The House voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday to impeach President Trump an unprecedented second time, on a charge of “inciting violence” against the U.S. government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) left open the possibility of voting to convict at a trial, which would occur after Trump leaves office next week.

During debate on the House floor, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Trump “bears responsibility” for last week’s violent takeover of the Capitol but argued against impeachment so close to the end of his term. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump “a clear and present danger” and said “he must go.”

Here’s what to know:
  • In his first public statement since getting impeached a second time, Trump condemned violence without mentioning his indictment for inciting the attack at the Capitol. “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” the president said in a video statement. He warned his supporters that upcoming demonstrations should remain peaceful.
  • President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next week, has announced no public events Wednesday as Trump’s impeachment is debated on the House floor.
  • An additional 5,000 members of the National Guard could arrive to support Inauguration Day security in Washington, city officials said Wednesday, which would increase the total to at least 20,000 in a rapidly swelling security apparatus focused on the Capitol.
2:49 a.m.
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National Guard plan for inauguration expands to at least 20,000 troops in D.C., acting police chief says

By Missy Ryan, Alex Horton, Matt Zapotosky and Dan Lamothe

National Guard forces from a growing list of states moved into positions across Washington on Wednesday as authorities scrambled to understand the extent of threats surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and prevent a repeat of last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Security officials conducted tabletop exercises to rehearse inauguration security and strengthen coordination among a massive patchwork of police, National Guard troops and federal personnel that is expected to fan out ahead of protests this weekend and the Jan. 20 transfer of power.

By next week, the D.C. police chief said, upward of 20,000 guardsmen were expected to be in place to protect against violence, days after supporters of President Trump smashed their way into the Capitol as lawmakers met to certify Biden’s electoral win.

1:49 a.m.
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Biden urges Senate to not let Trump impeachment trial impede other work

By Colby Itkowitz

Biden, who has tried to stay out of the debate around impeaching Trump, released a statement on the House vote, but urged lawmakers not to lose sight of the work to be done on the pandemic, the economy and his Cabinet nominations.

“Today, the members of the House of Representatives exercised the power granted to them under our Constitution and voted to impeach and hold the president accountable,” Biden said. “It was a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience. The process continues to the Senate.”

The president-elect then turned his comments to the coronavirus and the nation’s economic woes, and said he hopes the Senate can hold its impeachment trial “while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

As Democrats marched toward impeachment since last week’s attack, Biden has been tepid in his support, saying the decision was up to the lawmakers and that he was focused on Jan. 20, when Trump would be gone and he could get to work on the issues devastating America.

1:48 a.m.
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Pelosi announces fines for lawmakers who refuse to walk through metal detectors installed after Capitol riots

By Amy B Wang

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced fines of at least $5,000 for lawmakers who refuse to follow new screening protocols, including walking through metal detectors that were installed at the entrance of the House chamber after last Wednesday’s violent riots.

Since then, several Republican lawmakers have refused to comply with the new safety measures, instead stepping around the metal detectors, ignoring police even after setting off the machines and loudly complaining in their refusals to comply with Capitol Police officers.

Freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has vowed to bring her handgun to Congress, on Tuesday ended up in a standoff with police after refusing to hand over her bag after setting off the metal detector.

“Sadly, just days later, many House Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our Congressional community, including the Capitol Police, safe,” Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday night announcing the rule change.

Pelosi said a lawmaker who refused to abide by the new safety protocols would incur a $5,000 fine for the first offense and a $10,000 fine for the second offense. The fines will be deducted directly from lawmakers’ salaries, she noted.

“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe,” Pelosi said.

1:10 a.m.
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The Founding Father who was impeached after leaving the Senate in shame

By Gillian Brockell

With the House having impeached Trump for a second time, outgoing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the earliest his chamber would start a trial is after Trump has already left office. Whether an official can be impeached after leaving office has not been settled by the courts, and constitutional scholars do not agree on the matter.

There is some historical precedent: The impeachments of Sen. William Blount in 1797 and Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876 both occurred after the men were no longer in office.

12:09 a.m.
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First hearing for a Biden nominee scheduled for Friday

By Amy B Wang

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will hold an open nomination hearing at noon on Friday for Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be the director of national intelligence, according to an item on the committee’s calendar.

Haines would be the first of Biden’s nominees to receive a Senate hearing. With a few exceptions, Biden’s Cabinet picks will require Senate confirmation.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden’s transition team urged “swift hearings and confirmations” for its national security nominees in light of reports of potential threats and additional violence across the country.

“The team is engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks,” the transition team said in a statement.

“The incoming team is also focused on laying the groundwork for a smooth handoff in power that will ensure continuous command and control across the homeland security and law enforcement components of the U.S. government.”

A hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, has been scheduled for Jan. 19, the day before Inauguration Day.

11:44 p.m.
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Pelosi signs article of impeachment, speaks from lectern that was taken from chamber during Capitol siege

By Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane
The House Speaker's lectern was returned from the Senate side on Jan. 13. It had been stolen on Jan. 6 when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. (The Washington Post)

After the House voted Wednesday to impeach Trump for a second time, Pelosi addressed reporters at the Capitol, speaking from behind a lectern that photos last week showed had been carried out of the House chamber by one of the rioters.

“It was not damaged,” a Pelosi spokesman said of the lectern, which had been abandoned on the Senate side of the Capitol after the would-be thieves apparently got tired of carrying it.

In remarks before she signed the article of impeachment, Pelosi said she was doing so “with a heart broken over what this means to our country, of a president who would incite insurrection.”

“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States, that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country and that once again, we honor that oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help us God,” Pelosi said.

Adam Johnson, 36, of Bradenton, Fla., is accused of theft of government property in connection with the lectern, in addition to trespassing on Capitol grounds, entering violently and committing disorderly conduct while there.

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.

11:30 p.m.
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Trump: ‘I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week’

By Amy B Wang
President Trump on Jan. 13 said he "unequivocally" condemns the attack on the U.S. Capitol a week prior, adding that "there must be no violence." (The White House)

In a video statement released Wednesday, Trump said he “unequivocally” condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week and warned his supporters that upcoming demonstrations should remain peaceful.

“Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement. Making America great again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation’s most sacred traditions, and mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for,” Trump said in a five-minute video released shortly after the House voted to impeach him.

Trump attempted to distance himself from the rioters, even though all evidence has shown they were overwhelmingly supporters of the president, drawn to Washington by his rhetoric and their shared grievance over his baseless claims that the presidential election was “stolen.”

“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans,” Trump said Wednesday. “If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it, and you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it.”

Appearing to read off a script, Trump said he had heard reports that there would be additional demonstrations, and said that while it was his supporters’ First Amendment right to convene and exercise their free speech, they must remain peaceful. There have been credible reports of additional violent pro-Trump protests planned between now and Inauguration Day, and the FBI warned this week that similar violence could break out at state capitols, as well.

“I must emphasize there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind,” Trump said.

In the video, Trump made no mention of the election, and still did not concede that Joe Biden won a free and fair election. The remarks in the video also contradicted his own initial statement the night of the Capitol riot last Wednesday, in which he told his supporters to go home, adding: “We love you. You’re very special.”

The video was released through the White House Twitter account; Trump’s main account, @realDonaldTrump, was permanently suspended last week on fears it could incite further violence. Trump alluded to the ban in his latest video, saying there had been an “unprecedented assault on free speech.”

11:10 p.m.
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In Senate impeachment trial for Trump, question is whether chief justice or vice president would preside

By Robert Barnes

A Supreme Court spokeswoman declined to comment Wednesday about whether Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been in contact with Senate leaders about the impeachment trial of President Trump or whether he should preside if the trial takes place after Trump leaves office.

Roberts was in the chair last year when the Senate acquitted Trump, fulfilling the constitutional command that “when the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” But Trump will not be “the president” when the Senate holds its trial, and at least one expert on impeachment thinks that means that Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, in her role as president of the Senate, should preside.

Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor who wrote a book on impeachment and who advised congressional Democrats last year, said he thought it would be up to the Senate majority leader and parliamentarian to decide who should preside at a Senate trial after Trump leaves office.

“I think it is a straightforward answer, though: The chief would not preside because Trump would no longer occupy the presidential office,” Gerhardt wrote in an email. “Thus, VP Harris would preside, as is usual when the subject of an impeachment trial is not the president.”

Gerhardt noted that the “Constitution empowered the CJ to preside over a presidential impeachment trial because the framers did not trust the VP who would otherwise preside but have an incentive to support a conviction.” In other impeachment matters — for instance, the impeachment of a judge — the vice president presides. But Gerhardt noted these are uncharted waters.

As for the chief justice’s schedule, the Supreme Court after oral arguments Tuesday does not have another round of hearings scheduled until Feb. 22. Roberts will be busy on Wednesday — swearing in President-elect Joe Biden.

10:49 p.m.
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McConnell says there is ‘simply no chance’ that Senate could finish an impeachment trial before Trump is out of office

By Felicia Sonmez

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday threw cold water on the idea of holding an impeachment trial during Trump’s last days in office, stating that it would not be possible for the chamber to complete those proceedings before Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

In a statement shortly after the House voted to impeach Trump for a second time, McConnell said the Senate process will begin “at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House.”

“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said.

He added that even if the process were to begin this week, “no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office.”

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” McConnell said.

Earlier Wednesday, McConnell sent a note to his Republican colleagues telling them that he has not made a final decision on how he would vote on Trump’s impeachment. The New York Times reported that McConnell has told people that he sees the impeachment as a way “to purge [Trump] from the party.”

McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have not tried to stop the Democrats’ efforts to hold Trump accountable for the Jan. 6 attack, though McCarthy voted against Trump’s impeachment Wednesday. Neither GOP leader has called on Trump to resign.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that regardless of timing, there will be a Senate trial.

“A Senate trial can begin immediately, with agreement from the current Senate Majority Leader to reconvene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after January 19th,” Schumer said in a statement. “But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”

Trump’s actions, Schumer added, “cannot and must not be tolerated, excused, or go unpunished.”

10:34 p.m.
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GOP Sens. Toomey, Sasse leave open possibility of voting to convict Trump

By Amy B Wang and Seung Min Kim

Sens. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) left open the possibility of voting to convict Trump should the Senate hold an impeachment trial, even after the president leaves office.

“I stand by my statements over the last week regarding President Trump and the role he played in the deadly riot at the Capitol,” Toomey said in a statement Wednesday after the House impeached Trump.

Since the attack on the Capitol, Toomey has said he thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses but shied away from pushing impeachment as the best possible option forward, citing the limited number of days remaining in Trump’s term. He has pushed Trump to resign instead, something the president is unlikely to do.

“President Trump will be out of office before a Senate impeachment trial can begin. Whether or not the Senate has the constitutional authority to hold an impeachment trial for a president that is no longer in office is debatable,” Toomey said in his statement. “Should the Senate conduct a trial, I will again fulfill my responsibility to consider arguments from both the House managers and President Trump’s lawyers.”

Sasse said he would be limiting what he said in advance, as a juror, but blasted Trump for pushing lies and conspiracy theories about the election.

“By January 6th, the lie had morphed into the nutty theory that Vice President Pence could violate his constitutional oath by formally declaring Trump the victor of an election he lost. When the President urged his supporters to disrupt the proceedings of the January 6th Joint Meeting of Congress by ‘fighting like hell,’ it was widely understood that his crowd included many people who were planning to fight physically, and who were prepared to die in response to his false claims of a ‘stolen election,’“ Sasse said in a statement Wednesday.

“Since last Wednesday afternoon, before the Capitol was even cleared of rioters, it’s been obvious that the President was derelict in his duty to defend the Constitution and uphold the rule of law. Given the fact that the FBI is investigating widespread calls for violence across the nation in the coming days, every American has an obligation to lower the temperature. Six people, including two police officers, have already died. Lord, have mercy.”

10:12 p.m.
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10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump. Here’s who they are.

By Colby Itkowitz

Ten of the 211 House Republicans rebuked Trump Wednesday by voting with Democrats to impeach him for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The Republicans who broke from Trump as the president prepares to leave office in a week represent varying factions of the caucus, from Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third ranking in House GOP leadership, to Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), a moderate who has been in office for three decades, to Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.), a conservative who has been loyal to Trump.

That the 10 Republicans who voted to charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” could not so easily be lumped together suggests a fracturing of support for the president among Republicans after four years of his stranglehold over the party.

The other Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are: Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), David Valadao (Calif.).

9:31 p.m.
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Biden receives briefing from senior FBI, Secret Service officials on security landscape amid threats ahead of inauguration

By Felicia Sonmez

Biden was briefed Wednesday by senior officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and members of his national security team on the security outlook ahead of next week’s inauguration, the Biden transition team said in a statement.

The briefing comes amid threats of “armed protests” in multiple cities, including the District of Columbia, and as officials scramble to avoid a potential repeat of last week’s attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Today, President-elect Biden received a briefing from senior officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and key members of his national security team,” the Biden transition said. “The team is engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks.”

The transition team also said it is “focused on laying the groundwork for a smooth handoff in power that will ensure continuous command and control across the homeland security and law enforcement components of the U.S. government.”

The FBI warned Monday that armed far-right extremist groups are planning to march on state capitals this weekend, triggering a rush to fortify government buildings. In Washington, D.C., the Secret Service on Wednesday took command of security preparations at the Capitol and other federal buildings, backed by as many as 15,000 National Guard troops, thousands of police and tactical officers, and layers of eight-foot steel fencing.

In Wednesday’s statement, the Biden team praised the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s decision to schedule a Jan. 19 hearing on the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as Biden’s Homeland Security secretary and said it is “critical” that Biden’s national security nominees “receive swift hearings and confirmations.”

Biden’s team receives daily security and operational briefings to ensure a smooth presidential transition, according to the statement.

Carol D. Leonnig and Missy Ryan contributed to this report.

9:29 p.m.
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In bipartisan rebuke, House members vote to impeach Trump an unprecedented second time, on charge of ‘inciting violence’

By Donna Cassata and Felicia Sonmez

The House on Wednesday voted to impeach Trump on a charge of “inciting violence” against the U.S. government, making him the first president in U.S. history to have been impeached twice.

The final vote count was 232 in favor and 197 opposed. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats present in voting to impeach Trump.

The vote came seven days before Trump leaves office and one week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths and endangering the lives of the vice president and members of Congress.

Trump now faces a Senate trial after his term ends, when the chamber could vote on barring him from future elective office if he is convicted.

The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and David Valadao (Calif.).

9:11 p.m.
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Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s husband, who was in lockdown room with her, tests positive for the coronavirus

By Colby Itkowitz

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and her husband left the location they were in for a secure room where members and some staffers were waiting out the siege on the Capitol last week, she said.

But when they got there, the room was overcrowded, and a group of maskless GOP lawmakers were huddled together in one part of the room.

Before long, Pressley said she decided it wasn’t worth trading one threat for another, and she and her husband chose to return to the location that wouldn’t provide them the same protection from violence but wasn’t a coronavirus risk.

And yet, Pressley revealed Thursday, her husband, Conan Harris, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Pressley herself has tested negative, she said in a statement.

Calling her GOP colleagues “callous,” Pressley said their “arrogant disregard for the lives of others is infuriating, but not surprising and we are seeing the consequences of it daily, as several of my colleagues — and now my husband — test positive for covid-19.”

Harris is the fourth known person who spent time in the lockdown room to have contracted the virus.

In the secure room last week, Pressley checked on friends but grew increasingly uncomfortable with the growing congregation of maskless GOP colleagues.

“This is crazy,” Pressley thought, according to a senior Democratic aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe what transpired in the room. “We’re not going to survive a terrorist attack to be exposed to a deadly virus.” It felt too risky to stay, so the congresswoman left the police-protected space for a less secure room where she wouldn’t be potentially exposed to the coronavirus.

Apart from Pressley’s husband, three Democratic lawmakers in that room, including a 75-year-old cancer survivor, have tested positive for the coronavirus, and Democrats are enraged at the Republicans who they say got their colleagues sick.

“The second I realized our ‘safe room’ from the violent white supremacist mob included treasonous, white supremacist, anti masker Members of Congress who incited the mob in the first place, I exited,” Pressley tweeted Tuesday. “Furious that more of my colleagues by the day are testing positive.”

Throughout the day, House Democrats expressed unbridled outrage about the maskless lawmakers, adding to the already raw anger they have toward many of those same Republicans who they see as contributing to the incitement of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.