LONE STAR — Texas’ Big Political Read — 1.11.20 — Big Tech Purge — Impeaching Trump — Lee, Cruz, Green, Riots — More…
It’s been less than a week since the Capitol riot broke out and since that unfortunate day that extremist Qanon and ANTIFA-types decided to embarrass Americans across the globe, Big Tech has shown us exactly who they are, and why the fears we had about them was credible.
Twitter is now purging individuals who they feel are propagating misinformation and peddling in. conspiracy theories. Why those Qanon idiots should be purged, so should those with the criminal Black Lives Matter movement, ANTIFA, radical Islam, and terrorist state governments that are pushing for violence and even murder.
As you all know, I was right smack in the middle of the riot as it unfolded., and was evacuated from the House chamber once the rioters began to break into the room. One woman was shot and killed just feet away as she tried to jump through the last line of defense before being able to actually reach members of Congress actively evacuating.
Impeachment Part II
Congressional Democrats led by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee have introduced a new set of Articles of Impeachment against President Donald Trump. READ MORE
Kudos to Rep. Lee who took the riots in with incredible calm. I was crouched down next to her in the upper chamber along with Rep. Veronica Escobar (D). Lee didn’t flinch.
“Lizzie Fletcher Attributes Responsibility for Insurrection to Trump” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – After the violent mob stormed Capitol Hill and clashed with police on Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-D) issued a statement which stressed President Trump’s responsibility. She stated: “This insurrection was incited, encouraged, and praised by the President of the United States—an assault on the United States that would once have been unthinkable and must now be addressed.” The Texas Democrat watched the chaos unfold from the gallery alongside Texas Politics Publisher Javier Manjarres, as well as Reps. Veronica Escobar and Sheila Jackson Lee. Together, they were safely evacuated to the Longworth building. “It is now clear that the President of the United States represents a grave threat to our Constitution and to our country. He has willfully incited violence against the Government of the United States,” Fletcher wrote. “It is for these reasons that I support his removal from office as soon as possible, whether through the process set forth in the 25th Amendment to the Constitution or through the constitutional process of impeachment.” Trump has been held responsible for the riots and labelled a seditious threat to the country. Fletcher joins the vast majority of Democrats calling for President Donald Trump’s removal from office either through impeachment or the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. In his pre-recorded message from the White House, Trump condemned the violence: “To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country.” He also issued a warning: “those who broke the law, you will pay.”
“Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Introduces Articles of Impeachment Against President Donald Trump” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – One day after violent protesters stormed Capitol Hill, Houston Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-D) introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. In her statement, Jackson Lee asserted that the President “has actively and continuously endeavored to undermine the essential institutions and foundations of a democratic system of government in the United States, engaging in a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evincing a design to make himself an authoritarian ruler unaccountable to, and independent of, the people of the United States.” She went on to outline offences over the course of his presidency. Most recent of these offences was his failure to “take action to protect and defend Federal officers and personnel, property, buildings, and institutions on January 6, 2021.” The Texas Democrat concluded her statement with the following: “As the resolution points out and makes clear, a person ‘whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people,’ and warrants impeachment and removal as President of the United States.” Separate articles against Trump have also been drafted by Rep. Ilhan Omar (MI-D) and co-signed by 12 other House Democrats including Texas Rep. Al Green, Vicente Gonzalez and Veronica Escobar. With just 13 days left in Trump’s term, it is unlikely that there is adequate time to complete the required procedures. Further, assembling the two-thirds Senate majority necessary to convict would prove challenging, despite the deprecating numbers of Trump loyalists in the Republican caucus.
“Rep. Allred Involved in Altercation with Republican Member of Congress” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – As lawmakers resumed debating the electoral college after a riot stormed the U.S. Capitol and disrupted Wednesday’s joint session, Reps. Colin Allred (TX-D) and Andy Harris (MD-R) engaged in a confrontation on the House Floor. The altercation between the Texas Democrat and Maryland Republican kicked off amid a heated debate over Republican objections to the Pennsylvania election results and where blame lay for the earlier riots. Rep. Conor Lamb (PA-D)’s claim that the earlier riots were inspired by GOP “lies” about the election is reported to have aggravated Harris. According to PBS reporter Lisa Desjardines, Harris taunted the Democrats until the fight broke out between himself and Allred. The pair were quickly separated by a Capitol staffer. The potential brawl would have pitted Harris, a 63-year-old anesthesiologist against Allred, a former NFL linebacker. Various media outlets have given conflicting accounts of the events. Harris’ office has since released a statement clarifying Allred’s role in the confrontation. It asserts that Allred “stepped in only to ease tensions at the end of a difficult day.”
“Congress Finalizes Biden’s Win After Riot Disrupts Capitol” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – After a violent mob stormed of the U.S. Capitol and disrupted Wednesday’s joint session, Congress completed the typically perfunctory electoral count. Results were certified in all states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona, and Vice President Mike Pence announced Joe Biden’s victory. Lawmakers resumed debating the electoral college results after nearly six hours of recess. Members of Congress had been forced to barricade themselves as the angry mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Despite the actions of the violent mob at the Capitol, Texas Republicans Sen. Ted Cruz, along with Reps. Jodey Arrington, Brian Babin, Michael C. Burgess, John R. Carter, Michael Cloud, Pat Fallon, Louie Gohmenrt, Ronny Jackson, Troy Nehls, August Pfluger, Pete Sessions, Randy Weber, Roger Williams and Ron Wright, voted in favor of objections to certifying election results in swing states Pennsylvania and Arizona. Freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R) was the only Texan to split her vote. She released a statement on Twitter explaining her decision in which she cited doubts over the election integrity in Pennsylvania. She stated: “While I did not support the objection of electors from the state of Arizona, I believe voting against electors from Pennsylvania was constitutionally correct and our best opportunity to stand up for federalism, the rule of law and justice that is owed to the American public.” All Texas Democrats present voted against the objections.
“Trump’s farewell tour includes border wall stop in Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday” by Dallas Morning News’ Todd J. Gillman – Eight days before reluctantly leaving office, President Donald Trump will visit the border in South Texas on Tuesday to tout partial construction of the massive wall he promised to deliver — far more than critics wanted, far less than he wanted, and none it funded by Mexico. At last count, some 452 miles has been built. About 12 miles of that is along segments of the border without any barrier before. The rest replaces shorter and less sturdy barrier. The project has cost $15 billion so far, just $4.5 billion of that provided by Congress. Trump diverted the rest from the military budget when lawmakers balked at full funding. It’s not quite the “big, beautiful wall” he promised during the 2016 campaign when he suggested that nearly all of the 1,954-mile frontier would be walled off. By the time he leaves office, it will be about 40% fenced. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to halt construction, though he won’t dismantle whatever the Trump administration leaves behind. Trump has not been seen in public since Wednesday morning, when he stoked the passions of a crowd that would soon be rioting at the Capitol. With growing calls for resignation or impeachment, he’ll be visiting Texas unaccompanied by allies who are usually eager to greet him on landing. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick will be in Austin on Tuesday for the opening day of the 2021 Legislature. White House spokesman Judd Deere said Sunday that Trump will visit Alamo, Texas, just east of McAllen and near the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, “to mark the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall — a promise made, promise kept — and his Administration’s efforts to reform our broken immigration system.”
“Texas, Tennessee men charged in connection with Capitol riot” by Associated Press – A retired Air Force officer and a man from Tennessee were charged Sunday for being part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, federal prosecutors said. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Larry Rendall Brock Jr. was arrested in Texas and charged in federal court in the District of Columbia with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, prosecutors said. During the deadly riot Wednesday, Brock was photographed on the Senate floor wearing a helmet and heavy vest and carrying zip-tie handcuff. According to an affidavit, his ex-wife was one of the people who told the FBI they recognized Brock from photos taken at the Capitol. She told authorities: “I just know that when I saw this was happening I was afraid he would be there. I think you already know he was there. It is such a good picture of him and I recognize his patch.” Brock confirmed to The New Yorker that he was the man in the photographs and claimed he found the zip-tie handcuffs on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he said. The Air Force did not immediately respond to inquiries about Brock Sunday.
“Texas health officials announce vaccination hubs as state nears 30,000 COVID deaths” by Houston Chronicle’s Julian Gill – Texas health officials this week will ramp up vaccine distribution as COVID-related deaths inch closer to 30,000 statewide. The Department of State Health Services on Sunday released a list of 28 “vaccination hubs” as part of an effort inoculate more than 100,000 people and streamline the sign-up process. An additional 158,825 doses — a combination of both Pfizer and Moderna — will be distributed at the hubs. Another 38,300 will be sent to other Texas providers. Three Harris County hubs will receive a total 26,725 doses of the vaccine, with 8,000 going to Harris County Public Health, another 8,000 to the Houston Health Department and 10,725 to Houston Methodist Hospital. The announcement came as the state reported another 186 COVID-related deaths for a total of 29,877 statewide. More than 13,000 people remain hospitalized. The majority of the state’s Trauma Service Areas, including Houston, continue to see COVID-19 hospitalizations make up more than 15 percent of total hospital capacity, the threshold that signifies “high hospitalizations.” Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesman for Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, said the new vaccine supply is encouraging but should not distract from the surging numbers.
“Trump supporters gather for rally outside Texas Capitol on Saturday” by KXAN’s Harley Tamplin – Supporters of President Donald Trump are gathering outside the Texas Capitol Saturday for a planned rally ahead of the 87th Texas legislative session. Chairman of the Texas GOP Allen West is one of a number of politicians and activists set to speak at the event on Saturday afternoon. Organizers of the event say people attending will learn how to become more involved in the upcoming legislative session. They will discuss redistricting process, as well as issues such as election integrity, abortion and gun rights. The rally comes just three days after five people were killed and elected representatives were rushed to safety as Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building. In contrast to the violent scenes in Washington, D.C., a protest held on the same day by Trump supporters outside the Texas Capitol remained peaceful. The Texas Department of Public Safety closed the Capitol grounds on Wednesday but made no arrests. The president continues to claim that widespread fraud occurred during the November presidential election. Judges have rejected almost all legal challenges from the president related to the election, while officials representing both parties have said there was no widespread fraud.
“Editorial: The shame of Texas — Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton and the Seditious Sixteen.” By Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board – Now and then through the years we Texans have sent our share of buffoons, grifters, lightweights, crooks, ignoramuses and ego-obsessed asses to Washington as representatives of the people. W. Lee “Pass the Biscuits, Pappy” O’Daniel comes to mind. So does Martin Dies, Jr., chairman of the witch-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee. So does Louie Gohmert. In the wake of last week’s Capitol insurrection, add to this ignominious list the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz and the 16 Republican House members who voted in favor of discredited objections to certifying the presidential election results in one or more swing states. The Seditious Sixteen voted to short-circuit democracy even after a Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol, even after blood was shed in the halls of that august building. Also add to this list Ken Paxton. Like a tongue-flapping pup hopping into the bed of his master’s pickup on a jaunt to town, our indictment-burdened, ethics-allergic attorney general headed to Washington last week for no reason other than to stand adoringly alongside President Donald Trump and echo his unhinged calls for insurrection. We called for Paxton to resign months agobecause of his own legal problems, including a bloodless insurrection of sorts in Paxton’s own office, staged by whistleblowers in his senior staff alleging corruption. That’s not to mention the outlandish lawsuit he filed in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn the will of millions of American voters. After his servile pilgrimage to Washington, there’s no question regarding what he ought to do now. A rampaging mob ransacked the Capitol, our citadel of democracy. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, are dead. Trump and his MAGA maniacs have made a mockery of our democratic institutions, as both Democrats and Republicans (including Cabinet members past and present and White House staff) have acknowledged.
“Texas employers firing alleged rioters who have been identified following viral videos at the US Capitol” by KHOU’s Hannah Rucker – Some of the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol this week are Texans, and more information is starting to surface about their lives. It’s pretty normal to have a private life outside of work or even a different version of yourself. But what happens when that private life is brought to light in a viral video for the world to see? Could it impact your job status? Austin employment attorney Jennifer Ward said in Texas the answer is yes. “Texas truly is an employment-at-will state, and so what that means [is] the default rule is that employers can terminate as long as there’s not a particular law that you can turn to saying that termination is illegal,” said Ward. She said the fact these events were recorded and shared makes it hard for the employee to fight against it. “Employees have a right to privacy, so on the one hand, you do have that and anything that you are doing outside of work under private circumstances, you would expect your employer can’t access, but of course things we put on social media aren’t private; you don’t have much of a leg to stand on,” said Ward. One Texas attorney, Paul Davis, was reportedly fired from Goosehead Insurance after posting videos of himself inside the Capitol. Other Texans facing repercussions include former Midland Mayoral Candidate Jenny Cudd. Current Midland Mayor Patrick Payton shared his thoughts in a press conference. “It saddens me, and that’s as far as I’m willing to comment on that. It saddens me,” said Mayor Payton. The FBI is now asking for the public’s help to identify others in the images and to come forward with information.
“What are the COVID-19 vaccine phases or groups in Texas?” by KXAN’s Kate Winkle – The Texas Department of State Health Services has broken Texans up into a number of priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Phase 1A
These healthcare workers were the first people to get the vaccine starting the week of Dec. 14, 2020. Tier One:
· Paid and unpaid workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who are positive or at high risk for COVID-19.
· Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents.
· EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services like pre-hospital care and transport
· Home healthcare workers, including hospice care, who directly interface with vulnerable and high-risk patients
· Residents of long-term care facilities
· Staff in outpatient care settings who interact with symptomatic patients.
· Direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics
· Community pharmacy staff who may provide direct services to clients, including vaccination or testing for individuals who may have COVID-19
· Public health and emergency response staff directly involved in the administration of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations
· Last responders who provide mortuary or death services to decedents with COVID-19.
· School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers
“Ken Paxton told Trump supporters to “keep fighting.” When they breached the Capitol, he falsely claimed it wasn’t them.” By Texas Tribune’s Emma Platoff – On Wednesday morning, Ken Paxton stood in front of a roaring crowd, reminding a sea of President Donald Trump’s supporters that the president “is a fighter” and his backers must be, too. “We’re here. We will not quit fighting,” he said, slamming Republican officials in Georgia who have stood by President-elect Joe Biden’s victory there. “We are Texans, we are Americans, and we’re not quitting.” But by the evening — after members of the crowd he had invited to Washington, D.C., stirred up with false claims about election fraud, resorted to violence, smashing windows and scaling walls to breach the nation’s Capitol in a mob that forced members of Congress to flee and left at least one woman dead — he had claimed they were not his ilk at all. “These are not Trump supporters,” he falsely claimed on Twitter and Facebook, citing incorrect reports that the pro-Trump mob that invaded the Capitol had been infiltrated by liberal antifa activists, members of a loose anti-facist movement that opposes actions seen as “authoritarian, homophobic, racist or xenophobic.” The untenable pivot provides an insight into a remarkable day in American history: Paxton, like other Republicans in Texas and across the nation, whipped up thousands of Trump supporters into a deluded frenzy, claiming falsely that the election had been stolen from them. When that frenzy reached its violent conclusion, he blamed someone else.
“Pelosi says lawmakers moving forward with impeachment, calls Trump ‘imminent threat’ to ‘our Democracy’” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – The House will be moving forward with a resolution to impeach President Trump, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, referring to the president in a letter to colleagues as an “imminent threat” to both the U.S. Constitution and democracy. In the letter Sunday, Pelosi said the House will act with “great solemnity” with less than two weeks remaining before Trump is set to leave office. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on the day after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington. “In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” she said. “The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.” Pelosi said the House will try to force Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to oust Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment. On Monday, House leaders will work to swiftly pass legislation to do that. If it is blocked by Republicans, which is almost certain, the House will convene for a full House vote on Tuesday. Pelosi explained that the resolution calls on Pence “to convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office.” Under the procedure, the vice president “would immediately exercise powers as acting President,” she wrote. “I think the president has disqualified himself from ever, certainly, serving in office again … I don’t think he is electable in any way.” — Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Pence is not expected to take the lead in forcing Trump out, although talk has been circulating about the 25th Amendment option for days in Washington.
“DOJ charges 2 men in connection with Capitol riot” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – Two more men were charged in federal court in connection with Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, the Department of Justice announced Sunday. Larry Rendell Brock, of Texas, faces one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. Brock was identified as one of the thousands who stormed the Capitol last week, the DOJ said. He wore a green helmet, green tactical vest with patches, black and camo jacket, and beige pants and was seen holding a white flex cuff that law enforcement officers use to restrain subjects. Authorities arrested Brock in Texas Sunday, the DOJ said. The other man, Eric Gavelek Munchel, of Tennessee, was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building on grounds without lawful authority, and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Photos cited by the DOJ show a person resembling Munchel inside the Capitol on Wednesday carrying plastic restraints, an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward. He was arrested in Tennessee on Sunday.
“DC Delegate Norton to introduce resolution to censure Trump as ‘only remedy that can pass both chambers’” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Sunday called on Congress to censure President Trump, accusing him of inciting Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. A censure is a formal reprimand or statement of disapproval. It is not as drastic as impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in Congress are planning. House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Sunday called on Congress to censure President Trump, accusing him of inciting Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. A censure is a formal reprimand or statement of disapproval. It is not as drastic as impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in Congress are planning. House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Sunday called on Congress to censure President Trump, accusing him of inciting Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. A censure is a formal reprimand or statement of disapproval. It is not as drastic as impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in Congress are planning. House Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton on Sunday called on Congress to censure President Trump, accusing him of inciting Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol. A censure is a formal reprimand or statement of disapproval. It is not as drastic as impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders in Congress are planning.
“A historic percentage of Americans want Trump removed from office” by CNN’s Harry Enten – The potential removal of President Donald Trump from office starts out more popular than any other removal process of a president in recent American history. Removing Trump from office remains quite unpopular among Republicans, however. A look across polls conducted since riots at the Capitol on Wednesday shows that a clear plurality of Americans overall want Trump out of office, even as President-elect Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.
You can see that well in an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday. The majority (56%) say Trump should be removed from office, while just 43% believe he should not be removed. An average across polls since Wednesday (in which no pollster is counted more than once) shows that 50% of Americans want Trump to either be impeached, for the 25th Amendment to be invoked or for Trump to resign from office. The minority (43%) say that none of these should occur. The high percentage of Americans who want Trump out of office comes as House Democrats are already planning to introduce an impeachment resolution against Trump as soon as Monday. When Democrats began an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September 2019, removing him from office wasn’t anywhere near as popular. Before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that inquiry, only about 40% of Americans were for impeaching and removing Trump. About half the electorate was against it.
“At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened after US Capitol breach, congressman says Army secretary told him” by CNN’s Paul LeBlanc – At least 25 domestic terrorism cases have been opened in the wake of Wednesday’s US Capitol breach that engulfed the nation’s capital in chaos, Army secretary Ryan McCarthy told Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, according to a news release from the congressman’s office. Crow, a member of the House Armed Services committee, said McCarthy relayed the figure in a phone call Sunday and told him that long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and zipties were all recovered by authorities as a wide-ranging investigation unfurls. CNN reached out to McCarthy regarding the call summary and did not receive an immediate response. The list of domestic terrorism cases that have been opened add to a growing understanding of the extremist elements of the crowd that pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol Wednesday before eventually making their way into the building. Only after pleading from aides and congressional allies inside the besieged Capitol did President Donald Trump release a video urging the rioters to “go home,” while still fanning their baseless grievances about a stolen election. And now, as the dust settles and the country struggles to make sense of the violence that left five dead — including an officer with the US Capitol Police — experts warn that the calls for violence have only intensified ahead of Inauguration Day, when President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as commander in chief. “We are seeing … chatter from these white supremacists, from these far-right extremists — they feel emboldened in this moment,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks and counters hate. “We fully expect that this violence could actually get worse before it gets better.”
“Man in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt during Capitol riot identified” by CNN’s Curt Devine and Scott Bronstein – A rioter who stormed the US Capitol Wednesday wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “Camp Auschwitz” has been identified as Robert Keith Packer of Virginia, according to three sources who spoke with CNN. An image of Packer inside the Capitol, whose sweatshirt bore the name of the Nazi concentration camp where about 1.1 million people were killed during World War II, 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. Packer did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment. One Virginia resident, who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, described Packer as a long-time extremist who has had run-ins with the law. “He’s been always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs,” the resident said. Another source familiar with Packer described him as an “off-beat” character who has expressed frustrations with the government, though this source did not recall Packer ever talking about President Donald Trump or false allegations of voter fraud. A third source said Packer previously worked as a welder and pipe-fitter. Virginia court records show that Packer has a criminal history that includes three convictions for driving under the influence and a felony conviction for forging public records. In 2016, he was charged for allegedly trespassing, though that case was dismissed.
“Pence has not ruled out 25th Amendment, source says” by CNN’s Jim Acosta and Pamela Brown – Vice President Mike Pence has not ruled out an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and wants to preserve the option in case President Donald Trump becomes more unstable, a source close to the vice president says. The source said there is some concern inside Pence’s team that there are risks to invoking the 25th Amendment or even to an impeachment process, as Trump could take some sort of rash action putting the nation at risk. As of Saturday evening, Trump and Pence still have not spoken since the Wednesday incursion at the US Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer, another source told CNN. The President has also not made any public comments denouncing death threats that have been posted on social media targeting Pence. Pence has finally “gotten a glimpse of POTUS’s vindictiveness,” one source said, using the acronym for President of the United States. Two sources familiar with the matter say Trump is angry at Pence and Pence is disappointed and saddened by Trump. Trump put Pence in an impossible position, asking him to overturn the election results during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress. When Pence explained that he could not do that and sent a letter to members of Congress that he would follow the Constitution, Trump used his Wednesday rally to egg on the crowd, telling them to march on Capitol Hill, and said of his vice president, “Mike Pence, I hope you’re gonna stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country, and if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you, I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”
“House to Move to Impeach Trump After Push to Have Pence Remove Him From Office” by WSJ’s Andrew Restuccia, Brent Kendall and Siobhan Hughes – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif) said the House will move to impeach President Trump as soon as this week if Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s cabinet don’t act to strip him of his powers over the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Mrs. Pelosi, in a letter to House colleagues, said Democrats on Monday will first introduce a resolution calling for the vice president to use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove Mr. Trump from office. The resolution would come to a vote by Tuesday. If it is approved and Mr. Pence doesn’t act to remove Mr. Trump from office within 24 hours, the House will proceed to impeachment, Mrs. Pelosi said. “We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat,” Mrs. Pelosi said. Mr. Pence isn’t expected to move forward with a 25th Amendment process, people familiar with his thinking said. One article of impeachment that accuses Mr. Trump of inciting an insurrection was close to having enough support to pass the House. Meanwhile, more GOP lawmakers said Sunday Mr. Trump should resign. Should Democrats succeed, Mr. Trump would be the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Conviction in the Senate faces higher hurdles, however, including a two-thirds majority vote requiring significant Republican support. The president didn’t appear in public or make remarks over the weekend after Twitter Inc. shut off his personal account. He released a video on Thursday condemning the riot without taking responsibility for it and in which he vowed to leave office on Jan. 20. The White House has dismissed the impeachment effort as politically motivated.
“Twitter, Facebook and Others Silenced Trump. Now They Learn What’s Next.” By WSJ’s Sarah E. Needleman and Georgia Wells – Silicon Valley’s moves to eject President Trump from social media represent a display of power the companies have avoided making for nearly four years. Now Twitter Inc., TWTR -1.62% Facebook Inc. FB -0.44% and others must reckon with what comes next. In a span of a couple of days, Twitter and Facebook—Mr. Trump’s main social-media megaphones—took action to silence the president’s personal accounts or online communities devoted to him, citing rules prohibiting content that incites violence. They were joined by companies such as Snap Inc. SNAP 0.55% and Reddit Inc. Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG 1.12% Google also took steps to boot Parler, a social-media app and website that has grown in popularity among conservatives—and which some rioters had used to promote Wednesday’s attack at the U.S. Capitol, according to screenshots viewed by The Wall Street Journal. The actions against Mr. Trump and Parler illustrate more starkly than ever the companies’ influence over conversation online—and the political nature of their decisions. While lauded by many, ejecting the president and some of his supporters also infuriated others who said it amounts to censorship, and the moves risked driving off some users in a way that, especially for Twitter, could reshape their businesses. It also illustrates the political nature of how they determine what content to remove, what content to allow and what to amplify. “Right or wrong, they made a political decision,” said Jonathon Hauenschild, director of the communications and technology task force for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative nonprofit group, regarding the companies’ moves. Attention on the tech giants “was there to begin with. Now the spotlight is fully on,” he said.
“Markets Rally Highlights Bets on Recovery” by WSJ’s Michael Wursthorn – Investors are showing signs of increasing exuberance, reflecting optimism about a vaccine-fueled global recovery and the changed economics of the post-coronavirus world. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.6% for the first week of 2021, marking its fourth-straight weekly gain despite a mob storming the U.S. Capitol Wednesday and a decline in nonfarm payrolls reported Friday. The advance, which took the 30-stock index past 31000 in just 29 trading days, has been led by banks and energy firms. Bond yields have risen, taking the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note to 1.105%, the highest since March. When economically sensitive sectors and bond yields rise together, it often signals Wall Street is embarking on the classic reflation trade that anticipates a full-fledged economic recovery. It is important because it can herald rising incomes, stronger results at firms from retailing to manufacturing to technology, and further market gains. But the blistering, stimulus-fueled rally over the past year may complicate that formula. While the case for economic recovery appears sound and many fund managers expect the market advance to continue, skeptics say stocks remain vulnerable to fallout from the pandemic, including still-high unemployment and questions about the pace of the vaccine rollout. Supercharged gains in assets from some favored stocks to cryptocurrencies to some commodities could turn out to be unsustainable. That is likely a recipe for volatility as earnings season begins. The S&P 500’s 1.8% rise over the first week of the year pushed the benchmark above year-end price targets of firms including Bank of America Corp. , which has told clients to brace for muted returns after last year’s 16% advance.
“Forbes Says It’s Targeting Trump Staffers and Their Future Employers” by Newsmax’ Michael Dorstewitz – Corporate media and the Left aren’t satisfied with merely controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress in less than two weeks. They want revenge. They also want to punish anyone who worked in the Trump administration and, to a lesser extent, the 45th president’s supporters. On Thursday, in what was the most recent and possibly the most egregious example, Randall Lane, Forbes’ chief content officer, announced that Forbes Media was “holding those who lied for Trump accountable” in what he called “a truth reckoning.” Lane claimed that the media group was taking this unprecedented action in response to the mob attack on Capitol Hill late Wednesday afternoon, which resulted in two deaths — a Capitol Police officer and a female U.S. Air Force veteran who was demonstrating that day. Lane alleged that the president’s “lies-upon-lies, repeated frequently and fervently, provided the kindling, the spark, the gasoline” that led to the attack. Lane then singles out five senior White House officials, whom he describes as “the people paid by the People to inform the People.” He named former White House press secretaries Sean Spicer (currently co-host of Newsmax TV’s “Spicer & Co.”), Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Stephanie Grisham, as well as current spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany. Lane also named Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to the president. So what does he propose? “Simple,” he said. “Don’t let the chronic liars cash in on their dishonesty.”
“Pirro Urges Trump Supporters To Stop Blaming Antifa For Capitol Hill Breach” by Newsmax Wires – Fox News commentator Jeanine Pirro blasted looters who broke into the Capitol building, calling their violence “deplorable” and urging supporters of President Donald Trump to stop blaming antifa. In her opening commentary Saturday, Pirro called the rampage “the most significant breach on our Capitol in over 200 years.” “I want to be clear. The actions at the United States Capitol three days ago were deplorable, reprehensible, outright criminal,” Pirro declared. “And I don’t care what happened in the past and or whether those who did it think the election was stolen. That is not justification. Seventy-five million of us are still angry about the election, but we don’t storm the Capitol.” She said there was no blame for anyone else but those who were responsible for the damage and deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer. “And stop looking for other people to blame, including those dirt-bag terrorists antifa,” she said. “To those of you who did this, you did it, of your own will, and you will be held accountable. Take the veil of politics off. Be totally objective, anyone watching this must condemn it.” She derided those who smashed their way into the building and destroyed property inside a “bunch of freaks.”
“Trump Orders Flags at Half-Mast for Fallen Capitol Officers” by Newsmax – The White House lowered its U.S. flag to half-staff on Sunday, three days after a police officer died from injuries suffered while fending off supporters of President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol building. Trump later issued a proclamation directing that flags be lowered at all embassies, consular offices and U.S. facilities abroad, including military facilities and naval vessels. He called the action “a sign of respect for the service and sacrifice” of Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick, who died on Thursday, and Howard Liebengood, whose death was announced on Sunday, as well as “all Capitol Police Officers and law enforcement across this great Nation.” Trump had faced calls from lawmakers from both parties to take the step in honor of Sicknick after protesters invaded the seat of Congress in Washington. Trump made the decision independently, not because of pressure from advisers, a person familiar with the matter said. “He made the ultimate sacrifice, for the greater glory, and laid down his life in protection of our democracy,” Representative Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, said of Sicknick in a letter to Trump on Sunday. Noting that the flag over the Capitol dome has been lowered to half-staff, she said “we ask that the flag flown above the White House be ordered to do the same.” The White House flag was lowered in early afternoon. Trump hasn’t contacted Sicknick’s family to offer his condolences, the New York Times quoted an unidentified aide to Vice President Mike Pence as saying.
“Off-duty police, firefighters under investigation in connection with U.S. Capitol riot” by Reuters’ Maria Caspani – As investigators seek to identify rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, police departments in Virginia and Washington state have placed officers on leave as authorities examine whether they took part in unlawful acts while off-duty. Fire departments in Florida and New York City have also said they reported to federal authorities allegations that some of their members may have been present when the mob broke into the Capitol as Congress met to certify the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election. The police department in the small town of Rocky Mount, Virginia, said on Sunday it had placed two officers on administrative leave after it learned they attended an “event” in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday while off-duty. “The Town of Rocky Mount fully supports all lawful expressions of freedom of speech and assembly by its employees but does not condone the unlawful acts that occurred that day,” the department said in a statement, saying it had notified federal authorities. Five people lost their lives, including a Capitol Hill police officer, when supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the formal recognition of Trump’s election loss to Democrat Joe Biden. Dozens of people have been criminally charged, and the FBI has sought help from the public to identify more participants.
“Republican senator says he will challenge Biden victory in Congress” by Reuters’ Jason Lange – Republican Senator Josh Hawley on Wednesday pledged to challenge Democrat President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Congress convenes to officially tally the electoral votes, which could trigger a lengthy debate in the Senate but has virtually no chance of overturning the results. Hawley, the junior senator from Missouri who was elected in 2018, said in a statement, that “some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.” “At the very least, Congress should investigate,” he said in a statement. Hawley did not provide any evidence for his claims. A number of Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives have said they plan to object to the election results, but Hawley is the first U.S. senator to do so. Biden beat President Donald Trump by a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College. Trump has refused to concede defeat and has repeatedly falsely claimed the election was tainted by widespread fraud. Under the Electoral College system, “electoral votes” are allotted to states and the District of Columbia based on their congressional representation. Congress is due to make the Electoral College tally official on Jan. 6 in what is largely a ceremonial session. “You just get some theater with your ceremony this time,” said Justin Levitt, a constitutional law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Trump may turn to Giuliani again to defend against impeachment” by Retuers’ Karen Friefeld and Steve Holland – President Donald Trump may turn to Rudy Giuliani to defend him against possible impeachment over his role in last week’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol, according to two people familiar with the matter. One of the sources, an outside adviser to the White House, said Giuliani was expected to play a lead role in any impeachment effort. The other source familiar with the situation said Giuliani, a personal attorney of the president, would likely provide the kind of representation Trump wants. Giuliani, 76, led the legal team that tried unsuccessfully to overturn Trump’s election defeat. It failed to produce any evidence of significant fraud and lost dozens of court cases in key battleground states and at the Supreme Court before President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was confirmed. Giuliani’s own reputation was battered during the often chaotic legal campaign. In one news conference, brown dye dripped down his face as he laid out false claims of election fraud, and he was ridiculed for another event held in the parking lot of a Pennsylvania landscaping company next to a sex shop. The former mayor of New York City did not respond to requests for comment on his role in a possible impeachment trial, and the White House declined to comment. Democratic members of the House of Representatives are expected to introduce articles of impeachment this week, accusing Trump of inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
“Kamala Harris gains prominent new role thanks to Democrats’ Senate majority” by Politico’s Christopher Cadelago – Kamala Harris’s vice presidential portfolio was nebulous before last week. But thanks to Democrats’ upset victories in two Georgia Senate run-offs, Harris has unexpectedly earned a new title: Senate tie breaker. Once Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock are sworn in next week, the Senate will be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. That puts Harris, who as vice president will formally be the president of the Senate, in position to tip the balance of power on everything from key legislative items to confirming Cabinet nominees and judges. And it will make her the public face for her boss’ legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. “Al Gore got ‘reinventing government’ as his portfolio, which real people didn’t understand,” said Rose Kapolczynski, a longtime adviser to Barbara Boxer, Harris’ Senate predecessor. “Harris will get to cast tie-breaking votes to save lives in a pandemic.” Harris and Biden have both emphasized that she will be a “full partner” to the president-elect, in a role that Biden likens to his own under former President Barack Obama. But, unlike Biden in 2009, the first-term senator from California doesn’t have many clearly defined policy lanes that could become a natural place to carve out issues for herself. Aside from speaking at Cabinet nominee rollouts and briefly stopping off at small events promoting charities and businesses around Washington, she’s mostly worked mostly behind the scenes during the transition period. Harris, who is widely expected to run for president again in the future, has been cautious about making political moves that could irritate Biden, who has not said whether he plans to run for reelection in 2024.
“Former election cybersecurity chief: Trump can redeem himself by resigning” by Politico’s Kelsey Tamborrino – Former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency chief Chris Krebs said Sunday President Donald Trump has a chance to redeem himself for the deadly siege by his supporters on the Capitol last week: He could resign. “The president’s legacy is a heap of ashes. There’s nothing redeemable at this point, given the fact that he incited this attempt to overturn democracy, a fair and free election,” Krebs said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “There is an opportunity, though, for a redemption story,” Krebs added. “Again, he can resign. He can tell his supporters that it was all a big con and that he is sorry.” Krebs, who directed CISA in the Department of Homeland Security, was fired by Trump in November after refuting the president’s claims that the presidential election was rigged. Trump is facing increasing pressure to leave office early of his own volition, with several congressional Republicans calling for him to resign, including Sens. Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski. “I think the best way for our country … is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible,” Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The calls follow the deadly riot on the Capitol last week incited by Trump after he falsely claimed for months that the election was stolen from him. Democrats are again preparing articles of impeachment for Trump following last week’s events. “I don’t know if he’s capable of doing it, but that’s the best way to prevent further violence, to prevent further erosion of confidence in democracy over the next four years,” Krebs said Sunday of Trump resigning.
“Sen. Manchin prefers targeted stimulus checks” by Politico’s Kelsey Tamborrino – West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin walked a fine line Sunday on whether he’d support a round of stimulus checks increasing direct aid to Americans to $2,000 per person, saying he preferred more targeted relief. “That’s not a yes or no question,” Manchin said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” when asked by host Jake Tapper whether he was on board with sending $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans who earn $75,000 or less. “I am on board by helping people that need help, people that really can’t make it, people who don’t have a job, they can’t put food on their table. I am in total support of helping them,” Manchin said. “Sending checks to people that basically already have a check and aren’t going to be able spend that or are not going to spend it, usually are putting it in their savings account right now, that’s not who we are. We have done an awful lot of that, it’s time now to target where the money goes,” he added. Manchin sprang last week to the position of a vital swing vote now that Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate following twin Democratic wins in the Georgia runoffs. The chamber is now split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris breaking any ties. That puts Manchin in a powerful position as one of the Democratic caucus’ most moderate members. “I have seen power in Washington. I have seen people abuse power. If you think you’ve got it, usually they will end up abusing it,” Manchin said. “If I’m in a position that I can make a difference by bringing this country back together and making us work in a bipartisan [way], I will use it for that.” Manchin instead called Sunday for doing something legislatively that puts people back to work, including passing a big infrastructure bill.
“Trump to award Bill Belichick the Medal of Freedom amid House impeachment push” by Politico’s Meridith McGraw – With just days to go in office and facing calls to resign, President Donald Trump is planning to spend the upcoming week taking a ceremonial victory lap and making last-minute use of his presidential powers. A trip to the border is in order, pardons appear to be in the works, and so, too, is an award ceremony for one of his favorite football coaches as well as a top political ally. It’s an agenda that seems off-key for a president facing the prospects of a second impeachment following the violence and destruction he incited at the Capitol last Wednesday, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a U.S. Capitol police officer. But Trump has maneuvered his way through political controversy before, and an aide said these events have long been in the works. On Monday, Trump plans to award Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) the highest civilian honor. On Tuesday, he plans to visit Alamo, Texas, to visit a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. And on Thursday, Trump plans to award New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to a White House official. A spokesperson for the Patriots did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The president’s efforts to pursue a normal schedule of events amid the tumult he inspired began last week, when, in the aftermath of the riots, he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to professional golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player. This week’s events will have a similarly somber backdrop. Democrats could vote as early as Tuesday on articles of impeachment for inciting the violent mob that ransacked the Capitol, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday during an appearance on Fox News.