House impeaches Trump for role in deadly Capitol riot

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:54 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021
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9:03 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Virginia governor says Capitol riot was not accidental or spontaneous

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam castigated rioters who stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6 and said their actions were “egged on from conspiracy theories and lies from a president who could not accept losing."

“Their goal was simple: overturn a legal and fair election,” Northam said Wednesday during his annual State of the Commonwealth address. “Those were scenes I don’t believe any of us ever expected to see in our lifetime. But none of that just happened. None of it was an accident and nothing about it was spontaneous.”

Northam thanked state troopers and the Virginia National Guard, both of which were among the first law enforcement agencies to respond to the riots.

“These men and women dropped everything and raced to defend our country’s temple of democracy,” he said. "While others hesitated, Virginians were first on the scene. It made me proud to see that line of state police cars racing across the 14th Street Bridge.”

Northam also took a moment of silence to honor the memory of Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, both of whom died in the aftermath of the riots.

Despite the incident, Northam expressed optimism for the country as it moved forward from the incident.

“Americans are better than this and I pray that we all can summon the better angels of our nature in this new year,” he said.

8:23 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Biden wants Senate to handle "constitutional responsibilities on impeachment" along with "urgent business"

From CNN's Sarah Mucha and Jeff Zeleny

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

President-elect Joe Biden released a statement Wednesday night in reaction to the House's impeachment of President Trump, reiterating his expressed hope that the Senate will be able to carry out their regular legislative duties while dealing with impeachment responsibilities.

“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” Biden says. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.” 

While not stating his position either way, Biden stated that the violence at the Capitol was incited by the President, saying it "was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited to this violence by President Trump." 

Biden added: “From confirmations to key posts such as Secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and Director of National Intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again. Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work.”

8:17 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Acting ICE director is resigning, DHS official says

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Jonathan Fahey is resigning as acting US Immigration and Customs Enforcement director just weeks after assuming the post, according to a Department of Homeland Security official. 

Fahey's departure is the latest in a string of leadership changes at the Department of Homeland Security and the most recent acting ICE director to step down.

Last month, Fahey's predecessor, Tony Pham, departed. Pham had assumed the post last August. 

It's unclear what prompted Fahey's departure. 

7:55 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Rep. James Clyburn says "there's a good chance" Trump will be convicted in the Senate

From CNN's Leinz Vales

CNN
CNN

House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Wednesday that "there's a good chance that there will be a conviction in the Senate" of President Trump after he was impeached for the second time in the House.

"I think that Mitch McConnell and a few others recognize that that's the quickest way to get him out of their hair so-to-speak," Clyburn told CNN's Erin Burnett. "So these articles will go over there. There will be people who will conduct the trial. Our managers will do a good job of that. They don't have to do a good job, to tell you the truth. Just put up the videos and bring in the people who are the recipients of these phone calls. I think there will be enough on the record and so, he could very well get a conviction."

On the timing of the impeachment trial, the Democratic lawmaker said that he wouldn't want to see the proceedings interfere with President-elect Joe Biden's first 100 days in office. 

"I do really feel that we ought to do what's necessary for this man not to ever run again," Clyburn said. "But we need to do what is necessary for people's lives to get this stored as soon as possible. I wouldn't want to see an impeachment trial postponed that for too long."

More context: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he's in favor of impeachment, a GOP source says, but he's made it clear that the Senate trial won’t start until Biden is sworn in.

See more:

7:33 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Biden silent on Trump's impeachment so far

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President-elect Joe Biden has made clear he’s not particularly enthusiastic for President Trump’s impeachment. And now, roughly three hours after the House vote was becoming clear, he is still silent on the historic action.

Aides said Biden is still planning to release a statement tonight on the Trump impeachment, but the timing certainly underscores that the Biden team has other priorities today.

The reality is that impeachment will now be one more thing Biden inherits from the Trump presidency.

Biden is still awaiting word on whether the Senate will be able to conduct an impeachment, alongside Cabinet confirmation hearings and Covid legislation he plans to outline in greater detail on Thursday evening.

Aides say Biden and his team are working behind the scenes with Senate Democrats – and House impeachment managers – to keep the impeachment trial as swift as possible, although it remains an open question tonight how successful that might be.

7:28 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Snapchat bans Trump permanently

From CNN’s Brian Fung

President Trump has been permanently banned from Snapchat, according to a statement by the platform. 

 "Last week we announced an indefinite suspension of President Trump’s Snapchat account, and have been assessing what long term action is in the best interest of our Snapchat community," a Snapchat spokesperson said.

"In the interest of public safety, and based on his attempts to spread misinformation, hate speech, and incite violence, which are clear violations of our guidelines, we have made the decision to permanently terminate his account," the spokesperson added.

Some background: Facebook has suspended Trump's account "indefinitely," while Twitter has banned Trump completely.

On Tuesday, YouTube announced that it was suspending Trump's channel for at least one week, and potentially longer, after his channel earned a strike under the platform's policies.

 

7:01 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Trump was briefed earlier this week on possible threats, official says

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Trump was briefed by federal officials on Monday regarding possible threats to Washington, DC, and state capitols ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, an official said.

Trump cited the briefings in his video condemning violence tonight.

An official said the briefings played a role in his decision to record the video. 

7:08 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

CNN's John King on new Trump video condemning Capitol violence: "Where was this one week ago?"

Analysis by CNN's John King / Written by Leinz Vales

Moments after President Trump released a new video Wednesday, denouncing the violence at the US Capitol building last week, CNN's John King said it was a good message, but asked, "Where was that one week ago today?"

"Where was that one week ago today when thousands of his supporters acting on his words went to the United States Capitol and the leader of the House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy, others were calling him saying, 'Mr. President, deliver a statement, go public, go on camera, tell your people to back down, tell your people to stand down, tell your people to go home.'"

King added that his message to his supporters was a "strongly worded statement" that left little ambiguity, but fell flat when compared to his past comments about the riot.   

"He says in this statement, 'Like all of you I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week,'" King said. "No. He said nothing about it at the moment when people were begging him to stand down. Then he called them patriots and he said he loved them. He's on the record. That's on camera. In his statements. Those are his own words."

King went on to say it was a responsible statement from the President, but reiterated that the sentiment was too late to have an impact.

"It would have been nice to get it a week ago," King said. "It would have been nice to get it after Charlottesville. It would have been nice to get it at other moments where the President has encouraged his supporters. For this President to say it's time to rise above the rancor and find common ground, he has often caused the rancor and disrupted any efforts at common ground. Again, it is a very welcome statement in a vacuum."

Watch King's remarks:

7:00 p.m. ET, January 13, 2021

House impeachment managers begin to map out prosecution against Trump

From CNN's Manu Raju

 Impeachment managers Rep. Madeleine Dean, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. David Cicilline,  and Rep. Jamie Raskin walk through Statuary Hall on Wednesday, January 13.
 Impeachment managers Rep. Madeleine Dean, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. David Cicilline, and Rep. Jamie Raskin walk through Statuary Hall on Wednesday, January 13. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House impeachment managers are just starting to lay out their strategy for the case they plan to bring against President Trump in the Senate and are wary about stepping on Joe Biden's first days of his presidency.

Several managers told CNN that decisions have not been made over whether to seek witnesses and attempt to subpoena documents for the trial; doing so could prolong the trial.

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicating he's in no rush to bring the Senate back early into session, House managers have more time to begin their strategy sessions, which will be led by Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Raskin told CNN that they are still assessing whether to seek witnesses.

One possible witness: Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state, given that the article of impeachment references Trump's pressure campaign against the official to "find" the votes necessary to overturn Biden's win in the state.

Asked if Raffensperger would be called as a witness, Rep. Madeleine Dean, the impeachment manager, said she didn't "want to preview" the case and they were only just beginning organizational meetings.

Democrats, though, seem to be wary about starting the trial on the same day Biden is sworn into office. 

"Certainly not," she said when asked if it would be a good idea to start on Jan. 20. "The president and vice president deserve [their day].. We have to restore a peaceful transfer of power which Donald Trump deliberately incited people against."