While Trump has just 13 days left in his term, there were numerous demands for his ouster including by the Senate’s top Democrat and a Republican congressman.
Congress early on Thursday formally certified Democratic president-elect Joe Biden’s election victory despite objections from some Republican lawmakers.
Members of Trump’s cabinet and allies of the Republican president have discussed invoking a provision of the US constitution to remove him from office, a source familiar with the situation said.
Meanwhile, a growing number of White House aides said they would quit, including envoy Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff, and top Russia adviser Ryan Tully.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump under the constitution’s 25th amendment, which allows cabinet members to oust a president who has been incapacitated.
At least one Republican and 19 Democrats in the House of Representatives also called for that step.
“What happened at the US Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer said in a statement.
“This president should not hold office one day longer.”
“If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he added.
The Democratic-led House impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after the president pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden but the Republican-led Senate in February 2020 voted to keep him in office.
Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove Trump.
“All indications are that the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty or even his oath, but from reality itself,” Kinzinger said in a video he posted on Twitter.
A source familiar with the situation said the 25th amendment effort was unlikely to go anywhere.
Most Republicans in Congress have shown little interest in pressuring the cabinet to act in that fashion.
Trump vows ‘orderly’ transition of power
Trump pledged in an early-morning statement an “orderly transition” ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement early on Thursday as he continued to promote allegations of voter fraud.
“While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump said.
It was Trump’s first acknowledgement of his defeat in the November 3 election.
The message was issued via his social media director Dan Scavino, as the president’s personal Twitter account was locked, following comments he published that some say spurred the attack on the US Capitol by his loyalists on Wednesday.
US lawmakers finally certified Biden’s election win in the early hours of Thursday after the count in Congress of Electoral College votes passed the 270 mark.
He received 306, as has been projected for almost two months.
The joint session of Congress had been abruptly halted hours earlier after rioters breached both chambers of the Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to flee and hunker down until the siege ended.
US Capitol rioters set to be charged
Some participants in the violent breach of the US Capitol will face charges on Thursday and federal authorities will continue to assess evidence and make arrests as they investigate, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen says.
Prosecutors have been working through the night since Wednesday’s invasion of the Capitol with various law enforcement authorities to gather evidence, identify perpetrators and charge people with federal crimes, according to a statement from Rosen.
“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.
“Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today.”
Earlier on Thursday, Washington DC’s police chief said they had made 68 arrests related to the violent storming of the US Capitol, most on Capitol grounds.
“We still have a significant amount of work ahead of us to identify and hold each and everyone of the violent mob accountable for their actions,” the city’s police chief, Robert Contee, told reporters.
The FBI has asked the public to submit tips, including images and videos, to help agents identify people who were “actively instigating violence”.
Trump conduct betrayal of presidency: Barr
Former US attorney general William Barr says President Donald Trump’s conduct as a violent mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol was a “betrayal of his office and supporters”.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Barr said on Thursday that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable”.
Barr was one of Trump’s most loyal and ardent defenders in the cabinet.
Barr resigned last month amid lingering tension over the president’s claims of election fraud and the investigation into Biden’s son.
Facebook blocks Trump account indefinitely
Facebook and Instagram will extend a ban on US President Donald Trump’s accounts until the presidential transition is completed, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg says.
Trump has been blocked from using the social media platforms “indefinitely and at least for the next two weeks,” Zuckerberg said.
“We believe the risks of allowing the president to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Zuckerberg wrote in a statement.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.
“His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.
“We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect – and likely their intent – would be to provoke further violence.”