Trump-Biden transition updates: Trump, Pence meet for first time since last week
By LIBBY CATHEY, KENNEDEY BELL and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in nine days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 11, 10:05 pm
Several Capitol Police officers suspended pending outcome of investigations
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, a House Appropriations subcommittee chairman who presides over Capitol Police funding, told reporters Monday afternoon that two Capitol Police officers have been suspended after the storming of the Capitol last week.
“One was the selfie officer, and another was an officer who had put on a MAGA hat and started directing some people around,” he said.
Ryan said he was informed of both by the interim Capitol Police chief.
The congressman also said he has heard of 10 to 15 ongoing investigations of officers’ actions and that the interim chief is taking “aggressive action” in the department to determine “if there was any facilitation or help” from inside the department.
Late Monday, the acting Capitol police chief released a statement that said the department has been actively reviewing video and other open source materials looking for officers and officials who appear to be in violation of department regulations and policies.
“Our Office of Professional Responsibility will investigate these behaviors for disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination. Several USCP officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations,” the statement said.
Acting Chief Yoganada Pittman also said that law enforcement agencies throughout the capital region have comprehensive, coordinated plans in place to ensure the safety and security of the congressional community and for the upcoming presidential inauguration. There will be no public access to the Capitol grounds during the inauguration and but the event will go on as scheduled.
Jan 11, 8:31 pm
Rep. Raskin tells ABC News’ ‘Start Here’ about barricading with his family in the Capitol
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., joined ABC News’ “Start Here” to talk about the efforts in Congress to remove Trump from office and also described his experience at the Capitol during the riot, which also happened to be the day after his family had buried his son.
“We experienced a terrible family catastrophe and we had to bury my son on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday, I had to go in for the Electoral College count,” Raskin told ABC News’ daily news podcast. “And our youngest daughter, Tabitha, said, ‘Daddy, don’t go. I want you to stay home.’ And I said, I would love to be home, but I have to go in because this is a constitutional responsibility. And I’ve agreed also to be one of the floor managers for the Democratic side in debating these objections to the electors.”
Raskin told “Start Here” that he brought Tabitha and a son-in-law who is married to his other daughter with him to the House chamber. They all had to shelter-in-place when the rioters broke into the Capitol.
“They ended up barricaded in a locked office off of … the House chamber hiding under a desk as people pounded on the door. They heard the same sickening sounds I heard of people trying to barrel into the House chamber,” he said. “Listen to the stories of people who lived through this nightmare. You know, this is not some abstract question about Donald Trump just pocketing emoluments. He helped to unleash a furious savage mob on the Congress of the United States, our staffs, and in my case, on members of my family.”
Jan 11, 8:11 pm
Belichick says he won’t accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was expected to be presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom later this week, a White House official said, but in a statement released Monday evening, he declined it.
“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,” he said in the statement. “Above all, I am an American citizen with a great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
Jan 11, 7:16 pm
Trump and Pence met Monday evening, according to senior administration official
President Trump and Vice President Pence met in the Oval Office Monday evening, according to a senior Trump administration official.
It was the first time they had met since last week.
According to the official, “the two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration’s work and accomplishments.”
“They reiterated that those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol last week do not represent the America first movement backed by 75 million Americans and pledged to continue the work on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term,” the official said.
Jan 11, 5:46 pm
Top House Republican says he doesn’t support impeachment effort
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a letter to Republican colleagues that he does not support the Democrats’ effort to impeach Trump.
“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,” McCarthy wrote in his letter that he sent Monday, obtained by ABC News.
Instead, he is pushing for four other alternatives to impeachment, including a resolution of censure under the rules of the House, a bipartisan commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack, reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and legislation to promote voter confidence in future federal elections
Jan 11, 5:08 pm
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf resigning
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is resigning from the Trump administration effective at 11:59 p.m. Monday, according to an internal message sent to staff at the department, citing “recent events.”
“I am saddened to take this step, as it was my intention to serve the Department until the end of this Administration. Unfortunately, this action is warranted by recent events, including the ongoing and meritless court rulings regarding the validity of my authority as Acting Secretary. These events and concerns increasingly serve to divert attention and resources away from the important work of the Department in this critical time of a transition of power,” he said in an email to colleagues.
Jan 11, 4:56 pm
Pelosi gives Pence deadline before House votes to impeach Trump as early as Wednesday
The House of Representatives is expected to return at 9 a.m. Tuesday to debate and pass a bill via a roll call vote demanding Vice President Mike Pence mobilize the Cabinet to remove Trump from office through the 25th Amendment. The vote is expected around 7:30 p.m., according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s office.
Democrats will give Pence “24 hours after passage” to respond, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement earlier Monday, otherwise they will likely move forward with an impeachment vote on Wednesday, setting up Trump to be the first president in U.S. history impeached twice.
“The President’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” Pelosi said in the statement.
As of right now, no Republicans have signed on to the legislation that calls on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which is a likely indicator as to what happens with a potential vote on impeachment.
But sources tell ABC News that it’s possible some Republicans may vote to impeach Trump.
The single article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” also cites Trump’s call with the Georgia Republican secretary of state where he urged him to “find” enough votes for Trump to win the state and, separately, cites the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, noting that it “prohibits any person who has ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion against’ the United States” from holding office.
Jan 11, 4:34 pm
National Special Security Event operations for inauguration to start early in DC
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Monday that in light of the “the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray,” he is going have the Secret Service designate the inauguration as a “National Special Security Event” beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 13, as opposed to Jan. 19 as previously slated.
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser called on the Department of Homeland Security in an earlier press conference for the delegation to begin on Monday.
She also asked the Department of Interior to cancel all public gathering permits in the District through Jan. 24 and urged Americans not to travel to the nation’s capital for the inauguration.
Starting this week and running through at least Inauguration Day, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol, according to an internal FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.
Jan 11, 3:24 pm
Up to 15,000 National Guardsmen could be at Biden’s inauguration
The number of National Guard troops deployed around next week’s inauguration could rise from at least 10,000 to 15,000, the National Guard’s top general said Monday.
“Support requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police and Park Police have been authorized to provide up to 15,000 Guard members to meet current and future support requirements,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on a phone briefing. “They are troops that have been requested to support security, logistics liaison and communication missions.”
Hokanson said that there are currently 6,200 Guardsmen in the District, and there would be 10,000 in place by Saturday.
The National Guard has always participated in inaugurations, and there were 9,000 members on hand last year, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number had been reduced to 5,000 for 2021. Last week’s insurrection at the Capitol changed those plans, and Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman additionally made clear that the Guardsmen will be remaining in Washington after Inauguration Day.
“We’re not looking at Jan. 20 as the last day and people will pack up and go home at the conclusion of all the events,” he said. “There will be some elements that will remain for a brief period to ensure safety and security in the days following the inauguration as well.”
Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said no decision has been made yet about whether to arm the Guardsmen but characterized that possibility as an “ongoing discussion.”
“Obviously, we’re very concerned that we want our individuals to be have the right to self defense,” he said.
Jan 11, 2:55 pm
Trump honors ally Rep. Jim Jordan with Presidential Medal of Freedom in closed ceremony
President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — to Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan in a closed-Oval Office ceremony earlier Monday, the White House said. Normally, such affairs are celebrated before news cameras.
The White House readout of the event refers to Jordan’s service in the House and in defense of Trump during last year’s impeachment trial. It calls him “an inspiration to freedom-loving Americans everywhere” who “has distinguished himself as one of the most consequential members of Congress of his generation.”
Jordan was among the Republican lawmakers who still objected to the Electoral College certification affirming Biden’s victory even after Wednesday’s insurrection.
Jan 11, 2:15 pm
Biden says he’s ‘not afraid’ to take oath of office outside US Capitol
In the wake of last week’s assault on Capitol Hill, Biden was asked if he is afraid of taking his oath of office on the West Front of the Capitol complex, as is tradition, and he said he’s not.
“I am not afraid to take the oath outside,” Biden told reporters after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, on Monday afternoon.
“I think it’s critically important that there be a real, serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatened people’s lives, defaced public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable. And I think that’s a view held by the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress,” Biden added.
NEW: “I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside,” President-elect Joe Biden says, adding it is “critically important” that those who engaged in violent siege of U.S. Capitol be “held accountable.” https://t.co/OJ8E0rWNcg pic.twitter.com/K3NLe7FxLy
— ABC News (@ABC) January 11, 2021
Asked then if he’s worried that impeachment could potentially delay his efforts to pass additional coronavirus relief legislation, Biden said he’s already spoken with members about a way to “bifurcate” Trump’s impeachment so he could continue his agenda, adding it’s “obvious” the House will move to impeach.
“Can we go half day on dealing with the impeachment, and half a day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package — so that’s my hope and expectation,” Biden said, adding he hasn’t gotten an answer on whether that’s possible.
Jan 11, 12:53 pm
DC Mayor Bowser tells Americans to stay home for Biden’s inauguration
Amid threats from both the spreading coronavirus pandemic and of violence in the wake of insurrection at the Capitol, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser at a press conference on Monday urged Americans not to attend Biden’s presidential inauguration in Washington next week.
Asked if she was scared of what might happen on Jan. 20, Bowser said, “If I’m scared of anything, it’s for our democracy. Because we have… factions in our country that are armed and dangerous.”
She urged the public to participate in the ceremonies virtually and announced she has asked Trump for a “pre-emergency disaster” declaration similar to the one issued for the first inauguration of former President Barack Obama.
“This is necessary because the inauguration poses several unprecedented challenges that exceed the scope of our traditional planning processes,” Bowser said.
Bowser is also asking the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate a federal force deployment plan and extend the inauguration’s special event security period, including the cancellation of public gathering permits — which would require the cooperation of the Interior Department — through Sunday, Jan. 24. Additionally, Bowser requested daily intelligence briefings from the FBI throughout the security period.
The National Park Service on Monday morning temporarily closed the Washington Monument “in response to credible threats to visitors and park resources” through Jan. 24.
Jan 11, 12:16 pm
House Dems introduce article of impeachment charging Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’
During Monday’s brief session, Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to get unanimous consent to force Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, and House Democrats introduced one article of impeachment against President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in the wake of a pro-Trump mob breaching the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
The “incitement of insurrection” article of impeachment was introduced by Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and David Cicilline, D-R.I., along with more than 210 Democratic co-sponsors.
The measure says that Trump has “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
JUST IN: House adjourns moments after gaveling into a pro forma session, after Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to get unanimous consent to force Vice Pres. Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. https://t.co/FLZUgPSgAr pic.twitter.com/RxtLuMBE9D
— ABC News (@ABC) January 11, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has told Democrats they will move forward with an impeachment vote immediately if Pence and the Cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from power.
Hoyer told reporters this morning that “there very well could be” an impeachment vote as early as Wednesday.
Jan 11, 11:21 am
Republicans object to House Dem measure demanding Pence invoke 25th Amendment
The House has adjourned moments after gaveling into a pro forma session after Republicans blocked an effort by Democrats to get unanimous consent to force Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Majority House Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., introduced a request by unanimous consent to bring up the Raskin resolution calling on Pence to mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment — effectively declaring Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and making Pence the acting president — but Republicans objected to the effort.
The House is expected to return on Tuesday for a full floor vote on the legislation. If Pence does not agree to invoke the 25th Amendment, House Democrats says they’ll move forward with impeachment.
Monday’s session began with the House Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving formally resigning his position and Timothy Blodgett being sworn in as the new Sergeant at Arms.
Calls for the president’s removal come after a mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol on Wednesday while Congress was voting to certify the electoral votes. The assault on the Capitol left at least five dead, including one Capitol Police officer.
Jan 11, 10:30 am
Freshman Democrat to introduce resolution to expel members through 14th Amendment
As rioters roamed the Capitol last Wednesday, freshman progressive Rep. Cori Bush tweeted she would introduce a resolution calling for the expulsion of GOP members of Congress who, she said, “incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election.”
Bush confirmed in a tweet Sunday she’d be introducing a resolution on the House floor Monday seeking to expel lawmakers who, she said, “tried to overturn the election and incited a white supremacist coup attempt that has left people dead” arguing they violated they the 14th Amendment.
“We can’t have unity without accountability,” Bush added.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her letter to colleagues Sunday outlining next steps in removing Trump from office also asked Democrats for their views on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, regarding the removal of members who “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” The section effectively disqualifies those who engage in insurrection against the Constitution of the United States from holding office.
Similar calls are being made in the Senate with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, calling on the U.S. Senate to expel Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., if the senators refuse to resign in the aftermath of this week’s siege on the Capitol.
Jan 11, 10:16 am
House Dems get closer to 2nd Trump impeachment
With just nine full days left in office, Trump is facing a possible historic second impeachment as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in the wake of the Capitol Hill assault, warns if he doesn’t resign, or if his Cabinet doesn’t move to remove him.
Democrats are taking steps Monday morning in the House to remove Trump, beginning at a pro forma session on the House Floor at 11 a.m.
Majority House Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will request unanimous consent to bring up the “Raskin resolution” which calls on Vice President Mike Pence to ask the president’s Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment — effectively declaring Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and making Pence the acting president.
If Hoyer fails to get unanimous consent, with Republicans expected to object, Democrats will hold a private caucus call at 2 p.m. and bring up the legislation again Tuesday to a full floor vote. Then, Pelosi said, in a letter to her colleagues Sunday night, “We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours,” and if he does not, they “will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor.”
With both resignation and removal by the 25th Amendment unlikely, impeachment legislation — on one article charging “incitement of insurrection,” according to a draft — will likely hit the House floor Wednesday. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said on Twitter Sunday night that the article has at least 210 cosponsors.
But Democrats are divided over Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn suggesting over the weekend that the House wait until after Biden’s first 100 days to submit the article to the Senate to trigger a trial. And there’s almost no chance Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will call the Senate back sooner than Jan. 19.
Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez argue despite an inconvenient timeline the process allows Congress an outlet to hold Trump accountable. Pelosi told CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday, Trump had “done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him.”
Jan 11, 10:06 am
Overview: Trump plans counterprogramming amid backlash, Biden to receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccine
While House Democrats take action to remove Trump from office after he encouraged supporters to march on Capitol Hill last week.
Trump on Monday plans to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — to GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, his longtime defender, in a closed event, something not the event not mentioned on his schedule, a White House official said. Later in the week, he’s expected to bestow the same honor on New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Sources told ABC News over the weekend the White House is building out a week of programming to highlight Trump’s record over the dwindling days of his administration, despite amplified calls for Trump to resign or risk facing a second impeachment. Appearing to dismiss those calls, Trump has a trip planned for Tuesday to Texas to showcase the border wall he’s pushed hard for, and is expected to host events in the next week to highlight what sources say are the administration’s achievements in areas including foreign affairs, business and pandemic response.
The president was angry for much of this past weekend — mostly about Twitter permanently suspending his account on Friday, according to sources who have spoken directly to Trump. Sources said the president is expected to depart Washington before Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20.
While Biden said last week it’s a “good thing” Trump isn’t attending his inauguration, he hasn’t said whether he supports impeaching Trump, deflecting that decision to Congress instead. Biden’s said he wants the incoming Congress to focus on his Cabinet nominations and pandemic relief from the onset, but an impeachment trial in the Senate risks preempting the rest of its business.
On Monday, Biden is slated to meet with transition and economic advisors and will publicly receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Wilmington, Delaware, in the afternoon.
Jan 11, 10:22 am
Shaken Washington mulls Trump’s fate and more: Analysis
It might be that the very divisions Trump has stoked save him from being removed from office early.
It may also be that forces beyond his control now contribute to his ultimate and final undoing.
In the flurry of recriminations from Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol, the question has shifted from whether Trump would leave office to when and exactly how it all goes down. The president will almost certainly be impeached again by the House early this week, as official Washington realizes anew how bad last week was, and how bad things might get over the next nine days and beyond.
At stake are final judgments for history on Trump, including the possibility of disqualification from running for office again. The decisions ahead for lawmakers matter greatly for Trump and the future of the GOP, and also for internal Democratic politics and the agenda Biden hopes to enact.
The strongest argument Republicans are now offering against impeachment doesn’t try to defend Trump’s actions or even argue that he’s fit to stay in office through Jan. 20.
Instead, it’s an argument that the cause of national unity is best-served by waiting Trump out — and hoping that no further political violence erupts in Washington, state capitals and even lawmakers’ homes.
Trump has barely cared about his legacy in any traditional sense, and this week’s White House attempts to remind people of his accomplishments aren’t likely to change things.
Last week left indelible marks on his permanent record. Actions in the coming days could not only influence how he’s remembered, but also how the country comes through a turbulent and troublesome period.
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