Rep. Jamie Raskin said that House members “could’ve died” during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
He mentioned that the mob had erected a gallows outside the Capitol building and were heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” He added that some of those who stormed the building got into Nancy Pelosi’s office and were heard yelling, “Where’s Nancy?”
“They may have been hunting for Pence and Pelosi to stage their coup, but every one of us in this room right now could’ve died,” Raskin said.
The Maryland Democrat added, “it’s a bit much to be hearing that these people would not be trying to destroy our government and kill us if we just weren’t so mean to them.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Republican from New Jersey, said that impeaching President Trump for a second time would “fracture” the country again.
“We’ve been here before. We’ve done this before. This has failed before. We fractured our nation using the same process before. Congress must be the glue that starts unifying everyone,” Van Drew said.
For context: Van Drew is a former Democrat who flipped to the Republican Party in 2019. He said the “final sign” for him to switch parties was being told to vote in favor of Trump’s first impeachment.
“Nearly half the country supports our current president. This takes their voice away. We must be bigger and better than the most base of instincts that have been driving our political discourse. It is destroying us,” he said.
WATCH HIS REMARKS HERE:
Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from Louisiana, noting that it would likely be his last floor speech before he leaves the House, said today that some of his fellow lawmakers “may well be co-conspirators” of President Trump in inciting the riot last week.
“President Trump put the domestic terrorists on notice by saying, stand back, and stand by. He then summoned them to DC, directed them to march on the Capitol. And then he sat back and watched the insurrection,” he said.
Richmond continued: “Some of my colleagues, some of which may well be co-conspirators in their latest attempt to placate and please this unfit president suggest that we shouldn’t punish him in order to unify the country. That is the climax of foolishness.”
Richmond said that during Trump’s first impeachment Republicans said Congress didn’t need to impeach him “because he learned his lesson.”
“Simply put, we told you so,” he said.
As his time expired, he closed with a sign-off: “Richmond out.”
Some context: Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond will join President-elect Joe Biden’s White House, departing the New Orleans-area House of Representatives seat he has held since 2011. Richmond will serve as senior adviser to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko argued against impeaching President Trump, saying there is no point in going through proceedings to remove the President when he has just one week left in office.
“At a time when our country needs unity, it is concerning that my Democratic colleagues have chosen to begin impeachment proceedings against a president with just seven days left in office,” she said during debate over the article.
Lesko said, “I’ve heard my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say they have to impeach the President because he is too dangerous to stay in power. Yet they know that it is impossible for the Senate to remove him before his term expires. So what is the point?”
She said that Congress has certified the count of the Electoral College and acknowledged that Joe Biden will be the next president.
“President Trump has indicated he will peacefully transfer power to President-elect Biden next week. So why pursue impeachment just one week before he leaves office?” Lesko said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t agree to bring the Senate back early, according to Republican sources, and he communicated as much to Sen. Chuck Schumer today.
That means a Senate trial won’t happen now until the early days of the Biden presidency.
McConnell spokesperson Doug Andres confirmed as much on Twitter just moments ago.
Remember: President Trump will stay in office and likely finish out his term because it takes a Senate conviction to remove him even after he’s been impeached.
“Donald Trump is a living, breathing, impeachable offense. It is what it is,” Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said in his argument in favor of impeachment.
Jeffries also said that the President incited the deadly Capitol mob and called him “a clear and present danger” to the American people.
“Violence will not win. Insurrection will not win. Sedition will not win. Terror will not win. Lawlessness will not win. Mob rule will not win. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Democracy will prevail,” Jeffries said.
Criticizing the impeachment proceedings against President Trump, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said Democrats are trying to “cancel the President.”
“It’s always been about getting the President no matter what. It’s an obsession, an obsession that is now broadened,” he said. “Stop and think about it. Do you have a functioning First Amendment when the cancel culture only allows one side to talk? When you can’t even have a debate in this country?”
He warned that the cancel culture will eventually “come for us all.”
“It needs to stop because if it continues it won’t just be Republicans who get canceled, it won’t just be the President of the United States. The cancel culture will come for us all.”
Instead of impeachment, the focus should be on “bringing the nation together,” the lawmaker from Ohio added.
“In seven days there will be a peaceful transfer of power just like there has been every other time in our country, but Democrats are going to impeach President Trump again. This doesn’t unite the country. There is no way this helps the nation deal with the tragic and terrible events of last week that we all condemn.”
Hear Rep. Jordan’s remarks:
A source familiar with the matter says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not weigh in publicly until the House has officially impeached the President.
As Bioreports’s Manu Raju and Jeff Zeleny have noted, Senate Republicans are in the dark about what will happen next. The expectation is McConnell will send a message to his conference once the House vote is complete laying out the potential timeline.
McConnell is facing a delicate balance – a number of his GOP colleagues have made clear they oppose impeachment and the Kentucky Republican famously loathes anything that divides his conference.
But the source says McConnell is also keenly aware of the moment in history – and the moment for the Republican Party. On the latter issue, the Kentucky Republican knows Trump remains very popular with his base, but is at by far his weakest point.
There’s also nothing left Trump can deliver for McConnell, who largely kept any criticism of Trump to himself the last four years as he pursued career ambitions in terms of overhauling the federal judiciary.
Some context: McConnell’s shift against Trump has been apparent for those watching him closely. He cut off contact with Trump weeks ago and has made clear he has no plans ever to speak to him again.
He carefully crafted his Senate floor remarks on Jan. 6 lambasting the efforts not only of Trump, but also of members of his own conference to push objections to President-elect Biden’s electoral victory.
He did the same when the Senate returned to session after the attack on the Capitol.
His anger over not only what transpired, but Trump’s lack of contrition, led him almost immediately to the conclusion on Trump’s culpability, the source said.
What happens next in terms of the timeline of a trial, as we’ve reported, is still unclear. But make no mistake about where McConnell is positioning himself here. It’s not subtle.
Discussions are underway about raising the terrorism threat level, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, though one source cautioned no changes are expected as of now.
The National Terrorism Advisory System – which replaced color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System – falls under the Department of Homeland Security. Advisories are pushed out in the event of an imminent or elevated threat to the public.
One of the officials said the discussions began following last week’s insurrection and was based on information that a similar attack by “armed militias” could happen at the Capitol or elsewhere
The latest advisory issued stemmed from an Iran-related terrorism threat to the United States last January. It’s since expired.
According to the DHS website, decisions about issuing an advisory, and what form it takes, are informed by “intelligence assessments and risks to the public and critical infrastructure.”
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, along with federal entities, decides whether a NTAS alert should be issued.
DHS did not immediately respond to Bioreports’s request for comment.