TWITTER ON FRIDAY evening permanently suspended President Donald Trump's account, citing "the risk of further incitement of violence."
The dramatic move, robbing the outgoing commander in chief of one of his most potent tools of communication, came after Twitter put Trump on a 12-hour suspension. That step was taken in the aftermath of a mob of Trump's supporters storming Capitol Hill on Wednesday as legislators certified President-elect Joe Biden's election victory. Trump held a rally for his supporters earlier that afternoon.
"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," Twitter wrote in a statement.
"In the context of horrific events this week, we made it clear on Wednesday that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action," the statement read. "Our public interest framework exists to enable the public to hear from elected officials and world leaders directly. It is built on a principle that the people have a right to hold power to account in the open."
Trump posted a video following his 12-hour suspension, which ended on Thursday, in which he struck a conciliatory tone, calling for peace and seeming to denounce the protesters who stormed the Capitol, resulting in the death of at least five people, including one U.S. Capitol Police officer.
That tone swiftly changed amid calls for his impeachment from a growing number of leaders in Congress, along with questions about whether Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet would consider invoking the 25th Amendment and removing Trump from office.
Other top Trump advisors have also had their Twitter accounts suspended for similar reasons, including retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser and the retired director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
THE DEFENSE Department's top officer on Friday confirmed he had spoken with Nancy Pelosi about President Donald Trump's powers as commander in chief but in a carefully crafted statement distanced the Pentagon from any attempts by the House speaker or other congressional leaders to strip the president of his authorities.
"Speaker Pelosi initiated a call with the chairman," Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells U.S. News. "He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority."
The statement follows a letter Pelosi sent to Democratic colleagues on Friday. She updated them about stunning events this week in the aftermath of the violent mob of President Donald Trump's supporters that swarmed the Capitol shortly after he finished a rally roughly a mile away near the White House. The protesters were attempting to prevent with force Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
In her letter, Pelosi documents a conversation she had with Milley earlier on Friday in a section titled, "Preventing an Unhinged President From Using the Nuclear Codes."
Pelosi wrote that she discussed with Milley "available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."
"The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy," Pelosi wrote.
The dramatic language comes as Pelosi considers growing calls from Democrats and some Republicans for new articles of impeachment against Trump for his part in stirring up the mob that laid siege to the Capitol. At least five people died as a result of the violence and dozens were injured, including dozens of police officers.
Milley has wrought widespread condemnation previously for appearing to support Trump's politicization of the military, including accompanying the president to a photo op at St. John's Church near the White House last summer moments after police forcefully cleared the area of social justice protesters. Milley later apologized for his actions, saying his presence "created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics."
But Milley has also asserted the military's political neutrality in domestic affairs, pushing back on reports that speculated about a potential role in overturning or redoing last month's elections.
"We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics," Milley told NPR in October. "We, the U.S. military, we are sworn to obey the lawful orders of our civilian leadership. ... And we want to ensure that there is always civilian leadership, civilian control of the military, and we will obey the lawful orders of civilian control of the military."
Pentagon staff members have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from perceptions of politicization in recent months, dramatically limiting public exposure of its top officials.
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