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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.

Acting AG: More than 500 law enforcement officers rushed to Capitol during riot

House approves resolution calling on Pence to invoke 25th Amendment

The House voted late Tuesday to encourage Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, a largely symbolic gesture that precedes a vote on impeachment Wednesday.

The measure passed along largely partisan lines 223 to 205.

Pence sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Tuesday saying he will not use the provisions of the 25th Amendment to depose Trump.

Read more on the story here.

Citing potential for violence, YouTube bans uploads on Trump's page for a 'minimum of 7 days'

Debate ends ahead of vote to invoke 25th Amendment

Dartunorro Clark

Debate on the House floor has ended ahead of a vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to remove President Trump from office. 

Republicans largely defended the president and criticized their Democratic colleagues. Prior to the vote tonight, Pence already sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling her that he does “not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation.”

GOP Rep Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., referenced the Pence letter on the floor, saying, “they may be calling on the vice president, but based on his letter, he's not answering. Everybody in this country knows that they wanted to impeach president trump on his first day in office — looks like they want to impeach him on his last day.”

House Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., said on the floor that “this is not necessary” because Pence’s answer is no and that Democrats are just trying to “pour gas on the fire.”

During the floor debate, newly-named impeachment manager Rep Neguse, D-Colo., responded to a GOP colleague, “Who summoned the mob? Who encouraged the mob? Who incited the mob? You know as well as I do that the president did.”

Rep. Sherrill claims fellow members led 'reconnaissance' groups through Capitol before riot

Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., alleged in a Facebook video on Tuesday that some members of Congress led people through the Capitol on a "reconnaissance" tour of the building one day before Wednesday's riots.

She was not clear which members she saw leading such groups on tour, or whom those groups were composed of.

"And so not only do I intend to see that the president is removed, and never runs for office again and doesn't have access to classified material," she said speaking in support of President Donald Trump's impeachment for his conduct in relation to the riot.

"I also intend to see that those members of Congress who abetted him, those members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol on Jan. 5, reconnaissance for the next day. There's members of Congress who incited this violent crowd," Sherrill said.

"I'm going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don't serve in Congress," she added.


Rep. Fred Upton becomes fourth Republican to say they'll vote to impeach Trump

Alex Moe

Michigan GOP Rep Fred Upton becomes the fourth Republican to say they will vote to impeach President Donald Trump tomorrow.

Upton's full statement:

“Today the President characterized his inflammatory rhetoric at last Wednesday’s rally as 'totally appropriate,' and he expressed no regrets for last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution.  I would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than a drawn-out impeachment process. I fear this will now interfere with important legislative business and a new Biden Administration. But it is time to say: Enough is enough."

"The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. Thus, I will vote to impeach.

Swalwell priases Capitol custodial staff, who've had to clean up after rioters

In speaking on why President Donald Trump should be removed from office via the 25th Amendment, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., hailed Capitol custodial staff, who had to clean up after the Wednesday riot.

In speaking about what Americans should unite around as the president faces his second impeachment, Swalwell said, "let's unite against Donald Trump who inspired terrorists to carry a Confederate flag into this Capitol, display a noose and desecrate the people's house."

"And let's unite for the custodial staff, largely people of color, who cleaned up after those white supremacists because they still believe in this democracy as imperfect as it was that day," he added.

Rep. Biggs, who voted to overturn election results, accuses Dems of 'stoking the fire'

NBC News

Pelosi assails Trump for 'defiling the genius of the Constitution'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tore into President Donald Trump from the House floor as it considers whether to pass a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Pelosi said Trump "incited a deadly insurrection against America" in egging on the crowd that rioted at the Capitol Wednesday and that, by doing so, he was "defiling the genius of the Constitution."

She said "the gleeful desecration of the Capitol" will "forever stain our nation's history," later praising law enforcement at the Capitol for the "valor they showed in protecting" members and staff.

Pelosi took aim at the president's conduct leading up to, during, and following the riot, first saying he "called for this seditious attack" by urging supporters to travel to Washington, march on the Capitol as it counted the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, and "fight."

As it was ongoing, Pelosi said Trump wouldn't say anything to call off the mob for hours and then said Tuesday that he was not responsible for the violence. Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Trump said, "Everybody to a 'T' thought it was totally appropriate," in reference to his speech at a Wednesday rally.

Pelosi said that if Trump's conduct amounts to an "absolute inability to discharge" his duties, and therefore He "must be removed from office immediately" via the 25th Amendment to prevent additional "deranged acts of sedition."

Pence wrote to Pelosi earlier Tuesday saying he would not invoke the 25th Amendment having assessed that he did not find it to be constitutional. The House plans to vote on impeaching Trump over his conduct on Wednesday.

Pelosi announces impeachment managers

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced nine Democratic members will serve as impeachment managers as the House readies for a second impeachment of President Donald Trump, this time for his role in Wednesday's Capitol riot.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., will serve as the lead manager. He will be joined by Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., David Cicilline, D-R.I., Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., as well as Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-U.S. Virgin Islands.

The House is voting Tuesday on a resolution asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. Pence has said he does not believe it is appropriate or constitutional to do so. The House will then vote Wednesday on impeaching the president. 

Republicans protest, circumvent security checkpoint at Capitol

Dartunorro Clark

Several Republican lawmakers complained about the extra layer of security to enter the House floor on Tuesday, which was put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after last week's deadly riot at the Capitol.

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 were among others seen not complying with police at checkpoints, or complained of its 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. Taylor refused to pass through the metal detector and argued with officers about it, according to Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. 

Lesko, in a tweet, blamed Pelosi. 

"These new provisions include searches and being wanded like criminals. We now live in Pelosi’s communist America!" she wrote. 

Click here for the full story.

Pence says invoking the 25th Amendment not 'in the best interest of our nation'

Hours ahead of a House vote on a resolution calling on him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, Vice President Mike Pence said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., that he does not believe doing so "is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution."

"Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation."

Pence said the 25th Amendment was designed to be used only in the event of presidential incapacity or disability.

"Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation," he said. "Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent."

Pence said the Trump administration is focusing its energy on "ensuring an orderly transition," saying, "now is the time to heal."

"I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment," he said as the House considers impeachment. "Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. I pledge to you that will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power. So help me God."

The House is expected to vote on the 25th Amendment resolution around 10:30 pm. ET. Pelosi said that, if passed, Pence has 24 hours to respond. But with Pence saying he will not invoke the measure, the House plans to vote Wednesday on an article of impeachment charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in Wednesday's riot.

If passed, a Senate trial would then have to take place to decide whether to convict Trump and possibly bar him from seeking elected office again.

GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene erupts at media in Capitol, calls them 'liars'

Dartunorro Clark

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., erupted at reporters on Tuesday as she was entering the Capitol building, calling them "liars."

As she was going through the magnetometer, she thanked the officers who were working but erupted when photographers began snapping photos, according to a press pool report. She then started yelling and asking what the journalists were reporting on and also where they were when people “burned buildings and looted... do you guys remember that?" she asked, an apparent reference to civil unrest this past summer.

Last week, during the violent Capitol riot that resulted in the deaths of five people, Trump supporters hurled death threats at reporters and trashed the equipment of some journalists. There was also an instance where a rioter made a noose out of the cord of a reporter's equipment. 

Taylor Greene, a businesswoman who has expressed support for the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon and been criticized for a series of racist comments, won her seat this past November. She is a Trump loyalist, who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in the Capitol building and on the floor.

The lawmaker, who was wearing a mask in this instance, continued grumbling and insulting the photographers as she went through an additional layer of security. 

"Y’all are the best, y’all are great," she said, referring to the police. "All the media and all the liars and them, they’re not great.”



McConnell said to be pleased by movement to impeach Trump over insurrection, report says

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has told associates he is pleased Democrats are moving to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in Wednesday's riot at the Capitol, The New York Times reported.

The Times added that McConnell has told these associates that he believes Trump has committed impeachable offenses and that impeaching him will make it easier to rid the GOP of Trump, people familiar with his thinking told the publication.

NBC News has not yet confirmed McConnell's thinking on the matter.

So far, a handful of House Republicans have announced support for Trump's impeachment, which will be voted on there Wednesday night. Among them is Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo, who is the third-highest ranking House Republican.

Harris on impeachment: 'Congress is going to make its decision'

Deepa Shivaram

In her first comments about the growing calls for a second impeachment trial for President Trump, Vice President-elect Harris said, “the Congress is going to make its decision."

"As an incoming administration, our first priority has to be to get control of this pandemic and get people back to work and get kids back to school, and that's our focus," she told CBS news.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger will vote to impeach Trump, citing Capitol riot

Dartunorro Clark

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.,  said Tuesday he supports impeaching President Trump over his role in inciting last week's deadly riot at the Capitol.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection," Kinzinger, who previously supported invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, said. "He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions--the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch--are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?

He added, “I will vote in favor of impeachment.”

Kinzinger joins a steadily growing list of Republicans coming out in support of impeaching the president the week before President-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in. Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and John Katko of New York also support impeaching the president. 

Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, says she will vote to impeach Trump

Dartunorro Clark

Rep. Liz Cheney added her name to a short but growing list of Republicans denouncing President Trump and supporting his impeachment or removal from office after last week's violent siege at the U.S. Capitol. 

"This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic," Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said. 

"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough," she continued. "The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."

Cheney, a frequent critic of Trump and his rhetoric, added, "There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President."

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., also announced on Tuesday that will vote to impeach Trump. Last week, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., became the first Republican to say the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Trump from office. 

Armed DHS agents were on standby near Capitol riot but weren't deployed till too late

As a violent mob of Trump supporters outnumbered Capitol Police and stormed the Capitol, approximately 50 uniformed, armed personnel from the Department of Homeland Security stood inside a federal building just down the street waiting on a call to be deployed, according to two current DHS officials and one former DHS official.

But while the violence escalated, the call to deploy to the Capitol did not come in time to help.

“They just stayed there the entire time, waiting,” the former official familiar with the events told NBC News.

The roughly 50 DHS personnel, all from various parts of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, were waiting in a staging area inside the Ronald Reagan Building, just 13 blocks from the Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Read the story.

'Sedition and insurrection': Joint Chiefs of Staff condemn Capitol riot

The Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday condemned last week's riot at the Capitol, calling it a "direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building and our constitutional process" in a memo to the U.S. armed forces.

"We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law," the eight military leaders led by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman, said. "The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection."

"As service members, we must embody the values of the nation," they continued. "We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law."

The joint chiefs added that President-elect Joe Biden "will be inaugurated" on Jan. 20 "and will become our 46th" president, noting that his electoral victory has been "confirmed by the states and the courts."

GOP Rep. John Katko says he will vote to impeach Trump

Dartunorro Clark

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., announced on Tuesday that will vote to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting a violent riot last week at the U.S. Capitol — becoming the first Republican to support the move. 

Katko said he felt compelled to hold Trump accountable, according to his statement. “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 said. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president. was first to report Katko's position.

Last week, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., became the first Republican to say that he believes the 25th Amendment should be invoked to remove Trump from office. 

The House is expected to vote on an impeachment resolution Wednesday, a week before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.  More than 200 Democratic members support the impeachment resolution. In his first remarks to reporters since the riot at the Capitol, which left five dead, Trump criticized Democrats on Tuesday for their plans to move forward with impeachment and urged his supporters not to engage in violence. 

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

FBI agents are scouring more than 100,000 digital media files, and federal prosecutors have spent hours presenting felony cases to a Washington, D.C. grand jury, as they seek to bring to justice those who committed crimes in the riot at the Capitol, authorities said Tuesday.

In a telephone briefing with reporters, Acting D.C. U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin and Steven D'Antuono, head of the FBI's Washington field office, discussed the sprawling criminal investigation designed to catch those who broke the law, but said little about the intelligence and security failures that allowed the Capitol to be overrun.

They said the FBI had opened 160 case files, and "this is only the beginning," as Sherwin put it, outlining a large number of serious crimes at issue that carry decades-long prison terms The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating, for example, who put two pipe bombs outside the Capitol with timers and detonators.

Sherwin said the diversity of criminal conduct being examined is "mind blowing," including everything from trespassing, theft of mail, and assaults on officers to theft of national security information, civil rights crimes and felony murder.

Read the story.

Amazon removes QAnon merchandise from its marketplace

Christian Peña

Amazon said Monday it was working to remove products promoting QAnon, a conspiracy group tied to the violent mob that attacked the Capitol last week. 

Supporters of the disproven and discredited far-right group could once have chosen from T-shirts with the slogan "We Are Q,” baseball caps, self-published books, and even baby apparel with the face of President Donald Trump inside the letter Q.

Amazon said vendors who attempt to continue to sell such products could be banned from its site, citing its terms of service, which prohibit products that “promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence toward any person or group.”

Read the full story here.

Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank cut future ties with Trump, after Capitol riots

In the wake of the deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week, Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank have said they are cutting future ties with President Donald Trump.

That could leave the president personally on the hook for millions of dollars when the loans he has personally guaranteed come due in the next two years.

Trump has two outstanding mortgages with Deutsche Bank for a total of $340 million. 

The German bank has weathered a rash of negative publicity after a series of investigations connected to Trump's finances, and was allegedly looking for a way to conclude its relationship with the president.

In December, two of Trump's personal bankers at Deutsche Bank who were responsible for managing hundreds of millions extended to him over the years, resigned. The reasons for the resignations were not clear.

Read the full story here.

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

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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

Randi Richardson

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

Haley Talbot

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

Alex Moe

Kasie Hunt

Alex Moe and Kasie Hunt

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

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Brad Schneider
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.

GOP rep. booted from Harvard Institute of Politics advisory committee

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., has been removed from the Harvard Institute of Politics' senior advisory committee because of her role in endorsing false claims of election fraud, according to the university

Stefanik, a vocal ally of President Donald Trump, was asked by Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf to resign from the committee, but "she declined to step aside, and I told her that I would therefore remove her from the IOP’s Senior Advisory Committee at this time," he wrote.

Elmendorf said Stefanik made public statements endorsing baseless election fraud conspiracy theories that "do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen." He noted that the lawmaker, a Harvard alum, has been involved with the nonpartisan institute, which was founded to encourage Harvard students to pursue careers in politics, for "a long period, beginning with her role as a student leader (she was in the class of 2006) and continuing to her mentoring students and strengthening the IOP’s programming in many ways." 

Before the Capitol riot, Stefanik endorsed Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, and she proceeded to vote to disqualify electors from the state of Pennsylvania after the pro-Trump mob's violent attack.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Stefanik said it is a "badge of honor to join the long line of leaders who have been boycotted, protested, and canceled by colleges and universities across America."

White House set to get deep-cleaning ahead of Biden move-in

Geoff Bennett

Daniel Barnesis reporting from the federal courthouse.

Geoff Bennett and Daniel Barnes

The White House, which has been a Covid-19 hot spot during the pandemic, is set to receive a thorough deep-cleaning ahead of the Bidens moving in on Jan. 20.

Government contracts and purchase orders reviewed by NBC News show additional inaugural cleaning totaling nearly half a million dollars. It includes:

  • A $127,249 contract for "2021 Inaugural Cleaning."
  • $44,038 for carpet cleaning  
  • $29,523 for “curtain cleaning” in the East Wing, West Wing and Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
  • $115,363 for "2021 Presidential Inauguration and Transition Carpet Replacement and Installation to correct the current floor condition of selected interior floors for various offices" within the East Wing, West Wing and the EEOB.

This top-to-bottom cleaning is above and beyond what typically occurs during the well-choreographed residence changeover conducted by White House ushers, butlers and housekeepers.

The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to NBC’s request for comment.

CNN first reported the additional cleaning contracts.

Michigan's attorney general warns state Capitol is 'not safe'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel warned Tuesday that her state's capitol building in Lansing, Michigan is not safe.

In a series of tweets, Nessel said that a new rule passed by Michigan State Capitol Commission banning the open carry of firearms doesn't require a mechanism to confirm that people carrying a concealed firearm are licensed to do so. 

"That means anyone-irrespective of criminal history, membership with an anti-government org, or stated intention to harm government employees-can still enter the Capitol fully locked and loaded with firearms or explosive devices hidden by clothing, backpacks, etc.," she said. 

Nessel said her job is not to provide people with a false sense of security, and the situation is not safe. This comes after the FBI issued a bulletin warning about violence at Capitols across the country, as well as in Washington, D.C. 

Army investigating officer for attending pro-Trump rally in D.C.

An Army officer is under investigation for joining last week's rally in support of President Donald Trump and the subsequent deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to an Army spokesperson.

The woman, Capt. Emily Rainey, 30, a psychological operations officer stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, told The Associated Press that she led 100 members of a conservative advocacy group in North Carolina to Washington on Wednesday "to stand against election fraud."

"I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights," Rainey told the AP on Sunday.

The Army spokesperson, Maj. Dan Lessard, said the Army had opened a new investigation into her participation. "We are aware of her presence at the event, and we are investigating her involvement to determine the exact extent," Lessard said. "It's not clear at this time that she has violated any laws or regulations by her presence or actions. That's why we investigate to determine the facts."

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Second lawmaker tests positive for Covid after Capitol lockdown

Overnight, a second lawmaker said she had tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering in place with lawmakers who refused to wear masks during the violent rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat, said in a statement early Tuesday that she had been quarantining since the attack and learned of her positive test result Monday night.

“Too many Republicans have refused to take this pandemic and virus seriously, and in doing so, they endanger everyone around them," she said in a statement. "Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack."

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House Dems briefed about threats to the Capitol following attack


Kasie Hunt

Alex Moe

Kasie Hunt, Alex Moe and Dareh Gregorian

House Democrats have been briefed on security concerns including specific threats to the Capitol following the attack last week, three sources familiar with the briefing told NBC News. 

It was "chilling and horrific," said one member of Congress on the briefing call, which was conducted by the acting U.S. Capitol Police chief, acting U.S. Capitol deputy chief, acting House sergeant at arms and other security officials, including those directly involved with the Jan. 20 inauguration planning.

Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., provided some details on the briefing to CNN on Tuesday morning, saying, "They're talking about 4,000 armed patriots to surround the capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in. They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don't." 

"So, this is an organized group that has a plan," he said. "They are committed to doing what they're doing because I think in their minds, you know, they are patriots and they're talking about 1776, and so this is now a contest of wills. We are not negotiating with or reasoning with these people. They have to be prosecuted. They have to be stopped. And unfortunately that includes the president. Which is why he needs to be impeached and removed from office."

The officials in the briefing also provided updates about the newly constructed perimeter around the Capitol and the increasing number of National Guard troops securing it. They also answered questions regarding security for lawmakers traveling from their districts but also their travel within Washington, D.C., to the Capitol, according to a source on the call. 

There were also questions about increased threats that members may face as a result of the upcoming impeachment vote on Wednesday. Democratic members were reminded by the House Administration Committee that they can use government money to protect themselves, which is included in the Members' Congressional Handbook. "The purchase of a bulletproof vest is a reimbursable expense,” the guidance reads. 

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Comey says FBI warning about possible violence at 50 state capitols is 'very, very unusual'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Former FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that an FBI bulletin about potential violence at 50 state capitol buildings is "very, very unusual."

"Law enforcement definitely can handle these kinds of riots, attacks and civil disturbances, if they have the information they need and they prepare. This is something law enforcement was built for," he said in an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show.

Reacting to the storming of the Capitol last Wednesday, Comey said, "I was also really angry about the failure to secure in the face of a threat that was obvious on a date that's been marked for 130 years, Jan. 6. You knew it was coming. You knew it was literally coming to you from the president's rally walking down Pennsylvania Avenue — very, very upsetting to watch it happen anyway."

Asked whether the Jan. 20 inauguration should be changed so that Biden doesn't do the traditional walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, Comey said, "I don't think it should be changed. It was important for all of us as Americans after 9/11 not to let terrorists win, an expression I'm sure you remember, by altering our lives, our national life, in a fundamental way."

'Several' Capitol police officers suspended over pro-Trump riot


Alex Moe

Haley Talbot

Tim Stelloh, Alex Moe and Haley Talbot

"Several" U.S. Capitol Police officers were suspended and at least 10 more are under investigation over the deadly pro-Trump insurrection last week, officials said Monday.

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said the suspensions occurred amid an internal probe. Video and other evidence appears to show that some officers and officials violated department policies, Pittman said.

Pittman did not provide additional about the inquiry or specify how many people had been suspended.

Earlier Monday, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who chairs one of the committees that oversees the Capitol Police, told reporters that one of the suspended officers appeared to have taken a selfie with members of the mob. Another officer was suspended after he was seen wearing a Make American Great Again hat and directing people inside the building, Ryan said.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he won't accept Presidential Medal of Freedom

The Associated Press

Tim Stelloh and The Associated Press

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick declined to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday after last week's deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In a statement, Belichick said he was flattered to be offered the medal, the country's highest civilian honor, but he said the "tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award."

Belichick, who has coached the Patriots for 21 years and has won six Super Bowls, said that "above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy."

He said "conversations" and "actions" about "social justice, equality and human rights" earlier in the season were among the most rewarding in his career.

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Capitol police officer praised as hero for diverting mob from Senate chamber

Randi Richardson

A Capitol Police officer is being praised as a hero for his actions during last week's unrest at the U.S. Capitol after a viral video showed him diverting rioters from the Senate chamber, where lawmakers were taking cover.

The mob, which formed to protest President-elect Joe Biden's win over President Donald Trump, was steps from the Senate doors when an officer, who is Black, confronted the group's leader and walked the other way, prompting a chase when all of them followed him.

The officer received widespread praise on social media, some of it from lawmakers and journalists caught in the fray.

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Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam accuses West of hypocrisy after Capitol riot

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam chided Western politicians on Tuesday for condemning the Capitol riots but not protests in the territory.

"Some overseas commentators or politicians were sort of condoning or encouraging these sorts of activities under the guise of democracy, but when the same thing seemed to happen in their own country, they immediately took a very different approach to condemn the violence," Lam told reporters at a weekly press conference.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the streets in 2019 to protest against a controversial extradition bill. The sustained protests then became more general pro-democracy demonstrations.

That July, pro-democracy protesters broke into Hong Kong's legislative building, spraying graffiti on the walls and hoisting the flag that the city used before it was governed by China. 

Last week, Hong Kong police arrested over 50 pro-democracy figures for allegedly violating a stringent new national security law in a sweeping crackdown on opposition.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been a critic of Hong Kong’s crackdowns on opposition figures, and said in December a new national security law "makes a mockery of justice.”

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.

FBI has received more than 70,000 tips after Capitol riot

The FBI on Monday said it has received more than 70,000 tips and other information as it seeks to arrest those who took part in a pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

The storming of the Capitol after President Donald Trump encouraged supporters to march there has evoked widespread outrage and calls for the president's impeachment.

The 70,000 tips include, photos and video, the FBI said.

In addition to the violence at the Capitol, two pipe bombs were left at the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee headquarters, which is nearby. They did not explode. The FBI released more photos Monday seeking to find those responsible.

More than 90 arrests of people allegedly connected to Wednesday's events in the capital had been made as of Sunday, according to NBC News' count. 

Twitter has suspended 70,000 accounts since riot

Twitter has suspended more than 70,000 accounts since Friday in the wake of the deadly riots by a pro-Trump mob at the U.S. Capitol, the social media company said Monday.

The company said many of the people who had accounts suspended had multiple accounts, which drove up the numbers.

"These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service," Twitter said in Monday's statement.

Twitter last week permanently suspended President Donald Trump's Twitter account after it said he used language that was "being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol" and other issues. Five people died as a result of the violence at the Capitol, including a Capitol Police officer