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Trump may finally face real consequences for his actions, but it's up to the GOP

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the House Chamber during a reconvening of a joint session of Congress
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the House Chamber during a reconvening of a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans now have a decision to make: What consequence should there be for President Trump’s actions and words that led to a violent insurrection at the Capitol last week?

As House Democrats move forward first with a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and then with impeachment if that’s not successful, the GOP is divided into three camps.

A handful of congressional Republicans — like Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. — want Trump out of office. ASAP.

“I think the best way for our country … is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible,” Toomey said on “Meet the Press” yesterday, though he argued that there isn’t enough time to pursue impeachment and a Senate conviction.

A larger group of Republicans — like Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. — believe Trump’s actions were “reckless,” but that his presidency is coming to an end and the country should focus on the incoming Biden administration.

“Now, my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again,” Blunt told CBS. “And if that's the case, I think we get — every day we get closer to the last day of his presidency.”

And then there are the Republicans — like Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio — who are opposed to impeachment because they say it would divide the country, even though these same members voted to object to the 2020 presidential results.

“I do not see how that unifies the country,” Jordan said of the Democratic impeachment effort.

Someone like Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in House leadership, would be key to any effort to remove Trump – either by impeachment or a resignation forced by the threat of impeachment.

It needs to be a bipartisan effort, which the previous impeachment (over Ukraine) wasn’t.

History is watching.

Tweet of the day

Do Dems go full speed ahead or wait?

While Democrats are united that Trump should be held accountable, they’re also divided — on the timing.

Do they go full speed ahead? Or do they delay sending the Senate the articles of impeachment until after Biden’s first 100 days in office, as House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has suggested?

For his part, Biden said his focus is on governing.

“I'm focused on the virus, the vaccine, and economic growth. What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide," he said on Friday. “But I'm going to have to, and they're to have to be ready to hit the ground running because when Kamala and I are sworn in we're going to be introducing, immediately, significant pieces of legislation.”

Biden added, “If we were six months out, we should be moving everything to get him out of office, impeaching him again, invoke — trying to invoke the 25th amendment, whatever it took to get him out of office. But I am focused now on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th, and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can.”

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

More than 88 million: The number of Trump’s Twitter followers before the social media service shut down his account late last week.

22,495,929: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 768,418 more than Friday morning.)

374,996: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 8,952 more than Friday morning.)

129,229: The number of people currently hospitalized with coronavirus

268.12 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

9: The number of days until Inauguration Day.

Biden picks Burns to head the CIA

This morning, President-elect Joe Biden announced selecting former Obama Deputy Secretary of State and former Ambassador William Burns to head the CIA.

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius has more on the Burns pick: “Burns is an inside player — brainy, reserved, collegial — and loyal to his superiors, sometimes to a fault, as he conceded in his 2019 memoir.”

“The choice of Burns will disappoint those who wanted a career intelligence officer to succeed Gina Haspel, the current director... Biden opted for an outsider who could bring independent judgment to running the agency.”

Biden Transition Watch

Filled Cabinet positions

State: Tony Blinken

Treasury: Janet Yellen

Defense: Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin

Attorney General: Merrick Garland

Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas

HHS: Xavier Becerra

Agriculture: Tom Vilsack

Transportation: Pete Buttigieg

Energy: Jennifer Granholm

Interior: Deb Haaland

Education: Miguel Cardona

Commerce: Gina Raimondo

Labor: Marty Walsh

HUD: Marcia Fudge

Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough

UN Ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines

EPA: Michael Regan

SBA: Isabel Guzman

OMB Director: Neera Tanden

U.S. Trade Representative: Katherine Tai

CIA: William Burns

Other top Biden staffers

Chief of Staff: Ron Klain

National Security Adviser: Jake Sullivan

Climate Envoy: John Kerry

Domestic Policy Council Director: Susan Rice

National Economic Council Director: Brian Deese

Surgeon General: Dr. Vivek Murthy

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Dr. Rochelle Walensky

Covid-19 Czar: Jeff Zients

White House Communications Director: Kate Bedingfield

White House Press Secretary: Jen Psaki

VP Communications Director: Ashley Etienne

VP Chief Spokesperson: Symone Sanders

The Lid: Kitchen Cabinet

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we took a look at Biden’s latest Cabinet picks.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

The FBI and NYPD warned Capitol Police about the chance of violence before last week’s rally and subsequent violence.

The outgoing chief of the Capitol Police says that House and Senate security officials were reluctant to put the National Guard on call in advance of Wednesday’s violence.

Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield and other companies says that they will cut off donations from members of Congress who voted to question states’ electoral certifications.

The PGA will strip a major tournament from Trump’s New Jersey golf course next year.

The Capitol Physician is warning that Wednesday may have exposed additional members of Congress to Covid-19.

Raphael Warnock gave his first sermon since being elected to the Senate.

Amazon has suspended Parler from its web-hosting service.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is in big political trouble.