cloudyn.png
Wednesday January 20th, 2021 2:04AM

A day of historic impeachment, a Capitol as armed encampment

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The scene in the U.S. Capitol seemed jarringly disconnected. Inside the House chamber, the nation's lawmakers spoke with solemnity about democracy, the rule of law and the words of Abraham Lincoln as they undertook a vote to remove the president from office.

They wore masks, a rule imposed by Democrats, as a measure of the pandemic that continues to ravage the country.

But only steps away, outside the chamber doors, there was the look of an armed encampment.

The House impeachment of President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on the home of the branch of government created in Article I of the Constitution contained arresting reminders of the violence and death wrought just a week ago and the fears that the Capitol needed enhanced protection to prevent it from happening again.

Where visitors once walked, hundreds of National Guard members camped out, protecting lawmakers still reeling from last week’s violence and preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Capitol grounds were wrapped in fences, and scores of other law enforcement officers and troops kept a watchful eye.

A replica of the dome that stands atop the Capitol, the Statue of Freedom, resides in the Capitol’s visitor center. Beneath it, soldiers slept on marble floors while others huddled to discuss their marching orders for the day.

They massed together from one end of the giant hall to the other and their numbers made it impossible to follow the signs calling for social distancing. To protect from COVID, they wore masks, and to protect from potential violence, they stockpiled riot shields and gas masks.

Republican Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, a military veteran who lost both legs in the war in Afghanistan, was shocked at the sight and that so many soldiers were deemed necessary to keep the Capitol safe.

“It's as sad as anything can make me in this world," Mast said as he gave some of them a tour.

The Capitol always sees stepped-up security precautions leading up to an inauguration, but it rarely looks like the nation is on a war footing.

But along with the signs of fear, there were also signs of gratefulness for those protecting the Capitol. A tunnel leading to House office buildings has become a makeshift tribute to members of law enforcement who protected the Capitol when a violent mob overran the building in an attempt to derail the certification of Electoral College votes in the presidential election. More than 50 police officers were injured in the attack, including 15 who were hospitalized. One was killed.

“Thank you for keeping my mommy safe,” said a poster with smiley faces and stars and signed by “Clair Age 8.”

The thank you signs poured in from all ranks and political parties, including a letter from the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “We would not be here without you," said another poster signed “thank you from AOC," the initials for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y.

Outside of the Capitol, members of the National Guard — many carrying semi-automatic assault rifles — are supplementing the work of the U.S. Capitol Police, forming perimeters around each of the office buildings that lawmakers and their staffs use when not in the Capitol for votes. The number of entrances into the buildings has been dramatically diminished and those approaching must present a credential to get in.

The tensions were also apparent inside the House chamber. Beginning Tuesday, lawmakers had to walk through a metal detector before being allowed to enter the chamber. Members of Congress have previously enjoyed nearly free range at the Capitol, able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the building. In the House chamber, there have been Capitol Police officers and civilian door monitors but no screening stations. Reporters had to do the same to enter the galleries above the chamber.

As the debate over whether to impeach Trump ensued in the afternoon on the House floor, one side called for unity, the other accountability. It’s very much unclear whether either will happen.

“This is a moment of truth my friends," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. “Are you on the side of chaos and the mob, or on the side of constitutional democracy and our freedom?"

“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted. That’s what the president did, that is all he did," said Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who created a tempest inside the party by declaring she would support impeachment, quickly left after casting her “aye” vote. But another GOP impeachment backer, John Katko of New York, lingered for a bit near a desk with a terminal that keeps a tally.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled the vote and announced the tally — but only after waiting for California Democratic ally Maxine Waters, a strong opponent of Trump, to cast the 232nd and final vote to impeach him.

As Pelosi announced the vote count, there was hardly a sound, a single clap from one or two in the audience that was quickly replaced by silence as most members headed for the exits.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
WhatsApp growth slumps as rivals Signal, Telegram rise
Encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram are seeing huge upticks in downloads from Apple and Google's app stores, while WhatsApp's growth is on the decline following a privacy fiasco where the company was forced to clarify a message it sent to users
6:11PM ( 4 minutes ago )
A day of historic impeachment, a Capitol as armed encampment
The U.S. Capitol has been transformed into a fortress of impeachment
6:10PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Sephora to fight against racial bias with an action plan
Global beauty retailer Sephora plans to expand the number of Black-owned brands,  scale back on third-party security guards and offer more inclusive marketing as part of a wide-ranging plan to combat racial bias at its stores
6:06PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
YouTube suspends Trump’s channel for at least a week
YouTube suspended U.S. President Donald Trump’s channel for at least a week amid concerns around “ongoing potential for violence,” making it the latest platform to limit the president’s online activities
5:35PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge
President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol
5:31PM ( 44 minutes ago )
McConnell blocks quick Trump trial, unsure how he'll vote
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking a quick Senate trial of Donald Trump
5:30PM ( 45 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: House records enough votes to impeach Trump
A majority of the U.S. House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol
4:23PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump on verge of 2nd impeachment; voting underway
President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol
4:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: House begins voting on 2nd Trump impeachment
Voting is underway in the House on impeaching President Donald Trump over the violent siege at the U.S. Capitol last week by a mob of his supporters
3:55PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
WhatsApp growth slumps as rivals Signal, Telegram rise
Encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram are seeing huge upticks in downloads from Apple and Google's app stores, while WhatsApp's growth is on the decline following a privacy fiasco where the company was forced to clarify a message it sent to users
6:11PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Sephora to fight against racial bias with an action plan
Global beauty retailer Sephora plans to expand the number of Black-owned brands,  scale back on third-party security guards and offer more inclusive marketing as part of a wide-ranging plan to combat racial bias at its stores
6:06PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Enduring 2nd impeachment, Trump stands largely silent, alone
Donald Trump's place in the history books has been rewritten and on Wednesday, as the House voted to impeach him, the president faced his unprecedented second impeachment largely alone and silent
6:06PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Powerball jackpot hits $550M as Mega Millions grows to $750M
Another night, another chance to win a giant lottery jackpot
6:04PM ( 11 minutes ago )
AP source: Harden headed to Nets in blockbuster 4-team deal
The Brooklyn Nets have agreed to acquire three-time scoring champion James Harden from the Houston Rockets, a deal that reunites him with Kevin Durant and gives him the move that he has sought for weeks, said a person familiar with the situation
5:54PM ( 21 minutes ago )