WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement 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 “fight 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 “clear 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.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign “and domestic.”
She said of Trump: “He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Holed up at the White House, watching the proceedings on TV, Trump later released a video statement in which he made no mention at all of the impeachment but appealed to his supporters to refrain from any further violence or disruption of Biden’s inauguration.
“Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week,” he said, his first condemnation of the attack. He appealed for unity “to move forward” and said, “Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. ... No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement.”
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit. He is the first president to be impeached twice. None has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans said Wednesday that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president.
Biden said in a statement after the vote that it was his hope the Senate leadership “will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is next Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House, McConnell’s office said. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running again.
McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.
In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote.”
Unlike his first time, Trump faces this impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.
Even Trump ally Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, shifted his position and said Wednesday the president bears responsibility for the horrifying day at the Capitol.
In making a case for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” demanded in the Constitution, the four-page impeachment resolution approved Wednesday relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a rally near the White House on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.
Ten Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, voted to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.
Cheney, whose father is the former Republican vice president, said of Trump’s actions summoning the mob that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President” of his office.
Trump was said to be livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney.
With the team around Trump hollowed out and his Twitter account silenced by the social media company, the president was deeply frustrated that he could not hit back, according to White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.
From the White House, Trump leaned on Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push Republican senators to resist, while chief of staff Mark Meadows called some of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill.
The president’s sturdy popularity with the GOP lawmakers’ constituents still had some sway, and most House Republicans voted not to impeach.
Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol, with tall fences around the complex. Metal-detector screenings were required for lawmakers entering the House chamber, where a week earlier lawmakers huddled inside as police, guns drawn, barricaded the door from rioters.
“We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
During the debate, some Republicans repeated the falsehoods spread by Trump about the election and argued that the president has been treated unfairly by Democrats from the day he took office.
Other Republicans argued the impeachment was a rushed sham and complained about a double standard applied to his supporters but not to the liberal left. Some simply appealed for the nation to move on.
Rep. Tom McClintock of California said, “Every movement has a lunatic fringe.”
Yet Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo. and others recounted the harrowing day as rioters pounded on the chamber door trying to break in. Some called it a “coup” attempt.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., contended that Trump was “capable of starting a civil war.”
Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which will be evenly divided. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible.”
Fending off concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down his first days in office, Biden is encouraging senators to divide their time between taking taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving COVID-19 relief while also conducting the trial.
The impeachment bill draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden. Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.
The House had first tried to persuade Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pence declined to do so, but the House passed the resolution anyway.
The impeachment bill also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes.
While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.
Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
Some staff members and inmates at North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but exactly who will receive the vaccine and when remains unknown.
Corrections officers and jail personnel are included in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. A representative from GEO Group, the company that owns and operates the North Lake facility, told the Daily News that the vaccine will be an option for employees.
“As part of our efforts to combat COVID-19, GEO Group is working closely with state and local health departments to coordinate vaccination efforts for staff, inmates and detainees at our secure facilities across the country. The coordination of these vaccination efforts is in alignment with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as criteria established through the Food and Drug Administration approval process,” Christopher Ferreira, manager of corporate relations, stated in an email.
The vaccines will not be mandatory for guards and staff members at GEO Group facilities, according to Ferreira.
“Our staff are not required, nor mandated, to receive the vaccine but will be offered the vaccine when available to them,” he stated.
The issue of when vaccines will be administered is dependent on the distribution of throughout the state.
“The timing of vaccine distribution to staff, inmates and detainees is presently being directed by the local and state health departments in the jurisdictions in which we operate through the guidance and prioritization recommendations offered by the CDC,” Ferreira stated.
North Lake falls within the jurisdiction of District Health Department No. 10, which is in the process of administering Phase 1B vaccinations and setting up vaccination clinics. The health department is asking for patience due to a limited supply of the vaccine.
GEO Group representatives declined to comment about whether or not the facility had received or administered any doses of the vaccine. As of Tuesday, Jan. 12, the health department reported a total of 58 doses of the vaccine given in Lake County.
In addition to corrections officers, Phase 1B of the state’s distribution plan also includes individuals age 65 and older, among other priority groups.
GEO Group declined to comment on whether or not the vaccine would be mandatory for inmates and detainees who meet the age requirement, as well as whether or not the inmates outside of that age group would receive vaccines.
LANSING (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday she hopes to let restaurants reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1, as her health department extended a two-month ban by an additional two weeks while letting non-contact sports resume this weekend.
The plan is to allow dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew. Organized non-contact sports and group exercise classes can start Saturday.
“Our numbers have been headed in the right direction,” the Democratic said during a news conference while noting a recent slight uptick in the percent of tests coming back positive. “The pause that (the state) issued is working.”
Michigan, which had one of the country’s lowest per-capita rates of new cases over the past two weeks, is among just a few states to allow no indoor restaurant dining and is the only one without a detailed plan on how and when reopening can occur, according to the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association.
“The governor’s continuation of this pause without a plan — now expanding to 75 days — is without parallel in the nation in terms of its unwillingness or inability to provide leadership to a decimated industry and its workforce,” said president and CEO Justin Winslow.
The state is expected to release details on the reopening next week, including mitigation steps such as reducing the number of people in restaurants and improving ventilation.
Republican lawmakers who have been critical of the order said restaurants should be able to open when they are ready. House Speaker Jason Wentworth called Feb. 1 “an arbitrary date.” Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey said “overreach by the governor has crippled an entire industry and peripheral supply chain businesses.”
Whitmer, as she has before, said indoor restaurant dining is inherently riskier because people mix households and remove their masks to eat and drink.
“We’ve got a date. We can work toward that with the industry to make sure that we can keep their patrons and their employees safe as they open,” she said.
Since the Whitmer administration closed restaurants and bars, effective Nov. 18, it has let high schools resume in-person instruction and has allowed entertainment businesses to reopen with restrictions. State officials are watching three key COVID-19 metrics.
Over nearly two months, the statewide seven-day case average is down to 3,349, from 6,687. The positivity rate is 8.2%, a drop from 9.8%, according to The COVID Tracking Project. About 12% of hospital beds had virus patients, a decrease from about 20% in early December.
Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to no more than 10 people and two households. Masks also are required in many settings. Night clubs, strip club and water parks are still closed.
Robert Gordon, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said his order has prevented thousands of infections and saved hundreds of lives, but he recognized its toll, particularly in the winter. Again allowing group fitness classes and indoor athletics with distancing and masks, he said, will support physical and mental health.
Youth practices will be allowed in gyms, but not competitive games that involve contact.
Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00
Number of confirmed cases in area counties
Mason County: 1,010 (735 recovered; 22 deaths)
Oceana County: 1,652 (1,396 recovered; 40 deaths)
Manistee County: 652 (x recovered; 15 deaths)
Lake County: 311 (243 recovered; 9 deaths)
Wexford County: 1,072 (816 recovered; 18 deaths)
Newaygo County: 2,357 (1,920 recovered; 33 deaths)
— as of 4 p.m. Wednesday according to District Health Department No. 10, www.dhd10.org.
United Way of Mason County accepting requests for proposals from local nonprofits
United Way of Mason County is now accepting proposals from nonprofits that are helping children to achieve their potential, helping individuals and families to be financially stable, and improving people’s health. Proposals will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Feb. 5. Proposals received after that time will not be accepted.
The 2021-2022 funding cycle is April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. The Request for Proposal document can be accessed at www.masoncountyuw.org.
Proposals will be reviewed by local volunteers, who will make recommendations to the United Way Board of Directors regarding how dollars should be awarded, according to Lynne Russell, executive director of United Way of Mason County.
When the community volunteers review the proposals, they look for the quality of services, achievement of identified outcomes, formation of partnerships with similar type organizations and fiscal responsibility.
Last year, 11 local programs were awarded funding.
United Way of Mason County will be hosting a Zoom meeting to review the Request for Proposal document and answer questions from 1 to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 via Zoom. If any organizations are interested in joining the meeting, please contact the United Way of Mason County office to receive the login information.
The dollars raised from United Way of Mason County’s fundraising campaign are the dollars used for awarding funds, according to Russell, who added that it’s not too late to contribute. To make a donation, visit wwww.masoncountyuw.org. and click the donate button. Individuals can also sign up to receive updates from United Way of Mason County by texting LIVEUNITED to 269-89.
For more information about submitting a Request for Proposal or making a contribution to the United Way of Mason County Fundraising Campaign, call (231) 843-8593.
LANSING (AP) — Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday with willful neglect of duty stemming from an investigation of ruinous decisions that left Flint with lead-contaminated water and a regional outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
The charges, shown in an online court record, are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The alleged offense date is April 25, 2014, when a Snyder-appointed emergency manager who was running the financially struggling, majority Black city carried out a money-saving decision to use the Flint River for water while a regional pipeline from Lake Huron was under construction. The corrosive water, however, was not treated properly and released lead from old plumbing into homes in one of the worst manmade environmental disasters in U.S. history.
The charges filed by the attorney general’s office 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. Snyder’s lawyer, Brian Lennon, said he could not immediately comment. State Attorney General Dana Nessel and investigators scheduled a news conference Thursday.
Besides Snyder, a Republican who served until 2019, charges are expected against other people, including former officials who served as state health director and as a senior adviser.
Despite desperate pleas from residents holding jugs of discolored, skunky water, the Snyder administration took no significant action until a doctor reported elevated lead levels in children about 18 months later.
“I’m sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder promised during his 2016 State of the State speech.
Authorities counted at least 90 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County, including 12 deaths. Some experts found there was not enough chlorine in the water-treatment system to control legionella bacteria, which can trigger a severe form of pneumonia when spread through misting and cooling systems.
The disaster made Flint a national symbol of government dereliction, with residents forced to line up for bottled water and parents fearing their children had suffered permanent harm. Lead can damage the brain and nervous system and cause learning and behavior problems. The crisis was highlighted as an example of environmental injustice and racism.
More than 9,700 lead service lines at homes have been replaced. Flint’s water, which now comes from a Detroit regional agency, gets good marks, although many distrustful residents still use filters.
The criminal investigation has lasted five years under two teams of prosecutors. Todd Flood, who got misdemeanor convictions from seven people, was ousted in 2019 after the election of Attorney General Dana Nessel, a Democrat. Fadwa Hammoud subsequently dropped charges in eight pending cases and said the investigation would start over. She said the first team had failed to collect all available evidence.
Separately, the state, Flint, a hospital and an engineering firm have agreed to a $641 million settlement with residents over the water crisis, with $600 million coming from Michigan. A judge said she hopes to decide by Jan. 21 whether to grant preliminary approval. Other lawsuits, including one against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are pending.
White reported from Detroit.