The assistant speaker of the House said Democrats could vote on impeachment next week. With less than two weeks left of Donald Trump’s presidency, a wave of resignations hits his cabinet.
What was already shaping up as a volatile final stretch to the Trump presidency took on an air of national emergency as the White House emptied out and some Republicans joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a cascade of Democrats calling for Mr. Trump to be removed from office without waiting the 13 days until the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The prospect of actually short-circuiting Mr. Trump’s tenure in its last days appeared remote. Vice President Mike Pence privately ruled out invoking the disability clause of the 25th Amendment to sideline the president, as many had urged that he and the cabinet do, according to officials.
Democrats suggested they could move quickly to impeachment, a step that would have its own logistical and political challenges. Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the assistant speaker of the House, said Friday on CNN that the Democrats could get an impeachment vote to the House floor as early as the middle of next week.
(The Democrat-led House already impeached Mr. Trump once in December 2019, and he was acquitted in the Senate. The process took months.)
But the highly charged debate about Mr. Trump’s capacity to govern even for less than two weeks underscored the depth of anger and anxiety after the invasion of the Capitol that forced lawmakers to evacuate, halted the counting of the Electoral College votes for several hours and left people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer who died Thursday night.
After Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was restored, he posted a 2½-minute video on Twitter on Thursday evening denouncing the mob attack in a way that he had refused to do a day earlier. Reading dutifully from a script prepared by his staff, he declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and told those who broke the law that “you will pay.”
While he did not give up his false claims of election fraud, he finally conceded defeat. “A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Mr. Trump acknowledged. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”
Michael R. Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in Washington, did not rule out investigating Mr. Trump himself when he pledged to investigate “all actors” in Wednesday’s siege. The president is said to have discussed pardoning himself.
Despite the talk of healing, however, Mr. Trump quietly made plans to take a trip next week to the southwestern border to highlight his hard-line immigration policies, which have inflamed Washington over the years, according to a person briefed on the planning. He also told advisers he wanted to give a media exit interview, which they presumed might undercut any conciliatory notes. But the first family has discussed leaving the White House for good on Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration.
With less than two weeks before their tenure in the Trump administration comes to an end, several officials have announced that they are resigning early in protest after a mob of the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
Ms. DeVos, the education secretary, submitted a letter of resignation to President Trump on Thursday, saying she would step down on Friday.
In the letter, Ms. DeVos called the mob that disrupted Congress as it was certifying the election results on Wednesday “unconscionable for our country.”
“There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.
With her letter, Ms. DeVos became the second Cabinet member to announce plans to resign after violent protesters overwhelmed the police and stormed through the Capitol.
Ms. Chao, the transportation secretary, announced her resignation on Twitter on Thursday, becoming the first cabinet member to do so. The unrest at the Capitol, she wrote, “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.” Ms. Chao, whose resignation is effective on Monday, is married to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.
Mr. Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s former acting chief of staff, resigned as special envoy to Northern Ireland on Wednesday night, saying he “can’t stay” after watching the president encourage the mob that overtook the Capitol complex.
Mr. Pottinger has been Mr. Trump’s deputy national security adviser since 2019. He was formerly the administration’s Asia director on the National Security Council, and was known for his on-the-ground experience in China, where he advised Mr. Trump during his meeting with President Xi Jinping in 2017. Mr. Pottinger has resigned, a person familiar with the events said on Thursday.
Mr. Costello, one of the country’s most senior cybersecurity officials, resigned Wednesday, telling associates that the violence on Capitol Hill was his “breaking point” and, he hoped, “a wake up call.”
Mr. Goodspeed, the acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, resigned on Thursday, citing Mr. Trump’s incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol. “The events of yesterday made my position no longer tenable,” he said in an interview, after informing the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, of his decision.
Ms. Grisham, the former White House press secretary who served as chief of staff to Melania Trump, the first lady, submitted her resignation on Wednesday after the violence at the Capitol. She had worked for the Trumps since the 2016 campaign and was one of their longest-serving aides.
Melania Trump chose Ms. Niceta, a former Washington event planner who helped coordinate Mr. Trump’s inaugural celebrations, as her social secretary in 2017. Ms. Niceta has said she was resigning, according to an administration official familiar with her plans who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Ms. Matthews, a deputy White House press secretary, submitted her resignation on Wednesday, saying in a statement that she was “deeply disturbed by what I saw today.”
A United States Capitol Police officer died Thursday night from injuries sustained when he engaged with a pro-Trump mob that descended on the U.S. Capitol the day before.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick died at about 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Capitol Police said in a statement. He had been with the agency since 2008.
Mr. Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday and “was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” the agency’s statement said, although officials didn’t immediately elaborate on the nature of his injuries or how he interacted with the crowd. After sustaining the injuries, Mr. Sicknick returned to his division office, collapsed, and was taken to the hospital.
“The entire U.S.C.P. department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague,” the statement said. News outlets had prematurely reported on his death earlier in the day while he was apparently still on life support.
Early Friday morning, Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, a Democrat who runs the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the budget for the Capitol Police, said in a Twitter post that his heart was breaking over Mr. Sicknick’s death.
“This tragic loss is a reminder of the bravery of the law enforcement who protect us every day,” Mr. Ryan wrote.
Mr. Sicknick’s death brings the death toll from Wednesday’s mayhem to five. One of the people participating in the pro-Trump rampage, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer inside the building as she climbed through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby. Three other people died after experiencing apparent medical emergencies in the area around the Capitol, the police said.
Officials have said that some 50 police officers were injured as the mob swarmed barricades, threw objects, battered doors, smashed windows and overwhelmed some of the officers who tried to resist the advancing crowd.
Capitol Police reported 14 arrests during the incursion, including two people who were detained for assaulting a police officer. Local police arrested dozens of others, mostly for unlawful entry and violations of the city’s Wednesday night curfew.
Steven Sund, the Capitol Police chief, handed in his resignation on Thursday after facing pressure from congressional leaders. The sergeants-at-arms of the House and Senate also resigned.
All but one of President Trump’s cabinet secretaries condemned the violent mob that stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday. Some pointed to the president for inciting the violence, and two cabinet members resigned. Here’s what they said:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement released hours after the melee, said, “The storming of the U.S. Capitol today is unacceptable. Lawlessness and rioting — here or around the world — is always unacceptable.”
Jeffrey A. Rosen, the acting attorney general, called the violence “an intolerable attack on a fundamental institution of our democracy” in a statement on Wednesday. On Thursday, Mr. Rosen added that law enforcement officials were working to find, arrest and charge those who breached the Capitol.
“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.
“We will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”
Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, wrote in a statement on Thursday that he supported a “peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on Jan. 20.”
“Yesterday’s violence at the Capitol was reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution.”
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned on Thursday night. She condemned the violence in the immediate aftermath on Wednesday, writing that “an angry mob cannot be allowed to attack our Capitol.”
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned on Thursday. She was the first cabinet official to join a growing exodus of administration officials in the final days of the Trump presidency.
“Our country experienced a traumatic and entirely avoidable event as supporters of the president stormed the Capitol building following a rally he addressed,” Ms. Chao wrote in a letter posted on Twitter. “It has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Chad F. Wolf, the acting homeland security secretary, denounced the president’s supporters who participated in the riot and called on Mr. Trump to more forcefully condemn them.
“What transpired yesterday was tragic and sickening,” Mr. Wolf wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “We now see some supporters of the president using violence as a means to achieve political ends.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will remain in his post and carry out his responsibilities until the inauguration, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Mr. Mnuchin, who was traveling in Israel on Thursday, condemned the violence but made no mention of the president. “These actions are unacceptable and must stop,” he said.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tweeted a six-word statement in the hours after the riot on Wednesday: “Violence is never the proper solution.”
“Politically-motivated violence, regardless of ideology or cause, must always be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” he wrote on Twitter. “No American should excuse wanton disregard for one of our Nation’s most sacred institutions.”
Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II wrote on Twitter that “people must immediately and peacefully disperse.”
“I am disgusted by the attack on the Capitol we witnessed today. Physical violence and the desecration of this hallowed symbol of our democracy must end.”
“Violence is never an appropriate response regardless of legitimate concerns. Please remember: if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt condemned the violence and praised the actions of the U.S. Park Police, an agency in his department, on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Thank you U.S. Park Police for always fulfilling your selfless duties to safeguard lives and protect our symbols of democracy.”
Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia on Wednesday called the attack “a low point in the history of our democracy. We must immediately rise above this.”
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said to reporters in Georgia that he was “disappointed” in the president for inciting the mob, adding it “was not the right thing to do.”
“I’m very discouraged by the people who were there that felt compelled to breach the Capitol and do the things they did.”
Robert L. Wilkie, the secretary of veterans affairs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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