1/11 Impeachment, Inauguration, Impending Unrest

The national reckoning over last week’s insurrection continued through the weekend and into this week, with legislators, companies, and the public taking steps to hold President Trump and his enablers accountable.

On MSNBC with Ali Velshi, former U.S. Attorney and VPP Advisory Board member Joyce Vance emphasized the need to hold accountable those complicit in Wednesday’s attack and echoed the importance of checks and balances to our democratic process. “There’s a reason we have a criminal justice system. I hope we’re about to see it in action with new leadership at DOJ,” Vance said. Watch her full commentary here.  In a powerful op-ed, Norm Eisen, outside counsel to the Voter Protection Program, argued that the current crisis is in part a consequence of the Senate’s failure to hold Trump accountable during the first impeachment trial.

Below you can find an update on impeachment proceedings, security concerns ahead of inauguration, and the continued fallout from last week’s failed coup.

National Update

High Alert:  Concerns of further violent, armed protests continued to grow over the weekend. Violent threats associated with the planned “Million MAGA Rally” in D.C. on inauguration day and other armed riots during the week leading up to the 20th have increased on social media. A new FBI situational report confirms the threat and specifically warns that “armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.”

Big Tech Takes a Stand: Citing these threats of future violence, big tech companies have issued additional bans on accounts and apps responsible for inciting violence. Following Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump’s account on Friday, big tech companies issued a ban on Parler, the alt-right alternative to Twitter. This weekend, Google and Apple removed Parler from their app stores, and Amazon declared it would no longer include the site on its web hosting services. This move inhibited the alt-right community’s ability to communicate, and has, for the time being, disabled Trump’s  preferred communications tool: his social media megaphone.

Money Matters: Major corporations — including AT&T, Comcast, Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Dow Chemical and American Express — have ended political contributions to lawmakers who objected to the certification of the electoral vote during the Joint Session of Congress last week. In a statement today, Comcast said: “The peaceful transition of power is a foundation of America’s democracy. Consistent with this view, we will suspend all of our political contributions to those elected officials who voted against certification of the electoral college votes, which will give us the opportunity to review our political giving policies and practices.”

Impeachment 2.0: Trump has eight days left in office and House Democrats are racing against the clock to impeach him. Their unprecedented effort to impeach a sitting president twice materialized late this morning when they formally introduced an article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.” Armed with enough votes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must now decide when to send the article to the Senate. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed that the earliest the Senate could take up impeachment proceedings would be January 19, a mere day before Biden’s inauguration. Some House Democrats have signalled their intention to stall on sending the article to the Senate, to avoid holding a time-intensive trial during Biden’s first 100 days.

The Power of Three: Yet another branch of government has distanced itself from Trump’s efforts to claim election fraud without any evidence. The Supreme Court released multiple unsigned orders today indicating that they will not take up the Trump campaign’s election challenges. This latest move, coupled with the wave of executive administration resignations and the House impeachment effort, marks the moment when all three branches of government have taken action against Trump.

Capitol Security: Following the death of yet another Capitol Police officer and dozens more injured, the push to investigate Wednesday’s massive security breach has further intensified. On Sunday,  former National Police Chief Steven Sund revealed shocking new information that the Pentagon denied his request for the National Guard to be deployed to the Capitol six times.

Accountability: Elected officials up and down the ballot are feeling the heat for continuing to pander to Trump’s election conspiracies and for their potential roles in inciting Wednesday’s violence. From calls for resignation to investigation into who is responsible for the events on January 6, the search for answers is well underway. Multiple attorneys general have committed to identifying and criminally prosecuting rioters who reside in their states. District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine echoed that sentiment in an appearance today on MSNBC today, saying he is “looking at a charge under the DC code of inciting violence, and that would apply where there’s a clear recognition that one’s incitement could lead to foreseeable violence.”  Political organizations and issue groups like the Rule of Law Defense Fund, an arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association,  are seeing sharp backlash for their roles in promoting and supporting the events that led to an attack on the Capitol. And unruly rioters are now being placed on the FAA’s “No-Fly” list.

State Updates

Michigan: In the wake of Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol and Friday’s bomb threat at the Michigan State Capitol, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel highlighted the inadequate security regulations inside the capitol and stressed the importance of firearm regulations. Following Nessel’s push and the increased risk of security threats, the Michigan State Capitol Commission voted unanimously today to ban open-carry of guns inside the State Capitol.

New York: This week, New York  state legislators will vote on legislation that would increase absentee ballot protections. The proposal would make it more difficult to throw out ballots for stray marks or unsealed envelopes. 

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