As it happened: Donald Trump impeached by the House for a second time

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·48-min read
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03:32 AM

What happened today?

Momentous days in US politics seem to happen every week at the moment – but today was truly an extraordinary day in American history. Here are the top stories:

  • Donald Trump has become the first US president in history to be impeached twice, with a single article for "incitement of insurrection" passing the US House of Representatives on Wednesday

  • Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting for impeachment over Mr Trump’s role riling up a mob of supporters who stormed the US Capitol last week

  • Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, released a statement moments after the vote passed calling for the trial to be held after Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20

  • Mr Trump released a video statement after the vote urging calm: "Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for"

  • Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey has admitted that permanently banning Donald Trump set a "dangerous precedent" for the power of tech firms and their bosses

  • New York City will cut its financial ties with the Trump Organization in the wake of the US president's inflammatory remarks to the crowd that stormed the Capitol last week, the city's mayor announced

Read more:

And you can revisit every moment of the historic day in our live blog below.

03:06 AM

Reports: Trump preparing legal team for Senate trial

Donald Trump may hire a law professor who spoke at his rally before the riot at the US Capitol to help defend him in an impeachment trial over a charge that he incited the violence, according to Reuters.

John Eastman, who joined Mr Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on stage at the January 6 rally, is being considered for a role on Trump's defense team, the news agency has reported.

Mr Eastman, 60, who made unsubstantiated claims of election fraud at the rally, would neither confirm nor deny to Reuters whether he will represent Mr Trump, citing attorney-client privilege.

John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani at the rally last week - REUTERS
John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani at the rally last week - REUTERS

02:31 AM

Dorsey admits Trump ban is 'dangerous'

Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey has admitted that permanently banning Donald Trump set a "dangerous precedent" for the power of tech firms and their bosses.

In a series of tweets, Mr Dorsey expressed his discomfort with the unprecedented ejection of a serving US President, which he described as a "failure" of the company's mission to "promote healthy conversation".

Twitter was the first major social network to suspend and then to permanently ban Mr Trump after he used its service to exult protesters who stormed the US legislature in an attempt to overturn his election defeat.

The company's move was rapidly mirrored by social networks, smartphone makers, payment firms, web hosts, email providers and even the high-end exercise bike maker Peloton, who each launched their own crackdowns on Mr Trump and his supporters.

Read more: Trump ban sets 'dangerous precedent', Twitter boss Jack Dorsey admits

Jack Dorsey said he was concerned about the role of Twitter in policing the speech of public figures - GETTY IMAGES
Jack Dorsey said he was concerned about the role of Twitter in policing the speech of public figures - GETTY IMAGES

02:23 AM

Pelosi wears same outfit for both impeachments

Though it's unlikely anyone would notice if a male Representative wore the same suit and tie twice, some people on Twitter have pointed out that Nancy Pelosi appears to have worn the identical outfit at both impeachment votes.

In fact, Ms Pelosi is something of a fashion icon and has caught the eye with her stylish choice of face masks.

Read more: Why Nancy Pelosi is the face mask-wearing style inspiration we need right now

01:39 AM

Biden urges Senate to work on his agenda

President-elect Joe Biden has called on Senate leadership to work on other business while dealing with their responsibilities on impeachment.

After the House voted to impeach Donald Trump, the president will now face a trial in the Senate. But some Democrats are concerned that it will hinder the work of Mr Biden's legislative agenda.

"I hope that 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," Mr Biden said in a statement.

01:06 AM

I'm not proud of banning Trump, says Twitter boss

Twitter's chief executive has defended his company's decision to ban Donald Trump for tweets that it said incited violence.

In a tweeted statement, Jack Dorsey said Twitter made the "right decision" but said the ban was "a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation".

He added: "Our goal in this moment is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful existence on earth."

01:01 AM

From inside the House

The Telegraph's US Editor was inside the Capitol today for the historic vote and suggests the quiet scene as the motion passed was "a fitting inversion of the violent energy that had brought congressmen to that point".

"Almost exactly a week ago, in that very same chamber, security guards had dragged a chest across the floor to block an entrance and drawn their guns, training them on the door. The House had been filled with the strange whirring sound of gas masks operating over the heads of congressmen who feared for their lives as they crouched on the ground. The broken glass, attacks on police, chants for hangings and gleeful vandalism of the pro-Trump mob that had stormed the Capitol had shook congressmen to their core. Their anger was plain to see on the House floor on Wednesday morning as congressmen, many recounting the terror they had felt the week before, pinned the blame on the president."

Read more: Inside the chamber, the historic vote passed as metal detectors pinged outside

12:14 AM

Olympian charged for role in riot

US Olympic swimming gold medalist Klete Keller has been charged by the Justice Department for participating in the attack on Congress by supporters of President Trump.

Keller was allegedly filmed as part of the crowd that illegally entered the huge Rotunda hall of the Capitol after violent protesters broke through police lines and forced their way in.

A statement accompanying formal charges unveiled said police identified the three-time Olympian by what appears to be an official team jacket bearing the large logo "USA" on the back and an arm patch that read "United States Olympic team".

He was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violent or disorderly conduct, and obstructing law enforcement.

Keller, 38, competed in the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008, taking two golds and a silver in the 4x200m freestyle relays, and two bronzes in the individual 400m freestyle. His 2004 relay gold in Athens was one of the most celebrated races in swimming, with a US star team that included Michael Phelps, against an Australian foursome led by the powerful champion Ian Thorpe.

Keller in 2008 - AP
Keller in 2008 - AP

11:36 PM

Trump statement: 'Mob violence goes against everything I believe in'

Donald Trump has issued an unconditional call for his supporters not to cause any violence in the run-up to the inauguration in a five-minute video message posted on the White House's YouTube account after the impeachment vote.

Mr Trump said: “Making America Great Again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation's most sacred traditions and values.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence.

“No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow Americans.

“If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it and you are attacking our country. We cannot tolerate it.”

Watch the full video below:

11:22 PM

Pelosi signs article of impeachment with 'heart broken'

Nancy Pelosi has signed the article of impeachment.

She said: "In a bipartisan way the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States. That Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country.

"I sadly, and with heart broken over what this means to our country, of a president who incites insurrection, will sign the engrossment of the article of the impeachment."

As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi certifies the article of impeachment - AP
As Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi certifies the article of impeachment - AP

11:18 PM

The Republican rebels

The Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump
The Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump

10:55 PM

Capitol storming 'was planned'

Federal investigators are pursuing information the US Capitol riot was planned, a federal law enforcement official tells CNN. Evidence uncovered so far, including weapons and tactics seen on surveillance video, suggests a level of planning that has led investigators to believe the attack was not just a protest that spiralled out of control.

Pro-Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol before it was stormed  - Getty
Pro-Trump supporters gather outside the U.S. Capitol before it was stormed - Getty

10:53 PM

Senate trial could begin immediately

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer vows there will be an impeachment trial of Donald Trump, even if it's after he leaves office and Joe Biden is inaugurated.

Schumer said Wednesday that the trial could begin immediately if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to convene an emergency session.

He says if not, the trial will begin after January 19. That's the quickest the Senate can start under the existing calendar. Biden is set to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

Photographers take pictures of the article of impeachment against US President Donald Trump during an engrossment ceremony - AFP
Photographers take pictures of the article of impeachment against US President Donald Trump during an engrossment ceremony - AFP

McConnell said earlier Wednesday that there is "no chance" that the Senate will be able to hold a "fair or serious" impeachment trial before Biden is sworn in.

Schumer said if Trump is convicted, there will be a vote on barring Trump from ever running again for office.

10:38 PM

Republican who voted to impeach: I'm at peace right now.

On his "yea" vote to impeach President Trump, Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, has said, “I don't know what that means for me politically but I know I'm at real peace right now.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger was one of 10 Republican congressman to vote to impeach the Republican leader - AP
Rep. Adam Kinzinger was one of 10 Republican congressman to vote to impeach the Republican leader - AP

10:01 PM

What happens now?

Well, the proceedings now head over to the Senate, where the Democrats would need to be joined by 17 of the 50 Republican senators to convict the president. As we posted below (20:48), Mitch McConnell, the House Majority Leader, has refused to say which way he will vote.

McConnell has just made it clear, however, that ⁩the Senate will not take place before Donald Trump leaves office. He says there is no chance of a "fair" trial until Joe Biden's inauguration.

He noted that the three previous impeachment trials - of Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1999 and Trump last year - lasted 83 days, 37 days, and 21 days respectively.

09:53 PM

No cheering, just silence as the result is announced

Our US editor, Ben Riley-Smith, says there was an odd moment of silence on the floor of the House of Representatives when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the result of the vote.

09:46 PM

The Republicans who voted to impeach

Liz Cheney, Wyoming

Tony Gonzalez, Ohio

Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Washington

John Katko, New York

Adam Kinzinger, Illinois

Peter Meijer, Michigan

Dan Newhouse, Washington

Tom Rice, South Carolina

Fred Upton, Michigan

David Valadao, California

09:37 PM

Final vote is 232-197: Most bipartisan impeachment vote in US history

Final vote is 232-197, with all Democrats and 10 Republicans voting in favor of impeachment. Five members of Congress - one Democrat and four Republicans - did not vote. No Republicans voted for Donald Trump’s first impeachment. These numbers make it the most bipartisan impeachment in US history.

09:32 PM

Only four impeachments in US history, two for Trump...

There have only been four impeachments of a US president in history: Andrew Johnson, 1868, Bill Clinton, 1998, Donald Trump, 2019 and Donald Trump, 2021

Trump becomes the first president in US history to be impeached twice - AFP
Trump becomes the first president in US history to be impeached twice - AFP

09:28 PM

Current count in favour of impeachment 231-197

The current count in favour of impeaching Donald Trump is 231-197. That is 14 more 'yea' votes than was needed, suggesting more Republicans joined the dissent than we previously thought would.

09:25 PM

House votes to impeach

Donald Trump has just become the first president to be impeached twice in US history

09:20 PM

Ten votes away from impeachment

Nine Republicans have now voted in favour. The magic number is 2017, and the 'yes' vote has so far got 207, with the count still going...

09:01 PM

Republicans 'too paralysed with fear' to vote against Trump

Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) says majority of GOP are too "paralysed with fear" to vote for impeachment.

"I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues," he said. "A couple of them broke down in tears , saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment."

Numerous House Republicans have received death threats in the past week, according to Politco, which claims they have spoken to several members who want to impeach but fear casting such a vote could get them or their families murdered.

08:54 PM

House now voting

All speeches have now been made, three-and-a-half hours after it the hearing began. Now for the vote. Remember: Impeachment needs 217 votes.

08:52 PM

With 'a heavy heart' another Republican joins list of pro-impeachers

Newly elected Rep. Peter Mejer just tweeted this statement, becoming the seventh Republican to join the fray: "President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week. With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump."

08:48 PM

Mitch McConnell does not rule out convicting Trump

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday did not rule out voting to convict President Donald Trump as he was being impeached by the House of Representatives.

"While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell said in a note to Republican colleagues.

Multiple press reports Tuesday said that McConnell, a steadfast ally of Trump for four years, was supportive of Democrats' decision to impeach him, believing he warranted the punishment after encouraging a mob to attack the US Capitol on January 6 as Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden's win.

McConnell has been a steadfast ally of Trump for four years - AFP
McConnell has been a steadfast ally of Trump for four years - AFP

But McConnell's office on Wednesday confirmed that he would not reconvene the Senate until January 19, the eve of Biden's inauguration, meaning Trump is virtually certain to serve out his term.

However, a conviction in the Senate could lead to a decision to bar Trump from running again in 2024, a relief to those Republicans who have feared incurring his wrath.

08:30 PM

US airports boost security ahead of inauguration

US airports are introducing heightened security screening measures ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration, the Transportation Security Administration told CNN.

In addition to the extra screening, Washington's three nearest airports will also have a heavier police presence, including extra officers at terminals and armoured vehicles, the network reported. TSA told CNN that the agency is on “high alert.”

It comes after two Republican senators, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham, were heckled at airports by pro-Trump supporters for breaking with the US president.

The FBI has also suggested the agency is “actively looking at” adding rioters involved in the siege of the Capitol on January 6 to the federal no-fly list.

08:14 PM

Unprecedented National Guard presence on Capitol Hill

Some 20,000 National Guard troops could be in Washington for Joe Biden's inauguration, four times as many as are in Afghanistan and Iraq. Capitol Hill has had a taste of it today, writes our US Editor, Ben Riley-Smith.

The Capitol, the heart of American democracy, looks like occupied territory. Historians struggled to think of a time when so many National Guard members had been stationed in the building. Certainly nothing comparable has happened in recent memory. And yet the deployment was entirely understandable

07:57 PM

Trump responsible for riot but impeachment a 'mistake'

The top Republican in the House of Representatives said Wednesday that Donald Trump "bears responsibility" for inciting a riot at the US Capitol, but warned that a hurried impeachment of the president would be inappropriate.

"I believe impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake" because the action would "further divide this nation," Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, said in a floor speech an hour before a bipartisan majority was expected to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time.

But he did acknowledge that Trump "bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob riots."

He also said Congress should pass a "censure resolution" against the president, a public but largely symbolic condemnation that is opposed by Democrats because it carries no tangible penalty.

07:10 PM

President appeals for 'no more violence'

The White House has just released a statement from Donald Trump:

"In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You."

06:54 PM

Chuck Norris was not at the Capitol

The action star has made clear that a man photographed at the Capitol siege, who looked very like him, was a doppelganger.

His manager Erik Kritzer says: “This is not Chuck Norris. Chuck remains on his range in Texas where he has been with his family.” He added: “Chuck is much more handsome.”

Norris himself added: “It wasn't me and I wasn't there. “There is no room for violence of any kind in our society. I am and always will be for Law and Order."

06:44 PM

Another Republican adds name to pro-impeachment list

“I will vote yes on the articles of impeachment,” Dan Newhouse, Republican congressman from Washington, says in new statement. "The president failed to fulfill his oath of office," he writes.

Six House Republicans now support impeachment.

06:27 PM

Matt Gaetz booed in House after decrying 'Leftist violence'

Matt Gaetz, Republican congressman from Florida and big supporter of Trump, was the most animated on the House floor.

He compares House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's tearing up a paper copy of Trump's State of the Union speech to rioters who tore through Congress.

“Some have cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame,” he said, to boos from Democratic members of Congress. “Well they (Democrats) lit actual flames, actual fires and we have to put them out.”

06:23 PM

House Majority Whip says: future attempt to seize Capitol could be successful

James Clyburn, Democratic congressman and House Majority Whip from South Carolina, who is among those who have spoken out most loudly against Trump. he has just taken the floor, saying he believes the president needs to be impeached.

"If we do not hold him accountable, a future attempt could very well be successful," he told the House.

05:58 PM

Facebook tracking rise in violent rhetoric tied to inauguration

Facebook Inc has seen an increase in signals indicating potential future acts of violence associated with efforts to contest the result of the presidential election since the Capitol siege last week, a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

The spokeswoman said late Tuesday the storming of the US Capitol by armed pro-Trump demonstrators appeared to be a galvanizing event, spawning efforts to organise gatherings across the country for multiple dates around President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.

Signals Facebook tracked included digital flyers promoting the events, some of them featuring calls to arms or the insignia of militias or hate groups, she said.

Violent rhetoric on online platforms had already ramped up in the weeks before last week's unrest as right-wing groups planned the assault, largely in open public view, according to researchers and public postings.

After the unrest, tech companies took unprecedented steps to crack down on the baseless claims of election fraud that had spurred calls for violence. Twitter Inc and Facebook blocked Trump's accounts, while Amazon Web Services and the major mobile app stores cut off social media network Parler.

On Monday, Facebook banned content promoting the phrase "stop the steal," which has become a rallying cry at armed pro-Trump protests. The company was also blocking searches for "storm the Capitol" and flagging posts that include those phrases for further review, the spokeswoman said.

Facebook has banned content promoting the phrase "stop the steal" - Reuters
Facebook has banned content promoting the phrase "stop the steal" - Reuters

05:48 PM

What it's like inside US Capitol one week on from the riots

Our US editor, Ben Riley-Smith, is inside the House today reporting for us. This is what he has seen:

05:42 PM

Republican congressman: they want to cancel the president

Jim Jordan, the Republican congressman leading Donald Trump's defence in the House, says: “They want to cancel the president.”

"Democrats can object on January 6, 2017, but Republicans can't on January 6, 2021?," Mr Jordan says, after listing Trump's achievements since he took office. "This double standard has to stop."

Mr Jordan, who was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Trump earlier this week, does not appear to be defending what occurred at the Capitol last week, rather is making a case against cancel culture.

05:32 PM

The US House just voted to advance impeachment bill

The US House just voted to advance impeachment bill with 221 to 203.

It means they have cleared another procedural hurdle, and will now move to debate impeachment and vote.

03:59 PM

Google to pause all political ads from Jan. 14

Alphabet Inc's Google will pause political ads on all of its platforms starting January 14, following last week's violence at the U.S. Capitol, according to an email to advertisers.

The email said the action was taken "following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration."

It said Google was planning to keep this policy in place until at least January 21, the day after the inauguration.

Google had lifted its temporary ban on election-related advertisements, which came into effect after polls closed in the U.S. presidential election and aimed to curb misinformation and other abuses on its platforms, on December 10.

It said it was now extending the limited version of its "Sensitive Event" policy that had been in place since protesters stormed the Capitol on January 6.

In a statement, Google said it would "temporarily pause all political ads in addition to any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the U.S. Capitol."

03:41 PM

Airbnb blocks all bookings in Washington DC for inauguration week

Airbnb has said it will cancel and block all reservations around Washington DC for the week of Joe Biden's inauguration, after US officials asked people not to travel, reports James Titcomb.

The company, which also owns the hotel booking website Hotel Tonight, said it came after reports of armed militias and hate groups attempting to disrupt next Wednesday's event.

Airbnb said travellers and hosts would be refunded for the cancellations.

Earlier this week, it banned individuals involved in last week's riots from Airbnb.

03:25 PM

Opening barbs fired in impeachment debate

Democratic lawmakers have opened the historic impeachment effort in the House by saying that every moment Donald Trump is in the White House the nation is in danger.

Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat representing Massachusetts, says the debate is taking place at an "actual crime scene and we wouldn't be here if it were not for the president of the United States."

The House is considering impeaching Trump for the second time after last week's riots at the Capitol as lawmakers met to certify the election results. Mr McGovern says it was Trump and his allies who were stoking the anger of the violent mob.

He says Trump told the crowd to march to the Capitol and "the signal was unmistakable."

Republican Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma said January 6th would live in his memory as the darkest day of his service in the House. But Mr Cole says the Senate could not even begin to consider impeachment until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

He says he can think of no action the House can take that would further divide the American people than the actions being taken Wednesday. He says "it's unfortunate that a path to support healing is not the path the majority has chosen today."

03:14 PM

'The Antifa siege of a Portland bookshop is a censorious assault on free speech'

When seething mobs try to throw books off shelves, our rights are imperilled – we need to wake up to the ugliness of the threat, says Ella Whelan.

Earlier this week, protesters gathered outside Powell’s bookshop in Portland, Oregon, demanding that a book be pulled from its shelves. Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, by journalist Andy Ngo, has upset the so-called Antifa activists. One of them described the book as worse than Mein Kampf, because "this is active facism".

In case you didn’t guess, Ngo and Antifa don’t get along. In his work, Ngo claims that Antifa protests, riots and public performances are responsible for the rising political violence in America. On the other hand, Ngo stands accused of “doxxing” Antifa activists (revealing their real names online) and stirring up Right-wing hatred of them on Twitter.

READ MORE: The Antifa siege of a Portland bookshop is a censorious assault on free speech

02:53 PM

Impeachment proceedings begin under armed guard

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, walks past members of the National Guard as he arrives at the US Capitol - Saul Loeb/AFP
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland, walks past members of the National Guard as he arrives at the US Capitol - Saul Loeb/AFP
Firearms are issued to US National Guard troops at the East Front of the US Capitol - MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Firearms are issued to US National Guard troops at the East Front of the US Capitol - MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Members of the National Guard try to get some sleep inside the US Capitol - JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
Members of the National Guard try to get some sleep inside the US Capitol - JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock /Shutterstock
A member of the National Guard is given a weapon before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump - Joshua Roberts/Reuters
A member of the National Guard is given a weapon before Democrats begin debating one article of impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump - Joshua Roberts/Reuters

02:38 PM

House begins impeachment proceedings with a prayer

Ben Riley-Smith, our US Editor, is watching proceedings from the House chamber and has this update.

The House of Representatives session, which is all but certain to make Donald Trump the only US president ever to be impeached twice, has begun. It started with a prayer.

Shortly after 9am around 20 House members stood, socially distanced in the chamber in face masks, with bowed heads and hands clasped.

Chaplain Margaret Grun Kibben, the House Chaplain, asked God for guidance over “today’s momentous decisions”.

She went on: “While yet unsettled by the events of this past week, we find ourselves seizing the scales of justice from the jaws of mobocracy."

“Almighty God, wield your sword, and penetrate the confusion and discontent of our county.” One balding congressman in a blue suit made the sign of the cross at the end.

02:24 PM

Acting U.S. attorney general warns insurrectionists against further attacks

Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen warned potential domestic terrorists against further attacks as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office after pro-Trump insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol last week.

In a video released overnight, Mr Rosen urged the public to come forward with any tips about potential attacks and other threats before Biden's January 20 inauguration as federal law enforcement officials prepare for potential further violence with more planned protests ahead.

"I want to send a clear message to anyone contemplating violence, threats of violence or other criminal conduct: We will have no tolerance whatsoever for any attempts to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power," including "attempts to forcefully occupy government buildings," he said.

"There will be no excuse for violence, vandalism or any other form of lawlessness."

As many as 15,000 National Guard troops, included some armed members, have been ordered to Washington, D.C., to secure the city before Biden's inauguration, with new fencing and other security measures engulfing the U.S. Capitol area. Some congressional leaders have also called for insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol to be placed on no-fly lists.

02:13 PM

US report into Covid-19's origins expected to say Chinese army grew 'dangerous coronaviruses' in Wuhan

British diplomats are bracing for the United States to make grave allegations against China linked to "dangerous" coronavirus research in Wuhan, report Lucy fisher and Sophia Yan.

Donald Trump is thought to be intent on firing a final salvo against Beijing over the Covid-19 crisis as one of his final acts before he departs the Oval Office next week.

UK sources believe Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, could make a public intervention as soon as today involving the declassification of American intelligence on the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The US may allege that the People’s Liberation Army were running research projects that involved "cultivating dangerous coronaviruses" in a series of animal species at the laboratory, a UK source told The Telegraph.

READ MORE: US report into Covid-19's origins expected to say Chinese army grew 'dangerous coronaviruses' in Wuhan

02:02 PM

House begins impeachment proceedings

And we're off in the House of Representatives. In a monumental day in American history, it is expected that Donald Trump will become the first President to be impeached twice later this evening.

Our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith is on site, and we will be livestreaming proceedings. You can watch the video at the top of this blog.

As a sign of how unusual today's proceedings are, the Capitol building is full of armed National Guard members.

01:52 PM

New York City to cut contracts with Trump Organisation, says mayor

New York City will sever contracts with the Trump Organization that net the company profits of $17 million annually, following President Donald Trump's incitement of crowds that stormed the U.S. Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.

Speaking on MSNBC, Mr de Blasio the contracts are for two ice skating rinks at Central Park, the Central Park Carousel and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a city-owned golf course in the Bronx.

“Inciting an insurrection against the U.S. government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” the mayor said. “The City of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organisation.”

It is the latest example of how the Jan. 6 breach by violent Trump supporters is impacting the Republican president's business interests.

The PGA of America voted Sunday to take the PGA Championship away from his New Jersey golf course next year, a move that came after social media platforms disabled Trump's accounts and Shopify took down online stores affiliated with him.

01:40 PM

Biden inauguration: Windows boarded up as FBI warns of 'armed uprising' and protests

01:18 PM

Tech giants hope for US data privacy law

Google, Twitter and Amazon are hopeful that Joe Biden's incoming administration in the United States will enact a federal digital data law, senior company officials said at CES, the annual electronics and technology show.

"I think the stars are better aligned than ever in the past," Keith Enright, Google's chief data privacy office, told a discussion Tuesday on trust and privacy.

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has applied since May 2018, has largely contributed to making consumers aware of the issues related to the data that they submit to large digital platforms on a daily basis.

This European data rights charter influenced California, which has now had the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) for over a year.

"That tends to dramatically increase the chances that we can develop the political will at the federal level to do something, just to create a uniform rule of law so that companies know what the rules of the road are and individual users know what their rights and protections are," Mr Enright said.

Biden's government will have leeway to legislate, as the Democrats will be in control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

12:58 PM

Foreign Office changes US travel advice ahead of Inauguration

The Foreign Office has altered its travel advice for the US ahead of the Inauguration of Joe Biden next Wednesday, citing the possibility of "further disorder" in Washington DC and other state capitals.

"The Mayor of Washington DC has introduced an Emergency Order in the city, effective until 3pm local time on 21 January 2021, under which curfews and other emergency measures may be introduced in Washington DC at any time," the website now says.

"If you are in Washington DC, you should follow the Mayor’s instructions. There is potential for further disorder during this period across the country, including in Washington DC and state capitols. You should follow the instructions of local authorities and stay away from any actual or potential disorder."

12:39 PM

Joe Biden’s family tree: how tragedy shaped the US president-elect

In his first speech as US President-elect, Joe Biden spoke of Obama, FDR and JFK. But he also, tellingly, spoke of the influence of his family.

"I would not be here without the love and tireless support of [his wife] Jill, [and children] Hunter, Ashley, all of our grandchildren and their spouses, and all our family," he said. "They are my heart."

Over the years, Biden has made no secret that he is close to his family. In speeches, he has time and time again referred to the influence of his mother and father in shaping him.

READ MORE: Joe Biden’s family tree: how tragedy shaped the US president-elect

12:20 PM

Ashley Biden: the president-elect's activist daughter

After Joe Biden gave his election victory speech, a woman danced on to the stage, waving her arms in the air and celebrating.

It was the kind of enthusiasm America is set to see regularly from the country's new First Daughter, Ashley Biden.

As America counts down the days until the inauguration of her father, Ms Biden, 39, is expected to be a very different First Daughter than Ivanka Trump.

She is unlikely to take a role in her father's administration. But, like Ms Trump, she will have her father's ear for issues that she cares deeply about.

READ MORE: Ashley Biden: the president-elect's activist daughter stepping into Ivanka Trump's shoes

11:58 AM

Biden names ex-ambassador Samantha Power to lead U.S. international aid agency

President-elect Joe Biden has named Samantha Power, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, as his choice to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Power will rally the international community and work with our partners to confront the biggest challenges of our time — including Covid-19, climate change, global poverty, and democratic backsliding," his transition team said in a statement.

"A crisis-tested public servant and diplomat, Ambassador Power has been a leader in marshaling the world to resolve long-running conflicts, respond to humanitarian emergencies, defend human dignity, and strengthen the rule of law and democracy," it added.

The long-time human rights advocate served as U.S. ambassador to the UN under former Democratic President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden from 2013 to 2017.

Ms Power, 50, also served as a White House national security staffer under Obama from 2009 to 2013. A former journalist, she won a Pulitzer Prize for her book “A Problem from Hell,” a study of U.S. failure to prevent genocide.

11:36 AM

US envoy to South Korea to leave post next week

US ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris will leave his post next week, he said Wednesday, after nearly two years which have seen him at the centre of controversy on several occasions.

"As has been reported, my time as Ambassador is ending," Mr Harris tweeted.

"I'll depart post next week. Bruni & I have enjoyed our lives here in South Korea immensely."

Seoul and Washington are security allies and the US stations 28,500 troops in the country.

But their relationship has been strained in recent years by differences in their approaches to North Korea and over cost-sharing responsibilities for the US deployment under President Donald Trump.

The tweet comes just days before Joe Biden's inauguration.

11:15 AM

Human Rights Watch urges Biden to let justice 'go forward' on Trump

US president-elect Joe Biden should allow the prosecution of his predecessor for alleged crimes, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, warning that just moving forward would be "a huge mistake".

Once Biden takes office on January 20, he should not stand in the way of professional prosecutors wanting to hold Donald Trump to account for various crimes in the name of trying to unify the country, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth told AFP.

"Biden needs to allow professional prosecutors to go forward, and to prosecute whatever crimes took place," Mr Roth said as the human rights NGO published its nearly 400-page annual report over rights abuses around the world.

Unprecedented efforts are underway by Democrats in Congress to impeach Trump for a second time, and Mr Roth urged the executive branch to also ensure he is sanctioned for his alleged crimes while in office.

"January 6 was a natural culmination of a trend that really persisted for four years.. It is essential for the United States to really draw a line under that and say: this despicable conduct is utterly unacceptable."

It was vital, he said, to show that the president "is not above the law."

10:57 AM

Republicans object to metal detectors outside House

Republicans are objecting to new metal detectors outside the House chamber that were added as a security precaution following last week's deadly attack on the Capitol.

Steve Scalise, the No 2 House Republican, said on Tuesday that the metal detectors were designed to impede lawmakers from voting and were not discussed with GOP leaders ahead of time.

Rodney Davis of Illinois was angry about the metal detectors and said valuable resources were being diverted in order to install the devices.

Several lawmakers simply walked around the devices. Louie Gohmert said: "You can't stop me. I'm on my way to a vote."

Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who has announced her intention to carry a gun on Capitol grounds, set off a metal detector. It wasn't clear if she had a cellphone or other metal object in her purse. She refused to allow a search of her bag but eventually was let into the House chamber.

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, has vowed to bring a gun into Congress - Stefani Reynolds /Bloomberg
Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, has vowed to bring a gun into Congress - Stefani Reynolds /Bloomberg

10:40 AM

Another Republican house member turns on Trump

The mutiny against the President from his own party is continuing overnight.

Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents the state of Washington, has tweeted that she will vote in favour of impeachment later on today.

"I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him," she said in a written statement.

Ms Herrera Beutler joins Liz Cheney, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton as the GOP House members who have publicly backed the impeachment vote.

10:21 AM

What will Joe Biden's first 100 days as US president look like?

President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn into office on January 20. Mr Biden made a long list of promises for his first 100 days, but his overriding priority will be the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, he is expected to try to roll the clock back as much as possible to January 2017, when he and Barack Obama left office.

That would involve using executive orders, as much as possible, to overturn orders introduced by Mr Trump, including those that loosened environmental regulations.

He will also prioritise international relations with a flurry of calls to world leaders, reassuring allies about the US role on the global stage.

READ MORE: What will Joe Biden's first 100 days as US president look like, and when is his first day in office?

09:59 AM

Your complete guide to Inauguration Day

Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Jan 20.

Despite the violence seen in the Capitol building on Jan 6, the US Congress confirmed Mr Biden will become the next President, after they certified 270 Electoral College votes on Jan 7.

After Congress approved Vermont's votes, Mr Biden reached the number of Electoral College votes needed to become the President. He has, therefore, defeated Donald Trump by 306-232.

The traditional outdoor ceremony for the new president is set to go ahead - although the coronavirus pandemic will scale back the usual celebrations.

READ MORE: Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and what time is the virtual parade?

09:40 AM

National Guard to be armed with 'lethal weapons' for inauguration

A spokesperson for the Pentagon has confirmed to the New York Times that the 15,000 National Guard officers who will be deployed on Inauguration Day will be armed with "lethal weapons".

“We want our individuals to have the right to self-defense,” General Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said on Monday during phone call with reporters. “If senior leadership determines that that’s the right posture to be in, then that is something we will do.”

Traditionally, authorities have shied away from arming those who are charged with security in and around the Capitol. The White House has reportedly signed off on this decision.

The New York Times, citing an anonymous Defence Department official, also reported that law enforcement are preparing for a range of extreme scenarios, including the possibility that remote-controlled drones could be used to attack the assembled crowd.

There have been growing concerns that pro-Trump supporters will organise a day of protests on January 20. Local police have warned of a plot in which 4,000 armed insurrectionists could descend on Washington in the coming days, encircling the US Capitol.

READ MORE: Police warn of new plot for 4,000 armed insurrectionists to surround US Capitol

09:26 AM

Rebellion against Donald Trump as four House Republicans say they will vote to impeach

Donald Trump’s support from Republicans on Capitol Hill was draining away on Tuesday night as a flurry of the party's congressmen announced they would vote for impeachment, reports our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith.

Four Republican members of the US House of Representatives went public with their decision to impeach, condemning his speech whipping up a crowd of supporters before some stormed the US Capitol.

Those backing impeachment included Liz Cheney, the third most senior House Republican and the daughter of former US vice president Dick Cheney, who gave a brutal assessment of Mr Trump.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution”, Ms Cheney said of Mr Trump's incitement of the mob.

READ MORE: Rebellion against Donald Trump as four House Republicans say they will vote to impeach

09:10 AM

Trump's visit to the border wall in pictures

U.S. President Donald Trump signs a plaque placed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall during his visit, in Alamo, Texas - Carlos Barria/Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump signs a plaque placed at the U.S.-Mexico border wall during his visit, in Alamo, Texas - Carlos Barria/Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump yells as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border wall - Carlos Barria/Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump yells as he visits the U.S.-Mexico border wall - Carlos Barria/Reuters
Donald Trump steps off Marine One to board Air Force One before departing from Texas - Mandel Ngan/AFP
Donald Trump steps off Marine One to board Air Force One before departing from Texas - Mandel Ngan/AFP
Construction continues along the border wall with Mexico championed by U.S. President Donald Trump in Sasabe, Arizona - Micah Garen /Getty Images North America 
Construction continues along the border wall with Mexico championed by U.S. President Donald Trump in Sasabe, Arizona - Micah Garen /Getty Images North America

08:57 AM

Mitch McConnell's cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

The tipping point came just before 6pm on Tuesday night, writes Nick Allen. Almost simultaneously, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, and congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, made clear they have abandoned Donald Trump.

It was the moment the political sands shifted under the president's feet. Other, previously loyal, Republicans will follow. And the way is now clear, not just for Republicans in the House to join Democrats in impeaching Mr Trump, but potentially for the Senate to convict him.

Mr Trump would be the first US president to meet such an ignominious fate. Hours earlier it had still seemed a very remote possibility.

READ MORE: Mitch McConnell's cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

08:44 AM

'Strong possibility' of Donald Trump running for President in 2024 says Nigel Farage

08:29 AM

US cancels UN envoy's visit to Taiwan ahead of Biden inauguration

A visit by Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations, to Taiwan this week was abruptly cancelled on Tuesday by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, just days after he had unexpectedly announced it, reports Nicola Smith.

The 11th hour decision was reportedly part of a sweeping move to halt all overseas travel for senior US diplomats after last week’s storming of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Ms Craft had been due to arrive in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital, on Wednesday for a three-day trip and was scheduled to meet Tsai Ing-wen, the president, who earlier this week tweeted that the unprecedented visit “marks an important milestone in the US-Taiwan partnership.”

READ MORE: US cancels UN envoy's visit to Taiwan ahead of Biden inauguration

08:18 AM

Harvard cuts ties with Congresswoman over voter fraud claims

A Republican member of Congress has been removed from a panel at Harvard University for making comments that perpetuated President Donald Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, the school announced on Tuesday.

US Representative Elise Stefanik of New York was removed from a senior advisory committee at Harvard's school of government after she declined to resign voluntarily, according to a statement from Douglas Elmendorf, dean of the Harvard Kennedy School.

Hundreds of students and alumni called on Harvard to cut ties with Ms Stefanik, a 2006 Harvard graduate, after last week's violent insurrection at the US Capitol.

Ms Stefanik was one of roughly a dozen current and former public servants on a senior advisory committee for Harvard's Institute of Politics, a programme intended to get undergraduates interested in public service careers.

READ MORE: Harvard cuts ties with Congresswoman over voter fraud claims

08:07 AM

Tim Cook: 'Rule of law must be respected'

Apple chief Tim Cook says he wants those involved with the deadly attack on the US Capitol last week to be held accountable, even if that includes President Trump.

"Everyone that had a part in it needs to be held accountable," Mr Cook said in a CBS This Morning interview on Tuesday. "I think no one is above the law. We're a rule of law country."

Cook did not specifically mention Mr Trump, but said that anyone with a role in the insurrection should be held accountable under the law.

"I don't think we should let it go," Mr Cook said. "This is something we've got to be serious about. I think holding people accountable is important."

Tech giants Amazon, Apple and Google have all cut ties with Parler, the social media platform popular with some conservatives including Mr Trump's supporters.

READ MORE: The rise and fall of Parler, the right-wing app popular with Trump supporters

07:55 AM

Armed National Guard troops deployed

National Guard troops deployed on the streets of Washington have begun to carry weapons in a major change of posture ahead of Joe Biden's inauguration as US president.

The Guard soldiers were originally mobilised to provide mostly logistical support to Washington police, and on Monday General Daniel Hokanson, Pentagon National Guard Bureau chief, said they had not been authorised yet to carry weapons.

Authorising Guard members to deploy in a law enforcement role, armed and empowered to make arrests, would be a "last resort" if the security situation got out of hand, Hokanson said.

It was not clear what changed late on Tuesday, and the city's National Guard had no comment.

Security experts have said chatter among extremists and supporters of President Donald Trump on social media about holding armed marches and threatening violence in the US capital and other cities had surged in recent days.

07:44 AM

YouTube suspends Trump channel

YouTube has locked Donald Trump's account for a week, preventing the president from posting on one of the few social media networks he was still able to use during his last days in office, writes Margi Murphy.

It has also indefinitely disabled comments under his videos over safety concerns, the company said in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Google-owned video streaming website had been under pressure to ban Mr Trump after Facebook said it would be suspending his account "indefinitely" and Twitter "permanently" after he violated both companies' policies against inciting violence for encouraging the mob who stormed the Capitol building last week.

Celebrities including Sacha Baron Cohen and Amy Schumer have been boosting the campaign #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy aimed at getting YouTube to dismantle Trump's account.

Read more: YouTube suspends Donald Trump until he leaves the White House

07:32 AM

Donald Trump: What would impeachment mean for him if he's already out of office?

Our US Editor Ben Riley-Smith explains what impeachment would mean for Donald Trump if he is already out of office.

07:22 AM

US carries out its first execution of female inmate since 1953

Away from the drama in Washington, a Kansas woman was executed for strangling an expectant mother in Missouri and cutting the baby from her womb, the first time in nearly seven decades that the U.S. government has put to death a female inmate.

Lisa Montgomery, 52, was pronounced dead at 1:31 a.m. local time (6:31am GMT) after receiving a lethal injection at the federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. She was the 11th prisoner to receive a lethal injection there since July when President Donald Trump, an ardent supporter of capital punishment, resumed federal executions following 17 years without one.

As a curtain was raised in the execution chamber, Montgomery looked momentarily bewildered as she glanced at journalists peering at her from behind thick glass. As the execution process began, a woman standing over Montgomery's shoulder leaned over, gently removed Montgomery's face mask and asked her if she had any last words. "No," Montgomery responded in a quiet, muffled voice. She said nothing else.

She tapped her fingers nervously for several seconds, a heart-shaped tattoo on her thumb, but she otherwise showed no signs of distress, and quickly closed her eyes.

"The craven bloodlust of a failed administration was on full display tonight," Montgomery's attorney, Kelley Henry said in a statement. "Everyone who participated in the execution of Lisa Montgomery should feel shame."

"The government stopped at nothing in its zeal to kill this damaged and delusional woman," Ms Henry said. "Lisa Montgomery's execution was far from justice."

It came after hours of legal wrangling before the Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution to move forward. Montgomery was the first of the final three federal inmates scheduled to die before next week's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to discontinue federal executions.

This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery - -/Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery 
This undated file image provided by Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery shows Lisa Montgomery - -/Attorneys for Lisa Montgomery

07:08 AM

What impeachment could mean for Donald Trump and his chances of a comeback

Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a resolution containing a single article of impeachment against Donald Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the attack on the US Capitol last week.

It sets in motion a course that will likely result in a second impeachment for Mr Trump, making him the first ever US president to be impeached twice.

Impeachment is a mechanism by which Congress can remove a sitting president. Before Donald Trump, only two US presidents had been impeached.

READ MORE: What impeachment could mean for Donald Trump and his chances of a comeback

06:57 AM

The top stories from overnight

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