Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf steps down; Giuliani could face charges
This live blog has concluded.
As outrage over last week's Capitol Hill riot grows, the House of Representatives is moving closer toward impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time. Democrats unveiled an article of impeachment Monday and expect to vote on it this week.
More businesses and organizations are distancing themselves from the president, including the PGA, which pulled its 2022 championship tournament from Trump's golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey. Major social media outlets, including his favorite, Twitter, banned the president last week.
Information about the riot, which was incited in part by Trump, is coming to light, as well. Pro-Trump dark money groups were among those behind the Jan. 6 protest that triggered the attack on the Capitol.
The Biden transition continues apace. On Monday, the president-elect announced that he would nominate career diplomat William Burns to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
Twitter has suspended 70,000 QAnon accounts since U.S. Capitol riot
Twitter has suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
"These accounts were engaged in sharing harmful QAnon-associated content at scale and were primarily dedicated to the propagation of this conspiracy theory across the service," the company said in a blog post.
The suspensions come after the company on Friday said that it would permanently remove accounts sharing QAnon content. The company on Friday suspended the accounts of Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell, supporters of President Donald Trump. —Salvador Rodriguez
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declines to accept Presidential Medal of Freedom
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has declined to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom in light of the recent violent riots at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.
In a statement, Belichick said: "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. Above all, I am an American citizen with 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."
NBC News reported that the White House is aware of Belichick's decision.
Trump issues DC emergency order to support inauguration security
President Donald Trump approved a Washington, D.C. emergency declaration ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration from Jan. 11 to Jan. 24 to bolster security.
The order comes after violent rioters attacked the U.S Capitol last Wednesday, using online platforms to organize.
Trump's declaration says an "emergency exists in the District of Columbia" and orders federal assistance to supplement Washington, D.C's response efforts due to the emergency conditions.
Trump's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts if required. —Riya Bhattacharjee
Trump and Pence met for the first time since before riots
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met in the Oval Office Monday evening, a senior administration official told NBC News.
"The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration's work and accomplishments," the official said. "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."
This is the first time the two have met since before the violent riots on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. —Riya Bhattacharjee, NBC News
House GOP leader McCarthy says Trump bears some blame for riot
President Donald Trump faces the possibility of his fellow Republicans in the House voting to censure him, after their leader told them during a conference call that Trump bears some blame for the riot that rocked the U.S. Capitol, NBC News reported.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. still opposes impeaching Trump, even as Democrats move to vote on articles of impeachment this week.
But in a letter to GOP colleagues Monday, McCarthy floated the idea the House voting to censure Trump. He detailed three other options for defusing the political crisis that has rocked Trump's presidency in his last few days in office.
Among them is a "bipartisan commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack."
McCarthy had not previously said Trump was in any way responsible for the invasion of the halls of Congress by thousands of supporters outraged at Joe Biden's election as president. —Dan Mangan
DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says he is leaving the Trump administration
WASHINGTON — Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said he is leaving the Trump administration on Monday.
Wolf's decision comes four days after the president withdrew his nomination to head the Department of Homeland Security. The White House said that the president's decision to withdraw Wolf's nomination had nothing to do with his comments about the president.
Wolf had previously urged Trump to "strongly condemn the violence" that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol, calling the events "tragic and sickening."
"This is unacceptable. These violent actions are unconscionable, and I implore the President and all elected officials to strongly condemn the violence that took place yesterday," acting secretary Wolf wrote in a statement.
"Any appearance of inciting violence by an elected official goes against who we are as Americans. Every American is guaranteed the right to peacefully protest, but once those protests become violent, we should enforce our laws and bring those responsible to justice — regardless of political motivations," he added.
Wolf also wrote that those who engaged in the rioting should be held accountable. —Amanda Macias
Trumps, Giuliani, GOP Rep. Mo Brooks could face riot-related charges
President Donald Trump's eldest son, personal lawyer and a leading congressional supporter all might face a charge of inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol that killed a police officer there, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said.
The charge would stem from incendiary remarks made by Donald Trump Jr., the attorney Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., at a rally shortly before the chaos at the Capitol.
Racine, during an interview on MSNBC, indicated it was possible that President Trump himself could be charged once he leaves office.
"Let's just say first, those were outrageous comments that those individuals, including the President of the United States made," Racine said.
"Whether that comes to a legal complaint, I think we've got to really dig in and get all of the facts." Racine said. "I know I'm looking at a charge under the D.C. Code of inciting violence, and that would apply where there's a clear recognition that one's incitement could lead to foreseeable violence." –Dan Mangan
Footage shows Vice President Pence at the White House
Footage shows Vice President Mike Pence arrived at the White House earlier Monday afternoon and, upon arrival, walked toward the West Wing, according to NBC News.
Pence and President Donald Trump have not spoken since Wednesday morning, hours before a violent riot attacked Capitol Hill.
The tape also appears to show that Pence was joined by chief of staff Marc Short, whom Trump last week banned from the White House, according to NBC.
The nation's top Democrats have put immense pressure on the vice president to invoke the 25th Amendment and help remove Trump from office after last week's deadly riots. It was not immediately clear if Trump and Pence had spoken during the vice president's visit to the White House. —Thomas Franck
FBI memo warns states of potential for armed protests
Law enforcement agencies across the country received a memo from the FBI warning of potential armed protests at all 50 state capitol buildings in the lead up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, NBC News reported.
The confrontations could start as soon as Jan. 16, according to a senior law enforcement official.
The memo also states that an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day and stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office.
The memo was distributed by the FBI's National Crisis Coordination Center as a summary of threat information received following last week's deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The memo was first reported by ABC News. —Valerie Block
Big Tech companies hit pause on political contributions
Facebook, Google and Microsoft were among the tech companies that announced Monday they would pause contributions from their political action committees in light of the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.
T-Mobile similarly said it would "reevaluate" its PAC contributions.
While these companies took a broad approach to suspending contributions, others have been more targeted. Airbnb, for example, said Monday its PAC would "withhold support from those who voted against the certification of the presidential election results."
Federal Election Commission data shows Microsoft's PAC has donated to the campaigns of two key senators who objected to President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral votes: the Senate campaign for Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018 and the 2016 Missouri attorney general campaign for Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Google's PAC donated to Cruz's Senate campaign in 2017 and 2018. T-Mobile's PAC gave to both Cruz and Hawley's Senate campaigns as recently as last year.
In the past few election cycles, Facebook and Airbnb did not appear to donate to either candidate. —Lauren Feiner
More than 300 historians and scholars join call for Trump's impeachment
WASHINGTON – More than 300 historians and scholars have signed an open letter calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
"Trump has refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, something no president before him has ever done," the group wrote on Medium, which includes best-selling authors such as Ron Chernow and Taylor Branch.
"Trump has violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is a clear and present danger to American democracy and the national security of the United States. He has disqualified himself from continuing to serve out even his few remaining days as president, as well as from ever again holding, according to the Constitution," the group wrote.
The House is moving forward with an impeachment vote Wednesday. If the Democratic-controlled chamber approves it, it would mark the first time a president has been impeached twice. –Amanda Macias
Shadowy conservative PAC pushed supporters to go to rally, march that led to riot
A political action committee once funded by conservative millionaire Robert Mercer promoted both the rally featuring President Donald Trump and the ensuing march on Capitol Hill that led to a deadly riot last week.
The PAC, called the Black Conservatives Fund, promotes itself as "committed to turning out the black vote and elect black conservatives at every level of government." The PAC didn't raise or spend any money in 2020, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. It has shifted primarily to encourage its followers to attend pro-Trump rallies, and it's not clear who runs the group.
Through social media posts, the committee pushed tens of thousands of its followers to attend the rally in front of the White House on Wednesday and then to participate in the march on Capitol Hill that led to a riot, leaving at least five people dead, including a police officer.
It is the latest Trump-aligned political group shown to be involved with encouraging or organizing Wednesday's rally.
The Black Conservatives Fund's biggest previous donation came from Mercer in 2014. He gave more than $150,000 to the committee at the time. –Brian Schwartz
House Democrat tests positive for Covid, suspects she was exposed during Capitol attack
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering with colleagues — some of whom refused to wear face coverings — during the Capitol insurrection last week.
The 75-year-old representative's office said "she believes she was exposed during protective isolation" after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol while Congress counted President-elect Joe Biden's election win. She appears to be the first member of Congress who has attributed a positive test to exposure during the riot.
On Sunday, the attending physician at the Capitol told House members they "may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection" while they sheltered in place.
A widely circulated video from Wednesday showed several House Republicans, who were not wearing face coverings, laughing when Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., offered them masks. It is unclear if Watson Coleman was in the same room.
— Jacob Pramuk
National Guard is authorized to send 15,000 troops to support President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration
WASHINGTON — The National Guard said Monday that it has authorized up to 15,000 troops to support President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
"Right now we've got a plan for 10,000," said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
Hokanson added that the number of troops headed to the nation's capital is a reflection of requests from the Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and U.S. Park Police.
When asked if the troops will be armed, Hokanson said: "We make sure that they do bring their weapons."
"Ideally, we will never need them, but if we do, we want to know that they are close by and readily accessible" he added.
"We're not looking at January 20th as the last day where people will pack up and go home and as the conclusion of all the events, there will be some element that will remain for a brief period to ensure the safety and security in the days following the inauguration," Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said on the call.
Hokanson reiterated that it is typical for the National Guard to support law enforcement for inaugurations, adding that there were approximately 9,000 National Guard members at former President Barack Obama's inauguration. For Trump's ceremony in 2017, more than 7,000 troops were mobilized. Hokanson said up to 15,000 have been authorized for Biden's inauguration. – Amanda Macias
GOP West Virginia governor says Capitol riot was 'despicable'
GOP Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia denounced last week's deadly pro-Trump Capitol Hill riot and urged Americans to look past political affiliations.
"What happened with the attack on our Capitol, with people who were just out of control, is despicable," Justice, a Democrat-turned-Republican, said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "That's all there is to it. There's no other way around it."
While acknowledging that President Donald Trump's supporters are frustrated that his lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Justice said last week's events were "off the rails."
"We have got to step back and take some deep breaths and realize that we're Americans first and foremost," he added. "We aren't Democrats and Republicans first and foremost. We're Americans, and for crying out loud, this makes us look terrible beyond belief."
— Kevin Stankiewicz
Just over half of US voters say Trump should be removed from office, poll finds
Nearly three-quarters of U.S. voters (74%) said they believe U.S. democracy is under threat and a majority hold President Donald Trump responsible for last week's riot in the halls of Congress, according to a poll released Monday by Quinnipiac University.
More than half of voters (56%) said Trump was responsible for the storming of the Capitol, and 52% said he should be removed from office.
Forty-two percent said they do not hold the president responsible and 45% said he should not be removed.
The poll, conducted Thursday through Sunday, surveyed 1,239 self-identified registered voters across the country. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. — Lauren Feiner
Democrats introduce impeachment article against Trump
House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for spurring the attack on the Capitol last week.
The article, titled "Incitement of Insurrection," charges that the president committed high crimes and misdemeanors by "inciting violence against the Government of the United States." It says Trump, by lying for two months that widespread fraud cost him the a second term and then encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol as Congress counted President-elect Joe Biden's election win, "interfered with the peaceful transition of power" and "imperiled a coequal branch of government."
The House will likely vote to impeach Trump this week, though it is unclear if the article introduced Monday is the one it will consider. Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., who authored the article, said it has at least 210 cosponsors.
The House is unlikely to send the impeachment article to the Senate in time for the chamber to remove Trump from office before his term ends on Jan. 20. Conviction would mean Trump cannot run for president again. — Jacob Pramuk
Supreme Court won't act on Trump election cases before Biden is sworn in
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to expedite cases challenging President-elect Joe Biden's victory in November's contest that were filed by President Donald Trump and his allies and supporters.
The court rejected motions to fast track cases concerning the elections in five states that Biden won, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan and Arizona. The move is effectively the last word on Trump's legal push to overturn his defeat.
Legal experts had expected the court to act as it did. Trump and his allies have lost more than 60 lawsuits challenging the results of the election around the country. The court did not provide an explanation for its action and there were no noted dissents.
Among the cases the court refused to expedite on Monday were cases filed by conspiracy theorists L. Lin Wood and Sidney Powell, a former member of the president's legal team, challenging the results in Georgia and Michigan. –Tucker Higgins
Wall Street banks hit pause on political donations after Capitol riot
JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup said they holding off on political donations because followers of President Donald Trump laid siege on the U.S. Capitol last week.
JPMorgan and Goldman said they were pausing political action committee contributions for Republicans and Democrats for the next six months. Citigroup said it is pausing for the first quarter.
Of the six biggest U.S. banks, only Morgan Stanley made it clear it will not make donations to members of Congress who opposed the Electoral College certification of Biden. The firm will continue contributions to other lawmakers, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Credit card issuer American Express also said its PAC will no longer support candidates who tried to "subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power." In the past, the company said, its PAC had contributed to 22 of the 139 House members who objected to the election results, and none of the senators.
Spurred by Wednesday's riot, which resulted in at least five deaths, corporations including Marriott International and Blue Cross Blue Shield have said they would stop giving money to Republican lawmakers who backed efforts to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory.
But most banks, rather than targeting and potentially alienating members of the Republican Party, have instead decided to halt donations to all lawmakers for now. —Hugh Son
Washington Monument closed through inauguration due to safety concerns
The Washington Monument will be closed to the public through Jan. 24 due to safety concerns following last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol, the National Parks Service announced Monday.
The agency said groups involved in last week's riot have continued to threaten to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. Since some inaugural events take place in park areas, the agency said it would suspend tours to the Washington Monument beginning Monday.
The parks service said that if necessary, it could also temporarily close access to some parking areas, roadways and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The closures could be extended if safety concerns persist. —Lauren Feiner
NY bar group eyes booting Rudy Giuliani over 'trial by combat' comments
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump, faces possible expulsion from the membership rolls of the New York State Bar Association because of his call for "trial by combat" shortly before the Capitol riot, as well as other actions.
The bar group, in a statement announcing a probe of Giuliani's remarks, noted that its bylaws prohibit membership to anyone who "advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States, or of any state, territory or possession thereof, or of any political subdivision therein, by force or other illegal means."
When Giuliani made his "trial by combat" comment at a rally of Trump supporters, Congress was about to start proceedings to confirm the election of Joe Biden as president. The session was interrupted by the invasion of the Capitol by a mob of Trump backers.
The bar association said that since November, hundreds of complaints have been made to the group about Giuliani and "his baseless efforts on behalf of President Trump to cast doubt on the veracity of the 2020 presidential election."
Giuliani has led numerous failed legal efforts by Trump to reverse Biden's electoral win. –Dan Mangan
House could impeach Trump this week
The House could impeach President Donald Trump by later this week for inciting the mob that invaded the Capitol during Congress' presidential election vote count.
Democrats plan to introduce an impeachment article on Monday. They will also try to pass a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.
While the Democratic-held House is expected to impeach Trump, the Senate likely will not have the time to vote on convicting him before he leaves office on Jan. 20. Democrats say they cannot move on from the insurrection without ensuring Trump faces consequences for sparking it.
Although there are only eight days left for the Trump administration, impeaching him could bar him from public office in the future.
Some Democrats have floated the idea of waiting until after President-elect Joe Biden's first 100 days in office to send impeachment articles to the Senate. They worry a trial will hinder confirmation of Biden's Cabinet and his early legislative agenda. —Jacob Pramuk
Army officer who led group to Washington rally now under investigation
The Army is investigating one of its officers after she led a group from North Carolina to the pro-Trump rally in Washington.
Commanders at Fort Bragg are reviewing psychological operations officer Capt. Emily Rainey's involvement in last week's events that led to the deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol.
"I was a private citizen and doing everything right and within my rights," Rainey told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Rainey said she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom, which describes itself online as a nonpartisan network promoting conservative values, to Washington to "stand against election fraud" and support Trump.
She said she acted within military regulations and that no one in her group broke the law. –Valerie Block
Melania Trump, in farewell message, breaks silence over Capitol riots
WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump broke her silence Monday over the deadly U.S. Capitol riot carried out by her husband's supporters.
In what appeared to be a farewell message, she said: "I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me."
"This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens," she added. "It should not be used for personal gain."
The first lady also expressed her condolences to the families of two U.S. Capitol police officers as well as those who died taking part in the riot. On Sunday, President Donald Trump had not yet reached out to the family of fallen U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick. Vice President Mike Pence and president-elect Joe Biden have spoken to Sicknick's family. A second police officer who had been at the Capitol died off-duty this weekend, and the cause of death has not been disclosed.
"It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your First Lady. I want to thank the millions of Americans who supported my husband and me over the past 4 years and shown the incredible impact of the American spirit," she wrote. — Amanda Macias
Trump to award Medal of Freedom to Jim Jordan, Bill Belichick
President Donald Trump is set to kick off the week by awarding the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to his ally Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
Later in the week, he will bestow the prize on New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, a White House official told NBC News. The Associated Press reported that Belichick is expected to receive the medal on Thursday.
Belichick has not confirmed he will accept the medal, and there have been some calls for him to refuse to do so. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said on CNN that Belichick "should do the right thing and say, 'No, thanks.'"
Trump is handing off the medals in the last full week of his presidency as Democrats in the House prepare to move forward with his impeachment.
Jordan, who has supported Trump throughout his presidency, has said he opposes impeachment. He was one of the Republicans to object to confirming President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College wins last week. The usually routine confirmation was delayed for hours Wednesday by the deadly riot by Trump supporters.
Trump has not been seen in public since speaking to supporters at a White House rally just before they marched on the U.S. Capitol and invaded the building. He is expected to travel to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday.
According to the White House, the Medal of Freedom is awarded to those "who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." –Tucker Higgins
Biden chooses longtime diplomat William Burns for CIA director
President-elect Joe Biden announced Monday that he has picked longtime diplomat William Burns to lead the CIA.
Burns, 64, spent more than 30 years at the State Department under Republican and Democratic presidents until he retired as deputy secretary in 2014.
Though he restrained himself for much of the Trump administration, Burns began to publicly excoriate the president last year and has called for rebuilding and restructuring U.S. diplomacy.
"Bill Burns is an exemplary diplomat with decades of experience on the world stage keeping our people and our country safe and secure," Biden said in a statement Monday. "He shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect."
If confirmed by the Senate, Burns would replace Gina Haspel, the first female CIA director. —Thomas Franck