House impeaches Trump for role in deadly Capitol riot

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

Updated 8:54 a.m. ET, January 14, 2021
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9:55 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Man said he wanted to shoot Pelosi and DC mayor, court filing says

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

In a new detention memo, prosecutors say a man who had texted he wanted to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and brought guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo to Washington last week also wrote about shooting DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The new details about Cleveland Meredith Jr., revealed in a court filing seeking his detention on Wednesday, highlight how the man had been discussing "war time" against lawmakers as the congressional confirmation of Joe Biden as the President-elect neared.

Meredith is currently detained and set to appear in court Wednesday afternoon.

"The defendant sent a text stating, ‘We’re gonna surround DC and slowly constrict.’ Apparently under the impression that law enforcement was monitoring his communications, the defendant later sent a text stating, ‘I’m harmless . . . I won’t fire until ordered SIR!’"

He was one of the early people charged by Justice Department prosecutors in federal court. There are now around two dozen known federal criminal defendants related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

9:46 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Democratic representative: Pro-Trump attackers are "terrorists" who were radicalized by the President

Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat from California, called the Pro-Trump attackers that stormed the Capitol "terrorists" who were radicalized by Donald Trump.

"We were attacked by terrorists, but this time the terrorists were radicalized right here in the United States. Worse, they were radicalized by the President, who intentionally lied to his supporters that the election was stolen, and then told them when to come to D.C., where to protest and who to direct their anger at," Chu said.

She said the need to remove Trump from office "could not be more urgent."

"He is too dangerous to remain in office. Donald Trump must be held accountable. He must be impeached," Chu said.

The House is currently debating the rules governing impeachment article.


9:51 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

House Republican says impeachment would further divide the country

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

GOP Rep. Tom Cole, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, said impeachment would “divide us further” in the last days of President Trump’s administration. 

While the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack “will live in my memory as the darkest day during my time of service as a member of this House,” Cole said he “can think of no action that is likely to further divide the American people than the action we're contemplating today."

“Our meeting today does not arise in a vacuum and comes in what I hope and pray is the end of a tumultuous period for our country,” Cole said. 

Cole said House Democrats are heading toward impeachment “erratically.”

“Instead of moving forward as a unifying force, [the] majority in the House is choosing to divide us further,” he added. 

The House is currently holding a debate on the rules governing the impeachment article.

Rep. Cole calls for House to slow impeachment proceedings: 

9:41 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

House Democrat: Trump was "stoking the anger of a violent mob" while Congress tallied Electoral College vote

Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, opened the House session this morning with some remarks about what happened on Jan. 6 and President Trump and his allies' roles in inciting a mob to storm the Capitol.

The House is currently holding a debate on the rules governing the impeachment article.

"On Wednesday, January 6th, Congress gathered here to fulfill our constitutional duty, tallying the electoral college victory of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris after a free and fair election. This is largely a ceremonial role for the Congress. One that sends the message to the world that democracy in the United States persists," McGovern said.

McGovern continued: "But at a rally, just a mile and a half down Pennsylvania avenue, Donald Trump and his allies were stoking the anger of a violent mob. A member of this very body proclaimed on that stage, today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass. Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani called for trial by combat. Then Donald Trump told the crowd, we're going to have to fight much harder. You'll never take back our country with weakness." 

"Even though, according to his own administration, that this election was the most secure in our history, Donald Trump repeated his big lie that this election was an egregious assault on democracy," he added.

See it here:

9:20 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

The House is now in session and will begin impeachment proceedings

From CNN's Lauren Fox

House TV
House TV

The US House of Representatives has just convened and will now begin consideration of President Trump's impeachment.

The impeachment resolution the House will vote on today charges Trump with a single article, "incitement of insurrection," for his role in last week's deadly Capitol riot.

The first debate is expected to last about an hour and will revolve around the rules governing the impeachment article.

After that, the House will vote on the rule.

Remember: Voting in the House takes time because of coronavirus protocols and now lawmakers also have to pass through metal detectors to get onto the House floor.

Trump is now staring at the shameful distinction of being impeached by the House of Representatives twice in just over a year – the only president in US history to be impeached twice.

Even if he's impeached today, Trump will stay in office and likely finish out his term, because it takes a Senate conviction to remove him even after he’s been impeached.

9:31 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Man in "Camp Auschwitz" sweatshirt during Capitol riot arrested, law enforcement official says

From CNN's Evan Perez

The rioter who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase "Camp Auschwitz" has been identified as Robert Keith Packer of Virginia.
The rioter who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase "Camp Auschwitz" has been identified as Robert Keith Packer of Virginia. ITN

A rioter who stormed the US Capitol last week wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase "Camp Auschwitz" was arrested Wednesday morning in Virginia, according to a law enforcement official. 

CNN was first to report that the man in the sweatshirt was identified as Robert Keith Packer. A law enforcement official told CNN that Packer was picked up in Newport News, Va.

An image of Packer, whose sweatshirt bore the name of the Nazi concentration camp where about 1.1 million people were killed during World War II, inside the Capitol has evoked shock and disbelief on social media. The bottom of his shirt stated, "Work brings freedom," which is the rough translation of the phrase "Arbeit macht frei" that was on the concentration camp's gates.

Charging documents were not immediately available.

CNN is pursuing more information.

9:10 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

How Trump's second impeachment will be different from the first

Analysis from CNN's Zachary B. Wolf

President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the White House, one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, on February 6, 2020.
President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the White House, one day after the U.S. Senate acquitted on two articles of impeachment, on February 6, 2020. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The overall impeachment process laid out in the Constitution is relatively simple: A President commits "high Crime or Misdemeanor," the House votes to impeach and the Senate conducts a trial.

Those overall contours are constant. But there's no such thing as a routine impeachment.

The one President Trump faces now, after inciting a riotous mob to attack the Capitol, is unprecedented in all sorts of ways, which means the process will feel entirely new and different from the one we saw in late 2019 around the Ukraine investigation.

Specifically, this House impeachment vote is likely to be done this week, and the Senate trial will occur after Trump leaves office.

Here are some other key differences:

What Trump is accused of doing: There was a lot of debate during Trump's first impeachment and trial about whether the pressure he exerted on the President of Ukraine amounted to "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" or simply a set of policies. This time, while there's an argument he committed treason, Democrats in the House have alleged Trump "engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States."

The Article argues that Trump incited his supporters by repeatedly denying the election results in the lead-up to the counting of the electoral votes, that he pressured Georgia's secretary of state to "find" additional votes for him, and in doing so he "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," "threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government." Read the entire thing here. It's short.

The House's timeline: Getting from Trump's misdeed to impeachment proceedings in the House took 86 days in 2019. It's going to take just a week in 2021. The House can essentially impeach at will. While there are precedents in place around instigating the impeachment process and utilizing House committees to investigate whether impeachable offenses occurred, none of that is necessarily required. And Democrats, moving quickly, aren't going to burden themselves by dragging this out.

And why bother with an investigation when this time Trump did it on TV? In that first effort, the details of Trump's pressure on Ukraine leaked out over the course of weeks and built into Democratic support to launch and conduct an investigation and, ultimately, to impeach him.

With Trump's time in office set to expire at noon on Jan. 20, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also gave Trump and Vice President Mike Pence the option of avoiding impeachment if either Trump resigned or Pence mobilized the Cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

When those two offramps were ignored, Democrats in the House moved quickly toward impeachment and the first post-presidential impeachment trial in US history.

Impeaching Trump in the House requires only a simple majority and Democrats hope to gain at least some support from Republicans.

Read the full story here.

9:23 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

Vice president's residence fortified with unprecedented level of security not seen since 9/11

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Security barriers are seen around the vice president’s residence, the US Naval Observatory, in Washington, DC, on January 13, in this screengrab taken from CNN footage.
Security barriers are seen around the vice president’s residence, the US Naval Observatory, in Washington, DC, on January 13, in this screengrab taken from CNN footage. CNN

Overnight, the perimeter surrounding the vice president’s residence, the US Naval Observatory, was fortified with a chain link fence reinforced with concrete barricades.  

That level of physical security barriers around the vice president’s residence is unprecedented, with the exception of similar actions in the immediate aftermath of the Sep. 11 attacks. 

The move comes one week after President Trump incited riots at the US Capitol, and hours before he is expected to become the first US president to be impeached twice. It also comes amid concerns that additional protests could take place in both Washington and around the country in the coming days. 

Additionally, there are significant road closures around the White House and additional fencing with concrete barricades have gone up around the White House complex. Similar security measures were taken over the summer amid protests for racial justice.

9:10 a.m. ET, January 13, 2021

GOP congressman says that impeachment is "polarizing" and a "bad idea"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Republican Rep. Ken Buck said that he will vote against impeaching President Trump and that the process is “absolutely polarizing.”

“It's a bad idea. You impeach a president after hearings and great deliberation. You don't impeach a president in the heat of the moment,” Buck said. 

President Trump’s actions do not constitute an impeachable offense, Buck told CNN’s John Berman.

He also said he has sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden asking him to request that the House not go forward.

“What could be more unifying is to hold a commission of our committee hearing or put this in the Judiciary Committee and find out what actually happened,” he said.

Buck said the “level of vitriol” between Democrats and Republicans has been building for five years now, adding, “to say that there's one speech or one incident that caused this group of people to storm the Capitol is just not accurate. What I'm trying to suggest to you is that both sides are at fault…,” at which point, Berman stopped him.

“What on Earth did any other side do than the side that invaded the US Capitol?” Berman asked.  

“It wasn't as if the President gave one speech and all of a sudden, people went from perfectly calm and thoughtful demeanor to this violent action that occurred, which is absolutely shameful. I'm not trying to excuse it. But the actions that have led up to this are typical of this impeachment,” Buck said.