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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3:37 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

House Democrats express safety concerns about some GOP colleagues they fear could bring guns to Capitol

From CNN's Jake Tapper

Multiple House Democrats tell CNN they’re worried about some of their Republican colleagues and there have been multiple conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start going through metal detectors.

“There have been increasing tensions with certain incoming freshmen for months, who have been insistent on bringing firearms in violation of law and guidelines,” one House Democrat said, in a reference to Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn, and others.

A second Democratic member of Congress added, “there are concerns about the gun-toting members, but also we don’t know who they’re going to bring to the Inauguration who can bypass the metal detectors. Until there’s an investigation and until we understand our colleagues’ level of complicity in the attack we don’t know how involved they really were. Until we have answers I don’t think we should trust them – not all of them of course, but some of them.”

A second Democrat noted that some of the House Republicans went onto the floor of the House after the attack and continued to share election lies, and also that some refused to wear masks while they were sheltering in place, and now several Democrats have tested positive for Covid-19.

3:21 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

FBI and DOJ hold news conference on Capitol riot

From CNN's Jessica Schneider and Katelyn Polantz

Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin and Steven D'Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, are holding a news conference and providing updates on charges stemming from last week’s attack at the US Capitol.

"To be clear, the brutality the American people watched with shock and disbelief on the 6th will not be tolerated by the FBI. The men and women of the FBI will leave no stone unturned in this investigation. Since these events, the FBI has worked hand in hand with the United States attorney's office and our law enforcement partners here in DC and across the country to arrest and charge multiple individuals who took part in the destruction," D'Antuono said.

According to the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI has received more than 100,000 digital media tips as of Tuesday morning.

The digital media tips are sent in from people who have documented the rioting and violence at the US Capitol last week.

The Justice Department on Tuesday, meanwhile, filed its first federal grand jury indictments against two defendants linked to the Capitol riot, including against an Alabama man alleged to have parked a truck filled with homemade bombs, guns and ammo two blocks from the Capitol. 

3:09 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Major interagency meeting scheduled to discuss security requirements for inauguration

From CNN's Barbara Starr

A major interagency "requirements" meeting has been scheduled this afternoon to discuss security requirements for the upcoming inauguration, along with concerns that some events in Washington, DC, could turn violent, multiple senior defense officials tell CNN.

That said, there is a much better feeling among these officials that preparations are organized and being put into place correctly because the Secret Service is in charge, and as one official said "they don’t mess around."

There should be more clarity after this meeting on how many additional National Guard troops may be needed beyond the 15,000 troops already earmarked, as well as any possible circumstances in which National Guard may possibly be armed for self-defense. 

The officials would not address detailed security threats but said broadly, the planning is to assume perpetrators will come with high "aggression" one senior defense official said. 

"Their intentions are very serious" the official said.

3:22 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Law enforcement concerned US Capitol attack could embolden more attacks

From CNN's Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz

Federal investigators are chasing thousands of leads in twin efforts to try to prosecute people involved in last week’s attack on the US Capitol and to try to prevent feared follow-up attacks in Washington and around the country. 

In recent days, concern has grown that violent mobs’ success in breaching the Capitol has increased the potential for attacks because people may be emboldened to carry out violence, another federal law enforcement official said.

“The chatter is off the charts right now,” the official said. 

The sprawling probe spanning all 50 states in some ways is unprecedented, even in comparison to the investigations after the 9/11 attacks. That’s because federal investigators are grappling with a domestic radicalization problem, that presents complications due to First Amendment protections of political speech, different from radicalization tied to foreign terrorist groups. 

Some of the intelligence the FBI, ATF and other agencies shared before last week’s attack has taken new importance, and has prompted federal investigators to conduct visits with people already on their radar and who have raised concerns about violence. Much of the online threats found in social media and other forums is thought to be aspirational, but the FBI and other agencies now are treating them more seriously, officials said. 

Some of that occurred before the Jan. 6 Trump rally, federal officials have said. The FBI worked with Washington’s Metropolitan Police to arrest a leader of the Proud Boys in the days before the Trump rally on a relatively minor charge, and then added charges when they found him carrying extended ammunition magazines that are illegal in the city. Prosecutors monitored hotels where some attendees were staying. 

But, there were efforts by some of the groups of concern to try to evade detection. On the day of the rally, members of the Proud Boys ditched their normal yellow and black attire and donned orange hats, and they were seen gathering near the Capitol grounds to coordinate their march to the building, according to a federal law enforcement official and video from the day. 

Watch more here:


2:54 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Top military officials preparing rare message to US forces in the wake of the Capitol attack

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Oren Liebermann

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley Michael Reynolds/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are preparing to send a message to the entire military force reiterating a tone of reassurance given recent violence in Washington, according to two defense officials. 

The message will remind the force that their obligation is to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism, the sources said. The decision to issue the message was agreed upon by the chiefs on Tuesday, one of the officials said.

It is considered a significant step because the chiefs have sought to stay out of anything that may have political overtones. But given what has happened, they all felt it was important to make a statement given the gravity of events surrounding the inauguration.

2:33 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Schumer urges McConnell to reconvene Senate for impeachment trial

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate and hold an impeachment trial at a news conference in New York on Tuesday, arguing that a 2004 resolution allows the two of them to avoid the requirement for unanimous consent during an emergency.

“We could come back ASAP and vote to convict Donald Trump, and get him out of office now before any further damage is done,” said Schumer.

“The bottom line is that Leader McConnell has the ability to call us back into session,” added Schumer. “And we can then move to convict Donald Trump in the impeachment trial and try him. And that's what we hope McConnell will do.”

Schumer said that Trump’s comments today taking no responsibility for the attack on the Capitol were “despicable.”

“What Trump did today, blaming others for what he caused, is a pathological technique used by the worst of dictators,” said Schumer. “Trump causes the anger. He causes the divisiveness. He foments the violence and blames others for it. That is despicable.”

“Donald Trump should not hold office one day longer,” he added. “If he won't resign, and Vice President Pence and the Cabinet won't invoke the 25th amendment, he will be impeached by the House, and as the law requires, tried by the Senate.”

Watch here:

1:32 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Senior Republican staffer resigns in letter condemning GOP colleagues for role in Capitol riot

From CNN's Jamie Gangel

Jason Schmid, a widely respected and senior Republican staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, resigned Tuesday following the Jan. 6th insurrection at the US Capitol.

In a strongly worded resignation letter, he condemned members of his own party who "chose to put political theater ahead of the defense of the Constitution and the Republic."

"The sad, incontrovertible truth is that the people who laid siege to the Capitol were and continue to be domestic enemies of the Constitution of the United States. A poisonous lie that the election was illegitimate and should be overturned inspired so called 'patriots' to share common cause with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists to attack the seat of American government," Schmid wrote in his resignation letter.

He continued: "Anyone who watched those horrible hours unfold should have been galvanized to rebuke these insurrectionists in the strongest terms. Instead, some members whom I believed to be leaders in the defense of the nation chose to put political theater ahead of the defense of the Constitution and the Republic."

Members of the committee have been very moved by Schmid's resignation letter, according to a source familiar with those conversation. This person added that it speaks to the concerns being talked about amongst Republicans following the Capitol Hill attack. 

In his letter Schmid directly condemned House and Senate Republicans who objected to the legally certified electoral college votes of several states. 

"The decision to vote to set aside legitimate electors harmed the ability of every service member, intelligence officer, and diplomat to defend the nation and advance American interests," Schmid writes. "Congressional enablers of this mob have made future foreign conflict more likely, not less."

He also calls on the committee to hold the Department of Defense accountable.

"It is vitally important that the Committee hold the Department of Defense accountable for bringing any participants to justice. These extremist influences are a grave threat to our ability to defend the nation, and they must be expelled from the force immediately. I deeply regret some members may no longer have the credibility needed to accomplish this work," Schmid writes. 

1:43 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Senate Democratic leader says Capitol rioters should be put on a no-fly list


Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding that anyone who stormed the US Capitol last week be placed on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list as a way to contain possible future threats.

"These individuals are a threat to the homeland as defined by the law," Schumer said at a news conference. "And they should be placed on the no-fly list."

He continued:

"With so many questions about safety and the worry about future possible threats, the least we can do is make the skies, the inauguration, the Capitol and the country safer."

Hear what else he said about possible threats:

1:37 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

GOP lawmaker removed from Harvard advisory committee following election claims 

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

Rep. Elise Stefanik
Rep. Elise Stefanik Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images/FILE

GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York was removed from the Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee Tuesday for her role in perpetuating baseless claims about voter fraud in the November 2020 election. 

The decision comes following calls from students and alumni – including a petition signed by nearly a thousand Harvard affiliates – to remove Stefanik from the committee.

Pleas for Stefanik to step aside had been brewing since the election, but this specific petition was started early last week in the wake of the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday, when Stefanik objected to the certification of the election results, even after the violence.

“I spoke with Elise and asked her to step aside from the Senior Advisory Committee. My request was not about political parties, political ideology, or her choice of candidate for president. Rather, in my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,” Douglas Elmendorf, dean of faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, said in a letter to the Senior Advisory Committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Tuesday.

“Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen,” Elmendorf added.

According to the letter, Stefanik was asked to step aside from the committee, but declined that offer and therefore was therefore removed from the committee. 

Megan Corrigan and Jacob Carrel – both students at Harvard Law School – were in a group chat texting as the violence at the Capitol unfolded.

“We were both aware Rep. Stefanik had this position at the Institute of Politics, and we felt that with her continued support of these false claims of election fraud she was enabling this violence. And we felt like she should no longer be a part of our institution or hold such a high position within our Institute of Politics,” Corrigan, a 28-year-old second year law student at Harvard Law School and an author of the petition, told CNN.

“She continued and objected after the violence… and from there, the petition just took off, even faster than we imagined,” Corrigan added.

In addition to the petition, undergraduates also shared an infographic on social media which explained why they believed Stefanik “should not be an IOP senior advisor.”

“Through her promise to oppose the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, Rep. Stefanik has demonstrated that she is not suitable to advise our student center any longer,” the students wrote.

“We were so happy that the University heard us and took this step to hold her accountable this morning,” Corrigan told CNN Tuesday.

Stefanik responded to the Institute of Politics’ decision Tuesday with a statement on Twitter in which she said, “The decision by Harvard’s administration to cower and cave to the woke Left will continue to erode diversity of thought, public discourse, and ultimately the student experience.”

But, according to Coorigan, “This isn’t a free speech issue. This is a case of legislative action taken contrary to our Democracy.”