AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EST
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office.
With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.
Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.
Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached. It was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in modern times, more so than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended, and it revealed the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. The riot also forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and largely allowed him to spread false attacks against the integrity of the 2020 election.
Led by Cheney, 10 House Republicans back Trump impeachment
WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten Republicans — including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House GOP leader — voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. The GOP votes were in sharp contrast to the unanimous support for Trump among House Republicans when he was impeached by Democrats in December 2019.
Cheney, whose decision to buck Trump sparked an immediate backlash within the GOP, was the only member of her party's leadership to support impeachment, which was opposed by 197 Republicans.
"There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” said Cheney, whose father, Dick Cheney, served as vice president under George W. Bush. The younger Cheney has been more critical of Trump than other GOP leaders, but her announcement hours before Wednesday's vote nonetheless shook Congress.
Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,'' Cheney said, adding, “Everything that followed was his doing.” Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters from rioting but did not, she noted. The riot resulted in five deaths, including that of a Capitol police officer.
Nine other House Republicans also supported impeachment: Reps. John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Fred Upton and Peter Meijer of Michigan; Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington state; Tom Rice of South Carolina; and David Valadao of California.
Enduring 2nd impeachment, Trump stands largely silent, alone
WASHINGTON (AP) — His place in the history books rewritten, President Donald Trump endured his second impeachment largely alone and silent.
For more than four years, Trump has dominated the national discourse like no one before him. Yet when his legacy was set in stone on Wednesday, he was stunningly left on the sidelines.
Trump now stands with no equal, the only president to be charged twice with a high crime or misdemeanor, a new coda for a term defined by a deepening of the nation's divides, his failures during the worst pandemic in a century and his refusal to accept defeat at the ballot box.
Trump kept out of sight in a nearly empty White House as impeachment proceedings played out at the heavily fortified U.S. Capitol. There, the damage from last week’s riots provided a visible reminder of the insurrection that the president was accused of inciting.
Abandoned by some in his own party, Trump could do nothing but watch history unfold on television. The suspension of his Twitter account deprived Trump of his most potent means to keep Republicans in line, giving a sense that Trump had been defanged and, for the first time, his hold on his adopted party was in question.
Calls to reopen classrooms grow as teachers get vaccinated
State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to the vaccine against the raging pandemic.
Ohio's governor offered to give vaccinations to teachers at the start of February, provided their school districts agree to resume at least some in-person instruction by March 1. In Arizona, where teachers began receiving shots this week, the governor warned schools that he expects students back in the classroom despite objections from top education officials and the highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate in the nation over the past week.
“We will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure,” said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. “Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic.”
Leaders of Arizona’s major hospitals disagreed with the governor's position, noting at a news conference Wednesday that the state is teetering on the brink of having to ration life-saving care.
“We understand that learning and bringing our children together is very important,” said Dr. Michael White of Valleywise Health. “But at this time with uncontrolled spread of the virus, we need to do things that we know will reduce the chance that the virus will spread and that is not gathering with people we don’t live with.”
Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise
WASHINGTON (AP) — Potential threats and leads are pouring in to law enforcement agencies nationwide after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The challenge is now figuring out what's real and what's just noise.
Investigators are combing through a mountain of online posts, street surveillance and other intelligence, including information that suggests mobs could try to storm the Capitol again and threats to kill some members of Congress.
Security is being tightened from coast to coast. Thousands of National Guard troops are guarding the Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Governors and lawmakers are stepping up protections at statehouses after an FBI bulletin this week warned of threats to legislative sessions and other inaugural ceremonies.
A primary concern is the safety of members of Congress, particularly when they are traveling through airports, according to two U.S. officials briefed on the matter.
The FBI and other federal authorities use their substantial resources to prepare. But smaller local police departments lack the staff to hunt down every tip. They must rely heavily on state and federal assessments to inform their work, and that information sometimes slips through the cracks — which apparently happened last week.
US to block cotton from China region targeted in crackdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Uighur region of China in its most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party over its campaign against ethnic minorities.
Officials said Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor to keep out cotton, tomatoes and related products from the Xinjiang region of northwest China.
Xinjiang is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on international commerce. The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor in the region, and the U.S. has imposed sanctions on Communist Party officials with prominent roles in the campaign.
The order will put economic pressure not just on China but major global retailers who unwittingly or otherwise import goods produced by people under conditions that are akin to modern-day slavery.
"Any global apparel brand that is not either out of Xinjiang already, or plotting a very swift exit, is courting legal and reputational disaster," said Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor rights monitoring organization. "The days when any major apparel brand can safely profit from Xinjiang cotton are over.”
Ex.-Michigan Gov. Snyder charged in Flint water crisis
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty after an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
The charges, revealed in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The charges are groundbreaking: No governor or former governor in Michigan’s 184-year history had been charged with crimes related to their time in that office, according to the state archivist.
“We believe there is no evidence to support any criminal charges against Gov. Snyder,” defense attorney Brian Lennon said Wednesday night, adding that state prosecutors still hadn't provided him with any details.
Lennon said Tuesday that a criminal case would be “outrageous." Snyder and others were scheduled to appear in court Thursday, followed by a news conference by Attorney General Dana Nessel and prosecutors.
VIRUS TODAY: Coronavirus deaths hit another daily high in US
Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:
THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY
— Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has eclipsed 380,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is closing in fast on the number of Americans killed in World War II, or about 407,000. Confirmed infections have topped 22.8 million. Arizona and California have been among the hardest-hit states. The country is now in the most lethal phase of the outbreak yet, even as vaccines are being rolled out.
— State leaders around the U.S. are increasingly pushing for schools to reopen this winter — pressuring them, even — as teachers begin to gain access to vaccines against the raging pandemic. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine offered to give vaccinations to teachers at the start of February, provided their school systems agree to resume at least some in-person instruction by March 1. And Arizona’s governor warned schools that he expects students back in the classroom despite objections from top education officials and the highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate in the nation over the past week.
— An ongoing study suggests that older American adults are showing resilience and perseverance despite struggles with loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. That’s according to the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, conducted by the social research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. It’s part of a longer-term study designed to track the physical and emotional well-being of a group of older Americans over time. Only 9% of older adults reported having “fair or poor overall mental health” during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the study found that general happiness has declined and an increasing number report occasional feelings of depression or isolation.
Census decision deals blow to Trump efforts on House seats
President Donald Trump's effort to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from being counted in the process for divvying up congressional seats was dealt another blow Wednesday when the Census Bureau's director indefinitely halted an effort to gather data on the citizenship status of every U.S. resident.
Bureau workers laboring to comply with the Trump order were instructed to “'stand down' and discontinue their data reviews," Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham said in a memo.
A review indicated problems with the data that would require additional work, Dillingham said.
Dillingham's memo came after the Office of Inspector General reported Tuesday that bureau workers were under significant pressure from two Trump political appointees, Nathaniel Cogley and Benjamin Overholt, to figure out who is in the U.S illegally, using federal and state administrative records. Bureau statisticians worried that any citizenship figures they were forced to produce would be incomplete, misinterpreted and tarnish the statistical agency's reputation, the inspector general said in a memo.
Dillingham had set a Friday deadline for bureau statisticians to provide him a technical report on the effort, the inspector general's memo said, though Dillingham said in a response that the request had come from another bureau official.
AP source: Harden headed to Nets in blockbuster 4-team deal
James Harden is heading to Brooklyn, joining old teammate Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to give the Nets a potent trio of the some of the NBA's highest scorers.
The Nets agreed to acquire the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets on Wednesday in a move he has sought for weeks, said a person with knowledge of the situation.
Harden is the centerpiece of a four-team deal that also involves Indiana and Cleveland, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade call with the NBA — which signs off on all deals — has not been completed.
Once it is, the Nets will be able to trot out a lineup of three players capable of scoring 25 or more points on any night in a collection of firepower to rival any Big Three in recent years.
They are loading up for a title run with three of the highest-paid players in the league. All are under contract through 2022-23, with Harden and Durant both set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons.