House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stepped up the pressure on VP Mike Pence to act to remove President Donald Trump from office over his role in last week’s storming of Congress.
Lawmakers are expected to bring up a resolution asking VP Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare the president unfit for office.
Mike Pence is said to oppose the idea.
If he refuses, the House will hold a vote to impeach President Trump who had urged supporters to march on the Capitol.
Donald Trump has been accused by Democrats and an increasing number of fellow Republicans over the riot, following a rally in which the president repeated unsubstantiated allegations of vote fraud. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol police officer.
President Trump has made no public statements since he was banned from social media platforms on January 8.
He is due to leave office on January 20, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as president.
Donald Trump has said he will not attend Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony.
Nancy Pelosi wrote to lawmakers saying the House of Representatives would present a resolution on January 11 to formally request that VP Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which would allow him to remove President Trump from the White House and become acting president.
The House could vote on the resolution on January 12. After that, Mike Pence and the cabinet would be given 24 hours to act before the House’s potential move toward impeachment.
Nancy Pelosi wrote in her letter: “We will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat to both.
“The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
Although Mike Pence has appeared to distance himself from the president by saying on January 10 he planned to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration, there is no sign that the vice-president is prepared to invoke the amendment.
In a separate development, First Lady Melania Trump, who rarely makes public comments about political events, condemned January 6 violence, saying the “nation must heal in a civil manner”.
Melania Trump said in a statement called Our Path Forward released by the White House: “I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness.”
House Democrats have vowed to press ahead quickly with impeachment. To impeach, in this context, means to bring charges in Congress, and Nancy Pelosi said Democrats could introduce a charge of “incitement of insurrection” against President Trump.
Senior lawmakers say a vote to impeach President Trump in the House could be held by mid-week.
Donald Trump could become the only president in US history to have been impeached twice.
Joe Biden has said impeachment is for Congress to decide, even though he has thought “for a long time President Trump was not fit to hold the job”.
Chaos has broken out within the Capitol as pro-Trump supporters break into the building.
The ongoing special House and Senate sessions have been recessed amid the escalating clashes between protesters and police.
Lawmakers had gathered to confirm the election of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden – an outcome rejected by protesters.
Photos show demonstrators gathered just outside the Senate chamber. Other images show demonstrators carrying firearms.
Capitol Police have put the Capitol Building on lockdown amid violent clashes between police and Trump supporters, gathered to protest the 2020 election results.
Footage shows demonstrators swarming the Capitol building, breaking the temporary barrier that had been put in place ahead of today’s events. Media describe some protesters climbing on parts of the Capitol building, attempting to get inside.
Capitol police have detained some protesters as they continue to storm the building.
Some demonstrators have broken into the Senate chamber, climbing on the side of the walls as police drew their weapons.
President Donald Trump has just tweeted another message to protesters who have stormed the US Capitol, saying: “No violence!”
He tweeted: “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Capitol Hill police are calling for reinforcements as the violence continues at the Capitol.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said members of the Secret Service and the Federal Protective Service are currently meeting calls to provide assistance.
The Department of Defense has not yet decided to deploy the National Guard to back up law enforcement on the scene.
Protesters who have stormed the US Capitol are trespassing on federal property and may face charges.
After a summer of protests against coronavirus lockdown measures, including in Michigan where armed militia members stormed the state capitol, we’re now seeing similar scenes playing out in Washington DC.
While both chambers of the US Congress were meeting on January 6 to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, the proceedings were interrupted by police clashes with rioters in adjoining corridors.
President Trump has for weeks claimed to have been the true winner, saying without evidence that the votes cast for Biden in crucial swing states were fraudulent.
He and his supporters have been pressing VP Mike Pence to overturn the election result by refusing to certify Joe Biden’s win, something that experts agree he does not have the legal power to do.
In the days leading up to the certification, President Trump said that he would attend the “Save America” rally happening in Washington on January 6, promising on Twitter that it would be “very big” and “wild”.
About an hour after President Trump addressed thousands on the National Mall, promising to “never concede” that he had lost, chaos was unleashed.
Lawmakers and reporters inside the building say they have been asked to evacuate, shelter in place and put on gas masks.
Both chambers of Congress abruptly stopped proceedings as they were debating November’s election results.
As his supporters storm into the Capitol in quickly-escalating protests, President Trump has broken his silence and tweeted for demonstrators to “support Capitol Police and Law Enforcement”.
Media report that tear gas has now been used inside the Capitol building as a growing number of demonstrators enter the building.
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew beginning at 18:00 EST.
The government’s own coronavirus-prevention advice is that people should wear face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain”.
The Mayo Clinic itself requires all patients and visitors to its medical centers to wear a mask or face covering.
VP Pence’s visit came on the same day that the US coronavirus caseload topped one million and the number of deaths surpassed 57,000.
President Donald Trump has himself previously said he has no plans to wear a mask.
The vice-president defended his decision to flout hospitals rules as necessary in order to meet with staff and patients.
He said: “As vice-president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus.
“And when the CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask, it was their recognition that people that may have the coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask.
“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible healthcare personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.”
According to news website Axios, Mike Pence has never once worn a mask while in public since the pandemic began while continuing to travel throughout the country.
A Mike Pence aide was the first White House member to test positive for the virus in late March.
According to US officials, VP Mike Pence was due to meet North Korean officials at the Winter Olympics last week, but the North Koreans canceled the meeting at the last moment.
VP Mike Pence was in South Korea for the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
A spokesman said the vice-president was scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, among others.
It would have been the first official interaction between North Korea and the Trump administration.
North Korea has made no comment on the reports.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said when the “possibility arose” of a brief meeting with the North Korean delegation, Mike Pence “was ready to take this opportunity to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs”.
Heather Nauert said in a statement: “At the last minute, DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] officials decided not to go forward with the meeting. We regret their failure to seize this opportunity.”
North Korea’s attendance at the Winter Olympics was seen as a major thaw in consistently tense relations on the Korean peninsula.
Mike Pence was criticized by some for not engaging diplomatically with the North Koreans while in South Korea.
He sat feet away from Kim Yo-jong – who is accused of human rights violations – at the Games but did not interact with her, saying: “I didn’t believe it was proper for the United States of America to give her any attention in that forum.”
Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said North Korea had “dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics”.
“This administration will stand in the way of Kim’s desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics. Perhaps that’s why they walked away from a meeting or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down,” Nick Ayers said.
On leaving the Games, Mike Pence said the US and its allies remained firmly aligned on North Korea
“There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program.”
However, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has said he is considering accepting an invitation to visit Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
Donald Trump has met Mitt Romney, with reports suggesting he may be considered for secretary of state.
Mitt Romney was one of Donald Trump’s fiercest critics during the election campaign.
Neither man gave details of their 80-minute meeting on November 19.
Mitt Romney said the talks had been “far-reaching”.
During the campaign, Mitt Romney called Donald Trump a “fraud”, while Trump said Romney’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012 had been “the worst ever”.
Donald Trump has settled several posts so far, a number of them controversial.
The nominee for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was rejected from becoming a federal judge in 1986 because of alleged racist remarks.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, has drawn concern over his strident views on Islam.
On leaving Donald Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mitt Romney did not answer questions on whether he would accept a cabinet position, or whether he still thought his host was “a con artist”.
Mitt Romney said only that they had held a “far-reaching conversation with regards to the various theatres of the world” in which the US had an interest.
Donald Trump will conduct more meetings with potential appointees at the golf course over the weekend.
Donald Trump and the cast of Broadway’s Hamilton musical have traded barbs after VP-elect Mike Pence mate was booed at a performance of the show.
The president-elect demanded an apology over a letter read out by a cast member to Mike Pence on November 18. It said “diverse America” was “alarmed and anxious” at the future administration.
Donald Trump tweeted that the cast had been “very rude” and harassed Mike Pence.
The cast member replied by denying that the “conversation” had been hostile.
Mike Pence was jeered by members of the audience before and during a performance in New York. Afterwards cast member Brandon Victor Dixon thanked Mike Pence for attending and read a letter to him on stage.
Image source hamiltonbroadway.com
“We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us,” the letter read.
On November 19, Donald Trump tweeted: “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”
“The theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!”
Brandon Dixon responded on Twitter by defending his cast mates: “@realDonaldTrump conversation is not harassment sir,” he wrote. “And I appreciate @mike_pence for stopping to listen.”
Some Trump supporters called for people to boycott Hamilton musical, using the Twitter hashtag #boycotthamilton. They were mocked in turn by other Twitter users, who pointed out the futility of attempting to boycott a show for which it is nearly impossible to get tickets.
Some sarcastically urged others to support the ban in the hope it would free up seats.
A staunch conservative, Mike Pence sparked an outcry as governor of Indiana earlier this year, when he signed a law critics said discriminated against the LGBT community by allowing businesses to refuse service over religious beliefs. He later amended the bill.
Mike Pence is not the first high-profile politician to attend the hugely popular Hamilton, which tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton.
President Barack Obama saw the musical last year and joined the cast backstage after the performance.
Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in last week’s election, also saw the show. She was supported by Hamilton‘s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, during her campaign.
Mike Pence was booed on November 18 at a performance of the hit musical Hamilton.
After the show, a cast member thanked the vice-president-elect for attending and read a letter to him on stage.
“We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us,” Brandon Dixon said.
The message was reportedly penned by Hamilton‘s writers when they learned that Mike Pence planned to attend.
Brandon Dixon’s reading was greeted with cheers from the audience at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York.
Photo Getty Images
An audience member tweeted to say there was a three-minute standing ovation when one character performed a song directly to Mike Pence which included the lyrics: “A small query for you / What comes next? / You’ve been freed / Do you know how hard it is to lead?”
Mike Pence was loudly booed as he entered the theatre, and audience members said the performance was repeatedly stopped because of jeers.
When Brandon Dixon addressed theatergoers at the end, he urged them not to boo and asked Mike Pence, who was leaving, to stay and listen.
“You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening, and Vice-President-elect Pence, I see you are walking out but I hope you will hear us.
“There’s nothing to boo here, ladies and gentlemen… We have a message for you, sir, and we hope you will hear us out.”
Brandon Dixon continued: “We truly hope that his show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us.
“We truly thank you for sharing this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.”
A staunch conservative, Mike Pence sparked an outcry earlier this year after signing a law critics said discriminated against the LGBT community by allowing businesses to refuse service over religious beliefs. He later amended the bill.
Mike Pence is not the first high-profile politician to attend the critically-acclaimed and hugely popular Hamilton, which tells the story of US founding father Alexander Hamilton.
President Barack Obama saw Hamilton in 2015 and joined the cast backstage after the performance.
Hillary Clinton, who lost to Donald Trump in last week’s election, also saw the show. She was supported by its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, during her campaign.
Donald Trump has said the election is “absolutely rigged” by the “dishonest media” and “at many polling places”.
The Republican nominee’s comments appear to contradict his running mate Mike Pence, who told NBC earlier Donald Trump would “absolutely” accept the election result, despite media “bias”.
Donald Trump’s adviser Rudy Giuliani has also accused Democrats of “cheating”.
Polls suggest Donald Trump is losing ground in some of the key battleground states.
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine has blasted Donald Trump’s election-rigging claims as “scare tactics”.
Donald Trump has questioned the legitimacy of the election process in a series of tweets, the latest of which said: “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”
Earlier, Donald Trump accused the press of inaccurate reporting: “Election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!”
However, speaking on NBC’s Meet The Press, Mike Pence said the American people were “tired of the obvious bias in the national media” which was “where the sense of a rigged election goes”, but said: “We will absolutely accept the results of the election.”
“Elections always get pretty rough,” he added, but said the US has a tradition of “the peaceful transfer of power”.
Meanwhile Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s State of the Union that he’d have to be a “moron” to think that some elections, such as those in Philadelphia and Chicago, were going to be fair.
“I’ve found very few situations where Republicans cheat… they don’t control the inner cities the way Democrats do. Maybe if Republicans controlled the inner cities, they’d do as much cheating as Democrats,” he said.
“I’m sorry. Dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans,” he added.
Tim Kaine told ABC’s This Week Donald Trump was “swinging at every phantom of his own imagination” because “he knows he’s losing”.
“He’s blaming the media. He’s blaming the GOP. He’s saying that America can’t run a fair election.
“He’s making weird claims that, no, I couldn’t have assaulted this person, she’s not attractive enough to assault. How bizarre is that?… And this is what bullies do.”
Multiple women have come forward to accuse Donald Trump of groping or kissing them this week, following the emergence of a 2005 video tape in which he made inappropriate remarks about women.
Donald Trump has repeatedly denied the claims, calling the women “horrible liars” and accusing the media of being an agent of the “Clinton machine”.
Tim Kaine denied that the Clinton campaign had anything to do with the women making accusations against Donald Trump.
On October 15, House speaker Republican Paul Ryan criticized Donald Trump for questioning the validity of the electoral process.
“Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity,” his spokesperson AshLee Strong said.
It’s not the first time Donald Trump has directly contradicted his running mate during the campaign, with them clashing over how to solve the war in Syria.
In the vice presidential debate, Mike Pence said the Trump administration would impose a safe zone in Syria, “stand up” to Russian aggression and go after Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
But in the second presidential debate, Donald Trump claimed that although he didn’t “like Assad”, the Syrian president was “killing ISIL [ISIS]”.
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