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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2:54 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Top military officials preparing rare message to US forces in the wake of the Capitol attack

From CNN's Barbara Starr and Oren Liebermann

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley Michael Reynolds/POOL/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are preparing to send a message to the entire military force reiterating a tone of reassurance given recent violence in Washington, according to two defense officials. 

The message will remind the force that their obligation is to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism, the sources said. The decision to issue the message was agreed upon by the chiefs on Tuesday, one of the officials said.

It is considered a significant step because the chiefs have sought to stay out of anything that may have political overtones. But given what has happened, they all felt it was important to make a statement given the gravity of events surrounding the inauguration.

2:33 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Schumer urges McConnell to reconvene Senate for impeachment trial

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate and hold an impeachment trial at a news conference in New York on Tuesday, arguing that a 2004 resolution allows the two of them to avoid the requirement for unanimous consent during an emergency.

“We could come back ASAP and vote to convict Donald Trump, and get him out of office now before any further damage is done,” said Schumer.

“The bottom line is that Leader McConnell has the ability to call us back into session,” added Schumer. “And we can then move to convict Donald Trump in the impeachment trial and try him. And that's what we hope McConnell will do.”

Schumer said that Trump’s comments today taking no responsibility for the attack on the Capitol were “despicable.”

“What Trump did today, blaming others for what he caused, is a pathological technique used by the worst of dictators,” said Schumer. “Trump causes the anger. He causes the divisiveness. He foments the violence and blames others for it. That is despicable.”

“Donald Trump should not hold office one day longer,” he added. “If he won't resign, and Vice President Pence and the Cabinet won't invoke the 25th amendment, he will be impeached by the House, and as the law requires, tried by the Senate.”

Watch here:

1:32 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Senior Republican staffer resigns in letter condemning GOP colleagues for role in Capitol riot

From CNN's Jamie Gangel

Jason Schmid, a widely respected and senior Republican staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, resigned Tuesday following the Jan. 6th insurrection at the US Capitol.

In a strongly worded resignation letter, he condemned members of his own party who "chose to put political theater ahead of the defense of the Constitution and the Republic."

"The sad, incontrovertible truth is that the people who laid siege to the Capitol were and continue to be domestic enemies of the Constitution of the United States. A poisonous lie that the election was illegitimate and should be overturned inspired so called 'patriots' to share common cause with white supremacists, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists to attack the seat of American government," Schmid wrote in his resignation letter.

He continued: "Anyone who watched those horrible hours unfold should have been galvanized to rebuke these insurrectionists in the strongest terms. Instead, some members whom I believed to be leaders in the defense of the nation chose to put political theater ahead of the defense of the Constitution and the Republic."

Members of the committee have been very moved by Schmid's resignation letter, according to a source familiar with those conversation. This person added that it speaks to the concerns being talked about amongst Republicans following the Capitol Hill attack. 

In his letter Schmid directly condemned House and Senate Republicans who objected to the legally certified electoral college votes of several states. 

"The decision to vote to set aside legitimate electors harmed the ability of every service member, intelligence officer, and diplomat to defend the nation and advance American interests," Schmid writes. "Congressional enablers of this mob have made future foreign conflict more likely, not less."

He also calls on the committee to hold the Department of Defense accountable.

"It is vitally important that the Committee hold the Department of Defense accountable for bringing any participants to justice. These extremist influences are a grave threat to our ability to defend the nation, and they must be expelled from the force immediately. I deeply regret some members may no longer have the credibility needed to accomplish this work," Schmid writes. 

1:43 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Senate Democratic leader says Capitol rioters should be put on a no-fly list


Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is demanding that anyone who stormed the US Capitol last week be placed on the Transportation Security Administration's no-fly list as a way to contain possible future threats.

"These individuals are a threat to the homeland as defined by the law," Schumer said at a news conference. "And they should be placed on the no-fly list."

He continued:

"With so many questions about safety and the worry about future possible threats, the least we can do is make the skies, the inauguration, the Capitol and the country safer."

Hear what else he said about possible threats:

1:37 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

GOP lawmaker removed from Harvard advisory committee following election claims 

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

Rep. Elise Stefanik
Rep. Elise Stefanik Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images/FILE

GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York was removed from the Harvard Institute of Politics Senior Advisory Committee Tuesday for her role in perpetuating baseless claims about voter fraud in the November 2020 election. 

The decision comes following calls from students and alumni – including a petition signed by nearly a thousand Harvard affiliates – to remove Stefanik from the committee.

Pleas for Stefanik to step aside had been brewing since the election, but this specific petition was started early last week in the wake of the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday, when Stefanik objected to the certification of the election results, even after the violence.

“I spoke with Elise and asked her to step aside from the Senior Advisory Committee. My request was not about political parties, political ideology, or her choice of candidate for president. Rather, in my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,” Douglas Elmendorf, dean of faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School, said in a letter to the Senior Advisory Committee of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School Tuesday.

“Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen,” Elmendorf added.

According to the letter, Stefanik was asked to step aside from the committee, but declined that offer and therefore was therefore removed from the committee. 

Megan Corrigan and Jacob Carrel – both students at Harvard Law School – were in a group chat texting as the violence at the Capitol unfolded.

“We were both aware Rep. Stefanik had this position at the Institute of Politics, and we felt that with her continued support of these false claims of election fraud she was enabling this violence. And we felt like she should no longer be a part of our institution or hold such a high position within our Institute of Politics,” Corrigan, a 28-year-old second year law student at Harvard Law School and an author of the petition, told CNN.

“She continued and objected after the violence… and from there, the petition just took off, even faster than we imagined,” Corrigan added.

In addition to the petition, undergraduates also shared an infographic on social media which explained why they believed Stefanik “should not be an IOP senior advisor.”

“Through her promise to oppose the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, Rep. Stefanik has demonstrated that she is not suitable to advise our student center any longer,” the students wrote.

“We were so happy that the University heard us and took this step to hold her accountable this morning,” Corrigan told CNN Tuesday.

Stefanik responded to the Institute of Politics’ decision Tuesday with a statement on Twitter in which she said, “The decision by Harvard’s administration to cower and cave to the woke Left will continue to erode diversity of thought, public discourse, and ultimately the student experience.”

But, according to Coorigan, “This isn’t a free speech issue. This is a case of legislative action taken contrary to our Democracy.”

1:15 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

House Democrat says the security situation around the Capitol has improved significantly

From CNN's Daniella Diaz 

Chair of the House Administration Committee Zoe Lofgren told reporters after a briefing with the acting Capitol Police Chief and Acting Sergeant-at-Arms she feels security at the Capitol has improved.

When asked about the expected attacks on the US Capitol and lawmakers, "Go look at social media, and you'll see there's people who are unhinged and looking into overthrowing the government and you know, we saw them last week."

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: