The TAKE with Rick Klein
For the second time in six days, Vice President Mike Pence is being called on to make a determination about who should be president.
Once again, the result is all but certain, yet enormously consequential. Pence appears certain to reject or simply ignore the formal request the House will vote on Tuesday calling on him to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office, paving the way for impeachment proceedings to begin the following day.
Trump and Pence spoke at the White House Monday for the first time since last week. Pence appears stuck where so many Republicans are at the moment, after having reached the limits of his loyalty to Trump.
Even members of Congress who were at the infamous pre-riot rally are starting to say Trump is to blame for the assault on the Capitol. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has signaled openness to a censure resolution as an alternative to impeachment.
The president on Tuesday is highlighting his border wall in Alamo, Texas, in what will constitute his more extensive public appearance since Wednesday’s events. The incomplete wall is itself a powerful symbol to some of Trump’s divisiveness. Though the border town has no relation to the actual Alamo, the name evokes unfortunate imagery under the circumstances.
Whatever is said in Texas, Pence and what’s left of the Cabinet are in the spotlight for now. It will be on Republicans to answer for the president’s behavior — even as so many of them privately wish for a faster end to the presidency than they will likely make happen.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Responding to the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol last week, members of Congress are returning, repeatedly, to Civil War analogs.
Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally asked her colleagues for their views on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It was passed and ratified during Reconstruction as Congress debated then how to handle former Confederate leaders who had fought against the Union.
Monday, with the help of former constitutional law professor Rep. Jaime Raskin, D- Md., Democrats referenced that obscure section of the Constitution too in their newly drafted article of impeachment against Trump.
Scholars disagree already on whether those few lines from the Constitution, giving Congress authority to ban insurrectionists from public office, might be applicable today given the events last week, but nonetheless the fact that the debate is unfolding is indicative of the seriousness of the times.
“It doesn’t say anything about Confederates, it’s about anybody who commits this kind of thing. My view is it would apply to President Trump and bar him for holding any office either right now or in the future,” Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War historian Eric Foner told ABC News on Monday.
While the Civil War comparisons will likely still feel like a stretch to some, members of Congress are finding themselves without many historical references for how to handle such a seemingly coordinated attack and disruption of what should be a peaceful transfer of power.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
The partisan cracks among lawmakers that widened throughout the 2020 campaign manifested into canyon-sized divisions over the fallout of last week’s assault on the Capitol. In the span of about a week, the initial flurry of hometown newspapers’ calls for resignations of several Republicans tied to the events surrounding Jan. 6 grew into actionable proposals that address the dual issues of creating opposition against the 2020 election results and riling up protesters.
As of Monday evening, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee called for the resignation of at least 16 Republican lawmakers who were linked to last week’s volatile protests. Meanwhile, freshman Squad member Rep. Cori Bush made her legislative debut by introducing a resolution that aims to expel members who sought to overturn the election. The document, which is co-sponsored by 47 Democratic House members, specifically calls out Rep. Mo Brooks, Sen. Josh Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz for having “taken unprecedented steps to defy the will of the American people.”
“Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution posits that no individual can serve in the House of Representatives who has engaged in disloyalty or sedition against the United States. There is no place in the People’s House for these heinous actions. I firmly believe that these members are in breach of their sworn Oath of Office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. They must be held accountable,” Bush said in a statement.
Expulsion typically requires two-thirds majority vote outcome, but Bush is not alone in calling for drastic action across the aisle. Two of her Democratic colleagues, Reps. Tom Malinowski and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, took a more targeted approach by calling for the censure of Brooks, who was one of the speakers pumping up the crowd at last week’s Trump rally. Such a move would require a simple House majority vote and would serve as a formal rebuke of the Alabama congressman by his colleagues. The pair stopped short of calling for Brooks’. expulsion but said in a statement that his “actions endangered the lives of his fellow members of Congress, the Vice President, and the police officers who bravely tried to defend the Capitol, and he deserves at the very least the formal condemnation of the House.”
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who discusses the possibility of impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time. ABC News Senior Investigative reporter Aaron Katersky explains why state capitols across the country are preparing for armed protests. And ABC News’ Anne Flaherty explains how a Biden administration plans to boost a lagging COVID vaccine rollout. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
FiveThirtyEight’s Politics Podcast. A lot of different elements led to the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week: Trump’s specific incitement leading up to and on Jan. 6, false arguments from Trump and many Republicans that the election was fraudulent, white nationalism, militia movements on and offline, a lack of preparation from law enforcement and more. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew unpacks some of the elements responsible. They also discuss the calculations being made by Democrats and Republicans about how to hold President Donald Trump legally and/or politically accountable for the attack. https://53eig.ht/2M0rQx6
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser appears on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
President Donald Trump travels to Alamo, Texas, to visit the border wall.
President-elect Joe Biden will receive the President’s Daily Brief and meet with transition advisers.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief and meet with transition advisers.
Vice President Mike Pence leads a governors video teleconference on COVID-19 response and recovery at 2 p.m.
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