a.m.
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WSJ editorial calls for Trump to resign: ‘It is best for everyone’

By Amy B Wang

The Wall Street Journal editorial board called for Trump to resign in the final two weeks of his presidency to spare the country another potential bitter, partisan impeachment fight.

Trump crossed a constitutional line into impeachable territory when he incited his supporters to besiege the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, the editorial board wrote.

“When some in the crowd turned violent and occupied the Capitol, the President caviled and declined for far too long to call them off. When he did speak, he hedged his plea with election complaint,” the editorial stated. “This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States.”

The editorial argued that impeachment would send a message to future presidents that “Congress will protect itself from populists of all ideological stripes willing to stir up a mob and threaten the Capitol or its Members.” But a messy impeachment battle with 13 days left in Trump’s term would likely rile up his supporters and leave the country vulnerable to national security risks, the board said.

“It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly,” the editorial concluded.

Read the full editorial here.

1:32 a.m.
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Senate sergeant at arms resigns amid outrage over handling of mob attack

By Colby Itkowitz

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday announced that Michael Stenger, the Senate sergeant at arms, had resigned effective immediately.

“Deputy Sergeant at Arms Jennifer Hemingway will now serve the Senate as Acting Sergeant at Arms, pursuant to statute,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement. “I thank Jennifer in advance for her service as we begin to examine the serious failures that transpired yesterday and continue and strengthen our preparations for a safe and successful inauguration on January 20th.”

Earlier in the day, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed that when the Democrats assumed the majority, he would fire Stenger over the law enforcement response to the attack on the Capitol.

Stenger is the third Capitol law enforcement head to step down amid outrage that throngs of pro-Trump supporters were able to bust through security and take over the halls of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had announced earlier that House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving had tendered his resignation, and she called for Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund to do the same. Hours later it was revealed that Sund intends to resign later this month.

12:37 a.m.
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Trump acknowledges ‘a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th’

By Amy B Wang
A day after the insurrection at the Capitol, President Trump on Jan. 7 said he will focus on ensuring a "seamless transition of power." (@realDonaldTrump/Twitter)

In a video message released Thursday evening, more than 24 hours after mobs of his supporters besieged the U.S. Capitol in a shocking insurrection, President Trump denounced and tried to distance himself from the attack in his name.

“America is and must always be a nation of law and order,” Trump said. “The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction: You do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law: You will pay.”

Reading off a script in a flat voice, Trump claimed he immediately deployed the National Guard to help secure the building and expel the intruders. Other officials have disputed that account. Trump also claimed his attempts to overturn the election results were simply his efforts to “ensure the integrity of the vote.”

Nevertheless, the video appeared to be the closest Trump has come to formally conceding to Biden.

“Now, Congress has certified the results,” he said. “A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation. 2020 has been a challenging time for our people. A menacing pandemic has upended the lives of our citizens, isolated millions in their homes, damaged our economy and claimed countless lives. Defeating this pandemic and rebuilding the greatest economy on Earth will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community and family. We must revitalize the sacred bonds of love and loyalty that bind us together as one national family.”

He closed by saying serving as president had been “the honor of my lifetime” — and with a message to his base.

“And all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning,” Trump said.

12:03 a.m.
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Capitol Police chief to resign over botched handling of riot attack

By Carol D. Leonnig and Colby Itkowitz

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund announced his resignation effective Jan. 16, a decision that came hours after Pelosi publicly called on him to step down over the department’s handling of the violent pro-Trump siege of the Capitol.

A law enforcement official close to Sund confirmed his resignation.

Sund confided to colleagues he felt responsible for letting down his force. The irony, colleagues said, is that Sund cut his teeth on planning major events, but his relatively modest-sized force was overwhelmed by swarms of rioters, two pipe bombs they had to defuse and clear, and an assumption that protesters would not seek to physically storm the building.

His resignation came on a day a union of Capitol Police officers issued a public statement saying their leadership had failed them and the lack of planning created the worst breach on the Capitol since the War of 1812.

Earlier in the day Sund suggested that while plans to protect the Capitol were in place, his department was unprepared for the intensity of the insurrection. “The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

Sund’s comments were roundly criticized because rioters had for days been hashing out plans on right-wing websites to storm the Capitol.

He said law enforcement officers were attacked with “metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers. They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.”

Pelosi told reporters in the morning that Sund had not reached out to her after the attack and that she wanted him to resign.

11:25 p.m.
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Loeffler concedes to Warnock in Georgia Senate race

By Amy B Wang

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) has conceded to Raphael Warnock in their Senate race that most networks called Tuesday night for Warnock.

In a video message released late Thursday afternoon, Loeffler said she had called Warnock earlier in the day to congratulate him and wish him well in serving Georgia.

“Rest assured the fight to advance the American Dream is far from over. The fight to protect conservative values is far from over. And the fight against socialism and the radical agenda of the left is very far from over,” Loeffler said. “I fully intend to stay in this fight for freedom, for our values and for the future of this great country.”

11:17 p.m.
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House Judiciary Committee chairman backs ‘immediate impeachment’ of Trump

By Donna Cassata

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, said Thursday that Trump should be removed from office and that if Pence does not oust him by invoking the 25th Amendment, he would back “immediate impeachment” of the president.

“I am once again urging that the President be impeached and removed from office,” Nadler said in a statement. “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.”

In 2019, the House spent months on an investigation and the impeachment of Trump over his call to Ukrainian officials pressuring them to investigate his domestic political rivals, including Biden. That December, the House impeached Trump on two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate in a trial early this year.

Despite winning the two runoff races in Georgia this week, Democrats will remain the minority party in the Senate until Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris takes office on Jan. 20, making a vote for Trump’s removal in the Senate highly unlikely.

Trump has 13 days remaining in office. Nadler’s statement signaled that he would not stand in the way if House leadership and fellow Democrats decided to bypass his committee and consider articles of impeachment in the full House.

“I support the immediate impeachment of the President and his removal from office,” he said.

10:46 p.m.
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Kayleigh McEnany says White House finds violence at Capitol ‘appalling’ and “reprehensible”

By Colby Itkowitz
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Jan. 7 said the violent riots that took place a day earlier were "antithetical to the American way." (The Washington Post)

More than 24 hours after a violent mob incited by Trump stormed the Capitol, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany delivered brief remarks on behalf of the White House condemning the attacks in terms stronger than anything Trump has used.

The violence we saw yesterday at our nation’s Capitol was appalling, reprehensible and antithetical to the American way,” she read to reporters in the press briefing room. “We condemn it, the president and this administration, in the strongest possible terms. It is unacceptable.”

McEnany said the violent rioters at the Capitol undermined the rights of the “many thousands who came to peacefully have their voices heard in our nation’s capital” and said they are “the opposite of everything this administration stands for.”

On Wednesday, while the rioters were taking over the Capitol, Trump, who had fired them up in remarks ahead of their siege, released a video in which he told them they were loved and special.

McEnany, who did not take questions from reporters, also said the White House is “working to ensure an orderly transition of power.

10:37 p.m.
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Trump’s attorneys voluntarily dismiss five lawsuits against Georgia secretary of state but could face court sanctions

By Amy Gardner

Trump’s attorneys have voluntarily dismissed five lawsuits pending against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but they may have exposed themselves to court sanctions by falsely claiming in their filings that the request for dismissal was the result of a settlement agreement with Raffensperger (R).

In a sharply worded response to one of the filings, Raffensperger’s attorneys — Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr as well as private counsel — emphasized that there was no settlement agreement. They also noted that Trump and his attorneys probably violated the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct by calling Raffensperger last weekend without first contacting his attorneys of record in the cases.

In the response, Raffensperger’s attorneys said Trump’s lawyers inquired “on numerous occasions” about settling the cases but “were repeatedly rebuffed by Defendants on the grounds that Plaintiff’s litigation efforts were frivolous and the certified results of the Nov. 3, 2020 Election were valid.”

“Rather than presenting their evidence and witnesses to a court and to cross-examination under oath, the Trump campaign wisely decided the smartest course was to dismiss their frivolous cases,” Raffensperger said in a statement issued Thursday.

Among the attorneys for Trump on the call Saturday was Cleta Mitchell, a prominent conservative lawyer who was subsequently pushed out of her D.C.-based firm, Foley Lardner, which had barred its lawyers from doing legal work for Trump’s election-related cases.

Mitchell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

10:37 p.m.
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Schumer says he and Pelosi tried to call Pence but were told vice president ‘wouldn’t come on the phone’

By Felicia Sonmez

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to call Pence on Thursday morning to urge him to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump, but that the vice president’s staff told them — after a wait — that he was not available.

“Speaker Pelosi and I tried to call the vice president this morning to tell him to do this,” Schumer told reporters at a news conference in New York on Thursday afternoon. “They kept us on hold for 25 minutes and then said the vice president wouldn’t come on the phone. So we are making this call public because he should do it and do it right away.”

Under the 25th Amendment, the president can be removed from office by the vice president plus a majority of the Cabinet, or by the vice president and a body established by Congress, if they determine he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

10:35 p.m.
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Chertoff, former homeland security secretary, calls on Trump to resign

By Maria Sacchetti

Michael Chertoff, who served as homeland security secretary from 2005 to 2009, said in an interview Thursday that Trump should step down.

“The president should leave,” he told The Washington Post. “Inciting a physical attack on another branch of government,” he added, “oversteps a considerable line” and violates his oath of office.

Chertoff said he worries that Trump is neglecting his presidential duties. “He’s not functioning as president now,” he said. “We’ve got a vacancy at the top of the US executive branch.”

10:35 p.m.
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White House fires State Department official calling for Trump’s ouster

By John Hudson

The White House fired a State Department official after he tweeted that Trump’s actions endangered the United States and he should leave office immediately, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The official, Gabriel Noronha, tweeted Wednesday that Trump “fomented an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol today. He continues to take every opportunity to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power."

“These actions threaten our democracy and our Republic. Trump is entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go,” Noronha said.

He added that Biden won the 2020 election and that all U.S. officials had the duty to uphold the Constitution.

Trump’s incitement of violence at the Capitol on Wednesday has pushed many U.S. officials to resign, but Noronha is the first to be fired. His termination was first reported by CNN.

10:19 p.m.
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Five House committees request FBI briefing on plans to investigate Capitol riot

By Felicia Sonmez

The chairs of five House committees sent a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray requesting a briefing on the agency’s efforts to investigate the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

In the letter, the committee chairs demanded to know what steps the FBI is taking “to investigate and pursue for prosecution the instigation, planning, and execution of the deadly terrorist attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, by President Donald Trump, his supporters, and outside groups, as well as to disrupt any further activity designed to attack our government.”

The letter cites several quotes from Trump, his family members and his personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, at Wednesday’s rally outside the White House. Giuliani, for instance, encouraged Trump’s supporters to engage in “trial by combat” to achieve their goal of preventing Biden from becoming president.

It also notes that when Trump “finally released a videotaped statement several hours later, he repeated his false claim that the election was ‘stolen’ and praised the insurrectionists, telling them, ‘We love you.’ ”

The lawmakers sending the letter included Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Intelligence Committee Chair Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) and Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-Wash.), as well as Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.).

They requested an “urgent briefing” for the committee’s chairs and top Republicans on how the FBI is working to hold responsible and prosecute the perpetrators of Wednesday’s attack, as well as how the agency has been tracking the group, how federal law enforcement prepared for the events of Jan. 6 and how officials plan to disrupt any further violent plans.