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A curated guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
President Trump was impeached yesterday by lawmakers in the House on the charge of “incitement of insurrection.” The article of impeachment accused Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in relation to his efforts to overturn the presidential election result and encouraging the violent mob that breached Capitol Hill on Jan 6. Nicholas Fandos reports at the New York Times.
The House voted 232 to 197 in favor of impeachment, with 10 Republican lawmakers joining House Democrats in backing impeachment – marking the most votes from a minority party for a presidential impeachment. The case will move to the Senate for trial, but it is not clear when this will start as the Senate is not in session and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said any vote would take place after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan 20. Natalie Andrews, Kristina Peterson and Rebecca Ballhaus report at the Wall Street Journal.
The article of impeachment refers to President Trump’s refusal to accept election defeat, and his campaign to reverse Biden’s win, as the impetus for the storming of the Capitol. It also draws attention to the president’s plea to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensburger on Jan 2 to “find” more votes to ensure a Republican win in Georgia. Sarah Ferris, Kyle Cheney and Heather Caygle report at POLITICO.
“We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a speech ahead of the vote, which also saw ten Republican lawmakers condemn Trump for incitement. Some Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said the President bore “responsibility” for the violent mob but argued that impeachment was not the correct way forward. Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Phil Mattingly report at CNN.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” the No. 3 Republican Leader and House Republican Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) said in a statement setting out her support for impeachment. Mike Lillis and Scott Wong report at The Hill.
Impeachment was a “bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the constitution and their conscience,” President-elect Joe Biden said in a statement yesterday. Lauren Fedor reports at the Financial Times.
An overview of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach the president is provided by John Eligon and Thomas Kaplan at the New York Times.
A Senate trial could result in lawmakers barring Trump from holding the presidency again. Whilst Sen. McConnell has refused to reconvene the Senate to begin the trial sooner than Jan 19, he has been equivocal on how he would vote on convicting Trump; saying he has “not made a final decision” and would “listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane report at the Washington Post.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have said they would consider voting to convict President Trump, whilst Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said that “legitimizing” the process would be “doing great damage not only to the country [and] the future of the presidency, but also to the [Republican] party.” Alexander Bolton reports at the Hill.
Tensions have risen between President Trump and his inner circle following impeachment and is dismayed by his personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani – with two officials stating that Trump has instructed aides not to pay Guiliani’s legal fees. Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report at the Washington Post.
TRUMP IMPEACHED: OPINION AND ANALYSIS
The five key takeaways from yesterday’s impeachment vote are provided by Daniel Strauss at the Guardian.
“Republican lawmakers who objected to the electoral vote results on the grounds of mythical election fraud should immediately and publicly apologize, repudiate their lies and admit that Joe Biden won the election fairly,” the New York Times Editorial Board writes, arguing that unity can only come with acknowledging their role in encouraging the president and the false claims that the election was “stolen.”
“Impeaching Mr. Trump now does not obviate the need for further investigation,” the Washington Post Editorial Board writes, stating that there are many unanswered questions, including the security threat posed by the mob at the Capitol to members of Congress. They also call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell to reconsider his reported refusal to reconvene the Senate early.
BREACH AT THE CAPITOL
“I unequivocally condemned the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country, and no place in our movement,” President Trump said in a video message about the storming of the Capitol, but made no mention of the House vote to impeach him. Aime Williams and Katrina Manson report at the Financial Times.
Trump’s video released on the White House Twitter account did not concede the election or refer to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and came a week after another video message in which he told his supporters who breached the Capitol: “We love you. You’re very special,” Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt report at the New York Times.
The National Guard has been providing a militarized presence at the Capitol following the violence that took place last week and threats ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Emily Cochrane reports at the New York Times.
Briefings to the National Guardsmen have raised the possibility that individuals plotting to attack the Capitol in the days leading up to the Inauguration could use improvised explosive devices (I.E.D.). The National Guard have also been briefed to be aware of heavily armed protestors. Natasha Bertrand and Lara Seligman report at POLITICO.
A group called the ‘Boogaloo Boys’ is planning armed protests ahead of and after Joe Biden’s inauguration. Erin Branco, Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Brodey reveal at The Daily Beast.
Around 20,000 National Guardsmen will be deployed to secure the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan 20. Brakkton Booker reports at NPR.
Democrats have called for an investigation of Republican members of Congress for their possible role in encouraging and enabling the violent mob, with Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and other Democrats sending a letter to congressional security yesterday asking to look into “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors” the day before the breach at the Capitol. Michael Kranish, Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett report at the Washington Post.
A man who made threats against a lawmaker was charged yesterday with a weapon offense as over 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition and ammunition for other guns were found at his property. Eduard Florea did not participate in the mob that breached the Capitol, but was investigated by federal agents as part of a manhunt following the violence last week. Ed Shanahan and Nichole Hong report at the New York Times.
An inspection of the F.B.I.’s Washington Bureau two years ago gave it a “failing grade”, according to two former F.B.I. officials. The evaluation found shortcomings in relation to intelligence gathering and analysis – with the same issues appearing to be present in the lead up to and during the storm of the Capitol on Jan 6. Ken Dilanian reports at NBC News.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said today that the decision to ban President Trump from the social media platform was made with “best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter” but emphasized that he does not “celebrate or feel pride” in taking the step, which was made after “a clear warning” was issued to the president. James Clayton reports at the BBC.
Social media apps like Telegram and Signal have been growing in popularity due to concerns over big tech companies and their reaction to a series of events, including the breaching of the Capitol. Jack Nicas, Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel report at the New York Times.
An overview of the key arrests made relating to the breach at the Capitol is provided by Jason Hanna, Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen at CNN.
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, will face the Senate Intelligence Committee later this week to consider her nomination. Maggie Miller reports at The Hill.
Biden is expected to pick a number of former Obama administration officials as his temporary Cabinet secretaries, Natasha Korecki reports at POLITICO.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has created a number of foreign policy “headaches” for the Biden administration in the final days of the Trump presidency. Luke McGee offers his analysis at CNN.
Researchers from sent by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) landed in the Chinese city of Wuhan today to investigate the origins of the coronavirus. Sam McNeil and Huizhong Wu report at the AP.
“We are going into a second year of this, it could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” the W.H.O. top emergencies official Mike Ryan said yesterday, warning that the coronavirus can cause more difficulties in the future. Reuters reports.
The United Nations atomic agency (I.A.E.A.) published a report yesterday stating that Iran has started manufacturing equipment with which it can produce uranium metal, raising the possibility that the country is developing a nuclear weapons program. Laurence Norman and Michael R. Gordon report at the Wall Street Journal.
“The United States will always stand with Taiwan,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Kelly Craft said yesterday in a virtual meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, with the meeting drawing condemnation from China which reiterated adherence to the “one-China principle”. Edith M. Lederer reports at the AP.
The acting leader of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) resigned yesterday without giving any reasons and after only two weeks in his role, Hamid Aleaziz reports at BuzzFeed News.
Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have stalled again and pressure is mounting on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as the negotiations falter and violence surges. The volatile situation comes amid the planned reduction of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which is expected to proceed as planned from tomorrow. Pamela Constable reports at the Washington Post.
Israel carried out airstrikes in the Syrian cities of Deir al-Zour and Bukamal yesterday, hitting sites that reportedly included Iranian military and militia loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Sarah Dadouch reports at the Washington Post.
The U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock will today warn of a “famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly 40 years” if the U.S. does not overturn its decision to designate Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization, stating that the designation would hinder food being brought into the country through commercial channels. Michelle Nichols reports Reuters.
The U.S. will be halting imports of cotton and tomatoes from China’s Uighur region in response to human rights violations by the Chinese government, the Trump administration announced yesterday. Joseph Choi reports at The Hill.