As the House of Representatives attempts to remove President Donald Trump from office after last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol, the president criticized the impeachment effort, calling it "ridiculous."
Trump, who visited the Texas-Mexico border today, defended today the remarks he made to his supporters at a rally before the Jan. 6 riot.
“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, the House is expected to vote tonight on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump. The House is also preparing for a possible vote tomorrow on whether to impeach Trump for a second time.
Vice President Mike Pence informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter late Tuesday that he will not invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence wrote in a letter to a speaker.
Pence praised Pelosi and others for their leadership in the aftermath of last week’s attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, calling it “a moment that documented to the American people that unity is still possible in Congress when it is needed most.”
But Pence said he did not yield then to pressure “to exert power beyond my constitutional duty to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not yield now to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.”
Pence’s letter comes as House Democrats are calling on him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office or they will begin impeachment proceedings against the president. It also came a day after Trump met with Pence for the first time since last week’s violence.
Pence faces criticism from some Republicans – and praise from others – for defying the president’s demand that he reject the results of the election as Congress met last week to count Electoral College votes. Despite Trump’s protestations, Pence noted he had no power to reject the votes and ultimately announced Biden as the winner of the election.
— Michael Collins and John Fritze
A day before they were set to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, Democrats released a 76-page report outlining the case for impeachment and alleging Trump committed a “high Crime and Misdemeanor” by “inciting an insurrection” at the Capitol last week.
“The facts establish that he is unfit to remain in office a single day longer, and warrant the immediate impeachment of President Trump,” Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee concluded.
Democrats argued Trump’s attempts to overturn the election and encouragement of the pro-Trump mob who stormed the Capitol constituted an impeachable offense. The riot last Wednesday left at least five people dead.
The House of Representatives plans to vote on the article of impeachment charging Trump with inciting the riot tomorrow. As the report was sent out, several House Republicans, including third-ranking House Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., announced they would support Trump’s impeachment, all but ensuring a bipartisan impeachment vote.
“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 of Trump’s conduct leading up to and during the riot.
— Nicholas Wu
Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 ranking House Republican, says she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday, a remarkable development displaying the split in the Republican Party after Trump’s role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, said the president was solely to blame for the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week and the deaths that followed. “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 in a statement, declaring: "I will vote to impeach the President."
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing,” she said in the statement. “None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not.”
At least one other House Republican, Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., has said he will back impeaching Trump over last week’s attack. The two House Republicans are thought to be part of a broader coalition debating whether to back the effort, a stark contrast to Trump’s first impeachment battle.
Not a single Republican backed impeaching Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment. Several Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the effort.
— Christal Hayes
Metal detectors were being installed at several entrances to the House chamber on Tuesday, about a week after a Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and freely roamed the chamber where the presidential line of succession had been working.
Timothy Blodgett, the House’s acting Sergent at Arms – the chamber’s top law enforcement official in charge of lawmaker safety – sent a memo to members of Congress about the installation of several magnetometers, a type of metal detector that is commonly used in airports, outside “selected entrances to the Chamber,” Blodgett said.
“To ensure compliance with the Capitol Police Board regulations concerning firearms and incendiary devices, as well as to provide a safe and secure environment in which to conduct legislative business, effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required undergo security screening when entering the House Chamber,” Blodgett wrote.
He added that those who refuse to go through screening, would not be permitted access to the House floor.
In the memo, Blodgett also reminds lawmakers that firearms are not allowed to leave a member’s office and lawmakers are “required to wear masks when entering and while in the chamber.” He adds that those not wearing a face covering, “will not be admitted to the Floor and Members who fail to wear a mask will be removed from the Floor.”
The House is gearing up to vote tonight on a measure that would both call for the vice president to invoke the 25 Amendment and also include fines for lawmakers who do not wear masks.
Three lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 since they were held on Wednesday in a safe room with fellow lawmakers. Many Democrats have blamed their Republican colleagues due to their refusal to wear masks during the hours-long storming of the Capitol.
Metal detectors sit at every entrance to the U.S. Capitol and its surrounding office buildings but were not previously installed directly outside the chamber. Typically, lawmakers are allowed walk around these screenings while staff, press and guests go through the devices. During high-profile news events, metal detectors have been placed near the the House and Senate galleries hanging over the chamber floors.
— Christal Hayes
Most Americans, but not most Republicans, support Twitter’s permanent suspension of President Donald Trump after the deadly U.S. Capitol siege, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll shared exclusively with USA TODAY.
A majority of Americans – 61% – said they agreed with Twitter’s decision to ban Trump over the risk the president would use the platform to incite further violence, while 39% opposed it.
“Americans were outraged by what they saw at the Capitol last week, and they’re looking for leadership from the business community,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, told USA TODAY in a statement. “In the absence of action from political leaders, they see a Twitter ban as a reasonable step – and one that will hopefully prevent future dangerous situations.”
But in a vivid representation of the nation's raw divisions, opinions split along partisan lines, with 36% of Republicans supporting the ban versus 80% of Democrats and 59% of independents.
— Jessica Guynn
President Donald Trump repeatedly refused Tuesday to take any responsibility for last week's violence at the U.S. Capitol, as House members moved to impeach him for inciting a riot by supporters that struck at the heart of democracy.
Before and during a brief immigration speech in South Texas, Trump instead argued that impeachment and calls for his immediate removal from office are divisive, and that his angry comments to supporters before the insurrection at the Capitol were "totally appropriate."
In remarks at Alamo, Texas, near a section of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump spoke only briefly about the attack on the Capitol, saying "we believe in the rule of law" and adding that it is time for the nation "to heal."
The new impeachment drive is "causing tremendous anger and division," Trump said, echoing comments he made earlier in the day. He also said calls to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would come back to haunt incoming President-elect Joe Biden and the Democrats.
"As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for," he said during the 22-minute speech.
– David Jackson
House Reps. Anthony Brown, D-Md., and Debby Dingell, D-Mich., jointly proposed legislation Tuesday that would fine any member of Congress who refuses to wear a mask on Capitol grounds $1,000 for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill is filed less than a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed and ransacked the Capitol, causing members of Congress to be in lockdown in secure locations within the Capitol complex.
While in lockdown, many Democratic lawmakers complained that several Republican colleagues refused to wear personal protective equipment offered.
“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” Dingell said in a press release. “We’re done playing games. Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine. It’s not that complicated.”
Mask-wearing and other preventative measures have become a partisan flashpoint over the course of the pandemic, with some on the right seeing personal and collective public health measures as infringing on their civil liberties. Others, including some members of Congress, have spread conspiracy theories about the virus’ lethality and very existence.
“No Member of Congress should be able to ignore the rules or put others at risk without penalty,” Brown said. “As the people’s representatives it is critical that we set an example for the rest of the country. If Members jeopardize the safety of others, they should face fines.”
— Matthew Brown
The Harvard Kennedy School removed U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., from the Senior Advisory Committee of the school’s Institute of Politics, citing the congresswoman’s false statements about voter fraud in the November presidential election.
Doug Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to committee members. He said he spoke to Stefanik and asked her to step aside but she declined, prompting her removal.
“In my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,” Elmendorf said. “Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen.”
More than 700 members of the Harvard community petitioned for Harvard’s Institute of Politics to ends its ties with Stefanik, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Stefanik, a 2006 graduate of Harvard University, is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention. She’s represented upstate New York’s 21st congressional district since 2015 after she became, at 30 years old, the youngest woman elected to Congress at the time.
In a statement, Stefanik accused Harvard of “bowing to the far left.”
“As a conservative Republican, it is a rite of passage and a badge of honor to join the long line of leaders who have been boycotted, protested and canceled by colleges and universities across America,” she said. “The decision by Harvard’s administration to cower and cave to the woke left will continue to erode diversity of thought, public discourse, and ultimately the student experience.”
She added: “Congratulations Harvard, the entire Board of the Institute of Politics now consists only of Joe Biden voters – how reflective of America.”
Elmendorf said he requested Stefanik’s departure “mindful of her important contributions to the crucial mission of the Institute of Politics over a long period, beginning with her role as a student leader” and later as a mentor for students.
“I know that we are grateful for her long and committed service,” he said.
— Joey Garrison
President Donald Trump criticized the new impeachment drive against him Tuesday, but took no responsibility for last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol.
"It's ridiculous," Trump told reporters as he left the White House en route to an immigration speech in Alamo, Texas.
As he boarded Air Force One, House Democrats – and some Republicans – prepared to impeach him for whipping up supporters on Jan. 6 before they invaded the U.S. Capitol in a violent riot that left multiple people dead.
In his brief comments, Trump said "we want no violence” from supporters, but ignored questions about last week's insurrection.
In later comments at Joint Base Andrews, just before boarding Air Force One, Trump denied responsibility for last week's violence by defending his pre-riot remarks to protesters at a rally near the White House.
“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.
While members of Congress counted Electoral College votes at the Capitol Jan. 6, Trump held a rally in Washington in which he repeated false claims of election fraud.
"We will never give up, we will never concede," Trump told supporters at a campaign-style protest rally near the White House.
"After this, we're going to walk down there, and I'll be there with you, we're going to walk down... to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women," he said.
The article of impeachment against Trump introduced Monday charges Trump with inciting an insurrection by falsely claiming the Nov. 3 election was stolen from him. The article resolution says Trump made statements beforehand that "in context, encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol."
– David Jackson
House Democrats will continue Tuesday with their double-barrel approach to punishing President Donald Trump for the riot Jan. 6 at the Capitol, either by removing him office or barring him from future office.
The House is expected to vote Tuesday evening on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to convene the Cabinet and declare Trump incapable of remaining in office for the final week of his term using the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.
The resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., failed to get unanimous support Monday in the House after Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., objected. The move forced the anticipated vote today when lawmakers return to Washington.
Pence hasn’t said publicly what he thinks of the effort to remove Trump. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested a 24-hour deadline for Pence to act if the resolution is approved.
“The House Republicans rejected this legislation to protect America, enabling the president’s unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue,” Pelosi said in a statement Monday. “Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end.”
The House is also preparing for a possible vote Wednesday on whether to impeach Trump a second time.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., introduced an article of impeachment against Trump Monday, charging him with inciting an insurrection Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol while lawmakers counted Electoral College votes.
"There may well be a vote on impeachment on Wednesday," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
If passed by the Democrat-controlled House, Hoyer said the impeachment article should immediately be sent to the Senate.
Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN his panel would meet Tuesday to determine how the impeachment resolution is brought to the floor. Hoyer told reporters the full House vote could come Wednesday, when the House is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. EST.
Life after Donald Trump::GOP tries to move forward under shadow of deadly Capitol Hill riot
President-elect Joe Biden’s administration begins at noon Jan. 20. Even if the House approves articles of impeachment against Trump, Pelosi could hold onto them until further into Biden’s term, to give him a chance to get legislation for his priorities moving.
Biden has said it is up to Congress to decide whether to impeach Trump, but that he wants to hit the ground running with efforts to curb COVID-19, distribute the vaccines and revive the economy.
“I’ve been clear that President Trump should not be in office. Period," Biden told reporters Monday, after getting his second vaccination.
While a Senate conviction after Jan. 20 would not force a premature ouster, it could prevent Trump – who has said he wants to run in 2024 – from ever being able to hold federal elective office again.
The president, meanwhile, will travel to Texas on Tuesday to highlight the U.S.-Mexico border wall.