House pushes for Trump's removal after deadly Capitol riot

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

Updated 0629 GMT (1429 HKT) January 13, 2021
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1:17 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Trump advised to denounce violence to reduce legal liability, sources say

From CNN's Jim Acosta

Trump exits the White House on Tuesday, January 12.
Trump exits the White House on Tuesday, January 12. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Advisers and lawyers speaking with Trump over the last few days have encouraged the President to lower his rhetoric and denounce violence in order to reduce his legal liability for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol last week, according to two sources familiar with the discussions. 

“Lawyers have been recommending a deescalation of rhetoric, not just for the good of the country, but also to reduce the risk of legal jeopardy,” one source familiar with the discussions said.

The sources said Trump has been told in the days following the siege at the Capitol that he could be charged with inciting violence by local and federal authorities and be sued by relatives of the victims who were harmed in the insurrection.

“He absolutely can be sued,” a separate source said, reflecting concerns among Trump’s advisers that the president’s actions have once again put himself in legal jeopardy.

As he left the White House for a trip to the border, Trump told reporters he did not want to see further violence. But he did not accept any responsibility for his own role in instigating the storming of the Capitol.

Trump has still not displayed remorse for the violence on Capitol Hill. He continues to tell his advisers that the election was stolen from him.

“Trump has created his own reality,��� one of the sources said.

The other source contacted by CNN said Trump would not be shielded from prosecution once he leaves office, something the president is aware of as well. 

1:09 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Senate should start hearings on Biden's DHS pick to ensure security, inaugural committee co-chair says

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Rep. Cedric Richmond
Rep. Cedric Richmond CNN

Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond, a co-chair of President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee, said Senate hearings for Biden’s homeland security chief pick need to happen as soon as possible to ensure safety on Inauguration Day. 

“The biggest failure that I've seen so far is that the United States Senate has not held hearings on the new secretary of homeland security, Mr. [Alejandro] Mayorkas, who would, at 12:01, be responsible for a whole-of-government approach to making sure these capitols are safe around the country and to make sure DC is safe,” Richmond told CNN’s John King. 

It’s “irresponsible to the American public,” he added. 

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

Richmond said the inauguration organizers have included many digital components to the ceremony and are coordinating with officials to keep the ceremony secure. 

1:24 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

FBI has received over 100,000 digital tips from the public related to last week’s riot at the US Capitol

From CNN's Jessica Schneider

According to the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI has received more than 100,000 digital media tips as of Tuesday morning.

The digital media tips are sent in from people who have documented the rioting and violence at the US Capitol last week.

The FBI continues to urge people across the country to submit information, photos and videos that could be relevant to the ongoing investigation.

Scenes from the day a pro-Trump mob broke into the US Capitol:

 

12:43 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

First two Capitol riot defendants indicted in Washington, including man alleged to have bombs

From CNnKatelyn Polantz

The Justice Department on Tuesday filed its first federal grand jury indictments against two defendants linked to the Capitol riot, including against an Alabama man alleged to have parked a truck filled with homemade bombs, guns and ammo two blocks from the Capitol. 

Both men were arrested last week and their criminal allegations were made public shortly after the riot. The indictments formalize the charges the men, after they were arrested under criminal complaint.

Lonnie Leroy Coffman of Alabama appears to be the most serious defendant of more than 20 known federal defendants so far. He is currently detained and is set to appear before a judge this afternoon.

According to the new indictments, Coffman faces 17 criminal counts, largely for possession of multiple weapons including ammunition, shotgun shells and various guns, including a shotgun, a rifle, 3 pistols and 11 Molotov cocktails without registration in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6, according to the indictment.

Another man, Mark Jefferson Leffingwell, faces seven counts related to violence inside the Capitol building. He is released from detention at this time.

Neither have entered a plea in court.

12:49 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Rep. Raskin calls for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment: This is the road to reconciliation

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

House Rules Committee
House Rules Committee

Rep. Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, a Democrat, is leading the efforts to encourage the House to vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump's Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Raskin argued that the move would be a road to reconcile the country and parties following the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

"All we have to ask is whether the President lived up to the most basic and minimal expectations for his duties of office," Raskin said during his remarks at the House hearing on the resolution.

"Can you imagine any other president in our history encouraging and fomenting mob violence against the Congress of the United States? Against our people? That's the question. And if you're with me and you can’t imagine any other president doing that and you think he failed the basic duties of offices then I think the Vice President has a duty to act," Raskin said.

Raskin saluted Vice President Pence’s actions on January 6 to move ahead with the certification of the electoral results despite facing “enormous, phenomenal, unprecedented pressure” from President Trump.

Raskin encouraged Pence to “stand up again."

“This is the road to reconciliation," Raskin said, addressing those members of Congress who he said “foolishly” voted to object the electoral results even after the US Capitol was attacked.

"It is the Vice President himself who is the key actor and it’s the President’s own Cabinet who make up the key actors… They can help to lead us out of the nightmare that we’ve been plunged into by this sequence of events. They can transfer, peacefully, the powers of the President to Vice President Mike Pence for the remainder of this term so that we can have a peaceful transition of power,” Raskin explained.

Hear his strong words for President Trump:

12:38 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Two House Democrats propose $1,000 fine for maskless members

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, from Michigan, and Congressman Anthony Brown, from Maryland, introduced legislation that would impose $1,000 fines on any member of Congress refusing to wear a mask on Capitol grounds during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This comes after three members tested positive for the virus after sheltering in place with other members of Congress who did not wear masks during the violent attack on the US Capitol last week.

"It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk," Dingell said in a statement. 

"In the midst of a deadly assault on our United States Capitol, a number of our Republican colleagues laughed off rules designed to keep not just their colleagues safe, but to protect the lives of the teams of workers keeping things going, law enforcement, and staff throughout the Capitol. Now, three of our colleagues are suffering from the virus," she added.

Specifically, the legislation would amend the House rules and institute a $1,000 fine per day for any member of Congress who refuses to wear a mask on the grounds of the Capitol during the pandemic.

12:37 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Top Democrat to demand individuals who stormed US Capitol be placed on "no-fly" zone

From CNN's Kelly Christ

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On the heels of multiple briefs with federal law enforcement, including with FBI Director Christopher Wray, US Senator Charles Schumer will demand the federal authorities place individuals who entered and stormed the US Capitol be put on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "NO FLY" list in order to contain possible future threats.

Schumer will say many who stormed the Capitol—the "demonstrators"—meet the criteria to be placed on the federal security list as "threats to the homeland."

Schumer will say adding these individuals to the list ahead of the inauguration on Jan. 20th, makes sense given continued threats of violence across online mediums and the federal government’s own concerns.

Many who stormed the Capitol traveled from afar and some were later arrested in airports when they landed – far from Washington.

12:40 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Democratic congresswoman describes call with son after being "trapped" in the House as shots were fired

House Rules Committee
House Rules Committee

Rep. Norma Torres, a Democrat from California, said during a debate of the House Rules Committee today that "there should be no question" that Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office.

Torres said she was among the lawmakers trapped in the balcony of the House chamber during the Jan. 6 attack against the Capitol.

"I was one of 12 trapped in the House gallery. I heard the shot being fired. I saw the smoke from the tear gas having been deployed, and I watched one officer with no protective equipment face a raging mob just outside the chamber. He crawled across the entire length of that balcony. I was in the last group to be evacuated. We ran down the halls, stairs, near a mob that was being held on the ground at gunpoint. I sheltered for four to five hours in a room that was packed shoulder to shoulder with people," Torres described.

Torres said that when she was finally evacuated from the Capitol at 3 p.m. ET, and "was running for my life," she received a call from her son.

"I answered my phone to my son, Christopher. The call lasted 27 seconds. All I could say, was sweetheart, I'm okay. I'm running for my life. And I hung up," Torres said.

The lawmaker also called on her colleague's to support Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin's resolution calling on Pence "to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation."

"I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting this resolution, but most of all, I urge Vice President Pence to do the right thing," Torres said.

"The Raskin resolution is not a political document, it takes no partisan position. And anyone who says otherwise is being irresponsible and is continuing to advance a hateful agenda of Donald Trump," she continued.

Torres also sent a message to Trump: "How dare you! How dare you incite a mob to stop the final step in certifying our election simply because they want to pick and choose whose vote should count and whose vote should not count."

Hear her describe the emotional phone call:

12:18 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Army will conduct background checks of soldiers taking part in Biden's upcoming inauguration

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Jamie Crawford

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The US Army is working with the Secret Service to determine if there are soldiers who will be part of the National Guard contingent providing security at the inauguration who require additional background screening.

"The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," an Army spokesperson said in a written statement to CNN. 

“There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action,” the statement said.

 “The Army is committed to working closely with the F.B.I. as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army,” the statement said while adding that any type of activity that “involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace,” may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state and federal law.

Current Defense Department policy requires all service members be trained annually under a program that requires department personnel to report “any information regarding known or suspected extremist behavior that could be a threat to the department or the United States,” the statement said.