The Latest: Pence rules out invoking 25th Amendment on Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the fallout from the attack of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump loyalists (all times local):
Vice President Mike Pence is ruling out invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power, less than a week after the president fomented the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
In a letter late Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said the mechanism should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation. Pelosi has called on Pence to secure the majority of the Cabinet and vote to declare Trump unfit to serve.
As the House appears on the cusp of a bipartisan impeachment of Trump, Pence encouraged Congress to avoid actions to “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment” and to focus on smoothing the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Pelosi has said if Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him. Already, at least three Republicans have said they would vote for that.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE FALLOUT FROM THE RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL:
The U.S. House pressed swiftly forward Tuesday toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove President Donald Trump from office, even as Trump blamed Democratic foes and not himself for last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol.
— House races to oust Trump; he blames accusers for nation’s anger
— Trump takes no responsibility for riot, visits Texas
— US prosecutors weighing sedition charges in Capitol riot
— Analysis: Trump abdicating in the job he fought to keep
— FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week
— EXPLAINER: Who’s been charged in the deadly Capitol siege?
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger has become the third Republican member of Congress to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Kinzinger said in a statement Tuesday that Trump is responsible for whipping up “an angry mob” that stormed the Capitol last week, leaving five dead. He says “there is no doubt in my mind” that Trump “broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”
The House is set to start impeachment proceedings against Trump on Wednesday.
The president faces a single impeachment charge, incitement to insurrection, for his actions surrounding the mob attack on the Capitol, the worst domestic assault on the building in the nation’s history.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, and Republican Rep. John Katko of New York said earlier Tuesday that they would vote to impeach Trump.
The man photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during last week’s Capitol insurrection has made his initial federal court appearance in Arkansas.
Sixty-year-old Richard Barnett, of Gravette, Arkansas, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin Wiedemann in Fayetteville on Tuesday to hear the charges against him. Among them is a charge that he unlawfully entered a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun.
Barnett also is charged with disorderly conduct and theft of public property. If convicted on all charges, including the new lethal weapon count, he could be sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison.
Barnett’s attorney, Anthony Siano, conceded the validity of the warrant against him. Siano offered no further comment.
Barnett will remain in federal custody at the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville until a virtual detention hearing Friday, when a judge will decide whether to grant him bond.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
The Wyoming congresswoman, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said in a statement Tuesday that Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” She says, “Everything that followed was his doing.”
She also notes that Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters, but he did not.
Cheney says, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Cheney is a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Trump himself has taken no responsibility for his role in inciting the attackers.
New York Rep. John Katko was the first Republican to say he’d vote to impeach Trump.
Rep. John Katko is the first Republican to say he’ll vote to impeach President Donald Trump following the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
The New York congressman said in a statement posted to Twitter late Tuesday: “I will vote to impeach this president.”
Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said he did not make the decision lightly.
He said, “To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy.” He says, “I cannot sit by without taking action.”
The House is set to start impeachment proceedings against Trump on Wednesday.
The president faces a single impeachment charge, “incitement to insurrection,” for his actions ahead of the mob attack on the Capitol, the worst domestic assault on the building in the nation’s history.
A Florida firefighter who was photographed inside the Capitol during a riot by loyalists of President Donald Trump has been charged with disorderly conduct.
A charge of disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds was filed Tuesday in the District of Columbia against Andrew Williams.
Williams has been a firefighter with the Sanford Fire Department since 2016. He was placed on administrative leave from the fire agency last week pending an internal investigation. Sanford is located about 25 miles outside Orlando.
Fire department spokesperson Bianca Gillett said Tuesday that the agency was made aware of the arrest and that an update on his status with the fire department was expected later.
Vincent Citro, an attorney for Williams, didn’t respond to an email inquiry.
The heads of five House committees say they have “grave concerns about ongoing and violent threats” after a briefing from FBI officials about the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The lawmakers, all Democrats, said Tuesday that “it is clear that more must be done to preempt, penetrate, and prevent deadly and seditious assaults by domestic violent extremists in the days ahead.” They did not share specific details from the briefing.
They say the FBI confirmed to them that they will prosecute “every individual associated with this act,” including anyone who entered restricted areas outside the Capitol and those who made it inside.
The statement came from House Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith and Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, a member of the Oversight panel.
The military’s top leaders have issued a memo to forces decrying last week’s Capitol Hill violence and reminding service members that freedom of speech does not give anyone the right to resort to violence.
Tuesday’s memo was signed by all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It also reminded military members that Joe Biden was duly elected and will be sworn in as the next president on Jan. 20.
The memo said, “Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.”
The memo made no direct mention of military members having participated in last week’s insurrection.
House lawmakers will now be required to go through a metal detector security screening before being allowed to enter the chamber.
The new safety protocol announced Tuesday from the acting sergeant-at-arms comes less than a week after a mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the White House. Five people died.
The acting sergeant-at-arms, Timothy P. Blodgett, wrote to House staff: “Effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required undergo security screening when entering the House Chamber.”
Previously, members of Congress had almost free roam at the Capitol, able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the building.
At the House chamber, there have been Capitol Police officers and civilian door monitors but no screening stations.
Blodgett also told lawmakers that they must wear masks during the COVID-19 crisis and that they face removal from the chamber if they fail to do so.
Top House Republicans are telling rank-and-file lawmakers they won’t be pressuring them to vote a particular way when the chamber considers impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time.
That word comes as GOP divisions emerge over Democrats’ plan for a House vote Wednesday. It underscores that GOP leaders would likely have little clout anyway to force lawmakers’ hands on what may be a career-defining vote as the party decides where it stands in the post-Trump era.
Most Republicans seem ready to vote against impeachment, but some, perhaps around 10, are expected to approve the move. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposes impeachment.
Two GOP leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday to describe a private conference call, confirmed the decision to not “whip” the impeachment vote.
The article of impeachment accuses Trump of incitement of insurrection for goading a crowd of his supporters to surge to the Capitol last Wednesday as Congress was affirming Trump’s election defeat by Democrat Joe Biden. Five people died as the mob sieged the building.
Democrats have a 222-211 House majority, and the chamber seems certain to vote to impeach. There are two vacancies.
— By AP writer Alan Fram
The FBI says it notified other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Capitol Police, the day before the riot at the Capitol about an online message about a “war” and storming the U.S. Capitol.
The FBI said Tuesday that the warning was issued through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the U.S. Capitol Police have members on the task force.
The Washington Post said the bulletin described that people had been sharing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels and discussed rallying points to meet up to travel to Washington. The newspaper reported that the document detailed posts calling for violence, including that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled.”
BLM stands for Black Lives Matter. Pantifa is a derogatory term for antifa, far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations and other events.
Federal prosecutors are looking at bringing “significant” cases involving possible sedition and conspiracy charges in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
That’s according to acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, who provided an update on criminal charges at a Justice Department news conference on Tuesday.
He says that some of the misdemeanor charges brought against the people who sieged the Capitol were intended as placeholder counts and that more serious charges including sedition are possible. He says the Justice Department has created a specialized task force that will look at everything from travel to movement of the individuals.
President Donald Trump says “be careful of what you wish for” as House lawmakers consider a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unable to serve.
Pence is not expected to take any such action, regardless of the vote.
Trump said Tuesday as he visited the southern border wall: “The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.” He added, “As the expression goes, be careful of what you wish for.”
After voting on the resolution, the House will proceed with legislation to impeach Trump. The president says the effort is causing “tremendous, anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time.”
Trump has also addressed last week’s riot at the Capitol. He says, “We believe in the rule of law, not in violence or rioting.”
President Donald Trump is at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas trumpeting one of the pillars of his presidency: his campaign against illegal immigration and building a wall along the southern border.
It’s Trump’s first time appearing in public since a violent mob of his supporters sieged the nation’s Capitol last week in an effort to halt the peaceful transition of power.
Trump said Tuesday in Alamo that the wall has been crucial for securing the border.
He says he’s put an end to “immigration chaos,” despite the chaos his administration created with its child separation policy and attempted travel bans.
Before he spoke, Trump used a Sharpie to once again sign his autograph on a plaque on the wall.
Vice President Mike Pence has told governors on a call about the coronavirus that “our time” is coming to an end and a “new administration” is taking over.
Pence said Tuesday that the administration is in the middle of the transition and is working “diligently” with President-elect Joe Biden’s team. He thanked the governors for their leadership on the coronavirus and promised them a “seamless transition.”
He says the objective “is that there is no interruption in our continuous efforts to put the health of the American people first.”
Pence’s comments come as the U.S. House moves forward toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove Trump from office after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week to stop Congress from affirming Biden’s victory. Trump has falsely claimed widespread voter fraud cost him the election.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the FBI had warned that extremists were preparing to come to Washington, attack Congress and engage in “war.”
The report says the warning was issued internally by the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, a day before the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The warning directly contradicts statements from the Justice Department and FBI officials that they had no intelligence to suggest a storming of the Capitol.
The Post says the memo described how people had been sharing maps of the Capitol’s tunnels and discussing rallying points to meet up to travel to Washington. The newspaper reported that the document detailed posts calling for violence, including that “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Antifa slave soldiers being spilled.”
It also said to “go there ready for war.”
The Associated Press has not obtained the document. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the violence at the Capitol shows the need for the Senate to swiftly confirm Joe Biden’s national security team on the first day of his administration.
Schumer said in a letter to colleagues that the deadly Capitol riot by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump last week was “one of the darkest days in all of American history.”
He said Biden will need “key national security positions on Day One.”
The Senate often confirms some nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, but this year the Senate will also likely be convening Trump’s impeachment trial. The House is set to impeach Trump this week on a sole charge of inciting insurrection in the violent riot.
Schumer wants the chamber to swiftly take up those nominees for secretary of defense, secretary of homeland security, secretary of state, attorney general, and others.
Schumer outlined the party’s agenda, vowing to push ahead on Democratic priorities.
A total of 15,000 National Guard members have now been activated and will deploy to Washington, D.C., to help provide security in the run up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The number of Guard members coming in from other states has been growing, amid escalating fears of more violent protests in the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The Army also said Tuesday that officials are working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado had asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to have the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command screen Guard members coming in to ensure they were not “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
The Army said some members may be subject to additional background screening. Traditionally, those who get within close proximity to the president — or in this case the president-elect — are checked more closely. So far, officials said they have not yet identified any Guard members who participated in the protests.
The Army said the D.C. National Guard is also giving troops additional training as they arrive in the city, so they know to identify and report any extremist behavior to their commanders.
The Army also said it is working with the FBI to identify people who participated in Capitol attack, adding, “any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the FBI to add anyone identified breaching the Capitol during last week’s violent riot to the federal no-fly list.
Schumer sent a letter Tuesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the attack on the Capitol as Congress was voting to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win was “domestic terrorism.” He said those who stormed the Capitol should qualify as “insurrectionists for the No-Fly List.”
Schumer told Wray that they must also be fully prosecuted to the full extent of federal law. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.
The federal no-fly list is part of the U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database and prohibits anyone who “may pose a threat to civil aviation or national security” from boarding a commercial aircraft. Generally, in order to be placed on the list, the government must have information that the person presents “a threat of committing terrorism” to the aircraft or the U.S. homeland or U.S. facilities.
The no-fly list is one of the government’s most controversial post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism programs.
President Donald Trump is taking no responsibility for his role in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three others died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
Speaking to reporters before traveling to Texas on Tuesday, Trump says his remarks to supporters last week were “totally appropriate.”
Minutes before his supporters stormed the Capitol, Trump encouraged them to march on the seat of the nation’s government where lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump, for months, had also spread baseless claims that the November election was fraudulent, despite his own administration’s findings to the contrary.
As rioters were still in the Capitol, Trump released a video seemingly excusing the events, saying of the rioters: “We love you. You’re very special.”
President Donald Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that the prospect of impeachment is causing “tremendous anger” in the nation. But he said he wants “no violence.”
The president spoke as he left for Texas to survey the border wall with Mexico. His remarks were his first to reporters since the Capitol attack.
On impeachment, Trump said it’s “a really terrible thing that they’re doing.” But he said, “We want no violence. Never violence.”