President Donald Trump was impeached Wednesday over the assault on the U.S. Capitol, making him the first president to be impeached twice.
The second impeachment came just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans voting with Democrats.
US Capitol Riot Coverage
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Sen. Tom Cotton Says He Opposes an Impeachment Trial in the Senate
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Wednesday that he opposes holding an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump because he will no longer be in office when it would conclude, NBC News reports.
"The House has passed an article of impeachment against the president, but the Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week," Cotton said. "Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president.
"The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office — not an inquest against private citizens," Cotton said in a statement. "The Constitution presupposes an office from which an impeached officeholder can be removed."
He urged Congress to "concentrate entirely for the next week on conducting a safe and orderly transfer of power."
Armed Man Threatened Violence Against DC Mayor in Texts to Family, Friends: Feds
A man who traveled to Washington for the Capitol riot and is charged with threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also made threats of violence toward Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and had the means to carry them out, federal prosecutors say.
Cleveland Meredith, who drove to Washington from Colorado on Jan. 6, sent a text while still in the District the following day that said "I may wander over to the Mayor's office and put a 5.56 in her skull, FKG [expletive]," court filings show.
He later sent a text that said, in part, “Strategizing on best way to assault this city . . . Staying one more day since I got here late, need to FK with these commies.”
Meredith drove his truck and an attached trailer to D.C. for the rally to protest Trump's election loss with "two firearms, including one equipped with a telescopic sight, several high capacity magazines, and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition of various caliber, including 'armor piercing' rounds."
Pelosi Wants Fines for Bypassing House Security
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is proposing fines of up to $10,000 will be imposed on members who fail to abide by the security protocols of the House.
Wednesday's announcement comes after metal detectors were set up outside the House chamber following last week's attack on the Capitol. Some Republican lawmakers have expressed their displeasure about the new protocol and have been bypassing the metal detector entirely or walking through and not stopping when they set it off.
Pelosi says, “It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe.” She says, "Many House Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions.”
The fine will be $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second offense. The Democratic-led House will vote on the rule change.
Earlier in the week, she imposed fines for those who fail to wear face masks during the COVID-19 crisis. Both fines will be deducted directly from members' salaries.
Biden Hopes Senate Can Balance Trial, Other Work
President-elect Joe Biden says he hopes the Senate can balance a second impeachment trial of President Donald Trump with “other urgent business” as the coronavirus pandemic rages.
In a statement Wednesday evening, Biden did not take a position on whether the Senate should convict Trump after a bipartisan House vote that charged the outgoing president with inciting the violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last week as Congress convened to certify Biden’s presidential election.
Biden blamed Trump for the “armed insurrection” by his supporters. The president-elect called it “an unprecedented assault on our democracy ... unlike anything we have witnessed in the 244-year history of our nation.”
Besides considering Trump’s fate, Biden noted that the Senate will be considering his nominations for key leadership posts and additional COVID-19 relief measures. Biden is scheduled to deliver a speech Thursday outlining his proposals to spur vaccine distribution and for additional economic aid.
Twitter CEO Defends Trump Ban, Cites Threats to Physical Safety
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday defended the company’s decision last week to permanently ban President Donald Trump.
“After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter,” Dorsey said in a thread on Twitter, talking about the ban for the first time.
He said the circumstances were “extraordinary and untenable,” forcing Twitter staff to put all of its focus on public safety.
“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he said.
The reference to physical threats echoes concerns by law enforcement and private sector intelligence analysts who said there was a significant uptick in violent rhetoric and planning on the internet around last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Trump Condemns the Violence at the Capitol
One week after the riot at U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump on Wednesday released his most extended comments on the violence and the chaos that day.
“I want to be very clear," Trump begins, in a video released by the White House. "I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week, violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, and no place in our movement.”
He added that "no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence, no true supporter of mine could ever disrespect, law enforcement, or our great American flag, no true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans, if you do any of these things."
"You are not supporting our movement, you're attacking it, and you are attacking our country,” he said.
McConnell Open to Convicting Trump in Impeachment Trial
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointedly did not rule out Wednesday that he might eventually vote to convict the now twice-impeached President Donald Trump, but he also blocked a quick Senate impeachment trial.
Minutes after the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump, McConnell said in a letter to his GOP colleagues that he’s not determined whether Trump should be convicted in the Senate's upcoming proceedings. The House impeachment articles charge that Trump incited insurrection by exhorting supporters who violently attacked the Capitol last week, resulting in five deaths and a disruption of Congress.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote.
McConnell's openness was a stark contrast to the support, or at times silence, he’s shown during much of Trump’s presidency, and to the opposition he expressed rapidly when the House impeached Trump 13 months ago.
Trump Issues Statement Urging 'No Violence' and 'No Vandalism of Any Kind'
President Donald Trump has issued a statement saying he opposes violence and calling on all Americans to "help ease tensions and calm tempers" as members debate impeaching him for his role in fomenting the violent insurrection at the Capitol last week.
"In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You."
Trump's message was read Wednesday by GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Rep. Newhouse Becomes 6th House Republican to Support Impeachment
Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington became the sixth House Republican to announce that he plans to vote for Trump’s impeachment.
He said Tuesday on the House floor that the article of impeachment is flawed, but he will not use process as an excuse to vote no.
"The president took an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it. That's why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment," Newhouse said, to cheers from Democrats in the chamber.
McCarthy Says Trump 'Bears Responsibility' for Riot, But Impeachment a 'Mistake'
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., says President Trump is to blame for last Wednesday's attack on the Capitol, but cautioned against impeachment saying it would be a mistake.
"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding," McCarthy said in remarks on the House floor.
He called on national unity, saying "a vote to impeach will further divide the nation. A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division.”
The California lawmaker is calling instead for a fact-finding commission and censure resolution.
McConnell Rejects Emergency Session for Senate Trial
If the House impeaches President Donald Trump, a Senate trial on whether to convict him of inciting insurrection seems all but certain to have to wait until President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
That’s the word from a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The spokesman says aides to the Kentucky Republican have told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's staff that McConnell won’t agree to invoke powers calling senators into emergency session.
That means the Senate almost certainly won’t meet again until Jan. 19. That's the day before Biden’s inauguration.
Rep. Jordan Says Democrats Are Trying to 'Cancel the President'
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio bemoaned the impeachment of President Donald Trump, accusing Democrats of trying to “cancel the President."
“It's always been about getting the President no matter what. It's an obsession, an obsession that is now broadened,” said Jordan, one of Trump's most vocal defenders. “Stop and think about it. Do you have a functioning First Amendment when the cancel culture only allows one side to talk? When you can't even have a debate in this country?”
He warned that the cancel culture will eventually “come for us all.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., later responded: “The cancel culture of violent white supremacy tried to cancel out all of our lives last Wednesday."
Raskin has been appointed the leader of the nine House Democrats who would prosecute Trump during his expected Senate impeachment trial.
Pelosi Opens House Debate on Impeachment of Trump: 'He Must Go'
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump represents a “clear and present danger” to the nation and must be impeached.
Pelosi says in a House speech that members of Congress and the country as a whole “experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people″ in the presidential election.
She says "we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.″
Pelosi says Trump has “repeatedly lied” about the outcome of the election that he lost to Democrat Joe Biden and Trump has “sowed self-serving doubt about democracy and unconstitutionally sought to influence state officials to repeat this armed rebellion against our country.″
Armed National Guard Troops Protect Congress During Trump Impeachment Debate at US Capitol
The District of Columbia National Guard says it has been authorized to arm troops assigned to security duty on the U.S. Capitol grounds.
The Guard said in a statement that the authority was requested by federal authorities and approved by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy as of approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Up to 15,000 Guard members are expected to be on duty in coming days in the district to support law enforcement in connection with the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Authorities are concerned about threats of violence, following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.
Rep. Jim McGovern Says Debate is Taking Place in 'Actual Crime Scene'
Democratic lawmakers opened the impeachment effort by saying that every moment Donald Trump is in the White House the nation is in danger.
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the debate is taking place at an “actual crime scene and we wouldn’t be here if it were not for the president of the United States.”
McGovern said it was Trump and his allies who were stoking the anger of the violent mob. He said Trump told the crowd to march to the Capitol and “the signal was unmistakable.”
Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said Jan. 6th would live in his memory as the darkest day of his service in the House. But Cole pushed back on the impeachment effort, saying the Senate could not even begin to consider impeachment until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
He said he could think of no action the House could take that would further divide the American people, saying “it’s unfortunate that a path to support healing is not the path the majority has chosen today.”
Hoyer Says House Plans to Send Impeachment to Senate Immediately
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told NBC News that he plans to send over the article of impeachment to the Senate immediately once it is passed.
He did not specify if immediately meant later Wednesday or another day. The House is set to vote on the article late Wednesday and it is expected to pass.
There had been some debate among Democratic leadership about when the article would be sent to the Senate, with some suggesting waiting until after Biden's first 100 days to ease his transition. Hoyer told NBC News that is no longer being discussed.
House Moves to Impeach Trump for 2nd Time: What to Watch
President Donald Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday. It's a stunning end for Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob that ransacked the Capitol.
In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full House. That’s what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.
This time, with so few days to act — and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened, since most members of Congress heard Trump speak to his supporters and were in the Capitol when the mob broke in — impeachment is going straight to the House floor for a vote, which would come as soon as Wednesday.
Once the House passes the articles, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can decide when she sends them to the Senate. Under the current schedule, the Senate is not set to resume full sessions until Jan. 19, which is the day before Biden's inauguration.
Some Democrats suggested Pelosi might wait to send the articles and allow Biden to begin his term without impeachment hanging over him. But many other Democrats have urged Pelosi to move immediately.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who will be in charge once Biden is sworn in, suggested in a letter to colleagues Tuesday the chamber might divide its time between confirming Biden's nominees, approving COVID relief and conducting the trial.
If the trial isn't held until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.
Republican Impeachment Support Grows
Unlike the last time Trump was impeached, when no House Republicans supported charges against Trump over a call he made to Ukraine's new president, the current impeachment effort has drawn support from some Republicans.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Trump because "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Cheney said Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.”
New York Rep. John Katko was the first Republican to say he’d vote to impeach. A former federal prosecutor, he said he did not make the decision lightly.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy," Katko said. “I cannot sit by without taking action.”
Also saying they would vote for impeachment were Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington. Other Republicans seem likely to follow.
Acting AG Rosen Addresses Capitol Riot Response, Future Security Threats
NJ Rep. Sherrill: Lawmakers Held ‘Reconnaissance' Tours Day Before Pro-Trump Rioters Attacked
Ahead of New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill's vote on Tuesday calling on Vice President Mike Pence to activate the 25th Amendment, the Democratic claimed she witnessed lawmakers giving "reconnaissance" tours just a day before last week's attack on Capitol Hill that left five people dead, NBC New York reports.
Vowing to not only impeach the president and making sure he never runs for office again or receives access to classified materials, Sherrill said in a Facebook Live video she also intends to take action against members of congress who she saw taking groups through the Capitol on Jan. 5. She described it as "a reconnaissance for the next day."
The congresswoman didn't name any colleagues who were allegedly involved.
"Those members of congress who incited this violent crowd, those members of congress that attempted to help our president undermine our democracy. I am going to see that they are held accountable and if necessary ensure they don’t serve in congress," she said.
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Fifth GOP House Member Backs Impeachment
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wa., tweeted late Tuesday that she believes President Trump acted against his oath of office and that she will vote Wednesday to impeach him — making her the fifth Republican to sign on to the Democratic effort to remove the president from office before his term ends.