What Now?! – Impeachment Part II

“House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol,” Politico reports.

“Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides. Even if the House does impeach Trump, it’s far from clear the GOP-controlled Senate would act before his presidency runs out in 12 days.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), quoted by the Associated Press: “Every day that he remains in office, he is a danger to the Republic, and he should leave office immediately, through resignation, the 25th Amendment or impeachment.”

House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark (D-MA) predicted Friday that the full chamber could vote to again impeach President Trump as early as the middle of next week, Politico reports. Said Clark: “Donald Trump needs to be removed from office, and we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) told CBS News that he’d consider articles of impeachment from the House. Said Sasse: “If they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move, because as I told you I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office.”

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who previously served as the secretary of homeland security, told CNN he would vote to remove President Trump from office if he were still in the cabinet.  He added: “The cabinet should meet and have a discussion. The one thing we have going for us here … is it’s only 13 more days.”

“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held informal conversations within their own agencies about the contours of the 25th Amendment, the invocation of which would begin a process to remove Trump from office,” CNBC reports.

“The arguments against pursuing action were manifold. First, the legal process itself was estimated to take more than a week, negating any immediate effect it would have.”

“Second, it was unclear whether the three secretaries serving in ‘acting’ roles without Senate confirmation would be able to cast a vote. Third, they had concerns that forcing Trump from office could further stoke tensions among his base and make him a hero of the far right, doing more bad in the long-term than good in the short-term.”

Said one former Trump official: “The general plan now is to let the clock run out.”

President Trump tweeted that he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

There’s a video of Donald Trump and his family celebrating and cheering on their violent terrorist attack on America.

Federal law enforcement officials say the devices found near the RNC, DNC and on Capitol Hill on Wednesday during the Trump Terrorist Attack were actual explosive devices, not phonies, Fox News reports.

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), citing conversations with senior White House officials, told Hugh Hewitt that President Trump was “excited” and “delighted” as his supporters tried to storm the U.S. Capitol and was “confused” others weren’t so excited.

He said a key issue for him regarding impeachment is finding out why the National Guard wasn’t deployed.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died from events stemming from Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol, CNN reports.

Richard Barnett, who was seen sitting at a desk in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, has been arrested in Arkansas and charged with entering and remaining on restricting grounds, violent entry, and theft of public property, NBC News reports.

“The top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. said Thursday that President Trump was not off limits in his investigation of the events surrounding Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, saying ‘all actors’ would be examined to determine if they broke the law,” the Washington Post reports.

Said acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin: “Yes, we are looking at all actors here, not only the people that went into the building, but … were there others that maybe assisted or facilitated or played some ancillary role in this. We will look at every actor and all criminal charges.”

The Washington Post obtained video showing the chaotic moment before 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot as rioters rushed toward the Speaker’s Lobby.

In the last 24 hours, Secretary Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have all received calls from concerned former senior national security officials and leaders of major national security firms urging them not to resign, CNN reports.

Washington Post: “The message was direct, per a senior administration official: Foreign actors want to take advantage of crisis moments like these. Don’t give them on opening by creating a continuity of government vacuum in the national security space.”

“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, quoted by Fox News.

“High-ranking national security officials have spent the last 24 hours scrambling to figure out how to keep their commander-in-chief, Donald Trump, from inciting further violence at home to spilling national secrets to sparking last-minute confrontations with international foes,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The concerns in the upper echelons of the administration’s national security community range from fears inside the Pentagon that the president will do or say something that effectively throws the U.S. into a military confrontation with another country to anxieties in the intelligence apparatus that Trump will divulge classified intelligence on his way out.”

Simon & Schuster has decided to cancel publication of Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) forthcoming book, The Tyranny of Big Tech.

From a statement: “It will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints; at the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom.”

Kansas City Star: “If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had shown any evidence that there’s a conscience in there somewhere, underneath the ambition and the artifice and the uncommon combo of striving and laziness that he’s somehow made work for him, then we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

“We wouldn’t, that is, be wondering what to say to a man who, having so disgraced his office, and our state, must either resign or be removed from the U.S. Senate.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Americans have had enough of Trumpism and the two-faced, lying, populist politicians who embraced it. Hawley’s presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now.”

“Trumpism must die before it morphs into Hitlerism. Defenders like Hawley deserve to be cast into political purgatory for having promoted it.”

The White House announced that President Trump has withdrawn Chad Wolf’s nomination to be the permanent Homeland Security secretary, hours after Wolf urged the president to denounce yesterday’s violence, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submitted her resignation to President Trump on Thursday night saying the riot at the Capitol was her breaking point, the New York Times reports.

Said DeVos: “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) told the Washington Post that requests to send in the Maryland National Guard to protect the U.S. Capitol against rioters were rejected for 90 minutes on Wednesday.  Hogan said the request was repeatedly rebuffed by the head of the National Guard at the federal level.

President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor secretary. Walsh’s history with labor goes back to his early 20s, when he joined Laborers’ Union Local 223 in Boston, a union to which his father had long belonged, and one later headed by his uncle and then by Marty himself, who went on to be the head of Boston’s Building and Construction Trades Council before becoming mayor in 2013.

Walsh was seen as a union favorite, with support from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as well as the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. What he is not is an addition to the diversity of Biden’s Cabinet, as another top contender, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su, would have been. (Su is also a rock star who would have done an amazing job.)

“President Trump has prepared a sweeping list of individuals he’s hoping to pardon in the final days of his administration that includes senior White House officials, family members, prominent rappers — and possibly himself,” Bloomberg reports.

“Trump is hoping to announce the pardons on Jan. 19 — his final full day in office — and his ideas are currently being vetted by senior advisers and the White House counsel’s office.”

“The biggest question facing his legal team may be whether the president has the authority to pardon himself.”

President Trump released a video suggesting he would “bring to justice” those who stormed the U.S. Capitol yesterday. He falsely claimed that he immediately called in the National Guard to evict the mob.

Trump said he is now focused on a “seamless transition” to a new administration on January 20. He did not mention Joe Biden’s name.  He ended his message telling his supporters that “our journey is just beginning.”

New York Times: “Mr. Trump initially resisted taping the video, agreeing to do it only after aides pressed him and he appeared to suddenly realize he could face legal risk for prodding the mob, coming shortly after the chief federal prosecutor for Washington left open the possibility of investigating the president for illegally inciting the attack by telling supporters to march on the Capitol and show strength.”

“Pat Cipollone, the White House counsel, had warned Mr. Trump of just that danger on Wednesday as aides frantically tried to get the president to intervene and publicly call off rioters, which he did only belatedly, reluctantly and halfheartedly.”

“President-elect Joe Biden will aim to release every available dose of the coronavirus vaccine when he takes office, a break with the Trump administration’s strategy of holding back half of US vaccine production to ensure second doses are available,” CNN reports.

“Releasing all vaccine doses on hand could quickly ratchet up the availability of coronavirus vaccines by allowing more people access to a first dose. It could also be a risky strategy as both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines require two doses, administered at specific intervals, and vaccine manufacturing has not ramped up as rapidly as many experts had hoped.”

“President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for a major new economic relief package boosting stimulus payments to $2,000 ran into possibly fatal opposition from his own party Friday as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV.) said he would ‘absolutely not’ support a new round of checks,” the Washington Post reports.

“Manchin, a moderate who will hold great sway in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, made his views known even as the Biden team worked to develop a coronavirus relief package that would include new stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and more.”

“The U.S. lost 140,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate was 6.7%, ending seven months of job growth and suggesting the economy is weakening,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“After the sharp contraction in March and April, the labor market quickly snapped back to life, adding a total 9.3 million jobs over the next three months. Since then, job growth has eased each month.”

ProPublica: “The invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was stoked in plain sight. For weeks, the far-right supporters of President Trump railed on social media that the election had been stolen. They openly discussed the idea of violent protest on the day Congress met to certify the result.”

“‘We came up with the idea to occupy just outside the CAPITOL on Jan 6th,’ leaders of the Stop the Steal movement wrote on Dec. 23. They called their Wednesday demonstration the Wild Protest, a name taken from a tweet by Trump that encouraged his supporters to take their grievances to the streets of Washington.”

Associated Press: Capitol siege raises security concerns for Biden inaugural.

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Sidney Powell, demanding more than $1.3 billion in damages for havoc it says Powell has caused by spreading “wild” and “demonstrably false” allegations, including that Dominion played a central role in a fantastical scheme to steal the 2020 election from President Trump, the Washington Post reports.

“President Trump spent more than 24 hours after instigating a mob to violently storm the Capitol trying to escape reality,” the Washington Post reports.

“Cloistered in the White House, Trump raged uncontrollably about perceived acts of betrayal. He tuned out advisers who pleaded with him to act responsibly. He was uninterested in trying to repair what he had wrought. And he continued to insist he had won the election, even as his own vice president certified the fact that he had not.”

Wall Street Journal: “In past moments of crisis, the president has often spent hours on the phone, calling dozens of friends and advisers to get their take. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday and Thursday, aides said, as several of the president’s closest advisers publicly condemned his response to the riots. He also has rebuffed calls from advisers including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has said he spent 25 minutes on Wednesday trying to reach the president to urge him to call for the violence to stop.”

“Advisers said the president remains consumed with anger toward Vice President Mike Pence over what he saw as a betrayal for refusing to try to block the congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. Several White House officials steered clear of the Oval Office on Thursday, wanting to avoid a president described by one adviser as ‘in a dark place.’ Advisers said the president appears more consumed with his election loss than remorseful for the riot.”

Said one adviser: “It’s like watching someone self-destruct in front of your very eyes, and you can’t do anything.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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