Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of President Trump’s staunchest allies, blamed the president Thursday for the mob that overtook the Capitol, calling his rally that incited violence an “unseemly” event that got “out of hand.”
“The president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” Mr. Graham said.
But Mr. Graham also faulted the Capitol Police for not being more forceful with the rioters whom he called “domestic terrorists.”
“The people sitting the chairs need to be sitting in a jail cell,” he said of those who stormed the building and sat in the senate president’s chair and at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk. “Sedition may be a charge for some of these people.”
Mr. Graham said Capitol Police “failed” and argued the violence might have been much worse had the Trump supporters carried weapons in their backpacks.
“They could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all,” Mr. Graham said. “They should have been challenged. Warning shots should have been fired and deadly force should have been used.”
Mr. Graham said he did not support removing Mr. Trump from his duties via the 25th Amendment and also declined to answer a question about whether Mr. Trump should ever run for office again.
“I’m not worried about the next election,” he said. I’m worried about getting through the next 14 days.”
The mood in Washington was subdued on Thursday, a day after a riotous mob fought through barricades and stormed into the Capitol building. Here’s a look at what photographers are seeing on the ground.
The mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday did not just threaten the heart of American democracy. To scientists who watched dismayed as the scenes unfolded on television, the throngs of unmasked intruders who wandered through hallways and into private offices may also have transformed the riot into a super-spreader event.
The coronavirus thrives indoors, particularly in crowded spaces, lingering in the air in tiny particles called aerosols. If even a few extremists were infected — likely, given the current rates of spread and the crowd size — then the virus would have had the ideal opportunity to find new victims, experts said.
“It has all the elements of what we warn people about,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. “People yelling and screaming, chanting, exerting themselves — all of those things provide opportunity for the virus to spread, and this virus takes those opportunities.”
President Trump has downplayed the pandemic almost since its beginning, and many of his supporters who broke into the Capitol on Wednesday did not appear to be wearing masks or making any effort at social distancing. Under similar conditions, gatherings held in such close quarters have led to fast-spreading clusters of infection.
But transmission of the virus has always been difficult to track. There is little effective contact tracing in the United States, and many in the crowd at the Capitol arrived from communities far from Washington.
The Black Lives Matter protests in the summer raised similar concerns. But most were held outdoors, and greater numbers of participants seemed to be masked. Research afterward suggested these were not super-spreading events.
Attendees of the rally preceding the rush to the Capitol on Wednesday also stood outdoors close together for hours, but “I’m less worried about what was happening outdoors,” Dr. Rimoin said. “The risk increases exponentially indoors.”
Videos taken on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday show how people tried to organize within the mob that had stormed the building.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, called on Thursday for President Trump to be removed from office over his role in spurring on a violent mob that stormed the Capitol and broke into the House floor a day earlier.
Ms. Pelosi called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows him and the Cabinet to take the power of the presidency from Mr. Trump. Her remarks echoed a similar statement made earlier by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.
If Mr. Pence did not move to do so, Ms. Pelosi said that she and other members of Congress “may be prepared” to move forward with impeaching the president for a second time.
“The president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America,” Ms. Pelosi said at a news conference in Washington. “In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people.”
Ms. Pelosi said she was hoping to have a response from Mr. Pence within the day.
Mr. Trump has just 13 days left in his presidency. Since Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol, a number of Democrats and a few Republicans have publicly stated that Mr. Trump should not be allowed to finish his term.
During the siege, Ms. Pelosi’s office was invaded and vandalized. Intruders in her suite overturned desks and smashed photos, and at least one person ripped a piece of a wooden plaque that marked the entrance to the speaker’s office off a wall.
Ms. Pelosi, a frequent target of Mr. Trump’s, described the events as “horrors that will forever stain our nation’s history, instigated by the president of the United States.”
She said that she was calling for the resignation of the chief of the Capitol Police, which has been criticized over its response to the mob. Officers appeared to be easily overwhelmed by the crush of people outside the Capitol.
Ms. Pelosi also said that the House’s sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, who is responsible for security in the chamber and its office buildings, would be resigning from his position.
Elaine Chao, the secretary of transportation, became the first cabinet official to join a number of Trump administration officials who have said that they will resign after a mob of the president’s loyal supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, disrupting Congress as it was certifying the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Ms. Chao, who is married to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, announced her resignation on Thursday in a letter posted on Twitter. She said that she would step down from her position on Jan. 11 and that her office would cooperate with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominee for transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg.
“Yesterday, 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. “As I’m sure is the case with many of you, it has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside.”
Ms. Chao is one of a number of officials to announce their resignations. They include those in prominent positions in the White House, and staff members who have been working in the Trump administration since the beginning of the president’s term four years ago.
Some of the resignations came hours after President Trump openly encouraged his supporters to go to the Capitol to protest what he has falsely claimed was a stolen election. The moves are being made with less than two weeks remaining in Mr. Trump’s term.
Mick Mulvaney, a special envoy to Northern Ireland who was also President Trump’s former acting chief of staff
Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary who served as chief of staff to Melania Trump
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said on Thursday that he would fire Michael C. Stenger, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms, as soon as Democrats took the majority. The statement, made in the wake of a violent mob breaking into the Capitol and entering the Senate chamber, was first reported by Politico.
The Senate’s sergeant-at-arms is the body’s chief law enforcement and executive officer. In his role, Mr. Stenger is responsible for overseeing the rules of the Senate and maintaining security in both the Capitol and Senate office buildings. He has held the position since April 2018.
The Senate’s sergeant-at-arms is elected by the chamber’s members. Mr. Stenger was elected in April 2018, in a resolution that was passed by unanimous consent.
Mr. Stenger spent 35 years in the Secret Service, according to his biography on the Senate’s website. He is also a former captain in the Marine Corps.
Previously, he served as the Senate’s assistant sergeant-at-arms for the Office of Protective Services and Continuity, a position in which one of his responsibilities is overseeing security.
The House of Representatives also has its own sergeant-at-arms, who is elected to two-year terms. The current sergeant-at-arms, Paul D. Irving, has held the position since January 2012.
At least 56 Washington police officers were injured on Wednesday as they tried to push back hundreds of people who rushed the Capitol, the chief of the city’s Metropolitan Police Department said.
Chief Robert J. Contee said his officers had answered the call for help from the U.S. Capitol Police, whose officers were overrun by supporters of President Trump on their way into the Capitol. The chief of the Capitol Police said earlier on Thursday that several of his officers had been hospitalized with serious injuries.
“What we did do is restore democracy for all of America,” Chief Contee said at a news conference on Thursday morning in which he and Mayor Muriel Bowser provided more details on the attack on the Capitol. Among the updates:
Chief Contee said at least 68 people had been arrested. Only one of those people were from Washington and eight were women, he said.
Aside from the woman shot and killed by a U.S. Capitol Police officer on Wednesday, three other people died near the Capitol of medical emergencies, Chief Contee said.
Ms. Bowser, a Democrat, called the storming of the Capitol “textbook terrorism” and noted that the police response to racial justice protesters over the summer seemed “much stronger” than on Wednesday.
Asked about the actions of Capitol Police officers, Ms. Bowser had harsh words. “Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had police lines breached and people entering the Capitol building by breaking windows,” she said.
Chief Contee said the police were reviewing photographs and had released images of some people whom they were seeking.
Ms. Bowser urged the new Congress to pass a bill within its first 100 days to make Washington D.C. a state, and she also asked that the D.C. National Guard be put under her control and not under the president’s.
It was a siege. It was a mob. It was anarchy. Or, as the Italian newspaper La Stampa put it in its front-page headline Thursday, “Once upon a time, there was America.”
Wednesday’s violent siege of the United States Capitol — that symbol of Western democracy — instantly created a dire new image of America for the world to see.
But to some people, shocking news only feels real after it is printed on the pages of a newspaper they know. By Thursday, photos of officers with guns drawn at a barricaded door to the House chamber, and crowds of supporters of President Trump storming the Capitol steps, had cemented the reality of a day of stunning political violence in America on newspaper front pages around the world.
Editors wrestled with the right words to describe what had happened. At least two British newspapers blared there was “anarchy,” while the Daily Mirror, a popular tabloid, said the violence was perpetrated by a “crazed Trump mob.”
The urgent newspaper headlines mirrored the statements of Western politicians who criticized in newly blunt terms the leader of their most powerful allied nation. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she was “angry and sad.” Emmanuel Macron, the French president, appeared before an American flag in a video he released just before 3 a.m. Paris time on Thursday and said, in English: “We believe in the strength of American democracy.”
But the British magazine The Economist struck a less hopeful note. Rather than illustrate the next cover with a drawing, as they usually do, the magazine’s editors chose a photograph of a hooded member of the mob that stormed the Capitol, holding an iPhone, sitting in the head chair of the Senate chamber.
A bust of President Zachary Taylor was defaced with what appeared to be blood during the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday. It was covered in plastic as the building was cleaned on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors filed on Thursday their first charges stemming from a riot by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill the day before, charging one man with assaulting a police officer and another with illegally possessing a loaded handgun.
Both criminal complaints were filed in Federal District Court in Washington only hours after the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, issued a public statement saying that charges were imminent. The Metropolitan Police Department had announced earlier in the day that they had arrested nearly 70 people at the riot on charges that included unlawful entry, gun possession and assault.
In a separate statement, the Capitol Police announced the arrest of 14 other people on Thursday.
The first federal complaint accused Mark J. Leffingwell of assaulting a Capitol Police officer around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday in a hallway in the Senate wing of the Capitol building. The officer, Daniel Amendola, said in the complaint that Mr. Leffingwell was part of a crowd that had “breached a window.” When Officer Amendola sought to stop him and others from entering the building any further, Mr. Leffingwell punched him repeatedly in the head and chest, according to the complaint. Mr. Leffingwell then “spontaneously apologized.”
Prosecutors also unsealed charges against a Maryland resident, Christopher Alberts, accusing him of illegally carrying a black, Taurus 9-millimeter pistol at the riot. Police officers first saw Mr. Alberts leaving the Capitol complex around 7:30 p.m. and noticed “a bulge” on his right hip. When they stopped Mr. Alberts, the officers found the pistol, which had one round in the chamber and a magazine filled with twelve rounds, according to the complaint. They also discovered that he was wearing a bulletproof vest and had a gas mask in his backpack.
After he was taken into custody, the complaint said, Mr. Alberts told the police that he had the weapon for “personal protection” and did not intend to harm anyone.
Tips have been flowing in after the police circulated images of the chaos to local hotels, airports, the F.B.I. and police departments in other states. And the Metropolitan Police Department is offering up to $1,000 to those who provide tips that lead to arrests and convictions.
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, both called on Thursday for President Trump’s removal from office over his role in igniting the violent mob that stormed the Capitol a day earlier.
Both men called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows him and the Cabinet to take the power of the presidency from Mr. Trump. Mr. Schumer went a step further, saying that if Mr. Pence did not act, he thought Congress should reassemble to impeach Mr. Trump a second time.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Mr. Schumer said. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
In a video posted on Twitter, Mr. Kinzinger, who has been frequently critical of Mr. Trump in recent weeks, said the president had “become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself.”
It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked. My statement: pic.twitter.com/yVyQrYcjuD
It’s with a heavy heart I am calling for the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked. My statement: pic.twitter.com/yVyQrYcjuD
Mr. Trump has just days left in his term; he will leave office on Jan. 20, when President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to be sworn in.
The statements from Mr. Schumer and Mr. Kinzinger follow similar calls by Representatives Charlie Crist and Ted Lieu, both Democrats, on Wednesday. A letter signed by 17 Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee was also sent to Mr. Pence, calling on him to invoke the 25th Amendment.
The State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., was closed temporarily on Thursday morning after a bomb threat was called in to building officials.
“It was nothing too specific, and the State Police swept the buildings and grounds,” said John Truscott, a member of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, which sets rules and approves maintenance projects for the building. “They are so well prepared for dealing with situations like this, so the building has reopened.”
The threat was called in before 7 a.m. and led to the building being closed to employees until about 9 a.m. The Capitol has been closed to the public when the Legislature is not in session because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bomb threat came a day after more than 500 supporters of President Trump gathered outside the Michigan Capitol to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote. In contrast to the violent events in Washington, the Michigan protest was loud but largely peaceful.
It is not the first time the Michigan Capitol building has been threatened in the last year. In April, demonstrators, many of them armed, stormed the Capitol to protest lockdown orders put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
Protesters screamed at the police, demanding to be allowed into the House chamber. Several armed men stood in the gallery above the Senate chamber as senators were in session below. At least two of those men were among the 14 people later charged in a failed plot to kidnap Ms. Whitmer.
Michigan is an open carry state, so it is not unusual to see armed people walking the halls of the Capitol. The Capitol Commission debated banning guns in the building after that April protest, but no action has been taken.
Mr. Truscott also recalled an incident in the early 1990s, when some demonstrators stormed the Capitol and burned flags in the building’s rotunda to protest welfare cuts.
“It seems so quaint now,” he said. “That group had spotlights and bullhorns and were throwing snowballs at the windows. I don’t think anyone was prepared for what we saw yesterday. We’ll be discussing these things going forward.”
Shopify, the company that powers e-commerce sites for more than one million merchants, said on Thursday that it had closed online stores tied to President Trump, including those run by the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.
A company representative said that the sites violated a policy that prohibits the support of organizations or people “that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.” Users who navigated to sites like TrumpStore.com and shop.donaldjtrump.com were met with messages that the sites were unavailable.
Cached versions of the sites show that they had sold merchandise like $45 pairs of Trump-branded champagne flutes, $30 “Make America Great Again” hats and a $24 poster of a cartoon of Mr. Trump punching into the air.
Shopify, which said that it “does not tolerate actions that incite violence,” declined to say how many sites were affected over all.
“Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” the Shopify representative said. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”
Shopify’s technology makes it simple for individuals to make retail websites with as little as an email address and a credit card. At the outset of the pandemic last year, the company closed thousands of sites that claimed to be selling virus-fighting products.
American Airlines said on Thursday that it had banned alcohol on flights to and from Washington at least through Thursday night and was taking other precautions to keep its employees and passengers safe after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
The company said it had increased staffing at the area’s three main airports. United Airlines said it has also stepped up airport staffing and had moved crews out of hotels in downtown Washington earlier in the week. American, United and Delta Air Lines said they were in close contact with local and federal authorities.
Even before the attack on the Capitol, airline crews and passengers had reported encountering unruly passengers headed to Washington early on Wednesday. Flight attendant unions expressed concern after members reported having to confront passengers who were being disruptive, behaving aggressively or flouting mask requirements. Video and photos posted on social media showed pro-Trump passengers cheering, singing and yelling at other passengers.
“We are incredibly concerned about recent politically motivated incidents on board passenger aircraft,” Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents 27,000 American flight attendants, said in a statement. “Regardless of one’s political beliefs, the cabin of a commercial aircraft must, out of necessity, be a calm environment for the safety of everyone onboard.”
In a note to members on Wednesday, Ms. Hedrick said that the airline would move all layover crews to airport hotels through next Sunday and offer private transportation to area airports. “Remain extra vigilant on flights departing from the Washington, D.C., area for the next few days, and involve your fellow crew members if you have safety concerns,” she wrote.
In a separate statement, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, which has tens of thousands of members at 17 airlines, called on airlines and law enforcement to take “all steps” necessary to keep passengers and crews safe.
“The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard,” she said in the statement on Wednesday.
News – Live Updates: The Capitol Attack Aftermath