AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST

 
 
Posted1/14/2021 7:00 AM

Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with 'œincitement 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 'œfight 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 'œclear 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.

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Led by Cheney, 10 House Republicans back Trump impeachment

WASHINGTON -- 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 'œsummoned' the mob that attacked the Capitol, 'œassembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,'' Cheney said, adding, 'œEverything 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.

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Enduring 2nd impeachment, Trump stands largely silent, alone

WASHINGTON -- 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.

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WHO team arrives in Wuhan to search for pandemic origins

WUHAN, China -- A global team of researchers arrived Thursday in the Chinese city where the coronavirus pandemic was first detected to conduct a politically sensitive investigation into its origins amid uncertainty about whether Beijing might try to prevent embarrassing discoveries.

The 10-member team sent to Wuhan by the World Health Organization was approved by President Xi Jinping's government after months of diplomatic wrangling that prompted an unusual public complaint by the head of the WHO.

Scientists suspect the virus that has killed 1.9 million people since late 2019 jumped to humans from bats or other animals, most likely in China's southwest. The ruling Communist Party, stung by complaints it allowed the disease to spread, says the virus came from abroad, possibly on imported seafood, but scientists reject that.

CGTN, the English-language channel of state broadcaster CCTV, reported the WHO team's arrival. The members include virus and other experts from the United States, Australia, Germany, Japan, Britain, Russia, the Netherlands, Qatar and Vietnam.

A government spokesman said this week they will 'œexchange views' with Chinese scientists but gave no indication whether they would be allowed to gather evidence.

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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.

'œWe will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure,' said Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. 'œChildren 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.

'œWe understand that learning and bringing our children together is very important,' said Dr. Michael White of Valleywise Health. 'œBut 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.'

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Biden forgoing Amtrak trip to Washington over security fears

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Joe Biden will no longer be taking an Amtrak train to Washington for his inauguration because of security concerns, a person briefed on the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The president-elect's decision reflects growing worries over potential threats in the Capitol and across the U.S. in the lead-up to Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.

Security in Washington has ramped up considerably in preparation for the inauguration after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, and the FBI warned over the weekend of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the event.

The person briefed on Biden's decision spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. The news was first reported by CNN.

The move to forgo the 90-minute train ride from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, to Washington was likely not easy for the president-elect. Biden's preference for riding the train during his 36-year Senate career was such a central part of his public persona that he rode Amtrak home on his final day as vice president, and he used a train tour through Ohio and Pennsylvania during the presidential campaign as part of an effort to appeal to blue-collar workers.

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EXPLAINER: What's next after House impeachment vote

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump has been impeached by the House days before leaving office, becoming the first American president to be impeached twice.

The previous three impeachments - those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump - took months before a final vote, including investigations in the House and hearings. This time it only took a week after Trump encouraged a crowd of his supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump on one charge: incitement of insurrection.

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will not begin a trial until next Tuesday, at the very earliest, which is the day before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as president. It's unclear, for now, exactly how that trial will proceed and if any Senate Republicans will vote to convict Trump.

Even though the trial won't happen until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.

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Capitol investigators try to sort real tips from noise

WASHINGTON -- 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.

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'Not worth my life': Ugandans vote in tense election

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Ugandans are voting Thursday in a presidential election tainted by widespread violence that some fear could escalate as security forces try to stop supporters of leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine from monitoring polling stations. Internet access has been cut off.

The vote count will begin when polls close at 4 p.m. and results are expected within 48 hours. More than 17 million people are registered voters in this East African country of 45 million people. A candidate must win more than 50% to avoid a runoff vote.

Longtime President Yoweri Museveni, an authoritarian who has wielded power since 1986, seeks a sixth term against a strong challenge from Wine, a popular young singer-turned-opposition lawmaker. Nine other challengers are trying to unseat Museveni.

Wine, whose real name is Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has seen many associates jailed or go into hiding as security forces crack down on opposition supporters they fear could mount a street uprising leading to regime change. Wine insists he is running a nonviolent campaign.

Wine, of the National Unity Platform party, has said he does not believe the election is free and fair. He has urged supporters to linger near polling stations to protect their votes. But the electoral commission, which the opposition sees as weak, has said all voters must return home after casting ballots.

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Ex.-Michigan Gov. Snyder charged in Flint water crisis

LANSING, Mich. -- 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.

'œWe 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 'œoutrageous." Snyder and others were scheduled to appear in court Thursday, followed by a news conference by Attorney General Dana Nessel and prosecutors.

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