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Monday November 29th, 2021 12:34AM

The Latest: White House flag now at half-staff for Sicknick

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and impeachment (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The U.S. flag at the White House is now flying at half-staff after calls for the flag there and at other federal locations be lowered to honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already ordered flags at the Capitol lowered to half-staff in Sicknick’s honor and calls were growing for President Donald Trump to do the same at the White House.

Sicknick joined the U.S. Capitol Police in 2008, serving until his death Thursday after being attacked as rioters seething over Trump’s election loss stormed the U.S. Capitol, believing the president’s false claims of a rigged election.

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2:30 p.m.

The trade group representing one of the nation’s best known health insurance brands says it’s suspending political contributions to lawmakers who voted last week to reject the Electoral College results that cemented Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in the November election.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association represents 36 regional and local insurers who use the brand, together covering about 1 in 3 Americans.

In a statement, Kim Keck, the group’s CEO and president, says it will continue to support lawmakers and candidates in both political parties who "will work with us to build a stronger, healthier nation.”

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HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE IMPEACHMENT PUSH IN CONGRESS:

Democrats in Congress are laying plans to impeach President Donald Trump and ensure that an “unhinged” commander in chief — in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's words — can do no further damage in his remaining days in office. They are trying to send a message to the nation, and the world, that mob violence at the Capitol this past week that was inspired by the White House will not stand.

Read more:

— Squelched by Twitter, Trump seeks new online megaphone

— Pope prays for dead in Capitol rioting, appeals for calm

— In wake of Capitol riot, Americans struggle for answers

— No surprise: Trump left many clues he wouldn’t go quietly

___

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

1:05 p.m.

Sen. Roy Blunt says he doesn’t see a need for congressional Republicans to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his role in promoting last week’s Capitol riot but warned him to “be very careful” in his last 10 days in office.

The Missouri Republican called Trump’s decisions and actions leading up to last Wednesday’s riot “clearly reckless.” But he says the U.S. should be “thinking more about the first day of the next presidency” of President-elect Joe Biden than on removing Trump from office.

Blunt says he doesn’t think Trump will act recklessly again. He told CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “My personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”

Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

___

11:55 a.m.

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries says President Donald Trump is out of control and should be immediately removed from office as a “clear and present danger to the health and safety of the American people.”

Jeffries, who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, says that as a coequal branch of government, it’s Congress’ job to keep Trump in check — whether by impeachment, demanding his resignation or pushing Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment declaring him unfit to serve.

The New York Democrat says while Trump’s Twitter account may now be permanently suspended, the president still has access to the nation’s nuclear codes and other weapons of power.

Jeffries pointed to a “constitutional responsibility” to act. He told NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “Donald Trump is completely and totally out of control, and even his long-time enablers have now come to that conclusion.”

___

10:10 a.m.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says the House could vote this week to impeach President Donald Trump but delay sending the legislation to the Senate until after many of incoming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet secretaries are confirmed for their posts.

The South Carolina Democrat says “it may be Tuesday or Wednesday before action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week.”

Clyburn says he’s concerned that a Senate trial could distract from the process of confirming Biden’s nominees.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could begin as early as Jan. 20 – Inauguration Day.

Clyburn says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide when to appoint impeachment managers and send the articles to the Senate. He says an option would be to give Biden the “100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we’ll send the articles sometime after that.”

Clyburn appeared on CNN's “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday.”

___

9:40 a.m.

A second Republican senator has called for President Donald Trump to step down in the wake of the Capitol rioting this past week.

This time it’s Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. He’s calling on Trump to resign for what Toomey says would be the good of the country after the Capitol riot that was carried out by supporters of the president.

Toomey says resignation is the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us.” But Toomey says he’s not optimistic that Trump will step down before his term ends on Jan. 20.

Toomey also says that Trump’s role in encouraging the riot is an “impeachable offense.”

Toomey is the second GOP senator to call for Trump to step down, joining Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Trump supporters who were angry over his loss to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. Five people were killed.

Toomey was interviewed Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

___

12:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is facing growing Democratic momentum to impeach him a second time.

And a top Republican, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, says he thinks Trump’s role in encouraging a deadly riot at the Capitol is an “impeachable offense.”

But Toomey is stopping short of saying he'd vote to remove Trump from office.

A Democratic congressman, David Cicciline of Rhode Island, says an impeachment proposal already has 185 co-sponsors. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is telling Democratic colleagues to be prepared to return to Washington this coming week.

Pelosi says Trump should be held accountable but she hasn’t committed to an impeachment vote.

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