House Republican: There's "a lot to think about" in impeachment vote decision
From CNN's Clare Foran
GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse said that he has “a lot to think about” when asked if he has decided how he’s going to vote on impeachment today in the House.
He called it “a big decision,” and said he wants to hear the debate play out.
Some context: We expect just a handful of Republicans to vote with Democrats to impeach Wednesday. One aide put that estimate at no more than 20.
Jim Jordan says Liz Cheney should be removed from GOP leadership position for supporting Trump's impeachment
From CNN's Daniella Diaz, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox
Rep. Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally on Capitol Hill, told reporters he thinks Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney should be ousted from her leadership position after she said she'd support impeaching the President.
"I think she's totally wrong," he said. "I think there should be a conference and have a second vote on that," he added.
Some context: Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, announced Tuesday she would vote in favor of impeachment, issuing a scathing statement that charged there had "never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
The number of Republicans who will ultimately vote for impeachment remains unclear, with estimates ranging from 10 to as many as 20. So far, five Republicans have said they will vote to impeach Trump, including Cheney. They are:
Here's what it looks like outside the Capitol as lawmakers debate impeachment inside
As lawmakers debate on President Trump's impeachment on the House floor inside, multiple layers of security are in place around the Capitol. Fencing, steel barriers and armed National Guard members surround the grounds, CNN correspondent Brian Todd reports.
Here's a look at what is in place:
"You can't really walk in this area unless you have some kind of ID saying you should be here. Just foot traffic around here is highly restricted," Todd said.
This comes as members of Congress continue to speak out about the vulnerable position the violent Capitol breach put them in, as well as concerns they have about their security going forward ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
In addition to National Guard members inside the Capitol, there are now metal detectors installed outside the House floor for all members and staff to go through.
CNN's Brian Todd reports on the scene outside the Capitol:
Pelosi expected to speak at 12:15 p.m. ET to open impeachment resolution debate
From CNN's Manu Raju
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will open debate on the impeachment resolution, her spokesperson says.
Her remarks are expected around 12:15 p.m. ET.
Where things stand now: The House is currently voting on the rules governing the impeachment article.
Once the House passes the rule, the House will then proceed to a two-hour debate on the impeachment resolution.
You can read the full resolution here.
Michigan Attorney General is "apoplectic" about security concerns in lead up to inauguration
From CNN's Aditi Sangal
Following an FBI warning about "armed protests" being planned at all 50 state capitols, Michigan has stepped up its security. Attorney General Dana Nessel says she is “"apoplectic" because she’s gravely concerned about the situation and does not think that the state capitol is safe.
Michigan's Capitol Commission banned the open carry of firearms inside the Capitol building in Lansing, beginning Jan. 11. The move was a response to the US Capitol riot as well as the spring incidents in which heavily armed demonstrators jammed inside the Michigan state Capitol to protest pandemic-related lockdowns. In addition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, was the target of an alleged domestic terror plot by members of right wing militia groups.
"I think Michigan was definitely ground zero," Nessel said. "I think it was a dry run and people saw how very easy it was to essentially take over a state capitol building. And the lesson that they drew away from that was, ‘why not try it at the nation's capitol? If we can do it in Lansing, Michigan, maybe we can do the same thing in Washington, DC.’ And they were right," she told CNN.
Nessel added that she expects the same people that were involved in the events at DC "to be back in Lansing."
Watch the full interview on CNN:
McConnell is signaling he's in favor of impeachment, GOP source says
From CNN's Jamie Gangel
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling he is in favor of impeachment, a GOP source familiar with McConnell's thinking tells CNN.
"Unlike Kevin McCarthy, he doesn't think Trump will just fade away, thinks the party needs to make a clean break to save itself," this person said.
Ultimately, however, it is up to McConnell to say where he stands on impeachment. His silence so far has been deliberate, and he is very careful with what he says.
A separate Republican source said they expect about 10-20 House Republicans to vote for impeachment. The source went on to say that the White House is putting huge pressure on members, and that members are saying "they want to vote to impeach but they legitimately fear for their lives and their families’ lives."
This person points out that a week after Jan. 6th, President Trump is still trying to intimidate members, adding that people should be careful about numbers being put out by the White House on how many GOP members they expect to vote for impeachment.
This person believes the White House is exaggerating numbers so that when the number of Republicans voting against Trump falls short they can claim victory with Trump to try to make him feel better.
Additionally, GOP staffers – including those of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – are upset at members not voting for impeachment and are raising it with their bosses, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.
And as members push back on impeachment by citing the process, one Republican source told CNN:
Jared Kushner intervened when other aides tried to get Trump on fringe social media platforms
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak
Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner intervened when other officials tried restoring President Trump's social media presence on sites that are often havens for extremists, such as Gab, following an unprecedented ban from several major platforms.
According to an outside adviser and an administration official, Kushner and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino blocked efforts by other aides, including the personnel chief Johnny McEntee, to get the President on fringe social media platforms after he was suspended in some fashion from almost every major one, including Twitter, Facebook and, now, YouTube.
Those officials had initially attempted to use other Twitter accounts, including those run by campaign officials, to tweet in Trump's name.
The White House did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.
In the context of impeachment: Trump's avenues for responding to the impeachment are similarly limited. Ordinarily, aides would look to Twitter for the President's first response to being the only president in history to be impeached twice. So, too, would Republican members of Congress fear what might appear on Trump's feed if they decided to break with him and vote for his impeachment.
But Trump's account has been permanently suspended – and with it his principal weapon for ensuring GOP loyalty.
The White House said in a statement this week it opposes impeachment, and Trump railed against the proceedings on Tuesday.
"It's causing tremendous anger and division and pain far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time," he said during his visit to Texas.
Trump has nothing on his schedule and lacks a comprehensive legal strategy
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak
On the day he will be impeached for a history-making second time, President Trump lacks a comprehensive legal strategy, has nothing on his public schedule and is without his preferred social media methods of responding — in part because his son-in-law put a stop to efforts establishing his presence on fringe platforms after he was banned from Twitter.
It amounts to near-invisibility for the President at the most perilous moment of his presidency, which is ending in tumult and dramatic rebuke from members of his own party.
Aides expect Trump to mostly watch the proceedings on television throughout the day. But without Twitter, a campaign rally, a team of lawyers or Republicans willing to defend his actions, Trump is set to weather the historic shaming in subdued fashion.
That's a distant cry from the first time he was impeached, when aides organized a campaign rally in the aptly named Battle Creek, Michigan, to coincide with the House vote.
At the rally, which occurred at the same time members were impeaching him, his press secretary emerged in the crowd to hold up a placard displaying the vote total.
"We got every single Republican (to vote) for us!" Trump crowed when he saw the final tally, adding at another point: "It doesn't really feel like we're being impeached."
That is not how it feels this time. A handful of Republicans are poised to vote to impeach him, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meanwhile has said to believe impeachment will help oust Trump from the GOP for good. According to a person familiar with his reaction, Trump was particularly incensed Tuesday night by Cheney's announcement, which said he'd betrayed the office of the presidency.
While other Republicans oppose impeachment because they say it is "divisive," they are not defending Trump on the merits of what he is being impeached for: inciting an insurrection.
House Rules Committee chair calls out some Republicans for pleas of unity
From CNN's Adrienne Vogt
Rep. Jim McGovern, chair of the House Rules Committee, closed his remarks today by saying “we will never have unity without truth and also without accountability.”
He chided some GOP members for what he said were hypocritical pleas of unity.
He said Republicans who vote for impeachment are showing courage.
“This week in Congress we saw the best of us and the worst of us. Some of my colleagues have shown that they will defend this President no matter what he does. … But some are standing up and doing the right thing under tremendous pressure. I'm proud of that. I honor them for their courage,” he said.
He encouraged all House members to vote for impeachment.
“This impeachment resolution outlines the truth of what Trump did. It is time that this Congress now holds him accountable for his words and for their devastating impact,” McGovern said.