Capitol Police Chief Apologizes For Security Failures During The Assault Including A Delay In Calling For Guard Troops
The acting chief of the Capitol Police apologized to Congress on Tuesday for the agency’s extensive security failures on Jan. 6, acknowledging during a closed-door briefing that the department knew there was a “strong potential for violence” but failed to take adequate steps to prevent what she described as a “terrorist attack.”
Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of police, also confirmed that the Capitol Police Board, an obscure panel made up of three voting members, had initially declined a request two days earlier for National Guard troops and then delayed for more than an hour as the violence unfolded on Jan. 6 before finally agreeing to a plea from the Capitol Police for National Guard troops, according to prepared testimony obtained by The New York Times.
In an extraordinary admission, Chief Pittman, who was not the acting chief at the time of the siege, told members of the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for the agency, that the Capitol Police “failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours.” She added, “I am here to offer my sincerest apologies on behalf of the department.” Chief Pittman’s predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned after the riot.
Chief Pittman’s comments offered the fullest detailed account to date about police preparations for Jan. 6, when thousands of angry protesters, believing false claims that the election had been stolen, marched on the Capitol at the behest of former President Donald J. Trump.
Janet Yellen The First Woman To Be Treasury Secretary Is Sworn In By The First Woman To Be Vice President
Janet L. Yellen was sworn in as the secretary of the Treasury Department on Tuesday by Vice President Kamala Harris, a history-making moment as both are the first women to hold two of the most powerful jobs in the United States government.
Ms. Yellen is the nation’s 78th Treasury secretary and the first woman to head the institution in its 232-year history. She is also the first woman to have held all three top economic jobs in the government, having served as chair of the Federal Reserve and the Council of Economic Advisers.
She is taking the job at a time of economic crisis, with millions still out of work and the recovery slowing as the coronavirus persists. Ms. Yellen will quickly be thrust into fraught negotiations over how to design and pass a robust stimulus package to help revive an economy that has been hammered by the pandemic.
Standing outside the White House, Ms. Yellen took the oath of office with her husband, the economist George Akerlof, and her son by her side. At the conclusion of the ceremony, Ms. Harris said, “Congratulations, Madam Secretary,” to which Ms. Yellen replied, “Thank you, Madam Vice President.”
Ms. Yellen said on Twitter that she was proud to be joining the Treasury Department and described the field of economics, and the agency’s mission, as one that can “right past wrongs and improve people’s lives.”
Gop Senator Ted Cruz Says It’s ‘certainly Possible’ That ‘a Couple’ Republicans Will Vote To Remove Trump
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said that some GOP senators may vote to remove Donald Trump from the White House in a pending Senate trial. However, he argued such a decision wouldn’t match the facts of the impeachment case against the president.
Cruz, who represents Texas, made the remarks during an interview with Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. He first asserted that he doesn’t personally think any Republican senators will vote against the president, but then admitted that it could happen.
“It is certainly possible,” the senator noted. “And there are a couple that could vote that way. But I think anyone voting on the facts, anyone voting on the law, this is a very easy vote,” Cruz said. “What they have alleged is not a high crime or misdemeanor,” he continued, referring to the articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives as “weak.”
A few GOP senators have expressed concern about the president’s actions–as well as criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, and his decision to coordinate the trial with White House counsel. However, Republican lawmakers in Washington have largely remained defensive of the president, with the vote for impeachment passing largely along partisan lines in the House of Representatives, without any GOP members voting in support.
Capitol Riot Investigation Will Slow As Officials Work To Build More Complicated Cases Justice Dept Says
Justice Department officials said on Tuesday that the fast-moving federal investigation into the assault on the Capitol is expected to slow as investigators turn their attention to more complex matters such as conspiracy and sedition cases, the investigation into the death of Officer Brian D. Sicknick of the Capitol Police and violent attacks on members of the press.
In the 20 days since rioters stormed the Capitol, the F.B.I. has received over 200,000 digital media tips and identified more than 400 suspects. Federal prosecutors quickly charged 150 criminal cases, many of which have now been elevated to felonies.
But the manhunt and investigation is expected to “reach a period of a plateau,” said Michael R. Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in Washington, as investigators shift from identifying and rounding up individuals to putting together more complicated conspiracy cases related to possible coordination among militia groups and individuals from different states who had planned to travel to the Capitol and engage in criminal conduct before the attack.
“We have to have the proper evidence to charge these, and we’re going to get it,” said Steven M. D’Antuono, the F.B.I. assistant deputy in charge of the Washington field office. “All these cases are not based upon social media and Twitter and Instagram posts. We also have traditional law enforcement tools we need to use — grand jury subpoenas search warrants — and you don’t get that overnight.”
Senator Patrick Leahy 80 Is Briefly Hospitalized As A Precaution After He Reported Feeling Unwell
Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the longest-serving senator and the president pro tempore, was briefly taken to a hospital in Washington for observation early Tuesday evening after he reported not feeling well, his spokesman said. He returned home a few hours later after an evaluation.
Mr. Leahy, whose position in the Senate puts him third in line for the presidency, oversaw the start of the impeachment proceedings against former President Donald J. Trump earlier on Tuesday. At 80, Mr. Leahy is one of the oldest senators and has served in the Senate since 1975.
After he reported not feeling well in his office, Mr. Leahy “was examined in the Capitol by the attending physician,” said David Carle, the spokesman. “Out of an abundance of caution, the attending physician recommended that he be taken to a local hospital for observation, where he is now, and where he is being evaluated.”
Mr. Leahy was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he received tests and “a thorough examination” before being released, Mr. Carle said.
The senator “looks forward to getting back to work,” Mr. Carle said.
Mr. Leahy has received both vaccine shots for the coronavirus, and it was unclear what his symptoms were.
Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and Mr. Leahy’s predecessor as president pro tempore, was among those who wished Mr. Leahy well in a tweet Tuesday evening.
The Insurrection At The Capitol And Trumps Unsteadiness Have Weakened Gop Support In The Senate
Sen. Mitt Romney is considered the most likely Republican to vote for conviction in a second impeachment of President Trump.
- Print icon
- Resize icon
In President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial early last year, Sen. Mitt Romney was the lone Republican vote in favor of conviction. That seems unlikely to be the case should there be another such vote.
Romney has voiced his anger over the Wednesday invasion of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, many of whom were violent. Having voted for removal last year, he’s an odds-on favorite to do so again, alongside, at least publicly, a mere handful of other Republicans.
Across the aisle, so far no prospective defectors have arisen publicly.
“In light of today’s sad circumstances, I ask my colleagues: Do we weigh our own political fortunes more heavily than we weigh the strength of our republic, the strength of our democracy, and the cause of freedom? What is the weight of personal acclaim compared to the weight of conscience?” Romney asked his fellow senators when the Senate reconvened after the hours-long interruption Wednesday.
Since then, a few — but far short of the 17 that would be needed — Senate Republicans have expressed either outright support for impeachment or openness to the idea.
“I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, told the Anchorage Daily News Saturday.
Democratic Lawmakers Press Ahead With Efforts To Remove President Following Riot At Us Capitol
WASHINGTON—Congress careened toward a fresh showdown with President Trump, as House Democrats said they plan to vote on impeaching him Wednesday over accusations he incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.
House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment on Monday morning and said they would move ahead regardless of tepid Republican support. While some Republicans have condemned the president for encouraging his supporters to march to the Capitol as lawmakers were voting to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, only a handful have backed removing him from office through impeachment or other means, while some have floated censure as an alternative.
Democrats, who have unsuccessfully pressed Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office, are expected to have enough votes to impeach in the House, which requires only a simple majority. A two-thirds supermajority in the Senate would then be required to convict Mr. Trump. The single article of impeachment alleges “incitement of insurrection.”
Nearly All Gop Senators Vote Against Impeachment Trial For Trump Signaling Likely Acquittal
All but five Republican senators backed former president Donald Trump on Tuesday in a key test vote ahead of his impeachment trial, signaling that the proceedings are likely to end with Trump’s acquittal on the charge that he incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The vote also demonstrated the continued sway Trump holds over GOP officeholders, even after his exit from the White House under a historic cloud caused by his refusal to concede the November election and his unprecedented efforts to challenge the result.
Trump’s trial is not scheduled to begin until Feb. 9, but senators were sworn in for the proceedings Tuesday, and they immediately voted on an objection raised by Sen. Rand Paul questioning the constitutional basis for the impeachment and removal of a former president.
“Impeachment is for removal from office, and the accused here has already left office,” he argued, adding that the trial would “drag our great country down into the gutter of rancor and vitriol, the likes of which has never been seen in our nation’s history.”
But Democrats argue that Trump must be held accountable for the riot, which saw the Capitol overrun and resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four rioters. Paul’s argument, they said, suggests that presidents can act with impunity late in their terms.
The final vote was 55 to 45 to kill Paul’s objection, with GOP Sens. Susan Collins , Lisa Murkowski , Mitt Romney , Ben Sasse and Patrick J. Toomey joining all 50 Democrats.
Biden Calls Putin To Discuss Navalny Government Hack Ukraine And Malign Actions By Russia
President Biden called President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Tuesday to address a long list of grievances — from the hacking of U.S. federal agencies, to the poisoning and detention of the Russian dissident Aleksei A. Navalny as well as a host of other “malign actions by Russia,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said.
Mr. Biden struck a more confrontational tone — a sharp break from former President Donald J. Trump’s chummy approach to Mr. Putin — committing to the protection of Ukraine’s “sovereignty,” and pressing for the extension of the New Start treaty for five years, which would limit both countries to 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear weapons.
“President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” according to a White House readout of the conversation. “The two presidents agreed to maintain transparent and consistent communication going forward.”
When Mr. Biden was asked at an event at the White House on Tuesday what Mr. Putin had to say, the president joked, “He sends his best!”
Mr. Biden attacked Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin with abandon during the 2020 campaign. But although he was able to mock Mr. Trump’s relationship with the Russian leader when he was a candidate, as president he must keep the peace between uneasy nuclear rivals.
But he quickly pivoted to the need for cooperation in “mutual self-interest,” and the treaty.
Lloyd Austin The New Defense Secretary Prepares To Address Sexual Assault In The Military
After years of failure to curb the scourge of sexual assault in the military, Lloyd J. Austin III, the new secretary of defense, is open to to how those crimes are prosecuted, a potential sea change that generations of commanders have resisted.
Overhauling the way the military handles sexual assault cases — by taking them outside the chain of command and assigning them to prosecutors with no connection to the accused — would need approval by Congress, where some legislators have long pushed for such a system.
President Biden has been a vocal proponent of these changes, even as general after general has gone to Capitol Hill to argue against them over the past decade. “I had a real run-in with one of the members of the Joint Chiefs in the cabinet room on the issue,” Mr. Biden said last year at a fund-raiser.
Mr. Austin’s first act as secretary was to order a review of how the Pentagon has been handling sexual assault cases. He is also being pushed by Congress. Senators repeatedly asked him how he planned to handle the problems of sexual harassment and assault in the military during his confirmation hearing this month.
If Mr. Austin, a retired four-star army general, were to embrace these changes, he would be the first secretary to do so, a major shift in position for the Pentagon.
There Are Still Far Too Many Political Incentives For The Gop To Stick With The President
When President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified before Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing, his revelations about his ex-boss seemed explosive. Cohen depicted Trump as a racist con man and a mob chieftain, and implicated the president in crimes including witness tampering, campaign finance violations and even potentially conspiring with Russia to promote his business interests and defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. But the near-uniform hostility from Republicans who tangled with Cohen during the hearing — a day after 13 House Republicans voted to nullify Trump’s national emergency declaration — were stark reminders that anyone who thinks impeachment is near has misjudged the GOP.
With much of Capitol Hill awaiting the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report into the Trump campaign’s role in Russian election interference, the talk of impeachment, on a low burn for two years, is finally heating up. Op-eds have urged members of Congress to consider impeaching Trump , while hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer opted against a presidential bid so he could concentrate on his media campaign to persuade lawmakers to launch impeachment proceedings. First-term Rep. Rashida Tlaib promised a gathering of progressive activists that the new Democratic House majority would do just that. Two House members have already formally introduced articles of impeachment.
House Democrats To Vote To Remove Gop Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene Of Committee Assignments
House Democrats are set to push ahead with stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments after Republicans opted not to punish the Georgia congresswoman for past comments she’s made in support of harmful conspiracy theories.
Greene has claimed that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and high-profile school shootings like the Sandy Hook Elementary attack are hoaxes and has called for the execution of prominent Democrats.
The Rules Committee Wednesday voted to bring the matter to the full House for a vote Thursday that will decide whether Greene can stay on her committees for the rest of her term.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the Democrats Greene had said should be killed, denounced Republicans for not expelling Greene from the caucus. “McCarthy has chosen to make House Republicans ‘the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon’ and Rep. Greene is in the driver’s seat,” Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that identified McCarthy’s party identification as “Q.”
“We had hoped that the Republican leadership would have dealt with this. For whatever reason, they don’t want to deal with it. And that’s unfortunate. So we are taking this step,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass, who chairs the Rules Committee. “The question we all have to ask ourselves is what is the consequence of doing nothing.”
– Matthew Brown
The Capitol Attack Wasnt A False Flag Gop Officials Continue To Spread The Theory Anyway
In the hours after supporters of President Donald J. Trump engaged in a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, some Republicans began advancing a fantastical alternative theory: that the attack was actually led by far-left activists trying to frame Republicans.
The outlandish claims have been widely discredited by the authorities, and some of the faces in the Capitol crowd were recognizable right-wing figures. The numerous arrests since the assault have overwhelmingly involved devoted Trump supporters and far-right adherents. But despite the clear evidence, the so-called false flag theory continues to persist in Republican circles.
Last week, the Oregon Republican Party passed a resolution falsely claiming that there was “growing evidence that the violence at the Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters and all conservative Republicans.” Bill Currier, the chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, said in a video discussion that state party officials were working with counterparts across the country to “coordinate our messaging” around the Capitol attack, the response to it and the continuing efforts to impeach the president.
Mr. Currier said other states would be adopting similar resolutions. “There will be many states doing this,” Mr. Currier said. “We’re not the only ones.”
Twice As Many Republicans Vote To Impeach Trump Than Democrats Voted To Remove Clinton
The House voted to impeach Trump in the aftermath of riots at the U.S. Capitol in January, an event many have said Trump incited, by a vote of 232-197. Four Republican members of the House declined to vote. While a majority of Republicans chose to stand behind Trump and his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, 10 GOP members decided to break ranks with Trump and call for his impeachment.
Trump’s second impeachment was seen as the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history. Only 5 Democrats broke ranks to vote for impeaching Clinton. During the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, only 7 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote in favor of Johnson’s impeachment.
A majority of the 10 Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment represent districts that voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
Ohio Republican Representative Anthony Gonzalez announced his support for impeaching Trump on Wednesday.
“When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the President’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack,” Gonzalez wrote, “I am compelled to support impeachment.”
Michigan Representative Peter Meijer, who supported a resolution to censure Trump on Tuesday, voted for impeachment on Wednesday.
Trump Acquitted In Impeachment Trial; 7 Gop Senators Vote With Democrats To Convict
The Senate on Saturday voted to acquit former President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection despite significant Republican support for conviction, bringing an end to the fourth impeachment trial in U.S. history and the second for Trump.
Seven Republicans voted to convict Trump for allegedly inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, when a mob of pro-Trump supporters tried to disrupt the electoral vote count formalizing Joe Biden’s election win before a joint session of Congress. That is by far the most bipartisan support for conviction in impeachment history. The final vote was 57 to 43, 10 short of the 67 votes needed to secure a conviction.
Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania all voted guilty.
The vote means the Senate cannot bar Trump from holding future federal offices.
Moments after the vote concluded, the former president issued a statement praising his legal team and thanking the senators and other members of Congress “who stood proudly for the Constitution we all revere and for the sacred legal principles at the heart of our country.”
“This has been yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country. No president has ever gone through anything like it,” Trump said.
The White House Press Briefings Will Include An American Sign Language Interpreter
The Biden administration announced this week that it would include an American Sign Language interpreter in its daily press briefings, a step that the previous administration avoided taking until a court ordered it to do so late last year.
The move is a “historical first,” according to Howard A. Rosenblum, the chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf.
Past administrations have occasionally had A.S.L. briefers at some White House events and meetings, Mr. Rosenblum said, but President Biden is the first to make it a fixture.
“The president is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American, including Americans with disabilities and their families,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said during Monday’s briefing. She introduced the interpreter as Heather.
Last year, Mr. Rosenblum’s advocacy group and five deaf Americans sued the Trump administration for holding briefings on the coronavirus without a sign language interpreter present, arguing that it was a violation of the First Amendment.
The government responded that it had provided closed-captioning, but the plaintiffs said that was not an adequate substitute. A federal judge in Washington sided with the plaintiffs, and the Trump administration started including an interpreter in November.
Raskin Compares Trumps Actions On January 6 To Lighting A Fire In Closing Argument
Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen, meanwhile, insisted his client did nothing wrong and maintained he was the victim of vengeful Democrats and a biased news media. He called the impeachment proceedings a “charade from beginning to end.”
While he often seemed angry during his presentation, van der Veen was delighted by the acquittal. Reporters saw him fist bump a fellow member of Trump’s legal team afterward and exclaim, “We’re going to Disney World!”
“While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” the influential Kentucky Republican wrote in the email, which was obtained by NBC News.
McConnell, who’d rebuffed Democratic efforts to start the trial while Trump was still in office, had condemned Trump’s conduct after the riot and said he’d keep an open mind about voting to convict — something he’d ruled out entirely during Trump’s first impeachment trial last year.
After voting to acquit, McConnell blasted Trump for his “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and squarely laid the blame for the riot at Trump’s door in what amounted to an endorsement of many of the arguments laid out by House impeachment managers.
“There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.
Cassidy gave a simple explanation for his vote in a 10-second video statement he posted on Twitter.
Fox Gives A Show To One Former Trump Aide But Shoots Down Claims It Hired Another
Larry Kudlow, the former CNBC star who served as director of President Donald J. Trump’s National Economic Council, is returning to broadcasting.
Mr. Kudlow was named the host of a new daily show on Fox Business set to begin later this year, the network said on Tuesday. He will also appear on Fox Business and Fox News as an on-air financial analyst starting Feb. 8.
This is the first major television gig secured by a senior Trump aide who stayed in the White House until the president’s term ended last week. It is also something of a hiring coup for Fox Business, which competes against CNBC and will now feature one of its rival’s longtime featured players.
Fox said that it would provide more information about Mr. Kudlow’s new weekday program at a later date.
Mr. Kudlow’s hiring is the latest example of the revolving door between Fox News and members of the Trump administration. But another prominent Trump defender may not be headed to the Rupert Murdoch-owned network so soon.
Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, included an “employment agreement” with Fox News on a federally mandated disclosure form she filed earlier this month, signaling that she had landed a job at the cable channel.
Fox News on Tuesday had a different message for Ms. McEnany: not so fast.
“Kayleigh McEnany is not currently an employee or contributor at Fox News,” the network said in a statement.
Ms. McEnany did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
‘a Win Is A Win’: Trump’s Defense Team Makes Remarks After Senate Votes To Acquit
Despite the acquittal, President Joe Biden said in a statement that “substance of the charge” against Trump is “not in dispute.”
“Even those opposed to the conviction, like Senate Minority Leader McConnell, believe Donald Trump was guilty of a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the violence unleashed on the Capitol,” Biden’s statement read in part.
The president added that “this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile. That it must always be defended. That we must be ever vigilant. That violence and extremism has no place in America. And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Saturday’s vote “the largest and most bipartisan vote in any impeachment trial in history,” but noted it wasn’t enough to secure a conviction.
The trial “was about choosing country over Donald Trump, and 43 Republican members chose Trump. They chose Trump. It should be a weight on their conscience today, and it shall be a weight on their conscience in the future,” he said in a speech on the Senate floor.
With control of the Senate split 50-50, the House managers always had an uphill battle when it came to convincing enough Republicans to cross party lines and convict a former president who is still very popular with a large part of the GOP base.
As Many As 8 Republican Senators Could Vote To Convict And Remove Donald Trump
While it’s hard to envision a scenario in which the GOP-controlled Senate votes to remove Donald Trump from office, there is a growing possibility that a handful of Republicans in the upper chamber could still side with the Democrats.
As MSNBC political contributor Jason Johnson pointed out on Monday, Trump’s impeachment messaging has been a disaster and it’s making it more likely that a substantial number of Republican senators will vote to convict and remove Trump.
“You could see five, six, seven, eight senators – Republican senators – make symbolic votes for impeachment because the president can’t explain himself and they’re tired of taking arrows for him,” he said.
Pelosi Throws Down Gauntlet In Senate Impeachment Trial: Courage Or Cowardice
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a fiery justification Thursday for pursuing the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump after he left office by saying it will reveal whether the Senate has “courage or cowardice.”
The California Democrat was asked at her weekly news conference why House members would bother with the trial after a Senate procedural vote suggested Trump would be acquitted. The Senate rejected a motion to find the case unconstitutional, but the 45 Republicans who supported the motion suggested that Trump will have support from more than 34 needed for acquittal.
Pelosi forcefully rejected that reasoning, saying senators haven’t yet heard the case. A two-thirds majority of the 100 members would be required to convict Trump of inciting insurrection in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Pelosi said House prosecutors are carefully preparing their case for the court of the Senate, the court of public opinion and for history.
“We’ll see if it’s going to be a Senate of courage or cowardice,” Pelosi said.
Republicans have argued that the trial is divisive. But Pelosi quoted Pope Paul VI and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in saying that justice is required for peace. She said the founders who wrote the Constitution included impeachment as a penalty for wrongdoing.
– Bart Jansen