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Top White House officials consider resigning over storming of Capitol

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WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US President Donald Trump’s top National Security Council officials and a deputy White House chief of staff are considering resigning over the president’s encouragement of protests that led to his supporters storming the US Capitol on Wednesday (Jan 6), according to people with the familiar.

Those who are discussing stepping down include National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and his deputy Matt Pottinger, the people said. Also considering resigning is Mr Chris Liddell, assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, the people said.

A deputy White House press secretary, Ms Sarah Matthews, said she had resigned over Wednesday’s violence at the Capitol, in which one unidentified woman was killed by a gunshot. 

“As someone who worked in the halls of Congress I was deeply disturbed by what I saw today,” she said in a statement. “I’ll be stepping down from my role, effective immediately. Our nation needs a peaceful transfer of power.”

CNN reported earlier that Mr O’Brien, Mr Pottinger and Mr Lidell are considering resigning. NBC News earlier reported Ms Matthews’ resignation.

Also Wednesday, the president told aides not to allow Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Mr Marc Short, into the White House, the people said.

Mr Trump was angered by a New York Times report that Mr Pence had told him he would not seek to halt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory and blamed Mr Short for the story, one person said.

Mr Short was at the building on Wednesday anyway, according to one person familiar with the matter.

The White House declined to comment.

Mr Trump’s decision to urge his supporters to gather in Washington on Wednesday while Congress certified the election, then direct them to march on the Capitol, has caused turmoil in the White House.

Earlier Wednesday evening, First Lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff, Ms Stephanie Grisham, resigned, as well as the White House social secretary Anna Lloyd, according to people familiar with the matter.