The latest on Biden's inauguration and security threats

By Fernando Alfonso III and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021
12 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:51 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

University of Kentucky student charged for participation in Capitol riot

From CNN’s Ganesh Setty

A University of Kentucky senior is among the individuals charged in connection with the US Capitol riot, according to an FBI affidavit. 

Gracyn Courtright, 23, was captured on Capitol surveillance footage taking a sign reading “Members Only” near the Senate Chamber, the FBI said. She was not seen entering the Senate Chamber. 

Since-deleted posts from Courtright’s Instagram and Twitter, along with screenshots of an Instagram direct message exchange, were also provided to law enforcement, the FBI continued. 

The agency further cited an article from the university’s independent student newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel, that “detailed her involvement in the riots.”

Courtright faces charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, theft of government property under $1,000, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conducting in any restricted building or grounds. 

While the University of Kentucky does not discuss individual disciplinary issues, the student code of conduct applies both on and off campus, university spokesman Jay Blanton tells CNN. 

“If the university is made aware of a student taking actions in violation of local, state or federal laws, the student code of conduct applies in that context,” he said. 


9:48 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Kentucky man arrested for alleged participation in US Capitol riot

From CNN's Christina Carrega

Chad Barrett Jones, a 42-year-old Kentucky resident, was arrested and charged Saturday in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, the Department of Justice announced in a press release Sunday.

Video footage from inside the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, shows Jones in a red hooded jacket and gray skullcap among an aggressive crowd trying to breach a barricaded door to the Speaker’s Lobby, a hallway that connects to the House of Representatives chambers,” the statement reads, citing an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint.

“Jones forcefully struck the door’s glass panels at least 10 times with a long, wood flagpole,” the affidavit alleges. Capitol officials estimate repairing the damaged door will cost more than $1,000.

Federal authorities identified Jones after receiving a tip two days after the riots, according to the statement.

He is charged with a total of six counts, including assault on a federal officer, obstruction of an official proceeding and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Jones was arrested in Louisville and is scheduled to make his initial appearance in district court on Tuesday.

8:55 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Police arrest New Mexico man near US Capitol for alleged role in January 6 riot

From CNN's David Shortell

A New Mexico man who had been wanted for his role in the January 6 riot was arrested blocks away from the US Capitol on Sunday, according to an FBI spokeswoman.

The US Capitol Police detained Couy Griffin on the 400 block of North Capitol Street NW, and later notified the FBI, according to a statement.

He is charged with entering a restricted area of the Capitol complex. It wasn't immediately clear who he had retained as his lawyer. 

US Capitol Police officers first approached Griffin after running his license plate and noticing that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, according to a law enforcement official.

A county commissioner in Otero County, New Mexico, Griffin had discussed his presence at the Capitol riot at a public meeting of the commission on Thursday, telling colleagues that he led a prayer session from a restricted-access deck of the Capitol building.

He also announced in the meeting that he planned to return to Washington ahead of the inauguration this week, and that he would bring his guns in his car. 

"I'm going to go back to Washington, DC, I'm gonna be there on January 20," he said, according to video of the remarks posted online. "I'm gonna take a stand for our country and for our freedoms because this election was fraudulent on every level."

In an affidavit, a DC Metropolitan Police Department detective cited Griffin’s remarks from the meeting as well as video footage that captures him on the platform during the riot, including one he posted himself on Facebook where he said that he’d “climbed up on the top of the Capitol building and… had a first row seat.”

The detective also identifies Griffin as the founder of a group called "Cowboys for Trump." 

A colleague of Griffin’s who was with him during the mayhem told authorities that they spent about an hour-and-a-half on the deck, preaching to a massive crowd below, according to the court document. 

In an interview with FBI agents earlier this month, Griffin said that he had been “caught up” in the crowd as it pushed its way through the barricades and into a restricted area of the complex, the affidavit says. 

Griffin also told the FBI that he planned to return for a rally on Inauguration Day, which he hoped would be “non-violent.” 


2:32 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Top Senate Democrat says Senate has a "responsibility" to act quickly on impeachment

From CNN's Ali Main

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin on January 17.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin on January 17. CNN

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin told CNN he doesn't think there is "any promise to date" on when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate and trigger the beginning of a trial, adding "we have a responsibility to act as quickly as possible."

The Illinois Democrat expressed confidence on CNN today that Republicans will be on board with conducting Senate business like confirming President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet while a trial is ongoing, saying he thinks passing more coronavirus relief legislation is a bipartisan "priority" and moving forward with these things is "the American way."

Sen. Cory Booker said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he expects a trial to begin "as quickly as possible," noting there have been some "frustrations" with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not bringing the chamber back sooner. 

Booker said he talked to Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will become the majority leader soon when Democrats attain control of the chamber, about his concerns in delaying Biden's agenda, which he again put squarely on McConnell, saying the GOP leader needs to commit to time agreements for the trial.

CNN had reported that Biden called McConnell last Monday to discuss the possibility of “bifurcation” – doing impeachment proceedings alongside confirming his nominees and approving a sweeping Covid relief package.

When asked about the potential opposition from GOP Sen. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, Durbin said there will be "resistors," but "if the overwhelming majority is ready to move, we can get it done."

Watch Durbin's interview with CNN's Jake Tapper:

3:34 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

House impeachment managers won't say if they plan to call witnesses during Senate trial

From CNN's Sam Fossum

House impeachment managers Joaquin Castro and Jamie Raskin both sidestepped when asked this morning on the timing of the Senate trial, how long they expect it to take and whether they will be pushing for witnesses as they look to prosecute President Trump after the House impeached him last week.

"All of us on the impeachment manager are ready to go when the trial does start," Castro told ABC. "Of course, all of us are very anxious to get started."

On witnesses, Castro said: "We're going to do whatever it takes to lay out the case." Pressed later, he added: "We're still discussing strategy, obviously, and how we're going to handle the witnesses and so forth." 

Lead House Impeachment manager Jamie Raskin said on CNN that the team is continuing to put together their trial plan, adding that it will ultimately be up to Speaker Nancy Pelosi as to when the articles will be sent to the Senate and thus kickstart Trump's second impeachment trial.  

"We're putting together a trial plan, which is designed to get the truth of all of these events out," Raskin said.

Watch Raskin's interview with CNN's Jake Tapper:

12:04 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Sen. Graham on pardoning Capitol rioters: "I hope we don't go down that road"

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on January 7.
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks during a news conference at the Capitol on January 7. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, urged President Trump on Sunday to not pardon anyone charged in connection with the Capitol Hill insurrection, noting Trump has received pressure to use his pardon power for the growing number of his supporters facing prosecution for storming the Capitol.

“There are a lot of people urging the President to pardon the folks” involved in the insurrection, Graham said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“To seek a pardon of these people would be wrong,” he said. “I hope we don’t go down that road.”

Graham also encouraged Senate Republicans to reject the impeachment of Trump, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Wednesday, arguing the prospect of impeaching Trump after he leaves office is unconstitutional.

“It will destroy the party,” Graham said of what would happen if the GOP supported impeachment. “The Republican Party wants to move forward.”

Graham also said directed that message at President-elect Biden, claiming if Biden allows impeachment to proceed, it would “ruin the start of your presidency.”

12:16 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

DC mayor raises concerns about possible attacks in Washington neighborhoods

From Lindy Royce-Bartlett

Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, DC, holds a press conference on January 11 in Washington, DC.
Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, DC, holds a press conference on January 11 in Washington, DC. Lenin Nolly/Sipa

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser made a brief appearance on Meet the Press Sunday morning and discussed her concern about possible attacks in the residential areas of the District. 

“I’m not only concerned about other state capitols. I’m also concerned about other parts of Washington, DC,” Bowser said.

She referenced Capitol Hill and the surrounding areas in lockdown, which has been widely reported by many news outlets saying “what you’re showing is really the federal enclave of Washington, DC – not where the 700,000 of us live.”

The mayor said there is a plan in place, should an attack of that nature occur.

“Our police department, working with our federal law enforcement partners and the United States army, quite frankly, also has a plan to pivot if we have any attacks in our neighborhoods," she said. 

12:48 p.m. ET, January 17, 2021

Maine senator says Trump should be cut off from classified intel when he leaves office

From CNN's Austen Bundy

Sen. Angus King on January 17.
Sen. Angus King on January 17. CNN

Sen. Angus King, and Independent from Maine, said there is "no upside... no reason" for President Trump to continue to receive classified briefings once he is out of office, citing "a grave danger of him inadvertently or willfully revealing classified information that would compromise sources and methods."

King said Trump's "history of being fast and loose with intelligence data" should make it "an easy decision" for President-elect Joe Biden to bar his predecessor from what is traditionally a "courtesy" read-in. 

This comes in the aftermath of Wednesday's historic second impeachment of the president by the House of Representatives for allegedly inciting the Capitol insurrection on Jan 6.

The Senate is expected to begin their trial after Biden is sworn in Jan. 20 but King believes two key pieces of evidence are still needed to convince enough Republicans to vote to convict.

"If... two things are validated, that he knew that there was a danger of violence and he willfully and consciously refrained from stopping it, I think that could change some minds," he said.

 Hear Sen. King's comments:

10:04 a.m. ET, January 17, 2021

GOP Rep. Nancy Mace defends her vote against impeachment

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

Freshman GOP Rep. Nancy Mace defended her vote this week against impeaching President Trump, while criticizing the actions of some of her Republican colleagues who objected to the certification of the election results on Jan. 6. 

“Even if you think the President is guilty as hell, like many do believe, there has to be due process. There has to be an investigation,” Mace said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think you would have gotten more Republicans on board if it were done with due process and with an investigation.” 

Mace said she found the number of Republicans who voted to overturn the election “enormously disappointing.”

She also defended Rep. Liz Cheney, who is facing opposition from within the GOP over her vote to impeach Trump. Mace, who represents South Carolina’s first congressional district, said she believes Cheney will survive an expected challenge to her leadership position. 

“The irony in all of this … is that the same people that were complaining and screaming about the President being silenced on Twitter want to silence a dissenting voice within our own party, and so I find that very hypocritical and very disappointing," Mace said.