Also trending on your Thursday: McConnell open to convicting Trump in impeachment trial, 10 House Republicans backed Trump impeachment and HBO documentary shines new light on Tiger Woods' life.
Watch now: Rep. Cori Bush calls Trump 'white supremacist in chief' during impeachment debate
Rep. Cori Bush excoriated President Donald Trump as the "white supremacist in chief" in an impassionedstatement during the impeachment debate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Wednesday.
"If we fail to remove a white-supremacist president, who incited a white-supremacist insurrection, it's communities like Missouri's 1st District that suffer the most." the first-term Missouri Democrat said. — St. Louis Post-Dispatch
10 House Republicans back Trump impeachment, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
WASHINGTON — Ten Republican House members — including the No. 3 House GOP leader — voted to impeach President Donald Trump over the deadly insurrection at the Capitol. The GOP votes were in sharp contrast to the unanimous support for Trump among House Republicans when he was impeached by Democrats in December 2019.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, led the GOP opposition to Trump, saying in a statement, "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
Cheney, whose father, Dick Cheney, served as vice president under George W. Bush, has been more critical of Trump than other GOP leaders, but her announcement hours before Wednesday's vote nonetheless shook Congress.
Trump "summoned" the mob that attacked the Capitol, "assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,'' Cheney said, adding: "Everything that followed was his doing." Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters from rioting but did not, she noted.
Nine other House Republicans also supported impeachment: Reps. John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Fred Upton and Peter Meijer of Michigan; Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington state; Tom Rice of South Carolina; and David Valadao of California.
Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who has emerged as a leading Trump critic, said lawmakers were "in uncharted waters here, and in a moment in history we have not experienced in modern times.''
But Kinzinger, who is in his sixth term representing northern Illinois, said there was "no doubt in my mind that the president of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.'' Trump "used his position in the executive" branch to attack the legislative branch, he said.
Katko, a former federal prosecutor who represents the Syracuse area, was the first rank-and-file GOP lawmaker to support impeachment. Allowing Trump "to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy," he said Tuesday.
"By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement and division,'' Katko said. "When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.''
Upton, a former chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee who is in his 18th term representing the Kalamazoo area, said he would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than a drawn-out impeachment process. But he said Trump's refusal to take responsibility for the riot left him no choice but to support impeachment.
Trump claimed Tuesday that his remarks at a rally just before the riot were "totally appropriate," an assertion that Upton said "sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution."
"The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any president to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next,'' he said.
Herrera Beutler, in her sixth term representing southwestern Washington, said on the House floor that the enemy was fear, not Trump or President-elect Joe Biden. Fear incites anger and violence "and it haunts us into silence and inaction,'' she said.
While many GOP lawmakers are afraid of Trump, "truth sets us free from fear,'' Herrera Beutler said. "My vote to impeach a sitting president is not a fear-based decision,'' she said. "I am not choosing a side. I'm choosing truth; it's the only way to defeat fear.''
Newhouse said on the House floor that the Democratic-led articles of impeachment were flawed, but he would not use process as an excuse to vote no.
"There is no excuse for President Trump's actions," said Newhouse, in his fifth term representing central Washington.
Trump, like members of Congress, took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, Newhouse said. "Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it," Newhouse said. "That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment."
Meijer, a freshman who represents the Grand Rapids area, said Trump betrayed his oath of office and "bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week.'' He also said he supported impeachment with a heavy heart.
Trump's fate is now up the Republican-controlled Senate, which acquitted him last year without hearing witnesses in a trial. This time, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is said to be angry at Trump, not only over the Capitol insurrection but also the twin defeats in Georgia the day before that cost the GOP its Senate majority, according to a Republican granted anonymity to discuss the situation.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a St. Louis native, defends Trump ban and warns of dangerous precedent
SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s ban of President Donald Trump in a philosophical Twitter thread that is his first public statement on the subject.
I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter, or how we got here. After a clear warning we’d take this action, we made a decision with the best information we had based on threats to physical safety both on and off Twitter. Was this correct?
When Trump incited his followers to storm the U.S. Capitol last week, then continued to tweet potentially ominous messages, Dorsey, a St. Louis native, said the resulting risk to public safety created an “extraordinary and untenable circumstance” for the company. Having already briefly suspended Trump's account the day of the Capitol riot, Twitter on Friday banned Trump entirely, then smacked down the president's attempts to tweet using other accounts.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump from Twitter,“ Dorsey wrote. But he added: ”I believe this was the right decision for Twitter.”
Dorsey acknowledged that shows of strength like the Trump ban could set dangerous precedents, even calling them a sign of “failure.” Although not in so many words, Dorsey suggested that Twitter needs to find ways to avoid having to make such decisions in the first place. Exactly how that would work isn't clear, although it could range from earlier and more effective moderation to a fundamental restructuring of social networks.
In Dorsey-speak, that means Twitter needs to work harder to “promote healthy conversation.”
Extreme measures such as banning Trump also highlight the extraordinary power that Twitter and other Big Tech companies can wield without accountability or recourse, Dorsey wrote.
While Twitter was grappling with the problem of Trump, for instance, Apple, Google and Amazon were effectively shutting down the right-wing site Parler by denying it access to app stores and cloud-hosting services. The companies charged that Parler wasn't aggressive enough about removing calls to violence, which Parler has denied.
Dorsey declined to criticize his Big Tech counterparts directly, even noting that “this moment in time might call for this dynamic.” Over the long term, however, he suggested that aggressive and domineering behavior could threaten the “noble purpose and ideals” of the open internet by entrenching the power of a few organizations over a commons that should be accessible to everyone.
The Twitter co-founder, however, had little specific to say about how his platform or other Big Tech companies could avoid such choices in the future. Instead, he touched on an idea that, taken literally, sounds a bit like the end of Twitter itself — a long-term project to develop a technological “standard” that could liberate social networks from centralized control by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
But for the moment, Dorsey wrote, Twitter's goal “is to disarm as much as we can, and ensure we are all building towards a greater common understanding, and a more peaceful existence on earth.”
McConnell open to convicting Trump in impeachment trial
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pointedly did not rule out that he might eventually vote to convict the now twice-impeached President Donald Trump, but he also blocked a quick Senate impeachment trial.
Minutes after the House voted 232-197 on Wednesday to impeach Trump, McConnell said in a letter to his GOP colleagues that he’s not determined whether Trump should be convicted in the Senate's upcoming proceedings. The House impeachment articles charge that Trump incited insurrection by exhorting supporters who violently attacked the Capitol last week, resulting in five deaths and a disruption of Congress.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote.
McConnell's openness was a stark contrast to the support, or at times silence, he’s shown during much of Trump’s presidency, and to the opposition he expressed rapidly when the House impeached Trump 13 months ago. McConnell will be Washington’s most powerful Republican once Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, and McConnell’s increasingly chilly view of Trump could make it easier for other GOP lawmakers to turn against him.
McConnell’s burgeoning alienation from Trump, plus the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him, underscored how the GOP’s long, reflexive support and condoning of Trump’s actions was eroding.
McConnell also issued a statement saying Congress and the government should spend the next week “completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power” to Biden. He suggested Trump's Senate trial would begin no earlier than Jan. 19 — in effect rejecting a drive by the chamber's Democrats to begin the proceedings immediately so Trump could be ousted from office.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that unless McConnell reverses himself and agrees to quickly start the trial, it would begin after Jan. 19. That's a day before Biden is inaugurated as president and about the time Democrats take over majority control of the Senate. The timetable essentially means McConnell is dropping the trial into Democrats' laps.
“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate," Schumer said. He added, “If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again."
The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to convict a president, meaning at least 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats to oust Trump. If Trump were convicted, it would take only a simple majority of the Senate to prohibit Trump, who's mentioned running again in 2024, from holding federal office again. — Associated Press
'He's not going to like this sh*t at all': HBO documentary shines new light on Tiger Woods' life
Tiger Woods always wanted us to believe that he was just like the rest of us. "We're all the same; we're all human," Woods told CNN Sport in 2006.
The world's most famous golfer, one of the most iconic athletes of our lifetime, has never been comfortable with fame; he's endured an almost total lack of privacy from when he was young.
In 2019, with bitterness in his voice, he told CNN Sport: "I don't like it. I never have liked it."
HBO's new two-part documentary, "Tiger," puts the trajectory of his extraordinary life story under the microscope. The new documentary premiered on January 10 on HBO Max.
One of the contributors, the Woods family friend Joe Grohman, agonized before sharing one particularly sensitive detail, saying: "He's not going to like this sh*t at all."
But how many people understand the nuance and the complexity of the man? The fine details that shaped the arc of his journey. Just how did Woods happen?
One of the co-directors, Matthew Heineman, told CNN Sport that trying to understand Woods presented the kind of challenge that filmmakers crave.
"Like all of us, he's human; he's flawed," said Heineman. "And unlike all of us, his life has played out in the public eye in a way that probably no one else's life has. Tiger is an incredibly complex person; we want to really embrace that nuance and that complexity."
Very few of the characters leave Woods' orbit unscathed , according to the filmmakers. More often than not, they are scarred and discarded, and the viewer will feel sympathy for many of them -- even, at times, Woods himself.
"I mean, you can't help but feel for a guy," says co-director Matthew Hamachek, "who was thrust into the national spotlight at the age of two."
Hamachek and Heineman believe that the crux of this story is the relationship between a father and his son. "Earl has this vision for what his son was going to become," Hamachek added. "It wasn't just about golf."
The Mike Douglas television show appearance when Woods was just two is now iconic, but it was far from his only encounter with the media as a toddler.
"The world is ready for a non-White golfer to be successful. I have availed Tiger of this, and he takes that responsibility seriously," Earl declared.
Earl's vision was that his son would be much more than just a golfer.
The filmmakers told CNN Sport that Woods' representatives said the golfer declined -- twice -- to be interviewed for the documentary citing a prior commitment to another media company. Woods' agent didn't immediately respond to CNN's request for comment about the documentary.
In one clip, Woods dismissed his father's expectations, saying: "That's just my Dad speaking, a proud father."
But Earl was preaching to the world that his son would be little short of the second coming and, once he turned professional, his sponsors were only too happy to continue the sermon.
As Hamachek observed: "It seemed like his entire life people were putting expectations and projecting what they wanted him to be onto Tiger."
The film presents a narrative that Earl and Kultida -- the 15-time major winner's Mom -- raised an automaton capable of handling intense pressure on the golf course, with a ruthless drive for success.
But it seems that they also created an environment which stunted his emotional growth, resulting in an imperfect human. At the height of his powers, Woods seemed to find comfort watching morning cartoons with a bowl of cereal.
Some of the most revealing testimony is provided by his first girlfriend Dina Parr, who says she could see where it was all heading.
"I felt like their plans were creating this robot. There was all this preparation for golf, but he had no life skills. He had not been prepared for life. And I was probably the only person around that really kept him in check."
Parr says that their relationship ended abruptly when she received a cold and business-like termination letter from Woods, who "never wanted to see or hear" from her again. "I know this is sudden and a surprise, but it is in my opinion much warranted," wrote the golfer.
Parr was devastated; she said they had been in love and were happy together: "It was like a death, the Tiger that I had known had died. His sweetness was stolen from him."
But it's through the original testimony of Rachel Uchitel, speaking on camera for the first time, that we see what that man became.
Uchitel , who became a public figure as a result of her relationship with Tiger, sheds new light on a man who was seemingly trying to escape from the pressure of it all, and she found herself in the eye of the storm when their cover was blown.
As a teenager, Parr's relationship with Woods was ended with a letter; Uchitel says her termination was crafted by a lawyer. His longtime caddie Steve Williams also discovered that friendship with Woods can be revoked at a moment's notice and there is no going back.
And yet, there doesn't seem to be any resentment from those who say they were cast aside.
"I think one of the most interesting psychological things is how unbelievably protective they still are," says Heineman. "There wasn't anger; there wasn't bitterness. It was still so much love for this man, even though he might have hurt them deeply."
Asked what they think the moral of Woods' story might be, the directors struggle to identify it; because he is such a complex character, he can't be "put in a box." — CNN
Prosecutors: Kyle Rittenhouse flashed white power signs, serenaded with Proud Boys anthem during bar visit
Kyle Rittenhouse flashed a hand sign adopted by some white supremacist groups, posed for photos with members of Proud Boys and was “loudly serenaded” with a song reportedly adopted by the far-right group as the 18-year-old drank at a Wisconsin bar last week, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.
Kenosha County prosecutors asked a judge to modify the rules Rittenhouse has to follow while he’s free on $2 million bail as he awaits trial on murder and other charges for shooting three men, two of them fatally, with an AR-15-style rifle during chaotic protests Aug. 25.
The motion asks a judge to ban Rittenhouse from “publicly displaying symbols and gestures that are associated with violent white supremacist groups and from associating with known members of those groups, particularly the Proud Boys.” In support of the request, prosecutors filed several images from bar surveillance cameras showing Rittenhouse flashing the “OK” sign.
Prosecutors also asked a judge to bar Rittenhouse from drinking or going to bars while he’s free.
The motion notes that Rittenhouse went to a bar in Mount Pleasant with his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse. Wisconsin law allows people 18 and over to drink with their parents in taverns. Still, prosecutors asked a judge to ban Rittenhouse from drinking, noting that he recently turned 18 and faces a murder charge.
“The consumption of alcohol increases the likelihood of violent criminal acts,” prosecutors wrote.
The attorney representing Rittenhouse in criminal court, Mark Richards, could not be reached for comment. A lawyer representing Rittenhouse in civil cases, John Pierce, declined to comment.
Rittenhouse has been a popular figure with the political right, and his lawyers appealed to those sympathies as they sought money for his bond. Before Rittenhouse was freed, a chant of “break out Kyle” erupted at pro-President Donald Trump demonstrations in Washington that involved extremist groups including the Proud Boys. They’re a far-right group known for street fights that the Anti-Defamation League characterizes as “misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration,” with some members espousing “white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies.”
Pierce has tweeted in support of the Proud Boys leader accused of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a Black church. Rittenhouse’s lawyers have said the Antioch teenager is not a white supremacist.
Rittenhouse’s appearance at the tavern — in a shirt reading “Free as F—k”— drew notice and condemnation on social media before prosecutors filed their motion.
Upon arrival, Rittenhouse posed with two men while flashing the “OK” sign, which prosecutors described as “co-opted as a symbol of white supremacy/white power.” He posed for several photos while drinking three beers over 90 minutes, prosecutors wrote.
Several men serenaded him with “Proud of Your Boy,” a song written for the Disney animated film “Aladdin” purported to be an anthem for the extremist group.
“The defendant’s continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm,” prosecutors wrote. “Further, this association may serve to intimidate potential witnesses, who may be unwilling to testify in this case because they may fear that the defendant’s associates with harm them or their families.”
Prosecutors wrote that Rittenhouse’s appearance at the bar came after he pleaded not guilty last week. The charges stem from shootings that came during chaotic demonstrations that followed white Officer Rusten Sheskey shooting Jacob Blake, who is Black, several times in the back at close range. Kenosha County prosecutors announced last week that Sheskey would not be charged.
Rittenhouse’s lawyers have argued he shot the men in self-defense. He fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26. A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, who prosecutors have said was armed with a handgun, survived the teen shooting him in the arm. — Chicago Tribune / Kenosha News / The Washington Post