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Donald Trump impeachment: Key Republicans support removing President from office – latest news

The US House is poised to hold an impeachment vote against Donald Trump on Wednesday for the deadly Capitol attack after Mike Pence ruled out invoking the 25th Amendment.

In a worrying sign for the President, five Republicans in the House, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, have signalled they will vote to impeach, while US media report that Senate Leader Mitch McConnell also supports the impeachment process.

The House on Tuesday night approved a resolution urging the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Mr Trump with a Cabinet vote, although Mr Pence had already said he would not do so.

The resolution, passed 223-205 almost entirely along party lines, urged him to “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Hours before the vote, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Pence said it would not be in the best interest of the nation and it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”

Mr Trump called the second impeachment proceedings a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics”.

Follow the latest updates below.

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12:20PM

Ashley Biden: the president-elect’s activist daughter

After Joe Biden gave his election victory speech, a woman danced on to the stage, waving her arms in the air and celebrating.

It was the kind of enthusiasm America is set to see regularly from the country’s new First Daughter, Ashley Biden.

As America counts down the days until the inauguration of her father, Ms Biden, 39, is expected to be a very different First Daughter than Ivanka Trump. 

She is unlikely to take a role in her father’s administration. But, like Ms Trump, she will have her father’s ear for issues that she cares deeply about.

READ MORE:  Ashley Biden: the president-elect’s activist daughter stepping into Ivanka Trump’s shoes

11:58AM

Biden names ex-ambassador Samantha Power to lead U.S. international aid agency

President-elect Joe Biden has named Samantha Power, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as his choice to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Power will rally the international community and work with our partners to confront the biggest challenges of our time — including Covid-19, climate change, global poverty, and democratic backsliding,” his transition team said in a statement.

“A crisis-tested public servant and diplomat, Ambassador Power has been a leader in marshaling the world to resolve long-running conflicts, respond to humanitarian emergencies, defend human dignity, and strengthen the rule of law and democracy,” it added.

The long-time human rights advocate served as U.S. ambassador to the UN under former Democratic President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden from 2013 to 2017.

Ms Power, 50, also served as a White House national security staffer under Obama from 2009 to 2013. A former journalist, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her book “A Problem from Hell,” a study of U.S. failure to prevent genocide.

11:36AM

US envoy to South Korea to leave post next week

US ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris will leave his post next week, he said Wednesday, after nearly two years which have seen him at the centre of controversy on several occasions.

“As has been reported, my time as Ambassador is ending,” Mr Harris tweeted.

“I’ll depart post next week. Bruni & I have enjoyed our lives here in South Korea immensely.”

Seoul and Washington are security allies and the US stations 28,500 troops in the country.

But their relationship has been strained in recent years by differences in their approaches to North Korea and over cost-sharing responsibilities for the US deployment under President Donald Trump.

The tweet comes just days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

11:15AM

Human Rights Watch urges Biden to let justice ‘go forward’ on Trump

US president-elect Joe Biden should allow the prosecution of his predecessor for alleged crimes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, warning that just moving forward would be “a huge mistake”.

Once Biden takes office on January 20, he should not stand in the way of professional prosecutors wanting to hold Donald Trump to account for various crimes in the name of trying to unify the country, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth told AFP.

“Biden needs to allow professional prosecutors to go forward, and to prosecute whatever crimes took place,” Mr Roth said as the human rights NGO published its nearly 400-page annual report over rights abuses around the world.

Unprecedented efforts are underway by Democrats in Congress to impeach Trump for a second time, and Mr Roth urged the executive branch to also ensure he is sanctioned for his alleged crimes while in office.

“January 6 was a natural culmination of a trend that really persisted for four years.. It is essential for the United States to really draw a line under that and say: this despicable conduct is utterly unacceptable.”

It was vital, he said, to show that the president “is not above the law.”

10:57AM

Republicans object to metal detectors outside House

Republicans are objecting to new metal detectors outside the House chamber that were added as a security precaution following last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

Steve Scalise, the No 2 House Republican, said on Tuesday that the metal detectors were designed to impede lawmakers from voting and were not discussed with GOP leaders ahead of time.

Rodney Davis of Illinois was angry about the metal detectors and said valuable resources were being diverted in order to install the devices.

Several lawmakers simply walked around the devices. Louie Gohmert said: “You can’t stop me. I’m on my way to a vote.”

Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has announced her intention to carry a gun on Capitol grounds, set off a metal detector. It wasn’t clear if she had a cellphone or other metal object in her purse. She refused to allow a search of her bag but eventually was let into the House chamber.

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, has vowed to bring a gun into Congress

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, has vowed to bring a gun into Congress

Credit:
Stefani Reynolds /Bloomberg

10:40AM

Another Republican house member turns on Trump

The mutiny against the President from his own party is continuing overnight.

Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents the state of Washington, has tweeted that she will vote in favour of impeachment later on today.

“I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him,” she said in a written statement.

Ms Herrera Beutler joins Liz Cheney, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton as the GOP House members who have publicly backed the impeachment vote.

10:21AM

What will Joe Biden’s first 100 days as US president look like?

President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn into office on January 20. Mr Biden made a long list of promises for his first 100 days, but his overriding priority will be the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, he is expected to try to roll the clock back as much as possible to January 2017, when he and Barack Obama left office.

That would involve using executive orders, as much as possible, to overturn orders introduced by Mr Trump, including those that loosened environmental regulations.

He will also prioritise international relations with a flurry of calls to world leaders, reassuring allies about the US role on the global stage.

READ MORE:  What will Joe Biden’s first 100 days as US president look like, and when is his first day in office?

9:59AM

Your complete guide to Inauguration Day

Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Jan 20. 

Despite the violence seen in the Capitol building on Jan 6, the US Congress confirmed Mr Biden will become the next President, after they certified 270 Electoral College votes on Jan 7.

After Congress approved Vermont’s votes, Mr Biden reached the number of Electoral College votes needed to become the President. He has, therefore, defeated Donald Trump by 306-232.

The traditional outdoor ceremony for the new president is set to go ahead – although the coronavirus pandemic will scale back the usual celebrations.

READ MORE:  Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and what time is the virtual parade?

9:40AM

National Guard to be armed with ‘lethal weapons’ for inauguration

A spokesperson for the Pentagon has confirmed to the New York Times that the 15,000 National Guard officers who will be deployed on Inauguration Day will be armed with “lethal weapons”.

“We want our individuals to have the right to self-defense,” General Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said on Monday during phone call with reporters. “If senior leadership determines that that’s the right posture to be in, then that is something we will do.”

Traditionally, authorities have shied away from arming those who are charged with security in and around the Capitol. The White House has reportedly signed off on this decision.

The New York Times, citing an anonymous Defence Department official, also reported that law enforcement are preparing for a range of extreme scenarios, including the possibility that remote-controlled drones could be used to attack the assembled crowd.

There have been growing concerns that pro-Trump supporters will organise a day of protests on January 20. Local police have warned of a plot in which 4,000 armed insurrectionists could descend on Washington in the coming days, encircling the US Capitol.

READ MORE:  Police warn of new plot for 4,000 armed insurrectionists to surround US Capitol

9:26AM

Rebellion against Donald Trump as four House Republicans say they will vote to impeach

Donald Trump’s support from Republicans on Capitol Hill was draining away on Tuesday night as a flurry of the party’s congressmen announced they would vote for impeachment, reports our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith.

Four Republican members of the US House of Representatives went public with their decision to impeach, condemning his speech whipping up a crowd of supporters before some stormed the US Capitol.

Those backing impeachment included Liz Cheney, the third most senior House Republican and the daughter of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who gave a brutal assessment of Mr Trump.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution”, Ms Cheney said of Mr Trump’s incitement of the mob.

READ MORE: Rebellion against Donald Trump as four House Republicans say they will vote to impeach

9:10AM

Trump’s visit to the border wall in pictures

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a plaque placed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall during his visit, in Alamo, Texas

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a plaque placed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall during his visit, in Alamo, Texas

Credit:
Carlos Barria/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump yells as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border wall

U.S. President Donald Trump yells as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border wall

Credit:
Carlos Barria/Reuters

Donald Trump steps off Marine One to board Air Force One before departing from Texas

Donald Trump steps off Marine One to board Air Force One before departing from Texas

Credit:
Mandel Ngan/AFP

Construction continues along the border wall with Mexico championed by U.S. President Donald Trump in Sasabe, Arizona

Construction continues along the border wall with Mexico championed by U.S. President Donald Trump in Sasabe, Arizona

Credit:
Micah Garen /Getty Images North America 

8:57AM

Mitch McConnell’s cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

The tipping point came just before 6pm on Tuesday night, writes Nick Allen. Almost simultaneously, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, and congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, made clear they have abandoned Donald Trump.

It was the moment the political sands shifted under the president’s feet. Other, previously loyal, Republicans will follow. And the way is now clear, not just for Republicans in the House to join Democrats in impeaching Mr Trump, but potentially for the Senate to convict him.

Mr Trump would be the first US president to meet such an ignominious fate. Hours earlier it had still seemed a very remote possibility.

READ MORE: Mitch McConnell’s cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

8:44AM

‘Strong possibility’ of Donald Trump running for President in 2024 says Nigel Farage

8:29AM

US cancels UN envoy’s visit to Taiwan ahead of Biden inauguration

A visit by Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations, to Taiwan this week was abruptly cancelled on Tuesday by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, just days after he had unexpectedly announced it, reports Nicola Smith. 

The 11th hour decision was reportedly part of a sweeping move to halt all overseas travel for senior US diplomats after last week’s storming of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. 

Ms Craft had been due to arrive in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, on Wednesday for a three-day trip and was scheduled to meet Tsai Ing-wen, the president, who earlier this week tweeted that the unprecedented visit “marks an important milestone in the US-Taiwan partnership.”

READ MORE:  US cancels UN envoy’s visit to Taiwan ahead of Biden inauguration

8:18AM

Harvard cuts ties with Congresswoman over voter fraud claims

A Republican member of Congress has been removed from a panel at Harvard University for making comments that perpetuated President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, the school announced on Tuesday.

US Representative Elise Stefanik of New York was removed from a senior advisory committee at Harvard’s school of government after she declined to resign voluntarily, according to a statement from Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Hundreds of students and alumni called on Harvard to cut ties with Ms Stefanik, a 2006 Harvard graduate, after last week’s violent insurrection at the US Capitol.

Ms Stefanik was one of roughly a dozen current and former public servants on a senior advisory committee for Harvard’s Institute of Politics, a programme intended to get undergraduates interested in public service careers.

READ MORE: Harvard cuts ties with Congresswoman over voter fraud claims

8:07AM

 Tim Cook: ‘Rule of law must be respected’

Apple chief Tim Cook says he wants those involved with the deadly attack on the US Capitol last week to be held accountable, even if that includes President Trump.

“Everyone that had a part in it needs to be held accountable,” Mr Cook said in a CBS This Morning interview on Tuesday. “I think no one is above the law. We’re a rule of law country.”

Cook did not specifically mention Mr Trump, but said that anyone with a role in the insurrection should be held accountable under the law.

“I don’t think we should let it go,” Mr Cook said. “This is something we’ve got to be serious about. I think holding people accountable is important.”

Tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google have all cut ties with Parler, the social media platform popular with some conservatives including Mr Trump’s supporters.

READ MORE: The rise and fall of Parler, the right-wing app popular with Trump supporters

7:55AM

Armed National Guard troops deployed

National Guard troops deployed on the streets of Washington have begun to carry weapons in a major change of posture ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration as US president.

The Guard soldiers were originally mobilised to provide mostly logistical support to Washington police, and on Monday General Daniel Hokanson, Pentagon National Guard Bureau chief, said they had not been authorised yet to carry weapons.

Authorising Guard members to deploy in a law enforcement role, armed and empowered to make arrests, would be a “last resort” if the security situation got out of hand, Hokanson said.

It was not clear what changed late on Tuesday, and the city’s National Guard had no comment.

Security experts have said chatter among extremists and supporters of President Donald Trump on social media about holding armed marches and threatening violence in the US capital and other cities had surged in recent days.

7:44AM

YouTube suspends Trump channel

YouTube has locked Donald Trump’s account for a week, preventing the president from posting on one of the few social media networks he was still able to use during his last days in office, writes Margi Murphy.  

It has also indefinitely disabled comments under his videos over safety concerns, the company said in the early hours of Wednesday morning. 

The Google-owned video streaming website had been under pressure to ban Mr Trump after Facebook said it would be suspending his account “indefinitely” and Twitter “permanently” after he violated both companies’ policies against inciting violence for encouraging the mob who stormed the Capitol building last week. 

Celebrities including Sacha Baron Cohen and Amy Schumer have been boosting the campaign #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy aimed at getting YouTube to dismantle Trump’s account. 

Read more: YouTube suspends Donald Trump until he leaves the White House 

7:32AM

Donald Trump: What would impeachment mean for him if he’s already out of office?

Our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith explains what impeachment would mean for Donald Trump if he is already out of office.

7:22AM

US carries out its first execution of female inmate since 1953

Away from the drama in Washington, a Kansas woman was executed for strangling an expectant mother in Missouri and cutting the baby from her womb, the first time in nearly seven decades that the U.S. government has put to death a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. local time (6:31am GMT) after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection there since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass. As the execution process began, a woman standing over Montgomery’s shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery’s face mask and asked her if she had any last words. “No,” Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else.

She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, but she otherwise showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes.

“The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight,” Montgomery’s attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. “Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame.”

“The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman,” Ms Henry said. “Lisa Montgomery’s execution was far from justice.”

It came after hours of legal wrangling before the Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to move forward. Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die before next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to discontinue federal executions.

This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery

This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery

Credit:
-/Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery 

7:08AM

What impeachment could mean for Donald Trump and his chances of a comeback  

Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a resolution containing a single article of impeachment against Donald Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the attack on the US Capitol last week.

It sets in motion a course that will likely result in a second impeachment for Mr Trump, making him the first ever US president to be impeached twice. 

Impeachment is a mechanism by which Congress can remove a sitting president. Before Donald Trump, only two US presidents had been impeached.

READ MORE: What impeachment could mean for Donald Trump and his chances of a comeback  

6:57AM

The top stories from overnight

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