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House Sets Impeachment Vote to Charge Trump With Incitement

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WASHINGTON — House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump on Monday for his role in inflaming a mob that attacked the Capitol, scheduling a Wednesday vote to charge the president with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” if Vice President Mike Pence refused to strip him of power first.

Moving with exceptional speed, top House leaders began summoning lawmakers still stunned by the attack back to Washington, promising the protection of National Guard troops and Federal Air Marshal escorts after last week’s stunning security failure. Their return set up a high-stakes 24-hour standoff between two branches of government.

As the impeachment drive proceeded, federal law enforcement authorities accelerated efforts to fortify the Capitol ahead of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The authorities announced plans to deploy up to 15,000 National Guard troops and set up a multilayered buffer zone with checkpoints around the building by Wednesday, just as lawmakers are to debate and vote on impeaching Mr. Trump.

Federal authorities also said they were bracing for a wave of armed protests in all 50 state capitals and Washington in the days leading up to the inauguration.

“I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,” Mr. Biden said Monday, referring to a swearing-in scheduled to take place on a platform on the west side of the Capitol, in the very spot where rioters marauded last week, beating police officers and vandalizing the building.

Mr. Biden signaled more clearly than before that he would not stand in the way of the impeachment proceeding, telling reporters in Newark, Del., that his primary focus was trying to minimize the effect an all-consuming trial in the Senate might have on his first days in office.

He said he had consulted with lawmakers about the possibility they could “bifurcate” the proceedings in the Senate, such that half of each day would be spent on the trial and half on the confirmation of his cabinet and other nominees.

In the House, a vote was scheduled for Tuesday evening to first formally call on Mr. Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. Republicans had objected on Monday to unanimously passing the resolution, which asked the vice president to declare “president Donald J. Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.”

The House is slated to begin debate on the impeachment resolution on Wednesday morning, marching toward a vote late in the day unless Mr. Pence intervenes beforehand.

“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said, outlining a timetable that will most likely leave Mr. Trump impeached one week to the day after he encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol as lawmakers met to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory.

Mr. Trump met with the vice president on Monday for about an hour in the Oval Office, the first time since their falling out last week over the president’s effort to overturn the election and the mob assault on the Capitol that also put Mr. Pence in danger. A Trump administration official who declined to be identified speaking about the delicate situation said the two had “a good conversation” but would not say whether the issue of the 25th Amendment came up.

The vice president had already indicated that he was unlikely to act to force the president aside, and no one in either party expected Mr. Trump to step down. With that in mind, Democrats had already begun preparing a lengthier impeachment report documenting the president’s actions and the destruction that followed to accompany their charge.

They were confident they had the votes to make Mr. Trump the first president ever to be impeached twice.

The impeachment article invoked the 14th Amendment, the post-Civil War-era addition to the Constitution that prohibits anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from holding future office. Lawmakers also cited specific language from Mr. Trump’s speech last Wednesday riling up the crowd, quoting him saying, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

The Republican Party was fracturing over the coming debate, as some agreed with Democrats that Mr. Trump should be removed and many others were standing behind the president and his legions of loyal voters. They were also fighting among themselves, with many Republicans furious over what took place a week ago and blaming their own colleagues and leaders for having contributed to the combustible atmosphere that allowed a pro-Trump rally to morph into a deadly siege.

Unlike Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, in 2019, few Republicans were willing to muster a defense of Mr. Trump’s actions, and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the top House Republican, privately told his conference that the president deserved some blame for the violence, according to two people familiar with his remarks. Mr. McCarthy remained personally opposed to impeachment and tried to hold his conference together during a lengthy call on Monday afternoon.

But as many as a dozen Republicans were said to be considering joining Democrats to impeach, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican.

“It’s something we’re strongly considering at this point,” said Representative Peter Meijer, a freshman Republican from Michigan, told a Fox affiliate in his home state. “I think what we saw on Wednesday left the president unfit for office.”

Mr. Trump gave his party little direction or reason to rally around him. Ensconced at the White House and barred from Twitter, he offered no defense of himself or the armed assailants who overtook the Capitol, endangering the lives of congressional leaders, their staffs and his own vice president.

Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, became the latest cabinet official to resign in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, stepping down just nine days before he was expected to help coordinate the security at the inauguration.

If Mr. Trump is impeached by the House, which now seems virtually certain, he would then face trial in the Senate, which requires all senators be in the chamber while the charges are being considered. Democrats had briefly considered trying to delay an impeachment trial until the spring, to buy Mr. Biden more time without the cloud of such a proceeding hanging over the start of his presidency, but by late Monday, most felt they could not justify such a swift impeachment and then justify a delay.

Still, the timing of a trial remained unclear because the Senate was not currently in session. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Democrat, was considering trying to use emergency procedures to force the chamber back before Jan. 20, a senior Democratic aide said, but doing so would take the consent of his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

House leaders said the timing and outcome of any Senate trial was secondary to their sense of urgency to charge Mr. Trump with crimes against the country.

“Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, told reporters. “The issue is, we have a president who most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and attack on this building, and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.”

Representative Tom Reed, Republican of New York, said House Republicans would introduce a measure on Tuesday to censure Mr. Trump and “ensure accountability occurs without delay for the events of Jan. 6.”

Writing in an Op-Ed article published Monday night by The New York Times, Mr. Reed added, “We must also look at alternatives that could allow Congress to bar Mr. Trump from holding federal office in the future.”

Other accountability efforts were underway in the shadow of the drive to punish Mr. Trump. Law enforcement fanned out across the country to track down and arrest members of the mob and heavily fortified the Capitol, where National Guard troops clad in camouflage uniforms roamed the ornate corridors and patrolled the sidewalks outside.

Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio said the Capitol Police were investigating roughly a dozen of their own officers and had suspended two for potentially aiding the insurrectionists. One took selfies with those laying waste to the Capitol; another donned a “Make America Great Again” cap and potentially gave them directions, Mr. Ryan said.

“Any incidents of Capitol Police facilitating or being part of what happened, we need to know that,” he said.

Progressive lawmakers called for investigations and possible expulsions of Republicans who had supported Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn the election and helped stoke the violence. More moderate Democrats discussed plans to try to ostracize them going forward — including by refusing to sign onto their legislative efforts or routine requests — because they were likely to remain in Congress. Republicans stoking the bogus claims of election theft themselves were mostly unapologetic and insisted their actions had nothing to do with the violence done in Mr. Trump’s name.

The four-page impeachment article charges Mr. Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” when he sowed false claims about election fraud and encouraged his supporters at a rally outside the White House to take extraordinary measures to stop the counting of electoral votes underway at the Capitol. A short time later, rioters mobbed the building, ransacking the seat of American government and killing a Capitol Police officer. (At least four others died as a result of injuries or medical emergencies on Capitol grounds.)

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” the article read. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

Modern presidential impeachments have been drawn-out affairs, allowing lawmakers to collect evidence, hone arguments and hear the president’s defense over the course of months. When the Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump the first time, it took nearly three months, conducting dozens of witness interviews, compiling hundreds of pages of documents and producing a detailed case in a written report running 300 pages.

It appeared this time that the House planned to do so in less than a week, with little more evidence than the fast accumulating public record of cellphone videos, photographs, police and journalistic accounts, and the words of Mr. Trump himself.

“To those who would say, ‘Why do it now, there are only nine days left the president’s term?’” said Joe Neguse of Colorado, who has been drafting messaging guidance for the party. “I would say, ‘There are nine days in the president’s term.’”

Mr. Trump’s most outspoken defenders opposed impeachment, though most did not explicitly defend his conduct. Many of them who just last week backed his drive to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory and voted to toss out legitimate results from key battleground states, argued that to impeach the president now would only further divide the country.

In a letter to colleagues, Mr. McCarthy wrote that impeachment would “have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility.” He tried to point Republicans toward possible alternatives, including censure, a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack, changing the law that governs the electoral counting process that rioters disrupted and electoral integrity legislation.

“Please know I share your anger and your pain,” he wrote. “Zip ties were found on staff desks in my office. Windows were smashed in. Property was stolen. Those images will never leave us — and I thank our men and women in law enforcement who continue to protect us and are working to bring the sick individuals who perpetrated these attacks to justice.”

Some moderate Democrats were growing uneasy about the implications of such fast and punitive action, fearful both of the consequences for Mr. Biden’s agenda during his first days in office and of further igniting violence across the country among Mr. Trump’s most extreme supporters. They tried to cobble together support for a bipartisan censure resolution instead, but it appeared it might be too late to stop the momentum in favor of impeachment.

Ms. Pelosi shut the idea down during her private call with Democrats, saying that censure “would be an abdication of our responsibility,” according to an official familiar with her remarks.

Credit: NYTimes

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Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seatbelt In Car

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Police Fine British Prime Minister For Not Wearing Seat Belt In Car

The British Police have fined Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for not wearing a seatbelt in the back of a moving car while on a trip to northern England.

Sunak, who recorded an Instagram video on Thursday, was seen turning in his seat to talk to the camera without a seatbelt on, a video that has now been deleted from the social media site.

The PM’s office at Downing Street said the incident was a “brief error of judgment”, but Lancashire constabulary announced they were fining Sunak for the infraction, The Guardian UK says.

The force said: “You will be aware that a video has been circulating on social media showing an individual failing to wear a seatbelt while a passenger in a moving car in Lancashire.

“After looking into this matter, we have today issued a 42-year-old man from London with a conditional offer of fixed penalty.”

Reacting, a spokesperson for Sunak said: “The prime minister fully accepts this was a mistake and has apologised. He will of course comply with the fixed penalty.”

A fixed penalty means Sunak can pay a fine to avoid a court hearing.

The police did not disclose how much they had fined the prime minister, but according to the government’s safety campaign, any driver or passenger not wearing a seatbelt is breaking the law and is liable to be fined up to £500 if the case goes to court, according to The Guardian UK.

Sunak’s transportation habits were already a talking point in the United Kingdom before the incident, a report by AFP says.

 READ  ALSO: Rishi Sunak Becomes UK’s New Prime Minister

His political rivals have taken aim at his use of a private jet to make multiple short flights in recent days.

This is not the first time Sunak has been slapped with a police fine.

He was fined while serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer for attending a Downing Street party in June 2020 that violated the government’s rules on social distancing, according to an AFP report.

The latest fine makes Sunak the second Conservative prime minister to receive a police fine in less than 12 months. The Metropolitan police, in 2020, issued a fixed-penalty notice to Boris Johnson for attending a party during lockdown. Sunak was fined for attending the same event as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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World’s Oldest Nun Dies At 118

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World's Oldest Nun Does At 118

French nun Sister André who was the world’s oldest known person died at age 118 in the southern French city of Toulon, the city’s mayor Hubert Falco said on Wednesday.

Born in the southern French town of Ales on Feb. 11, 1904, as Lucile Randon, Sister André was listed as the oldest person alive by the Gerontology Research Group in April 2022.

The Frenchwoman worked as a home teacher in her youth and did not enter a religious community until she was in her early 40s.
Most recently, Sister André was confined to a wheelchair, and for several years she could no longer see properly.

READ ALSO: Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

She was an honorary citizen of Toulon, where she lived in a retirement home for several years.
Falco praised her as incredibly modern and a nun with a big heart.

Guinness World Records said Lucile, who took the name of Sister André in 1944, was the second-oldest French person and the second-oldest European person ever recorded.
More recently, Sister André received the record for the oldest COVID-19 survivor after an infection in 2021.

“It’s difficult to fathom that someone born before the patenting of plastic, zips or even bras were alive well into the 21st century, and robust enough to beat COVID-19’’, the Guinness World Records editor, Craig Glenday said in a statement.

“It’s been an honour to record her story in the pages of the Guinness World Records book, and she will live on in history as the fourth oldest person ever authenticated.’’

With her death, Maria Branyas Morera, who lived in Spain, assumed the title of the world’s oldest person at age 115.

 

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Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

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Eight Shot At Crowded Martin Luther King Day Block Party

Eight people were shot at a block party packed with more than 1,000 people celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Fort Pierce, Florida, Monday, police said.

All eight of those shot were adults and they were ferried to the hospital for treatment, including one person in critical condition, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Hester said during a news conference.

Six people, including a baby, were killed in a ‘massacre’ that is likely gang-related, California sheriff’s office says.

At least four others were injured as people ran for safety, the sheriff’s office said. One of those injured was a juvenile who was hurt as people rushed to flee the park where the event was being held, Hester said.

“As the shots rang out, people were just running in all directions,” Hester said. “There were people laying behind cars, laying behind anything they could lay behind. It was kind of hard to tell who was a victim and who was just hiding at that point.”

The shooting began at around 5:20 p.m. in Ilous Ellis Park, he said, where the community had gathered for an afternoon car show, dance performances, live DJ and kids activities to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an event flyer shows.

In a video taken by a witness, attendees are seen dancing by their cars and enjoying the music when what sounds like gunfire begins to resonate over the song. People in the crowd start to rush away from the noise, some ducking behind cars or grabbing children’s hands and running across the street.

READ ALSO: A Philosopher’s Spiritual Journey And Bertrand Russell’s Influence

The incident marks the 30th mass shooting in the country this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

So far this year, the US is averaging about two mass shootings per day.

Two sheriff’s deputies who were stationed in the park ran toward the scene and provided aid to those injured, Hester said. Several witnesses also helped to render aid and drive people to the hospital, he added.

The sheriff’s office has not named any suspects in the shooting, but investigators were following up on several leads from witnesses and community members Monday night.

Investigators preliminarily believe the gunfire involved multiple shooters and resulted from “a disagreement of some sort between two parties,” Hester said.

“So many innocent people that were injured or hurt were not part of the disagreement,” he added.

Survivors of mass shootings are left with lifelong wounds — and mounting bills

“It’s really unfortunate and it’s sad that during a celebration of someone who represented peace and equality, a disagreement results in a use of guns and violence,” Hester said.

He estimated as many as 40 sheriff’s office personnel were working the case Monday night as they processed the scene, spoke to victims at the hospital and followed up on leads.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact authorities or submit anonymous tips through CrimeStoppers. The sheriff’s department is handling the case because the Ilous Ellis Park is a St. Lucie County park.

Fort Pierce is a coastal city about an hour’s drive north of West Palm Beach.

. CNN

 

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