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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12:44 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Ted Cruz's communications director resigns in wake of attack on the Capitol

From CNN's Sam Fossum

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s communications director has resigned in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, according to two sources. Lauren Blair Bianchi has been Cruz’s top communications aide since July 2019.

Cruz, a Texas Republican, was one of the leading Senate GOP voice in the effort to object to electors for Joe Biden as Congress moved to certify his election as President of the United States.

Bianchi’s departure was tied to the events leading up to Jan. 6, with the attack itself serving as the final trigger to resign, the sources said. 

The resignation was first reported by Punchbowl news.

11:55 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

US attorney in DC will investigate violence towards the media during Capitol riot

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

The acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, announced a new focus of investigating violence toward the media at the Capitol riots.

"Such violence will not be tolerated," Sherwin said in a statement.

Sherwin's office has already brought several federal criminal charges against President Trump supporters inside the Capitol that day.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the media in speeches and tweets over the years, and video of the riot captured his supported breaking press equipment from several news organizations last week. One New York Times photographer, Erin Schaff, said she was thrown to the floor by the mob until police could intervene.

"The United States Attorney’s Office invites members of the press to report any instances where a reporter, journalist, photographer, videographer, or other member of the press or broadcast media was the victim of an assault, threat, or property damage during the events of January 6 at the United States Capitol," he said.

This is what happened when Capitol mob found a CNN crew:

11:34 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

House Rules Committee is debating bill demanding Trump's removal with 25th Amendment 

From CNN's Lauren Fox

House Rules Committee
House Rules Committee

The House Rules Committee is meeting now to begin debate on Rep. Jamie Raskin's bill urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.

That debate is expected to go one to three hours, but, it could go longer. After that, the Rules panel might take a break.

Here's how the rest of the day could play out: Rules is expected to then return in the mid-afternoon to begin debating the impeachment article. This meeting is expected to stretch hours. It could go well into the evening. For context, the last impeachment Rules debate lasted about eight hours.

Around 7:30 p.m. ET, the House will begin voting on Raskin's 25th Amendment bill. They will first vote on the rule. Then, they will vote on the actual bill. Remember: Votes in the House take a while given the protocols in place for coronavirus.

11:24 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

3 House Democrats blame Covid-19 diagnosis on lawmakers who didn't wear masks while sheltering during riot 

From CNN's Clare Foran and Daniella Diaz

Three House Democrats said they tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering in place with other members of Congress who did not wear masks during the violent attack on the US Capitol last week.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Rep. Brad Schneider of Illinois announced their positive test results early this week.

"Following the events of Wednesday, including sheltering with several colleagues who refused to wear masks, I decided to take a Covid test. I have tested positive," Coleman tweeted Monday.

A statement from her office said that the congresswoman "believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the US Capitol building as a result of insurrectionist riots. As reported by multiple news outlets, a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks."

Jayapal tweeted early Tuesday morning that she "received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one."

CNN has previously reported that six House Republicans were captured on video refusing masks offered by a colleague during the US Capitol insurrection.

An aide told CNN that Watson Coleman was in the room in the secure location with the six conservative Republicans who refused to wear masks.

"Unfortunately, I received a positive COVID-19 test this morning following being tested yesterday on the advice of the House Attending Physician," Schneider said in a statement Tuesday.

"Last Wednesday, after narrowly escaping a violent mob incited by the President of the United States to attack the Capitol and its occupants, I was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress. Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask," the congressman said.

"Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife's health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff. I am at least the third Member from that room paying the price, including Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor," he said.

Lawmakers and Capitol staff on Sunday received a memo from the Capitol's attending physician warning of a possible risk of Covid-19 exposure after a large group of lawmakers were forced to gather in a secure location during the breach of the US Capitol.

"On Wednesday January 6, many members of the House community were in protective isolation in (a) room located in a large committee hearing space. The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others. During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection," Dr. Brian P. Monahan wrote.

In the memo, Monahan instructed lawmakers and staff to monitor for possible Covid-19 symptoms and to be tested for Covid-19 as a precaution.

11:13 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

New York police say they have taken steps to "harden security" at state Capitol ahead of inauguration

From CNN's Mirna Alsharif

The New York State Police has taken steps "to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany" ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, according to spokesperson Beau Duffy.

"Given recent events in Washington and across the country, the New York State Police has, out of an abundance of caution, taken steps to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany," said Duffy. "These restrictions are in place until further notice."

Duffy added that the department is aware of reports regarding "possible protests ahead of the inauguration," is in touch with federal and local law enforcement partners and "will be monitoring the situation."

11:14 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Sen. Schumer tells senators there will be an all-senator briefing on inauguration security today

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

Cheriss May/Getty Images
Cheriss May/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer notified senators today that will be an all-senator virtual briefing on inauguration security this afternoon with briefers including representatives from Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service, a senate source familiar with the matter tells CNN.

The call is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET, according to this source. 

The briefing was first reported by NBC.

11:06 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Trump claims his suspension from Twitter is causing "anger"

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Alex Brandon/AP
Alex Brandon/AP

President Trump declared Tuesday that his suspension from social media platforms was causing "anger" and that he continues to enjoy "tremendous support," despite losing the election and facing a second impeachment. 

"I think that big tech is doing a horrible thing for our country and to our country," he told reporters before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

"I think it’s going to be a catastrophic mistake for them."

Trump offered no contrition for his role in inciting riots at the US Capitol. And he sought to voice what he said was frustration from conservatives about perceived censorship by Silicon Valley.

"It causes a lot of problems and a lot of anger," he said. "There’s always a counter-move when they do that."

Trump said "you have to always avoid violence." But he touted his base of support as evidence that tech companies were wrong to remove him from their platforms.

"We have tremendous support," he said. "We have support probably like nobody’s ever seen."

11:05 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Pelosi sets meeting with Acting Capitol Police chief and acting Sergeant-at-Arms amid threats

From CNN's Phil Mattingly and Daniella Diaz

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top Democratic leaders, along with House Administration Committee Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren and House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro will hold a meeting with the acting Capitol Police chief and acting Sergeant-at-Arms at 11 a.m. ET amid new threats and concerns about both in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, according to a source familiar. 

Some background: According to a member of Congress who was among those briefed late Monday on a series of new threats against lawmakers and the Capitol itself, thousands of armed pro-Trump extremists are plotting to surround the US Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

Monday's briefing followed an FBI bulletin warning of "armed protests" being planned at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, DC, and provides the latest sense of a heightened state of alarm among lawmakers and law enforcement officials following last week's deadly siege at the US Capitol.

CNN's Zachary Cohen, Lauren Fox and Priscilla Alvarez contributed reporting to this post.

10:49 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Trump takes no blame for what happened at US Capitol

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A defiant President Trump insisted Tuesday his speech inciting riots at the US Capitol was "totally appropriate."

Speaking at Joint Base Andrews before departing for Texas, Trump falsely said those who'd analyzed his remarks had found no fault in them.

"It’s been analyzed," he said. "People though what I said was totally appropriate."

"They’ve analyzed my speech, my words," he continued. "Everybody to a T thought it was appropriate."

Instead, Trump claimed the "real problem" is what other politicians said about protests over the summer in Seattle and Portland.

Trump, in an aside, said "you always have to avoid violence."