President Trump to not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration

President Donald Trump confirmed Friday what has been suspected for weeks: He will not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the inauguration on January 20th,” he announced on Twitter.

Trump’s decision to skip Biden’s swearing-in ceremony comes after weeks of his refusal to acknowledge that Biden had defeated him in the Nov. 3 election. Trump finally acknowledged his loss in a video on Thursday, saying that a new administration will take office in January.

Left to right: Trump and Biden

After reports Thursday that Vice President Mike Pence was expected to attend the inauguration, Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley tweeted: “You can’t attend something you haven’t received an invitation to….”

But a spokeswoman for Biden’s inaugural committee said Pence is “of course invited to attend the Inaugural.”

Pence and his wife “have yet to make a decision regarding their attendance,” O’Malley said Friday.

She said the president and vice president traditionally do not receive formal invitations. Attendance is coordinated at a staff level “and that is taking place,” the spokeswoman said.

– Michael Collins and Maureen Groppe

GOP Sen. Sasse would ‘consider’ supporting Trump impeachment

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said Friday he was not opposed to removing President Donald Trump from office through impeachment for the president’s encouragement of an “insurrectionist mob” that stormed the Capitol Wednesday.

“Donald Trump has acted shamefully. He has been in flagrant dereliction of his duty and he will be remembered for having incited this and for having drawing more division into an already divided people. That is who Donald Trump is. That is what his legacy is going to be,” The Nebraska Republican told CBS “This Morning.”

“What he did was wicked,” said Sasse, who even before this week’s violence repeatedly denounced Trump’s claims that the election was stolen and his GOP colleague’s plan to challenge the results.

Congressional Democrats have said that if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump’s Cabinet did not remove the president from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, they plan to file articles of impeachment.

“The House, if they come together and have a process. I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move because, as I have told you, I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said.

Sasse also called for an investigation into why it took so long to deploy the National Guard in response to the breach of the Capitol and why offers of assistance from other regional law enforcement agencies were not immediately accepted.

– William Cummings

Colin Powell: ‘I wish he would just do what Nixon did. And that’s step down.’

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday that President Donald Trump should resign immediately in the wake of Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“I wish he would just do what Nixon did and that’s step down,” Powell said in an interview on NBC.

Powell said impeachment – a step House Democrats are preparing for as early as next week – is too time consuming.

“Somebody ought to go up there and tell him, ‘It’s over. Plane’s waiting for you. You’re out,’” Powell said.

Powell said that would also help “cut the guts out from underneath” the Trump allies who are seeking to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election, which President-elect Joe Biden won. Trump has falsely claimed the election was rigged and rife with fraud, allegations that have been repeatedly debunked and rejected by courts, election officials and state leaders.

On Wednesday, as Congress was preparing to formally recognize Biden’s win, Trump encouraged a group of his supporters to march to the Capitol. They were able to breach security, ransack the building and temporarily halt the Electoral College count. An officer with the U.S. Capitol Police was among those who died in the wake of the attack.

“What he is responsible for is one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen,” Powell, a retired four-star general, said of Trump. “He should be totally ashamed of himself, and he should take that shame and turn it into a resignation as quickly as possible.”

Powell called those who stormed the Capitol “idiots” and said Trump “encouraged them every step of the way.”

He said Vice President Mike Pence and other current government officials can easily take over for the remaining days of Trump’s term, which will end of Jan. 20 when Biden is inaugurated.

Powell also expressed shock at the poor planning ahead of Wednesday’s events. He said there was not a clear line of command and the delay in deploying the National Guard was inexplicable.

“I don’t know what they were waiting for,” he said.

– Deirdre Shesgreen

Dominion voting systems sues Sidney Powell for more than $1.3 billion

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against attorney Sidney Powell for her baseless claims that the company, which manufactured electronic voting machines used by some districts in the 2020 election, changed votes for President Donald Trump to votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

Powell’s wide-ranging conspiracy theory variously implicated Dominion, deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the CIA and Chinese communists in a plot to rig the election against Trump. But her efforts to prove her unfounded assertions in court were repeatedly rejected, sometimes derisively, by federal and state judges.

“Powell’s wild accusations are demonstrably false,” the lawsuit reads. “Far from being created in Venezuela to rig elections for a now-deceased Venezuelan dictator, Dominion was founded in Toronto for the purpose of creating a fully auditable paper-based vote system that would empower people with disabilities to vote independently on verifiable paper ballots.”

The company says the paper ballot safeguards used by its machines would have made the sort of plot alleged by Powell impossible and that her claims are not rooted in any factual basis.

Dominion seeks compensatory damages of $651,735,000, punitive damages of $651,735,000 and reimbursement for its legal costs. It also is asking the court to grant “a narrowly tailored permanent injunction requiring the removal of all the Defendants’ statements that are determined to be false and defamatory.”

– William Cummings

Rep. Katherine Clark says impeachment process could start next week

Rep. Katherine Clark, the assistant House speaker, told CNN Friday that if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet do not agree to remove President Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, the House will move forward with impeachment proceedings as “early as mid-next week.”

“We know that we have limited time, but that every day that Donald Trump is president of the United States is a day of grave danger,” Clark said. “We can use procedural tools to get articles of impeachment to the floor for a House vote quickly. We have already had Chairman Jerry Nadler, chair of the Judiciary Committee, say that he will use those tools to bring the articles as fast as possible.”

Clark said that if Pence does not act, the House would “not have a choice” to impeach Trump, who she said “incited a seditious mob to storm the Capitol. We now have five deaths from that and the harm to our democracy is really unfathomable.”

“We have a president who has turned on us. He is a traitor. He has incited violence and perpetuated a lie that he won this election,” she said.

When asked if it would be possible to hold a Senate impeachment trial before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20, Clark said, “We can act very quickly when we want to.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., told CBS on Friday that if the House advanced impeachment articles, “I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move” because he believes Trump disregarded his oath of office

– William Cummings

Betsy DeVos, more Trump officials resign

Two days after an angry mob of pro-Trump supporters breached the Capitol, several members of President Donald Trump’s White House and Administration have resigned.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a letter to Trump obtained by USA TODAY the “behavior was unconscionable for our country,” and there “is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

Her resignation followed those of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Trump’s former acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney from his role as the U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, and Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security adviser, among others.

Trump on Thursday acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory in the clearest terms yet and called for a smooth transition of power at a time when he faces increasing criticism for his handling of the violence that erupted a day earlier at the U.S. Capitol.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter late Thursday. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

The change in messaging followed Congressional leaders calling Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, threatening to draw up articles and move forward with impeachment if not enacted.

– Savannah Behrmann

Capitol Police officer dies after being injured by pro-Trump mob

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died Thursday night from injuries sustained the previous day during clashes with the mob of Trump’s supporters.

According to a statement from the Capitol Police, Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” and collapsed after returning to his division. He was then taken to the hospital for treatment, where he remained until his death.

Sicknick, who joined the Capitol Police in 2008, was a part of the department’s first responder unit. His death is being investigated by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department and federal agencies, according to the statement.

“The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends,” the federal law enforcement agency said. “We ask that Officer Sicknick’s family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this time.”

Many have accused Trump of inciting Wednesday’s violence with his continued baseless claims that the election was “rigged” against him and a fiery speech in which he encouraged the crowd to head toward the Capitol.

Source: Savannah Behrmann, William Cummings, Deirdre Shesgreen, Michael Collins and Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY

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