The House is voting today to impeach President Trump for the second time in his single term. Lawmakers will vote on one article of impeachment against Trump for inciting the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, which left five people dead.
On Tuesday, House lawmakers approved a resolution calling for Trump to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment, but Vice President Mike Pence rejected that effort. Pence spoke with Trump Monday evening in the Oval Office in their first meeting since last week’s mob violence.
Four House Republicans said Tuesday they would vote to impeach President Trump, including Wyoming Congressmember Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House. The White House says they expect at least 20 Republicans will support impeachment, though other estimates are lower.
The New York Times reports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and privately supports Democrats’ efforts to remove him, which he hopes will help purge Trump from the Republican Party.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a close Trump ally, has reportedly asked other Republicans if he should call on Trump to resign.
Trump continues to deny any involvement or responsibility for the violent insurrection last Wednesday, calling his pre-riot speech “totally appropriate” and casting himself again as the victim of a witch hunt. He instead blamed Democrats for fomenting anger and creating a dangerous situation.
President Donald Trump: “This impeachment is causing tremendous anger. And you’re doing it, and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing. For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence.”
President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly spoken to Mitch McConnell this week about using the process of “bifurcation” once he is sworn in, which would allow impeachment proceedings to go ahead while at the same time allowing for the confirmation of his Cabinet picks and taking up a sweeping pandemic relief package.
The Washington Post is reporting the FBI explicitly warned of violence and “war” at the U.S. Capitol in an internal report issued one day before last Wednesday’s deadly invasion. The report cited online posts, including one which said, “Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die.” “Pantifa” is a derogatory reference to antifa, or anti-fascist, protesters.
The military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff has issued a rare joint message condemning the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley signed on to the letter, which reads in part, “The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”
Around the country, law enforcement and the military are looking into whether their members took part in last week’s violent attack. Philadelphia transit police is investigating seven officers who took part in the siege. The FBI has opened some 170 cases on individuals involved in the assault and says hundreds more will be opened in the coming weeks. Over 70 people have been charged so far. This comes as the FBI is warning Trump loyalists plan to hold armed protests nationwide ahead of Biden’s inauguration next week. Screenshots of archived content appear to show plans for mass armed actions in Washington, D.C., this weekend. The plans, posted by The Patriot Action for America, involve sending 15,000 armed extremists to surround government buildings and lock down central D.C.
In Indiana, officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute executed Lisa Montgomery today in the early hours of the morning — despite a series of last-minute court orders that temporarily halted her death. The Supreme Court ultimately sided with Trump and ruled to proceed with her execution.
Montgomery was the only woman on federal death row and the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government in nearly 70 years. Her lawyers repeatedly argued that a lifetime of sexual abuse and trauma led to severe mental illness.
The federal government has also appealed stays on the executions of Cory Johnson and Dustin Higgs, who were scheduled to die this week.
The U.S. reported a new world record for COVID-19 deaths Tuesday with 4,327 people dying around the country. Over 215,000 new cases were reported.
In an effort to speed up the rollout of vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its guidelines to include eligibility to anyone 65 and older, as well as those with some underlying health conditions. This is Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar: “Every vaccine dose that is sitting in a warehouse rather than going into an arm could mean one more life lost or one more hospital bed occupied.”
The CDC also announced Tuesday it will start requiring all international travelers to the U.S. to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights.
In California, the superintendent of the Los Angeles school district said students must get vaccinated when it becomes possible, before they are allowed to return to campus.
In international news, Indian authorities have started distributing COVID-19 vaccine doses in its effort to administer shots to 1.3 billion people in what officials are calling the “world’s biggest vaccination drive.”
Malaysia has suspended its Parliament and state legislatures, declaring a state of emergency amid a new lockdown. Rights groups say the extraordinary measure is an attempt by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to hold onto power by blocking elections and removing parliamentary oversight.
In the Middle East, Israel has refused a request from the World Health Organization to make coronavirus vaccines available to Palestinian medical workers. Israel rolled out its vaccine at record speed but has come under fire for neglecting to vaccinate Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday claimed al-Qaeda’s new home base is Iran and that the group has centralized its leadership in Tehran. Pompeo didn’t provide any substantial evidence. Iranian officials immediately refuted the allegations. This comes as Iranian leaders have warned the Trump administration may be planning an attack before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next week.
India’s Supreme Court has stayed the implementation of highly contested farm laws that seek to deregulate agricultural markets. The laws triggered historic, ongoing protests outside of New Delhi and around the country since late November. The court is appointing a committee to hear farmers’ grievances. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he would not repeal the laws, while farmers have vowed to keep protesting as long as needed.
In Ireland, a devastating new report details the neglect and other abuse faced by tens of thousands of babies, children and women at so-called Mother and Baby homes, which were run by the Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s. An estimated 9,000 children and babies died in the homes, which were created to hide away unmarried pregnant people in the strict Catholic country. The government will issue a formal state apology to the survivors. This is Peter Mulryan, who survived one such home, describing the abuse he and others faced.
Peter Mulryan: “We were neglected, no love shown whatsoever. It wouldn’t be have done to animals, what we had to suffer. And babies crying, crying through the night. Why? Because they’re uncomfortable. They’re all neglected, starved and cold.”
In China, images of a delivery driver who set himself on fire to protest unpaid wages have gone viral. The driver previously worked for the e-commerce giant Alibaba. He can be heard in social media videos telling witnesses who rushed to his aid, “I want my blood and sweat money back.” His daughter has set up a crowdfunding page to help cover the cost of medical treatments for his severe burns.
In U.S labor news, the Service Employees International Union and drivers for ride-hailing companies are asking the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 22, arguing it is unconstitutional. Prop 22, which passed in November, exempts companies like Uber and Lyft from having to classify their workers as employees rather than as independent contractors, depriving gig workers of basic wage and labor protections.
The Associated Press reports former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other former officials are being charged in the wake of a new investigation of the Flint water crisis. In 2014, Flint’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by then-Governor Snyder, switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. The move has been linked to at least 12 deaths from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ diseases and widespread lead poisoning in residents, including children, in the majority-Black city.
Billionaire casino owner and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson has died at the age of 87. Adelson was Donald Trump’s largest single donor during the 2016 race. Since 2015, Adelson donated more than $250 million to Trump, other Republicans and right-wing super PACs. He was also an influential political force in Israel, where he used his news outlets to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.