House pushes for Trump's removal after deadly Capitol riot

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

Updated 1:29 AM ET, Wed January 13, 2021
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6:28 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Third GOP House lawmaker says he will vote to impeach President Trump

From CNN's Matthew Hoye

Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger Kevin Dietsch/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he will vote to impeach President Trump, in a statement released on Twitter. 

"There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection. He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative," the statement said.

Some background: Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, and Rep. John Katko also announced today that they will vote to impeach the President. The House plans to vote on the article of impeachment tomorrow.

Read Kinzinger's statement:

6:16 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Federal officials assign a team to understand how last week's attack was planned

From CNN's Evan Perez 

A federal law enforcement official says the top priority in the investigation is understanding the planning of the Capitol attack, which is why acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin has assigned a team specifically to the issue. 

Despite the intelligence from the FBI’s Norfolk office that showed online discussions of “war” and even specific details about tunnels in the Capitol complex, the official says the FBI did what it could with the information, which is among dozens of other reports that came in during the days before the Jan. 6 Trump rally.

They shared it with the US Capitol Police and other agencies, but none of the intelligence prompted those officers to harden the protective perimeter of the complex. The US Capitol Police reports to Congress and is separate from Executive Branch law enforcement agencies.

On the day of the attack, the federal law enforcement official, some of the suspected extremists who were on the law enforcement radar did turn up. Now the FBI and other agencies are combing through communications and other records to determine the planning that went into the mob invasion.   

“We need to understand the command and control aspects of this,” the law enforcement official told CNN.

6:51 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

House observes moment of silence for fallen officers

From CNN's Kristin Wilson 

House TV
House TV

The House of Representatives today observed a moment of silence for two fallen US Capitol Police officers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lead the House in the moment of silence to honor US Capitol Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, who were both on duty when a mob of Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol last week.

Sicknick had died "due to injuries sustained while on-duty." Sicknick joined the USCP in July 2008, and most recently served in the Department's First Responder's Unit.

Prosecutors in the US Attorney's office plan to open a federal murder investigation into Sicknick's death, a law enforcement official told CNN.

Liebengood, 51, was among those who responded to the storming of the Capitol last week. He died while off duty, the Capitol Police said Sunday. The announcement did not state the officer's cause of death.

He was assigned to the Senate Division and has been with the Department since April 2005.

Liebengood's father, Howard S. Liebengood, was an aide to former Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker and served as the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms from 1981-1983.

CNN's Diane Ruggiero, Jeremy Diamond and Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.

Watch here:

5:52 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney: "I will vote to impeach the President"

Alex Wong/Getty Images/FILE
Alex Wong/Getty Images/FILE

Wyoming's Liz Cheney, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House, announced in a statement today that she will vote to impeach President Trump, saying that he "summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."

"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," she said in the statement.

Read her full statement:

"On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic. 
Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States 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. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. 
I will vote to impeach the President."

Watch here:

7:36 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Pence tells governors: "The next administration will have your back"

From CNN's Betsy Klein, Allie Malloy and Maegan Vazquez

Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images/FILE
Erin Schaff/Pool/Getty Images/FILE

Vice President Mike Pence kicked off what is likely to be his final weekly coronavirus call with the nation’s governors on Tuesday with a farewell message and an effort to inspire confidence in the next administration. 

Pence did his part to impress upon the governors that there will be a smooth transition to the Biden administration, despite weeks of stonewalling. He said the task force met with Biden officials during their meeting Monday. 

“We are in the midst of a transition to a new administration and I want to say to all the governors on the call that we are working diligently with President-elect Joe Biden’s team. Our task force met with them yesterday,” he said, suggesting that they had been in contact for “many weeks,” despite evidence to the contrary. 

“We’re going to ensure a seamless transition to the new administration on the 20th and our objective is no interruption," he added.

On the matter of personal protective equipment, Pence also reiterated there’d be a seamless transition. 

“We want to build confidence for you in this administration, the next administration, get your supplies out, get your PPE out to your health care providers… We just want you to have confidence, we have your back,” he said, adding, “We’ve got your back, the next administration will have your back.”

Amid concerns about the pace of vaccinations, Pence said that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for immunizations “are not binding,” praising governors for “great innovations in delivery and scope” and telling them they had the administration’s “full support.”

He also claimed that there is “not a supply issue at this moment in time.”

“We actually have more vaccine today in reserve than has been ordered by states to be administered and we want to clear that up,” he said. 

5:37 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

First Republican lawmaker announces he will vote for impeachment of Trump

From CNN's Kristin Wilson 

Rep. John Katko
Rep. John Katko om Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Republican Rep. John Katko announced today that he will vote to impeach President Trump.

Katko is the first Republican to sign on to the Democrats' effort to impeach Trump for his role in spurring on his supporters in last week's storming of the US Capitol. 

"It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection – both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day. By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division," he said.

Read the full statement:

5:35 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Police initiate immediate road closures around the Capitol "until further notice"

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

The US Capitol Police have initiated immediate road closures surrounding the Capitol “until further notice,” according to a notice sent to Capitol Hill offices.

“Due to the Capitol Complex being closed, the following road closures are in effect until further notice,” the note reads. DC Police also issued traffic alerts on Twitter this afternoon. 

Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a written statement on Monday, “There will be no public access to the Capitol Grounds during the Inauguration, and the event will go on as scheduled.”

5:49 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

McConnell believes impeaching Trump will help rid him from the party, source says

From CNN's Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly, Jim Acosta, Kaitlan Collins and Dana Bash

Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE
Drew Angerer/Getty Images/FILE

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he believes that impeaching Donald Trump will make it easier to get rid of Trump and Trumpism from the party, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

The silence has been deliberate — and left open his option of supporting impeachment.

Another person with direct knowledge says there’s a reason McConnell has been silent on impeachment as other Republicans have pushed back: He’s furious about what happened Jan. 6, even more so that Trump has shown no contrition.

One source said McConnell "hates" Trump for what he did last week following the attacks on the Capitol that left at least five people dead including a Capitol Hill police officer.

McConnell has been steadily moving his conference away from Trump for weeks. While he knows they all aren’t there with him, but believes the party needs to turn the page.

McConnell has made no commitments on voting to convict Trump, and wants to see the article itself before voting.

Trump and McConnell still have not spoken since last Wednesday's riot, and in fact haven't spoken since McConnell’s floor speech acknowledging Joe Biden as President-elect in December.

Another source tells CNN that McConnell couldn’t get Trump on the phone when he refused to sign the stimulus bill over the Christmas week.

McConnell has since told others in the wake of the stimulus circus he won’t talk to Trump again.

Watch here:

5:09 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Biden spoke to McConnell about Senate impeachment trial

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

Getty Images
Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is not trying to stop the impeachment proceedings of President Trump, but he is trying to keep them from consuming his agenda and overshadowing the early days of his presidency.

With that in mind, CNN has learned, Biden called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday to discuss the possibility of “bifurcation” – doing impeachment proceedings alongside confirming his nominees and approving a sweeping Covid relief package.

The two men spoke frankly about a potential impeachment trial for Trump, people familiar with the call said, as both of them noted it would be far different from the trial they sat through in 1999 for President Bill Clinton.

McConnell told Biden that the Senate parliamentarian would have to rule whether the Senate could work on legislative business other than impeachment, people familiar with the call said, adding that McConnell did not offer his own view. 

Biden raised this idea publicly on Monday as he received his second Covid-19 vaccine, saying he had been speaking with lawmakers. He did not reveal that McConnell was among them.  

After next Wednesday, of course, McConnell becomes the Senate Minority Leader. But for the next eight days, McConnell is running the Senate schedule.

The New York Times first reported the Biden-McConnell call.