Tuesday morning news – January 12, 2021

House to vote on 25th Amendment resolution, possibly impeachment » Lawmakers in the House could vote today on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. 

Trump only has eight days left in the Oval Office, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that’s eight days too many. 

PELOSI: Sadly, the person who is running the Executive Branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States.

She’s called members back to Washington to vote on that resolution. And if Pence does not move to oust Trump from office, the House will vote on impeaching the president for a second time. 

A four-page impeachment bill would charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection.” 

It says he “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government” when he spoke at a rally on Wednesday after which a group of rioters broke into the Capitol. 

It’s highly unlikely that lawmakers could complete an impeachment process before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration one week from tomorrow. 

Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley said Pelosi is presenting a false choice to members of the House…

GIDLEY: That if you don’t agree with them that he should be removed under the 25th Amendment, if you don’t agree with them that this president should be impeached again, then you do agree with the lawless thugs that attacked our Capitol building.

Gidley argued President Trump never encouraged violence. 

Capitol Police were not staffed or equipped for riot » New revelations are shedding light on why rioters at the Capitol were able to quickly overrun police.

The department reportedly had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day. And while some of those officers were equipped for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told NBC’s Today Show…

JOHNSON: This could have been avoided if it had been anticipated. And it wouldn’t have been hard to see from open source reporting the dangers that were emerging. 

The Associated Press reported that the Pentagon offered National Guard manpower ahead of Wednesday’s protest, but Capitol Police declined that help. 

But former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned last week, gave a different account to the Washington Post. He said he had asked House and Senate security officials ahead of time for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby in case he needed quick backup. But he said they turned him down.

Sund said his superiors were uncomfortable with the “optics” of formally declaring an emergency ahead of Wednesday’s demonstration.

The House sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, also resigned last week. And on Monday, House officials swore in his replacement. 

AUDIO: Please raise your right hand… 

Timothy Paul Blodgett is now the acting House sergeant at arms, the chief law enforcement officer for the chamber. 

Meantime, the FBI is investigating whether some of the rioters had plans to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage. Some of the Capitol intruders were carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had reportedly accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate.

Biden taps career diplomat to head CIA » President-Elect Joe Biden has tapped career diplomat William Burns to lead the CIA. 

Burns is an unconventional choice in that he has never been an intelligence officer. 

The 64-year-old served as ambassador to Russia and Jordan during a 33-year career at the State Department. He rose through the ranks, retiring in 2014 as deputy secretary of state. 

WHO experts to arrive Thursday to begin probe of virus origins » Experts from the World Health Organization are due to arrive in China this week for a long-anticipated probe into the origins of the coronavirus. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown reports. 

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: After multiple delays, the Chinese government announced Monday that a team of experts from the World Health Organization will arrive on Thursday and will meet with Chinese counterparts.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus expressed frustration last week over delays in getting China’s final approval for investigators to enter the country. 

China’s government has strictly controlled all research at home into the origins of the virus. And state-owned media have played up fringe theories that suggest the virus could have originated somewhere else.

An Associated Press investigation found that China’s government is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to scientists researching the virus’ origins. 

But researchers cannot publish any of their findings without first clearing them with a task force managed by China’s cabinet. Those rules are reportedly in place under direct orders from Chinese leader Xi Jinping. 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown. 

Trump admin. expected to re-designate Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reportedly planning to re-designate Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” within the next week. 

President Trump has taken a tough line on Cuba and reinstated many of the sanctions that the Obama administration had eased or lifted. 

In removing Cuba from the list, the Obama administration had determined the country no longer supported international terrorism. But Pompeo is expected to cite Cuban support for Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro as a major justification for the move. 

Chinese state media blast latest Pompeo move on Taiwan » The State Department is also lifting restrictions on how U.S. officials can interact with Taiwan, and that is drawing an angry reaction from China. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Pompeo announced the decision in a statement over the weekend, calling the restrictions “self-imposed.”

He said the limits had been implemented to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. To reinforce the new policy, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Kraft will visit Taiwan this week. 

Those displays of support for Taiwan’s independence angered China. The Chinese Communist Party considers the self-governing island of 24 million people a renegade province that should be brought under its rule.

Chinese State media lashed out, accusing Pompeo of—quote—“seeking to maliciously inflict a long-lasting scar on China-U.S. ties.” 

A state-run media commentary also said the Trump administration is trying to “burn the house down” before leaving office and has crossed a “dangerous red line with China.” 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Dawn breaks at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is calling for congressional action to rein in President Donald Trump after inciting last week’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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