Here is a summary of the top political issues making headlines this week.
1. Trump is Impeached
A week after whipping up a violent revolt on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead, U.S. President Donald Trump has become the first president ever to be impeached a second time. The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 232-197 to once again impeach Trump, pushing for his removal — with a week left in his presidency
The argument is that Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors by inciting the insurrection.
“The President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a debate before the vote. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
After months of recklessly pushing baseless conspiracy theories and risible lies that the election was “rigged against him, the president summoned his supporters to Washington as lawmakers convened January 6 to certify Joe Biden’s victory and told them to “fight like hell” for him.
When the MAGA mob stormed the Capitol forcing lawmakers to take cover as armed insurrectionists stalked the halls of congress, Trump repeatedly refused to take adequate action to stop them, eventually calling on his supporters to go home while also praising them as very special and expressing support for their rebellion against an election victory he said was “stripped away” from them. Amid continued threats of violence, National Guard troops were camped out Wednesday in the Capitol for Wednesday’s vote.
“We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
2. McCarthy calls on Trump to accept responsibility for attack
The House Republcan Leader Kevin McCarthy called on U.S. President Donald Trump to “accept his share of responsibility” for the violence that overtook the U.S. Capitol last week and urged Republicans to accept that Joe Biden is the next leader of the nation.
“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said on the House floor. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.”
McCarthy said that the outgoing president needs to “accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-Elect Joe Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”
The top House Republican also took members of his own party to task for baselessly speculating that the mob was driven by antifa or other leftist agitators rather than grapple with the reality that it was Trump supporters who laid siege to the Capitol and killed at least one police officer.
“Some say the riots were caused by antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that,” McCarthy said. “Conservatives should be the first to say so.”
b. House Votes 223-205 to Call on Pence to Strip Trump of Power – New York Times
c. Trump’s legacy—the shame and the opportunity – The Economist
d. Impeachment Could Ban Trump From Running in 2024 – New York Magazine
3. Trump pushes Americans to ease tensions
U.S. President Donald Trump called for “all Americans” to help “ease tensions and calm tempers,” saying he does “not” stand for violence “of any kind” — and he’s asking Big Tech to join the effort.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” the president said in a statement to Fox News. “That is not what I stand for and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”
Trump’s statement comes while Congress is trying to impeach him for inciting the violence that hit the Capitol last week.
“President Trump is asking all Americans to join with him in ensuring that there is an orderly and peaceful transition next week,” a senior Trump adviser told Fox News. “President Trump is also asking that Big Tech companies join with him in this effort.”
The adviser added: “This is a critical time in our nation’s history and surely we can all come together to deliver this important message and not continue to play partisan politics.”
a. World Leaders Condemn Pro-Trump Riot at US Capitol – VOA News
c. Donald Trump champions his ‘peacemaker’ role in UN address – The National
d. Donald Trump is the accelerant – Vox
4. McConnell still undecided on convicting Trump
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, told his Republican colleagues in a note Wednesday afternoon that he remains undecided on whether he’ll vote to convict the president at his upcoming impeachment trial.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said.
Simply being open to voting to convict is significant for McConnell, who denounced Trump’s first impeachment as a political exercise with “zero chance” of removing the president.
On Wednesday, 10 House Republicans voted to impeach the president as the House approved a single article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. He is the first president to be impeached twice.
McConnell said the earliest the Senate might vote on the matter is January 19.
5. YouTube not banning Trump channel
YouTube is looking at U.S. President Donald Trump’s account the same as any other. Thus. he will not be banned unless he violates the service’s policies three times in 90 days, said Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google parent Alphabet Inc, on Wednesday.
Trump violated YouTube’s rules with an upload on Tuesday, generating one strike. It was among hundreds of political videos YouTube has removed since the United States certified the results of its presidential election, Pichai said.
Speaking during the Reuters Next conference, Pichai also said there were good “initial proposals” in the United States and Europe to regulate content moderation by requiring companies have clear policies and let users appeal decisions and modify posts.
“Those all to me make sense,” he said in an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler. “There are areas where there can be specific regulation based on the type of content, but we have to tackle that narrowly.”
Pichai said the videos removed from YouTube violated company policies, without specifying which one. YouTube bans videos that incite violence or make false claims about widespread voter fraud.
YouTube also blocked Trump for posting for one week, but it has received employee criticism and been threatened with an advertiser boycott for not removing his account altogether.
Twitter Inc banned Trump’s account after his supporters attacked the Capitol last week. Facebook Inc suspended his account for at least two weeks.
6. Attack on the Capitol was planned, investigators say
Weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack on the U.S. Capitol was not just a protest that spiraled out of control, a federal law enforcement official told CNN.
Among the evidence the FBI is examining are indications that some participants at the Trump rally at the Ellipse, outside the White House, left the event early, perhaps to retrieve items to be used in the assault on the Capitol.
A team of investigators and prosecutors are also focused on the command and control aspect of the attack, looking at travel and communications records to determine if they can build a case that is similar to a counterterrorism investigation, the official said
At least some of the arrests already made are part of a strategy used in counterterrorism investigations, to find even a minimal charge and try to take a person of concern off the streets. That helps ease the possible threat amid concern about possible attacks on the inauguration, officials believe.
7. Airbnb has canceled reservations in the Washington area
Airbnb has cancelled reservations in the Washington, DC, area during the inauguration week after U.S. authorities asked people to stay away.
The FBI has warned of the risk of armed protests across the US as Trump supporters and far-right groups call for demonstrations before Joe Biden is sworn in as president on Tuesday.
The company said it would refund any cancelled stays and reimburse hosts.
It will also prevent any new reservations by blocking requests.
Airbnb said: “We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the inauguration.”
On Monday federal officials urged people not to travel to the the capital.
The storming of the US Capitol complex by Trump supporters on 6 January left five people dead.
A number of legislators have said that they feared for their lives.
Facebook said on Tuesday that the riot at the Capitol had galvanised supporters – spawning efforts to organise gatherings ahead of the inauguration.
b. How Safe Is Washington DC for Travel? – Travel Safe
c. Stay Out Of Washington DC, Says Everyone – Forbes
8. Attorneys say women’s execution “craven blood lust”
Lisa Montgomery’s attorney denounced the “craven bloodlust of a failed administration” after the U.S. government executed her in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Montgomery was pronounced dead after receiving the lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
She is the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government in 67 years—and the 11th person put to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions last summer after a 17-year pause.
Montgomery was convicted of federal kidnapping resulting in death in 2007. Prosecutors said she had driven from her home in Melvern, Kansas, to Skidmore, Missouri, on December 16, 2004, under the guise of adopting a rat terrier puppy from 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett. There, she strangled Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, cut the fetus out with a kitchen knife and fled with the baby.
a. Case Summaries of Executed Women – Death Penalty Information Center
c. Death Penalty – Amnesty International