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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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.

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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.

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

New York Times: McConnell told associates he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses

From CNN's Devan Cole, Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told associates that he thinks President Trump committed impeachable offenses when he incited a deadly mob to attack the US Capitol last week and that he's "pleased" Democrats are working to impeach the President, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Citing conversations with people familiar with his thinking, the Times reported that McConnell, who will soon lose his position as majority leader, believes Democrats' impeachment push "will make it easier to purge (Trump) from the party."

The newspaper said the Kentucky Republican "has indicated that he wants to see the specific article of impeachment" House Democrats, as well as at least one House Republican, are expected to pass on Wednesday.

"But (McConnell) has made clear in private discussions that he believes now is the moment to move on the weakened lame duck, whom he blames for causing Republicans to lose the Senate," the Times reported.

A source familiar with the relationship between the two men told CNN that McConnell is furious with Trump. The 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. 

Trump and McConnell still have not spoken since last Wednesday's riot, a separate source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

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

DC attorney general will probe remarks made by Trump and associates

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

The Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine
The Attorney General for the District of Columbia Karl Racine CNN

DC Attorney General Karl Racine today said his office would investigate remarks made by President Trump and a number of pro-Trump Republicans in the lead-up to the Capitol riot to see if their words had violated any laws. 

"Whether they rise to the level of incitement, we're going look at all of our law books and the facts including the recording of the President Trump's comments," Racine told CNN's Jake Tapper, adding that the President's remarks, were at the least "reckless" and "unpresidential."

In a speech Wednesday, Trump ginned up the crowd of his supporters gathered on the National Mall, telling them "we're going to walk down to the Capitol" and that "you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength."

Today, in his first public remarks to reporters after the insurrection, however, Trump insisted his speech inciting the riot at the Capitol was "totally appropriate" while at the same time calling for "no violence." 

Racine today said his office would also review remarks made by other Trump allies who spoke just before the mob made its way to the Capitol Building. 

"We'll also take a look at the comments of others, including Don [Trump] Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman [Mo] Brooks," said Racine. "All of their comments were inflammatory at the least and merit a full investigation."

Racine said his office would parse the remarks carefully in an attempt to differentiate between words that were merely inflammatory, and those that may have reached the legal standard of incitement.

He said they will "focus on the timing of the remarks."

"Exactly what else was being said by the speakers and the crowd, how close the crowd was to the Capitol, what exactly was the direction and instruction? What did the crowd itself think they were being urged to do?" Racine added.

"All of those facts will be relevant," he said.

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4:59 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

McConnell "hates" Trump for what he did last week, source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Kaitlan Collins

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is furious with President Trump right now, said a source familiar with the relationship between the two men.

The 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. 

Trump and McConnell still have not spoken since last Wednesday's riot, a separate source familiar confirms to CNN. 

5:23 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

FBI official says "war" warning on message boards was shared with counterterrorism partners

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Steven D'Antuono, an FBI assistant director out of Washington, on Tuesday said the Norfolk, Virginia, FBI office warning last week about extremists who might come to Washington to attempt to start "war" had been shared quickly with the joint terrorism task force and other federal, state and local authorities.

"That was a thread on a message board that was not attributable" to a single person, he said at a news conference Tuesday.

The Washington Field Office of the FBI received that information and briefed it "within 40 minutes" to federal and state law enforcement partners, including in the joint terrorism task force.

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4:50 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Federal judge denies man's release, says he was alarmed by "small armory" allegedly found near US Capitol

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Guns and weapons that the DOJ says were found in the truck of Lonnie Coffman, who was indicted on weapons charges in connection with the events at the Capitol last week.
Guns and weapons that the DOJ says were found in the truck of Lonnie Coffman, who was indicted on weapons charges in connection with the events at the Capitol last week. Department of Justice

A man found with several guns and bombs near the US Capitol last week while it was being attacked will remain in jail while he awaits trial on weapons charges, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The man, Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, was charged in one of the most alarming cases to emerge so far from last week’s events. He allegedly brought several guns, extra rounds of ammunition and nearly a dozen homemade explosives to the US Capitol area on the day of the attack. Investigators found the items in Coffman’s car and arrested him when he returned to his vehicle, according to court documents. 

Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey of the DC District Court said he was alarmed by the “small armory" allegedly found in the car, and said Coffman would “pose a danger to the community” if released.

“It’s hard to understand why any one person would have the need for so much firepower. It raises significant concern… about what your intentions were on that day,” Harvey said at a virtual hearing.

Prosecutors have not accused Coffman of participating in the attack on the Capitol building. His lawyer, Tony Miles, said at a hearing on Tuesday that Coffman was “innocent” of the charges and questioned the strength of the case. He also noted that Coffman was an Army veteran who fought in Vietnam. 

Investigators found handwritten notes in Coffman’s truck that included a quote about the need “to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution,” according to court records. 

The notes also included the names of a Democratic member of Congress that he singled out for being Muslim, and an Obama-appointed judge. The handwritten notes also contained references to right-wing conspiracy websites.

5:16 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

FBI considers putting some of those who attacked the Capitol on no-fly list

From CNN's Pete Muntean and Greg Wallace

The FBI is acknowledging for the first time that it is considering keeping those who attacked the Capitol last week from boarding planes by adding them to the federal no-fly list.

When asked by CNN’s Evan Pérez, FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven D'Antuono said that the bureau would consider adding rioters to the no-fly list, which is administered by the Transportation Security Administration.

“As for the no-fly list, we look at all tools and techniques that we possibly can use within the FBI and that’s something we are actively looking at," said D'Antuono.

On Tuesday, congressional leaders intensified calls to keep rioters off planes after they said they remained mostly in the dark from the agencies that oversee the list. “We cannot allow these same insurrectionists to get on a plane and cause more violence, and more damage," Sen. Chuck Schumer said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

The top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee told TSA Administrator David Pekoske in a letter they were concerned “little is being done to disrupt the travel of terrorists who just attacked the seat of the U.S. Government and wish to do so again.”

Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and ranking Republican member John Katko wrote they were concerned that many of the same groups that planned and carried out Wednesday’s attack intend to return to Washington, DC, to cause further disruption and violence in the coming days, including at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Some context: The no-fly list is derived out of the Terrorist Screening Database kept by the FBI. Much of how it works, including what qualifies a person for inclusion, is classified.

The FBI and other intelligence services can nominate individuals for the list or the selectee list, which designates an individual as the subject of additional security screening at the airport.

When a person checks in for a flight, his or her reservation information is checked against the TSA’s Secure Flight database, which includes determining whether the traveler is on the no-fly list or selectee list.

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