Trump-Biden transition live updates: Trump tweets he won’t attend inauguration

Bet_Noire/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, CATHERINE THORBECKE, MORGAN WINSOR and ROSA SANCHEZ, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 12 days.

Here is how the scene is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 08, 7:08 pm
Pelosi remains noncommittal on impeachment but urges Dems to ‘be prepared’

After an hours-long phone call earlier Friday with the entire Democratic caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a new statement is walking a fine line on next steps and remaining noncommittal on moving forward with impeachment.

Pelosi said it’s still Democrats’ hope that Trump will “immediately resign.”

“But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment. Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment,” she said in the statement.

This comes after nearly 160 Democrats have signed on to legislation in support of a single article of impeachment against the president — which it is expected that they still plan to introduce as early as Monday — but Pelosi does not definitively say she will support it or that the chamber will move forward with impeachment.

– ABC News’ Mariam Khan and Benjamin Siegel

Jan 08, 5:15 pm
White House says impeaching Trump will ‘further divide our great country’

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere has issued a statement in response to movement on Capitol Hill to impeach Trump for a second time.

“As President Trump said yesterday, this is a time for healing and unity as one Nation. A politically motivated impeachment against a President, who has done a great job, with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country,” the statement read.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson

Jan 08, 5:00 pm
Murkowski wants Trump to resign, questions her place in the GOP

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News that she wants Trump to resign and questioned whether she would remain a part of the Republican party.

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski said.

She attributed the violence at the Capitol Wednesday to Trump and said that if the Republican Party cannot separate itself from the president she questions her place in it.

“If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,” she said.

-ABC News’ Allison Pecorin

Jan 08, 4:46 pm
Biden says it’s a ‘good thing’ Trump is not going to his inauguration

After directing questions on impeachment to Congress, Biden said he thinks the “quickest way” for Trump to be removed from office is with his own inauguration on Jan. 20 and it’s a “good thing” Trump isn’t showing up.

“One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” Biden said. “Because he has clearly demonstrated — he’s exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world — not worthy, not worthy to hold that office.”

“If we were six months out, we should be moving everything to get him out of office — impeaching him again, invoke — trying to invoke the 25th amendment, whatever it took to get him out of office, but I am focused now on us taking control,” he added.

Biden said he hasn’t spoken with Vice President Mike Pence but that he’d be “honored” to have him at the inauguration.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and John Verhovek

Jan 08, 4:01 pm
House Dems expected to introduce article of impeachment against Trump

House Democrats are expected to charge Trump with inciting insurrection in an impeachment article that will be released on Monday, according to the latest draft of the charge obtained by ABC News.

A single article of impeachment, “incitement of insurrection,” charges Trump with “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States” with comments at the rally outside the White House that “encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the. Capitol,” according to a draft.

It also makes note of Trump’s threatening call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger.

At least 153 Democrats planned to co-sponsor the measure, as of Friday afternoon.

-ABC News’ Mariam Khan and Benjamin Siegel

Jan 08, 3:13 pm
Biden says he’s focused on pandemic, not impeachment

Asked at a transition event in Wilmington, Delaware, about whether House Democrats should introduce articles of impeachment against Trump as soon as Monday — just over a week from when Biden is slated to take office, Biden had a lengthy answer about how he’s focused on the pandemic and leaving that decision to Congress.

“Look, I’ve thought for a long, long time that President Trump wasn’t fit to hold the job. That’s why I ran. And my job now, in 12 days — God willing, I’ll be President of the United States of America. And I’m focused on the urgency of three immediate concerns,” Biden said, “the virus, the vaccine and economic growth.”

“What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide, but I’m going to have to — and they’re going to have to be ready — to hit the ground running, because when Kamala and I are sworn in, we’re gonna be introducing immediately significant pieces of legislation to deal with the virus, deal with the economy and deal with economic growth,” he continued. “So we’re going to do our job, and the Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs.”

Asked what he would say if a Democratic member of Congress were to ask his advice about whether they should proceed, Biden said he’d deflect.

“I’d tell them that’s a decision for the Congress to make. I’m focused on my job,” he said.

Pressed on whether he spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before taking this stance, Biden said they will be speaking later on “about my agenda as well as whatever they want to talk to me about.”

Jan 08, 3:04 pm
Biden says he considered Sanders to lead Labor Dept.

Biden, in announcing Cabinet nominees for key economic and jobs positions, confirmed he gave “serious consideration” to nominating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for secretary of labor, but he said the two agreed they couldn’t risk Republicans gaining control of the Senate.

“He could have done a fantastic job. I can think of no more passionate and devoted ally to working people in this country. But after Tuesday’s results in Georgia, giving Democratic control of the United States Senate in a tie vote, Bernie and I agreed — as a matter of fact, Bernie suggested — we can’t put control of the Senate at risk on the outcome of a special election in Vermont,” Biden said.

Biden also reiterated in his remarks he supports raising the minimum wage to $15, passing more coronavirus relief legislation to small business owners and releasing more COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately to Americans to administer as many shots as possible.

Jan 08, 2:56 pm
No. 3 Senate Dem calls on Cruz, Hawley to resign

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., has called on Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to resign in the aftermath of the violent siege on the Capitol, accusing the Republican senators of inciting the pro-Trump mob that stormed into the building.

“As a Senator, I respect every member who disagrees with my ideas. I reserve my right to use my voice to fight for what I believe in. But at the end of the day, our job is to keep this country a democracy where voices win, not brute force,” Murray wrote in a statement.

“Any Senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office. Senators Hawley and Cruz should resign,” she added.

Hawley and Cruz led challenges to Wednesday’s Electoral College ratification, which repeated Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election

Murray is the highest-ranking Senate Democrat to urge for the senators’ resignations. Her statement echoes similar calls for Cruz and Hawley to step down from Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Jan 08, 2:34 pm
Pence arrives at White House, plans to meet with staff, after spending Thursday at home

Vice President Mike Pence arrived at the White House Friday afternoon, after spending Thursday away from the White House complex.
 
Pence will be participating in meetings and calls at the White House and planned to stop by his office’s weekly staff meeting, according to his office.

The vice president’s office did not respond to questions about whether Pence planned to meet with Trump amid calls from Democrats for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
 
Pence remained at his residence at the Naval Observatory grounds in Washington all day Thursday, according to a senior administration official, and received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, his office said Thursday.

-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson and Elizabeth Thomas

Jan 08, 1:36 pm
McCarthy plans to talk to Biden Friday

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he has reached out to Biden and plans to talk to him later Friday about uniting the country — as he expresses opposition to the idea of impeaching Trump again.
 
“Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more,” McCarthy wrote in a statement Friday. “I have reached out to President-elect Biden today and plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country to solve America’s challenges.”

McCarthy also confirmed he spoke with Trump on Wednesday to urge him “to intervene to quell the mob.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, told colleagues on a caucus call Friday afternoon she is planning to speak with Biden later in the day about how she wants to move forward regarding Trump after publicly calling for his removal from office.

Jan 08, 1:34 pm
Pelosi tells Dems Milley assured her ‘safeguards’ are in place

In a caucus call with House Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley assured her “safeguards” are in place when she expressed her concerns about Trump having access to nuclear codes in the last days of his presidency, sources on the line told ABC News.

She said she is planning to talk to Biden later in the day about how to move forward regarding Trump, according to sources on the call, after publicly calling for Trump’s immediate removal through the 25th Amendment or through impeachment if Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet officials refuse to proceed.

“The president chose to be an insurrectionist,” Pelosi said on the call, according to sources.

“Impeachment encourages conversation on the 25th Amendment. That’s picked up a lot of steam,” she said.

Pelosi, according another source, said she is “emotionally” devastated by Wednesday but remains “dispassionate” about how to move forward.

More than half the caucus — or 130 House Democrats — are calling for Trump’s immediate impeachment and have co-sponsored a resolution from Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. The House could take it up and pass it to the Senate as soon as next week.  

But some Democrats are urging caution, wary of derailing Biden’s agenda. Pelosi wanted to take the temperature of her members before discussing her options with the president-elect.

Jan 08, 1:11 pm
Reddit ‘has taken action’ to ban ‘Donald Trump’ chat forum

Reddit has banned the subreddit r/donaldtrump for what it calls repeated recent violations over the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

“Reddit’s site-wide policies prohibit content that promotes hate, or encourages, glorifies, incites, or calls for violence against groups of people or individuals. In accordance with this, we have been proactively reaching out to moderators to remind them of our policies and to offer support or resources as needed. We have also taken action to ban the community r/donaldtrump given repeated policy violations in recent days regarding the violence at the U.S. Capitol,” the platform said in a statement.

Reddit had previously banned a similar subreddit, r/the_donald, which was a factory of toxic pro-Trump memes and narratives until the site took it down last year.

The president himself is not involved with these forums, though it’s not unheard of for memes to begin life there and in similar online forums before making their way into the president’s media diet.

Jan 08, 12:51 pm
Biden to push for immediate release of available COVID-19 vaccine doses

Biden will move to release more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine when he takes office, a departure from the country’s current procedure of withholding 50% of the supply to ensure second doses of the two-shot vaccine are available, a transition official said Friday.

“He supports releasing available doses immediately, and believes the government should stop holding back vaccine supply so we can get more shots in Americans’ arms now. He will share additional details next week on how his Administration will begin releasing available doses when he assumes office on January 20th,” Biden spokesperson TJ Ducklo said in a statement.

A transition official told ABC News they have faith manufacturers can produce enough vaccines to ensure people can get their second doses in a timely manner, while also getting more people their first doses.

The official also noted the Biden administration has long pledged to use the Defense Production Act as needed to help produce materials to ensure supply.

Jan 08, 12:41 pm
Milley spokesperson confirms calls with Pelosi on nuclear authority

In a short statement, Col. Dave Butler, spokesperson for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the nation’s top Gen. Mark Milley and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the phone.

“Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the chairman. He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” Butler said.

Pelosi told her Democratic colleagues in a letter earlier Friday she reached out to discuss “available precautions” for preventing Trump “an unstable president” from accessing the nuclear launch codes or initiating military hostilities before he is out of office in 12 days.

Jan 08, 12:41 pm
Twitter says any more violations by Trump will result in permanent suspension

A Twitter spokesperson said in a statement Friday: “In line with our statement yesterday, any future violations of the Twitter Rules, including our Civic Integrity or Violent Threats policies, will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account.”

The social media platform on Wednesday removed a video of Trump telling Capitol Hill rioters “we love you” and to “go home,” requested the removal of three of Trump’s tweets and slapped a 12-hour lock on Trump’s account by Wednesday night.

“If the Tweets are not removed, the account will remain locked,” the company added in a Tweet on its verified safety account at the time.

A Twitter spokesperson told ABC News on Thursday morning that Trump’s tweets were deleted.

Jan 08, 12:02 pm
Pelosi spoke to Milley about preventing Trump from nuclear access

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter to her Democratic colleagues said she reached out to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley Friday morning to discuss “available precautions” for preventing Trump — “an unstable president” — from accessing the nuclear launch codes or initiating military hostilities before he is out of office in 12 days. She doesn’t elaborate further on their discussion.

“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike. The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” she said in the letter.

Pelosi said she is also still waiting to hear back from Vice President Mike Pence as to whether or not he intends to invoke the 25th Amendment ahead of House Democrats holding a call on their options on removing Trump from office at noon.

“If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,” she wrote.

Jan 08, 11:57 am
Senior State adviser fired after tweeting Trump ‘needs to go’

After tweeting the president must go, citing the insurrection at the Capitol, Gabriel Noronha was fired from the State Department on Thursday, he has confirmed.

Noronha, who served as a senior adviser and spokesperson for Iran policy, is the first Trump administration official fired for speaking out against the president over the week’s events.

“President Trump fomented an insurrectionist mob that attacked the Capitol today. He continues to take every opportunity to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. These actions threaten our democracy and our Republic. Trump is entirely unfit to remain in office, and needs to go,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Jan 08, 11:52 am
Overview: Trump retreats in wake of insurrection, Biden presses forward with transition

Biden is pressing forward with his inauguration on Jan. 20 — and Trump won’t be there, the president announced in a tweet Friday morning.

After Trump tweeted he wouldn’t attend, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Devin O’Malley, told ABC News, “Vice President Pence and the Second Lady have yet to make a decision regarding their attendance.”

Earlier Friday, Trump took to Twitter to call his supporters “American Patriots” who “will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future” and “not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!

 

The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2021

 

The tweets come hours after Trump, for the first time, said he would focus on an “ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.” In the video posted Thursday evening, he also rebuked those who vandalized the Capitol.

“To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay,” Trump said.

While Democrats are looking at options for removing Trump from office, Biden has so far declined to comment on his stance for impeaching Trump or invoking the 25th Amendment with a spokesperson for his transition team saying Thursday he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are focusing on their duties.

Meanwhile, Trump has suggested to advisers that he wants to grant himself a pardon before leaving office, sources familiar with the discussions told ABC News.

Keeping on message, Biden is pressing forward with his transition and is expected to announce more picks for his economic and jobs team Friday afternoon including Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as his choice for secretary of commerce and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his pick to serve as his secretary of labor. Walsh would be the first union member to serve in the role in almost half a century. Biden also named Isabel Guzman as his pick for small business administrator and Don Graves as his choice for secretary of commerce.

Jan 08, 11:01 am
Biden, Harris announce more members of the National Security Council

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have announced 21 additional members of the White House National Security Council including Yohannes Abraham as the chief of staff and executive secretary and Emily Horne as a senior director for press and NSC spokesperson.

The vast majority of the nominees previously served under the Obama administration. The positions do not require Senate confirmation.

Jan 08, 10:51 am
62 Dems sign letter to immediately reconvene House

Sixty-two Democrats have signed on to a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling on House leaders to immediately reconvene the House of Representatives to reckon with the “assault on our democracy” that took place at the Capitol this week.

“We could take up the question of whether President Trump should be censured or impeached for encouraging a violent attack on the United States Congress, as well as Representative Raskin’s proposal that Congress appoint a body, as provided by the 25th Amendment, to determine whether the President is fit to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” the letter reads.

It comes ahead of House Democrats convening by phone at noon to discuss a path forward on getting Trump out of office.

Jan 08, 9:20 am
GOP senator says he’d consider articles of impeachment against Trump

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said Friday morning he would consider moving on articles of impeachment if the House brought charges against the president to the Senate.

“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will consider whatever articles they might move because as I’ve told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of offic,” Sasse told CBS This Morning.

“He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. He acted against that. What he did was wicked,” Sasse said.

Sasse is the first GOP senator to publicly express an openness to impeachment since Wednesday’s insurrection at the Capitol. In the president’s impeachment trial last year, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican to vote to remove Trump from office.

Jan 08, 9:13 am
DC AG pledges to investigate instigators of Capitol insurrection, including Trump

Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine faulted Capitol Hill Police for failing to contain Wednesday’s insurrection but said his office will also investigate those who incited the violence — including the president.

 
”Clearly, the Capitol was ground central in the mob’s behavior. Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, even the president were calling on supporters and hate groups to go to the Capitol, and in Rudy’s words, ‘exercise combat justice,'” Racine told ABC News’ Good Morning America Anchor Cecilia Vega in an interview Friday morning. “We’re going to investigate not only the mob, but those who incited the violence.”

Racine also said authorities would use the Internet to identify the rioters who violated the Capitol and noted, “More people died at the Capitol of the United States than in Benghazi.”

Jan 08, 9:01 am
House Dems move closer to second Trump impeachment

House Democrats are moving closer to launching a second impeachment effort against President Trump in the wake of insurrection at the Capitol — an expedited push that could be voted out of the House as early as next week.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., signaled the speed at which the process could work in a statement late Thursday.

“We have a limited period of time in which to act. The nation cannot afford a lengthy, drawn out process, and I support bringing articles of impeachment directly to the House floor,” he said, suggesting that impeachment effort would bypass the House Judiciary Committee entirely.

Democrats are expected to introduce a privileged impeachment resolution in the House as soon as Monday, which could tee up debate and a floor vote by Wednesday, if House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer reconvenes the chamber.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will convene Democrats for their first caucus call since events at the Capitol at noon Friday, where impeachment is expected to be a topic of discussion.

Jan 08, 6:50 am
At least 10 Trump staffers, including five White House officials, have resigned

In the wake of Wednesday’s U.S. Capitol siege, at least 10 Trump administration officials have resigned.
 
Among them are five White House officials. These are Matthew Pottinger (deputy national security adviser), Tyler Goodspeed (acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers), Stephanie Grisham (Melania Trump’s chief of staff and spokeswoman), Rickie Niceta (White House social secretary) and Sarah Matthews (White House deputy press secretary).
 
Other officials who have resigned following President Donald Trump’s encouragement of Capitol protests, include Elaine Chao (secretary of transportation), John Costello, (deputy assistant secretary of commerce for intelligence and security) and Mick Mulvaney (U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland and former White House chief of staff).

Ryan Tully, the senior director for Europe and Russian affairs on the White House National Security Council has also willingly left his post, as has Betsy Devos, the secretary of education.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.