The House is poised to impeach President Trump for a second time when it meets Wednesday to consider an article charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s takeover of the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob. At least several Republicans plan to join the effort.
Trump has remained unapologetic and has warned that his impeachment could lead to more violence. President-elect Joe Biden has announced no public events Wednesday. The Secret Service is launching an unprecedented security mobilization ahead of next week’s inauguration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to signal he is open to impeaching Trump has dramatically shifted the endgame for the Twitterless man on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The turnabout of McConnell (R-Ky.) — he was reported by the New York Times to be pleased with the idea of impeaching the president after Trump incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol and Republicans lost the Senate majority — has changed the GOP calculus as the House is likely to vote Wednesday to impeach the president for the second time.
According to Senate Republican aides, White House staffers and GOP strategists, the majority leader’s move means it’s no longer out of the realm of possibility that the Senate could vote to convict the president, even as Joe Biden is slated to be sworn in a week from now.
Signaling his intent to re-galvanize U.S. foreign assistance, Biden on Wednesday announced former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power as his nominee to head the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Biden also said he would elevate the position to become a member of the National Security Council, underscoring the increased clout he plans to give Power.
“Samantha Power is a world-renowned voice of conscience and moral clarity — challenging and rallying the international community to stand up for the dignity and humanity of all people,” Biden said in a statement. “As USAID Administrator, Ambassador Power will be a powerful force for lifting up the vulnerable, ushering in a new era of human progress and development, and advancing American interests globally.”
Under Trump’s “America First” vision, the agency Power is nominated to lead endured budget cuts and a loss of personnel as the administration pressed other countries to take on responsibilities that had been borne by the United States.
Power served in the Obama administration Cabinet from 2013 to 2017 as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Before that, she served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights.
Neither Trump nor Biden has advertised any public events on Wednesday as the House convenes in Washington to impeach the president for a second time.
The White House staff issued the same guidance for how Trump plans to spend his day as it has for many days running now: “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.”
Biden’s office said he plans to receive an intelligence briefing and meet with transition advisers.
Biden also stayed out of public view on Tuesday, as Trump traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border and falsely claimed that his administration has “completed the wall” — a reference to his long-promised border wall.
“It’s been tremendously successful, far beyond what anyone thought,” Trump claimed of the project he had said would be paid for by Mexico. Instead, U.S. taxpayers picked up the tab.
YouTube suspended Trump from uploading new videos to his official account for at least a week, joining fellow social media giants Twitter and Facebook in shutting the president out of his account because of concerns that his posts will incite violence.
YouTube — the last of the major social media networks to suspend Trump after the attack on the U.S. Capitol — said it removed new content uploaded to the president’s account for violating its policies and “in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence.”
The video-streaming service owned by Google will not allow Trump to add new videos for a minimum of seven days, it said in a Twitter post late Tuesday. It will also disable comments on his channel indefinitely.
Acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen addressed last week’s riot at the Capitol on video for the first time early Wednesday, vowing in a recorded message to hold rioters accountable and to show “no tolerance” for those who threaten to violently disrupt Biden’s inauguration.
Rosen and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray have faced significant criticism for being absent from the Justice Department’s public response to the riot. Although the Justice Department has held briefings on people arrested and charged, those events have been led by the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Rosen’s message is not likely to dampen the criticism, especially given the hour of his video’s release, just after midnight. The top U.S. law enforcement official also did not go beyond what lower-level officials already have said publicly about the riot or threats surrounding the upcoming inauguration.
Rosen said that more than 500 law enforcement officers and agents from the FBI, Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives went to the Capitol to respond to the riot, and that he spoke with those on-site and coordinated with other government agencies.
So far, he said, more than 70 people have been charged criminally, more than 170 investigations have been opened, and agents were combing through more than 100,000 digital tips.
“The storming of the Capitol was an intolerable, shocking and tragic episode in our nation’s history,” Rosen said.
Rosen said the Justice Department was aware of planned protests surrounding the upcoming inauguration and would respect demonstrators’ right to peacefully assemble.
“But I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence or other criminal conduct: We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power on January 20 that our Constitution calls for,” Rosen said. “We will spare no resources in protecting public safety in the coming days,” he added.
As rioters pounded on doors and smashed through glass windows last week at the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) worried that her own colleagues in Congress might divulge her location to the mob outside, she said, putting her at risk for kidnapping or worse.
In the midst of the chaos, the lawmaker revealed Tuesday night, she also experienced “a pretty traumatizing event” that left her fearing for her life.
“I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die,” she said, noting that she couldn’t get into specifics for security reasons. “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive.”
Pentagon leaders must balance an array of threats on state capitols nationwide against the potential for renewed extremist violence in Washington, D.C., as they consider security plans ahead of Biden’s inauguration, senior officials said Tuesday.
Intelligence suggesting the potential for armed riots or attacks on state governments across the country came into focus as the Defense Department scrambled to ensure an adequate plan for providing National Guard aid for the Jan. 20 inauguration and avoid a repeat of last week’s attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Neighboring states may need to reserve National Guard members to protect their own facilities and personnel, possibly limiting the ability of the Defense Department, which oversees the D.C. National Guard, to call on them for additional help.
The Secret Service and federal law enforcement agencies are spending the final days of the Trump administration bracing for a possible violent assault against the Jan. 20 inauguration and launching a security mobilization that will be unlike any in modern U.S. history.
On Wednesday, the Secret Service will take command of security preparations at the U.S. Capitol and other federal buildings, backed by as many as 15,000 National Guard troops, thousands of police and tactical officers and layers of eight-foot steel fencing.
The high-alert security posture is starting six days earlier than planned to coordinate roles for the FBI, National Guard, U.S. Marshals Service and a host of other federal agencies that will fall under Secret Service command.
Weeks before a mob of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, right-wing activist Ali Alexander told his followers that he was planning something big for Jan. 6.
Alexander, who organized the “Stop the Steal” movement, said he hatched the plan — coinciding with Congress’s vote to certify the electoral college votes — alongside three GOP lawmakers: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), all hard-line Trump supporters.
“We four schemed up of putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting,” Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope highlighted by the Project on Government Oversight, an investigative nonprofit. The plan, he said, was to “change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside.”
In November — as Trump began his efforts to overturn the election he had lost — his longtime friend Tom Barrack called him with advice: Stop, for the sake of your business.
The Trump Organization was already struggling, hurt by political backlash and coronavirus-related closures and facing huge unpaid loans. Barrack told Trump that he could help that business — as well as his aides, and the country itself — by ensuring a peaceful transition, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
An “elegant” exit, Barrack said, could preclude what could be a painful future: millions of dollars in legal costs, rampant investigations and more boycotts of his businesses.
Trump did not follow Barrack’s advice.
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