Sunday , December 10 2023

FBI warns of armed protests in 50 state capitals, as Democrats unveil impeachment charge

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Democrats are charging Donald Trump with “incitement of insurrection” as part of impeachment proceedings following last week’s US Capitol riot – with the FBI warning that armed protests are planned nationwide ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Opposition politicians have filed one article of impeachment which states Mr Trump made statements at a rally of his supporters that “encouraged and foreseeably resulted in” last week’s violence.

Republicans have blocked an attempt to immediately consider a resolution asking the vice president, Mike Pence, to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Mr Trump from office.

Donald Trump supporters storm the US CapitolRioters breached the Capitol building and ran amok inside

Proceedings in the House of Representatives have been adjourned until Tuesday, when a vote on that resolution is expected.

Mr Pence is believed to be against forcing his boss from power, so a vote on the impeachment could happen on Wednesday, and needs a simple majority to pass.

If it is voted through, it would move to the Senate for trial with senators acting as jurors and voting on whether to acquit or convict Mr Trump.

Sean Spicer, who served as the first White House press secretary in Mr Trump’s administration, described Wednesday’s violence as “troubling, disgusting and heart-wrenching”.

However, Mr Spicer told Sky News that it is “silly” to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment, and argued that impeachment proceedings were a Democratic “stunt” that would further divide the US.

President Trump has been widely accused of inciting the rioters who stormed the heart of US democracy – the Capitol building – on 6 January.

Supporters of the president had gathered to protest over the presidential election result amid ongoing and unsubstantiated claims of fraud by Mr Trump.

As politicians were gathering to sign off Mr Biden’s win, the president addressed a crowd nearby at the “Save America” event.

The article of impeachment accuses Mr Trump of using his speech to incite “violence against the Government of the United States”.

It says he repeated false claims that he had won the election by a “landslide” and “wilfully made statements that, in context, encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’.”

It states that Mr Trump’s words incited people to storm the Capitol, where they “injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts”.

The impeachment article also cites “prior efforts to subvert and obstruct” the certification of the election result.

It specifically refers to a call to Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find” enough votes for the president to win the state.

Mr Biden has been given his second jab of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccineMr Biden has been given his second jab of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

Mr Trump could now become the only US president to be impeached twice.

He was first impeached over claims he pressured Ukraine’s president to launch a corruption investigation into Mr Biden and his son. The Republican-led Senate went on to acquit him in February last year.

Mr Biden, speaking on Monday as he got his second jab of the coronavirus vaccine, said he had talked with some senators about the latest impeachment effort.

Washington DC's Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the US Capitol The Washington Monument is shutting due to ‘credible threats’

Washington, meanwhile, appears to be taking no chances of a potential repeat of the disorder when it comes to Mr Biden’s upcoming inauguration.

The National Guard will have up to 15,000 personnel in the city, with 10,000 in place by this Saturday.

General Daniel Hokanson said they would be focusing on security, logistics and communications.

The famous Washington monument obelisk is also being shut down until 24 January, according to the US National Parks Service.

It said it had taken the decision after “credible threats to visitors and park resources” from groups involved in last week’s violence.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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