10 things you need to know today: January 11, 2021
Pelosi vows to start impeachment unless Pence acts to remove Trump, lawmakers faced possible coronavirus exposure during riot, and more
Pelosi says House will impeach Trump unless Pence acts
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that House Democrats plan to introduce a resolution on Monday calling for Vice President Mike Pence to convene the Cabinet and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. Pelosi said if Pence doesn't act within 24 hours, the House will proceed toward a vote on at least one article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week seeking to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's election victory. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday that the House could vote on impeachment Tuesday or Wednesday, but might hold off on sending the matter to the Senate for trial until 100 days into Biden's presidency, to provide time for votes on Biden's Cabinet nominees and legislative priorities.
Lawmakers possibly exposed to coronavirus during riot lockdown
Lawmakers who sheltered together during last week's Capitol siege by supporters of President Trump might have been exposed to someone infected with the coronavirus, Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, said in an email to lawmakers Sunday. Monahan said many House members and staff hunkered down in a large committee hearing space. "The time in this room was several hours for some and briefer for others," Monahan said. "During this time, individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection." Monahan did not specify how many lawmakers spent time in the room. Two House aides told The Washington Post that there had been scores of House members in the room Monahan was referring to. A video first released by Punchbowl News showed maskless Republican members declining masks offered to them by a Democrat.
Rioters who had zip-ties arrested as roundup continues
Federal and local authorities over the weekend continued to round up members of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. The FBI said Sunday that two men photographed carrying plastic hand restraints during the siege have been arrested, one a 30-year-old Nashville man and the other a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel in Texas. Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called for Homeland Security to impose heightened security measures starting Monday, instead of Jan. 19, in preparation for President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. Bowser's plea came as security experts warned that far-right extremists were discussing more assaults on Inauguration Day. "We took the building once," one person posted in an online group dedicated to a "Million Militia March" on Jan. 20. "We can take it again."
Pompeo expected to add Yemeni Houthi rebels to terror list
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week plans to designate Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing four U.S. officials familiar with the decision. Houthi rebels have been at war with Yemen's government, which is backed by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, for nearly six years, although some analysts say the rebels do not pose a direct threat to the United States. A Saudi-led coalition that has battled the Houthis since 2015 has aggravated a humanitarian crisis in the country, where millions have been threatened by famine. Putting the Houthis on the list of foreign terrorist organizations will cut them off from financial support routed through U.S. banks, but the Houthis get most of their support from Iran.
Parler knocked offline after Amazon suspends service
Amazon on Sunday removed Parler, a social media platform embraced by conservatives as an alternative to Facebook and Twitter, from its cloud hosting service, temporarily knocking the service off the internet. Amazon Web Services sent a letter to Parler Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff on Saturday explaining that it had alerted Parler to 98 "posts that clearly encourage and incite violence," a violation of AWS's terms of service. Amazon's move came shortly after Apple and Google pulled Parler from their app stores. Parler has been used by supporters of President Trump who participated in last week's storming of the Capitol, which was aimed at overturning President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the November election. Parler CEO John Matze said Parler could be offline for up to a week as "we rebuild from scratch," but that other services are "competing for our business."
FBI warned of threat ahead of mob's Capitol siege
The FBI and the New York City Police Department warned U.S. Capitol Police of the threat of violence ahead of Congress' certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Trump in the presidential election, NBC News reported Sunday. FBI agents visited more than a dozen far-right extremists before planned Washington, D.C., pro-Trump protests, urging them to stay away, senior law enforcement officials said. The comments contradicted remarks by a top FBI official who said authorities had no reason to suspect the protests would turn violent. Outgoing Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said he repeatedly requested putting the D.C. National Guard on standby in the days and hours before the riot, but House and Senate security officials turned him down, The Washington Post reported.
Capitol police officer dies in apparent suicide
An off-duty Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, has died of an apparent suicide. U.S. Capitol Police announced Liebengood's death on Sunday. Two law enforcement officials told The Washington Post Liebengood apparently died by suicide. Liebengood, 51, was among the officers who clashed with a pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last week. "Officer Liebengood was an example of the selfless service that is the hallmark of USCP," said Gus Papathanasiou, head of the Capitol Police union. "This is a tragic day." Liebengood's late father served as a Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, lobbyist, and chief of staff to Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), and later to then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Liebengood's death over the weekend followed the death of fellow officer Brian Sicknick, who died after being struck in the head by rioters.
PGA board moves 2022 golf championship from Trump course
The PGA of America board voted on Sunday to move the 2022 PGA Championship from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, citing last week's riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. "We find ourselves in a political situation not of our making," PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told The Associated Press. "We're fiduciaries for our members, for the game, for our mission, and for our brand. And how do we best protect that? Our feeling was given the tragic events of Wednesday that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster." In a statement, the Trump Organization said it had "a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America" and "they have no right to terminate the agreement." PGA of America signed the deal with Trump National in 2014, and it would have been the first major championship at a Trump course.
Marriott, Blue Cross halt donations to lawmakers opposing electoral results
Marriott International and Blue Cross Blue Shield said Sunday that they would temporarily stop donating to House members and senators who voted last week against certifying President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. Critics have said the lawmakers' opposition encouraged the mob that stormed the Capitol and delayed the counting of the electoral votes. "We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election," said Connie Kim, a spokeswoman for Marriott, the world's largest hotel company. Health insurer BCBS said it was suspending the contributions because the lawmakers "voted to undermine our democracy."
Nancy Bush Ellis, sister and aunt of presidents, dies at 94
Nancy Bush Ellis, sister of the late President George H.W. Bush, died Sunday at a Massachusetts assisted living facility. She was 94. Alexander Ellis III, her son, said she died of COVID-19 complications. Jon Meacham, a biographer of President Bush, said Ms. Ellis was "a Katharine Hepburn-like figure" — smart, athletic, outgoing, and a supporter of numerous social causes. She was a liberal Democrat for decades, within a Republican political dynasty that produced two presidents. She raised money for the NAACP and promoted environmental and anti-poverty organizations. She also campaigned for her brother and later her nephew, former President George W. Bush. "She was a wonderfully energetic campaigner and cheerleader for her brother," Meacham said. "She was a Democrat for whom family came first."