The House of Representatives started debating impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time – which would be a historic first – for inciting an insurrection just one week after the MAGA mob stormed Capitol Hill.
Trump’s Republican allies did not defend Trump’s behavior, but instead pitched censuring the president or launching a 9/11-style commission, more fitting punishments they argued for someone who was already leaving office.
Rep. Tom Cole, the first GOP lawmaker to speak, argued against a hasty impeachment vote ‘not because of the president’s inappropraite and reckless words are deserving of defense but because the presidency itself demands due process.’
Republicans also warned impeaching Trump for a second time would only make partisan hostilities worse.
‘This is a reckless impeachment,’ complained Republican Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri. ‘This will only bring up the hate and fire more than ever before.’
Democrats described the terror of last week’s attack.
‘We are debating this resolution at an actual crime scene and we wouldn’t be here if not for the president of the United States,’ said Rep. Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat.
The Democrats also pointed to the Republicans’ high-profile defection: the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney.
Cheney, the Republican Conference Chair, laced into Trump in an explosive statement saying he ‘lit the flame’ of insurrection, saying: ‘There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’
The House of Representatives began debating impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time Wednesday morning – which marks a historic first
‘We are debating this resolution at an actual crime scene and we wouldn’t be here if not for the president of the United States,’ said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern
The House’s No. 3 Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn, walks into the Capitol Building surrounded by members of the National Guard
Armed National Guard troops are seen outside the U.S. Capitol Building as members inside debate impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time in 13 months
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally, speaks on the House floor Wednesday as impeachment proceedings began
The decision to back impeachment by Cheney, a member of Republican royalty as the daughter of Dick Cheney, and seen as a future contender for the party’s House leadership and the Speaker’s chair, means that impeachment on Wednesday will be bipartisan.
Rep. Jim Jordan, a top ally of Trump’s and the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters Wednesday that he wanted to oust Cheney from her leadership position over her coming vote.
Also joining Cheney in voting for the Democratic-prepared article of impeachment will be Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.
The White House was bracing for more.
Cheney’s decision came minutes after Mitch McConnell was revealed to believe that Trump had committed impeachable offenses.
The New York Times’ bombshell was still echoing in Washington D.C. when the House started its debate – and as it dragged to a close Tuesday night, Axios reported that McConnell was leaning towards a vote to convict the president and was ‘more than 50/50’ on it.
She was seen speaking to Raskin on Tuesday night as he led the Democrats arguing for a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment removing Trump from power.
The House passed it late Tuesday despite Pence sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he’ll refuse.
Hundreds of National Guard troops wer sleeping on the stone floor of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning as security in Washington intensified a week out from Joe Biden’s inauguration
The troops could be seen spreading out inside the Rotunda of the US Capitol on Wednesday morning
The troops cradled their weapons and huddled together as they slept inside the Capitol on Wednesday
In a vote that wrapped up around 11.30pm Tuesday, the House voted 223-205 to approve the resolution, which can’t actually force the vice president’s hand.
‘I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution,’ Pence said in his letter to Pelosi, refusing to pull the trigger on the 25th.
‘Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation,’ Pence added.
Pence’s letter came as the House was holding procedural votes on the resolution.
No Republicans joined on until the final vote – with Rep. Adam Kinzinger joining Democrats in the push to have Pence to use the 25th.
Bipartisan and united: Jamie Raskin, the House Democrat who led the successful demand for a resolution telling Mike Pence to remove Donald Trump, held talks with Liz Cheney, the House Republican number three after she said she would vote for impeachment
The House voted 223 to 205 in favor of a resolution that urges Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office after he incited Wednesday’s Capitol Hill riot. GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger voted alongside Democrats
U.S. President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Harlingen, Texas, Tuesday
READ THE FULL ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT
‘THE PRESIDENT LIT THE FLAME.’ GOP NO.3 LIZ CHENEY’S STATEMENT IN FULL
On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.
Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
I will vote to impeach the President.
That set the scene for an impeachment debate and vote Wednesday entirely different from the first impeachment vote on October 31, 2019.
Then the only non-Democratic vote was from Justin Amash, who was essentially forced out of the Republican party before he even cast it.
But after a day in which they feared for their lives, the mood in Congress had changed rapidly.
Tuesday’s debate saw pro-Trump Republicans line up to back him – but party moderates conspicuously silent, and the Minority leader and his deputy Steve Scalise silent.
The resolution blamed Trump for the violent MAGA mob that broke into Capitol Hill Wednesday, laying out how he ‘broadly encouraged’ his supporters to come to Washington on January 6, saying that the day would be ‘wild.’
‘Donald Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, continuously, and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office, including most recently the duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, the duty to respect the peaceful transfer of democratic power under the Constitution, the duty to participate in legally defined transition activities, the duty to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, including the counting of Electoral College votes by Congress, the duty to protect the people of the United States and their elected representatives against domestic insurrection, mob rule, and seditious violence, and generally the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,’ the resolution says.
Despite being targets in the violent incident, House Republicans lined up against passing the resolution.
Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, called the resolution ‘an attempt to pressure the vice president into performing a duty he clearly does not believe is necessary at this time.’
As exasperated Rep. Pat Fallon, a new GOP lawmaker from Texas, said Trump held a ‘permitted, legal and peaceful rally,’ refusing to blame him for the group of Trump supporters who mobbed the Capitol.
And Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who recently was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump, lambasted the effort – and also the new fines for not wearing masks in the House chamber and the metal detectors that were installed Tuesday outside the doors of the House floor.
In his letter to Pelosi, Pence argued that the 25th Amendment was supposed to address ‘incapacity or disability.’
The vice president pointed to the Democrats own effort to create a 25th Amendment Commission, which said a president’s fitness must be determined by ‘science and facts’ and ‘[v]ery respectful of not making a judgment on the basis of a comment or behavior we don’t like, but based on a medical decision.’
Pence also pledged that the administration’s energy was dedicated to ‘ensuring an orderly transition.’
The vice president repeated an argument being pushed by a number of Capitol Hill Republicans – that pursuing removal of Trump would only make things worse.
‘I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment,’ Pence said. ‘Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inauguration President-elect Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was informed by Vice President Mike Pence that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office as the House was taking its first vote Tuesday night on a resolution that urges him to do so
The House of Representatives voted late into the night Wednesday on a resolution that encourages Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from power
Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, criticized the Democrats’ effort to have Vice President Mike Pence utilize the 25th Amendment. He also complained about the House’s new fines for lawmakers who don’t wear masks – and the metal detectors outside the House chamber
During Tuesday night’s debate of the 25th Amendment resolution, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced her impeachment managers, saying Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland would be leading the charge. Raskin tragically lost his son to suicide just days ago
Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who recently was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom by Trump, lambasted the effort
HOW TRUMP’S SECOND IMPEACHMENT WILL UNFOLD
The House is expected to impeach President Donald Trump for his encouragement of supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, a vote that would make him the first American president to be impeached twice.
While the previous three impeachments – those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump – took months before a final vote, including investigations and hearings, this time it will have only taken a week. After the rioting at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ‘we must take action,’ and Democrats – and some Republicans – share her view ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as president Jan. 20. Still, Democrats feel that action by the House would send an important message to the country.
A look at what will happen as the House moves closer to impeaching Trump in his last week in office:
THE BASICS OF IMPEACHMENT:
In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full House. That’s what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.
This time, with so few days to act – and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened, since most members of Congress heard Trump speak to his supporters and were in the Capitol when the mob broke in – impeachment is going straight to the House floor for a vote, which would come as soon as Wednesday.
Once the House votes to impeach, the articles and evidence would be sent to the Senate, where a trial would be held and there would be final votes to convict or acquit. That’s what the Senate did in early February of last year after Trump was impeached the first time.
Democrats will begin debate Wednesday on a single impeachment charge: ‘incitement of insurrection.’
‘President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,’ reads the four-page impeachment article, which was introduced by Democratic Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.
‘He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,’ it reads.
The article says the behavior is consistent with Trump’s prior efforts to ‘subvert and obstruct’ the results of the election and references his recent call with the Georgia secretary of state, in which he said he wanted him to find him more votes after losing the state to Biden.
Trump has falsely claimed there was widespread fraud in the election, and the baseless claims have been repeatedly echoed by congressional Republicans and the insurgents who descended on the Capitol. Just before the riots, Trump spoke to the supporters near the White House and encouraged them to ‘fight like hell.’
As the protesters broke in, both chambers were debating GOP challenges to the electoral vote count in Arizona as part of the process for certifying Biden’s election win.
On Tuesday, five Republicans said they would support impeachment. No Republicans supported Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Trump because ‘there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.’
Cheney said Trump ‘summoned’ the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, ‘assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.’
New York Rep. John Katko was the first Republican to say he’d vote to impeach. A former federal prosecutor, he said he did not make the decision lightly.
‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,’ Katko said. ‘I cannot sit by without taking action.’
Also saying they would vote for impeachment were Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.
SENDING TO THE SENATE
Once the House passes the articles, Pelosi can decide when she sends them to the Senate. Under the current schedule, the Senate is not set to resume full sessions until Jan. 19, which is the day before Biden’s inauguration.
Some Democrats suggested Pelosi might wait to send the articles and allow Biden to begin his term without impeachment hanging over him. But many other Democrats have urged Pelosi to move immediately.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who will be in charge once Biden is sworn in, suggested in a letter to colleagues Tuesday the chamber might divide its time between confirming Biden’s nominees, approving COVID relief and conducting the trial.
If the trial isn’t held until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.
Biden has said it’s important to ensure that the ‘folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable.’
It’s unlikely, for now, that enough Republicans would vote to convict, since two-thirds of the Senate is needed. Yet some Republicans have told Trump to resign, including Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and few are defending him.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse has said he would take a look at what the House approves, but stopped short of committing to support it.
Other Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, long a key ally of the president, has been critical of his behavior in inciting the riots but said impeachment ‘will do far more harm than good.’
Only one Republican voted to convict Trump last year — Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.
WHAT IMPEACHMENT WOULD MEAN
Democrats say they have to move forward, even if the Senate doesn’t convict.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted on Friday that some people might ask why they would try to impeach a president with only a few days left in office.
‘The answer: Precedent,’ he said. ‘It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.’
In the hours after the riot, Pence did his Constitutional duty and certified President-elect Joe Biden, something he had been pressured by Trump not to do.
‘You can either go down in history as a patriot,’ Trump had told Pence by phone before he headed to the Capitol Wednesday, according to The New York Times. ‘Or you can go down in history as a p****.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for impeachment, The New York Times reported Tuesday evening
Pence was inside when the violent mobbed attacked, with some Trump supporters calling out, ‘Hang Mike Pence.’
The Times reported that Trump had invited Pence to the Oval Office Monday night to try to smooth things over in the run-up to the House’s 25th Amendment vote.
The official description of the meeting was ‘good,’ according to the newspaper.
Unofficially sources called it ‘nonsubstantive’ and ‘stilted.’
Tuesday night’s vote on the 25th Amendment is considered the appetizer for Wednesday’s main course: the House pursuing impeachment again.
Nowhere in his letter did Pence say he objected to that move.
Shortly after Pence sent out his letter, Pelosi sent out the names of impeachment managers.
She picked Rep. Jamie Raskin, who introduced the 25th Amendment resolution, as the head manager.
‘I think every member of this body should be able to agree that this president is not meeting the most minimal duties of office,’ Raskin argued Tuesday night.
Raskin also warned his fellow lawmakers that Trump could pardon the Capitol Hill attackers during his waning days.
Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, recently lost his son.
Additionally, Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Joe Neguse and Madeleine Dean were also chosen.
Earlier Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for the impeachment effort that includes an article charging the president with ‘incitement of insurrection.’
The view of the GOP powerbroker emerged shortly before Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the House GOP leadership, announced that she would vote for impeaching President Trump.
‘On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic,’ wrote Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president.
‘Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,’ she continued.
‘I will vote to impeach the President,’ Cheney concluded.
Neither Cheney nor McConnell backed Democrats impeachment effort a year ago.
McConnell worked successfully to scuttle the impeachment effort during a trial last year on different charges.
His current view follows reports that McConnell never wants to speak to Trump again after the Capitol riots that had Trump supporters invading the Capitol, trashing leadership offices, and endangering the lives of lawmakers.
McConnell backs the effort because it will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the New York Times reports.
One feature of impeachment – which can grind the Senate to a halt and lead to furious partisan arguments – is that it allows lawmakers to vote to prohibit the person being impeached from ever holding public office with the U.S. government.
Trump may run for president in 2024, and many of his potential rivals happen to hold Senate seats.
McConnell has made clear in private discussions that ‘now is the moment to move on the weakened lame duck, whom he blames for Republicans losing the Senate,’ according to the report.
Trump ignored McConnell’s advice and launched his election challenge despite two run-off elections in Georgia which the GOP lost – stripping the party of its majority.
A source told CNN McConnell ‘hates’ Trump and is ‘furious’ with him after the Capitol riots.
The siege left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was based on the Senate side.
McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, quit the Trump cabinet after the riots, which included an angry mob getting blocked steps from the door to the Senate chamber that McConnell uses when he normally strolls from his leadership office.
It was not immediately clear how McConnell might vote on impeachment.
McConnell’s view emerged as Trump, rather than express contrition, called impeachment a ‘hoax’ and a ‘witch hunt,’ and defended his pre-riot comments that Democrats have already said was incitement. Trump called his speech minutes before the siege ‘totally appropriate.’
Cheney’s statement denouncing the president comes after Trump told supporters they need to ‘get rid’ of people like her.
‘We got to get rid of the weak Congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world. We got to get rid of them,’ Trump said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised her, amid speculation numerous House Republicans might follow her lead.
‘Good for her for honoring her oath of us. Would that more Republicans would honor their oaths of office,’ Pelosi said.
GOP Rep. John Katko also announced he would back impeachment Tuesday night.
‘To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,’ Katko said in a statement, Syracuse.com reported. ‘For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president,’ he said.
During floor debate, Katko said he wasn’t supporting the 25th Amendment resolution because it was ‘non-binding,’ calling it ‘merely a symbolic gesture.’
Katko confirmed his plans to vote for impeachment.
Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton also told Forbes he would vote to impeach.
As midnight approached, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler also said she was a yes.
Convicting Trump on an impeachment article requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 50 votes – a high bar to meet.
Assuming passage in the House, it has not been determined when Democratic leaders will transmit the impeachment article, or when the Senate might take it up.
A McConnell memo that emerged over the weekend cited scheduling challenges for impeachment – a trial might not even begin until after Jan. 19th, since the Senate is not in session.
President-elect Joe Biden said Monday there was the possibility of dual-tracking an impeachment and Senate session that would be needed to get his cabinet confirmed.
Biden phoned McConnell on Monday, according to the Times on the subject of a trial, and McConnell said he would consult the Senate parliamentarian and get back.
There are Senate rules and precedents governing impeachment, but leaders also might be able to negotiate a way to handle it, with the possibility of a special impeachment committee taking up some of the burden.
Trump has continued his usual pattern of lashing out at political adversaries when under attack.
‘Free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden Administration. As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for,’ Trump said Tuesday, before lawmakers cast their votes Tuesday night.
Post-riot accounts from last Wednesday reveal that not only did President Trump egg on supporters who wreaked havoc in the Capitol – but he was glued to the television as the events unfolded, incapable of responding to desperate pleas to use influence to stop it and enjoying seeing it unfold.
There were two major areas where the president fell dramatically short of what was being asked of him: using his personal popularity with his followers to urge them to vacate the Capitol immediately; and using the vast powers of his office to try to speed a federal response.
But when key current and former aides and family members tried to reach him, he was ‘busy enjoying the spectacle,’ according to a Washington Post account.
What Trump told supporters before they ransacked the Capitol in ‘totally appropriate’ speech
We’re going to have to fight much harder
‘Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder.’
We’re going to walk down to the Capitol
‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.
‘Get tougher’ / You are allowed to go by very different rules
‘The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher. They want to play so straight. They want to play so serious. “The United States, the Constitution doesn’t allow me to send them back to the states.” Well, I would say yes, it does, because the Constitution says you have to protect our country, and you have to protect our Constitution, and you can’t vote on fraud, and fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening toWhen you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.’
Takes ‘more courage not to step up’
‘I also want to thank our 13 most courageous members of the U.S. Senate … I actually think, though, it takes, again, more courage not to step up, and I think a lot of those people are going to find that out. And you better start looking at your leadership, because your leadership has led you down the tubes.’
‘We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough.’
On ‘fake news’ and ‘Big tech’
‘They rigged an election, they rigged it like they have never rigged an election before.’
‘All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.’
‘We will not take it anymore’
‘Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.’ And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.’
Denied Biden’s vote count
‘He had 80 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace. There’s never been anything like that. You can take Third World countries, just take a look, take Third World countries, their elections are more honest than what we have been going through in this country. It’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Even when you look at last night, they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off with boxes, and nobody knows what the hell is going on. There’s never been anything like this. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen.’
[Note: Biden got more than 81 million votes; Trump rounded up his own total to 75 million.]
Call for military and law enforcement to join
‘And I would love to have, if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the Secret Service and we want to thank you — and the police and law enforcement — great, you’re doing a great job. But I would love it if they could be allowed to come up with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them, please?’
Pressure on Mike Pence: Says it takes ‘courage’ to do nothing
‘I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election … All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.’
‘And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.’
Won’t stand for Biden win
‘We want to go back, and we want to get this right, because we’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there, and our country will be destroyed. And we’re not going to stand for that.’
‘You’re not the people that tore down our nation’
‘If this happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on. There’d be hell all over the country.
But just remember this, you’re stronger, you’re smarter. You’ve got more going than anybody, and
they try and demean everybody having to do with us, and you’re the real people. You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation.’
March peacefully … we will see whether Republicans stand strong
‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.
Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for the integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country — our country, our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four-year period’
‘Ashamed … throughout eternity’
‘Today, we see a very important event, though, because right over there, right there, we see the event that’s going to take place, and I’m going to be watching because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity. They’ll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget.’
Calls Republicans who voted not to count certified votes ‘warriors’
‘I want to thank the more than 140 members of the House. Those are warriors.15
They’re over there working like you’ve never seen before, studying, talking, actually going all the way back studying the roots of the Constitution because they know we have the right to send a bad vote that was illegally gotten.’
Biden will be ‘illegitimate’
‘But think of this: If you don’t do that, that means you will have a president of the United States for four years with his wonderful son, you will have a president who lost all of these states, or you will have a president, to put it another way, who was voted on by a bunch of stupid people who lost all of these states. You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.’
Call to ‘do something’ about radical left
‘The radical left knows exactly what they were doing. They are ruthless, and it’s time that somebody did something about it.
And Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) 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.’
Election was ‘stolen’
‘Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country, and not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.
This should absolutely occur in every single contested state before the election is certified.’
Alleges ‘criminal enterprise’
‘So, when you hear — when you hear, “While there is no evidence to prove any wrongdoing,” this is the most fraudulent thing anybody’s — this is a criminal enterprise. This is a criminal enterprise.’
Fight like hell
‘And again, most people would stand there at 9 o’clock in the evening and say, “I want to thank you very much,” and they go off to some other life.
But I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’
As the historic mob invasion of the U.S. seat of legislative government unfolded, a variety of people with influence over Trump sought to get to him to urge action.
The routes they took were typical of the loosely organized web of influence within the Trump White House.
Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham – who only after the riot firmly declared Joe Biden the winner of the election – reached out to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.
‘It took him a while to appreciate the gravity of the situation,’ Graham told the Post. ‘The president saw these people as his allies in his journey and sympathetic to the idea that the election was stolen,’ Graham said of the rioters who took the Capitol.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who Trump believes is so much under his wing that he has publicly called him ‘My Kevin,’ was pleading for action.
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Protesters attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital during a joint session Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. One Capitol Police officer died in the action
Police officers in riot gear line up as protesters gather on the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. It took hours to regain control of the building
McCarthy phoned Trump directly to try to plead for assistance – but also called the president’s son in law, Jared Kushner, who was returning form a trip to the Middle East.
Former counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who doesn’t even work for Trump anymore, tried to get through to him to urge action.
She phoned an aide she knew was in close proximity to Trump.
The office of the Mayor of Washington, desperate to get more National Guard forces amid logistical and jurisdictional hurdles, also reached out to Conway.
Chief of staff Mark Meadows urged Trump to speak out after an aide told him: ‘They are going to kill people,’ in reference to the rioters.
A primary area of the pleas related to something Trump was capable of doing on his own without engaging with the bureaucracy: issuing simple Twitter or video pleas for protesters to get out of the Capitol.
The appeals he finally made either lacked a direct call to fall back, or sprinkled in approving language even as the riot that would become deadly unfolded.
At 2:30 pm, about half an hour after the Capitol breach, Trump told his supporters to ‘Please support our Capitol Police’ and to ‘Stay peaceful!’
His next message was more explicit, writing ‘No violence!’ – but claimed ‘WE are the Party of Law & Order.’
After he finally put out a video at about 4 pm, Trump finally told his backers to ‘go home.’ But he also called them ‘very special,’ called the election ‘fraudulent,’ and said: ‘You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home, and go home in peace.’
Trump himself had egged on his supporters with demands that they ‘fight,’ calling the election fraudulent, and putting pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, whose only role was ceremonial and involved opening and reading from envelopes containing electoral votes.
Trump was glued to the television as the storming of the Capitol was broadcast.
Prior reporting has revealed that the Washington D.C. government had requested a National Guard presence, but Guard were assigned to traffic and other assistance and weren’t issued ammo or riot gear.
The now resigned chief of Capitol Police says he wanted more Guard support in advance of Wednesday but had been told by superiors to ask for it informally. The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, says there were delays getting approval to send Guard forces from the Pentagon.
But it wasn’t mere distraction that kept Trump from springing into action. It’s not atht he was too busy because he was so consumed, which he was,’ the New York Times reported.
‘He was pleased because it was people fighting on his behalf. He was pleased because he liked the scene. And he was pleased because it was delaying the certification of the Electoral College vote,’ the New York Times reported. ‘He knew what was happening… He just didn’t want to do anything.’
Although McCarthy told colleagues on a call Monday Trump had accepted ‘some responsibility’ for the riot, on Tuesday the president was back to his defiant posture familiar from impeachment and the Russia probe.
Trump said a second impeachment Democrats are lining up is a ‘continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.’