The House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday. The action, which could begin as soon as Monday, comes amid growing talk in Washington to try to force the president from office early in the aftermath of the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol last week.
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Trump Issues Emergency Declaration for Inaugural
President Donald Trump is issuing an emergency declaration for the nation’s capital amid growing concern among local and federal authorities about violence in the leadup to and during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
The declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with local authorities as needed.
The declaration from Trump comes five days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol as Congress began formally counting the Electoral College votes to certify his defeat to Biden. Five people died.
Trump has spent months complaining that he was cheated out of an election victory by widespread voter fraud, which election officials say does not exist.
Earlier Monday, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan urged people to stay away from inaugural events because of “last week’s violent insurrection as well as the ongoing and deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”
Trump’s emergency declaration is in effect from Monday through Jan. 24.
Trump, Pence Speak for First Time Since Attack
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have spoken for the first time since last week's Capitol insurrection, during which Pence was forced to flee the Senate chamber and retreat to a secure location.
A senior administration official says the two met Monday evening in the Oval Office.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting, said the two had a “good conversation,” discussing the week ahead and “reflecting” on the administration’s accomplishments over the last four years.
The official said that during the meeting, both men agreed that “those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol last week do not represent the America first movement backed by 75 million Americans” and pledged to continue working on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term.
The person did not mention Trump’s lingering anger over Pence’s refusal to go along with his unconstitutional scheme to try to overturn the results of the November election that he lost. Nor did the person mention whether Pence confronted Trump for using him as a scapegoat and tweeting that he lacked courage while the siege was underway.
Two Capitol Police Officers Suspended Over Riot Selfie, MAGA Hat
Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio says two U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended as a result of their actions during last week's attack on the Capitol.
Ryan told reporters on Monday that one of the officers took a selfie with someone and the second officer put on a "Make America Great Again" hat. He says of the latter that the “interim chief determined that to be qualifying for immediate suspension.”
Thousands of pro-Donald Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee and hide. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
The congressman says Capitol Police are looking at everybody involved that could have potentially facilitated the incursion “at a big level or small level in any way.”
Ryan says they don't want an officer working on President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration "who was not doing the job on the Jan. 6th event.”
In a statement, Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman later said "several" officers had been suspended.
Ryan serves as chair of a House subcommittee that oversees funding for Capitol Police.
Facebook Bans All 'Stop the Steal' Content
Facebook said Monday that it will begin removing any content containing the phrase “stop the steal” from its platforms, an expansion of its efforts to limit the spread of election misinformation.
The announcement comes two months after the company removed the original group of the same name that fueled voter fraud misinformation after the election.
The move is part of the company’s protective efforts against violence and misinformation in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential inauguration following last week’s events on Capitol Hill, Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity, and Monika Bickert, vice president of global policy management, wrote in a company blog post.
“We began preparing for Inauguration Day last year. But our planning took on new urgency after last week’s violence in Washington, D.C., and we are treating the next two weeks as a major civic event,” they wrote.
Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf Resigning
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is stepping down from his post, days after criticizing President Donald Trump over the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Wolf said in a message to staff Monday that he would step down at 11:59 p.m. Monday, even though he had earlier said he planned to remain in his job. He said Pete Gaynor, who ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would become the acting homeland security secretary.
The resignation comes a day before Trump is set to visit the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Last week, Wolf asked Trump and all elected officials to “strongly condemn the violence” that took place at the Capitol. Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Wolf said he has condemned violence on both sides of the political aisle, specifically directed at law enforcement. He tweeted “we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends” and called that unacceptable.
Homeland Security Boosting Inauguration Security
The Department of Homeland Security is setting increased inauguration security measures in motion earlier than scheduled, citing an “evolving security landscape” leading up to the event.
Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Monday that he’s moved up the timing of the national special security event for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to Wednesday, instead of Jan. 19. He cited the “events of the past week,” along with an evolving security landscape.
It comes days after thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the congressional certification of Biden’s victory. Five people died.
The FBI has also issued a bulletin warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.
Wall Street, Businesses Distance Themselves From Trump and GOP After Riots
A growing number of Wall Street banks and businesses have cut off ties with President Donald Trump’s campaign and financial arms, as well as the broader Republican Party, following last week’s riots and insurrection at the United States Capitol.
The financial technology company Stripe has cut off the Trump campaign from its payment processing services, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The move would cut off Trump’s fundraising arm from what has been a steady stream of small-dollar donations that are often solicited through emails and text messages.
American Express and JPMorgan Chase have said they would no longer donate to candidates who supported last week's insurrection or did not vote to confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College. Goldman Sachs is also holding back on political donations, a source at the firm familiar with the matter said who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Citigroup confirmed Sunday that it is pausing all federal political donations for the first three months of the year.
Corporations including Marriott International and Blue Cross Blue Shield have also said they would stop giving money to Republican lawmakers who backed efforts to disrupt the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Trump.
Parler Sues Amazon in Effort to Restore Web Services
The far-right friendly social media platform Parler has filed a lawsuit against Amazon Web Services alleging its suspension from the company's hosting services violated anti-trust laws and breached their contractual agreement.
Amazon booted Parler off its web hosting service just after midnight Pacific time early Monday.
“AWS decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus” and “designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter,” Parler said in the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
The company asks the court for an emergency order to prevent Amazon from removing Parler from its servers saying it “will kill Parler’s business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket."
However, even if the court were to reverse Amazon's decision, it's hard to imagine Parler gaining mainstream success without a smartphone app. Google and Apple removed it from their app stores.
Capitol Police Officer Hailed as a Hero for Diverting Mob Away From Senate Chamber
Washington Monument Temporarily Shut Due to 'Credible Threats' to Disrupt Biden Inauguration
The National Park Service is shutting down public access to the Washington Monument until Jan. 24, citing threats surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The agency said Monday that it was implementing the temporary closure “in response to credible threats to visitors and park resources.”
Park officials say that groups involved in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol are continuing to “threaten to disrupt” Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. As a result, officials are shutting down tours at the Washington Monument beginning Monday, running through Jan. 24.
They say they may also institute some temporary closures to roads, parking areas and restrooms on the National Mall and could extend the closures “if the conditions persist.”
Republicans Object to House Dems' Resolution Calling on Pence to Invoke 25th Amendment
A House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove President Donald Trump from office has been blocked by Republicans.
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., blocked Democrats from passing by unanimous consent a resolution aimed at pressuring Pence and the Cabinet to oust Trump, saying he is unfit for office after encouraging a protest march that turned into a mob that ransacked the U.S. Capitol in a deadly siege.
With just days left in Trump’s presidency, the House also is preparing to impeach Trump this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying first to put pressure on Republicans to tell Trump it’s time to go.
Trump would face a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — over the riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a draft of the articles obtained by The Associated Press and NBC News.
NY State Bar Association Moves to Revoke Rudy Giuliani's Membership
Rudy Giuliani is facing possible expulsion from the New York State Bar Association over incendiary remarks he made to President Donald Trump’s supporters last week before they violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The bar association said it has received hundreds of complaints about Giuliani’s work to perpetuate Trump’s baseless voter fraud claims, which culminated in fiery remarks last Wednesday in Washington as Congress met to count Biden’s Electoral College win.
The organization said Monday that it has opened an inquiry into whether Giuliani should remain a member. Its bylaws state that “no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States” shall remain a member.
The bar association said in a statement that Giuliani’s words “quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands.” It called the violence at the Capitol, “nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power.”
“We cannot stand idly by and allow those intent on rending the fabric of our democracy to go unchecked,” the organization said in a statement.
Removal from the bar association, a voluntary membership organization dating to 1876, is not the same as being disbarred and banned from practicing law. That can only be done by the courts. The bar association said Giuliani will be afforded due process and be given a chance to explain and defend his words and actions.
Parler CEO Says App Will Be Offline ‘Longer Than Expected' Because of Amazon, Apple and Google
Parler, a social media app popular with conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump, has gone offline after Amazon withdrew its support in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol riot last week.
The app was reliant on cloud computing power provided by Amazon Web Services.
AWS told Parler on Saturday that it will no longer provide cloud services to the company beginning on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. PT, according to an email obtained by CNBC. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter to CNBC, but declined to comment further.
John Matze, the founder and CEO, said in a statement on Monday that the Parler app will be down "longer than expected" because other cloud hosting companies do not want to work with Parler in light of the press statements issued by Amazon, Google and Apple.
"We will likely be down longer than expected," wrote Matze. "This is not due to software restrictions — we have our software and everyone's data ready to go. Rather it's that Amazon's, Google's and Apple's statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well."
First Lady Melania Trump Says She's 'Disappointed and Disheartened' by Riot
In her first statement since pro-Trump supporters sieged the U.S. Capitol, first lady Melania Trump condemned the violence and called for "healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation."
The written statement posted to the White House website and shared on her Twitter account Monday morning said that her heart goes out to the six people who have died since the attack, including two Capitol police officers.
"I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week. I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me — from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda," she said. "This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain."
The first lady said that "I absolutely condemn the violence" that unfolded at the Capitol and said that she implores people to "never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness."
Dozens Arrested for Capitol Riot After Feds Find Guns, Violent Threats and Molotov Cocktails
Authorities have made a series of arrests following the riots at the U.S. Capitol, NBC Washington reports. The U.S. Department of Justice announced several cases over the weekend with some deeply disturbing allegations.
Authorities say they have charged several rioters who were allegedly captured in photos and videos that went viral in the aftermath, including an Arizona man seen in a horned hat and carrying a spear and a Florida man accused of carrying through the Capitol a lectern that reportedly is used by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The most recent arrests include the man dubbed "zip tie guy," who brought zip ties typically used by law enforcement to the Capitol. He was identified as Eric Munchel of Tennessee and arrested Sunday.
Another man, Larry Brock of Texas, was allegedly identified Sunday "as one of the individuals who unlawfully entered the U.S. Capitol...holding a white flex cuff, which is used by law enforcement to restrain and/or detain subjects," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The FBI asserted that Brock's ex-wife tipped them off to his involvement.
Alabama resident Lonnie Coffman is also facing charges. U.S. Capitol Police officers saw the handle of what appeared to be a firearm in a pickup truck registered to Coffman, police said. Members of the Capitol police bomb squad searched the truck and found 11 Molotov cocktails and a cache of firearms, including an automatic weapon.
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DC Mayor Asks Feds to Cancel Demonstration Permits, Plan Inauguration Security
The mayor of Washington, D.C., asked federal officials to cancel permits for demonstrations and plan to protect federal property around Inauguration Day “given the new threats from insurgent acts of domestic terrorists," NBC Washington reports.
Mayor Muriel Bowser asked Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to cancel public gathering permits for the next two weeks, from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24. The request is “essential to demonstrating our collective resolve in ensuring the constitutional transfer of power and our nation’s capital,” Bowser wrote in a letter Saturday, days after a stunning riot inside the U.S. Capitol Building.
Additionally, the mayor asked federal officials to extend the “national special security event” period from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24, instead of its current Jan. 19 to Jan. 21. The extension will allow local and federal officials to better prepare for Inauguration Day, she wrote. D.C. urged DHS to get permission from Congress to include the Capitol and its grounds in the security perimeter.
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FBI, NYPD Told Capitol Police About Possibility of Violence Before Riot, Senior Officials Say
The FBI and the New York City Police Department passed information to U.S. Capitol Police about the possibility of violence during the protests Wednesday against the counting of the Electoral College vote, and the FBI even visited more than a dozen extremists already under investigation to urge them not to travel to Washington, senior law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The previously unreported details undercut the assertion by a top FBI official that officials had no indication that violence was a possibility, and they add to questions about what intelligence authorities had reviewed before the Capitol riot, which led to the death of an officer and four other people, including a rioter who was shot and killed by police.
"Social media is just part of a full intelligence picture, and while there was First Amendment-protected activity on social media to include some people making threats, to this point, investigators have not found that there was an organized plot to access the Capitol," a senior FBI official said.
As evidence mounts that some extremists had told the world what they had in mind through social media, questions are emerging about whether the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies took the postings seriously enough — and why, if they did, they didn't step in until well after the building was under attack.
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Clyburn Says Trump Impeachment Trial Could Be Delayed Until After Biden's First 100 Days
House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said Sunday that the House could take up articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump early this week but that it may delay sending them to the Senate until after President-elect Joe Biden's first 100 days in office, NBC News reports.
Any Senate trial could slow Biden's ability to pass Covid-19 relief legislation and have his Cabinet officials confirmed. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a memo obtained by NBC News that the soonest the Senate could receive the articles of impeachment would be Jan. 19, the eve of Biden's inauguration, unless a unanimous consent agreement from all 100 senators is passed.
"Yes, I do have concerns," Clyburn said on CNN's "State of the Union" when asked about whether impeachment could slow Biden's agenda. "And so does Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi."
He added: "Let's give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we will send the articles some time after that."
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