House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will establish an “outside, independent” commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
In a letter to lawmakers, Nancy Pelosi said the commission would be modeled on the inquiry into the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
She said: “We must get to the truth of how this happened.”
Former President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate of inciting the violence.
However, Democrats and some Republicans have backed an independent investigation into the riots, which left five people dead.
Nancy Pelosi said that retired US Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré had, over the past few weeks, been assessing the security needs of the Capitol in light of the attack.
The commission, Nancy Pelosi said, “would investigate and report on the facts and causes” of the attack; “the interference with the peaceful transfer of power”; and the “preparedness and response” of both the Capitol police and other branches of law enforcement.
She also said that, based on Lt. Gen. Honoré’s initial findings, Congress needed to allocate additional funding to “provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol”.
A group of House Republicans wrote to Nancy Pelosi on February 15 complaining that their party had not been consulted about the general’s security review.
In the letter, they also demanded to know what Nancy Pelosi knew and the instructions she gave to secure the Capitol ahead of January 6.
House Republican Adam Kinzinger, who called for Donald Trump’s removal after the riots, was condemned by 11 members of his family in a handwritten letter, in which they said he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army”.
Donald Trump survived his second impeachment trial on February 13, after Democrat prosecutors failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed to convict him. He is the only president to have faced the process twice.
The vote split largely along party lines, with seven Republicans joining the Senate’s 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to convict.
The senior Republican in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell, had voted against conviction on constitutional grounds, but after the vote declared Donald Trump “responsible” for the assault on the Capitol.
Other Republicans have also expressed support for an independent inquiry into the riots, including a close ally of Donald Trump, Senator Lindsay Graham.
The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is constitutional, the US Senate has found on February 9.
Therefore, the Senate is allowing full impeachment proceedings to begin.
Donald Trump’s defense team argued that he could not face trial after leaving the White House.
A 56-44 majority voted in favor of continuing, with a handful of Republicans backing the measure.
Donald Trump is accused of “inciting insurrection” when Congress was stormed on January 6.
Thousands gathered in support of claims that widespread electoral fraud denied Donald Trump victory in the presidential election.
However, Donald Trump is almost certain to be acquitted because only six Republican senators voted to move forward with impeachment, well short of the 17 Republicans whose votes would be needed to convict the former president.
Democrats prosecuting the case opened the proceedings by showing a dramatic video montage of Donald Trump’s January 6 speech and the deadly rioting by some of his supporters.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said of the footage: “If that’s not an impeachable offence, then there’s no such thing.”
Donald Trump’s lawyers argued it was unconstitutional to put a former president through the process at all and accused Democrats of being politically motivated.
A two-thirds majority is required to convict Donald Trump in the evenly split 100-seat Senate. February 9 vote implies loyalty toward Donald Trump in the Republican Party remains high enough to avoid a conviction.
However, if convicted, the former president could be barred from holding office again.
Proceedings opened with impeachment managers – the Democrats tasked with leading the prosecution – arguing their attempts were legitimate.
In the 10-minute video used in their presentation, Donald Trump was shown telling his supporters to “fight like hell” before they stormed the Capitol in violence that resulted in five deaths – including a police officer.
Rep. Jamie Raskin was brought to tears as he recounted fear for his own family’s safety during the riot after he was separated from his visiting daughter.
“This cannot be the future of America,” he told senators, who act as jurors for impeachment.
“We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”
Rep. Raskin argued there could be no “January exception” to impeaching outgoing officials without risking a dangerous precedent.
Donald Trump’s lawyers then took the stand to outline their arguments with detailed complaints and allegations about due process and the constitutionality of proceedings.
Former Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce Castor opened the defense with a meandering presentation that was met with a critical reception by even allies of the former president.
A second lawyer, David Schoen, was more pointed. He showed videos dating back to 2017 as evidence of what he labeled as an “insatiable lust for impeachment” among Democratic lawmakers.
He told senators: “What they really want to accomplish here in the name of the Constitution is to bar Donald Trump from ever running for political office again, but this is an affront to the Constitution no matter who they target today.”
Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, one of the six to vote with Democrats, said after that the House prosecution had “made a compelling, cogent case and the president’s team did not”.
Media reports suggest Donald Trump – whose Twitter account has been banned – expressed anger at his lawyers’ performance while watching on TV from Florida.
Robert Ray succeeded Ken Starr as the independent counsel.
Monica Lewinsky tweeted on January 17 shortly after President Trump’s team
was announced: “This is definitely
an ‘are you kidding me?’ kinda day.”
In 2016, Ken Starr was forced out of his position as president of Baylor
University after an inquiry found the school had mishandled rape accusations
against its football players.
He later also resigned from his roles as chancellor and law professor at the
Alan Dershowitz is a retired Harvard University law
professor and constitutional law expert whose past celebrity clients have also
included boxer Mike Tyson.
He said in a statement that he had
also opposed Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and voted for Hillary Clinton in the
Donald Trump sought Alan
Dershowitz’s advice, too, during the 2017-2019 special counsel investigation
into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr both
represented disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein during his 2008 abuse trial.
On January 17, President Trump
shared Alan Dershowitz’s comments criticizing a Government Accountability
Office ruling that the White House had broken the law by withholding aid to
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has also been asked to join the
Pam Bondi, a longtime Trump ally, joined the White House communications team
last November to focus on “proactive impeachment messaging”.
Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a central figure in the
Ukraine investigation, had also hoped to join the defense, but he did not make
Rudy Giuliani told CBS he might be called as a witness in the impeachment
trial and “understood this may happen if I uncovered the 2016 Ukrainian
The former NYC mayor was apparently
referring to a discredited theory that Ukraine intervened in the last White
One of Rudy Giuliani’s associates,
Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, has said he went to Ukraine to
pressure local officials on behalf of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
President Trump’s allies have
rubbished Lev Parnas’ claims, pointing out that he is facing unrelated campaign
Last month, Donald Trump was impeached
by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Democrats have accused the president of withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating his political rival, former VP Joe Biden. President Trump denies the claims, and calls the impeachment proceedings a partisan “hoax”.
Democratic and Republican leaders in
the Senate have clashed over the rules of President Donald Trump’s impeachment
Democrats want assurances witnesses
and documents will be allowed, to enable what they term a fair trial.
Chuck Schumer says the recent
release of an “explosive” email about aid to Ukraine is a reminder of
why openness is necessary.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell
says he has not ruled out witnesses.
However, he stopped short of
agreeing ahead of time to take testimony during the trial.
President Trump was formally
impeached by the House last week for abuse of power and obstruction of
Donald Trump is the third president
in US history to be impeached. However, he is unlikely to be removed from
office, as his Republican party has a majority in the Senate, where the trial
will be held as stipulated in the US Constitution.
He is accused of pressuring
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to start an investigation into his
political rival, Democratic presidential front runner, Joe Biden.
President Trump is accused of doing
this by withholding military aid and making a White House visit contingent on
The trial is expected to begin next
month, after the holiday break.
However, Democrats have so far
refused to hand over the articles of impeachment voted through in the House –
the charges – to the Senate.
They want assurances from Mitch
McConnell that their chosen witnesses – at least four current and former White
House aides with knowledge of the Ukraine affair – will be allowed to testify.
He suggested holding a trial similar
to former President Bill Clinton’s in 1999, in which senators decided which
witnesses to call after opening arguments and a written question period.
Mitch McConnell accused Speaker of
the House Nancy Pelosi of holding “an absurd position” for delaying
handing over the impeachment articles and said she is “apparently trying
to tell us how to run the trial”.
Democrats renewed their demand for witnesses over the weekend after an email
emerged suggesting the White House sought to freeze aid to Ukraine just 91
minutes after President Trump spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone in
July. That call is at the center of the allegations against President Trump –
charges he denies.
Chuck Schumer said he and his Republican counterpart remain at an impasse
after holding a “cordial” meeting on December 19 to discuss trial
During a news conference in New York on December 22, Chuck Schumer said
Republicans “have come up with no good reason why there shouldn’t be
witnesses, why there shouldn’t be documents”.
He added: “We don’t know what the
witnesses will say. We don’t know how the documents will read. They might
exonerate President Trump or they might further incriminate him. But the truth
should come out on something as important as an impeachment.”
Democrats argue that Republicans will not act as impartial jurors during the impeachment trial, after Mitch McConnell pledged last week to work in “total co-ordination” with the White House. Meanwhile, House of Representatives officials raised the possibility of a second impeachment if new evidence of obstruction by President Trump came to light. The suggestion came in court papers filed by Democrats as they seek the testimony of White House counsel Don McGahn.
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