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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18 hr 7 min ago

Police officer describes what it was like to face the mob at the US Capitol

From Mark Morales

DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone speaks with CNN.
DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone speaks with CNN. CNN

As DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone lay on the ground at the US Capitol building, stunned and injured, he knew a group of rioters were stripping him of his gear. They grabbed spare ammunition, ripped the police radio off his chest and even stole his badge.

Then, Fanone, who had just been Tasered several times in the back of the neck, heard something chilling that made him go into survival mode.

"Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, 'Kill him with his own gun,'" said Fanone, who's been a police officer for almost two decades.

In an interview with CNN, Fanone described his experience fighting a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters who'd invaded the Capitol in an insurrection unheard of in modern American history.

Federal officials have said the details of the violence that come out will be disturbing.

"People are going to be shocked by some of the egregious contact that happened in the Capitol," acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said Tuesday in reference to attacks on police officers.

Read more here.

20 hr 12 min ago

California governor activates National Guard to protect state capitol ahead of possible protests

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The California National Guard is deploying 1,400 members to “protect public safety, critical infrastructure, and first amendment rights,” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday, as part of a series of moves to boost security in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol and ahead of the inauguration.

“In light of events in our nation’s capitol last week, California is taking important steps to protect public safety at the state capitol, and across the state,” Newsom said. “Our State Operations Center is actively working with federal, state and local law enforcement partners in assessing threats and sharing intelligence and information to ensure those disgraceful actions are not repeated here.”

California’s Law Enforcement Coordination Center (LEOC) will be activated to its highest level, according to a release from the governor’s office, and will handle all physical security needs.

“There will be no tolerance for violence,” Newsom said in a video message. “What we witnessed in our nation’s capital was an undemocratic and unconscionable assault on our republic, and the freedoms upon which our nation was founded. California will take every necessary measure to protect the public safety, and our democratic principles and to ensure that those disgraceful actions are not repeated here.”

Additionally, a temporary six-foot security fence was placed around the perimeter of the state capitol in Sacramento earlier today. 

 

 

21 hr 9 min ago

Higher, sturdier wall being installed in front of US Capitol

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Crews working the perimeter of the west side of the US Capitol building are replacing sections of an 8-foot high wall with higher, sturdier wall, CNN has observed.

The new sections, approximately 12 feet tall, are being installed Thursday night on the same side of the Capitol as where the inauguration will take place. The sections have a concrete base with metal grates on top.

The sturdier replacements appear to provide an even more significant barrier to entry.

What we know: CNN previously reported that 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.

In a series of bulletins and calls with local partners this week, federal law enforcement agencies issued an urgent call for assistance in securing the nation's capital as the inauguration nears, and painted a dire picture of potential threats leading up to Jan. 20.

State officials around the country are also ramping up security. In Oklahoma, House members were told not to come to the state capitol this weekend due to concerns about possible protests. Fencing has been erected around the Arizona state capitol "out of an abundance of caution" and Oregon State Police will be assisted by the National Guard as they deal with possible demonstrations.

CNN's Zachary Cohen and Allie Malloy contributed to this report.

21 hr 20 min ago

Sen. Blumenthal says he expects impeachment trial "very soon"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

CNN
CNN

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a close ally of President-elect Joe Biden, said he expects the Senate to proceed with an impeachment trial quickly after inauguration. 

"I can tell you my hope and expectation is that it will be very soon, within a matter of days after the inauguration," he said.

Blumenthal said the trial should be quick because the evidence against President Trump was overwhelming.

"This trial should proceed very expeditiously," Blumenthal told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "The record is clear. The evidence consists of Donald Trump's own statements recorded by video and his guilty intent is proved by his tweets before and his statements afterward indicating no contrition, no regret, no apology."

Blumenthal added he was hopeful that many of his Republican colleagues who voted to acquit Trump in the first impeachment trial would reconsider the second time around.

"I am very hopeful that we'll have enough votes, but one way or the other, they will have to answer to history because they have voted to acquit once," he said. "If they do it twice, they will be judged harshly not only by history but I think by American voters."

Watch Sen. Richard Blumenthal comment on the timing of impeachment trial:

21 hr 35 min ago

Biden transition team makes Jaime Harrison pick for DNC chair official

From CNN's Dan Merica

Jaime Harrison speaks at a campaign rally on October 17, 2020 in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Jaime Harrison speaks at a campaign rally on October 17, 2020 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Meg Kinnard/AP

President-elect Joe Biden has announced that Jaime Harrison will serve as the new chair of the Democratic National Committee. 

Here are some of the other DNC officer positions announced: 

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, vice-chair of civic engagement and voter protection 
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vice chair
  • Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, vice chair
  • Texas Rep. Filemon Vela Jr., vice chair
  • Jason Rae, secretary
  • Virginia McGregor, treasurer
  • Chris Korge, national finance chair

21 hr 52 min ago

Pence makes surprise visit to the Hill to thank National Guard

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

Vice President Mike Pence visits with National Guard members outside the US Capitol on Thursday, January 14 in Washington, DC.
Vice President Mike Pence visits with National Guard members outside the US Capitol on Thursday, January 14 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/AP

Vice President Mike Pence made a surprise visit to the Capitol Thursday to greet National Guard members and thank them for their service.

“Thank you all for stepping forward to serve your country. Thank you for stepping forward to provide security. Here at our nation’s Capitol. It’s such an important time in the life of our nation,” Pence said. 

“I want you to thank your families as well. I know you all had to move out to get here and being here at the Capitol, providing a level of security is going to make it possible for us to have a historic transfer of power — the inauguration of a new president of the United States. You all are going to make that possible," he added.

Pence also spoke to individual service members asking when they were called to come to Washington and how long they’ve been a part of the National Guard.

“I just encourage you to be vigilant, respect the unified chain of command, look after your people, and we’re going to deliver to the American people,” the vice president added.

“Have a safe inauguration and I just wanted to stop out and say, 'Thank you. Thank you for your service, thank you for stepping forward. And just God bless you in the days ahead. It’s been my great honor to serve as your vice president and I want to thank you for your service,'” Pence said.

Watch Vice President Mike Pence greet National Guard members:

22 hr 2 min ago

Trump lawyers to argue that his Jan. 6 remarks were "protected speech," source says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 6 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 6 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump's lawyers are expected to argue that his remarks on Jan. 6, while provocative, fall under the category of "protected speech," therefore are protected under the First Amendment, said a source familiar with the President's impeachment defense discussions.

The source said the President's attorneys may also question the legality of holding an impeachment trial after Trump leaves office. Impeachment experts have argued it is perfectly legal to hold such a trial. But the source said Trump's legal team could challenge the concept of a post-presidency impeachment trial in court. 

This source went on to say Trump has made life difficult for his impeachment defense team. The President should have released last night's video condemning violence last week, immediately following the Capitol siege, the source added.

Watch President Trump's remarks on Jan. 6

22 hr 23 min ago

FBI Director Chris Wray says investigators have identified more than 200 suspects from Capitol riot

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a briefing about the upcoming presidential inauguration at FEMA headquarters on January 14 in Washington, DC.
FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a briefing about the upcoming presidential inauguration at FEMA headquarters on January 14 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/Pool/AP

FBI Director Chris Wray said Thursday that investigators have identified more than 200 suspects from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol during an inauguration security briefing at Federal Emergency Management Agency's headquarters in DC.

It’s the first time he has spoken publicly since the attack.

"From January 6th alone — we’ve already identified over 200 suspects. So we know who you are if you’re out there and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said speaking at the briefing.

“My advice to people who might be inclined to follow in the footsteps of those who engaged in the kind of activity we saw last week is stay home. Look at what’s happening now to the people who were involved in the Capitol siege,” Wray added.

Wray also said the FBI has “confidence” in its preparation and security surrounding the inauguration next week. 

“Our posture is aggressive. It’s going to stay that way though the Inauguration. So in that vein, we and are partners have already arrested more than 100 individuals for their criminal activities in last week’s siege of the capitol and continue to pursue countless other related investigations," he said.

Wray did warn that the FBI has been seeing “extensive” chatter surrounding the inauguration adding, “together with our partners we evaluate those threats and what kind of resources to deploy against them. Right now we’re tracking calls for potential armed protest.”

Watch here:

22 hr 48 min ago

Pentagon adds extra security ahead of inauguration

From CNN's Oren Lieberman and Barbara Starr

The Pentagon began adding extra security measures around the massive headquarters to the Department of Defense on Thursday in preparation for the inauguration next week.

The extra security measures are being done out of “an abundance of caution and in preparation for support to partner agencies” and that there is “no current credible threat to the Pentagon,” Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said in a statement to CNN. 

“There will be an increase in activity around the Pentagon, to include the closing of some Pentagon parking areas," Gough added.