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A curated guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
ATTACK ON THE CAPITOL
As lawmakers hid from rioters, trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, they could not get through to President Donald Trump, who was “was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas,” report Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, and Philip Rucker for the Washington Post.
Karl Racine, the District of Columbia’s attorney general, said he is investigating whether he can charge anyone with incitement to violence after last week’s attack on the Capitol. “Clearly the crowd was hyped up, juiced up, focused on the Capitol and rather than calm then down or at least emphasize the peaceful nature of what protests need to be, they really did encourage these folks and riled them up,” Racine told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Dan Mangan reports for CNBC.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf resigned Monday. “Mr. Wolf told employees of the Homeland Security Department he would be stepping down on Monday night in part because of court rulings that invalidated some of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, citing the likelihood that Mr. Wolf was unlawfully appointed to lead the agency,” Zolan Kanno-Youngs reports for the New York Times.
Peter Gaynor, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is replacing Wolf as the acting DHS secretary and is now tasked with helping secure President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. “Wolf will remain with the department as an under secretary for policy, a position for which he was confirmed by the Senate,” Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Helene Cooper report for the New York Times.
House Democrats received a disturbing briefing Tuesday night about other potential violent demonstrations being planned. “On a private call Monday night, new leaders of the Capitol Police told House Democrats they were closely monitoring three separate plans that could pose serious threats to members of Congress as Washington prepares for Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20,” Matt Fuller reports for the Huffington Post.
Congressman Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a former Army Ranger, has asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy for the military’s criminal investigation units to review troops participating in the inauguration to ensure they are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists. Ryan Pickrell reports for Business Insider.
Several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and many others are under investigation, “for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the demonstration last week that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol,” report Aaron C. Davis, Rebecca Tan, and Beth Reinhard for the Washington Post.
Twitter says it has suspended more than 70,000 accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory following last week’s U.S. Capitol riot. The AP reports.
As Congress investigates the events of Jan. 6, it should establish a commission to investigate the security failures and make recommendations to prevent them from happening again, Kyle Murphy writes for Just Security, offering his suggestions for questions that should guide such an investigation.
Companies Try to Distance Themselves from Trump and his supporters on the Hill
Deutsche Bank, the president’s largest lender, and Signature Bank, are looking to distance themselves from Trump and his business. Signature Bank plans to close his accounts and issued a statement calling on the president to resign. Meanwhile, “Deutsche Bank, which has been Mr. Trump’s primary lender for two decades, has decided not to do business with Mr. Trump or his company in the future, according to a person familiar with the bank’s thinking,” Eric Lipton, Ben Protess and Steve Eder report for the New York Times.
Defense company Northrop Grumman has paused its political donations to members of Congress, the first defense company to do so, reports Defense News.
House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump on Monday.
You can read the Article of Impeachment here.
Before moving to impeachment, House Democrats are calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. House Democrats are expected to “begin debate on the impeachment resolution on Wednesday morning, marching toward a vote late in the day unless Mr. Pence intervenes beforehand,” Nicholas Fandos reports for the New York Times.
Here is a detailed timeline from Just Security’s Ryan Goodman, Mari Dugas and Nicholas Tonckens of President Trump’s statements and actions relevant to the case that he incited the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Two Democratic congresswomen have tested positive for COVID after sheltering with their Republican colleagues who refused to wear masks on Wednesday during the attack on the Capitol. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) are both quarantining. “The attending physician to Congress, warned over the weekend that lawmakers may have been exposed to the virus while taking cover from the rioters,” reports Teo Armus for the Washington Post.
The CDC is expected to encourage states to widen access to Covid-19 vaccines even further. “Health officials on Tuesday will push states to expand the shots’ availability to anyone older than 65, regardless of underlying conditions that might put them at greater risk of severe disease, and anyone 16 and older with such a condition, according to two U.S. officials who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public,” Jennifer Jacobs reports for Bloomberg.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the United States is available at the New York Times.
US and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.
Latest updates on the pandemic at The Guardian.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to give a speech on Tuesday in which he presents newly declassified information linking al-Qaeda to Iran. “It was not immediately clear how much Pompeo intends to reveal in his speech to the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday,” report Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick for Reuters.
The State Department designated Cuba “a state sponsor of terrorism” on Monday in a last-minute foreign policy stroke that will complicate the incoming Biden administration’s plans to restore friendlier relations with Havana,” report Michael Crowley, Ed Augustin and Kirk Semple for the New York Times.
Congressional staffers were furious with the State Department on Monday after it announced an 11th-hour move to designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as terrorists, putting in jeopardy desperately needed humanitarian assistance to the country. Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer report for Foreign Policy.
A Voice of America reporter has been reassigned after she tried to ask Pompeo questions on Monday. “Patsy Widakuswara, who covers the White House for VOA, was ordered off the beat by Director Robert Reilly after firing questions at Pompeo after his speech and a brief Q&A session conducted by Reilly,” reports Paul Farhi for the Washington Post.
The Treasury Department issued new sanctions on seven Ukrainians accused of interfering in the U.S. election. “The U.S. Treasury Department described the targeted sanctions as the ‘inner circle’ of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, who was sanctioned last year. Derkach has previously worked with Rudy Giuliani to dig up damaging information on President Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent, President-elect Joe Biden, and his son Hunter,” reports Amanda Macias for CNBC.
The FDA cycled through three different top lawyers on Monday. “The unusual sequence began with Trump appointee Stacy Cline Amin abruptly stepping down as chief counsel and the FDA announcing that career civil servant Mark Raza would be her acting replacement. Then, HHS on Monday night announced that Trump political appointee James Lawrence would instead serve as chief counsel — a move that unnerved health officials as the Trump administration heads into its final week,” Dan Diamond reports for POLITICO.
Biden’s selections for his Cabinet are finalized. “If confirmed, his Cabinet will be more diverse than not only Trump’s Cabinet, but also Obama’s,” the Washington Post reports. You can see all of his nominations here.