Thursday News: Clear and Present Danger


TRUMP BECOMES 1ST PRESIDENT TO BE IMPEACHED TWICE: President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office. With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results. Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20.

BERGERMOORE DOESN'T WANT TRUMP REMOVED FROM OFFICE: "There's only a few days left in the president's term," House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters Wednesday. "If we go down this road, it's only going to, again, further inflame passions and divide the country." Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said much the same thing in a statement last week, after Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said the president should resign or be removed. “The U.S. Constitution designates Jan. 20 as the date when power peacefully transfers," Berger, R-Rockingham, said. "After the tumult of the past 24 hours, we should take care to lower the temperature, not raise it through actions that will cause yet more division.” The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach the president. Ten Republicans sided with the Democratic majority on the vote. None of North Carolina's Republican members supported impeachment, but all North Carolina Democrats voted for it.

GOVERNOR ACTIVATES NATIONAL GUARD TO PROTECT RALEIGH AND WASHINGTON DC: “Ongoing security concerns in Washington, D.C., and state capitals around the nation following last week’s attack on the US Capitol must be taken seriously, and I will deploy necessary resources to keep North Carolinians safe,” Cooper said. Cooper mobilized 350 Guardsmen for duty in Raleigh, helping state and local police “protect the well-being of residents, property, and the right to peacefully assemble and protest,” spokesman Ford Porter said in a Wednesday news release. The FBI sent a memo to all 50 states warning of protests between Saturday, Jan. 16 and Wednesday, Jan. 20. No specific plans to demonstrate have been announced, but a flier calling for armed marches in state capitals has circulated worldwide. Cooper is sending another 200 Guardsmen to the nation’s capital to assist before and during President Joe Biden’s Inauguration. The deployment will last seven to eight days and is based on threats of significant large-scale protests, Porter said.

EVIDENCE GROWS THAT REPUBLICAN ELECTED OFFICIALS HELPED IN PLANNING THE INVASION: The letter said that Democratic lawmakers and staffers “witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups” visiting the Capitol, which was unusual because the building has restricted public access since March, when pandemic protocols were enacted. Since then, tourists can enter the Capitol only when brought in by a member of Congress. Among the visitors, according to the Democrats’ letter, were some who “appeared to be associated with the rally.” Sherrill and the other Democrats asked that any logbooks, videos and facial recognition software be examined to identify visitors and determine if they could be matched with those who stormed the Capitol. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said in an interview that “I do know that, yes, there were members that gave tours to individuals who participated in the riot.” She said an investigation is needed, adding, “What I don't know is whether they were aware of what their plans were for the next day.” Last month, “Stop the Steal” movement organizer Ali Alexander claimed that three House Republicans — Reps. Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (Ala.) helped plan his D.C. rally. Biggs and Brooks denied the insinuation in comments to The Washington Post this week. A spokeswoman for Gosar did not return a request for comment, and attempts to speak with Alexander were unsuccessful. Democrats also have raised concerns about Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who voiced early support for the demonstrators, likening them to 18th-century American revolutionaries. “Today is 1776,” she wrote on Twitter on the morning of the rally. Lauren Boebert is an outspoken supporter of QAnon conspiracy theories, just like the main leaders of the insurgency.

1978 NOVEL "THE TURNER DIARIES" MAY HAVE BEEN A GUIDE FOR INSURRECTIONISTS: In “The Turner Diaries,” a group of white supremacists attacks the Capitol in an effort to overthrow the U.S. government. Dozens are killed in the assault, including members of Congress and their staffers. But in the insurrectionists’ view, the greater victory is symbolic. “The real value of all our attacks today lies in the psychological impact, not the immediate casualties,” the 1978 novel’s narrator, Earl Turner, writes in his diary. “They learned this afternoon that not one of them is beyond our reach.” Since its publication by the neo-Nazi leader William Luther Pierce, “The Turner Diaries” has become one of the most influential texts among white nationalists and right-wing extremists. It has inspired dozens of acts of violence, and has been held up as a blueprint for how to enact a violent insurrection. Last week, as rioters broke into the Capitol, incited by President Trump, some saw frightening parallels with the events described in the novel. Experts who track rhetoric on the far right say the book has long been a reference point for white supremacists who see the government as an oppressive force to be overthrown. On social media and in militant chat rooms on sites like 4chan, Telegram and Stormfront, some users celebrated last week’s violence and likened it to “the Day of the Rope,” a mass hanging that occurs in “The Turner Diaries.” Some rioters who live-streamed the assault made references to hanging politicians, and strung up nooses and erected a gallows outside the Capitol. “The turner diaries mentioned this. Keep reading,” one user posted on Telegram in reference to the attack on the Capitol. On Monday, Amazon removed the novel from its website. It had previously been available for purchase with a disclaimer identifying it as “a racist, white supremacist fantasy” that had inspired domestic terrorists.