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
34 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
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.

12:01 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Speaker Pelosi won't say when she'll send articles of impeachment to Senate

From CNN's Sarah Fortinsky

Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined to answer questions as she entered the Capitol today on when she'll send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

"That is not something I will be discussing right now, as you can imagine. We'll take it one step at a time," she said when asked. 

She also would not comment specifically on whether she prefers to send before or after inauguration on Jan. 20

Some context: House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Sunday House Democrats might wait until after President-elect Joe Biden's first 100 days in office to send any articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate, a move that would give the incoming President time to tackle his agenda in Congress before the start of a time-consuming trial.

12:44 p.m. ET, January 12, 2021

Ted Cruz's communications director resigns in wake of attack on the Capitol

From CNN's Sam Fossum

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s communications director has resigned in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack, according to two sources. Lauren Blair Bianchi has been Cruz’s top communications aide since July 2019.

Cruz, a Texas Republican, was one of the leading Senate GOP voice in the effort to object to electors for Joe Biden as Congress moved to certify his election as President of the United States.

Bianchi’s departure was tied to the events leading up to Jan. 6, with the attack itself serving as the final trigger to resign, the sources said. 

The resignation was first reported by Punchbowl news.

11:55 a.m. ET, January 12, 2021

US attorney in DC will investigate violence towards the media during Capitol riot

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

The acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, announced a new focus of investigating violence toward the media at the Capitol riots.

"Such violence will not be tolerated," Sherwin said in a statement.

Sherwin's office has already brought several federal criminal charges against President Trump supporters inside the Capitol that day.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the media in speeches and tweets over the years, and video of the riot captured his supported breaking press equipment from several news organizations last week. One New York Times photographer, Erin Schaff, said she was thrown to the floor by the mob until police could intervene.

"The United States Attorney’s Office invites members of the press to report any instances where a reporter, journalist, photographer, videographer, or other member of the press or broadcast media was the victim of an assault, threat, or property damage during the events of January 6 at the United States Capitol," he said.

This is what happened when Capitol mob found a CNN crew: