House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has told Republican colleagues that President Trump acknowledged to him privately that he bears 'some responsibility' for the job of supporters who ransacked the Capitol.
McCarthy made the statement as he rallied colleagues, who were split on acknowledging Joe Biden's election victory, in opposition to a Democratic effort to impeach Trump during his last days in office.
McCarthy told colleagues does bear some responsibility, even as he urged them to be united,
On a GOP conference call just now, @GOPLeader said that Trump does bear some responsibility for the riot at the capitol, but urged Republicans to be united.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 11, 2021
McCarthy is not personally in favor of impeachment.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says Trump bears some 'responsibility' for the mob that ransacked the Capitol, but is still working to undercut a Democratic impeachmentInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
McCarthy also wrote colleagues to explain his own opposition to impeachment – which would be the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice.
'Personally, I continue to believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility,' he wrote, Bloomberg News reported.
A person on the call said McCarthy himself believed Trump bore some responsibility for what happened – in reference to Trump supporters trashing the Capitol after Trump told them to 'fight' for his effort to overturn election results.
McCarthy himself backed the president's effort even after the invasion of his workplace.
He said zip ties – of the kind that are being investigated for any possible hostage taking motive – 'were found on staff desks in my office. Windows were smashed in. Property was stolen.'
'Those images will never leave us — and I thank our men and women in law enforcement who continue to protect us and are working to bring the sick individuals who perpetrated these attacks to justice,' he said.
The outreach follows report he had a Wednesday phone call where he screamed at Trump and urged him to tell his supporters to pull back.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) talk during a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol earlier in the day, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 6, 2021
He said he has heard from members pushing four potential avenues to denounce the events – which would have the effect of undercutting the impeachment push.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
One would be a censure resolution, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Monday. Another would set up a bipartisan commission on the attack. He also mentioned proposals on 'reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887' – the law governing Congress counting the Electoral College votes that was nearly overrun – and legislation to 'promote voter confidence in future' elections – a tip of the hat to dozens of Republicans who went along with Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud.
A McCarthy defense of Trump would be a new chapter in their long relationship. He endorsed Trump in 2016, and Trump took to calling him 'my Kevin' – although he was caught on tape joking that year that 'There’s two people I think Putin pays: [former Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump.'
All 50 states and D.C. sent certified electoral votes to Congress for Wednesday's joint session that was paused for the violence.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leaders formally accused Donald Trump of incitement to insurrection Monday morning as part of an attempt to shame him out of office at breakneck speed.
Democrats introduced their impeachment resolution, first floated Friday, accusing Trump of 'incitement of insurrection' as the House met and later announced there would be a vote on it on Wednesday starting at 9a.m.
Top Democrats say it has enough support to pass the House - and that they expect Republicans to sign on to it.
And they set up fast-moving floor votes that that will force House Republicans to cast votes this week both on President Trump's fitness for office and on whether to remove him during his final days in power.
On Monday morning, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sought to call up a resolution that would instruct Pence to convene cabinet members to declare Trump 'incapable of executing the duties of his office' under the terms of the 25th Amendment.
But he failed to get 'unanimous consent' when a House Republican objected. Pelosi says she will respond by bringing the 25th amendment resolution to the floor Tuesday - meaning Republicans will have to vote on the record on whether they believe Trump is fit for office.
That vote will be later on Tuesday with members ordered back to D.C. in a message from Democratic leadership which said the impeachment vote would take place Wednesday.
Given that a majority of the House have already signed on, with at least 218 having backed the motion Monday, Trump will become on Wednesday the first president to be impeached twice, unless he leaves officer before then.
The moves came on a day when:Melania Trump issued a statement condemning the violence of last week but naming the dead rioters before the dead police then lashing out at 'salacious gossip' about her, an apparent reference to the revelation she continued with a photoshoot while the Capitol was desecrated; Trump tried to give an impression of business as usual, giving a Medal of Freedom at the White House to Jim Jordan, the 'freedom caucus' Republican House member who was all-in on overturning the election results; The FBI warned of armed protests being planned in all 50 states between now and Joe Biden taking office; More MAGA rioters were swept up by police around the country, but questions mounted over the police failures which let them storm the Capitol; 10,000 National Guard were ordered to be in Washington D.C. for Biden's inauguration in a sign of how concerned the FBI and other agencies are about more MAGA rioting; Biden unveiled more of his plans for his inauguration, including laying a wreath at Arlington with former presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama in a very public demonstration that Trump is an outcast; The Supreme Court declined to fast-track Trump's one-time attorney Sidney Powell's 'Kraken' compendium of discredited voter fraud claims, while the New York Bar Association started investigating Rudy Giuliani over his 'trial by combat' speech to the MAGA rally before they desecrated the Capitol; Josh Hawley was told to hand back a $5,000 donation by Hallmark as big business, led by the biggest banks, JP Morgan and Bank of America, turned off the cash spigot to him and the so-called GOP 'treason caucus.'
In Congress, Democrats escalated their rhetorical attack on Trump in their article of impeachment.
The latest text of the impeachment resolution cites the post-Civil War 14th amendment, noting it 'prohibits any person who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against' the United States from 'hold[ing] any office . . . under the United States'.
The text can be amended between now and Wednesday, but is close to previous drafts released Friday.
Its formal introduction in the House came in a brief session where Hoyer stood to introduce the demand for Pence to use the 25th Amendment, asking that Republicans assent to it without objection.
Tuesday: House votes on telling Pence to use the 25th Amendment in the next 24 hours; majority support certain
Wednesday: If Pence has not acted, House will vote on single article of impeachment
Tuesday January 19: First date Senate can take up impeachment, according to Mitch McConnell
Wednesday January 20, noon: Joe Biden inaugurated
Wednesday January 20, 1pm: Earliest possible start to impeachment trial, according to McConnell
But Democrats could hold back the Article for as much as 100 days to let Joe Biden have his cabinet picks confirmed.
And Chuck Schumer, who becomes Senate leader on January 20, has offered no indication of how he plans to proceed.
In swift parliamentary action, West Virginia Republican Rep. Alex Mooney immediately objected to the request to bring up the resolution.
He posted a statement on
his reasons, which were entirely procedural and expressed opposition to bringing it up 'without any debate on the floor,' although he also said it could 'imperil our Republic.'
Today I objected to Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to adopt via unanimous consent a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump. pic.twitter.com/FdDdAm6b4y— Rep. Alex Mooney (@RepAlexMooney) January 11, 2021
Mooney was one of 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election even after the MAGA riot.
Pelosi's plan is to first try to bring up the resolution formally requesting Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment through the request, then follow up by bringing it before the full House.
The amendment provides either for the cabinet to meet to assess the president, or a special committee to be established by Congress – although Congress has never created such a body.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) began developing 25th amendment legislation months ago, and has examined the issue for years.
The move puts pressure on Pence – who Trump publicly sought to strong-arm at the rally that proceeded the Capitol riots.
Crowd members at the Capitol also screamed out calls to 'hang' Pence. Trump reportedly has not spoken with Pence since the stunning events of last week.
The resolution would not carry the force of law, but it would be the first test for House Republicans, many of whom served with Pence, since a vote hours after the riot split the conference on whether to count votes where Trump has claimed fraud.
A majority of Republicans voted not to count the ballots just hours after many of them had been hiding in undisclosed locations while the mob rampaged the Capitol building.
Democrats believe they will get some House Republicans to sign up to impeachment, such as Adam Kinzinger, who has been outspoken in his attacks on Trump.
Their biggest prize would be Republican number three Liz Cheney, who slammed members of the GOP caucus who voted against certifying the elections.
House move: Democrats brought a 'unanimous consent' measure to the floor calling for Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment but Republicans objected, meaning Democrats will force a vote on it Tuesday which would be likely to be followed by an impeachment vote Wednesday
Blocked: Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic leader, brought the unanimous consent measure but Republican Alex Mooney registered an objection, forcing a vote on it Tuesday
There is however no doubt Democrats will persist with impeachment even if Trump resigns or is removed - neither of which appear likely to happen as of Monday.
Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.)
Said Trump 'committed impeachable offenses.'
Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)
Said the president had caused 'this insurrection.'
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Called on Trump to resign. ' I want him out.'
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.)
Said Trump 'caused' the riot and called his response 'completely inadequate'
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)
Called for Trump to resign and called 25th Amendment the 'next best thing.' Said he would 'vote the right way' on impeachment, without endorsing the tactic.
Rep. Peter Meijer (Mich.)
Said fellow Republicans told 'lied' and 'deceived' and called what happened an 'act of domestic terrorism'
They believe the constitution allows for impeachment to continue after Trump has left office. They also believe they could secure more Republican senators' support for conviction and disqualification for office after Trump leaves office than before.
The backdrop for Monday's move was a House chamber still scarred by the violence of last week. The violent clash that resulted in broken windows and the shooting of a Trump supporter took place just feet away, outside the Speaker's lobby.
The weekend brought fresh video footage of vicious attacks on Capitol Police officers, new clips that revealed just how close the Senate chamber was to being overrun while in session, arrests of more alleged perpetrators across the country, and the tragic suicide of a Capitol Police officer who was there for the siege.
Even if the House votes Wednesday to impeach, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote colleagues a trial would not likely begin until January 19th – missing the opportunity to remove Trump from office, and also complicating the start of President-elect Joe Biden's tenure.
Unlike through impeachment, if Pence and a majority of the cabinet officers were to vote that Trump was unfit for office, Pence would immediately become acting president for a period of days that would run out Trump's term.
The House Rules Committee is expected to meet Monday on setting the terms of debate for the impeachment vote that would likely come Wednesday.
The impeachment vote itself would also split Republicans. More than 200 Democrats have already gotten behind the effort.
Pelosi, having conferenced with fellow Democrats by phone, and whose office was invaded by Trump supporters who damaged her office and stole property, is demanding swift action.
'We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat to both,' she wrote Sunday. 'The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.'
The impeachment vote will once again put GOP leaders on record as well. Both Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise voted not to seat electors certified in states that Joe Biden won.
The House votes will test Republican support for Donald Trump following a Capitol riot carried out by his supporters that resulted in five deaths
But McCarthy was reportedly on a call 'screaming' at Trump trying to get him to publicly demand his supporters leave the Capitol at a time when lawmakers and Pence were in physical danger.
Retired Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN Monday those in party leadership positions in Congress 'who went along with the president's falsehoods ... ought to face consequences in terms of their own reelection and obviously immediately in terms of leadership positions that they might hold.
'So i hope that the party has a reckoning here,' he said.
The effect of the procedural moves, even if they don't result in Trump's removal from office, will be to put House Republicans on record.
It could also flush out any House Republicans who have decided to break with Trump after opposing the first Democratic impeachment effort.
Meanwhile, some pro-Trump House Republicans are already are already telegraphing they would seek to use impeachment against Joe Biden.
'We never think about the consequences. It's going to be like: Game on. Let's impeach [Biden] 12 times in a week,' one Democrat opposed to impeachment told Politico.
The desire for action against Trump escalated over the weekend.
On Sunday night. Nancy Pelosi fought to contain her emotions as she told 60 Minutes how her staff cowered under desks in the dark for two hours, as a frenzied mob of Trump supporters smashed through her office.
'I think there was, universally accepted, that what happened...' she said, pausing to compose herself.
'Was a terrible, terrible violation of what - of the Capitol, of the first branch of government, the legislative branch, by the president of the United States.'
Pelosi's door was smashed down, and rioters stormed her private office.
Melania Trump on Monday broke her silence on last week's mob attack on the Capitol, saying she 'absolutely condemns the violence' incited by her husband and calling for 'healing' as the couple prepares to leave office.
Five days after the attacked that resulted in five deaths, the first lady published a statement that acknowledged the deaths of her husband's supporters before the deaths of two Capitol Police officers - and lashed out extensively at 'gossip' about her.
'My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time,' she wrote.
But in her 600-word essay published by the White House, she quickly turned the situation to herself, slamming the 'salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me' - a reference to reports she was conducting a photo shoot in the White House during the MAGA mob scene.
'I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain,' she wrote in the message entitled Our Path Forward.
The essay is filled with spelling errors - Babbit's name was spelled wrong - it was Babbitt - and grammatical mistakes.
It also cast no blame for Wednesday's riot on her husband, who, at a rally earlier that day had encouraged his supporters to march on Capitol Hill.
Melania Trump broke her silence on last week's mob attack on the Capitol, saying she 'absolutely condemns the violence' incited by her husband
The first lady issued a 600-word statement called Our Path Forward which was published on the White House website early on Monday
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator John McCain and a frequent critic of the president, blasted Melania Trump for her statement.
'Five people died in a domestic terror attack on our own republic last week incited by her husband but Melania Trump is the victim in this?! Every morning I think I can't get more disgusted....,' Meghan McCain tweeted.
While Melania has largely stayed quiet during Donald Trump's attempts to illegally reverse the election results, she has echoed the president's misleading language of 'counting legal votes' and has not publicly acknowledged Joe Biden's victory.
But she wrote in her latest message that 'it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your first lady', a tacit acknowledgement that her term is nearly over.
Biden takes the oath of office on January 20th.
It's unclear what's in store for Melania Trump after life in the White House. She has been reportedly looking at schools for son Barron in Florida but has made no indication she plans to keep up her 'Be Best' campaign or her work with the military once her husband leaves office.
The first lady has been spending her final days in the White House behind closed doors. She and her husband have rarely been seen since their return from Florida on December 31st, where they were spending the holidays at Mar-a-Lago.
Melania's message was published early on Monday morning, three days after the president was permanently banned from Twitter - with Trump not showing his face since promising an orderly transition in a video message on Thursday.
And while Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump had appeared at a campaign rally Wednesday morning where the president whipped his supporters into a frenzy shortly before they besieged the Capitol, the first lady stayed out of sight during the day of chaos.
Two of her staff quit in protest of the president's handling of the riots: her chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham and social secretary Anna Cristina 'Rickie' Niceta.
As a White House source told The Mail on Sunday that during Wednesday's siege of the Capitol, the first lady was in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a photoshoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts.
'The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines for the photographer,' the source said, saying even the most loyal remaining Trump staffers were left 'dumbfounded' by her actions.
Aides even asked Melania to intercede on Wednesday, to force her husband to publicly decry the insurgency, but she refused.
'She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago.'
Additionally, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked in the East Wing in the early days of the administration and then wrote a memoir of her time there that painted Melania in an unflattering light, wrote in The Daily Beast over the weekend that she is 'ashamed' to have ever worked for the first lady.
'I can't believe how blind I was to the depth of her deception and lack of common decency,' Wolkoff wrote.
Without mentioning those claims directly in her statement on Monday, Melania condemned what she said were 'false misleading accusations on me' from 'people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda'.
The first lady said she was praying for the families of the four protesters and two Capitol Police officers who died in the hours and days after the attack.
She added that 'our nation must heal in a civil manner', after President Trump initially praised the mob as 'very special' but later condemned the violence.
'Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation's Capitol. Violence is never acceptable,' she wrote.
Police casualties: Officer Brian Sicknick was murdered, allegedly by being hit with a fire extinguisher. Officer Howard Liebengood took his own life on Saturday morning
Dead rioters: Ashli Babbitt was shot by a Capitol Hill officer as she tried to smash her way into the Speaker's Lobby. Rosanne Boyland died in the Rotunda; she is thought to have been trampled to death by the mob
Dead rioters: Benjamin Philips organized a bus trip of MAGA fanatics from Bloomsburg, PA, and died, possibly of a stroke, having posted that it was'the first day of the rest of our lives.' Kevin Greeson had a heart attack. In recent days he posted on Parler: 'Let's take this f***ing country back,' posed with two AR-15-style rifles and a handgun and spewed abuse about Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi closed her eyes and took a minute to compose herself, speaking about