Former Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that President Donald Trump who incited a violent uprising on Capitol Hill the previous day was a “betrayal of his office and supporters.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, Barr said “orchestrating a crowd to put pressure on Congress is unforgivable.”
The president headlined a rally “March for Trump” on Wednesday in which he continued to elaborate nonsensical conspiracy theories about election fraud, election rigging and faulty voting machines and claimed that Democrats “stole” his election. Trump also urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, where Congress gathered to count the electoral votes in the 2020 election and finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the race.
After Trump’s rally, thousands of his supporters marched to the Capitol, breached the barriers; they clashed with the police; property stolen and vandalized; the offices of the legislators were looted; and forced both the House and the Senate to go on recess. Vice President Mike Pence and senior members of Congress were immediately evacuated, while other lawmakers, Hill staff members and reporters were told to take cover on the spot and hide behind makeshift barricades before being evacuated as rioters occupied the building.
The photos showed Trump supporters waving Confederate flags in the nation’s capital; members of the far-right group Proud Boys who wear genocidal undertones; and a noose erected outside the Capitol.
After a six-hour period during which rioters invaded the area, law enforcement was finally able to secure the building and Congress met again to finish counting the electoral votes and resolve Republican objections to the Arizona and Pennsylvania voter lists.
Barr is the latest in a series of current and former Trump administration officials who have spoken out against the violence on Wednesday, which the president still refuses to condemn, though he released a statement on Thursday pledging to an orderly. power transfer.
Confirmed attorney general in January 2019, Barr left his post in late December after months of tensions with the president over his inability to complete the politically motivated investigations the president wanted, and his public confirmation that the Department of Justice had no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, a statement that flew in the face of Trump’s conspiracies.
Barr also incited the president’s fury when he said last month that he saw no need to appoint a special adviser to investigate Trump’s election fraud allegations, or Biden’s son Hunter, who is currently under criminal investigation. of the Department of Justice for his financial problems. relationships.
In the same press conference, Barr also said he sees “no basis” for the federal government to seize and examine voting machines, an idea that was reportedly pitched by Trump advocate Sidney Powell.
After Wednesday’s chaos on the Capitol, several Trump administration officials resigned, including former White House press secretary and First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham; White House Deputy Press Officer Sarah Matthews; Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger; White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta; US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland and former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; and other officials from the Department of Commerce and the National Security Council.
Chad Wolf, the interim secretary of Homeland Security, also condemned the violence, stating in a statement that “we now see some supporters of the president using violence as a means to achieve political ends. These violent actions are inconceivable and I implore the president and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday ”.
Shortly after his statement was released, the White House announced that Trump had withdrawn Wolf’s appointment as permanent secretary of DHS.
Media reports have also said that Trump’s cabinet members and their staff are in the early stages of discussing whether to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the president from power. On Wednesday, Democrats on the House Justice Committee sent Pence a letter urging him to support the move, and on Thursday, several more Democratic lawmakers and Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger joined the push.
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