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Wednesday February 24th, 2021 10:01PM

The Latest: Pompeo: US is not a 'banana republic'

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the fallout of the storming of the Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump loyalists (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is rejecting suggestions that the United States is a “banana republic” following the assault on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. It’s a highly unusual defense to criticism that hasn’t previously warranted an riposte from America’s top diplomat.

Pompeo is one of Trump’s strongest supporters in the Cabinet and has unstintingly defended him since Trump’s loss to President-elect Joe Biden in November’s election.

He denounced criticism of the U.S. in the wake of the attack on the Capitol as “slander” and decried questions about its democracy in a series of tweets from his personal account late Thursday. He followed up on Friday from his official account, calling the United States the “greatest country on earth” and extolling “American goodness."

Pompeo wrote that the comparison "reveals a faulty understanding of banana republics and of democracy in America.”

___

10:20 a.m.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff says President Donald Trump is a “danger to the Republic” and should be removed from office immediately by impeachment, resignation or invoking the 25th Amendment.

Schiff said Friday that Democrats warned during Trump’s impeachment that he would “try to cheat” to remain in office.

Now, he said Trump “lit the fuse which exploded on Wednesday at the Capitol” as a mob loyal to the president stormed the Capitol. Five people died from the mayhem, including a Capitol police officer.

“Every day that he remains in office, he is a danger to the Republic, and he should leave office immediately, through resignation, the 25th Amendment or impeachment,” Schiff said in a statement.

Schiff called Trump “the worst president we have ever had.”

Schiff was the leading manager of the House Democrats’ impeachment of the president in 2019. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine.

___

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW A DAY AFTER PRO-TRUMP FORCES BREACHED CAPITOL:

The rampage that has shocked the world and left the country on edge has forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It's also led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack.” And it's prompting a broader reckoning over President Donald Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.

Read more:

— Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob

— Inside account: The day my ‘second home,’ the Capitol, was overtaken by mob

— Mob at U.S. Capitol encouraged by online conspiracy theories

— EXPLAINER: Breaking down the uncertainty after Capitol siege

___

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

10 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says those responsible for police officer Brian Sicknick’s death from the siege at the Capitol by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump “must be brought to justice.”

Pelosi said Friday she was lowering flags at the Capitol in his honor.

Sicknick died “after defending the Capitol complex and protecting those who serve and work here. The perpetrators of Officer Sicknick’s death must be brought to justice,” she said.

Pro-Trump supporters were urged on by the president Wednesday to the Capitol where Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm Democrat Joe Biden’s election.

Five people are now dead from the violent melee.

“The violent and deadly act of insurrection targeting the Capitol, our temple of American Democracy, and its workers was a profound tragedy and stain on our nation’s history,” Pelosi said.

___

9:10 a.m.

House Democratic leaders say the House could take up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump as soon as next week if Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet don’t act to remove him.

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark of Massachusetts says the House “can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the House floor quickly,” as early as the coming week, if Pence doesn’t invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, says he can confirm that “we have had discussions about it.” The South Carolina Democrat says he hopes Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., “would move forward if the vice president refuses to do what he is required to do under the Constitution. Everyone knows that this president is deranged.”

The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare a president unfit for office. That section of the amendment has never been invoked.

On Thursday, Pelosi said the House could move on impeachment if Pence and the Cabinet don’t remove Trump before his term ends on Jan. 20.

Pence hasn’t publicly addressed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment. But that possibility may have faded after two Cabinet members resigned Thursday in protest after Trump egged on protesters who then mounted an assault on the Capitol the day before.

Clark and Clyburn spoke Friday on CNN.

___

8:40 a.m.

A police officer has died from injuries he suffered when President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol.

And his death is intensifying questions about the defeated president’s remaining days in office and the ability of the U.S. Capitol Police to secure the area.

The Capitol Police say in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick died Thursday.

During Wednesday's melee, Sicknick was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials said.

Those officials could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The officer is the fifth person to die from the attack on the Capitol.

Discussions are underway about Trump’s fitness to remain in office

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