Live updates: Trump says pre-riot remarks 'appropriate' as House prepares to impeach

Live updates: Trump says pre-riot remarks 'appropriate' as House prepares to impeach

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The House of Representatives is preparing to impeach President Donald Trump after last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. USA TODAY’s coverage of the Jan. 6 riot, the effort to remove Trump and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as the nation grapples with the continuing coronavirus pandemic and fears of violence at U.S. statehouses.

Trump is visiting the Texas-Mexico border today, and the House is expected to vote tonight on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump.

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest developments.

Democratic representatives propose $1,000 fine for maskless members

House Reps. Anthony Brown, D-Md., and Debby Dingell, D-Mich., jointly proposed legislation Tuesday that would fine any member of Congress who refuses to wear a mask on Capitol grounds $1,000 for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill is filed less than a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed and ransacked the Capitol, causing members of Congress to be in lockdown in secure locations within the Capitol complex.

While in lockdown, many Democratic lawmakers complained that several Republican colleagues refused to wear personal protective equipment offered.

“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” Dingell said in a press release. “We’re done playing games. Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine. It’s not that complicated.”

Mask-wearing and other preventative measures have become a partisan flashpoint over the course of the pandemic, with some on the right seeing personal and collective public health measures as infringing on their civil liberties. Others, including some members of Congress, have spread conspiracy theories about the virus’ lethality and very existence.

“No Member of Congress should be able to ignore the rules or put others at risk without penalty,” Brown said. “As the people’s representatives it is critical that we set an example for the rest of the country. If Members jeopardize the safety of others, they should face fines.”

— Matthew Brown

Harvard removes Rep. Elise Stefanik from advisory panel over election fraud statements

The Harvard Kennedy School removed U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., from the Senior Advisory Committee of the school’s Institute of Politics, citing the congresswoman’s false statements about voter fraud in the November presidential election. 

Doug Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School, announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to committee members. He said he spoke to Stefanik and asked her to step aside but she declined, prompting her removal. 

“In my assessment, Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,” Elmendorf said. “Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen.”

More than 700 members of the Harvard community petitioned for Harvard’s Institute of Politics to ends its ties with Stefanik, according to the Harvard Crimson.

Stefanik, a 2006 graduate of Harvard University, is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and spoke at this year’s Republican National Convention. She’s represented upstate New York’s 21st congressional district since 2015 after she became, at 30 years old, the youngest woman elected to Congress at the time.

In a statement, Stefanik accused Harvard of “bowing to the far left.”

“As a conservative Republican, it is a rite of passage and a badge of honor to join the long line of leaders who have been boycotted, protested and canceled by colleges and universities across America,” she said. “The decision by Harvard’s administration to cower and cave to the woke left will continue to erode diversity of thought, public discourse, and ultimately the student experience.”

She added: “Congratulations Harvard, the entire Board of the Institute of Politics now consists only of Joe Biden voters – how reflective of America.”

Elmendorf said he requested Stefanik’s departure “mindful of her important contributions to the crucial mission of the Institute of Politics over a long period, beginning with her role as a student leader” and later as a mentor for students.

“I know that we are grateful for her long and committed service,” he said.

— Joey Garrison

Trump condemns impeachment, takes no responsibility for riot at U.S. Capitol

President Donald Trump criticized the new impeachment drive against him Tuesday, but took no responsibility for last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“It’s ridiculous,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House en route to an immigration speech in Alamo, Texas.

As he boarded Air Force One, House Democrats – and some Republicans – prepared to impeach him for whipping up supporters on Jan. 6 before they invaded the U.S. Capitol in a violent riot that left multiple people dead.

In his brief comments, Trump said “we want no violence” from supporters, but ignored questions about last week’s insurrection.

In later comments at Joint Base Andrews, just before boarding Air Force One, Trump denied responsibility for last week’s violence by defending his pre-riot remarks to protesters at a rally near the White House.

“People thought what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.

While members of Congress counted Electoral College votes at the Capitol Jan. 6, Trump held a rally in Washington in which he repeated false claims of election fraud.

“We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump told supporters at a campaign-style protest rally near the White House.

“After this, we’re going to walk down there, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down… to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” he said. 

The article of impeachment against Trump introduced Monday charges Trump with inciting an insurrection by falsely claiming the Nov. 3 election was stolen from him. The article resolution says Trump made statements beforehand that “in context, encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol.”

– David Jackson

House expected to vote on 25th Amendment resolution

House Democrats will continue Tuesday with their double-barrel approach to punishing President Donald Trump for the riot Jan. 6 at the Capitol, either by removing him office or barring him from future office.

The House is expected to vote Tuesday evening on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to convene the Cabinet and declare Trump incapable of remaining in office for the final week of his term using the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. 

The resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., failed to get unanimous support Monday in the House after Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., objected. The move forced the anticipated vote today when lawmakers return to Washington. 

Pence hasn’t said publicly what he thinks of the effort to remove Trump. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested a 24-hour deadline for Pence to act if the resolution is approved.

“The House Republicans rejected this legislation to protect America, enabling the president’s unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue,” Pelosi said in a statement Monday. “Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end.”

25th Amendment:Democrats officially introduce impeachment article, Republican forces vote on 25th Amendment resolution

The House is also preparing for a possible vote Wednesday on whether to impeach Trump a second time. 

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., introduced an article of impeachment against Trump Monday, charging him with inciting an insurrection Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol while lawmakers counted Electoral College votes. 

“There may well be a vote on impeachment on Wednesday,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

If passed by the Democrat-controlled House, Hoyer said the impeachment article should immediately be sent to the Senate.

Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks with "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl of CBS News in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 8, 2021, in Washington.

Rep. Jim McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, told CNN his panel would meet Tuesday to determine how the impeachment resolution is brought to the floor. Hoyer told reporters the full House vote could come Wednesday, when the House is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. EST.

Life after Donald Trump::GOP tries to move forward under shadow of deadly Capitol Hill riot

President-elect Joe Biden’s administration begins at noon Jan. 20. Even if the House approves articles of impeachment against Trump, Pelosi could hold onto them until further into Biden’s term, to give him a chance to get legislation for his priorities moving.

Biden has said it is up to Congress to decide whether to impeach Trump, but that he wants to hit the ground running with efforts to curb COVID-19, distribute the vaccines and revive the economy.

“I’ve been clear that President Trump should not be in office. Period,” Biden told reporters Monday, after getting his second vaccination.

While a Senate conviction after Jan. 20 would not force a premature ouster, it could prevent Trump – who has said he wants to run in 2024 – from ever being able to hold federal elective office again.

The president, meanwhile, will travel to Texas on Tuesday to highlight the U.S.-Mexico border wall. 

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