US House opens historic impeachment debate

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1 min ago

Vice president's residence fortified with unprecedented level of security not seen since 9/11

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Overnight, the perimeter surrounding the vice president’s residence, the US Naval Observatory, was fortified with a chain link fence reinforced with concrete barricades.  

That level of physical security barriers around the vice president’s residence is unprecedented, with the exception of similar actions in the immediate aftermath of the Sep. 11 attacks. 

The move comes one week after President Trump incited riots at the US Capitol, and hours before he is expected to become the first US president to be impeached twice. It also comes amid concerns that additional protests could take place in both Washington and around the country in the coming days. 

Additionally, there are significant road closures around the White House and additional fencing with concrete barricades have gone up around the White House complex. Similar security measures were taken over the summer amid protests for racial justice.

6 min ago

GOP congressman says that impeachment is "polarizing" and a "bad idea"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Republican Rep. Ken Buck said that he will vote against impeaching President Trump and that the process is “absolutely polarizing.”

“It's a bad idea. You impeach a president after hearings and great deliberation. You don't impeach a president in the heat of the moment,” Buck said. 

President Trump’s actions do not constitute an impeachable offense, Buck told CNN’s John Berman.

He also said he has sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden asking him to request that the House not go forward.

“What could be more unifying is to hold a commission of our committee hearing or put this in the Judiciary Committee and find out what actually happened,” he said.

Buck said the “level of vitriol” between Democrats and Republicans has been building for five years now, adding, “to say that there's one speech or one incident that caused this group of people to storm the Capitol is just not accurate. What I'm trying to suggest to you is that both sides are at fault…,” at which point, Berman stopped him.

“What on Earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the US Capitol?” Berman asked.  

“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, which is absolutely shameful. I'm not trying to excuse it. But the actions that have led up to this are typical of this impeachment,” Buck said. 

1 min ago

The House is now in session and will begin impeachment proceedings

From CNN's Lauren Fox

House TV House TV

The US House of Representatives has just convened and will now begin consideration of President Trump's impeachment.

The impeachment resolution the House will vote on today charges Trump with a single article, "incitement of insurrection," for his role in last week's deadly Capitol riot.

The first debate is expected to last about an hour and will revolve around the rules governing the impeachment article.

After that, the House will vote on the rule.

Remember: Voting in the House takes time because of coronavirus protocols and now lawmakers also have to pass through metal detectors to get onto the House floor.

Trump is now staring at the shameful distinction of being impeached by the House of Representatives twice in just over a year – the only president in US history to be impeached twice.

Even if he's impeached today, Trump will stay in office and likely finish out his term, because it takes a Senate conviction to remove him even after he’s been impeached.

16 min ago

Here's what the Capitol looks like this morning with National Guard members deployed

Members of the National Guard were deployed to the US Capitol ahead of the House's vote today on impeaching President Trump for a second time.

Photos from inside the building showed some National Guards members preparing for the day: Some were seen picking up weapons while other were seen resting on the floor.

Here's a look at the scene from in and around the Capitol:

Members of the National Guard are given weapons before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against President Trump, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, January 13.Members of the National Guard are given weapons before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against President Trump, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, January 13. Joshua Roberts/Reuters
National Guard members assemble in the Capitol Visitor's Center on January 13. National Guard members assemble in the Capitol Visitor's Center on January 13. Joshua Roberts/Reuters
National Guard members rest in the Capitol Vistor's Center, ahead of the debate on impeachment against US President Trump on January 13.National Guard members rest in the Capitol Vistor's Center, ahead of the debate on impeachment against US President Trump on January 13. Joshua Roberts/Reuters
17 min ago

Lawmakers will have to go through metal detectors to get onto the House floor for today's debate

From CNN's Jake Tapper and Daniella Diaz

U.S. Capitol Police install a metal detector outside the House of Representatives Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 12.U.S. Capitol Police install a metal detector outside the House of Representatives Chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 12. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Members of Congress and staffers will have to walk through metal detectors in order to get onto the floor of the US House of Representatives, a senior Democratic aide told CNN Tuesday. The House is set to convene at 9 a.m. ET to debate and hold a vote on impeaching President Trump.

The development comes after multiple House Democrats told CNN they are worried about some of their Republican colleagues ignoring House rules regarding firearms. There have been multiple conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start going through metal detectors.

Capitol Police had set up metal detectors outside of the House floor as of Tuesday afternoon and all House members, staffers and aides will have to go through them, the aide said. A US Capitol Police source confirmed the measures are in place.

Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett said in a memo to all members of Congress and their staffers that the metal detectors were being installed to ensure compliance with police regulations banning guns and incendiary devices from the chamber.

"Members are reminded that pursuant to the firearms regulations that Members received on opening day, firearms are restricted to a Member's Office," the memo stated. "Thank you in advance for your (cooperation) with the United States Capitol Police and Sergeant at Arms staff during the screening process."

Read more here.

29 min ago

These Republicans have said they will vote to impeach Trump

From CNN's  Jeremy Herb, Lauren Fox and the hill team

House Democrats and at least a handful of Republicans —including the House's No. 3 Republican — will vote in favor of the impeachment of President Trump just one week after a deadly mob overran Capitol Police, ransacked the US Capitol and put the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers in danger.

The number of Republicans who will ultimately vote for impeachment remains unclear. So far, five Republicans have said they will vote to impeach Trump.

Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney coming out in support of impeachment yesterday ignited the first signal that the Republican Party might try to be something else after Trump. And, she didn’t just say she backed impeachment. She put the blame of the events last week squarely on Trump’s shoulders.

“The President of the US summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President,” she wrote.

The divide, the differences, the revisionism that we could see in upcoming months and years is just beginning.

Little cracks are playing out across Capitol Hill right now. Staff for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are calling on their boss to explain himself. The communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz, resigned. Those who disavow Trump both before and because of this moment won’t necessarily win this ideological contest that is going to play out in the days and years ahead.

Some are going to get on this bandwagon late, many months and years after they walked in lockstep with the President. And, many may never disavow him at all. Trump’s support is still strong. There’s a reason that his followers took him seriously when he tweeted, when he made promises, when he gave instructions.

We still expect just a handful of Republicans to vote with Democrats to impeach today. One aide put that estimate – even after Cheney – at no more than 20.

Here are the Republicans who will vote to impeach:

Rep. John KatkoRep. Jamie Herrera BeutlerRep. Adam KinzingerRep. Fred UptonRep. Liz Cheney
33 min ago

Trump could be the first US president in history to be impeached twice

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson 

President Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas on January 12.President Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas on January 12. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Before President Trump came to Washington, only two Presidents had been impeached in the near two-and-a-half century history of the United States.

But Trump is now staring at the shameful distinction of being impeached by the House of Representatives twice in just over a year – a sequence that will leave a deep scar in Washington for a generation – not least because despite his aberrant behavior, Trump retains strong support among Republican lawmakers because of his near mystical hold on the party's populist base.

Democrats introduced a resolution to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection on Monday morning.

The single charge points to Trump's repeated false claims that he won the election and his speech to the crowd on Jan. 6 before pro-Trump rioters breached the Capitol. It also cited Trump's call with the Georgia Republican secretary of state where the President urged him to "find" enough votes for Trump to win the state.

But the compressed calendar as Trump enters his last nine days in office – and the reticence of Republicans in the Senate, who are faced one again with a loyalty test they have always failed when choosing between Trump's base and the Constitution – seems certain to thwart Democratic efforts to quickly eject Trump from power.

This means the drama surrounding Trump's fate, and the possibility of another Senate trial, could outlast his presidency and his turbulent term could cast a toxic shadow over President-elect Joe Biden's first days in office.

Read the full article here.

49 min ago

Key Republicans to watch during the impeachment battle 

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming speaks during a news conference with fellow House Republicans outside the U.S. Capitol on December 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming speaks during a news conference with fellow House Republicans outside the U.S. Capitol on December 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Multiple House Republicans announced Tuesday evening they would support the impeachment of President Trump for his role inciting last week's riot as congressional Republicans made their clearest break with Trump to date after he showed no remorse for the US Capitol mob.

While the vast majority of House Republicans are expected to oppose the article of impeachment today, there are predictions ranging anywhere from as many as 10 to even 20 or more Republicans who could vote to impeach, according to Republican sources, with some estimates trending upward after the first Republicans came out in favor of impeachment Tuesday.

The first impeachment backers included the House's No. 3 Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, in a remarkable rebuke with a President who has been unassailable in the House GOP conference throughout his four-year term. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is opposed to impeachment, House Republican leaders are not lobbying their members to oppose it, and Cheney told the conference Monday it was a "vote of conscience."

In another potentially significant blow to Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he believes that impeaching Trump will make it easier to get rid of the President and Trumpism from the Republican Party, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attends a joint session of Congress after the session resumed, following the insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attends a joint session of Congress after the session resumed, following the insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The scurrying away from Trump in the hours before the House will vote to impeach him Wednesday is the fiercest pushback the President has faced from Republicans since he was a GOP primary candidate who party leaders believed would fade away.

The GOP strategy on impeachment is a marked departure from the approach in 2019 when Republican leaders pushed their members to fall in line and no GOP House lawmakers defected. It shows the splintering of the GOP and how the party is deeply divided over how to respond to Trump after he incited last week's deadly Capitol riot.

Rep. John Katko of New York was the first Republican to publicly state he would vote to impeach Trump, saying in a statement Tuesday he supported impeachment because the President needed to be held accountable for his actions.

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, another rare Trump critic in the House GOP conference, also announced Tuesday evening that he would support impeachment.

Trump's impeachment for the second time in 13 months — which would make him the first President in history to be impeached twice — appears to be a foregone conclusion. The only question is how many House members vote in favor of removing the President from office eight days before President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in.

Republicans tried to offer an alternative to impeachment, such as a censure vote, arguing it could win more bipartisan support than an impeachment occurring just one week after the riots. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus Monday that censure was a nonstarter, and Democrats are not considering any off ramps to avoid a second impeachment.

28 min ago

The House will vote to impeach Trump today. Here's how we expect the day to go.

From CNN's Lauren Fox

A general view of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. on January 13.A general view of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C. on January 13. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The House is meeting today to vote to impeach President Trump a second time. Lawmakers will convene at 9 a.m. ET.

Here's how we expect the day to play out:

The first debate: It will last begin after the House convenes and will about an hour and it will revolve around the rules governing the impeachment article. After that: The House votes on the rule. Remember: Voting in the House takes time because of coronavirus protocols (and now metal detectors, which was its own scene last night as Republicans lashed out at police and fellow members when they were asked to go through them to get to the House floor.)Once the House passes the rule in the early afternoon: Representatives will proceed to a two-hour debate. The final vote: We expect it will begin between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. ET.

As with all important votes in times of coronavirus, these things are a bit fluid. But the bottom line is this: This will pass.

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