Federal officials on Thursday promised arrests and criminal charges are forthcoming against rioters who participated in the violence at the Capitol.
Acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen said charges are expected Thursday and in the coming days and weeks.
“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order. The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law," Rosen said.
A mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Wednesday, prompting an hours-long lockdown and disrupting what should have been a largely ceremonial process of counting state-certified Electoral College votes. President Donald Trump has for weeks falsely claimed the election had been stolen from him and urged his supporters to go to the Capitol. Images of the aftermath showed broken windows and vandalized property.
One protester was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer during the melee.
In a separate statement Thursday, FBI Director Chris Wray described those who stormed the Capitol as "violent agitators and extremists" who incited violence under the guise of the First Amendment.
The FBI has created an online form for people to submit tips and video evidence.
– Kristine Phillips
National Guard troops, perimeter fence part off tighter security measures around Capitol
Thousands of National Guard troops will be arriving in Washington by the weekend, part of a stepped-up security effort local federal officials announced Thursday in the wake of an unprecedented riot at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday by pro-Trump supporters.
U.S. Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy said 850 troops already have been deployed to the U.S. Capitol grounds and that as many as 6,200 National Guard soldiers from around the region will be available by this weekend to help quell any lingering protests from Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
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In addition, McCarthy said a seven-foot “non-scalable” fence was being erected around the perimeter of the Capitol grounds which will be in place for at least 30 days. That period would include the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden who will take the oath of office on the west side of the Capitol.
Officials hope to prevent a repeat of Wednesday’s breach of the Capitol, where hundreds of rioters stormed into the building, destroyed offices and broke windows. They broke into the building after attending a rally near the White House where President Donald Trump exhorted them to go and support lawmakers trying to object to the ceremonial count of the Electoral College votes that gave Biden his election victory.
“The current president must be held accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy,” Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference Thursday. “What happened yesterday is textbook terrorism.”
Metropolitan DC Police Chief Robert Contee said 68 people were arrested including 41 on the grounds of the Capitol, many of them after the city imposed a 6 p.m. curfew Wednesday. Only one of the those arrested was from D.C.
The police are trying to identify many of the rioters by sharing images with local hotels, airports and FBI offices throughout the country.
– Ledyard King
Sen. Chuck Schumer: Trump should be removed from office
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined the growing calls among congressional Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office following riots at the Capitol Wednesday.
Schumer, who is set to be the Senate majority leader when Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock take office, said Trump incited the riot and "should not hold office one day longer."
The New York Democrat said Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment and move with the Cabinet to remove Trump from office. If they failed to do so, Congress needed to reconvene to impeach Trump for a second time, he said.
An administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the prospect of invoking the 25th Amendment has not been brought to the vice president.
After the riot, some congressional Democrats, laying the blame at Trump's feet for inciting the riot, have called for his removal from office.
Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., the fourth-ranking House Democrat, seemed to endorse invoking the 25th Amendment in a Wednesday night statement saying Trump needed to be removed from office.
Some centrist Democrats called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked too. Rep. Susan DelBene, D-Wash., the chair of the moderate New Democrat Coalition, said Wednesday the 25th Amendment needed to be invoked "for the good of the country."
And on MSNBC, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a close ally to President-elect Joe Biden, said "This is a fire that he first lit in Charlottesville, and that has only been building in intensity in the last few years, and will only be solved by the removal of President Trump."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet commented on the issue.
– Nicholas Wu and Maureen Groppe
White House pulls acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf's nomination after he urged Trump to 'strongly condemn' unrest
The White House on Thursday withdrew its nomination of Chad Wolf to be the permanent Department of Homeland Security secretary just over an hour after Wolf urged the president to "strongly condemn" the unrest at the U.S. Capitol.
Wolf, who serves as acting DHS secretary, joined several former and current administration officials in denouncing the president's supporters who violently forced their way into the Capitol building during a joint session of Congress to count the Electoral Votes to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's win. The upheaval led to 68 arrests and four deaths, including a woman who was shot inside the U.S. Capitol.
"What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening. While I have consistently condemned political violence on both sides of the aisle, specifically violence directed at law enforcement, we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends," Wolf said in a statement.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the withdrawal had no correlation to Wolf's statement.
"The withdrawal occurred yesterday and was not related at all to Wednesday’s events or the Acting Secretary’s comments this morning. Acting Secretary Wolf remains the acting secretary and continues to perform the duties of his office," Deere said in a statement.
The White House did not provide any details on why it withdrew the nomination.
The acting DHS secretary is the first Cabinet official to publicly call on Trump to roundly condemn the violence.
"This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday."
Wolf, who is abroad in the Middle East, added that he planned to remain in his position until Jan. 20, when Trump leaves office to ensure an "orderly transition" to Biden's administration.
– Courtney Subramanian
Barr calls Trump's actions 'betrayal of his office'
Former attorney general William Barr, once one of Trump's strongest defenders, issued a scathing account of the president's conduct, casting it as a "betrayal of his office."
“Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable. The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters,” Barr said in a statement Thursday.
– Kevin Johnson
Biden's win affirmed by Congress after day of rioting
President-elect Joe Biden's presidential victory was affirmed by Congress on Thursday hours after a pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol during a day of violence that sent lawmakers scrambling for cover and led to the deaths of four people.
The constitutionally required count of Electoral College votes, typically a brief ceremonial event, came to an abrupt halt as lawmakers were swiftly escorted away and people waving Trump flags were seen knocking down police barriers around the Capitol and walking through halls normally reserved for lawmakers and tourists.
Violence flared as Republican leaders engaged in a stunning and historic series of political maneuvers, with Trump demanding Vice President Mike Pence use his perch in the Senate to overturn the election – an outcome Pence had no authority to pursue.
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