McConnell says mob that attacked Capitol on January 6 was provoked by Trump

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said on Tuesday that the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 had been “provoked by the president and other powerful people,” stating publicly for the first time that he holds Trump responsible for the insurrection attempt.

“The mob was fed lies,”McConnell said, referring to attempts by Trump to overturn the election based on bogus claims of voter fraud. “They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

McConnell made the remarks on his last full day as majority leader, speaking on the eve of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration and as the Senate was bracing to receive a single article of impeachment from the House charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”

This could aid in convincing at least 17 Republicans to join the Democrats in a bipartisan conviction of Trump. It also has consequences for Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, both of whom aided in the insurrection attempt.

Trump’s 2nd Impeachment – Historic Firsts

With the 2nd impeachment of Donald Trump by the House today, here are some historic firsts to note, as well as some other points of interest.

– Trump has become the first president to be impeached twice, this time on incitement of insurrection, after Trump incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol last week, resulting in five deaths.

– Ten House Republicans voted in favor of impeachment making this the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in US history. The final vote on the article of impeachment was 232-197.

– The most surprising Republican “yes” vote on impeachment came from Tom Rice of South Carolina. Before the vote, Rice did not offer any indication that he was planning to support impeachment, and he was not considered one of the likely “yes” votes.

– There won’t be a Senate trial before Trump leaves office because Mitch McConnell won’t bring the Senate back into session early. However he has indicated that he supports impeachment.

– The House might hold off sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate in order to give Biden time to get all his appointees approved. McConnell and Biden might come to an agreement on allowing the trial and other business to run in parallel though.

– The reason both Republicans and Democrats are in favor of having a trial – even after Biden is sworn is – is to get rid of Trump once and for all. If convicted, not only will he have to give up all post-Presidential benefits, he will also be barred from running for public office again. There is every indication that the GOP wants to be rid of him forever.

McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment, believing it will be easier to purge Trump from the G.O.P.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking. The House is voting on Wednesday to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country.

At the same time, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader and one of Trump’s most steadfast allies in Congress, has asked other Republicans whether he should call on Mr. Trump to resign in the aftermath of the riot at the Capitol last week, according to three Republican officials briefed on the conversations.

New York Bar Association may remove Giuliani – Complicit in Capitol Insurrection

The New York State Bar Association announced that it may force Rudy Giuliani out from its membership over his speech before last week’s deadly siege on the Capitol.

The association announced Monday it’s investigating the former New York City mayor, who is President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, because he called for a “trial by combat” at a rally Wednesday near the White House.

“Mr. Giuliani’s words quite clearly were intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands,” the association said in a statement.

After the rally, a group of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congress’ confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s election win. A Capitol Police officer and four other people were killed in the riot.

According to its bylaws, “no person 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, shall be a member of the Association.” And the NYSBA said Guiliani’s remarks at the rally were “intended to encourage Trump supporters unhappy with the election’s outcome to take matters into their own hands.”

“Their subsequent attack on the Capitol was nothing short of an attempted coup, intended to prevent the peaceful transition of power,” the NYSBA said.

Murkowski calls for Trump’s resignation; Pelosi talks with military about keeping Trump from nuclear codes

Following Trump’s incitement of the first attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, resulting in 5 deaths and massive chaos, events are moving quickly in the final days of Trump’s term.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) became the first Senate Republican to call for President Trump to resign, telling the Anchorage Daily News: “I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage.”

“He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing,” Murkowski said.

Her comments Friday came on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told colleagues in a letter that she has spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, about keeping an “unstable president” from accessing the nuclear codes. Pelosi also threatened impeachment if Trump didn’t resign “immediately.”

Her letter came shortly after Trump tweeted that he would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, breaking with a long-standing tradition of outgoing presidents attending the swearing-in ceremony of their successors. Biden told reporters that he agreed with Trump’s decision to skip the ceremony, though he would welcome Vice President Pence.

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s support crumbles after his insurrection stunt results in deaths

One of Missouri Senator Josh Hawley’s major backers issued a statement blasting him for his role in objecting to President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.

Joplin businessman David Humphreys, whose family has contributed millions of dollars to Hawley’s election efforts since 2016, said the Senate should censure Hawley “for provoking yesterday’s riots in our nation’s capital,” the Missouri Independent reported Thursday night.

Humphreys said Hawley revealed himself as a “political opportunist” who has “shown his true colors as an anti-democracy populist by supporting Trump’s false claim of a ‘stolen election’.”

Hawley was the first senator to say he was objecting to Biden’s victory over outgoing President Donald Trump.

Hawley is now a pariah among many of his colleagues, openly derided and mocked in his home state and a source of shame for longtime political supporters who helped propel him to his position.

“Sen. Hawley was doing something that was really dumbass and I’ve been really clear about that in public and in private since long before the announcement he was going to do this,” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse told NPR on Friday. “It was a stunt, and it was a terrible, terrible idea, and you don’t lie to the American people. … Lies have consequences.”

Hawley also lost the support of his one-time mentor this week, when former Sen. John Danforth — a man whose support was central to Hawley winning his 2018 Republican primary — said supporting the Republican lawmaker was “the worst mistake of my life.”

“Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life,” Danforth said in a statement to the St. Louis Today. “Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt … to foment a lack of public confidence in our democratic system.”

And in the wake of the insurrection, which took the lives of five people, multiple newspapers in Hawley’s home state either blamed the senator for the chaos or called on him to resign his seat.

“No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley,” wrote the editorial board of The Kansas City Star, a paper that endorsed the would-be senator in the 2018 Republican primary. “Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed.”

And the St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial board mocked Hawley, accusing him of having the “gall to stand before the Senate Wednesday night and feign shock, shock at what happened.”

“Hawley’s tardy, cover-his-ass condemnation of the violence ranks at the top of his substantial list of phony, smarmy and politically expedient declarations,” they wrote. “Hawley’s presidential aspirations have been flushed down the toilet because of his role in instigating Wednesday’s assault on democracy. He should do Missourians and the rest of the country a big favor and resign now.”

After Day of Infamy, Trump Administration Resignations Pour In. First violent attack on the Capitol Since 1814.

Following the Trump-incited invasion of the Capitol on January 6, where his violent supporters stormed and vandalized the premises in the first violent attack on the Capitol since 1814, administration officials have begun to resign in protest.

Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews was among the first to offer her resignation on Wednesday evening after the attack on Capitol Hill. Matthews, who worked under press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, said she was “disturbed” by today’s events.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the rioting “has deeply troubled me in a way that I simply cannot set aside” and she would be resigning.

Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff, announced he has resigned from his role as the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland. “I called (Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mulvaney told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of my friends resign over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser, also resigned in the wake of the unrest at the Capitol, according to one of the president’s advisers.

Many of the rioters came directly from Trump’s “Save America Rally” that began hours earlier near the White House. Trump spoke to them for more than an hour, insisting, without evidence, that the election had been stolen and encouraged them to march to the Capitol as part of his pressure campaign on Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the proceedings. Pence defied the president and announced he did not have the constitutional power to accept or reject Electoral College votes in order to change the election outcome.

Following the rally, a pro-Trump mob began grappling with police on the Capitol steps and forced themselves into the building, forcing Pence to be swept to a secure location, and the Senate chamber to be evacuated.

Rioters then began breaking windows in the Capitol, vandalizing the building, and were even seen on the Senate floor, sitting at the dais. It was the first violent invasion of the Capitol since the British attacked it in 1814.

Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta, White House social secretary, also handed in her resignation following the Capitol Hill riots, according to an administration official.

Matt Pottinger, Trump’s deputy national security adviser, also resigned over the events, as did Ryan Tully, the senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council. Tyler Goodspeed, acting head of the Council of Economic Advisers, has also stepped down, a person familiar with the matter said.

Others who are reportedly considering following suit include National security adviser Robert O’Brien and deputy chief of staff Chris Liddell.

President-elect Biden (a few historic tidbits)

As everyone on earth knows by now, Joe Biden has won the election and will be the 46th president of the United States. Pennsylvania became the deciding state. He is on track to winning 306 electoral votes, if he ultimately wins Georgia.

Here are a few historic tidbits about the election:

  • Biden received the most votes of any presidential candidate in history. That is partly due to the unusually large turnout this year, and efforts to make participation easier for people during the pandemic with early voting and vote-by-mail.
  • Biden won a majority of the votes cast, which Trump never has.
  • Trump became the 10th U.S. president to lose reelection. You can see a short list of the previous losing incumbents here.
  • Biden becomes the oldest president-elect in history, at age 77.
  • If he goes on and wins Georgia, Biden will be the first Democrat to win that state since Clinton in 1992, and the first non-Southern Democrat to win Georgia since JFK in 1960.
  • If Trump doesn’t concede, he will be the first loser not to do so in modern history. The modern understanding of a public concession can be traced to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan sent opponent William McKinley a cordial telegram.
  • And of course Kamala Harris makes history as the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent elected vice president.