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Highlights and analysis: House passes resolution to demand Pence invoke 25th Amendment, remove Trump

Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday night told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a letter that he does not believe invoking the 25th Amendment "is in the best interest of our nation."
Image: illustration of President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a red background that shows the Capitol exterior, with navy bubbles showing words like "Impeachment," "Congress," "President"
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

The House approved a resolution on a late Tuesday night to encourage Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office before his term ends on Jan. 20, a largely symbolic gesture that precedes a vote on impeachment Wednesday.

Pence said earlier Tuesday evening that he will not heed these calls.

Then, on Wednesday morning, House Democrats are planning to take up an article of impeachment against Trump for "incitement of insurrection" in urging his supporters to march on the Capitol last week.

The planned votes come as the FBI sent a warning to law enforcement agencies across the country about possible armed protests at all 50 state Capitols starting Saturday as well the threat of an uprising in Washington that day if Congress removes Trump.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading news on the response to the Capitol riot from Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

Read the highlights:

— At least five Republican House members have said they will vote to impeach Trump.

— Pence said Tuesday evening in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that he does not believe invoking the 25th Amendment "is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution."

— Trump enters final week as president with few allies, no Twitter and an impeachment effort.

— What we know about the people arrested after the Capitol riots.

— After Capitol violence, Trump brand partners eye dumping toxic asset: the president.

Schumer calls on TSA to add Capitol rioters to no-fly list

Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that anyone who stormed the Capitol last Wednesday should placed on the nation's no-fly list.

"The law says that acts of terror like those perpetrated by the people who unlawfully and violently breached the Capitol must be considered threats to the homeland, Schumer said in brief remarks in Manhattan. "Once you're considered a threat to the homeland, you should and must be placed on the no-fly list." 

Schumer called on the Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to add the rioters to the list. He also said he has been in touch with FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent days and has received regular briefings about the security situation. 

The Democratic leader, who was interrupted by a woman who seemed to be heckling him, said Trump's comments Tuesday that his remarks at a march that preceded the violence were "appropriate" "showed how despicable a president he is." 

"What Trump did today, blaming others for what he caused, is a pathological technique used by the worst of dictators," Schumer said. "Trump causes the anger. He causes divide, the divisiveness. He foments the violence and blames others for it. That is despicable.”

Religious leaders urge Texas officials to oppose Trump's visit

Religious leaders in Texas wrote to the state's top officials Monday asking them to object to President Donald's Trump visit to Alamo on Tuesday to mark the work done on the border wall.

"As faith leaders in Texas, we are dismayed by your failure to object to President Donald Trump’s visit this week, where he will speak in public for the first time since he incited the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday," the group of nearly 80 said.

Trump was making the trip to "brag" about his border wall, for which he used billions of dollars from the military budget because Congress "did not agree that building a wall was a responsible way to spend government funds," they said.

The religious leaders sent the letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, saying part of their responsibilities was to keep Texans safe.

Trump's "very presence has become a symbol of insurrection and lawlessness," they wrote. "Yet you, state leaders who are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of all those who live in Texas, have not condemned President Trump, nor have you opposed his appearance in our state, an appearance that can easily lead to more violence, injury and loss of life."

Sparks fly after Rep. McGovern confronts Rep. Jordan over Biden win

A testy exchange took place between Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., at a House Rules committee meeting on Tuesday.

McGovern, who chairs the committee, repeatedly asked Jordan to acknowledge that the election was not stolen and that President-elect Joe Biden won fair and square. Jordan continued to dodge the question, blaming the process. 

McGovern told Jordan, “If we want to talk about healing, we have to talk about truth… I'm asking you to make a statement that the election was not stolen, that Joe Biden won fair and square and one of the ways to promote healing is say 'yes' and put it on your Twitter account so all these people who bought into a lie will start to hear from some of these people pushing this.” 

"Joe Biden is going to be sworn in as president," Jordan replied, to which McGovern shot back, "That's not the question I asked."

Angry McCarthy called Trump urging him to congratulate Biden

An angry House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy phoned Trump and urged him to call and congratulate Joe Biden, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News. 

McCarthy has long been close to the president, defending his actions, while Trump often refers to the California Republican as “my Kevin."

House Republican leaders do not plan to encourage GOP members to vote against impeachment, a leadership aide said — a change from Trump's first impeachment, when the leaders told their conference to vote no. Up to a dozen Republicans could vote to impeach the president Wednesday, one source estimated. 

This comes after House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the No. 3 GOP leader in the chamber, told members on a Monday conference call that impeachment was a “vote of conscience,” according to a source familiar with the matter. The source said, however, that Cheney did not specifically tell members to vote their conscience and did not say how she planned to vote. 

 

GoFundMe banning fundraising for travel to political events with risk of violence

GoFundMe will no longer allow fundraisers for travel to political events where there is a risk of violence, the company announced Tuesday.

“Over the last several months and leading up to the rally and subsequent violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, GoFundMe removed several fundraisers attempting to challenge the legitimate results of the 2020 election,” the company said in a statement, adding that its terms of service prohibit fundraisers that spread misinformation about the 2020 election. “GoFundMe will remove fundraisers for travel expenses to a future political event where there's risk of violence by the attendees.”

“We strongly condemn the violence and attempted insurrection and will continue to remove fundraisers that attempt to spread misinformation about the election, promote conspiracy theories and contribute to or participate in attacks on US democracy,” the statement continued.

GoFundMe joins a long list of companies that have issued statements condemning last week’s violence. Stripe said it will no longer process donations to the Trump campaign, and the PGA announced Sunday it would no longer hold the 2022 PGA Championship at the president’s Bedminister, N.J., golf club. 

Dow Chemical, Marriott International, American Express and others have said they are cutting off campaign contributions to politicians who voted against certification of the Electoral College votes. 

Extremists move to secret online channels to plan for Inauguration Day in D.C.

Right-wing extremists are using encrypted channels to call for violence against government officials on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, with some extremists sharing knowledge of how to make, conceal and use homemade guns and bombs.

The messages are being posted in Telegram chatrooms where white supremacist content has been freely shared for months, but chatter on these channels has increased since extremists have been forced off other platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters.

In the days since the Capitol attack, for example, a U.S. Army field manual and exhortations to "shoot politicians" and "encourage armed struggle" have been posted in a Telegram channel that uses "fascist" in its name.

Chris Sampson, chief of research at the defense research institute Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideologies, said his group is focused on and concerned about users of the channel and has alerted the FBI about it. (TAPSTRI is run by Malcolm Nance, an NBC News terrorism analyst.)

Read the story.

Trump defends riot remarks as 'totally appropriate' ahead of House vote on 25th Amendment resolution

President Trump on Tuesday defended the remarks he made last week that incited a crowd of his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol, hours before the House was preparing to vote on a resolution that calls on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday about whether he held any "personal responsibility" over the tragedy that beset the Capitol last week, Trump replied, "If you read my speech, and many people have done it and I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it's been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate."

"Everybody to a 'T' thought it was totally appropriate," Trump said.

Trump's comments come just six days after riots in and around the Capitol by his supporters left five people dead and many others injured —shaking American democracy to its core in the process — and one day before the House was also set to impeach him for the second time over his role in inciting the riots.

Read the story.

Rep. Brad Schneider tests positive for Covid-19

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., walks up the House steps for the final votes of the week on April 4, 2019, in Washington.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said he tested positive for Covid-19 Tuesday morning, becoming the third lawmaker since Monday to receive the diagnosis since being confined with other lawmakers during the rioting at the Capitol last week. 

Schneider suggested he was likely infected during the ordeal, when he was sheltering in place with dozens of other members, including some House Republicans who chose not to wear face masks.

"Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask, as demonstrated in video from Punchbowl News, even when politely asked by their colleagues," Schneider said in a statement. "Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff."

Schneider said that he hasn't experienced symptoms yet.

Cruz's communications director resigns amid fallout from riot

Sen. Ted Cruz's communications director has resigned amid the fallout from last week's rioting at the Capitol, multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News. 

Lauren Blair Bianchi, who has been with the Texas Republican since 2019, confirmed that she left her post on Monday.

A source familiar with Bianchi’s decision said, “Senator Cruz deserves to have a staff supportive of his vision.”

Cruz’s office said in a statement, “Sen. Cruz and Lauren agreed that it would be best to part ways. He thanks her for her service and wishes her the best.” 

A Cruz campaign official said other staff are thinking of resigning in the coming weeks, pointing to a post from Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign chair, Chad Sweet, who denounced the senator for objecting to the Electoral College results.    

Democrats and some Republicans have said the senators who led objections to the Electoral College results are partially to blame for the violence that ensued when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. Several Senate Democrats have called for censorship and even expulsion of Cruz and Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who was the first senator to announce that he would object to the electoral results. 

Does 'deplatforming' work? Trump's most extreme fans will find him, research says

President Donald Trump’s rabid online following will be smaller from now on, but it may be more extreme. 

That’s the takeaway from researchers who study “deplatforming,” the name for the sweeping form of digital banishment that Trump received from Twitter and much of the tech industry after a mob of his supporters laid siege to the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, leading to the deaths of five people, including a police officer. 

Trump joins a growing list of high-profile personalities — mostly on the far right — who have been banned from Facebook, Reddit, Twitter or YouTube after repeatedly breaking the sites’ rules. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is banned from most of them, as is far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos

The past examples have given researchers a window into whether such moves are effective. But as a soon-to-be-former president, Trump presents a unique case that may shatter expectations. There’s anecdotal evidence that banished figures receive less web traffic and attention than they did before being banned, and research says that followers who regroup on other social media networks after a ban do so in smaller numbers.

Read the full story here.