The Countdown: Donald Trump becomes 1st US president impeached twice; removal before inauguration unlikely

NEW YORK (WABC) — As we get closer to Inauguration Day, Eyewitness News will have a special election edition of “The Countdown” to get you caught up with all of the day’s political and campaign news.

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Wednesday, Jan. 13

President impeached for historic 2nd time following Capitol riot
The U.S. House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The final House vote on an article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection was 232-197.

10 House Republicans, including NY congressman, vote to impeach President Trump
The unbreakable wall of Republican support that encouraged and enabled Donald Trump’s norm-shattering presidency cracked on Wednesday. A group of 10 House Republicans joined Democrats to impeach Trump for inciting a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. The vast majority of the GOP stood by Trump. But even some of those who opposed impeachment condemned Trump’s behavior and blamed him for sparking the insurrection.

Every Democrat voted to impeach and 10 Republicans joined in voting yes: Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jamie Herrera-Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and David Valadao (Calif.). Four Republicans did not vote either way. During debate before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls.” Trump is the first American president to be impeached twice.

NYC to terminate Trump contracts after Capitol insurrection
New York City will terminate business contracts with President Donald Trump after last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The Trump Organization is under city contract to operate the two ice rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx.

Trump urges ‘no violence’ as he faces historic 2nd impeachment
After about an hour of House debate during which Democrats accused him of “incitement of insurrection,” the White House put out a “Statement from the President,” saying “there must be NO violence.”

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You,” the statement said.

‘The president’s words matter’: Former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf
Just two days after he announced his resignation and as the House debates the second impeachment of President Donald Trump, former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the president deserves some of the blame for the words he used last Wednesday before his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, but took no stand on removing him from office. “The president’s words matter and they do,” Wolf told ABC News Wednesday. “He certainly has some level of responsibility for at least the words that he said.”

“I’ve talked about my disappointment in wishing that he had come out sooner to condemn the violence and just talk more vocally about that,” he added.

Tuesday, Jan. 12

House Republicans Liz Cheney, John Katko say they will back impeachment of Trump
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump. The Wyoming congresswoman, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said in a statement late Tuesday that Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” She says, “Everything that followed was his doing.”

Cheney’s comments came after Rep. John Katko of New York became the first House Republican to back impeachment, saying Trump “encouraged” insurrection.

House lawmakers reconvene at Capitol to call on Pence to invoke 25th Amendment
The U.S. House pressed swiftly Tuesday toward impeaching President Donald Trump for the deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to try to persuade his vice president to push him out first. Trump showed no remorse, blaming his accusers instead for the “tremendous anger” in America. Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.

The House was expected to approve a resolution calling on Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve. Pence, who had a “good meeting” with Trump on Monday, their first since the vice president was among those sheltering from the attack, was not expected to take any such action.

Third lawmaker in Capitol siege lockdown tests positive for COVID-19
A third Democratic member of the House who was forced to go into lockdown during last week’s violent siege at the U.S. Capitol has tested positive for COVID-19. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said on Twitter that he tested positive Tuesday morning. He said he is not feeling symptoms but expressed dismay at the spate of positive test results and blamed Republican members of Congress who declined to wear a mask when it was offered to them during the lockdown.

Trump takes no responsibility for Capitol riot, visits Texas to showcase border wall
President Donald Trump on Tuesday took no responsibility for his part in fomenting a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week, despite his comments encouraging supporters to march on the Capitol and praise for them while they were still carrying out the assault. “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.

He made the comments during his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege, which came as lawmakers were tallying Electoral College votes affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Trump arrived in Texas on Tuesday to trumpet his campaign against illegal immigration in an attempt to burnish his legacy with eight days remaining in his term, as lawmakers in Congress appeared set to impeach him this week for the second time.

FBI warned of violent ‘war’ at Capitol in internal report issued day before deadly riot: Report
The FBI warned of a violent “war” at the US Capitol in an internal report issued a day before last week’s deadly siege, but it wasn’t acted on urgently enough to prevent the domestic terrorist attack, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The Post said that last Tuesday, an FBI office in Norfolk, Virginia, issued an “explicit internal warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war.'” The report “painted a dire portrait of dangerous plans, including individuals sharing a map of the complex’s tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet up” in several states before heading to Washington.

Trump issues emergency declaration for DC ahead of Biden inauguration
Last week’s mob attack on the U.S. Capitol starkly highlighted a longstanding local security paradox: The District of Columbia government lacks authority over much of the area within its borders. When violent backers of President Donald Trump overran the undermanned and under-prepared Capitol Police around 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lacked the authority to call in reinforcements from the D.C. National Guard. That’s a responsibility given to governors, not mayors.

President Donald Trump on Monday issued an emergency declaration for the nation’s capital. The declaration, in effect through Jan. 24, allows the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with local authorities as needed.

Monday, Jan. 11

House Democrats prep Trump impeachment bill; GOP blocks 25th Amendment ouster-by-Cabinet call
Impeachment pressure mounting, the House worked swiftly Monday to try to oust President Donald Trump from office, pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act first in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency.

Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” – in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating on Wednesday. First, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Jan. 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.

Trump warned about potential civil liability over Capitol riot
In the wake of Wednesday’s assault on the nation’s Capitol, President Donald Trump has been advised he potentially could face civil liability connected to his role in encouraging supporters who went on to storm Congress, sources familiar with the conversations told ABC News.

“Think O.J.,” an adviser explained it to Trump, according to one source. It was a reference to O.J. Simpson, who was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife and a friend but later faced stiff civil damages after being sued by his ex-wife’s family.

Joe Biden inauguration theme will be ‘America United’
The theme for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration will be “America United,” an issue that’s long been a central focus for Biden but one that’s taken on added weight in the wake of the violence at the U.S. Capitol last week. In an announcement shared first with The Associated Press, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said that the theme “reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future.

NY Bar Association seeks to expel Rudy Giuliani over ‘combat’ remarks before Capitol siege
Rudy Giuliani is facing possible expulsion from the New York State Bar Association over incendiary remarks he made to President Donald Trump’s supporters last week before they violently stormed the U.S. Capitol. The organization said Monday that it has opened an inquiry into whether Giuliani should remain a member. Its bylaws state that “no person who advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States” shall remain a member.

Joe Biden receives second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on camera
Joe Biden on Monday received the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on camera, as part of an effort by the President-elect’s incoming administration to reassure the country of the safety of the vaccines. Biden was administered the shot in his left arm by Ric Cuming, chief nurse executive at ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, according to Biden’s transition team.

State Department investigating website ‘prank’ involving Trump bio page
The State Department is investigating what appears to be a “prank” after its website suggested President Donald Trump’s term would end Monday evening. The change to the department’s bio page for Trump – which displayed the text “Donald J. Trump’s term ended on 2021-01-11 19:49:00” – created an internet frenzy Monday afternoon.

Friday, Jan. 8

Twitter permanently suspends Trump’s account for ‘risk of further incitement of violence’
Twitter says it is banning President Donald Trump from its platform, citing “risk of further incitement of violence.”

The social media giant said Friday: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them – specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Trump says he won’t be at Biden’s inauguration; Obamas, Bushes will attend
President Donald Trump said Friday he will skip President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, refusing to fulfill the outgoing president’s traditional role in the peaceful transition of power and undercutting his own message just one day earlier on the need for “national healing and unity.” Trump, who has not appeared in public since a violent mob of his supporters besieged the Capitol on Wednesday to try to halt the transfer of power, will be the first incumbent president since Andrew Johnson not to attend his successor’s inauguration.

Biden said he was just fine with that, calling it “one of the few things we have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing him not showing up.” He called the president an “embarrassment” to the nation and unworthy of the office.

Democratic momentum builds for potential fast-track Trump impeachment House vote next week
House Democrats, furious at President Donald Trump, are quickly building momentum toward impeaching the President next week.

House Democrats are planning to introduce an impeachment resolution on Monday, a move that would allow Democrats to fast-track an impeachment vote next week, though Democrats have not committed yet to holding such a vote. The latest draft of the impeachment resolution, obtained by CNN, includes one article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, RI Gov. Gina Raimondo among Biden adds to economic team
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday introduced the governor of Rhode Island, the mayor of Boston and a small-business advocate from California as the newest members of his economic team. The formal announcement came a day after his transition team announced Gov. Gina Raimondo as his choice to become commerce secretary, Mayor Marty Walsh as his candidate for labor secretary and Isabel Guzman as his pick to lead the Small Business Administration.

Facebook ‘indefinitely’ blocks Trump’s account after violence at Capitol
After a mob of pro-Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., during a joint session of Congress, Facebook took the unprecedented step of indefinitely blocking the president’s account.

As pressure mounts and social media companies are being forced to respond to their alleged culpability in the events that unfolded, some experts say now can be a moment of reckoning and change for these tech giants that have been left largely unregulated in the arena of political speech.

Trump rioters who seized Capitol fulfilled wishes of ‘infantile’ president, Michelle Obama says
Former first lady Michelle Obama responded to Wednesday’s riots at the Capitol in a blistering statement a day later, saying her “heart had fallen harder and faster than I can remember.”

She began by saying that she woke up excited by the news of Rev. Raphael Warnock’s projected victory in his runoff election in Georgia.

Joe Biden said he considered Bernie Sanders as labor secretary
President-elect Joe Biden says he gave “serious consideration” to nominating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as labor secretary, but both he and the senator agreed the appointment would put Democratic control of the U.S. Senate at risk.

Biden said Friday while introducing Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his Labor Department nominee that he and Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democratic Party, spoke after Democrats won two Senate seats in Georgia in Tuesday’s runoff elections.

Thursday, Jan. 7

NY, NJ sending help to DC, local pols target Trump, Cruz, Hawley
Both New York and New Jersey are stepping in to help with a peaceful transition of presidential power, this as local politicians continue to condemn President Donald Trump and prominent Republicans amid accusations of inciting violence in the riot at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called for Trump to be immediately removed from office, saying it was imperative to invoke the 25th Amendment or proceed with impeachment.

Lawmakers discuss Trump’s fitness to remain president after mob occupies Capitol in DC
One day later, the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters forced painful new questions across government – about his fitness to remain in office for two more weeks, the ability of the police to secure the complex and the future of the Republican Party in a post-Trump era.

In the immediate aftermath, the attack on the world’s iconic dome of democracy, shocking imagery flashed around the globe, reinforced lawmakers’ resolve to stay up all night to finish counting the Electoral College vote confirming Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election.

Zuckerberg extends Trump’s Facebook, Instagram lockout indefinitely
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced Thursday that President Donald Trump has been locked out of his accounts on Facebook and Instagram indefinitely, and at least until the end of his presidency.

“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote. “His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world.”

Pelosi, Schumer call for President Trump’s removal via 25th Amendment or impeachment
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, both Democrats, called for President Donald Trump to be immediately removed from office following the horrific events at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday.

They are the highest ranking officials to call for invoking the 25th Amendment or impeachment after a mob of the president’s supporters stormed the building.

Trump mulling self-pardon, sources say
President Donald Trump has suggested to advisers that he wants to grant himself a pardon before leaving office, sources familiar with the discussions told ABC News.

The conversations with top aides have happened in recent weeks. It’s not clear if the issue has been discussed between the president and his advisers since the riots on Capitol Hill Wednesday. However, following the riots Trump’s White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, advised the president that he could face legal jeopardy for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol building, according to sources familiar with their discussions.

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Chaos, riots at US Capitol
Violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and forced lawmakers into hiding, in a stunning attempt to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House.

The National Guard and state and federal police were called in for control, and the mayor of Washington imposed a rare evening curfew. One person was shot and killed.

The protesters were egged on for weeks by Trump, who since the November presidential election had launched a barrage of false attacks on the integrity of the results. While rallying his supporters outside the White House Wednesday morning, he urged them to march to the Capitol. But later – hours after they fought police and breached the building – he told them in a video that although they were “very special people” and he backed their cause, they should “go home in peace.”

Other than a pair of tweets and that minute-long video, Trump was largely disengaged from the occupation of a main seat of the nation’s government. It was Vice President Mike Pence, not Trump, who spoke with senior defense leaders about calling up the National Guard.

Local leaders react
Politicians and officials from the Tri-State area are responding to the pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol in Washington D.C.

Many took to social media to express their sadness and outrage.

Mitch McConnell breaks from Trump in blistering speech
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke from President Donald Trump, strongly rebuking the attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election loss using “sweeping conspiracy theories.”

The Kentucky Republican spoke as Congress convened for a special joint session to confirm the Electoral College vote won by Joe Biden.

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again,” McConnell said.

Joe Biden calls on Capitol mob to ‘pull back,’ urges restoring decency
President-elect Joe Biden called Wednesday for the restoration of “just simple decency” as a mob incited by his predecessor stormed the U.S. Capitol and delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election in which Biden won the White House.

Georgia election results: Democrats projected to gain control of Senate after Ossoff, Warnock
Democrats won both Georgia Senate seats – and with them, the U.S. Senate majority – as final votes were counted Wednesday, serving President Donald Trump a stunning defeat in his last days in office while dramatically improving the fate of President-elect Joe Biden’s progressive agenda.

Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Democratic challengers who represented the diversity of their party’s evolving coalition, defeated Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler two months after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state since 1992.

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Georgia runoff election latest
Georgians cast high-stakes final votes Tuesday in elections to determine the balance of power in the new Congress, deciding Senate runoff elections sure to shape President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to enact what could be the most progressive governing agenda in generations. Republicans are unified against Biden’s plans for health care, environmental protection and civil rights, but some have feared that outgoing President Donald Trump’s brazen attempts to undermine the integrity of the nation’s voting systems might discourage voters in Georgia.

State election officials reported light turnout Tuesday morning, including in the deeply conservative northwest region where Trump held a rally Monday night to encourage GOP voters to turn out in force. Wait times at polling sites were “almost nonexistent,” averaging about one minute statewide, said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Pence torn between Trump, Constitution when presiding over Congress’s tally of Electoral College votes
He has been President Donald Trump’s most loyal soldier, dutifully backing the unpredictable leader through one chaotic situation after another. Now Vice President Mike Pence finds himself in the most precarious position of his tenure as he prepares to preside over Wednesday’s congressional tally of Electoral College votes, the last front in Trump’s futile attempts to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Seated on the House of Representatives’ rostrum, Pence will bear witness to the formalization of Trump’s – and his own – election defeat, as tellers from the House and Senate record states’ electoral votes. At the end of the count, it will be his job to announce who has won the majority of votes for both president and vice president.

Monday, Jan. 4

President Trump, on tape, presses Georgia official to ‘find’ him votes
President Donald Trump pressured Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state’s presidential election, repeatedly citing disproven claims of fraud and raising the prospect of a “criminal offense” if officials did not change the vote count, according to a recording of the conversation.

The phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to press a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The president, who has refused to accept his loss to Democratic president-elect Biden, repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said. “Because we won the state.”

Georgia runoff election: What to expect as state counts votes Tuesday
This week will find us back in a familiar place – waiting for Georgia to count votes.

With control of the U.S. Senate at stake, all eyes are on a runoff election that has Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler facing Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Millions of dollars have poured in, Georgians have been bombarded by advertisements and messages urging them to vote, and both sides have sent their heavy hitters to help turn out voters.

Click here for some things to keep in mind as the polls close Tuesday night.

What happens when Congress meets Jan. 6? How count Electoral College votes are counted on Capitol Hill

Wednesday’s congressional joint session to count electoral votes has taken on added importance this year as congressional Republicans allied with President Donald Trump are pledging to try and undo Democrat Joe Biden’s victory and subvert the will of the American people.

The Republicans – a dozen senators and many more House members – are citing Trump’s repeated, baseless charges of widespread fraud. They say they will officially object to the results, forcing votes in the Republican-run Senate and the Democratic-controlled House that will almost certainly fail.

There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Neither Trump nor any of the lawmakers promising to object to the count have presented credible evidence that would change the outcome.

Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices, has also denied requests to hear a pair of cases aimed at invalidating the outcome of the election in key battleground states.

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