House pushes to impeach Trump after deadly Capitol riot

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:26 p.m. ET, January 11, 2021
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8:27 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Trump could speak today, but plans for remarks are not final

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office while arriving back at the White House on December 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office while arriving back at the White House on December 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump could deliver remarks at some point today but plans haven’t been finalized, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump hopes to speak about big tech after many companies banned him from their platforms. 

Trump’s suspension from Twitter in particular has enraged the President, who spent the weekend apoplectic about what he’s determined is illegal censorship by the company. He has signaled internally a desire to try executive actions to punish Silicon Valley but it’s unclear what precisely that would look like. 

Trump is expected to award the Medal of Freedom to Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, at the White House on Monday and to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Thursday. His visit to the Texas bordertown Alamo comes Tuesday.

Between those events, aides are trying to convince Trump to hold events celebrating his legacy items like helping broker normalization agreements in the Middle East, rolling back regulations and taking a hard line on China. He has not shown as much enthusiasm for those but they are still possible between now and when he is expected to leave the White House on Jan. 19. 

Trump and some of his top aides spent part of the weekend phoning Republican allies in Congress to ask them to come out against a second impeachment. They have argued the country doesn’t support it. 

In some conversations, Trump has told allies he does not believe he should be blamed for what happened at the US Capitol on Wednesday, saying he never intended for the crowd to turn violent. 

8:22 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

A historic percentage of Americans want Trump removed from office. Here's what the polls show.

Analysis from CNN's��Harry Enten

US President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. 
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.  Brendan Smialowsk/AFP/Getty Images

The potential removal of President Trump from office starts out more popular than any other removal process of a president in recent American history. Removing Trump from office remains quite unpopular among Republicans, however.

A look across polls conducted since riots at the Capitol on Wednesday shows that a clear plurality of Americans overall want Trump out of office, even as President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.

You can see that well in an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. The majority (56%) say Trump should be removed from office, while just 43% believe he should not be removed.

An average across polls since Wednesday (in which no pollster is counted more than once) shows that 50% of Americans want Trump to either be impeached, for the 25th Amendment to be invoked or for Trump to resign from office. The minority (43%) say that none of these should occur.

The high percentage of Americans who want Trump out of office comes as House Democrats are already planning to introduce an impeachment resolution against Trump as soon as Monday.

When Democrats began an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September 2019, removing him from office wasn't anywhere near as popular. Before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that inquiry, only about 40% of Americans were for impeaching and removing Trump. About half the electorate was against it.

The fact that so many Americans want Trump out of office is, indeed, historically unprecedented this early in the process.

The percentage of Americans who wanted Bill Clinton impeached after his affair with Monica Lewinsky never climbed higher than 40%.

Likewise, the percentage of Americans who thought Richard Nixon should be removed or should resign from office was at about 40% when the House voted to formally start an impeachment inquiry in February 1974.

Eventually, the plurality of Americans wanted Nixon and Trump out of office, but it took impeachment proceedings for support to outrun opposition.

At this point, it's not clear whether more Americans want Trump out of office than after the impeachment and removal proceedings against him began and took place in late 2019 and early 2020. The percentages between now and then (about half the electorate) are close.

8:15 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

Biden aides are working to ensure impeachment doesn't become a distraction as inauguration approaches

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny 

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. Susan Walsh/AP

While President-elect Joe Biden has repeatedly said it's up to Congress to decide how to sanction Trump for his role in instigating the violent attack on the Capitol, CNN has learned that his advisers are working intently behind the scenes with Democratic leadership in hopes of finding a middle ground that won't hamper his new administration.

Waiting to send any articles to the Senate is one of the ideas being discussed by advisers to the President-elect, though advisers say other ideas have been under discussion this weekend, including censuring Trump in a move that may be able to draw more bipartisan support than impeachment could.

Doing nothing at all and allowing the final days of Trump's presidency to expire without punishment from Congress is not being discussed.

"The train has left the station on impeachment," an official close to Biden told CNN. "Trying to stop it would not only fail, but put Biden on the wrong foot with progressives and most Democrats across the party."

Conversations between Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many of their respective advisers have taken place throughout the weekend.

Biden is poised to roll out more specifics of his economic relief package this week in Wilmington, Delaware, where aides say he will implore Congress to act swiftly to pass the bill as one of the first acts of his presidency.

"That bill cannot and should not be delayed because of a Senate impeachment trial," an official close to Biden said.

8:54 a.m. ET, January 11, 2021

You might hear a lot about the 25th Amendment today. Here are key things to know.

From CNN's Zachary B. Wolf, Devan Cole, Jeff Zeleny, Daniella Diaz and Manu Raju

Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said for the first time Sunday the House will move to impeach President Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not remove him.

Pelosi said the House will attempt to pass a resolution by unanimous consent Monday morning calling for Pence and Trump's Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.

If the resolution doesn't pass by unanimous consent — and it most assuredly won't given likely Republican resistance — then the measure will be brought to the floor for a full vote on Tuesday. The resolution will call on Pence to respond within 24 hours and, if not, the House would move to impeach the President.

According a source close to the vice president, Pence has not ruled out an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and wants to preserve the option in case President Trump becomes more unstable.

The 25th Amendment has periodically been discussed as a means of last resort to remove a rogue or incapacitated president.

Here's what you need to know about the amendment:

  • How it works: To forcibly wrest power from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence would have to be on board, according to the text of the amendment. Read the full language here.
  • Trump could dispute their move: He would need to write a letter to Congress. Pence and the Cabinet would then have four days to dispute him. Congress would then vote — it requires a two-thirds supermajority, usually 67 senators and 290 House members to permanently remove him.
  • Some history about the amendment: The 25th Amendment was enacted in the wake of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, whose predecessor Dwight Eisenhower suffered major heart attacks. It was meant to create a clear line of succession and prepare for urgent contingencies.

More on how the 25th Amendment works: