Capitol Riot Live Updates: Fallout Continues as More Arrests Are Made

Aaron Mostofsky, center, was wearing a vest emblazoned with the word “police” as pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol in Washington last week.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The son of a Brooklyn judge was arrested Tuesday morning over his participation in last week’s violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Aaron Mostofsky was taken into custody at his brother’s home in Brooklyn, according to a person briefed on the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Videos and photos from inside the Capitol have shown Mr. Mostofsky wearing fur pelts and what appeared to be a bulletproof vest while holding a protective shield belonging to the Capitol Police.

He faces four federal charges, including illegal entry into a restricted area, disorderly conduct and theft of government property.

Mr. Mostofsky is among the dozens of people who have been investigated by federal and local authorities in the days since a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

The Justice Department and the F.B.I. are pursuing more than 150 suspects for prosecution, sifting through tens of thousands of tips after asking for the public’s help in identifying those who forced their way into the building.

Mr. Mostofsky’s father is a state Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn, Shlomo Mostofsky.

President Trump asserted that it was the impeachment charge, not the violence and ransacking of the Capitol, that was “causing tremendous anger.”
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump on Tuesday showed no contrition or regret for instigating the mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of members of Congress and his vice president, saying that his remarks to a rally beforehand were “totally appropriate” and that the effort by Congress to impeach and convict him was “causing tremendous anger.”

Answering questions from reporters for the first time since the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, the president sidestepped questions about his culpability in the deadly riot that shook the nation’s long tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews, en route to Alamo, Texas, where he was set to visit the border wall. Instead, Mr. Trump claimed that racial justice protests over the summer were “the real problem.”

“If you look at what other people have said, politicians at a high level about the riots during the summer, the horrible riots in Portland and Seattle and various other places, that was a real problem,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s defiance came despite near universal condemnation of his role in stoking the assault on the Capitol, including from within his own administration and some of his closest allies on Capitol Hill.

Earlier, he asserted that it was the impeachment charge, not the violence and ransacking of the Capitol, that was “causing tremendous anger.”

Mr. Trump has been largely silent since Friday, when Twitter permanently suspended his Twitter account. When asked directly on Tuesday morning if he would resign with just nine days left in office, Mr. Trump said “I want no violence.”

He did not address his own role in inciting the mob of Trump supporters. Instead, the president framed himself as a victim, calling impeachment a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”

“I think it’s causing tremendous anger,” he said.

The aim of the trip to the border with Mexico is to promote the partially built border wall, which the Trump administration views as an accomplishment. The president is scheduled to land in Harlingen at 1 p.m. local time, then fly by helicopter the short distance to McAllen. From there, he is expected to visit a portion of the border wall in nearby Alamo, along the Rio Grande River.

Across the street from McAllen airport, pedestrian fences have been placed where the president’s motorcade is expected to travel. Vehicles from the McAllen Police and the U.S. Border Patrol, as well as unidentified unmarked vehicles, patrolled the area ahead of Mr. Trump’s arrival.

At the Aztek Barber Shop in Alamo, Alejandro Silva, 27, said he held nothing against Mr. Trump and did not have an opinion about the border wall.

“But he shouldn’t be visiting now,” said Mr. Silva, a mechanic. “He should leave office and leave everyone alone.”

The president’s supporters were planning two parades on Tuesday in Harlingen and McAllen, but a coalition of anti-border wall activists, led by La Unión del Pueblo Entero, circulated a petition to urge politicians to cancel Mr. Trump’s trip to Alamo.

“We cannot allow Trump to bring his racist mob to the Rio Grande Valley,” said John-Michael Torres, a spokesman for the organizers.

In response to fears, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said in a statement: “I understand that emotions are high on both sides, for or against the President and I hope that if there are demonstrations for or against, that they are peaceful with respect to our law enforcement personnel.”

Members of Congress and aides were evacuated from the House chamber as rioters spread through the Capitol last week.
Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A third lawmaker has tested positive for Covid-19 in the days since a mob roamed through the halls of Congress and forced lawmakers to jam into cloistered secure rooms where a number of Republicans were not wearing masks.

The announcement came as a grim reality has begun to dawn on Capitol Hill: The riot on Wednesday may have started a coronavirus superspreader event.

On Tuesday, Representative Brad Schneider, Democrat of Illinois, said that he had received a positive virus test, following similar statements from two other Democrats, Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Pramila Jayapal of Washington.

All three Democratic lawmakers have pointed at Republican counterparts who refused to wear masks while members of Congress were sheltering in place.

“I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” Mr. Schneider said in a statement. “We can no longer tolerate Members coming to the floor or gathering in the halls of Congress without doing the bare minimum to protect those around them.”

It will be days before the full virus-related impact of the riot will be known, but it likely could have been worse. Because of the pandemic, lawmakers were instructed to remain in their offices unless speaking during the debate over the certification of votes. Tourists had been temporarily barred and the number of reporters allowed in each chamber at a time had been substantially curtailed.

But the normal precautions — already haphazardly enforced — collapsed as pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol. Did six feet of distance matter when lawmakers huddled on the ground as a mob tried to break through the door? Or as they tried to rush through tight corridors and into a cramped elevator to a secure space? Or as they sought to comfort a traumatized colleague?

On both sides of the Capitol, lawmakers, aides, police officers and reporters who had fled to secure locations have been warned that they might have been exposed to the coronavirus while hiding from the mob. Some people who had taken refuge in a room that included senators have been warned of possible exposure, while Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, wrote to House lawmakers telling them to obtain a P.C.R. test as a precaution and to continue taking preventive steps against the spread of the virus.

In a letter referring to a crowded House safe room, Dr. Monahan said that “the time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others,” warning that “individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection” during that period.

That person has not been identified, but on Monday, Ms. Coleman became the first lawmaker to announce that she had tested positive. She directly pointed at a handful of Republicans who had refused to wear masks in the room despite entreaties from Democrats to do so.

Ms. Watson Coleman said that after taking a rapid antigen test on Monday, she was isolating and awaiting the results of a more accurate laboratory P.C.R. test. She began to feel symptomatic within the last 24 hours, and was experiencing “mild, cold-like symptoms,” including a cough and a raspy sore throat.

Hours later, Ms. Jayapal said that she had also tested positive, also suggesting unmasked Republican lawmakers were in part to blame. Ms. Jayapal said she had been self-isolating since last week’s riot as a precaution.

The Marine guard outside the West Wing on Monday, indicating that President Trump is in the Oval Office.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Nearly a week after a mob of President Trump’s supporters laid siege to the Capitol, the president finds himself increasingly besieged: abandoned by big businesses, institutions and his own acting homeland security chief just as Washington and state capitols are bracing for renewed threats leading up to Inauguration Day.

A president who famously demands loyalty has found himself increasingly cut off. Even New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, who publicly supported Mr. Trump when he ran for office, has spurned him, turning down the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, because of the “tragic events of last week” a reference to the deadly riot.

Schools have stripped Mr. Trump of honorary degrees. The P.G.A. of America announced it would no longer hold a major tournament at Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf club. Mr. Trump’s primary lender for two decades, Deutsche Bank, said it has decided not to do business with Mr. Trump or his company in the future, according to a person familiar with the bank’s thinking. Twitter has permanently suspended Mr. Trump’s account, while Facebook barred him at least through the end of his term on Jan. 20.

Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary for the Homeland Security Department, stepped down from his position on Monday. The department includes the Secret Service, which is leading inauguration security.

Mr. Wolf told employees of the Department of Homeland Security he would be stepping down in part because of court rulings that invalidated some of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, citing the likelihood that Mr. Wolf was unlawfully appointed to lead the agency. He did not address the Capitol riot in his letter.

White House officials, including several members of the cabinet, have resigned, saying they were deeply troubled by the deadly siege. Prominent Republicans have threatened to leave the party or called on Mr. Trump to resign.

Scores of the president’s supporters who participated in the Capitol riot are the subject of a nationwide manhunt, according to law enforcement officials. The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation are pursuing more than 150 suspects for prosecution, a number that is almost certain to grow, an official said.

Now, supporters of Mr. Trump are openly planning attacks in Washington and around the country in the days leading up to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration next Wednesday. The F.B.I. has sent information to local law enforcement agencies about the potential for armed protests outside all 50 state capitols, demonstrations that are being organized and promoted by far-right extremist groups like the Boogaloo movement.

On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, who has verbally sparred with Mr. Trump for months over the president’s response to the pandemic, said his state would “have increased security” outside the State Capitol in Albany ahead of the inauguration.

In the days since the violent assault of the Capitol, more graphic images have emerged showing police officers outnumbered as they were defending it. A visual investigation by The Times found rioters outside the building dragged three officers into a mob that assaulted them as they lay defenseless on a stairwell. One rioter was caught on video beating an officer with the American flag.

A poll released by Quinnipiac University found that just 33 percent of Americans approved of Mr. Trump’s job performance — matching his lowest approval rating in four years of polling. The president could become the first to be impeached twice, after House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment on Monday, an effort that, if successful, could bar him from ever holding the office again.

Six thousand troops from six states have already arrived in Washington, according to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

With the resignation of Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary for the Homeland Security Department, on Monday, the task of coordinating the security of the upcoming inauguration, will now fall to Peter T. Gaynor, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who will replace Mr. Wolf for the remaining days in the Trump administration.

The Secret Service, which falls under the Homeland Security Department, is leading the security operations for the event on Jan. 20, and officials are bracing for heightened threats of violence.

Before his resignation, Mr. Wolf announced that enhanced security measures would begin on Jan. 13 instead of Jan. 19 as initially planned.

Mr. Wolf said he did so “in light of events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration.”

On Saturday, the mayor of Washington, Muriel E. Bowser, sent a firmly worded letter to the Department of Homeland Security, asking officials to move up security operations and requesting a disaster declaration, which would free federal funding for the inauguration. President Trump granted the request on Monday night.

Ms. Bowser’s call to action came as law enforcement officers in several states made arrests related to the assault on the Capitol.

Security experts have warned that some far-right extremist groups have now started to focus attention on Inauguration Day and are already discussing an assault similar to the one on the Capitol last week. Sixteen groups — some of them armed and most of them hard-line supporters of Mr. Trump — have already registered to stage protests in Washington.

The National Guard plans to deploy up to 15,000 troops to the nation’s capital for the inauguration.

Six thousand troops from six states have already arrived, according to the chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson. Defense officials have not made a decision on whether the troops will be armed, but they indicated that even if they were initially unarmed, the troops would not be far away from their weaponry.

The P.G.A. of America announced it would strip President Trump’s New Jersey golf club of a major tournament.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The mob attack on Congress last week by President Trump’s supporters has spurred the most substantial challenge for the Trump Organization to date, a reckoning by businesses and institutions that are distancing themselves from the president on a grand scale.

Mr. Trump’s brand, premised on gold-plated luxury and a super-affluent clientele, may not fully recover from the fallout, hospitality analysts say and some people close to the business acknowledge.

The fallout began on Thursday, when the e-commerce provider Shopify said it had terminated online stores affiliated with the president. On Sunday, the P.G.A. of America announced it would strip Mr. Trump’s New Jersey golf club of a major tournament.

Mr. Trump was said to be “gutted” by the P.G.A. decision, according to a person close to the White House, as he had worked personally for years to push the tournament executives to hold events at his courses.

Deutsche Bank, which has been Mr. Trump’s primary lender for two decades, has decided not to do business with Mr. Trump or his company in the future, according to a person familiar with the bank’s thinking. Mr. Trump owes Deutsche Bank more than $300 million, which is due in the next few years.

Another longtime financial partner of the Trumps, Signature Bank, also is cutting ties. The bank — which helped Mr. Trump finance his Florida golf course and where Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, was once a board member — issued a statement calling on Mr. Trump to resign as president “in the best interests of our nation and the American people.”

The Trump Organization had already been facing considerable financial challenges. And with more than $300 million in debt coming due in the next few years that the president has personally guaranteed, there had been some urgency for the company to line up new deals.

Michael C. Stenger, left, and Paul D. Irving resigned from their posts and are facing intense scrutiny after the security failure last week.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Both men had similar backgrounds, working for years as Secret Service agents but considered more skilled in navigating the agency’s political infighting than as experts in protection. Both went on to land plum assignments: the sergeants-at-arms of the Senate and House.

Now, the two men, Michael C. Stenger and Paul D. Irving, have resigned from those posts and are facing intense scrutiny over the security failure last week that led to the deadly siege of the Capitol, its first occupation since the War of 1812. The former chief of the Capitol Police Steven Sund told The Washington Post that they refused to grant his requests to put the National Guard on standby leading up to Congress’s Electoral College certification, which Trump supporters ultimately disrupted, because they were too concerned about the “optics” of such a move.

The jobs forced both men to balance an array of often-conflicting forces, according to interviews with former colleagues, law enforcement experts and former sergeants-at-arms. Attempts to reach Mr. Stenger and Mr. Irving were unsuccessful.

The sergeant-at-arms posts are unique because they come with the responsibility of overseeing not only security but also protocol and the day-to-day operations of the Capitol, like arranging V.I.P. parking passes or even the printing of posters that lawmaker use as props for speeches.

Both positions derive their power directly from lawmakers. The Senate elects its sergeant-at-arms and the speaker of the House picks that chamber’s. Mr. Stenger, who worked for the Senate, and Mr. Irving, his House counterpart, deftly tried to satisfy the 535 lawmakers who often had competing demands.

The accusations by Mr. Sund, who had reported to both men, ignited criticisms that Mr. Stenger and Mr. Irving had placed politics over the safety of lawmakers, staff members and journalists assembled for the count of the Electoral College vote.

Lawmakers often held significant sway over how decisions about security were made, former law enforcement officials and a former sergeant-at-arms said.

Terrance W. Gainer, who previously served as both the chief of the Capitol Police and the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms, said that based on his experience, Capitol security officials often had to run their plans by members of Congress before major events. He said that given the blowback after the heavy policing of demonstrations against police brutality this summer, lawmakers were likely wary of allowing the Capitol to appear like a fortress.

“It wouldn’t surprise me, having been chief, if there was some reticence on behalf of leadership in the House and Senate not wanting to look like we were overarmed,” Mr. Gainer said.

“Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America?” Representative Mo Brooks asked at the rally on Jan. 6. 
Credit…Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

A handful of Mr. Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress had urged the public to come to Washington on Jan. 6 in a defiant last stand aimed at keeping the president in power.

At least two lawmakers referred to the day as a “1776 moment” for Republicans.

One hundred thirty-five House Republicans, including the party’s two top leaders, voted to throw out millions of lawfully cast votes even after the violent siege of the Capitol. But in the days and weeks before the riot, some lawmakers went even further.

Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona told supporters in an op-ed to “be ready to defend the Constitution and the White House.” Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas, wrote in a since-deleted tweet that he “had a great meeting today with the folks from Stop the Steal,” one of the leading groups that organized last week’s rally.

The actions of these ultra-loyal lawmakers have furthered the debate about if, and how, they should be held accountable for the violence that engulfed the Capitol last week.

Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, introduced a resolution on Monday to formally censure Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, who asked a crowd of Trump supporters at the National Mall on Wednesday if they were “willing to do what it takes to fight for America.”

Ali Alexander, a far-right activist and conspiracy theorist who emerged as a leader of Stop the Steal, claimed that he, along with Mr. Brooks, Mr. Gosar and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, had set the Jan. 6 event in motion.

Mr. Brooks told a local newspaper that he would “make no apology for doing my absolute best to inspire patriotic Americans to not give up on our country.”

Some House Democrats have pushed to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which disqualifies people who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from holding public office. Representative Cori Bush, Democrat of Missouri, introduced a resolution on Monday with 47 co-sponsors that would initiate investigations for “removal of the members who attempted to overturn the results of the election and incited a white supremacist attempted coup.”

On the Telegram messaging app, there were calls for armed marches on state capitols and the offices of tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, starting on Jan. 16. On Gab, a social media network, fliers were posted about a rally in Washington. The date: Jan. 17.

In the days since rioters stormed Capitol Hill, fringe groups like armed militias, QAnon conspiracy theorists and far-right supporters of President Trump have vowed to continue their fight in hundreds of conversations on a range of internet platforms.

Some of the organizers have moved to encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, which cannot be as easily monitored as social media platforms.

Social media has played a crucial role in the support of Mr. Trump since he announced his intention to run for president five years ago. And the rioters who attacked the Capitol last week did much of their planning in the open on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Parler, a lesser-known platform that had become popular in right-wing circles in recent months.

But after many groups were banned from mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the groups have been relegated to half a dozen apps and platforms to organize their next steps. Parler was also effectively taken off line on Monday when Amazon — following Google and Apple’s moves to drop Parler from their app stores — said it would no longer host the service in its data centers.

Adding to the muddle, when Twitter and Facebook kicked Mr. Trump off their platforms last week, they made it harder for organizers to rally around a singular voice. The result is an unexpected side effect of the expulsions from mainstream social media platforms: Attempts at disruption could be harder to predict and could stretch for days.

Just hours after rioters were cleared from the Capitol on Wednesday, there was already discussion about what would happen next on Parler and Gab, another social-media platform that has become popular with the far right.

Mr. Trump was expected to take his megaphone to the platforms, and tens of thousands joined those sites expecting him to land there. But by Monday night, Parler was mostly offline. Gab had also become largely unusable, as a flood of new users and downloads appeared to crush the site, making it impossible to search for, or post, new items.

Some groups have moved to smaller sites, like MeWe and CloutHub, as well as fringe messaging boards.

“There is a massive exodus that is happening, and we are really seeing people scatter across different sites as they look for a home,” said Marc-André Argentino, a researcher who studies the far right. “Different groups have settled in different places.”

The scattered attempts to coordinate next steps appeared to be confusing for many of Mr. Trump’s supporters, who called on the president to tell his followers what should happen next.

In the comments underneath one flier, which featured the Statue of Liberty on a red background, instructions were given by different people to gather at state capitols at noon on Jan. 17, 19 and 20. In comments left Sunday, people asked one another who was behind the event and how they could find more information about it.

“I’d like to come to this, but want to know, does our president want us there?” asked one person. “Awaiting instructions.”

Donald Trump receiving an honorary degree in 2004 from Wagner College in Staten Island.
Credit…Jin-Sup Lee/Staten Island Advance

A move by two colleges to rescind honorary degrees they had previously awarded to President Trump has emboldened students and professors at other universities seeking to distance their institutions from political figures who played a role in last week’s events at the Capitol, including Rudolph Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, and Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who led efforts to deny certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in the Electoral College.

Lehigh University in Pennsylvania last week revoked the honorary degree it had awarded to Mr. Trump in 1988, as did Wagner College on Staten Island, which had given one to Mr. Trump in 2004.

On Tuesday, Harvard’s Institute of Politics removed Representative Elise Stefanik, a Republican of New York who voted to overturn the election results, from its senior advisory committee. In a letter to other committee members, Douglas Elmendorf, the Harvard Kennedy School’s dean, cited Ms. Stefanik’s “public assertions about voter fraud” and “incorrect” statements she had made about lawsuits seeking to overturn results in key states.

Ms. Stefanik, a close ally of Mr. Trump who graduated from Harvard in 2006, criticized the move, saying in a statement that she was honored to “join the long line of leaders who have been boycotted, protested, and canceled by colleges and universities across America.”

On Sunday, the president of Middlebury College in Vermont said it was considering revoking the honorary degree that it had awarded in 2005 to Mr. Giuliani, citing his role in “fomenting the violent uprising against our nation’s Capitol building,” which the president, Laurie L. Patton, called “an insurrection against democracy itself.” Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, is also facing possible expulsion by the New York State bar association.

Thousands of lawyers and law students, including many associated with Harvard, which Mr. Cruz attended, and Yale, where Mr. Hawley earned his degree, have signed a petition similarly calling for the two Republican senators to be disbarred for “leading the efforts to undermine the peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election.”

The petition, started by Yale law students, said the senators had fomented “insurrection” by a mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. It was posted on social media over the weekend and had more than 7,500 signatures by Monday afternoon, including more than 1,800 members of the Missouri, Texas and District of Columbia bars, where the senators are based.

“I think like many people across the country, we were horrified as we watched the Jan. 6 insurrection,” said Daniel Ki, a Yale law student and one of the authors of the petition. “We’ve really just been inspired and heartened by the response.”

Mr. Cruz also faces backlash at Princeton, his undergraduate school, where hundreds of students, alumni and faculty have urged the university’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, to publicly condemn his actions. Mr. Eisgruber wrote on his university blog that “every leader has a responsibility to oppose” the kind of events that happened at the Capitol, but he did not mention Mr. Cruz by name.

Elite universities often promote themselves by pointing to prominent leaders, including members of Congress or the Supreme Court, who graduated from them, but those connections have increasingly created strain in recent years as politicians and judges have been associated with Mr. Trump.

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