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Twitter permanently suspends Trump, cites risk of violence incitement

President Trump
(Source: Reuters)

WASHINGTON DC - Twitter permanently suspended US President Donald Trump's account from its platform on Friday, citing a risk of further incitement of violence.

Twitter suspended his account for 12 hours on Wednesday after he encouraged supporters to head to the Capitol, which led to a deadly storming of the building and halted a Congressional joint sitting. The social media company had threatened permanent suspension if he broke their rules again.

On Friday he tweeted "The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!"

Shortly thereafter, the President tweeted: "To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th."

Twitter found that these posts violated their glorification of violence policy.

After Twitter suspended his personal account, Trump said he may launch a new competing platform, and has been "negotiating with various other sites."

Trump posted the comments in a series of tweets from the presidential POTUS account - which is separate from his personal Donald J. Trump account. Twitter removed the tweets shortly after.

Trump accused Twitter of colluding with the "radical left" to silence him and those who voted for him.

Trump's statement that he would not attend incoming US president Joe Biden's inauguration marked another break with tradition as his presidency comes to a chaotic end.

The move represents a break with the long-standing custom of outgoing presidents attending their successor's swearing-in ceremony.

Trump faces growing threats of impeachment for an unprecedented second time in the wake of Wednesday's deadly assault on the US Capitol by a mob of supporters riled up by his baseless claims of election fraud.

Biden on Friday refrained from saying whether he believes Trump should be impeached less than two weeks before he leaves office.

"I have thought for a long time that President Trump was not fit to hold the job. That is why I ran," Biden said during a press conference.

He then punted to Congress, saying that "what the Congress decides to do is for them to decide."

Asked about Trump's earlier statement that he would not attend Biden's inauguration, he replied: "It's a good thing, him not showing up."

Congressional Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the floor for a vote in the House of Representatives as early as the middle of next week, Katherine Clark, the assistant House speaker, told CNN.

She said that Democrats would move forward with the proceedings quickly if Vice President Mike Pence did not heed calls to remove Trump under the Constitution's 25th Amendment. Reports suggest he is not prepared to do so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the Democratic caucus had held long talks on the subject and would continue to discuss.

"It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign.

But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment," she said in a statement.

Trump was impeached in 2019 on allegations of abusing his position, but the Republican-controlled Senate cleared him of charges last year.

The Democratic-led House would almost certainly vote to impeach the Republican president again. The process would then move into the Senate, which would hold a trial and need a two-thirds majority to vote to convict him.

One Republican senator said he would be open to Democratic moves to impeach Trump.

"The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because ... I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office," Ben Sasse told CBS News.

Meanwhile, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on Friday became the first Republican in the Senate to call on Trump to resign.

"I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage," Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News.

Impeachment appears to have growing support in the Democrat-held House of Representatives, but not in the Republican-held Senate.

Earlier in the day Pelosi said she spoke to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about preventing Trump from launching a nuclear strike in his final days in office.

Pelosi spoke to Milley to "discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes ordering a nuclear strike," she wrote in a letter to her colleagues.

Facing calls for his ouster, as well as fleeing Cabinet members and administration officials, Trump finally denounced Wednesday's "violence, lawlessness and mayhem."

In a video released on Thursday, Trump also promised a smooth transition for Biden, who defeated him in November's presidential election. However, he did not acknowledge his role in egging on supporters to march to the Capitol with debunked claims of his election win.

Rioters breached both chambers of the Capitol building, forcing lawmakers to flee and hunker down until the siege ended.

When they returned, lawmakers finally affirmed Biden's victory, rejecting challenges launched by some Republicans to election results in states the Democrat won.

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