Reports: FBI, NYPD warned Capitol Police about threat of extremist violence
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and New York City Police Department both informed the U.S. Capitol Police about the threat of violence ahead of last Wednesday’s planned protest of the counting of the Electoral College vote, according to reports by Fox News and NBC News.
In several instances, the FBI visited extremists who were planning to travel to the rally and urged them to not attend, according to Fox News. Capitol Police did not plan to increase staffing ahead of the events and did not expect that the attendees would begin an armed insurrection and violently storm the Capitol, sources also told Fox.
Social media was a critical part of organizing the protests. Conservative activists and President Donald Trump had advertised the rally for weeks. Far-right extremist groups had intimated they would engage in violence on message boards in the days before the attack, leading some senior officials to question why federal law enforcement was not better prepared, according to NBC News.
Lawmakers at all levels of government and across the aisle have called for investigations into the failure of law enforcement to defend the Capitol.
“Obviously it was a failure or you would not have had people enter the Capitol by breaking windows and terrorizing the members of Congress who were doing a very sacred requirement of their jobs,” Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said a day after the attacks.
– Matthew Brown
Biden selects career diplomat William Burns to head CIA
President-elect Joe Biden has selected career diplomat William J. Burns as his pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, the transition committee said in a press release Monday.
Burns, who has served in the Middle East and Russia, will inherit the country’s premier intelligence agency as cybersecurity and espionage from rival nations like China, Iran and Russia will be of chief concern to the incoming Biden administration.
The Biden transition contended Burns was well prepared the challenge, noting “he has the experience and skill to marshal efforts across government and around the world to ensure the CIA is positioned to protect the American people.”
Burns “shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect,” Biden said in a statement. “Ambassador Burns will bring the knowledge, judgment, and perspective we need to prevent and confront threats before they can reach our shores.”
Burns left the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after 33-years. Most recently, Burns was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank with a focus on foreign policy and international affairs.
– Matthew Brown
Democrats to introduce resolution calling for 25th Amendment
House Democrats will introduce a resolution Monday calling for President Donald Trump’s removal via the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president incapable of performing his duties.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid out the steps they plan to take in a letter to colleagues on Sunday.
On Monday, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will request unanimous consent for the “Raskin Resolution,” which calls on Pence to convene the Cabinet and activate the 25th Amendment. If they don’t receive consent – which is almost guaranteed since only a single Republican would have to object – Democrats will vote on the measure on Tuesday.
“We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours” after the resolution is passed, Pelosi said. If Pence does act before that deadline, House Democrats will introduce articles of impeachment against Trump.
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi wrote. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
Pelosi told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that she prefers the 25th Amendment to impeachment.
“Well, I like the 25th Amendment because it gets rid of him. He’s out of office,” she said. “But there’s strong support in the Congress for impeaching the president a second time.”
Under the 25th Amendment, if the vice president and the majority of the Cabinet declare the president unfit for office, the vice president immediately becomes the acting president.
Impeachment is a lengthier process. First, a simple majority in the House must vote in favor of charges. Then, the Senate must hold a trial to consider the charges. For the president to be removed, two-thirds of its members must vote to convict.
– Camille Caldera