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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."

The GOP impeachment defectors by the numbers

NBC News Political Unit

WASHINGTON — Ten House Republicans voted to impeach President Trump on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about them by the numbers: 

Less than one percentage point: The closest margin of victory in 2020 for any of those 10, for Rep. David Valadao, who won his California seat back from Democrat TJ Cox after being defeated by a narrow margin in 2018.

44 percentage points: The widest margin of victory in the 2020 general election for any of those 10, for Wyoming at-large Rep. Liz Cheney.

Eight out of 10: The number of House Republicans voting for impeachment who won their 2020 general election by more than 10 percentage points.

Image: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shows the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump after signing it in an engrossment ceremony
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shows the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump after signing it in an engrossment ceremony, at the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 13, 2021.Leah Millis / Reuters

Eight out of 10: The number of House Republicans voting for impeachment whose congressional districts were won by Donald Trump.

Three out of 10: The number of House Republicans voting for impeachment whose states (Washington and California) have a nonpartisan top-two primary process.

1: The number of people in American history to successfully impeach two presidents (Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton, who voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton, and then to impeach Trump on Wednesday. Upton did not support the first impeachment of Trump.)

1: The number of House Republicans voting for impeachment who also objected to certification of the electoral votes last week.

On a historical note, 46 members who voted Wednesday were also serving during the impeachment of former President Clinton. Of those, nine are Republicans who voted for impeaching Clinton but voted no on impeaching Trump (the other two Republicans who served during both impeachments are Upton, who voted to impeach both, and Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who did not vote on Wednesday and has Covid-19). And 35 are Democrats who opposed impeaching Clinton but voted to impeach Trump. 

Walkie-talkie app Zello, used by rioters at Capitol, deletes more than 2,000 channels

Social media "walkie-talkie" app, Zello, has deleted more than 2,000 channels "associated with militias and other militarized social movements" after it discovered it had been used by rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In a blog post Zello said it was “with deep sadness and anger” that it had discovered evidence of the app being “misused by some individuals while storming the United States Capitol building.”

Zello added it was concerned the app could be used to organize violent protests and disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

"We take the issue of violence and other kinds of wrongdoing on our platform just as seriously as we cherish the ideals of free speech," said the company behind the app, which claims to have 120 million users worldwide.

Sen. Tom Cotton says he opposes an impeachment trial in the Senate

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Wednesday that he opposes holding an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump because he will no longer be in office when it would conclude. 

"The House has passed an article of impeachment against the president, but the Senate under its rules and precedents cannot start and conclude a fair trial before the president leaves office next week," Cotton said. "Under these circumstances, the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former president. 

"The Founders designed the impeachment process as a way to remove officeholders from public office — not an inquest against private citizens," Cotton said in a statement. "The Constitution presupposes an office from which an impeached officeholder can be removed."

He urged Congress to "concentrate entirely for the next week on conducting a safe and orderly transfer of power."

Impeachment 2.0: What happens next?

Steve Kornacki

One week after a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Trump is the first president to be impeached twice.

Host Steve Kornacki talks with Leigh Ann Caldwell, NBC News' Capitol Hill correspondent, who was in the Capitol on the day of the riots, about the House vote and what a Senate trial might look like after Joe Biden is sworn in as president next week.

Click here to download the full episode.

Biden wants Senate to take up impeachment, Covid-19 relief while dealing with impeachment

Dartunorro Clark

President-elect Joe Biden said the Senate should "find a way" to take up President Donald Trump's impeachment trial while also working on other issues, such as Covid-19 relief and confirming his Cabinet. 

"Last week, we saw an unprecedented assault on our democracy," Biden said. "It was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited to this violence by President Trump. It was an armed insurrection against the United States of America. And those responsible must be held accountable." 

But, Biden said, as the country remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy, he wants the Senate to work on impeachment and policy. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has signaled that the chamber might not meet until after Biden is inaugurated. 

"I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their constitutional responsibilities on the impeachment trial while also working on the other urgent business of this nation, from confirmations to key posts ... to getting our vaccine program on track and to getting our economy going again," he said. 

Pelosi announces heavy fines for refusing to follow new House chamber screening protocols

Alex Moe

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that heavy fines will be imposed on House members who refuse to follow the new screening protocols.  

"Many House Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our Congressional community, including the Capitol Police, safe," she said in a statement.

"The House will soon move forward with a rule change imposing fines on those who refuse to abide by these protections. The fine for the first offense will be $5,000 and $10,000 for the second offense. The fines will be deducted directly from Members' salaries by the Chief Administrative Officer," she said.

"It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People's House must and will be safe," Pelosi said.

Twitter's @Jack on Trump's ban

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday defended the company's decision last week to permanently ban President Donald Trump.

"After a clear warning we'd take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter," Dorsey said in a thread on Twitter, talking about the ban for the first time.

He said the circumstances were "extraordinary and untenable," forcing Twitter staff members to put all of their focus on public safety.

Click here to read the full story.

Snapchat to ban Trump on Inauguration Day

Dylan Byers

Snapchat said Wednesday that it will permanently ban President Donald Trump's account after what it described as his repeated attempts to violate the company's policies prohibiting the spread of misinformation, hate speech and the glorification or incitement of violence.

The ban will go into effect Jan. 20, the day Joe Biden is to be inaugurated as president. The company had indefinitely suspended his account in the wake of last week's mob attack on Capitol Hill.

"In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account," a company spokesperson said.

The company says that Trump tried to violate the company's policies dozens of times and that in each instance the content was immediately removed.

Twitter has also permanently banned Trump's personal account, while Facebook has indefinitely suspended his account at least through Inauguration Day.

Trump impeachment faces uphill climb in Senate. It could all come down to McConnell.

Kasie Hunt

Sahil Kapur and Kasie Hunt

WASHINGTON — Democrats will need at least 17 Republican senators to break ranks to convict President Donald Trump after he was impeached Wednesday, a high hurdle that would require changing the minds of lawmakers who have stood behind him.

That is more than the 10 House Republicans who broke with Trump — the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history.

Even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., publicly flirts with supporting convicting Trump for his role in the deadly attack on the Capitol that targeted him and his staff, getting a third of the GOP Senate caucus to vote to convict will be no easy task.

Read more here.

Pelosi signs article of impeachment, hails its bipartisan passage

Saying she was doing so "sadly and with a heart broken," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially signed the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, paving the way for it to be sent to the Senate. 

Pelosi, D-Calif. — speaking at the lectern that one of the rioters made off with during the storming of the Capitol last week — noted that Trump was impeached with bipartisan support. Ten Republicans voted to impeach him.

"Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States," Pelosi said. 

She was flanked by the House managers — the lawmakers who will serve as Trump's prosecutors in the Senate — as she signed the document.

The trial process essentially begins when the managers take the article of impeachment over to the Senate. It's unclear when that will be. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., soon to be the Senate's majority leader, called for the trial to begin as soon as possible, but the current majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the trial would have to start after Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

Trump releases new video condemning Capitol riot — but does not mention impeachment

Dartunorro Clark

President Donald Trump released a video Wednesday to offer his most forceful condemnation yet of last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump did not mention his impeachment in the taped message, which was released on the White House Twitter account after his personal account was suspended.

"I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement," Trump said. 

"No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag," he added. "No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans — if you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you're attacking it, and you are attacking our country."

His remarks come after 10 House Republicans voted with Democrats in favor of a single impeachment article, which passed on Wednesday.

In the video, Trump also discussed "unprecedented assault on free speech," referring to his ban from several social media sites.

He closed the remarks by calling on Americans to come together.  

Moving day approaching at the Trump White House

Stacks of empty boxes were delivered to the White House grounds Wednesday while the clock continues to tick down for the Trump administration.

The pallets of cardboard boxes were delivered to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building as the Biden administration is set to take office in a week, on Jan. 20. Most of the offices in the building are for White House staff members.

The Biden administration plans on a deep cleaning of the White House itself.

Read more about moving day.

Image: Workers unload pallets of unfolded boxes at the Executive Office Building on the White House grounds in Washington
Workers unload pallets of unfolded boxes at the Executive Office Building on the White House grounds on Jan. 13, 2021.Erin Scott / Reuters

Schumer presses for swift Senate trial

Dartunorro Clark

House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pressed for a Senate trial in a statement Wednesday after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riot last week. 

"Donald Trump has deservedly become the first president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over," he said. "The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial and hold a vote on his conviction."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said no trial would happen immediately. He said in a statement that the soonest the chamber could take up the issue would be after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week. 

Schumer disagreed and signaled that a trial could happen in the Senate after Trump leaves office. 

"A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate Majority Leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19th," he said. "But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again."

New York man accused of making online threats against Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock

Federal prosecutors Wednesday brought weapons charges against a New York man accused of posting threats on his Parler account the day of the Capitol riot, including statements about killing Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

"Dead men can't pass s--- laws," the man, Eduard Florea, is alleged to have written on his Parler account before it was shut down Jan. 6, according to Brooklyn federal prosecutors. 

He also wrote that "the time for peace and civility is over" and that "3 cars of armed patriots heading into DC from NY," prosecutors said. 

During a search of Florea's home Tuesday night, federal agents found about 1,000 .22 caliber Winchester hollow point rounds, 25 12-gauge Remington slug rounds and a single .300-caliber Winchester Magnum round, according to his criminal complaint.

Florea, who was charged in 2014 with possessing illegal guns, was charged with being a felon who transported or possessed ammunition across state lines. He was remanded Wednesday after his initial court appearance. His attorney declined to comment.

Must-see moments: Trump impeached for second time

McConnell remains undecided on convicting Trump in Senate trial

Dartunorro Clark

Kasie Hunt

Dartunorro Clark and Kasie Hunt

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his GOP colleagues in a note Wednesday afternoon that he remains undecided whether he'll vote to convict President Donald Trump at his coming impeachment trial.

"While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell said.

Simply being open to voting to convict is significant for McConnell, who denounced Trump's first impeachment as a political exercise with "zero chance" of removing him.

On Wednesday, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach the president as the House approved a single article of impeachment, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in encouraging the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. He is the first president to be impeached twice.

McConnell said in a statement after the vote that there would be no way to conclude a Senate trial before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next Wednesday and that the trial process would begin at the first regular meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, after the Senate receives the article from the House. For that reason, McConnell said, he thought it best for Congress and the Trump administration to spend the next week ensuring "a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration."

Read the story.

10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump

When all was said and done, 10 Republican House members voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump — the most bipartisan support for an impeachment in U.S. history.

While several GOP House members gave statements ahead of the vote saying they would vote to impeach Trump, including No. 3 Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, several others didn't make their intentions known ahead of time.

By the time the speaker's gavel made the vote official, the number of Republicans supporting impeachment had climbed to 10 — the most from a president's party during an impeachment vote.

The other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump were John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and David Valadao of California.

Meanwhile, in Trumpworld ...

Peter Alexander, Kelly O'Donnell and Kristen Welker

President Donald Trump awarded the National Medal of Arts on Wednesday to country singer Toby Keith and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs, an administration official told NBC News.

It was a somewhat bizarre split-screen moment, given that the ceremony was happening at the same time the impeachment proceedings were underway.  

House impeaches Trump for inciting deadly riot at U.S. Capitol

The House voted 232-197 Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, citing his role in inciting a deadly riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol who sought to overturn his election defeat.

The article of impeachment gained bipartisan support after 10 Republicans broke with Trump and joined Democrats in seeking his removal from office.

The Senate, which has the constitutional authority to conduct a trial and remove an impeached president from office, is not expected to return to Washington until the day before Trump's final day in office.

Hope Hicks leaves the White House

Today was Hope Hicks’ last day at the White House, an administration official confirms. Her departure is not related to the attack on the Capitol, per this official. 

Last week, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News Hicks was planning to leave ahead of the inauguration – which, they say, has been her plan since President Trump’s election defeat. Her decision, both sources say, was made before this week’s events.

Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller charged in Capitol riot

Two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Klete Keller was charged in a federal D.C. court Wednesday over his alleged participation in last week's insurrection a the U.S. Capitol.

Keller, 38, was charged with obstructing law enforcement, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct, according to a criminal complaint.

video posted on Twitter by a Townhall Media reporter showed Keller inside the Capitol with a group of President Donald Trump's supporters. In the video, the crowd pushed against police officers who were trying to clear the Rotunda.

Keller was seen wearing a jacket with the letters "USA" on the back.

Click here to read the full story.

Image: Klete Keller of the U.S. after finishing second in the Men's 200m Freestyle heats during the XII FINA World Championships
Klete Keller of the U.S. after finishing second in the Men's 200m Freestyle heats during the XII FINA World Championships on March 26, 2007 in Melbourne, Australia.Vladimir Rys / Bongarts/Getty Images file

Facebook says it sees increase in calls to violence in the U.S.

Facebook has seen an increase in activity praising last week's violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol and growing signs of possible future violence, a spokesperson said Wednesday. 

The news was first reported by Reuters

The company has been repeatedly blocking new "flyers," or images with text, many of which call for Americans to bring weapons to several planned gatherings at state capitols and Washington, D.C. in the next week.

Facebook has also fielded an increased number of legal requests from the FBI for the data of users suspected of storming the Capitol, the spokesperson said.

Rep. Peter Meijer becomes 7th House Republican to back impeachment

Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., announced Wednesday he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump, becoming the seventh House Republican to do so.

"We saw profiles in courage during the assault on the Capitol. Police officers, badly outnumbered, putting their lives on the line to save others," Meijer said. "Members of Congress barricading doors and caring for colleagues. A vice president who fearlessly remained in the Capitol and refused to bow to the mob. "

"There was no such courage from our president who betrayed and misled millions with claims of a 'stolen election' and encouraged loyalists that 'if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country any more,'" he continued. "The one man who could have restored order, prevented the deaths of five Americans including a Capitol Police officer, and avoided the desecration of our Capitol shrank from leadership when our country needed it most. "

Meijer joins Reps. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., John Katko, R-N.Y., and Fred Upton, R-Mich.

Stun guns, 'stinger whips' and a crossbow: What police found on the Capitol protesters

Not long after security forces cleared the last of the pro-Trump mob from the Capitol, a police officer stationed nearby spotted a “suspicious male in a white passenger van with red spray paint on the side.” The Ford Econoline 150 had Georgia plates and a red MAGA hat on the dashboard.

“I’m one of these,” the man said to the officer as he pointed to the hat, according to a police report.

The man, Grant Moore of Buford, Ga., went on to say that he was supporting the Chinese who were “currently protesting around the city,” the report says. Whatever that meant, Moore, 65, was soon placed under arrest on weapons charges.

Inside his vehicle was a book bag containing a semi-automatic handgun with a fully-loaded 6-round magazine, the police report says. The officer also found three other magazines inside the bag and 12 loose rounds in one of the van’s front compartments.

The guns and ammunition were among an unusual collection of weapons the police seized from protesters who flooded into D.C. to support President Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Read the story.

House vote to impeach Trump for a second time begins

Alex Moe

The House is voting now to impeach President Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors for the second time. This will make Trump the first president in history to be impeached twice. This time, the House is voting to impeach him on one article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” following the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. 

This vote will take roughly 40 minutes or so because of Covid-19 precautions.

We know of at least 7 Republicans that plan to vote yes but there could be more.

Trump monitoring proceedings from the White House

President Trump has been monitoring the impeachment proceedings largely from the Oval Office, and in a few instances from the dining room, according to an administration official. 

 A few more officials have trickled in throughout the day, but for the most part the West Wing has been sparsely-staffed.  

"As much as we can, we are focusing on the transition, highlighting success of the last four years, and continuing the work of government until the next administration takes over,” an administration official tells NBC News. 

There has been outreach between the White House and Republican leadership on the Hill in recent days, the official said, but did not give specific details. 

When pressed on why there is no clear legal or communications strategy, the official said the reason, in part, is that the impeachment proceedings came together so quickly. While the president and his allies are dismissing the impeachment as a politically motivated “witch hunt,” concerns are starting to set in given the growing number of GOP defections.


Houston officer relieved of duty after taking part it in riot

A member of the Houston Police Department traveled was in the Capitol during the violent riot, according to Chief Art Acevedo. 

The HPD says the officer has been relieved of duty and has been given a 48-hour notice of a disciplinary hearing. 

Acevedo said, “I can tell you there is a high probability this individual will be charged with federal charges, and rightfully so.” 

“So far we believe the individual traveled alone”, Acevedo said and identifies him as an 18 year veteran of the HPD with no history of disciplinary issues with the department.

Rep. Pressley's husband tests positive for Covid after sheltering during Capitol attack

Rep. Ayanna Pressley said Wednesday that her husband, Conan Harris, has tested positive for Covid-19, just days after he sheltered in place with lawmakers who refused to wear masks during the violent rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Harris, Pressley said in a statement, received a positive test Tuesday night and is showing “mild” symptoms and is in isolation.

Harris, she said, had accompanied her to Washington, D.C. for her swearing-in ceremony last week and was with her in the Capitol complex throughout the January 6 attack, including inside the secure location where lawmakers were during the attack, and inside which several Republican lawmakers adamantly refused to wear a mask.

As of Tuesday, three lawmakers had tested positive for Covid-19 after the riots.

“As my colleagues and I sought shelter from the white supremacist mob that violently attacked our seat of government, we were greeted by a different threat—one posed by my callous Republican colleagues who, in this crowded and confined space, repeatedly refused to wear masks when offered. Their arrogant disregard for the lives of others is infuriating, but not surprising, and we are seeing the consequences of it daily, as several of my colleagues—and now my husband—test positive for COVID-19,” Pressley said in her statement. “I am deeply outraged by the criminal negligence of the current administration in responding to this crisis, along with their accomplices in Congress who continue to downplay the severity of a virus that has claimed the lives of over 380,000 Americans.”


Pepperoni or cheese? Lawmakers deliver pizza to National Guard

Reps. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla., hand pizzas to members of the National Guard gathered at the Capitol Visitor Center on Wednesday.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

McConnell undecided on conviction

Kasie Hunt

McConnell told his GOP colleagues in a note this afternoon he remains undecided on whether he’ll vote to convict Trump.

“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote to his colleagues. 


Ivanka Trump not expected to attend inauguration

Ivanka Trump is not expected to attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration next week, according to a White House official. While she respects his transition to power, according to this official, the official said children of outgoing presidents do not always attend.

President Trump has also said he will not attend the ceremony.

Rep. Chip Roy says Trump's conduct was impeachable, but opposes the article

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said on the House floor that Trump's conduct in pressuring the vice president to overturn the election impeachable, but that he opposes the article of impeachment.

"The president of the United States deserves universal condemnation for what was clearly, in my opinion, impeachable conduct, pressuring the vice president to violate his oath to the Constitution," Roy said.

He said he is against the impeachment measure because it makes an issue of political speech. 

House Republicans put divides over Trump's culpability on clear display

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Ben Kamisar and Leigh Ann Caldwell

As the debate unfolded on the U.S. House floor ahead of the vote to impeach President Trump for inciting last week's riots that engulfed the Capitol, the growing divide within the Republican caucus over the president's actions was on clear display.

Many Republicans mounted little defense of the president, in stark reversal from last year’s impeachment debate. Instead, much of the Republican criticism focused on process complaints and predictions that impeaching Trump would only inflame tensions.

And while some Trump allies did defend the president directly, it was far from the centerpiece of the GOP argument.

Read more about the GOP's defense here.

GOP Rep. wears 'censored' mask while speaking on House floor

Alana Satlin

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask on the House floor, including last week before the Capitol riots, showed up for Wednesday's vote wearing a mask that said the word "censored" on it. She then delivered a speech that aired on multiple news outlets.

Image: Marjorie Taylor Greene
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., walks on Capitol Hill on Jan. 13, 2021.Susan Walsh / AP

Pelosi to speak at lectern commandeered during Capitol riots

Trump releases tweet-sized statement urging demonstrations to remain peaceful

President Donald Trump released a tweet-sized statement through the press office on Wednesday, which was promptly read by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on the House floor. 

Trump wrote: “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

The Trump campaign also sent the statement to supporters over text message.

To resounding applause, Rep. Newhouse becomes 6th House GOPer to support impeachment

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said on Wednesday he would vote yes on impeachment, joining the five other House Republicans who have said they will vote to impeach the president.

"The president took an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it. That's why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment," Newhouse said, to cheers from Democrats in the chamber.

In a statement released shortly before his brief remarks, Newhouse said he believed the nation and the Republic were in jeopardy if Congress did not "rise to this occasion."

He continued: “A vote against this impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital."

'I'm not going anywhere': Cheney responds to calls for her ouster as part of GOP leadership

Kasie Hunt

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Wednesday that she has no plans to heed calls for her to step down as the third-ranking Republican in the House after backing Trump's impeachment.

"I'm not going anywhere. This is a vote of conscience," Cheney told a member of the press pool on Capitol Hill. "It's one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the Civil War, constitutional crisis. That's what we need to be focused on. That's where our efforts and attention need to be."


McCarthy says Trump 'bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in remarks on the House floor that Trump is to blame for last Wednesday's attack on the Capitol — but he shouldn't be impeached for it. 

"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding," McCarthy said on the House floor before the impeachment vote. 

McCarthy, however, said he opposes impeaching Trump, suggesting the censure of the president and a bipartisan commission to investigate the events leading up to the riot might be the better options. 

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.

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.

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McConnell rejects request to hold impeachment trial before inauguration


Kasie Hunt

Frank Thorp Vproducer and off-air reporter

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Kasie Hunt, Frank Thorp V, Julie Tsirkin and Leigh Ann Caldwell

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. 

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.

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'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.

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."

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

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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.

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.

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.”

Pelosi thanks troops stationed outside the Capitol

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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

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

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.

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

Randi Richardson

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.

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."

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.

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.

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

Putting Trump’s House GOP defectors into historical context

Mark Murray

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?

Hoyer says House will send article of impeachment to Senate immediately

Leigh Ann Caldwell

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.

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.

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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

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.

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De Blasio announces NYC severs all contracts with Trump Organization

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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.”

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."

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Republicans protest, circumvent new metal detectors inside Capitol after riot


Dartunorro Clark

Alex Moe

Haley Talbot

Dartunorro Clark, Alex Moe and Haley Talbot

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.

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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.

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House poised to impeach Trump for second time

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

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.

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Fifth GOP House member backs impeachment

Alex Moe

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.

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.