David Graham: “Armed assailants are attacking the seat of American government in an attempted coup, urged on by the president of the United States. Saying that feels melodramatic, ridiculous, and overwrought, but there’s no plainer way to describe what is currently unfolding.”
“Tens of thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump gathered in Washington, D.C., where he encouraged them to attend a rally as Congress began to ceremonially certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden. After a speech by the president, protesters overran security at the Capitol building, which seemed unprepared for the onslaught. They knocked over barricades, pushed past cordons of officers, and broke windows. Some carried Confederate battle flags as they got much closer to the heart of the U.S. government than any Confederate troops ever did.”
“Certification was halted. The Senate and House chambers were locked down, Vice President Mike Pence was whisked away, and demonstrators roamed the halls of Congress. Tear gas was reportedly released inside the Capitol Rotunda, and members were told to don gas masks under their seats.”
“This attempted coup is Trump’s fault.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweets: “This is a coup attempt.“
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) told CBS News that a “quick-thinking” Senate aide seized copies of the Electoral College certificates before they were all evacuated the chamber.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweets that she was evacuated from her office: “Now we’re seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police. This is wrong. This is not who we are. I’m heartbroken for our nation today.”
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) also tweets: “I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside. Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) issued a statement: “We gather today due to a selfish man’s injured pride and the outrage of his supporters whom he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months and stirred to action this very morning. What happened here today was an insurrection, incited by the President of the United States. Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy. They will be remembered for their role in this shameful episode in American history. That will be their legacy.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) blamed President Trump for the riots and violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, The Hill reports. Said Sasse: “Today, the United States Capitol — the world’s greatest symbol of self-government — was ransacked while the leader of the free world cowered behind his keyboard — tweeting against his Vice President for fulfilling the duties of his oath to the Constitution.” He added: “Lies have consequences. This violence was the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President’s addiction to constantly stoking division.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the No. 3 House Republican, tore into President Trump over his response to Wednesday riots in and around the Capitol that delayed Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results, The Hill reports.
Said Cheney: “What he has done and what he has caused here is something that we’ve never seen before in our history. It’s been 245 years, and no president has ever failed to concede or agree to leave office after the Electoral College has voted, and I think what we are seeing today is the result of that, the result of convincing people that somehow Congress was going to overturn the results of this election, the results of suggesting that he wouldn’t leave office.”
She added: “Those are very, very dangerous things, and he will be remembered, this will be part of his legacy, and it is a dangerous moment for the country.”
New York Times: “Defense and administration officials said it was Vice President Mike Pence, not President Trump, who approved the order to deploy the D.C. National Guard. It was unclear why the president, who incited the protesters to storm the Capitol and who is still the commander in chief, did not give the order.”
Josh Marshall: “This is the first time in going on 250 years of American history that the peaceful transfer of power and the constitutional processes to accomplish that have been disrupted by force. The first time. The Civil War was obviously a vastly graver breakdown of constitutional order. But the secessionists didn’t try to prevent Lincoln from being inaugurated. They just left. What we are seeing here has never happened before. Biden will still be inaugurated. The process that was underway will happen later today or tomorrow. But this has never happened before.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) reportedly yelled at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), “This is what you’ve gotten,” as he was evacuated from the U.S. Senate, Vanity Fair reports.
REMOVE THE TERRORIST TRUMP NOW. David Frum: “As so often with Trump, he has indicated the plan in advance: Use the Insurrection Act to somehow interfere with the transition of power. He could try it this very day.”
“In institutional self-defense, Trump must be impeached again and this time removed. That needs to happen immediately, before he can declare martial law, so that Vice President Mike Pence can oversee the constitutional transition of power, the first time since the Civil War that such a transition can no longer be described as ‘peaceful.’”
From a Washington Post editorial: “President Trump’s refusal to accept his election defeat and his relentless incitement of his supporters led Wednesday to the unthinkable: an assault on the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob that overwhelmed police and drove Congress from its chambers as it was debating the counting of electoral votes.”
“Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to U.S. democracy. He should be removed.”
The National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement: “The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy. Anyone indulging conspiracy theories to raise campaign dollars is complicit. Vice President Pence, who was evacuated from the Capitol, should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”
John Podhoretz, writing for Commentary: “Donald Trump unleashed a mob on Capitol Hill. What he has done is without precedent in American history. Even if he had seven minutes left in his presidency, he should not be permitted to spend another second as the President. Nancy Pelosi should call an emergency session of the House tonight and impeach the president, and Mitch McConnell should convene the Senate tomorrow and call a vote to remove Trump from the presidency.”
25TH AMENDMENT. A source close to President Trump told CNN the president is “out of his mind” and that his election defeat is “all he can talk about, all he can think about. It’s all-consuming.”
“With 13 days left in President Trump’s term, confidants and Republican officials are considering drastic steps to stop him,” Axios reports. “These measures include censure, impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment — a move, long dismissed as a liberal fantasy, in which Vice President Pence would step in if Trump were found to be unable to perform his duties.”
“There’s concern about whether the country can withstand another two weeks with Trump at the helm, and what additional chaos and division could be sowed. There’s also rage inside the GOP at Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and others whose plans to object to Biden’s certification gave oxygen to Trump, the protests and the notion that Congress could be used to overturn the will of voters.”
CNN: Angry Republican leaders float removing Trump from office. Some cabinet members are holding preliminary discussions about invoking the 25th amendment to force President Trump’s removal from office, CNN reports.
CBS News reports nothing formal has yet been presented to Vice President Mike Pence.
Former Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen told the PBS Newshour that President Trump “incited” the failed insurrection and is “not in position to lead the next 14 days.” Said Mullen: “I don’t think we’re done. Today was not it. We need to act in a preventive way to prevent more from happening.” He added that Trump is “desperate, doing anything he can to hold onto power–to the point of what I consider grossly illegal actions today.”
RESIGNATIONS. Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, submitted her resignation Wednesday afternoon, effective immediately, in the wake of the violent protests,” CNN reports.
White House social secretary Rickie Niceta has resigned, effective immediately, CNN reports.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews also resigned, Fox News reports.
A source close to President Trump tells the New York Times that more resignations are expected in the next 24 hours.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is also the wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is considering resigning her post in protest of President Trump inciting violence, NBC News reports.
“Several of President Trump’s top aides — including national security adviser Robert O’Brien — are considering resigning in the wake of his response to a pro-Trump mob breaching the US Capitol on Wednesday,” CNN reports.
“O’Brien, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell are all considering resigning… Pottinger’s resignation appears to be imminent, while others could sleep on it.”
ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTE COUNT AND OBJECTIONS. Vice President Pence, in a letter to Congress on Wednesday, said he does not believe he has the “unilateral authority” to reject electoral votes, dealing a final blow to President Trump’s push for Pence to overturn the election result, The Hill reports.
At this hour, 11:45 pm on Wednesday night, the House and Senate have rejected objections to Arizona’s electoral votes. It looks like the Senate will not entertain any further challenges, but that may change.
Rudy Giuliani meant to call Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) this evening to ask him to object to 10 states’ electoral votes in order to buy the Trump campaign more time and “slow it down.”
But he accidentally left a voicemail on a different senator’s phone. The Dispatch has the audio.
TWITTER AND FACEBOOK BAN TRUMP. President Trump sent a tweet at around 6 p.m. in which he reiterated the false claim that the election was stolen and encouraged his supporters to “remember this day” going forward, the New York Times reports.
Said Trump: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Twitter later took down the tweet, saying that it had violated the company’s rules.
COTTON CALLS FOR TRUMP TO CONCEDE. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) called on President Trump to concede his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden, saying he should “quit misleading” the American people, The Hill reports. Said Cotton: “It’s past time for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people, and repudiate mob violence.”
MERRICK GARLAND PICKED FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. President-elect Joe Biden to name federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland as attorney general, the AP reports.
New York Times: “The choice of a judge is unusual and may reflect an effort by the president-elect to bring in an apolitical leader to bolster the Justice Department’s independence from politics.”
Politico: “In a Republican-controlled Senate, Doug Jones was viewed as the easiest candidate to get confirmed given his strong relationships across the aisle. Garland was also considered a risk in that it would be difficult to confirm a replacement for him on the appellate court. But with Democrats expected to have won the majority with a pair of upset victories in Georgia, confirmation issues with other candidates largely dissipated.”
A source familiar with the discussions tells NBC News that Biden advisers have discussed Ketanji Brown Jackson, currently a judge on the U.S. District Court for DC, to replace Merrick Garland on the DC Circuit after he is confirmed as Attorney General.
TERRORIST JUNIOR THREATENS REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS. Donald Trump Jr. threatened Republican lawmakers at a large rally outside the White House on Wednesday, pledging that their family would continue to dispute the results of the 2020 election, Politico reports.
Said Trump: “To those Republicans, many of which may be voting on things in the coming hours: You have an opportunity today. You can be a hero, or you can be a zero. And the choice is yours. But we are all watching. The whole world is watching, folks. Choose wisely.”
He added: “These guys better fight for Trump. Because if they’re not, guess what? I’m going to be in your backyard in a couple of months!”
TIME FOR BREYER TO RETIRE. “The results of the Georgia Senate run-offs aren’t yet final. But left-wing activists are already pressuring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to take advantage of a possible Democratic majority in the Senate and retire,” Politico reports.