New York's Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate, called for Donald Trump's immediate removal from office Thursday, saying the president was no longer fit to serve after the unprecedented Capitol Hill riots.
"What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer," the long-serving New York politician said in a statement.
"The quickest and most effective way -- it can be done today -- to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment," he added. "If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president."
Schumer went one to say that Trump "may only have 13 days left as president, but yesterday demonstrated that each and every one of those days is a threat to democracy, so long as he is in power."
Schumer joins a growing list of politicians and others calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked in this case. One Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, has also joined those calls, saying Trump "is unmoored from reality and from his oath." In U.S. history, the 25th Amendment has only been invoked six times.
The siege of the Capitol building came after Trump spent the two months since his electoral loss to Joe Biden falsely claiming that the election was fraudulent and stolen from him.
With just two weeks remaining in Trump's term, some have called on his immediate removal, including Schumer and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who ramped up calls Thursday for Trump's impeachment, if the 25th Amendment is not invoked.
"If the 25th amendment is not invoked today, Congress must reconvene immediately for impeachment and removal proceedings," Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the fallout continues over the Capitol siege that left four people dead, including a woman from San Diego who was shot while protesting on Trump's behalf.
Nearly 2,000 National Guard members from New York and New Jersey are being deployed to assist with the Capitol Hill riot response in Washington, D.C., while the NYPD is telling its officers to be on alert for "potential unrest" and protests throughout the city in the aftermath of the siege that forced Congress to temporarily halt its efforts to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
The department said in a memo obtained by NBC New York from a senior law enforcement official that because of the violent mob breaching the the U.S. Capitol, all members should "exercise increased vigilance and awareness" of protests breaking out.
The NYPD said areas of concern include government buildings, media headquarters, financial institutions and Trump-associated properties, the memo read. That includes Trump Tower in midtown, which has been the site of many protests over the course of the Trump administration. It was one of about a half dozen places where demonstrators were expected to call for an investigation into President Donald Trump's election response.
Capitol buildings in multiple states were shut down or security around them was bolstered Wednesday in response to local protests and the chaos around Capitol Hill in Washington, NBC News reports. Precautionary measures were taken in Georgia, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado and California.
In the city, there were some demonstrations, although they were part of a very different message. Outside Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle, there were more police and barricades than protesters, but those who did show up Wednesday night were not there to protest the election outcome, but rather to voice their outrage at the administration.
A few dozen protesters participated for about an hour before they peacefully dispersed. A separate group started in Times Square and marched to the area, but by 8 p.m. that group had dispersed almost entirely.
Although the protests were much smaller than anticipated, police were still at the Trump hotel, monitoring everyone entering or leaving the building. Another group has said they are planning an anti-Trump rally at Barclays Center at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The count of Electoral College votes from every state on Wednesday should have marked the final process before Biden's inauguration later this month and it was scheduled to come as Georgia's Senate runoff race gave Democrats control of the chamber of Congress after NBC projected Jon Ossoff defeated David Perdue. But thousands of Trump supporters descended on D.C. ahead of the vote.
By mid-afternoon, congressional proceedings had to be halted as those supporters stormed barricades set up outside the U.S. Capitol complex. A number of buildings, including the House and Senate, were evacuated; reporters were told to stay in the Senate’s press gallery as the doors were locked for their own safety. Gas masks were handed out to Congress members as the Capitol was breached.
During the chaos, law enforcement officials tell NBC News that at least two improvised explosive devices were found and later rendered safe, the FBI's Washington Field Office said. Among those detained, according to Metropolitan Police data, were two New York area residents who were arrested for curfew violation. (Washington D.C. is under curfew Wednesday and Thursday starting at 6 p.m.) Get live updates here.
The Metropolitan Police Department published a 26-page PDF of "Persons of Interest in Unrest-Related Offenses" in connection to the events that unfolded at the Capitol in an attempt to identify and bring charges against those who breached the Capitol building. See the document here.
Early Thursday morning, after reconvening, Congress officially certified Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president.
Photos: Trump, Supporters Rally in DC Over Electoral Votes Count
Early Wednesday evening, prior to Congress reconvening, president-elect Joe Biden called on President Trump to go on television and tell the demonstrators to go home, saying "This is not dissent. It's disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition." Minutes later, Trump tweeted a video of him saying that, but also said to the protesters that "we love you, you’re very special” and repeatedly (and falsely) insisted that the election was stolen, saying "we know how you feel."
Twitter later locked the president's account for 12 hours and deleted three tweets, including the video he posted, citing "repeated and severe" violations of their civic integrity policy. It also stated that further violations would result in the account being deleted. Facebook also locked the president's account on the site for 24 hours.
A protester who said he had breached the Capitol told NBC New York's Adam Kuperstein that President Trump's call for peace is "his responsibility. It's our responsibility to stand up to our government."
Local leaders shared their shock and dismay regarding the violence that unfolded on Capitol Hill.
In a teleconference Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Trump created the atmosphere that culminated in Wednesday's riot.
"President Trump started this four years ago," he said. "When you spread hatred and distrust and division, don't be surprised at the ugliness. This is four years of placing wedges in every crack in society...this is four years of appealing to the worst of human instinct and preying on people's fears and that is what yesterday was...This is a man who has spent four years touching the darker side of humanity -- exploiting fear, exploiting fear of people who are different, preying on insecurity. That's what yesterday was: an explosion of hate that he created."
The day before, Cuomo called the chaos a "failed attempt at a coup," and "the final chapter of an incompetent, cruel, and divisive administration." He later said he would deploy 1,000 members of the New York National Guard to D.C., saying in a tweet for up to two weeks.
The president activated the National Guard in Washington D.C. to respond to the protests. Aside from New York sending over its National Guard, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday he had authorized the deployment of 500 members of his state's National Guard to assist with the response and "facilitate the peaceful transition of power." The prior evening, he said he had dispatched a contingent of 50 State Police troopers to assist as well.
In a statement Thursday, Murphy said: "The fact that we all woke up this morning to the reality of President-elect Joe Biden’s election formalized by the United States Congress is proof that our democracy is stronger than an unhinged mob."
Murphy went on to call the unfathomable events that took place Wednesday "as one of the darkest days in our nation’s history" and called for the arrest of those who formed part of the mob and breached the Capitol.
"Every insurrectionist who tried to overthrow the free and fair election of President-elect Biden should be identified, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for desecrating the cradle of American democracy," Murphy's statement read in part. "They should be given no quarter. They are not patriots. They are the antithesis of what it means to be an American."
"This was not a protest. It was an act of domestic terrorism spurred on by the president himself and his minions."
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio targeted Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who was one of the strongest voices who had been calling for objections to the electoral college votes and for an investigation into the election, based off unfounded claims of voter fraud.
"None of today's violence happens without the seditious actions of
@HawleyMO. He sparked a violent incident that endangered lives and threatened the sanctity of our democracy just to further his own political ambitions," de Blasio tweeted .
During his daily COVID-19 press conference Thursday, de Blasio reiterated those sentiments, while adding that the events that unfolded were shocking.
"I watched -- like so many of you watched yesterday -- the events in Washington, D.C. with shock, with pain," the mayor said, adding that he is grateful that no member of Congress was hurt or killed.
De Blasio went on to say that the chaos on Capitol Hill "is what the path to fascism looks like" and called the events and mob, which he described as being incited by President Donald Trump, as "treason."
"He shouldn't be president anymore," de Blasio said. "He is a dangerous man. It's clear he should not be in office. I'm not missing the fact that the impeachment proceedings or the use of the 25th Amendment...can happen in two weeks time, but it should happen. It should happen because he literally attacked the government of the United States of America. That's treason!"
On Wednesday, at around 5 p.m., video showed police officers using shields to get protesters off the top steps outside of the Capitol, and it took another hour for the building to be declared "secure." Crowds started to somewhat disperse around that time, but a sizable group was still lingering at Capitol Hill into the evening, being slowly pushed back by law enforcement. Officials made nearly 50 arrests, as the night wore on, many of which were for violating the city's 6 p.m. curfew it imposed.
As a result of the protests, Rep. Ilhan Omar said she would be drawing up Articles of Impeachment against President Trump. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio later tweeted support of Omar's initiative, simply saying "Impeach." Others, like every Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee that is chaired by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, drafted a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove Trump from office.
Before the chaos in D.C., it appeared there would be protests locally from demonstrators angry with the president's hourlong weekend phone call with a Georgia election official in which he pressed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden's win.
The president repeatedly cited disproven claims of fraud and raised the prospect of a “criminal offense” if officials did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation obtained by NBC News.
"He was caught breaking the law, trying to steal a presidential election. He should be tried, and further investigation is needed," protest organizer Rise and Resist New York wrote in a tweet.
A pair of House Democrats, Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, have asked FBI Director Christopher Wray to open a criminal probe into Trump after the phone call was made public. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez called the president's conduct at that time "impeachable" as well.
Trump has not conceded to Biden and he tweeted early Wednesday that "we will win the Presidency" if Vice President Mike Pence "comes through" by overturning the Electoral votes. Trump later tweeted that his vice president "didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done." That tweet was later taken down by Twitter.
In a letter to Congress on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said he does not believe he has the power to count or reject electoral votes.
“Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally,” Pence said. “Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress… I believe neither view is correct.”
Several Republican senators, and dozens of House Republicans, had planned to reject Electoral College win and slow down the process, echoing Trump's false claims of widespread fraud. They continued to do so after the riots.
Despite objections from those lawmakers and rioters, it did not change the outcome of the election and Congressmembers voted early Thursday to certify Biden's victory