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Highlights and analysis: House impeaches Trump for 'incitement of insurrection'

Trump is the first president to be impeached twice.
Image: Red bubbles show the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump with words about \"impeachment,\" \"election\" and \"insurrection.\"
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

In a historic vote, the House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump for urging his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol last week, making him the first president to be impeached twice.

The article of impeachment, for "incitement of insurrection," was adopted by the Democratic-controlled House, 232 to 197, after several hours of debate. A group of 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump.

Democrats are prepared to send the resolution to the Senate immediately to allow a trial to determine whether to convict Trump and bar him from holding future office, although it is unclear when that trial will happen.

Trump has defended his speech at a march last week that helped incite a crowd of his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol, calling it "totally appropriate" on Tuesday. That remark came just hours before the House approved a separate resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

This live coverage has ended. Continue to read about the impeachment process from Monday and Tuesday and about the events leading up to the riot at the Capitol last week and its aftermath.

Read the highlights:

— Pence rejected House Democrats' demand to invoke the 25th Amendment as more Republicans back impeachment.

— "Mind-blowing" number of crimes committed during Capitol riot, 160 case files opened, say officials.

— "Chilling": Security tightens around the Capitol ahead of Biden inauguration amid "increased threat."

753d ago / 6:45 PM UTC

Gaetz draws boos from Dems as he blames left for inciting 'far more political violence than the right'

Speaking as the House debates a vote on impeaching President Trump a second time, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was loudly booed after he accused Democrats of setting cities on fire over the summer.

Gaetz, one of Trump's closest allies and defenders, called impeachment "an itch that doesn't go away with just one scratch," referred to what he called the "the Biden crime family" and mentioned the same false claims about a wrongfully decided election that led to last week's Capitol riot.

"I denounce political violence from all ends of the spectrum," Gaetz said. "But make no mistake, the left in America has incited far more political violence than the right. For months, our cities burned, police stations burned, our businesses shattered."

"Some cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame, well they lit actual flames, actual fires," Gaetz said, drawing loud boos from Democrats as he pointed to their side of the chamber. "And we have to put them out."

According to a pool report, as Gaetz began his speech, Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., lifted his right hand and pointed his finger to his head and twirled it as if to signal that Gaetz is crazy. He later shook his head several times through Gaetz's speech. 

Democrats shouted back at Gaetz as he ended his speech, giving him a smattering of boos and calling for "order" as the chair used the gavel to try to calm the scene.

753d ago / 6:42 PM UTC

Republicans continue to defy metal detectors as Capitol security ramps up

Image: Guy Reschenthaler
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., passes through a metal detector before entering the House chamber, a new security measure put into place after a mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 12, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Republicans on Wednesday defied the newly installed metal detectors at the entrance to the chamber for the second day in a row ahead of the imminent vote on whether to impeach President Trump.

Matt Fuller, a reporter for HuffPost, recorded at least 12 GOP lawmakers either side-stepping the metal detectors or setting them off and continuing on to the House floor. They included Reps. Virginia Foxx of Virginia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Read more here.

753d ago / 6:35 PM UTC

McConnell rejects request to hold impeachment trial before inauguration

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A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed a report from the Washington Post's Seung Min Kim saying the Kentucky lawmaker had said he would not agree to reconvene for an impeachment trial before the inauguration.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had urged McConnell to use an emergency provision that would allow them to come back earlier, but it would have required both leaders to agree to do so. 

Republican Senate leaders meanwhile were blindsided Tuesday after the New York Times reported McConnell was “pleased” that Trump was getting impeached, NBC News has learned.

McConnell’s leadership team, which includes Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rick Scott, R-Fla., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were not given a heads up ahead of the story that made clear how McConnell felt about impeaching the president, multiple aides familiar with the days events tell NBC News.

NBC News has not independently confirmed the Times reporting, but McConnell’s office has not disputed the report and Republicans on Capitol Hill have been treating it as gospel. 

753d ago / 6:32 PM UTC

Trump grows defiant as the White House becomes a ghost town

President Donald Trump is set to be impeachedagain, on Wednesday, but this time, he will lack the megaphone of Twitter to respond and be without a robust and aggressive defense from his White House and allies.

Stripped of the ability to fire off real-time responses, Trump must rely on a White House staff that has largely been replaced with moving boxes as aides head for the exits and allies fail to offer a defense of him in public.

But the silence from the president shouldn't be interpreted as submission, those close to him say. Instead, Trump continues to cling to his false assertion that he won the election and is refusing pleas that he leave office days before his term expires because of his role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Read the story.

753d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

'We told you so,' Democratic Rep. Richmond says

In what is likely his final floor speech as a congressman, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., urged his colleagues to impeach Trump.

“Stand up, man up, woman up, and defend this Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, including Donald J. Trump,” Richmond said, criticizing Republicans who said Congress should unify the country and not impeach the president.

“In the first impeachment, Republicans said we didn’t need to impeach him because he learned his lesson," he said as he was reminded he was out of time. "Well, we said, if we didn’t remove him, he would do it again. Simply put, we told you so. Richmond out.”

Richmond, who has served in Democratic leadership as assistant majority whip, is retiring from Congress to join President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as a senior adviser.

753d ago / 6:06 PM UTC
753d ago / 6:03 PM UTC

House Democrat asks FBI to investigate 'reconnaissance' tours claims

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., said she has requested an FBI investigation into allegations she made Tuesday that some members of Congress led people through the Capitol on a "reconnaissance" tour of the building a day before the riot last week.

“We’re requesting an investigation right now,” Sherrill told reporters Wednesday.

In the Facebook video Sherrill posted Tuesday, she did not make clear which members she allegedly saw leading such groups on tour, or who was in the groups, but said, “There's members of Congress who incited this violent crowd."

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday that he was aware of the names of some of those congressmen, but wouldn’t reveal their identities.

"I’ve heard a couple, but I'm going to wait to make sure we get verification," Ryan said. "I don’t want to throw any member under the bus."

Ryan added that the allegations had “been passed on” to authorities “as early as Wednesday night, Thursday morning last week."

753d ago / 5:49 PM UTC

Pelosi calls Trump 'a clear and present danger' to the U.S. ahead of impeachment vote

Opening two hours of debate ahead of the impeachment vote Wednesday afternoon, Pelosi laid out her argument for why the president should be held accountable for the events leading to the riot in the Capitol last week.

"We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our country," she said in remarks on the House floor. "He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love."

Pelosi said the people who participated in the insurrection were "not patriots," but rather "domestic terrorists." 

She called on Republicans to "search your souls" as they approached the vote. 

"Is the president's war on democracy in keeping with the Constitution? Were his words and insurrectionary mob a high crime and misdemeanor?" she asked.

753d ago / 5:45 PM UTC

House moves to consideration of impeachment measure

The House voted 221 to 203 to adopt the rules for consideration of the impeachment measure, which they are debating this afternoon.

The rule, which no Republicans supported, allows two hours for the floor debate on one article of impeachment charging President Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for urging his supporters to march on the Capitol last week, resulting in a riot the left five people dead.

753d ago / 5:32 PM UTC
753d ago / 5:24 PM UTC

Group of prominent business leaders says Trump 'deserves the strongest possible condemnation'

A group representing CEOs from 200 major U.S. companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Apple, ExxonMobil and Boeing, called on elected officials Wednesday to “do their utmost to counteract false claims of a fraudulent election” and “promote a restoration of civility and decency in governance.”

The Business Roundtable said in a press statement that President Donald Trump’s behavior "encouraging an assault on the Capitol" and his calls to overturn the results of the election “deserves the strongest possible condemnation.”

“All our efforts depend on commitment to our country’s most fundamental democratic principles, including honoring the results of free and fair elections and the peaceful transition of power,” the group added. “We leave it to our elected leaders to judge the feasibility or wisdom of attempting to remove the President from office in the final days of his term.”

753d ago / 5:03 PM UTC
753d ago / 4:56 PM UTC

Pelosi thanks troops stationed outside the Capitol

Pelosi went outside the Capitol late Wednesday morning to thank the troops that are protecting the building and gave them her challenge coin. 

753d ago / 4:45 PM UTC

Troops receive arms outside the Capitol

Image: Members of the National Guard gather at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
As the House opens its impeachment hearing, the District of Columbia National Guard said it has been authorized to arm troops assigned to security duty on the Capitol grounds. Up to 15,000 Guard members are expected to be on duty in coming days in the district to support law enforcement in connection with the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Joshua Roberts / Reuters
753d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

Congressman gives National Guard troops a Capitol tour

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., gave National Guard troops a tour of the Capitol on Wednesday, after coming upon service members who slept in the Capitol Visitor Center overnight ahead of Wednesday's impeachment vote.

“I went down to see the physician this morning, I didn’t realize there were guardsmen and women sleeping in the hallways,” he told reporters at the Capitol. “I told them if they wanted a tour, I’d take them on a tour.” 

Mast joked that his staff probably could have answered some of the troops' questions better, but he told them as much as he could.

Mast, a veteran who lost both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, said the fact that Congress required a rotunda full of guardsmen made him “as sad as anything could make me,” but added that he was voting no on impeachment.

Guardsmen, who have ready-to-eat military provisions known as MREs, are also taking advantage of the Capitol market, where members and staff typically purchase salads, sandwiches and burgers.

753d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

CNN host clashes with GOP Rep. who faulted 'both sides' for Capitol riots

CNN's John Berman pushed back on Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Wednesday morning for faulting "both sides" for last week's riots at the Capitol.

Berman had spent several minutes pressing Buck to answer if President Donald Trump deserves to be impeached for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol. But Buck said after years of increasing animosity between Republicans and Democrats, blaming one Trump speech for the riots is inaccurate. 

Buck added, "what I'm trying to suggest to you is that both sides are at fault and that in America," before Berman interrupted him to ask, "What on earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the U.S. Capitol?"

Buck deflected the question, saying, "The people who came into the Capitol are the people responsible for that action. This animosity has been building for years. It wasn't as if the president gave one speech and all of a sudden people went from perfectly calm and thoughtful demeanor to this violent action that occurred."

The exchange happened just before the House prepared to vote on an article of impeachment.

753d ago / 4:30 PM UTC

Jim Jordan says he wants vote to expel Liz Cheney from GOP House leadership

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of President Trump’s fiercest defenders, suggested Wednesday he was open to trying to expel Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from GOP House leadership over her support for impeachment.

"The conference ought to vote on that,” Jordan told reporters Wednesday.

Cheney, who as the House Republican Conference Chair is the No. 3 Republican in the House, said Tuesday that she supported Trump’s impeachment or removal from office, saying that when it came to his incitement of the mob that violently stormed the Capitol, "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

753d ago / 4:05 PM UTC

Airbnb canceling, blocking reservations in Washington around Inauguration Day

Airbnb is canceling all reservations in the Washington metro area during inauguration week in light of potential unrest, the company said Wednesday. It is also blocking all new reservations in the area.

“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” the company said in a blog post.

The decision follows comments from local D.C. and Virginia leaders Monday urging people to stay home on Inauguration Day and participate virtually.

Earlier this week, Airbnb banned “numerous individuals” associated with known hate groups or the violent attack on the Capitol. 

Guests with canceled reservations will be refunded in full and hosts will be reimbursed. It is also canceling reservations in the area made through its last-minute lodging agency HotelTonight.

753d ago / 4:02 PM UTC

House now conducting procedural rule votes

The House has concluded debate on the procedural rule ahead of impeachment.  

There will now be two procedural votes. These are not votes on the actual article of impeachment. 

The first vote is a procedural vote offered by Republicans that seeks to amend the rule to immediately consider H.R. 275, which establishes a bipartisan commission to examine the circumstances around the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.  This vote will take between 40 minutes and 1 hour.

The second vote governs the floor for consideration of the article of impeachment, setting up two hours of debate. This vote is also expected to take between 40 minutes and 1 hour.

753d ago / 3:58 PM UTC

National Guard troops pose before Rosa Parks statue in Capitol

Image: National Guard members gather at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
A National Guard member poses for a picture with a statue of Rosa Parks as the House convenes ahead of an impeachment vote on Wednesday.Joshua Roberts / Reuters
753d ago / 3:31 PM UTC
753d ago / 3:28 PM UTC
753d ago / 3:22 PM UTC

Putting Trump’s House GOP defectors into historical context

WASHINGTON — In 1998, five House Democrats broke with their party to impeach Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. 

And in 2019, zero House Republicans defected from Donald Trump when he was impeached over the Ukraine matter. (One GOP senator, Mitt Romney, voted to convict Trump in the Senate trail.) 

That’s the modern-day historical context to evaluate the number of House Republicans who might eventually vote on Wednesday to impeach Trump over his role in last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.  

As of publication time on Wednesday, there are at least five House Republicans who said they will vote for Trump’s impeachment today. 

How high will that number eventually be?

753d ago / 3:17 PM UTC
753d ago / 3:02 PM UTC
753d ago / 2:56 PM UTC

Hoyer says House will send article of impeachment to Senate immediately

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told NBC News that he would send over the article of impeachment to the Senate immediately once it is passed.

He did not specify if immediately meant later Wednesday or another day. The House is set to vote on the article later Wednesday and it is expected to pass with support from both Democrats and a handful of Republicans.

There had been some debate among Democratic leadership, led by Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, who suggested that they could wait until after Biden's first 100 days in office. Hoyer said that is no longer being discussed.

753d ago / 2:55 PM UTC

Capitol Police official tells Congress he saw no FBI intelligence before Jan. 6 siege


The acting assistant chief of the Capitol Police told Congress Tuesday that he was not aware of any intelligence from the FBI in advance of Jan. 6, raising questions about an assertion by a top FBI official that threat information was shared with local police in advance of the Capitol riot.

Steven D’Antuono, the head of the FBI’s Washington DC field office, said Tuesday that the FBI had shared some information about threats of violence with local police before the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, including a report by the FBI’s Norfolk field office that extremists were threatening a “war.”

The report mentioned people sharing a map of tunnels at the Capitol complex and coordinating travel to Washington, according to The Washington Post, which first reported on the F.B.I. document.

But a readout of a closed-door briefing of Republican House members Tuesday, obtained by NBC News, quotes acting U.S. Capitol Police Assistant Chief Sean Gallagher as saying he never saw any such information.

Read the story.

753d ago / 2:43 PM UTC

National Guard troops rest before impeachment vote

Leigh Ann Caldwell / NBC News
Image: National Guard members gather at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
National Guard members sleep in Emancipation Hall, top, and in front of a bust of President Abraham Lincoln at the Capitol on Wednesday. The plaque at right in bottom photo is dedicated to Union troops who quartered in the Capitol during the Civil War.Joshua Roberts / Reuters
753d ago / 2:33 PM UTC

Worried about free speech, FBI never issued intelligence bulletin about possible Capitol violence

FBI intelligence analysts gathered information about possible violence involving the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., but the FBI never distributed a formal intelligence bulletin, in part because of concerns that doing so might have run afoul of free speech protections, a current and two former senior FBI officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.

While the FBI did share some threat intelligence with law enforcement agencies, the lack of a comprehensive Joint Intelligence Bulletin compiled by the FBI's Intelligence Branch — which would have made assessments about possible threats and would have been shared with relevant law enforcement agencies — left the Capitol Police and other agencies lacking the full picture of what the FBI had learned from human sources and social media postings about what extremists were saying about plans to assault the Capitol.

Read the story.

753d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

De Blasio announces NYC severs all contracts with Trump Organization

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city of New York is cutting ties with the Trump Organization. 

"The city of New York is severing all contracts with the Trump Organization. Our legal team has done an assessment, and the contracts make very clear if a company and the leadership of that company is engaged in criminal activity, we have the right to sever that contract," De Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"Inciting an insurrection against the United States government clearly constitutes criminal activity," he said.

President Donald Trump's son Eric Trump, who has been running the family's company along with his brother, Donald Jr., since their father took office, said in a statement that the move is “another example of Mayor de Blasio’s blatant disregard for the facts. The City of New York has no legal right to end our contracts and if they elect to proceed, they will owe The Trump Organization over $30 million dollars. This is nothing more than political discrimination, an attempt to infringe on the first amendment and we plan to fight vigorously.”

753d ago / 1:26 PM UTC

AOC says she feared for her life during Capitol riot: 'I thought I was going to die'

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., says she feared for her life as a violent mob stormed the Capitol building last week.

In a lengthy Instagram Live video Tuesday night, Ocasio-Cortez said that she had a "very close encounter," during which she thought she "was going to die." She didn't elaborate on the details, but cited security concerns.

"I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense," the congresswoman said during the hour-long live stream, calling the encounter during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol "traumatizing."

Ocasio-Cortez said it is "not an exaggeration" to say that many members of the House were "nearly assassinated."

Read more here.

753d ago / 1:12 PM UTC

Republicans protest, circumvent new metal detectors inside Capitol after riot

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Several Republican members of Congress on Tuesday complained about — or outright bypassed — the metal detectors to enter the House floor, which were ordered put in place by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after last week's deadly riot at the Capitol.

Ahead of a House vote Tuesday evening calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, the Republican members expressed anger and frustration in accessing the chamber.

Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve Stivers of Ohio, Van Taylor of Texas, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Debbie Lesko of Arizona and Larry Bucshon of Indiana, among others, were seen not complying with police at checkpoints or complained about the measure's implementation, according to press pool and media reports.

Boebert, a newly elected member who vowed in a viral video to carry a gun in the Capitol, was seen in an apparent dispute with police over going through the metal detector.

Read the story.

753d ago / 12:56 PM UTC
753d ago / 12:55 PM UTC

Trump impeachment may define the Republican Party

With an impeachment vote Wednesday, Republicans stand on the brink of a historic decision over whether to punish or protect a president who many say incited a deadly mob to overrun the U.S. Capitol in a push to overturn the election result.

The decision could define the party and shape American democracy for generations to come.

A handful of House Republicans have endorsed impeachment, most notably the third-ranking Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, who said President Donald Trump "lit the flame of this attack" and who accused him of an unprecedented "betrayal" of his oath to the Constitution.

Others Republicans who announced support for impeachment Tuesday were Reps. John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington. The impeachment measure is likely to sail through the Democratic-led House, with or without Republican support.

Read the story.

753d ago / 12:53 PM UTC

House poised to impeach Trump for second time

The House on Wednesday is poised to impeach President Donald Trump a second time, which will make him the first president to ever face this punishment twice.

House lawmakers are expected to vote on a single article of impeachment around 3 p.m. ET, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" in the wake of a pro-Trump mob violently storming the U.S. Capitol building last Wednesday.

The vote comes exactly one week before Inauguration Day when Trump will leave office and Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on the steps of the Capitol.

Read the story.

753d ago / 12:39 PM UTC
754d ago / 4:47 AM UTC

Fifth GOP House member backs impeachment

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wa., tweeted Tuesday night that she believes President Trump acted against his oath of office and that she will vote Wednesday to impeach him — making her the fifth Republican to sign on to the Democratic effort to remove the president from office before his term ends.

754d ago / 3:50 AM UTC

Rep. Jim Jordan laments new House rules, 'cancel culture'

Speaking Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, lamented new rules put in place that mandate masks of the House floor and require that members enter the Capitol through metal detectors following last Wednesday's riot, saying they were passed with "less than 40 minutes of debate."

He then criticized Democrats for having "an obsession" with removing President Donald Trump from office.

"This is more than about impeaching the president of the United States," he said. "This is about canceling the president and canceling all the people you guys disagree with. And that's what scares me more than anything."

"I don't know where it ends," he continued. "The cancel culture doesn't just go after conservatives and Republicans. It won't just stop there. It'll come for us all. That's what's frightening."

Jordan, one of Trump's closest allies and staunchest defenders, then called for unity as the president faces a second impeachment for his role in egging on the crowd that rioted at the Capitol.

In response, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Mc., said: "The cancel culture of violent white supremacy tried to cancel out all of our lives last Wednesday."

Later, in delivering his closing remarks, Jordan condemned the violence and pointed to protests over the summer, saying Republicans condemned "violence" then as well.

"Democrats have been consistent in their one quest: To overturn the 2016 election," he said, adding, "Continuing this quest is not what the country needs, particularly after the year the country has lived through. So I hope we will not vote for" calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.