WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Lindsey Graham held back-to-back briefings Thursday, following the unrest at the U.S. Capitol and the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Pelosi joined Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in calling on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to remove him from office following Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol by the president’s supporters.
In a statement Thursday, Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president.”
“This president should not hold office one day longer,” he said in a statement on Twitter.
“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 wrote. “If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”
Pelosi echoed Schumer’s calls in a briefing Thursday.
“In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,” she said. “I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said in a statement Thursday he supports “the immediate impeachment of the President and his removal from office.”
“In the wake of this deadly attack on the Capitol, in the face of this insurrection, we must act,” Nadler said. “There must be consequences. Those consequences must be commensurate with the offense, and they must begin with the President of the United States.”
President Trump and the White House hasn’t yet responded to NewsNation’s request for comment.
Pelosi also demanded accountability for Republicans in Congress “who promoted the extreme conspiracy theories that provoked the violence, encouraged the mob and who, after desecration of the Capitol, went back to the House floor and continued to push the falsehoods that underpinned this assault on our democracy.”
She also called for the resignation of the chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund, and said she received notice that House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving will be submitting his resignation.
“Many of our Capitol Police just acted so bravely and with such concern for the staff, for the members of the Capitol of the United States,” Pelosi said.
“They deserve our gratitude,” she added. “But there was a failure of leadership at the top of the Capitol Police.”
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said the violence was “unlawful, un-American, and unacceptable, and they should be punished to the full extent of the law. We must never let the lawlessness of mobs stop us from doing the work that Americans…expect us to do.”
Sen. Graham said he supported calls for Irving’s resignation during a press briefing Thursday.
Describing those who stormed the Capitol as “domestic terrorists,” Graham also demanded that a joint task force be assembled to identify the individuals involved in the unrest.
But the South Carolina senator did not join Schumer and Pelosi’s calls to invoke the 25th Amendment, saying he did not believe it was “appropriate” at this point and wanted a “peaceful transfer of power.”
“When it comes to accountability, the president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution. That the rally yesterday was unseemly, that it got out of hand and a good friend of mind Rudy Giuliani did not help,” he said.
“Are there irregularities in this election? Yes, I’m there are. Have they been overblown? Absolutely. There’s been a constant effort by people from the president’s legal team to provide misinformation, to distort the facts, to make accusations that could not be proven,” Graham added. “That needs to stop.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.