House impeaches Trump as Capitol riot probe continues

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:56 PM ET, Thu January 14, 2021
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11:00 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Congressional Gold Medal bill introduced for Capitol Police officer who lured rioters away

From CNN's Kristin Wilson

Reps. Charlie Crist of Florida, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Nancy Mace of South Carolina have introduced a bill to award US Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal for “for his bravery and quick thinking during last week’s insurrection at the United States Capitol."

“While some will remember last Wednesday for the very worst in our country, the patriotism and heroics of Officer Eugene Goodman renew my faith and remind us all what truly makes the United States great,” Crist wrote in a statement. 

Goodman lured a group of rioters away from the entrance to the Senate chambers on Jan. 6, where lawmakers were still debating an objection to Arizona's Electoral College vote count.

10:45 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

These are the GOP senators to watch as the impeachment trial looms

From CNN's Ali Zaslav, Manu Raju and the rest of the Hill Team

Sen. Mitt Romney walks though the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. 
Sen. Mitt Romney walks though the US Capitol on Wednesday, January 6.   Ting Shen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

After the House of Representatives impeached President Trump for a second time on Wednesday, attention now turns to the Senate.  

The Senate can vote to convict Trump by a two-thirds majority. That means 17 Republican senators would have to vote "yes" to convict Trump, assuming every senator shows up to the vote and all 50 Democratic senators also vote “yes” to convict. 

All eyes are what soon-to-be Minority Leader Mitch McConnell decides. Several GOP aides have told CNN that McConnell's decision will certainly have an impact on the conference.

Here's a look at some of the Senate Republicans we're watching ahead of the trial:

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska: Sen. Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022, is a frequent Trump critic. Last year, over the summer, she said she was “struggling” with whether to support President Trump in the election, and she was the first GOP senator to explicitly call on Trump to resign.
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: Sen. Collins, who just won reelection, is a frequent critic of the President. In an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News after the Capitol attack, Collins wrote that she had texted a White House contact during the riot to urge President Trump to tell rioters to stop the violence, “but President Donald Trump completely undercut that message by repeating his grievances and telling the rioters that he knew how they felt. This was terrible, especially since he incited them in the first place.”
  • Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah: Sen. Romney was the sole Republican to vote to convict the President during Trump’s first Senate’s impeachment trial last year. Romney said recently he thinks we’ve got to “hold our breath” until Trump’s out of office, when asked his view of invoking the 25th Amendment. On whether Trump should be impeached, Romney said, “I think time is a little short for that.” 
  • Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska: Sen. Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, recently said he would “definitely consider” articles of impeachment from the House in an interview on CBS.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania: Sen. Toomey, who is retiring after his term in 2022, said that President Trump has committed an impeachable offense, but stopped short of directly calling for his impeachment. He also called on Trump to resign. "I think at this point, with just a few days left, it's the best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us that could happen immediately. I'm not optimistic it will," Toomey said on CNN's State of the Union.

CNN's Ali Main and Nicky Robertson contributed additional reporting to this post.

10:40 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Ohio governor authorizes National Guard if needed to secure state capitol: "Violence will not be tolerated"

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

In this 2019 file photo, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during an interview in Columbus.
In this 2019 file photo, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks during an interview in Columbus. John Minchillo/AP

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is taking steps to secure his state capitol ahead of inauguration day next week, saying, “violence will not be tolerated.”

During a Thursday news conference, DeWine signed a proclamation that authorizes the use of National Guard – if they are needed – to help protect the state capitol. 

“I Mike DeWine, governor of the state of Ohio, hereby authorizes - as needed – in-state activity duty status those personnel and units of the Ohio National Guard as designated by the Adjutant General that are needed to assist the state and local authorities,” he read as he signed the document.

“The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be out in force in Columbus. The Ohio National Guard will be out in force in Columbus. Our guard will be there to back up local law enforcement and to back up the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Both will have a significant presence in Columbus. Also, both will be available for any place else where trouble might arise,” he said.

DeWine also closed the State house “will be closed this coming Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Further, I'm also ordering all state office buildings in downtown Columbus, to be closed on these four days as well.”

About 700 members of the Ohio National Guard will be used in the national Capitol region, at the request of the federal government, he said. 

“We have unique capabilities, we have special personnel and special equipment that has been specifically requested by the federal government for us to deploy to Washington,” he said. 

10:23 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Key things to know about the latest developments in the Capitol riot investigation

From CNN's Evan Perez, Marshall Cohen, Katelyn Polantz and Josh Campbell

Federal law enforcement officials are warning that domestic extremists are likely more emboldened to carry out attacks on President-elect Joe Biden's upcoming inauguration and throughout 2021 after seeing the success of last week's siege on the US Capitol.

This warning comes after the FBI said earlier this week that it received information indicating "armed protests" are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol in Washington, DC in the days leading up to the inauguration

Meanwhile, the feds continue to investigate the Capitol riot from last week as questions continue to swirl around who was involved in the attack and whether it was planned.

Here are some key things to know about the investigation: 

  • Investigators are pursuing signs the US Capitol riot was planned: Investigators are now looking into the possibility that the Capitol riot was more than just a protest that spiraled out of control. Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests the breach may have been planned. Among the evidence the FBI is examining are indications that some participants at the Trump rally at the Ellipse, outside the White House, left the event early, perhaps to retrieve items to be used in the assault on the Capitol.
  • Questions have also been raised about whether rioters had "insider" help: At least one protest organizer said he coordinated with three House Republicans. There are unverified accusations of a "reconnaissance" mission one day before the attack. And more than a dozen US Capitol Police officers are under internal investigation for allegedly helping rioters.
  • At least 32 people have been arrested on federal charges: The new arrests on Wednesday brought the total number of new federal criminal cases to at least 32 by nightfall, with hundreds more individuals still being sought or investigated. Over the past week, investigators have tracked down some of the most notable faces from the riot. Swimmer Klete Keller, who won Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2008, was identifiable on video from the riot partly because of the Team USA jacket he wore, according to federal court records made public Wednesday. He was charged for taking part in the violent trespass.
  • Feds are working with police around the country ahead of possible new threats: As law enforcement prepares to respond to upcoming protests before and during the inauguration, FBI Director Chris Wray and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli held a call Wednesday with law enforcement leaders from around the country to provide a briefing on the nationwide threat picture relating to planned protests, according to a person briefed on the call.The source said the FBI briefed their law enforcement partners on intelligence reporting indicating protesters planned to conduct "peaceful, armed demonstrations" in Washington, DC, and at state capitols around the US on Jan. 17 to protest the results of the 2020 election.
10:33 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Delta Air Lines to ban firearms in checked bags on DC-bound flights

From CNN's Gregory Wallace and Chris Isidore

A Delta airlines plane parked at a gate at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on September 22, 2020.
A Delta airlines plane parked at a gate at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on September 22, 2020. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines announced it will not accept firearms as checked baggage on flights bound for Washington, DC.  

"We’re going to not allow anyone to check a firearm into any of the metro DC airports starting this weekend and carrying through the next week, unless you’re law enforcement and you’re authorized to be carrying one," CEO Ed Bastian said in an appearance on CNBC Thursday.  

The measure is the latest attempt by airlines and government agencies to address concerns that the rioters who stormed the US Capitol last week may return for incoming President Joe Biden’s inauguration.  

Law enforcement agencies and the Transportation Security Administration have stepped up their efforts, including in some cases a second screening of DC bound passengers as CNN reported on Wednesday. American Airlines said it will suspend alcohol service on flights to and from the DC area around the inauguration.  

"We’re all on high alert, based on the events over the past couple of weeks up in Washington," Bastian said. "We are doing an awful lot in terms of gathering information and talking to the intelligence agencies both federal and local as well as FAA and TSA. We’ve increased the amount of security, both at airports and in the skies, seen and unseen." 

For context: Passengers, with a few law enforcement-related exceptions, are prohibited from carrying firearms, ammunition and other weapons onboard a plane. But the Transportation Security Administration does allow the transportation of an unloaded weapon in a locked and hard-sided container as checked baggage in a passenger plane belly. 

9:29 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

What key GOP senators are saying about impeachment as Senate prepares for trial

From CNN's Lauren Fox and the hill team 

Over the next several days, some Republicans senators will make it very clear where they stand on impeachment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen.Tim Scott, both Republicans from South Carolina, have done that. Last night, Sen. Tom Cottona Republican from Arkansas, did it too. Cotton said that after Trump leaves office, “the Senate lacks constitutional authority to conduct impeachment proceedings against a former President.”

Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio who is up for reelection in 2022, said his decision will be based off of not only the evidence he hears, but “among my considerations will be what is best to help heal our country rather than deepen our divisions.”

Remember: Republicans must have 17 members vote "yes" to convict Trump in the Senate. All eyes have been on what McConnell decides.

CNN is told by multiple GOP aides that McConnell’s decision will certainly have an impact on the conference. But, it’s also important to remember that while McConnell has a lot of influence, he’s not going to be whipping members on a vote like this.

And, for members in states where Trump is popular, McConnell’s vote may not sway them at all. That doesn’t mean members are not obsessing about where McConnell falls on this.

In fact, multiple Republican members and aides CNN has spoken to in recent days have wondered why McConnell has stayed as quiet as he has. Members are asking each other what their leader is thinking.

CNN asked a series of Republican senators if they’d heard from McConnell in recent days on this topic and aside from the conference-wide note he sent yesterday, all of the members and aides CNN talked to said McConnell has been giving members their space to think through this on their own.

9:06 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

House impeachment manager says plans for Senate trial in "very preliminary stages" 

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Rep. Diana DeGette.
Rep. Diana DeGette. Susan Walsh/AP

Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, a House impeachment manager, said she and her fellow managers are in “very preliminary stages” of planning for a Senate trial.

“We're going to have to figure out what kind of evidence we need to present to the Senate to prove our article of impeachment,” which could include TV footage and witnesses, she said on CNN’s “New Day.” 

Impeachment managers are expected to meet again today and over the weekend, she said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not plan to bring the Senate back before President-elect Joe Biden in sworn in, and the timing and length of the trial is still unknown.

Responding to GOP Sen. Tom Cotton saying he would not vote to convict the President after Trump has left office, DeGette said “they could prevent him from ever holding office again [and] they could prevent him from getting all of the perks of a retired president.”

“And it seems to me, that given the egregiousness with which he acted, then we should take this kind of a step,” she said. 

Watch the interview:

9:20 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Trump's video address yesterday came only after aides talked him into taping it, source says

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The White House/Youtube
The White House/Youtube

Just as his last two videos came after cajoling from aides, President Trump's Oval Office speech on Wednesday night came only after advisers talked him into taping it, according to a person familiar with the matter.

CNN also reported Wednesday that Trump agreed to the video after a briefing from Secret Service officials about potential threats surrounding the inauguration, which one official described as "sobering."

Trump had seemed reluctant to tape the videos, in part because he believes they make him look like he's caving to pressure to tone down his stance on the election. 

His first video on the day of the insurrection came partly at the urging of his daughter Ivanka Trump, but the President threw out the script his team had prepared and ad-libbed most of it, including the line telling the rioters "we love you."

The subsequent videos have been more tightly scripted, with heavy input from the White House counsel's office on the text. Trump has read them from teleprompters set up by the White House Communications Agency as senior officials look on, ensuring he does not diverge from the words as written.

Advisers have repeatedly urged him to tape the spots, citing both the potential legal implications of inciting the riot and the desire from fellow Republicans that he show a willingness to lower the temperature among his supporters.


8:41 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021

How states are preparing for potential unrest ahead of Biden's inauguration

States across the country are increasing security at their capitol buildings ahead of what the FBI warned are “armed protests” being planned in all 50 states from Jan. 16 through at least Jan. 20 in the wake of the US Capitol riot.

Federal officials reiterated this in a call with law enforcement leaders across the country Wednesday, saying they remain concerned about the prospect of extremists appearing at planned rallies and conducting violence.

Security is also ramping up in battleground states crucial to President-elect Joe Biden’s presidential victory, with governors activating the national guard, closing capitols, erecting fences and barriers, and boarding up windows. 

Here's a look at what steps states are taking to prepare for potential unrest:

  • Multiple state governors are activating the National Guard to secure their capitols, including in Georgia, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Washington state and Wisconsin. 
  • A number of states are deploying heavy fencing and additional crowd control measures around their capitol buildings, including in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia and Washington state. In Pennsylvania, authorities have erected barriers and increased security.
  • In Michigan's capital city of Lansing, the mayor has asked the governor to call up the National Guard to protect the capitol. The attorney general said that the state's new open-carry firearms ban there is not enough, tweeting: "The state capitol is not safe." This comes as armed militia members plan to protest at the capitol Sunday. 
  • In Florida and Oklahoma, lawmakers and staff are being told to work from home this weekend due to the likelihood of protests. 
  • In Virginia, a state of emergency has been declared in Richmond and Capitol Square will be closed ahead of anticipated protests at the state capitol building. Utah is also closing its capitol building due to planned protests. 
  • In Wisconsin, workers at the Capitol in Madison have boarded up their first-floor windows ahead of potential protests. 
  • Several big states are also on high alert. In New York, state police have taken steps "to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany" ahead of Biden's inauguration. And in California, the governor says the capitol is on a “heightened, heightened level of security” and the national guard could be deployed as needed.