"Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable," the former Attorney General said in a statement Thursday

 

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Former Attorney General William Barr has condemned President Donald Trump’s behavior during Wednesday’s violent riots at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Barr called Trump’s actions a “betrayal of his office and supporters,” adding that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

In a previous statement addressing the riots on Wednesday, Barr said that the "violence at the Capitol Building is outrageous and despicable."

"Federal agencies should move immediately to disperse it," he said in a statement released by spokesperson Kerri Kupec.

A longtime supporter of Trump, Barr resigned from office in December after affirming that there was no evidence of voter fraud “that could have effected a different outcome in the election” — which undermined Trump's baseless claims the election had been stolen from him.

Bill Barr, Donald Trump
Bill Barr, Donald Trump
| Credit: Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images; Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

In a statement released Thursday, acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said that the "The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that those responsible for this attack on our Government and the rule of law face the full consequences of their actions under the law."

“Yesterday, our Nation watched in disbelief as a mob breached the Capitol Building and required federal and local law enforcement to help restore order," Rosen wrote in a statement. "Some participants in yesterday’s violence will be charged today, and we will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the coming days and weeks to ensure that those responsible are held accountable under the law.”

Motivated by Trump’s unfounded and increasingly incendiary claims about his election loss, a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol Wednesday afternoon while lawmakers gathered to count the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win.

"We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump said earlier in the day while addressing his supporters. While telling them to march over to the capitol, Trump said, "be strong," adding, "you'll never take back our country with weakness."

pro Trump protesters breach Capitol building
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

After the Capitol had been breached, Trump initially delayed directly telling his supporters to leave the building, tweeting first, "Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!"

In a recorded speech released later that afternoon, Trump instructed rioters to leave peacefully while also telling them, "we love you, you're very special" and doubling down on the baseless claims that the election was "stolen from us."

(The video has been removed or restricted from social channels including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, due to "risk of violence." Trump's social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were later also temporarily locked, with Facebook announcing on Thursday that Trump has been banned “indefinitely.” )

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In the violent bombardment of the Capitol, at least one woman was fatally shot, and three others died after suffering from "medical emergencies," Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee III said in a press conference late Wednesday night. Over a dozen police officers were also injured in the riots.

Members of Congress finally reconvened late Wednesday night to ratify the Electoral College results and on Thursday morning, Trump officially agreed to an "orderly" transition on Jan. 20.