House impeaches Trump as Capitol riot probe continues

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

Updated 0356 GMT (1156 HKT) January 15, 2021
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4:58 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Pence says the "American people deserve nothing less" than a "safe inauguration"

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing about the upcoming presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at FEMA headquarters on January 14 in Washington, DC.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a briefing about the upcoming presidential inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at FEMA headquarters on January 14 in Washington, DC. Alex Brandon/Pool/AP

Vice President Mike Pence said he is committed “to an orderly transition and to a safe inauguration," according to remarks he made at the top of the Federal Emergency Management Agency inauguration security briefing today.

“We all lived through that day of January the 6th and as the President made clear yesterday, we are committed to an orderly transition and to a safe Inauguration. The American people deserve nothing less,” Pence said at the beginning of the briefing.

Pence added: “We’re going to ensure that we have a safe Inauguration. That President- elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in as the new president and vice president of the United States. In a manner consistent with our history, with our traditions in a way that gives honor to the American people and the United States."

5:04 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Heightened security in Albany this weekend over possible protests

From CNN's Sheena Jones

The New York state Capitol is seen on January 11 in Albany, New York.
The New York state Capitol is seen on January 11 in Albany, New York. Hans Pennink/AP

The acting US attorney for the Northern District of New York, Antoinette Bacon, said there will be heightened security in Albany this weekend due to reports of possible protests in the area around the Capitol.

She made the comments in a joint news conference with the FBI on Thursday. 

The news comes after the attack on the US Capitol last week and in the wake of public reports that groups gathering at state capitols may be violent, Bacon said. 

Bacon added that state and local authorities will be sharing intelligence to keep the community safe "to ensure the violence that happened in DC doesn’t happen in Albany."

"At this point and time the FBI has not received any specific threat to the New York or Vermont State Capitol or other government building in the area," FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Relford said in the joint news conference. 

He added that the FBI has been working with local authorities to arrest individuals that were involved in last week’s incident at the US Capitol, including arresting a Syracuse man yesterday.

"We remain dedicated to ensuring everyone who broke the law last week is held accountable," Relford said.

4:28 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Washington state is sending 400 National Guard troops to the US Capitol

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Washington state is sending hundreds of National Guard troops to the US Capitol to provide support during the presidential inauguration, according to a tweet from the agency's account.

"Nearly 400 National Guard soldiers and airmen from Washington will support the presidential Inauguration," the tweet said.

Separately, Gov. Jay Inslee also authorized 750 members of the National Guard to be activated to help Washington State Police protect the state capitol in Olympia, State Police spokesperson Chris Loftis told CNN today.

Read the tweet:

More on this: Multiple defense officials tell CNN that the total request for National Guard is close to 30,000 members to support US Capitol Police, Park Police and Washington Metropolitan Police Department but officials believe that the actual number needed is closer to 20,000. The final numbers will be provided by the Secret Service.

The more than 20,000 National Guard members expected for Joe Biden's inauguration is more than three times the number of active duty US troops currently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria combined, a staggering statistic that underscores just how massive the security presence will be.

4:20 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Alaska Airlines will temporarily ban checked firearms on planes bound for DC

From CNN’s Andy Rose

An Alaska Airline jet is parked at a gate at Dulles international Airport on June 16, 2018, in Dulles, Virginia.
An Alaska Airline jet is parked at a gate at Dulles international Airport on June 16, 2018, in Dulles, Virginia. Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

Alaska Airlines joined other US carriers Thursday in announcing new rules on flights to and from airports around Washington, DC, leading up to Inauguration Day.

Starting tomorrow, the airline will temporarily ban checked firearms on planes bound for DC, and seat availability will be limited.

Passengers on all Alaska Airlines flights headed to Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) or Dulles International Airport (IAD) must also remain seated starting one hour before landing.

"We are temporarily implementing additional safety measures focused on keeping our guests and employees safe, as well as working closely with the industry, FAA, TSA, law enforcement and others," the airline said in a written statement.

Passengers departing from those airports must also be seated for the first hour of their flights. The airline also noted in their statement that they are adding extra personnel to support compliance.

"We have procedures to ensure compliance prior to departure and takeoff, and for turn-back or diversions, should the circumstance warrant," the airline said.

Alaska Airlines – which is based in Seattle, Washington – has 31 flights a week between the DC area and the West Coast.

4:17 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

GOP House leader opposes efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney after she voted to impeach Trump

From CNN's Manu Raju and the Capitol Hill team

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 6. Greg Nash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy does not support efforts to remove Rep. Liz Cheney as conference chair after her vote to impeach President Trump Wednesday, his spokesperson said.

Several House Republicans have been hammering Cheney, the party's third-ranking House leader, for her vote to impeach Trump.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump ally on Capitol Hill, told reporters he thinks Cheney should be ousted from her leadership position after she said she'd support impeaching the President.

"I think she's totally wrong," he said. "I think there should be a conference and have a second vote on that," he added.

Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger, who also supported impeachment, voiced his support for Cheney Wednesday night tweeting, "Liz has more support now than she did two days ago. She has gained immeasurable respect. Since the discussion is opened though, we may have to also have a discussion about who in our party fomented this, and their roles as ranking members."

Cheney, who represents Wyoming and is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, on Wednesday dismissed pressure for her to resign after coming out in support of impeaching Trump.

"I'm not going anywhere," Cheney told reporters at the Capitol before the vote. "This is a vote of conscience. It's one where there are different views in our conference," she added. "But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the civil war, constitutional crisis. That's what we need to be focused on. That's where our efforts and attention need to be."
3:27 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Alaska Sen. Murkowski says House responded swiftly and "appropriately" on Trump impeachment

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks during a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020.
Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks during a hearing in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020. Alex Edelman/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, did not indicate how she will vote in a new statement released today, but she said she believes the House took the right step with impeachment vote.

"On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans – including a Capitol Police officer – the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government’s ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power," she said in the statement. "Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment."

Read her full statement:

"The House of Representatives has impeached President Trump for an unprecedented second time, under a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in the wake of the unlawful and violent siege of the Capitol on January 6. This second impeachment stands in stark contrast to what we faced last January—an impeachment that was partisan from the beginning and left no opportunity for a fair trial in the Senate. The resolution to impeach President Trump for a second time passed by a vote of 232-197, representing the most bipartisan support and the largest number of votes for a presidential impeachment.
For months, the President has perpetrated false rhetoric that the election was stolen and rigged, even after dozens of courts ruled against these claims. When he was not able to persuade the courts or elected officials, he launched a pressure campaign against his own Vice President, urging him to take actions that he had no authority to do. On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans – including a Capitol Police officer – the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government’s ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment. 
Our nation’s founders gave the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments, and exercising that power is a weighty and important responsibility. When the Article of Impeachment comes to the Senate, I will follow the oath I made when sworn as a U.S. Senator. I will listen carefully and consider the arguments of both sides, and will then announce how I will vote. 
The timing of an impeachment trial in the Senate is currently unknown, but Leader McConnell has made clear that it will not take place prior to inauguration. I fully support that decision as our priority this week must be to ensure safety in Washington, DC and across the country as we allow for an orderly and peaceful transfer of power.” 
2:35 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Facebook is showing ads for military gear to far-right users, watchdog group says   

From CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan

Despite last week’s insurrection, Facebook is continuing to show ads for weapon accessories, body armor, and other military gear on its site, according to the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a nonprofit watchdog.  

TPP said it found evidence to suggest the ads are being shown to Facebook users who have shown interest in far-right and militia groups. 

The ads, which TTP says it saw on Facebook on Wednesday, included promotions for bulletproof vests and gun accessories. 

The ads appeared in the Facebook feed of an account TTP set up to resemble a far-right sympathizer. TPP used the account to join dozens of groups and pages dedicated to militia  groups and the far-right.

"Facebook is microtargeting these ads to an account whose only activity involves joining dozens of groups and pages dedicated to militia and the far-right," Katie Paul, director of TTP, told CNN on Thursday. "Facebook is sending a message: not only can users spend months violating platform policies to plan violence, Facebook will help users make their insurrection activity more effective while it profits from ads," she added. 

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN, "We don’t allow ads that praise, support or represent militarized social movements and ban ads that promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives."

The spokesperson also said Facebook has removed pages and groups representing militarized social movements and is continuing to take those pages down.

BuzzFeed News first reported TTP’s findings. 

2:37 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Arkansas National Guard to deploy 500 soldiers to US Capitol

From CNN’s Pamela Kirkland

The U.S. Capitol stands on January 14 in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Capitol stands on January 14 in Washington, DC. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday authorized the deployment of 500 members of the Arkansas National Guard to Washington, DC, in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.      ��                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Arkansas National Guard will arrive in Washington on Jan. 17 and return before the end of the month.   

“Being in the guard is about service. Service to one’s state and their nation. We’re sending some of our very best to support inauguration day activities,” said Maj. Gen. Kendall Penn, Arkansas National Guard’s adjutant general. “Priority No. 1 is to protect people and property, and our guardsmen are trained very well to do just that."
2:38 p.m. ET, January 14, 2021

Washington State police actively monitoring threats to state capitol

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

A Washington State Patrol trooper walks through the rotunda of the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday, January 13.
A Washington State Patrol trooper walks through the rotunda of the state capitol in Olympia on Wednesday, January 13. Ted S. Warren/AP

The Washington State Police is actively monitoring threats to the state capitol in Olympia and the agency is "preparing for anything," spokesperson Chris Loftis told CNN today.

"What we're seeing are evolving threats over time," Loftis said.

He explained the agency has seen "some general threats that we can tie to specific individuals and specific groups" that have centered around coming to the capitol to "wreak havoc and harm and keep the operations of the capitol from occurring as they normally do."

"We do follow all the social media chatter and some of these groups are quite brazen," he added.

Loftis explained that many of these threats and groups look "to make the point that they feel the election has been stolen and that the Covid restrictions that we have had in the state and others are somehow unconstitutional."

He said the agency is working with FBI, other local law enforcement agencies, and other state agencies through a "fusion center" in Seattle. 

In addition to resources brought in from all eight of Washington State Patrol's districts, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee authorized 750 members of the National Guard to be activated, Loftis explained. As a result, "hundreds and hundreds" of personnel are at the state capitol around the clock.

"Our position in all of this is that we're here to protect people's rights to free speech and we're here to protect the rights of assembly," Loftis added. But he cautioned "if you come onto campus, with intent to harm, whether it's the people the place or the process, we're going to respond, as law enforcement always does."