First up, the capitol riots.
Joint session of Congress: In January, Congress meets to verify the results of the presidential election, counting the votes cast by electors in December to determine the outcome of the election once and for all.
On Wednesday, Jan. 6, a group of Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. capitol. Here are the details:
- At 11 a.m, Trump supporters gathered at the White House for the president’s speech, while others gathered at the Capitol building, where the joint session of Congress was meeting to verify the election, around 9 a.m.
- During President Trump’s speech, he told the audience to “march down to the Capitol” and that they could not “take back the country with weakness.”
- Those gathered at the Capitol building cited different reasons for being there. Some wanted to intimidate lawmakers and try to stop Biden’s confirmation. Many supported President Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. Around 2 p.m, the rioters stormed the building.
- The rioters broke windows, vandalized offices and looted. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office was vandalized and property was stolen from her desk. Some rioters carried a Confederate flag.
- Around 6 p.m, Capitol police, the FBI and the National Guard retook the building and D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser implemented a citywide curfew from 6 p.m on Wednesday to 6 a.m on Thursday. A public emergency was also declared, lasting until after President-Elect Biden’s inauguration.
- Biden issued a televised statement that afternoon condemning the violence and blaming Trump for inciting it. Trump issued his statements through Twitter -- calling the rioters “great patriots.” Twitter permanently suspended his account, stating that his words could encourage secondary violence, which violates their terms and conditions.
It’s been about a week since the riot happened. Since then:
- 70 people have been arrested and five people died as a result of the riot.
- The riot could have been planned in advance, according to new evidence, which includes weapons and tactics seen on surveillance camera. The FBI is also investigating indications that some of those at Trump’s rally (held outside of the White House) left the event early.
Next, the presidential impeachment.
The 25th amendment: The 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that if the president is determined to be unfit for office by the Vice President and a majority of cabinet members, the Vice President becomes acting president.
On Wednesday Jan. 6, a group of pro-Trump rioters convened on and entered the U.S. Capitol building, fighting against the certification of the electoral college votes for Joe Biden’s victory. The riots left many people wondering what comes next. Here's what you need to know:
- Late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, congress reconvened to certify President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' victory. While some Republican lawmakers objected to the certification of the electoral college vote, several, including the recently defeated Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, withdrew their objections after witnessing the attack on the Capitol. Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the attack, saying, "To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win."
- The Trump administration released a video in which the president publicly accepted defeat for the first time, saying, "A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20," and that his "focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power."
- In the aftermath of the attack, longtime allies began to distance themselves from the President. Two members of the President's cabinet, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, announced their resignations. Those close to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky say that he believes the President has committed impeachable offences.
- On Tuesday, nearly a week after the attack, the House voted 223-205 to call on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President from office, threatening to introduce formal impeachment proceedings without Pence’s support. Pence rejected the call in a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, saying that, “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution.”
- The House moved forward with the impeachment process, and on Wednesday, Trump became the first president to be impeached twice. 10 republicans joined the house democrats in voting to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection against the United States government. The Senate is likely to hold the impeachment trial after Biden’s inauguration. Two Democrat victories in the runoff elections in Georgia gave the Democrats control of the Senate, but they will still need 17 republicans to vote with them to secure the two-thirds majority necessary to remove Trump.
Finally, the coronavirus.
Deaths, hospitalizations and positive tests are all trending up despite the vaccine. Here’s what’s happening this week:
- The mass vaccination campaign in the U.S. has fallen behind schedule. President Trump aimed to have 20 million people vaccinated by Jan. 1, however only three million had received their shots by that date and only nine million doses of the first vaccine have been administered as of Jan. 11. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to increase the distribution of vaccines when he takes office on Jan. 20.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been vocal about the city's need for more vaccines, as the city plans to open six mass vaccination sites next week.
- New strains of the virus have been found in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. Some mutations allow the virus to replicate and transmit itself more efficiently, which has forced Britain into a lockdown of similar restrictions to last March. A more infectious variant could also make some previously low risk activities unsafe.