U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday called the supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed Congress on Wednesday a chaotic day that left four dead. "It was not disorder. It was not a protest. Let's not call them protesters. They were a mob of rioters, insurgents, domestic terrorists," Biden said in a speech from Wilmington, Delaware.
The president-elect also criticized the police action, saying that they had made "a clear failure to apply justice with the same standards. "No one can tell me that if it had been a group from the Black Lives Matter movement that was protesting yesterday, they would not have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol," he warned.
The unprecedented assault on Congress by thousands of Trump's supporters, including right-wing extremists and white supremacists, after participating in an event with the president, led to the evacuation of the legislators and numerous destructions at the seat of the U.S. Congress. So far, police authorities have announced the arrest of 68 people.
Trump avoided condemning what happened and limited himself to urging his followers to "go home" after calling the day incredible, which has generated a wave of indignation in the US and among his international allies.
Biden will take office as president on January 20.
Democratic leaders in the U.S. Congress ask Pence to remove Trump
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the ranking Democrat in the Senate, urged Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to use the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove U.S. President Donald Trump from office.
If the Cabinet and the vice president do not exercise the 25th Amendment, "Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment," Pelosi said at a press conference a day after the assault on Congress that they believe was instigated by Trump.
"This is urgent, this is an emergency of the utmost magnitude," added Pelosi, who indicated that the search for Trump's impeachment is "the overwhelming feeling" of her group.
For his part, Schumer assured that "the fastest and most effective way to remove this president from office, something that can be done today, would be for the vice president (Pence) to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment.
Pelosi and the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate thus joined other members of his party, such as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, in calling for an initiative to remove Trump, who the political class agrees is responsible for the assault on Congress carried out this Wednesday by radical supporters of the outgoing governor.
"If the vice president and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress must reconvene to indict President Trump" with an impeachment, the Democratic leader said. Schumer assured that the assault on the Capitol "was an insurrection against the United States, incited by President Trump," so "this president should not occupy the position one more day.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, created to address existing constitutional gaps over presidential succession in cases of health problems, allows for the removal of the president from office if he is determined to be "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
In the wake of Wednesday's unprecedented unrest, a growing number of Democratic congressmen and even some Republican politicians have called for the resignation or a new impeachment of Trump, even though he is just two weeks away from handing over the post to Democrat Joe Biden.
Other progressives who have called for Trump's removal from office because of these events include Senator Ed Markey and 17 of the members of the House Judiciary Committee, among others. While the calls are coming mainly from Democratic circles, Republicans like Vermont Governor Phil Scott are beginning to demand that Trump leave office, with two weeks to go.
Pentagon chief committed to peaceful transition of power to Biden
U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller on Thursday pledged a "peaceful" transition of power to the president-elect, Democrat Joe Biden, on January 20, after outgoing President Donad Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
"I strongly condemn these acts of violence against our democracy. I, and the people I lead at the Department of Defense, continue to perform our duties in accordance with our oath of office, and will execute the traditional peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on January 20," Miller said in a statement.
He called Wednesday's violence on Capitol Hill, which claimed the lives of four people, "reprehensible and contrary to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.
"Our republic may have been disrupted yesterday, but the determination of our lawmakers to carry out the affairs of the people did not waver. Because of their efforts, supported by local and federal security forces and the National Guard, the attempts of those who tried to prevent our government from functioning failed," he said.
In recent weeks, Biden and members of his team have complained about the lack of cooperation from political officials at the Pentagon in carrying out the transition of power.
On December 18, Miller announced a suspension of meetings with Biden's team until after January 1, which the Democrats denounced as a decision that is part of the "resistance" of some sectors to the transition.
At the beginning of December, the White House dismissed nine members of the Pentagon's Defense Trade Council, of a consultative nature, in order to place Trump's allies on it, the political media reported at that time.
On November 9, Trump fired then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who last summer opposed sending military units to quell the race riots, with Miller in his place.
Following that decision, the civilian leadership of the Pentagon resigned and the White House took advantage of his departure to place three of its allies in the posts of Secretary of Defense for Policy, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and Chief of Staff of the Defense Department.
Wall Street closes with triple record after Biden's victory is confirmed
Wall Street closed with a profit Thursday and its three main indicators registered historical highs after the U.S. Congress confirmed Joe Biden as president and the Democrats got the majority in the Senate for their victory in Georgia.
At the end of the session at the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.69% or 211.73 points to a record 31,041.13, a level never seen before, driven by big names like Walgreens (5.18%), Apple (3.41%) and JPMorgan Chase (3.28%).
Also in terms of records, the selective S&P 500 rose by 1.48% or 55.65 points to 3,803.79 units, and the Nasdaq composite index, which brings together the most important technologies in the market, advanced by a solid 2.56% or 326.69 points to 13,067.48 units.
By sector, today's progress was led precisely by technology companies (2.65%), followed by non-essential goods (1.8%), energy (1.49%) and financial (1.47%).
The New York Stock Exchange seemed to pass by the assault on the Capitol yesterday by extremist supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, and instead reacted with purchases to the ratification in Congress of the victory of the elected president, Joe Biden.
Investors also reacted positively to the two seats won by the Democrats in the Senate, which implies that Biden's party will have a majority in both houses of Congress during the first two years of his term.
Wall Street was encouraged by the rise of the Institute of Supply Management's (ISM) non-industrial activity index in the US to 57.2 in December, above estimates.
Pending tomorrow's monthly employment report, initial unemployment claims barely changed last week, coinciding with the Christmas holidays and the extra $300 in aid for beneficiaries approved by lawmakers.
On the corporate front, automaker Tesla jumped nearly 8% today and surpassed Facebook's market capitalization, becoming the fifth largest company in the S&P 500 and making its founder and CEO, Elon Musk, the richest person in the world.
In other markets, Texas oil rose to $50.83 a barrel, a price not seen since February of last year, before the coronavirus crisis, after Saudi Arabia committed to a major production cut over the next two months in light of the worsening pandemic.
At the close of the session, gold was up to $1,915.40 an ounce; the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond was up to 1.083 percent and the dollar was strengthening against the euro, at a rate of 1.2273.
Biden elects as attorney general a judge that Obama tried to elevate to the Supreme
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday his nomination as the next U.S. attorney general of U.S. District Judge Merrick Garland, whom former President Barack Obama tried unsuccessfully to place on the Supreme Court in 2016.
The obstruction of the Republican majority in the Senate prevented Garland, a respected judge who currently holds a lifetime position in the federal court of appeals for the District of Columbia - where Washington is located - from ascending to the Supreme Court in 2016.
The Republicans then argued that it did not make sense to approve such an important nomination in an election year, but last October they ignored their own precedent and ratified, days before the November 3 election, the nomination of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.
Aware that Garland was a victim of Washington's political games, Biden has wanted to reward him with the post of Attorney General, responsible for running the U.S. Department of Justice and its related agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
"I am not surprised that President Obama nominated Justice Garland to the Supreme Court. He embodies honor, decency, integrity, fidelity to the rule of law and judicial independence," Biden said at an event with Garland in Wilmington, Delaware.
"He will bring those same traits to the position of attorney general of the United States, a position that is not the personal lawyer of the president," the president-elect added, stressing the independence that the Justice Department must maintain from the White House.
After a turbulent day in Washington due to the assault on the Capitol, which closes four years in which the Cabinet of outgoing President Donald Trump has been unwilling to curb its worst impulses, Biden sent a message to Garland and the rest of his nominees for the Justice Department.
"You will not work for me. Your loyalty must not be to me, but to the law, the Constitution, the people of this nation, to ensure justice," the president-elect stressed.
Garland, 68, said in the same act that his priorities as attorney general, if confirmed by the Senate, will be "to ensure racial equality in the justice system" and "to meet the changing threat of violent extremism," among others. "As anyone who saw what happened in Washington yesterday understands, the rule of law is not pretty words that a lawyer uses. It is the foundation of our democracy," the judge added.
Biden waited to nominate Garland until it was clear that the Democrats would control the Senate when he takes office January 20, after his party's two candidates won the Georgia runoff election.
The slim 51-vote majority the Democrats now have - counting the runoff of Vice President-elect and Senate President Kamala Harris - promises to facilitate Garland's confirmation process.
Biden also nominated two former Obama administration officials as "number two" and "number three" at the Justice Department, Lisa Monaco and Vanita Gupta, respectively; and attorney Kirsten Clarke as civil rights officer at the Justice Department.