Comcast halts campaign contributions to lawmakers who objected to certifying presidential election results
Philadelphia-based Comcast Corporation is suspending political donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying the presidential election results in Congress last week.
In a statement Monday, the communications giant referred to the “appalling violence we witnessed at the U.S. Capitol.”
The company joins a growing list of major corporations that are stopping or pausing contributions through their political action committees, in the wake of the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump during the counting of electoral votes.
“At this crucial time, our focus needs to be on working together for the good of the entire nation,” Comcast said in its statement. “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.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf resigning
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is stepping down from his post, days after criticizing President Donald Trump over the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Wolf said in a message to staff that he would step down at 11:59 p.m. Monday, even though he had earlier said he planned to remain in his job. He said Pete Gaynor, who ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency, would become the acting homeland security secretary.
The resignation comes a day before Trump is set to visit the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Last week, Wolf asked Trump and all elected officials to “strongly condemn the violence” that took place at the Capitol. Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Wolf said he has condemned violence on both sides of the political aisle, specifically directed at law enforcement. He tweeted “we now see some supporters of the President using violence as a means to achieve political ends” and called that unacceptable.
2 GOP former U.S. House members from Pa. join call to impeach Trump
Two former Republican members of Congress from Pennsylvania are calling for Congress to impeach President Donald J. Trump.
Jim Greenwood, of Bucks County, and Charlie Dent, of Allentown, both signed a letter with 24 former GOP members of Congress calling for lawmakers to oust the president after he sparked a riot at the U.S. Capitol and tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“There is no excuse for nor defense of a President of the United States to actively orchestrate an insurrection on a separate but coequal branch of government,” said the letter. “As members of the branch that was under attack — not just politically but physically — you must remove the president from office. Congress must send a strong and clear message not just to this president but future presidents that this type of behavior will not be tolerated or accepted.”
Trump’s supporters in Congress, many of whom tried to throw out valid election results, argue that an impeachment in Trump’s final days in office would be too divisive.
Mayor Kenney says city employees will be investigated if they were involved in Capitol breach
Mayor Jim Kenney asked residents Monday to submit tips if they have evidence that city employees participated in illegal activity during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and vowed that his administration will investigate all credible tips.
Kenney said the administration is still investigating whether Gugger, whom he did not name in his statement, participated in breaking the law and acts of violence.
“I sincerely hope that is not the case — I hope good judgment prevailed,” he said. “But rest assured that should this individual or any City worker be implicated in criminal activity as a result of that demonstration, he or she will be disciplined up to and including termination.”
Tips about city employees who may have participated in illegal activity can be submitted to the Office of the Inspector General by calling 215-686-1770 or emailing oig@phila,gov.
“To be clear, we do not at this time have evidence that any city employee broke the law last Wednesday when the Capitol was breached,” Kenney said. “And I cannot emphasize enough that any resulting investigations would not lose sight of the right to engage in First Amendment protected activity.”
Meanwhile, 10 Council members called for Kenney to appoint a designated investigator to look into such reports — and said the results of the investigation should be made public.
“While no one should face repercussions for partaking in their First Amendment rights of protest or free speech, we must be certain no one on the city’s payroll violently attacked the seat of our federal government on behalf of the outgoing President,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson.
Councilmembers Kendra Brooks, Jamie Gauthier, Derek Green, Helen Gym, Kenyatta Johnson, Curtis Jones Jr., Cherelle Parker, Maria Quiñones Sánchez, and Isaiah Thomas also signed onto Gilmore Richardson’s letter to Kenney.
After detective’s reassignment, Philly’s police commissioner is investigating whether any others were at Capitol
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Monday that the department would take “swift and definitive action” against any Philadelphia police officer found to have participated in the lawlessness that took place in the Capitol last week.
“The PPD supports all lawful expressions of First-Amendment rights, but the attack on the Capitol Building went well beyond the rights of free speech,” Outlaw said in a statement. “I can assure the public that a full and thorough investigation will take place, and ask that anyone with additional information reach out to our Internal Affairs Bureau.”
Her comments came after the department temporarily reassigned Detective Jennifer Gugger from her position in the department’s Recruit Background Investigations Unit after police received social media posts indicating she had been at the Wednesday event.
Up to 15,000 National Guard members could be deployed in D.C. during inauguration
Up to 15,000 National Guard members could be deployed in Washington during the presidential inauguration, senior defense officials said Monday, part of a rapidly expanding response following a deadly insurrection at the Capitol last week.
Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a call with reporters that about 6,000 guardsmen from six states already are in the nation’s capital, and that the military response will expand to about 10,000 by the weekend.
Hokanson said the numbers will be determined by the requirements that federal agencies have for support. The National Guard will bring their weapons to Washington and carry them based on discussions with the FBI, police and other agencies.
“Obviously, we’re very concerned that we want our individuals to have the right to self-defense,” the general said. “And so, that will be an ongoing conversation, and if the senior leadership determines that that’s the right posture to be in, then that is something that we will do.”
FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week
The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington in the days leading up to President-election Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
An internal FBI bulletin warned that, as of Sunday, the nationwide protests may start later this week and extend through Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, according to two law enforcement officials who read details of the memo to The Associated Press. Investigators believe some of the people are members of some extremist groups, the officials said. The bulletin was first reported by ABC.
“Armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols from Jan. 16 through at least Jan. 20, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January,” the bulletin said, according to one official. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The FBI issued at least one other bulletin — they go out to law enforcement nationwide on the topic — before the riots last week. On Dec. 29, it warned of the potential for armed demonstrators targeting legislatures, the second official said.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on Monday that the Guard is also looking at any issues across the country,
“We’re keeping a look across the entire country to make sure that we’re monitoring, and that our Guards in every state are in close coordination with their local law enforcement agencies to provide any support requested.”
Biden suggests Senate split time between impeachment and other business
President-elect Joe Biden says he has spoken to Senate leaders about splitting time between approving his key Cabinet nominations and proceeding with a possible impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.
Trump leaves office Jan. 20 and the Senate likely won’t reconvene until next week, raising concerns among congressional Democrats that the impeachment trial could overshadow the start of Biden’s presidency and confirmation of his choices for key administration posts.
After receiving his second coronavirus vaccination shot on Monday in Delaware, Biden downplayed such concerns, however, and suggested that the Senate could do both.
The president-elect said he’d spoken to Senate leaders about splitting the chamber’s time and “go a half day on dealing with impeachment, a half day on getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate.”
Biden said such an arrangement also would allow the Senate to work on another major pandemic response bill that would include more economic aid for Americans struggling because of the virus.
New Jersey governor wants Trump removed from office, urges residents to stay away from protests
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said President Donald Trump should be immediately removed from office by any means possible.
“I’ve run out of things to say about President Trump,” he said. “I’ve been asked ‘If you were in the House would you vote to impeach him?’ Yes, I would. If I were in the Senate, I’d vote to convict him. And if I were in his cabinet, I’d join on the 25th amendment.”
Murphy said state law enforcement officials were aware of possible security threats or protests planned for Trenton next week, and urged anyone who is thinking about mounting a counter-protest not to do it.
“Even if your heart is 1,000% in the right place, stay home. Just stay home,” he said. “There’s no need to get in the mix.”
Murphy urged politicians who have enabled President Trump by supporting his accusations of voter fraud to “stand up and say the right thing,” saying it would help the country.
He also condemned the Nazi symbols seen on clothing worn by some of the insurrectionists who overran the Capitol last week.
“Anyone who has not spoken out against this insurrection last week, this is who your silence is enabling. This is who you’re standing with,” he said. “When you refuse to denounce what they have done, it’s the same as giving them a pass.”
Gab, a Pennsylvania-based social network, is the new online hub for the far-right fringe
After Twitter banned President Trump last week and Apple, Amazon and Google all outlined plans to deplatform Parler — the social network that became known as a home for the far-right and followers of the conspiracy theory QAnon — many Parler users began to post the same notice: “Follow me on Gab.”
As of April 2019, Gab claimed to have 900,000 registered accounts. It’s now counting “600,000 new users per day [and] 39 million visits this week,” Gab chief executive Andrew Torba said in an email Monday morning. He declined an interview request. In other posts, the company said it added 10 new servers to keep up with swelling demand.
Pa. attorney general’s office working with feds on Capitol riot cases
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday that “many more” who were involved in last week’s Capitol insurrection will be arrested.
”This violent insurrection must have real consequences,” said Shapiro, who said he believed President Donald Trump should be impeached and that elected officials who spread the president’s lies should be “expelled.”
In a response to a question about the insurrection, Shapiro, who was speaking at a press conference in Media about an unrelated issue, said his office has been working with the FBI and other federal officials to gather evidence and tips around potential arrests.
”There will be many more arrests to come,” he said. ”You’ve seen that about 100 people have already been charged. More will be charged as well.”
”We can’t as a commonwealth or as a country simply chalk this up to a protest,” he said. “I’ll defend people’s First Amendment rights to peacefully protest. That’s not what this was.”
N.J. congresswoman tests positive for COVID-19 after Capitol lockdown
A Democratic congresswoman from the Trenton area has tested positive for the coronavirus after sheltering in a secure location Wednesday amid the insurrection at the Capitol.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old lung cancer survivor, said in a statement Monday that she believed she was exposed “during protective isolation,” in a crowded room where some House members refused to wear masks. Congress’ attending physician alerted lawmakers and aides Sunday that a person in the room had the virus.
A number of House members, staffers and reporters sheltered together in the room for several hours Wednesday as police tried to quell the riot inside the Capitol.
“I received a positive test result for COVID-19, and am home resting at this time. While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.
She had received the first of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID19 vaccine, according to the statement.
Tours of Washington Monument suspended over ‘credible threats’ surrounding inauguration
Tours of the Washington Monument have been suspended until at least Jan. 24 over concerns about “credible threats” surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, the National Park Service announced Monday.
The park service said it may also suspend access to roadways, parking areas, and restrooms within the National Mall and Memorial Parks if conditions warrant.
Limits on the public’s access to Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, and Old Post Office Tower are already in effect in response to the pandemic, the park service said.
House pushes to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection’
Impeachment pressure mounting, the House worked swiftly Monday to try to oust President Donald Trump from office, pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act first in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency.
Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — in an impeachment resolution that could go to a vote by midweek. First, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Jan. 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” reads the four-page impeachment bill.
“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,” it reads.
On Monday, a House resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove Trump from office was blocked by Republicans. However, the full House is set to hold a roll-call vote on that resolution on Tuesday, and it is expected to pass.
After that, Pelosi said Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Next, the House would proceed to impeachment. A vote could come Wednesday.
Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on such a course, which would involve invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution with a vote by a majority of the Cabinet to oust Trump before Jan. 20.