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President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani both mistakenly made calls to Republican Sen. Mike Lee as deadly riots were unfolding at the US Capitol earlier this week, a spokesman for the senator confirmed to – calls that were intended for another GOP senator the White House was frantically trying to convince to delay the counting of Electoral College votes.
Lee’s spokesman said the calls from Trump and his attorney were intended for Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a newly elected Republican from Alabama.
The effort by the White House to get Tuberville to delay certification of the votes provides insight into the President’s thinking and priorities as a mob of his supporters lay siege to the iconic building. As the President worked to convince Tuberville to delay the process, he and other top White House officials did little to check in on Vice President Mike Pence while he and members of his family were inside the breached Capitol, a source close to the vice president told CNN.
Trump first called the personal cell phone of Lee, a Utah Republican, shortly after 2 p.m. ET. At that time the senators had been evacuated from the Senate floor and were in a temporary holding room, as a pro-Trump mob began breaching the Capitol.
Lee picked up the phone and Trump identified himself, and it became clear he was looking for Tuberville and had been given the wrong number. Lee, keeping the President on hold, went to find his colleague and
handed Tuberville his phone, telling him the President was on the line and had been trying to reach him.
Trump pressured Pence to engineer a coup, then put the VP in danger, source says
Tuberville spoke with Trump for less than 10 minutes, with the President trying to convince him to make additional objections to the Electoral College vote in a futile effort to block Congress’ certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s win, according to a source familiar with the call. The call was cut off because senators were asked to move to a secure location.
CNN has reached out to Tuberville’s office for comment.
The second call to Lee came in at 7 p.m. ET from Giuliani. Lee did not answer the call so it went to voicemail. Lee’s office confirmed to CNN that the voicemail was intended for Tuberville and the message left from Giuliani was very similar to one that another unnamed GOP senator received. The transcript of that call was published by the conservative outlet The Dispatch as well as the news blog emptywheel.
“Sen. Tuberville? Or I should say Coach Tuberville. This is Rudy Giuliani, the President’s lawyer,” he said according to to the transcript.
“I’m calling you because I want to discuss with you how they’re trying to rush this hearing and how we need you, our Republican friends, to try to just slow it down so we can get these legislatures to get more information to you,” Giuliani said, referring to unfounded claims of voter fraud in the presidential election.
“I know they’re reconvening at 8 tonight, but it … the only strategy we can follow is to object to numerous states and raise issues so that we get ourselves into tomorrow — ideally until the end of tomorrow.”
Tuberville was unaware that Giuliani had tried to reach him until it was publicly reported, according to the source.
Tuberville was likely seen by Trump and Giuliani as someone who could help further their cause on Wednesday, as he was among a group of six GOP senators who voted to sustain an objection raised against Arizona’s electoral votes, which failed 93-6.
CNN reported on Wednesday that even after Congress was reconvening that night following the riot, Trump was still urging senators to push ahead with the protest on the certification of Biden as President, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski is calling on President Donald Trump to resign following the riots at the Capitol on Wednesday, making her the first Republican senator to take that step.
“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski said in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News.
“I think he should leave. He said he’s not going to show up. He’s not going to appear at the at the inauguration. He hasn’t been focused on what is going on with COVID. He’s either been golfing or he’s been inside the Oval Office fuming and throwing every single person who has been loyal and faithful to him under the bus, starting with the vice president,” Murkowski told the paper.
“He doesn’t want to stay there. He only wants to stay there for the title. He only wants to stay there for his ego. He needs to get out. He needs to do the good thing, but I don’t think he’s capable of doing a good thing,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski joins more than two dozen Senate Democrats in calling for Trump’s ouster, but breaks new ground among Senate Republicans who have at best publicly considered such a move.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who voted to acquit the President during the Senate impeachment trial last year but is also a frequent Trump critic, said Friday he would “definitely consider” articles of impeachment from the House in an interview on CBS.
“The House, if they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I’ve told you, I believe the President has disregarded his oath of office,” he said.
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the sole Republican to vote to convict the president last year on one article of impeachment, told reporters late Wednesday that “I think we’ve got to hold our breath” until Trump’s out of office when asked his view of invoking the 25th Amendment. Asked whether Trump should be impeached, Romney said, “I think time is a little short for that.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who was critical of him this week, said in a Twitter thread on Friday that impeaching Trump in his final days would “do more harm than good” and would be “unsuccessful” in the Senate. At a Thursday news conference, however, Graham said about the 25th Amendment that he doesn’t “believe that’s appropriate at this point,” adding that “if something else happens all options would be on the table.”
Murkowski has repeatedly broken party lines and opposed the President, telling reporters in June that she was still “struggling” with a decision about whether she would support Trump in November.
But she has also consistently backed the President’s interests. She said in September that she opposed taking up a Supreme Court nomination prior to Election Day, before announcing in October that she would ultimately vote yes on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. During Trump’s impeachment trial last year, Murkowski announced that she could “not vote to convict” Trump but nevertheless called his actions “shameful and wrong.”
The Department of Justice on Friday announced that 13 people are facing federal charges stemmig from a riot Wednesday at the Capitol.
The full court records have not yet been made available for all defendants and only a handful of the individuals have made court appearances.
In addition to those who have been charged, the Justice Department says that additional complaints “have been submitted and investigations are ongoing.”
“The lawless destruction of the U.S. Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation’s greatest institutions,” said Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin. “My Office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol
House Democrats are currently planning to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump as soon as Monday, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Here’s a portion of the latest version of the articles of impeachment that will be formally introduced by House Judiciary Democrats on Monday, provided by a Democratic source. It includes one article: “incitement of insurrection.”
“President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021 was consistent with his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. Those prior efforts include, but are not limited to, a phone call on January 2, 2021, in which President Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘‘find’’ enough votes to overturn the Georgia presidential election results and threatened Mr.
Raffensperger if he failed to do so. In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
The article continues:
“Wherefore President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the
One of the few things President-elect Joe Biden and President Trump have agreed on is that the latter should not attend the inauguration on Jan. 20.
“I was told on the way over here, that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration. One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” Biden said. “He has clearly demonstrated — he exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed around the world, not worthy to hold that office.”
Not only will Trump not attend, a source with knowledge of her plans told CNN that first lady Melania Trump will also not attend Biden’s inauguration.
The Trumps are right now scheduled to leave Washington on Jan. 19, this source said, but cautions those plans could change.
Trump conceded publicly for the first time last night that he will not serve a second term, stopping short of congratulating Biden but acknowledging a transfer of power is now underway.
Biden was later asked about the possibility of Vice President Mike Pence attending the inauguration.
“He’s welcome,” the President-elect said, adding that he believes it is important to stick to historical precedent in the changing of an administration as possible.
“I’d be honored to have him there and to move forward in the transition,” Biden said, adding that he has not spoken with Pence.
President-elect Joe Biden said President Donald Trump’s decision to skip his inauguration is “one of the few things he and I have ever agreed on.”
“It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” Biden told reporters Friday in Wilmington, Delaware, at a news conference after he introduced Cabinet nominees.
“He exceeded even my worst notions about him. He’s been an embarrassment to the country, embarrassed us around the world. He’s not worthy to hold that office,” Biden said.
However, Biden said he is glad Vice President Mike Pence will attend his inauguration.
“He’s welcome. I think it’s important that as much as we can stick to what have been the historical precedents of how an administration changes should be maintained. And so Mike, the vice president, is welcome to come. We’d be honored to have him there, and to move forward in the transition,” Biden said.
House Democrats are preparing articles of impeachment, expected to be introduced as soon as Monday. The President-elect did not weigh in on whether Congress should impeach Trump and remove him from office over his actions leading up to his supporters’ riot at the Capitol this week.
He said he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are focused on preparing their agenda to combat the coronavirus pandemic and bolster a battered economy.
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Biden said there’s no doubt he wants Trump, who he called “one of the most incompetent presidents in the history of the United States of America,” out of office as soon as possible. He said if Trump had several months left in office, he would push for his impeachment. Now, though, Biden said, “The quickest way that will happen is us being sworn in on the 20th. What action happens before or after that is a judgment for Congress to make.”
“We’re going to be doing our job, and the Congress can decide how to proceed with theirs,” Biden said.
Biden specifically singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, praising their actions on Wednesday as Congress counted electoral votes, taking the last procedural step of the 2020 election to affirm Biden’s victory ahead of his inauguration.
But he said that those who tried to overturn the election results by objecting to some states’ electoral votes being counted “should be ashamed of themselves.”
Asked if Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri should resign, Biden said: “I think they should be just flat beaten the next time they run. I think the American public has a real, clear look at who they are. They’re part of the big lie.”
“The acolytes that follow (Trump), like Cruz and others — they’re as responsible as he is,” Biden said. “There are decent people out there who actually believe these lies because they’ve heard it again and again.”