Trump Administration, Week 208: Friday, 8 January – Thursday, 14 January 2021 (Days 1,449-1,455)

 

 

Much of Our History and Our Current Moment Reflected in a Single Photo, The Atlantic, Clint Smith, Thursday, 8 January 2021: “On Wednesday afternoon, as insurrectionists assaulted the Capitol, a man wearing a brown vest over a black sweatshirt walked through the halls of Congress with the Confederate battle flag hanging over his shoulder. One widely circulated photo, taken by Mike Theiler of Reuters, captured him mid-stride, part of the flag almost glowing with the light coming from the hallway to his left. Just above and behind him is a painting of Charles Sumner, the ardent abolitionist senator from Massachusetts…. Also behind the man in Wednesday’s photo, partially obscured by the rebel flag, is a portrait of John C. Calhoun. A senator from South Carolina and the vice president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, Calhoun wrote in 1837: ‘I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good.’ The fact that this photo was taken the day after voters in Georgia chose the first Black person and the first Jewish person in the history of that state to serve in the Senate; that it shows a man walking past the portrait of a vice president who urged the country to sustain human bondage and another portrait of a senator who was nearly beaten to death for standing up to the slavocracy; that it portrays a man walking with a Confederate flag while a mob of insurrectionists pushed past police, broke windows, vandalized offices, stole property, and strolled through the halls of Congress for hours, forcing senators and representatives into hiding and stopping the certification of the electoral process—it is almost difficult to believe that so much of our history, and our current moment, was reflected in a single photograph.”

“Trump: A Daily Chronicle” is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process. Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always.

 

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Friday, 8 January 2021, Day 1,449:

 

Presidential Transition Highlights: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Threatens Impeachment if Trump Doesn’t Resign ‘Immediately’; Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump. Senator Lisa Murkowski Becomes the First Republican Senator to call for President Trump’s Resignation. The New York Times, Friday, 8 January 2021:

  • Pelosi threatens House could move to impeach Trump if he doesn’t resign ‘immediately.’

  • Trump briefly reappears on @POTUS handle hours after Twitter permanently suspends his personal account.

  • Murkowski is the first Republican senator to say Trump should resign: ‘I want him out.’

  • Setting his sights on the inauguration, Biden says impeachment is up to Congress.

  • Read the draft of a leading article of impeachment against Trump.

  • Justice Dept. backs off the prospect of charging Trump for inciting a riot.

  • More national security officials resign from a White House in turmoil.

  • A judge has blocked Trump’s sweeping restrictions on asylum applications.

  • ‘Traitor!’ Dozens of Trump supporters heckle Lindsey Graham for breaking with the president.

  • Josh Hawley faces blowback for role in spurious challenge of election results.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Presidential Transfer of Power: ‘I want him out:’ Lisa Murkowski becomes the first Senate Republican to call for Trump to resign, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) became the first Senate Republican to call for President Trump to resign, telling the Anchorage Daily News: ‘I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage.’ Her comments Friday came on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told colleagues in a letter that she has spoken to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, about keeping an ‘unstable president’ from accessing the nuclear codes. Pelosi also threatened impeachment if Trump didn’t resign ‘immediately.’ Her letter came shortly after Trump tweeted that he would not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, breaking with a long-standing tradition of outgoing presidents attending the swearing-in ceremony of their successors. Biden told reporters that he agreed with Trump’s decision to skip the ceremony, though he would welcome Vice President Pence.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • A growing corps of House Democrats, furious over the invasion of the Capitol, is pushing to rapidly impeach the president a second time — hoping to force Trump from office even a few days early rather than allow him to leave on his own terms.
  • In addition to calling on Trump to resign, Murkowski questioned whether she has a future in the Republican Party. ‘If the Republican Party has become nothing more than the party of Trump, I sincerely question whether this is the party for me,’ she said.
  • A 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who was injured amid Wednesday’s takeover of the Capitol died Thursday night, according to a statement from his department.
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who remained a staunch Trump supporter during her four-year tenure, was reelected unanimously Friday at an RNC meeting in Florida.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao are among the latest Trump administration officials to announce their resignations in the wake of the assault on the Capitol.

Democrats Ready Impeachment Charge Against Trump for Inciting Capitol Mob. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened decisive action against the president for his role in the insurrection against Congress if he refused to resign. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Maggie Haberman, and Luke Broadwater, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Democrats laid the groundwork on Friday for impeaching President Trump a second time, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California threatened to bring him up on formal charges if he did not resign ‘immediately’ over his role in inciting a violent mob attack on the Capitol this week. The threat was part of an all-out effort by furious Democrats, backed by a handful of Republicans, to pressure Mr. Trump to leave office in disgrace after the hourslong siege by his supporters on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Although he has only 12 days left in the White House, they argued he was a direct danger to the nation. Ms. Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders continued to press Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to wrest power from Mr. Trump, though Mr. Pence was said to be against it. The speaker urged Republican lawmakers to pressure the president to resign immediately. And she took the unusual step of calling Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss how to limit Mr. Trump’s access to the nation’s nuclear codes and then publicized it. ‘If the president does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,’ Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. At least one Republican, Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, followed Ms. Pelosi’s lead and told The Anchorage Daily News that she was considering leaving the Republican Party altogether because of Mr. Trump. ‘I want him out,’ she said. ‘He has caused enough damage.'” See also, House Democrats move rapidly toward impeaching Trump a second time, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Friday, 8 January 2021: “A growing corps of House Democrats, furious over the invasion of the Capitol on Wednesday by a mob inspired and encouraged by President Trump, is pushing to rapidly impeach the president a second time — hoping to force Trump from office even a few days early rather than allow him to leave on his own terms. Removing Trump by constitutional means is a tall order for the 12 days remaining in his presidency, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not made a formal determination to move forward with a second impeachment. But outrage over Wednesday’s events has grown to the point that it could be impossible for Pelosi to ignore, prompting a rapid vote as soon as early next week, according to interviews with House Democratic members and aides.” See also, Democratic momentum builds for potential fast-track impeachment next week, CNN Politics, Lauren Fox, Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb, and Daniella Diaz, Friday, 8 January 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday Democrats are prepared to move forward with impeachment next week if President Donald Trump doesn’t resign, as momentum quickly built among House Democrats furious with Trump to hold an impeachment vote. Following a Democratic caucus call earlier in the afternoon, Pelosi said in a statement that the House would ‘preserve every option,’ including legislation to establish a commission under the 25th Amendment that could recommend Trump’s removal, in addition to impeachment. Final decisions on whether to impeach have not yet been made, Democratic sources said. ‘It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign. But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment,’ Pelosi said. ‘Accordingly, the House will preserve every option — including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment.’ House Democrats plan to introduce their impeachment resolution on Monday, when the House next comes into session. The latest draft of the impeachment resolution, obtained by CNN, includes one article of impeachment for ‘incitement of insurrection.’ The House Rules Committee is expected to meet Monday or Tuesday to approve a rule that would govern floor debate for an impeachment resolution and Raskin’s bill to create a new mechanism to invoke the 25th Amendment. Under that timeline, an impeachment vote is possible by the middle of next week.”

Continue reading Week 208, Friday, 8 January  – Thursday, 14 January 2021 (Days 1,449-1,455):

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to ask about ‘unhinged’ Trump’s access to nuclear launch codes, NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Friday, 8 January 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House members Friday that she called Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to ask what was being done to prevent President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch codes, calling the president ‘unhinged.’ The California Democrat’s move comes after calling for the vice president and Cabinet to remove Trump from office in the wake of his inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol on Wednesday in a deadly assault. ‘This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,’ she said in a letter to House Democrats.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Ordering Military Action, The New York Times, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Friday took the unprecedented step of asking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about ‘available precautions’ to prevent President Trump from initiating military action abroad or using his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons in the last days of his term. In a phone call to the chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, Ms. Pelosi appeared to be seeking to have the Pentagon leadership essentially remove Mr. Trump from his authorities as the commander in chief. That could be accomplished by ignoring the president’s orders or slowing them by questioning whether they were issued legally. But General Milley appears to have made no commitments. Short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or removing Mr. Trump through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, it is unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief. Ms. Pelosi’s request, which she announced to the Democratic caucus as an effort to prevent ‘an unhinged president’ from using the nuclear codes, was wrapped in the politics of seeking a second impeachment of Mr. Trump…. [S]ome Defense Department officials clearly resented being asked to act outside of the legal authority of the 25th Amendment and saw it as more evidence of a broken political system. They said that some political leaders were trying to get the Pentagon to do the work of Congress and cabinet secretaries, who have legal options to remove a president. Mr. Trump, they noted, is still the commander in chief; unless he is removed, the military is bound to follow his lawful orders. While military officials can refuse to carry out orders they view as illegal — or slow the process by sending those orders for careful legal review — they cannot remove the president from the chain of command. That would amount to a military coup, the officials said. But two former administration officials with close ties to the national security establishment said that they had seen signs that Mr. Trump’s aides were, in the words of one, ‘routing around’ the president by not raising issues that could prompt him to move toward military action.”

Trump faces mounting demands to leave office or face impeachment for inciting Capitol mob attack, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, and Tom Hamburger, Friday, 8 January 2021: “President Trump faces mounting pressure for his immediate ouster after he incited Wednesday’s violent siege at the Capitol — an increasingly louder drumbeat chastising his actions that threatens not only to prematurely end his waning tenure but to put him in legal jeopardy once he leaves office. In Congress, a growing cadre of House Democrats is pushing to rapidly impeach Trump a second time before he is scheduled to leave office on Jan. 20. They are preparing to introduce articles charging him with inciting an insurrection and having ‘gravely endangered the security of the United States’ and its institutions. In public, Trump has come as close as he is likely to get to admitting he lost the election, acknowledging that there will be a transfer of power and confirming Friday that he will not attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. But in private, the president has tried to rationalize his actions, saying he wanted only to encourage a large protest that would garner news coverage and rattle members of Congress — not for his supporters to actually storm the Capitol in the worst breach of its security since the War of 1812.”

Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help to quell mob, Associated Press, Colleen Long, Lolita Baldor, Michael Balsamo, and Nomaan Merchant, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Three days before supporters of President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol, the Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. And as the mob descended on the building Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times, according to senior defense officials and two people familiar with the matter. Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.”

Man Who Broke Into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Office and Others Are Charged in Capitol Riot. Federal prosecutors also backed off their suggestion that President Trump could be investigated for inciting the violence. The New York Times, Adam Goldman, John Ismay, and Hailey Fuchs, Friday, 8 January 2021: “A state lawmaker from West Virginia, a 70-year-old Alabamian armed with jars of gasoline and a man who broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and posed at a desk there were among those arrested after the storming of the Capitol, federal law enforcement officials announced on Friday as they promised an exhaustive investigation into the violence. The sweeping investigation took shape after a security breakdown two days earlier allowed hundreds of people backing President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results to rush into the Capitol in a deadly rampage. The debacle prompted sharp recriminations and the firings of top officials who were entrusted with protecting lawmakers. Dozens have been arrested, including 13 who face federal charges. Law enforcement officials also backed off a suggestion that Mr. Trump could face criminal charges for inciting the riot after a top prosecutor had said a day earlier that investigators were examining anyone involved, ‘not only’ the rioters. ‘Don’t expect any charges of that nature,’ Ken Kohl, a top prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, told reporters in a telephone briefing on Friday. Law enforcement officials also sought to explain the security failure, saying that they had no indication that the day would turn violent. But Trump supporters had for weeks openly discussed on social media their plans to protest Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results, a typically ceremonial affair, and in some cases pledged to fight for their cause.”

Twitter Permanently Bans Trump, Capping Online Revolt. The president’s preferred megaphone cited ‘the risk of further incitement of violence.’ It acted after Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch and other platforms placed limits on him. The New York Times, Kate Conger and Mike Isaac, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Twitter said on Friday that it had permanently banned President Trump from its service ‘due to the risk of further incitement of violence,’ effectively cutting him off from his favorite megaphone for reaching the public and capping a series of actions by mainstream sites to limit his online reach. Twitter said in a blog post that Mr. Trump’s personal @realDonaldTrump account, which has more than 88 million followers, would be shut down immediately. The company said two tweets that Mr. Trump had posted on Friday — one calling his supporters ‘patriots’ and another saying he would not go to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 — violated its rules against glorifying violence. The tweets ‘were highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,’ Twitter said, referring to the storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump loyalists.” See also, Twitter permanently suspends President Donald Trump, NBC News, Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account on Friday, citing ‘the risk of further incitement of violence.’ The president’s account, with 88 million followers, was initially banned for 12 hours on Wednesday due to ‘severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy,’ after he used the platform to condemn Vice President Mike Pence as his supporters stormed the Capitol. ‘After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,’ the company said in a tweet. Almost immediately, the account that Trump had used for years to convey his every thought, to denounce his enemies and praise his friends, to convey uncountable false statements and official White House announcements, simply disappeared. It was suddenly impossible to see his previous tweets, or even to see his reaction to Twitter’s decision. Instead, his empty account had been marked: ‘Account suspended.’ Trump’s attempts to tweet from associated accounts also were blocked. At one point, he was tweeting from his campaign account, but that was promptly suspended.” See also, Trump went ‘ballistic’ after being tossed off Twitter, Politico, Gabby Orr, Daniel Lippman, Tina Nguyen, and Sam Stein, Friday, 8 January 2021: “President Donald Trump has many prized possessions. But few seemed to inspire as much personal joy as his Twitter feed. Trump routinely boasted of the social media bullhorn he possessed. He credited it with launching his political trajectory. And he used it as a tool to lacerate his foes. On Friday night, he lost it. And, then, he lost his mind. The president is ‘ballistic,’ a senior administration official said after Twitter permanently took down his account, citing the possibility that it would be used in the final 12 days of Trump’s presidency to incite violence. The official said Trump was ‘scrambling to figure out what his options are.'”

Trump will be the first president in 152 years to skip his successor’s inauguration, CBS News, Jason Silverstein, Friday, 8 January 2021: “President Trump announced Friday that he will not attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, ending two months of speculation about his decision. He will be the first president in more than 150 years — and only the fourth in U.S. history — to skip the ceremony where his successor is sworn in. ‘To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,’ the president wrote in a tweet…. The outgoing president traditionally attends the inauguration of the next president as a symbol of the peaceful transfer of power. Defeated candidates who did not win the White House also sometimes attend.”

Federal murder probe opened for Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick who died following riots, ABC News, Jack Date, Mark Osborne, and Emily Shapiro, Friday, 8 January 2021: “The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington has opened a federal murder investigation into the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died Thursday night after suffering injuries in the violent siege on Capitol Hill, three law enforcement sources confirmed to ABC News. The investigation is being conducted jointly between the FBI and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, with cooperation from U.S. Capitol Police. Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement that the Department of Justice ‘will spare no resources in investigating and holding accountable those responsible.'”

From Charlottesville to the Capitol: how rightwing impunity fueled the pro-Trump mob. The playbook for the 6 January insurrection had been tested across the country for years. The Guardian, Lois Beckett, Friday, 8 January 2021: “On Wednesday, Trump responded to open insurrection in the halls of Congress, which left at least five people dead, by repeating false claims about having the election stolen from him and telling the mob: ‘Go home. We love you. You’re very special.’… The playbook for the Maga invasion of the nation’s Capitol building on Wednesday has been developing for years in plain sight, at far-right rallies in cities like Charlottesville, Berkeley and Portland, and then, in the past year, at state capitols across the country, where heavily armed white protesters have forced their way into legislative chambers to accuse politicians of tyranny and treason. ‘No one should be surprised,’ said Sarah Anthony, a Black state lawmaker who was on the legislative floor in Michigan’s Capitol on 30 April when hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters, including white militia members with guns, tried to force their way inside. ‘This has been escalating in every corner of our country for months.'”

Right-wing extremists vow to return to Washington for Joe Biden’s inauguration, NBC News, Anna Schecter, Friday, 8 January 2021: “In the wake of Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol, Trump supporters with extremist views feel emboldened and are vowing to return to Washington for the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, using online platforms to rally each other. ‘Many of Us will return on January 19, 2021, carrying Our weapons, in support of Our nation’s resolve, towhich [sic] the world will never forget!!! We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match,’ wrote a popular Parler user who frequently posts about QAnon, and is being tracked by the Anti-Defamation League. Parler, Telegram chat rooms and the platform TheDonald.win were all used to plan and coordinate the Jan. 6 rally that turned into a riot. Posters explicitly stated their intentions to ‘occupy’ the Capitol. QAnon conspiracy theorists and people associated with militia groups had a visible presence in Wednesday’s crowd.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 8 January 2021: Officials Say Reports of New U.S. Coronavirus Variant Are Inaccurate. The United States reported more than 300,000 cases in a day for the first time. President-elect Biden plans to release nearly all vaccine doses to states, rather than hold back supply to ensure timely second doses. The New York Times, Friday, 8 January 2021:

  • False reports of a new ‘U.S. variant’ originated from Dr. Deborah Birx on the task force.

  • Biden plans to release nearly all available vaccine doses in an attempt to speed delivery.

  • The U.S. broke its daily record for new cases for the second straight day.

  • Pfizer says its vaccine works against one of the key mutations in the variants found in Britain and South Africa.

  • Three top U.S. health officials decided against resigning over the pro-Trump riot.

  • New York will start allowing essential workers and those over 75 to get a vaccine.

  • More than 17 million people near Beijing are under stay-at-home orders.

  • A federal judge in Indiana bars further U.S. executions unless more virus precautions are taken.

  • An N.B.A. game continued after a player learned he had tested positive for the coronavirus while on the bench.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 8 January 2021: U.S. surpasses 300,000 daily coronavirus cases, the second alarming record this week, The Washington Post, Paulina Villegas, Antonia Noori Farzan, Erin Cunningham, Kim Bellware, Siobhan O’Grady, Taylor Telford, and Lateshia Beachum, Friday, 8 January 2021: “The United States on Friday surpassed 300,000 daily coronavirus cases, the second alarming record this week. The number, which roughly equates to the population of St. Louis, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, comes about two months after the country reported 100,000 coronavirus cases a day for the first time, and one day after more than 4,000 people died from the virus, also a record. The United States has reported 21.8 million infections and 367,458 deaths.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

Dominion Voting Systems sues pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, seeking more than $1.3 billion, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Friday, 8 January 2021: “Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a defamation lawsuit against lawyer Sidney Powell, demanding more than $1.3 billion in damages for havoc it says Powell has caused by spreading ‘wild’ and ‘demonstrably false’ allegations, including that Dominion played a central role in a fantastical scheme to steal the 2020 election from President Trump. For weeks, Powell has claimed that Dominion was established with communist money in Venezuela to enable ballot-stuffing and other vote manipulation, and that those abilities were harnessed to rig the election for former vice president Joe Biden. In a 124-page complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Dominion said its reputation and resale value have been deeply damaged by a ‘viral disinformation campaign’ that Powell mounted ‘to financially enrich herself, to raise her public profile, and to ingratiate herself to Donald Trump.’ The defendants named in the lawsuit include Powell, her law firm and Defending the Republic, the organization she set up to solicit donations to support her election-related litigation.”

Trump Administration Politicized Some Intelligence on Foreign Election Influence, Report by the Intelligence Community Ombudsman Finds, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Charlie Savage, and Adam Goldman, Friday, 8 January 2020: “The Trump administration politicized the intelligence around foreign election interference in 2020, resulting in significant errors in its reports last year to Congress and the public, a report by the intelligence community ombudsman concluded. Barry A. Zulauf, the analytic ombudsman in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, found there was ‘a loss of objectivity’ and politicization of intelligence in the election threat reporting last year. ‘Analysis on foreign election interference was delayed, distorted or obstructed out of concern over policymaker reactions or for political reasons,’ said the report, which was submitted to Congress on Thursday.”

2020 tied with 2016 for Earth’s hottest year, as global warming overpowered La Niña, The Washington Post, Andrew Freedman, Friday, 8 January 2021: “The year 2020 tied with 2016 for the planet’s warmest on record, capping off the warmest decade ever observed, according to new data released Friday by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a program of the European Commission. Each of past six years has been hotter than all of the years before 2015 in a temperature record that dates back to the late-19th century, Copernicus reported. Globally, 2020 was 1.08 degrees (0.6 Celsius) warmer than the 1981-2010 average and about 2.25 degrees (1.25 Celsius) above the 1850-1900 preindustrial period…. In the Copernicus data, 2020 would have held the No. 1 ranking by itself if it weren’t for a slightly cool December, relative to the rest of the year. To climate scientists, this is alarming, because 2016′s record was aided by a largely natural climate cyclone known as El Niño, which features above-average sea surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific Ocean near the equator. An unusually intense El Niño event occurred in 2016, adding more heat to the atmosphere and changing global weather patterns. But instead of El Niño being present this year, the phenomenon’s colder sibling, La Niña, took hold in the tropical Pacific. Characterized by cooler-than-average ocean temperatures, La Niña years tend not to set global, all-time high temperature records.”

Covid-19 Surge Ends Seven Months of U.S. Jobs Growth. Economy lost 140,000 jobs in December while unemployment rate held at 6.7%. The Wall Street Journal, Josh Mitchell, Friday, 8 January 2021: “The nation’s labor-market recovery stalled in December, as a resurgence of the coronavirus and state-imposed restrictions ended seven months of job growth. Employers cut 140,000 jobs last month, the first decline since the pandemic hit the country last spring, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate held steady at 6.7%, far below its April peak of 14.8%—a post-World War II high—but still almost twice its pre-pandemic level.” See also, The US economy lost 140,000 jobs in December. All of them were held by women. CNN Business, Annalyn Kurtz, Friday, 8 January 2021: “According to new data released Friday, employers cut 140,000 jobs in December, signaling that the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is backtracking. Digging deeper into the data also reveals a shocking gender gap: Women accounted for all the job losses, losing 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000.”

 

Saturday, 9 January 2021, Day 1,450:

 

The Presidential Transition: Democrats Demand Answers From the Justice Department About Trump’s Role as Impeachment Threat Looms. House Democrats intend to introduce an article of impeachment on Monday charging President Trump with ‘willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.’ President-elect Joe Biden prioritizes the economy, saying there is a ‘a dire, dire need to act now.’ The New York Times, Saturday, 9 January 2021:

  • Trump, muted and isolated, faces the threat of impeachment next week.

  • Democrats ask the Justice Dept. what they are doing to prosecute those involved in the Capitol attack, including Trump.

  • G.O.P. Senator Patrick Toomey says Trump ‘committed impeachable offenses.’

  • Viral Capitol mob figures arrested and charged for involvement in the siege.

  • Police officers who traveled to Washington are being investigated for connection to the Capitol melee.

  • Georgia officials reveal third Trump call trying to influence election results.

  • Pence plans to attend Biden’s inauguration.

  • Trump has not lowered flags in honor of an officer who died from injuries sustained amid the riot.

  • Apple joins Google in cutting off Parler, an app that drew Trump supporters.

  • The Justice Dept. says claims on social media that one of its officials is working with Trump to pardon rioters is not true.

Democrats ready impeachment charge against Trump for inciting the mob. Some Republicans appear open to the idea. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Maggie Haberman, and Luke Broadwater, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “Democrats laid the groundwork on Friday for impeaching President Trump a second time, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California threatened to bring him up on formal charges if he did not resign ‘immediately’ over his role in inciting a violent mob attack on the Capitol this week. The threat was part of an all-out effort by furious Democrats, backed by a handful of Republicans, to pressure Mr. Trump to leave office in disgrace after the hourslong siege by his supporters on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Although he has only 11 days left in the White House, they argued he was a direct danger to the nation. Ms. Pelosi and other top Democratic leaders continued to press Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to wrest power from Mr. Trump, even though Mr. Pence was said to be against it. The speaker urged Republican lawmakers to pressure the president to resign immediately. And she took the unusual step of calling Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to discuss how to limit Mr. Trump’s access to the nation’s nuclear codes and then publicized it.”

Trump Loyalists Arrested and Charged With Involvement in Capitol Siege, The New York Times, Will Wright, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “A man who was photographed carrying the lectern of Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the rampage in the U.S. Capitol this week and another who roamed through the halls of Congress while wearing a horned fur headdress have been arrested and charged, the Justice Department said on Saturday. Adam Johnson, 36, of Parrish, Fla., was arrested by U.S. marshals on Friday night after a widely circulated photograph showed him sporting a wide smile as he waved to the camera with one hand and hauled off Ms. Pelosi’s lectern with the other. On his head he wore a Trump knit hat, with the number ’45’ on the front.”

Confederate Battle Flag in the Capitol: A ‘Jarring’ First in U.S. History. Historians said it was unnerving to see a man carry the flag inside the Capitol, something not even Confederate soldiers were able to do during the Civil War. The New York Times, Maria Cramer, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “Amid the images and videos that emerged from Wednesday’s rampage, the sight of a man casually carrying the Confederate battle flag outside the Senate floor was a piercing reminder of the persistence of white supremacism more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War. Months after statues of Confederate leaders and racist figures were removed or torn down around the world, an unidentified man in bluejeans and a black sweatshirt carried the emblem of racism through the Ohio Clock corridor, past a portrait of Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, an abolitionist. The emblem has appeared in the Capitol before. The Mississippi flag, which once featured the Confederate symbol prominently, hung in the Capitol until June 2020, when it was replaced after a vote by the State Legislature to remove the emblem. But Wednesday was the first time that someone had managed to bring the flag into the building as an act of insurrection, according to historians. The man carrying the flag faced less stringent security than that encountered by the Confederate soldiers who failed to penetrate Union forts guarding the Capitol during the Battle of Fort Stevens on July 11 and 12, 1864, said William Blair, professor emeritus of history at Penn State and the former director of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at the university.”

How one of the ugliest days in U.S. history unraveled inside and outside the Capitol, The Washington Post, Shelly Tan, Youjin Shin, and Danielle Rindler, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “Jan. 6, 2021, was always on the country’s radar. Two runoff elections that would determine control of the Senate still had not been decided as Tuesday became Wednesday. A joint session of Congress convened to certify Joe Biden’s electoral-vote win while thousands gathered on the Mall in support of President Trump, who continued to falsely claim that the election was stolen from him. As the scene in D.C. continued to darken, smaller demonstrations across the nation also flared, forcing officials in several statehouses to evacuate. This is how the day unfolded.”

For Trump and the Nation, a Final Test of Accountability, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “Barely 11 months after President Trump was acquitted in a momentous Senate trial, the nation now confronts the possibility of yet another impeachment battle in the twilight of his presidency, a final showdown that will test the boundaries of politics, accountability and the Constitution. No president has ever been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors twice. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi was weighing bringing a new article of impeachment to the House floor charging Mr. Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for encouraging the mob that ransacked the Capitol to disrupt the solemn process finishing his own election defeat. If Ms. Pelosi proceeds, the House could approve the article in days, this time with the support of even some disaffected Republicans, sending it to the Senate for a trial unlike any of the previous three in American history. While it seemed unlikely that 17 Senate Republicans would join Democrats for the two-thirds necessary for conviction, the anger at Mr. Trump was so palpable that party leaders said privately it was not out of the question.”

Republicans are largely silent about consequences of deadly attack on the Capitol and on Trump’s role in inciting it, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Josh Dawsey, and Mike DeBonis, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “Three days after a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol carried out in President Trump’s name, Republican leaders had yet to outline plans to hold anyone accountable or to alter a platform and priorities lashed to the outgoing Republican president. Trump and some congressional Republicans, meanwhile, stepped up their efforts Saturday to head off Democratic efforts to impeach Trump over what they call his incitement of violence. Behind closed doors, Trump and his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner have encouraged allies to fight against a potential impeachment by issuing statements on social media or elsewhere that discourage or condemn the move, people familiar with the calls said. It was not clear whether those efforts were having much success. Republican allies of the president were mainly muted Saturday, as pressure continued to mount among Democrats to try to force Trump from office before his term expires Jan. 20.”

Pro-Trump dark money groups helped organize the rally that led to deadly Capitol Hill riot, CNBC, Brian Schwartz, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “The rally, officially known as the ‘March to Save America,’ was largely organized by a 501(c)(4) group known as Women for America First. Women for America First’s Facebook pages show they were calling on supporters to be part of what they described as a ‘caravan’ to Washington for the event.”

‘Find the fraud’: Trump pressured Georgia’s lead elections investigator in a separate lengthy phone call in December. Legal experts say Trump’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice. The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Saturday, 9 January 2021: “President Trump urged Georgia’s lead elections investigator to ‘find the fraud’ in a lengthy December phone call, saying the official would be a ‘national hero,’ according to an individual familiar with the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the conversation. Trump placed the call to the investigations chief for the Georgia secretary of state’s office shortly before Christmas — while the individual was leading an inquiry into allegations of ballot fraud in Cobb County, in the suburbs of Atlanta, according to people familiar with the episode. The president’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove.”

White House Forced Georgia U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak to Resign. Pressure for resignation was part of broader push by Trump to overturn state’s election results. The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Sadie Gurman, and Cameron McWhirter, Saturday 9 January 2021: “White House officials pushed Atlanta’s top federal prosecutor to resign before Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs because President Trump was upset he wasn’t doing enough to investigate the president’s unproven claims of election fraud, people familiar with the matter said. A senior Justice Department official, at the behest of the White House, called the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak late on the night of Jan. 3. In that call the official said Mr. Trump was furious there was no investigation related to election fraud and that the president wanted to fire Mr. Pak, the people said. Mr. Pak resigned abruptly on Monday—the day before the runoffs—saying in an early morning email to colleagues that his departure was due to ‘unforeseen circumstances.’ Mr. Pak, who had a job lined up in the private sector, planned to leave by the end of the administration and had drafted a resignation letter, people familiar with his plans said.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 9 January 2021: Demand Overwhelms Some U.S. Vaccine Registration Sites, The New York Times, Saturday, 9 January 2021:

  • More than 150,000 people in the U.S. have received 2 doses.

  • Governors, under pressure from pandemic-weary constituents, are broadening access to the vaccine.

  • Los Angeles is having its ‘New York moment,’ with a harrowing rise in virus cases.

  • As the coronavirus mutates, the world stumbles to respond.

  • Fauci suggests theaters could reopen ‘some time in the fall.’

  • More cases of a coronavirus variant are found in New York, but most variant cases are in Florida and California.

  • Pope Francis says he is getting a shot soon, and other global news.

  • Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip receive vaccinations in Britain.

  • A new law in Sweden gives the government more power to impose virus restrictions.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

 

Sunday, 10 January 2021, Day 1,451:

 

Presidential Transition Highlights: House Says It Will Move Swiftly With Impeachment if Pence Won’t Act. Democrats suggested they could charge President Trump with ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ by midweek for inciting a mob that attacked the Capitol. But top leaders want to avoid hamstringing the first days of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidency with an all-consuming Senate trial. The New York Times, Sunday, 10 January 2021:

  • The House barrels forward on its effort to remove Trump from office, placing pressure on Pence and vowing swift action on impeachment.

  • The House could vote as soon as Tuesday on an impeachment article, the chamber’s No. 3 Democrat said.

  • D.C.’s mayor asks the Trump administration to enhance security around the inauguration.

  • Colin Powell says he ‘can no longer call himself a Republican.’

  • Lawmakers may have been exposed to the coronavirus while sheltering during the Capitol riot, a doctor says.

  • Patrick Toomey becomes the second Republican senator to call for Trump’s resignation.

  • After refusing to do so, Trump orders flags to be flown at half-staff.

  • The man who wore a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt to the Capitol riot may have been identified.

Many other significant developments are included in this document.

Inside a Deadly Siege: How a String of Failures Led to a Dark Day at the Capitol, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Helene Cooper, Jennifer Steinhauer, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Luke Broadwater, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “[T]he Capitol Police and the city’s Metropolitan Police had rebuffed offers … for more help from the National Guard beyond a relatively modest contingent to provide traffic control, so no additional troops had been placed on standby. It took just over four hours for them to arrive. It was just one failure in a dizzying list that day — and during the weeks leading up to it — that resulted in the first occupation of the United States Capitol since British troops set the building ablaze during the War of 1812. But the death and destruction this time was caused by Americans, rallying behind the inflammatory language of an American president, who refused to accept the will of more than 81 million other Americans who had voted him out of office.” See also, Inside the Capitol Siege: How barricaded lawmakers and aides sounded urgent pleas for help as Capitol Police lost control, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Carol D. Leonnig, Paul Kane, and Aaron C. Davis, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “The growing crowds outside the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon sounded menacing but at bay as senators began to debate challenges to the electoral college vote. A top adviser to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped out of the ornate chamber for a short break. Alone in the Capitol’s marble halls, just outside the chamber’s bronze doors, it was suddenly apparent that the citadel of U.S. democracy was falling to the mob incited by President Trump. A cacophony of screaming, shouting and banging echoed from the floor below. McConnell’s security detail rushed past and into the chamber. The adviser began walking toward the Rotunda and came face to face with a U.S. Capitol Police officer sprinting in the opposite direction. The two made eye contact and the officer forced out a single word: ‘Run!’ The aide to McConnell (R-Ky.) darted down a side hallway lined with offices. He jiggled one locked doorknob, then another. A co-worker poked his head out of the office of McConnell’s speechwriter. The adviser lunged, pushing him and a colleague back inside. The screaming and shouting soon seemed right outside. Only then, a text alert from Capitol police blared on every phone in the room: ‘Due to security threat inside: immediately, move inside your office, take emergency equipment, lock the doors, take shelter.’ Three senior GOP aides piled furniture against the door and tried to move stealthily, worried that the intruders would discover them inside. In waves, the door to the hall heaved as rioters punched and kicked it. The crowd yelled ‘Stop the steal!’ Some chanted menacingly, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: ‘Where’s Nancy? Where’s Nancy?’ Peering out a window into a courtyard below, the adviser could see scores of people still streaming in — and no police in sight.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moves ahead with efforts for Trump’s removal as Democrats split on how hard to push for impeachment, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Mike DeBonis, and Juliet Eilperin, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed Sunday to push ahead with impeaching President Trump if he is not removed from office first, adding a powerful voice to a debate that has begun to consume a Democratic Party both eager for impeachment and wary of it. Her statement virtually assures the House will move forward with impeachment, even as tensions break out among Democrats over how aggressively to push for it. House members have insisted Trump face consequences for inciting last week’s deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, while President-elect Joe Biden has signaled he does not want the effort to interfere with his agenda.”

Incitement to Riot? What Trump Told Supporters Before Mob Stormed Capitol, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “The speech that President Trump delivered to his supporters just before they attacked the Capitol last week is a central focus as House Democrats prepare an article of impeachment against him for inciting the deadly riot. Mr. Trump had urged supporters to come to Washington for a ‘Save America March’ on Wednesday, when Congress would ceremonially count President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win, telling them to ‘be there, will be wild!’ At a rally just before the violence, he repeated many of his falsehoods about how the election was stolen, then dispatched the marchers to the Capitol as those proceedings were about to start. Here are some notable excerpts from Mr. Trump’s remarks, with analysis.”

Black Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman Diverted Insurgents From the Senate Chamber, Slate, Daniel Politi, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “A Capitol Police officer is being hailed as a hero amid increasing evidence that he single-handedly steered an angry mob away from the Senate chambers during Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol by a group of President Donald Trump supporters. Video of the officer had gone viral on Wednesday, but CNN’s Kristin Wilson identified the officer on Sunday as Eugene Goodman while it suddenly became clear that there was more to what on its face looked like just another terrifying video of the angry mob that stormed the Capitol.”

Outgoing Capitol Police Chief says House and Senate security officials hamstrung efforts to call in the National Guard, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Aaron C. Davis, Peter Hermann, and Karoun Demirjian, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “Two days before Congress was set to formalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund was growing increasingly worried about the size of the pro-Trump crowds expected to stream into Washington in protest. To be on the safe side, Sund asked House and Senate security officials for permission to request that the D.C. National Guard be placed on standby in case he needed quick backup. But, Sund said Sunday, they turned him down. In his first interview since pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, Sund, who has since resigned his post, said his supervisors were reluctant to take formal steps to put the Guard on call even as police intelligence suggested that the crowd President Trump had invited to Washington to protest his defeat probably would be much larger than earlier demonstrations. House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said he wasn’t comfortable with the ‘optics’ of formally declaring an emergency ahead of the demonstration, Sund said. Meanwhile, Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger suggested that Sund should informally seek out his Guard contacts, asking them to ‘lean forward’ and be on alert in case Capitol Police needed their help.”

Notable Arrests After the Riot at the Capitol, The New York Times, Marie Fazio, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “Dozens have been charged in the days since a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, disrupting the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.”

Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan blames Trump and Republican lawmakers for Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Rebecca Tan, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a longtime Republican critic of President Trump, on Sunday blamed him for inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol and slammed GOP members of Congress for lending credence to Trump’s false allegations of election fraud. Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Hogan said, ‘There’s no question in my mind that [Trump] was responsible for inciting this riotous mob.’ He added that as a lifelong Republican, he has been embarrassed and ashamed by members of the GOP who fueled the false allegations of election irregularities that brought thousands to Washington on Wednesday.”

Major corporations say they will stop donating to members of Congress who tried to overturn the election, Popular Information, Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “On January 6, a violent mob stormed the Capitol of the United States, disrupting the joint session to confirm Joe Biden’s victory. The incident left five people dead, including a member of the Capitol police who was crushed to death in the mele. Now, three major corporations tell Popular Information that they will stop contributing to Republican members of Congress who encouraged the rioters by objecting to the certification of the Electoral College vote…. Popular Information contacted 144 corporations that, through their corporate PACs, donated to one or more of these eight Senators in the 2020 election cycle. Popular Information asked if they would continue to support these Senators in the future. In response, three major companies said they would stop donating to any member of Congress who objected to the certification of the Electoral College vote…. In a statement to Popular Information, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association President and CEO Kim Keck said it was suspending all support to the 147 Republicans who voted ‘to subvert the results of November’s election by challenging Electoral College results.’… Marriott told Popular Information that it will stop donating to all the members who voted against certification. ‘We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election,’ a spokesperson said. The company did not indicate when, if ever, it would resume supporting those 147 Republicans…. Commerce Bancshares told Popular Information that it has ‘suspended all support for officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.'” Many other companies are covered in this article.

Stripe Stops Processing Payments for Trump Campaign Website. The financial-technology company’s move follows last week’s riot at the Capitol. The Wall Street Journal, AnnaMarie Andriotis, Peter Rudegeair, and Emily Glazer, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “Stripe Inc. will no longer process payments for President Trump’s campaign website following last week’s riot at the Capitol, according to people familiar with the matter. The financial-technology company handles card payments for millions of online businesses and e-commerce platforms, including Mr. Trump’s campaign website and online fundraising apparatus. Stripe is cutting off the president’s campaign account for violating its policies against encouraging violence, the people said.”

In a viral video, Schwarzenneger links the Capitol riot to a rampage that was a prelude to the Holocaust, The New York Times, Hailey Fuchs, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday that quickly drew millions of views, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the movie star and former California governor, compared the riot at the Capitol last week to Kristallnacht, a rampage in Germany in 1938 in which Nazi-inspired mobs burned synagogues and destroyed Jewish-owned shops. Seated at a desk and flanked by the American and Californian flags, Mr. Schwarzenegger wove his experiences growing up in Austria after World War II to what he was witnessing in the United States.”

The 2022 PGA Championship will no longer be held at Trump Bedminster, ABC News, John Santucci, Matthew Mosk, and Pete Madden, Sunday, 10 January 2020: “As he faces a lonely end to his presidency, Donald Trump learned Sunday evening that, in the wake of last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, he has lost one of the relationships he values most: his partnership with the Professional Golfers’ Association. While the embattled president has been hunkered down to try and preserve his political career, the PGA of America, the proprietors of one of golf’s four major championship tournaments, announced that it plans to move its 2022 PGA Championship away from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. ‘The PGA of America Board of Directors voted tonight to exercise the right to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,’ said Jim Richerson, PGA of America president, in a statement. Holding the tournament at Trump Bedminster, Richerson said, would be ‘detrimental’ to the PGA of America’s brand and put the organization’s ability to function ‘at risk.'”

U.S. to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as foreign terrorist group, Reuters, Aziz El Yaakoubi, Jonathan Landay, and Matt Spetalnick, Sunday, 10 January 2021: “The outgoing U.S. administration is to designate Yemen’s Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organization, a move the United Nations warned could undermine peace talks and make it harder to feed Yemenis enduring the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. A leader of the Iranian-aligned group, which has been battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015 in a war widely seen as a proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, said it reserved the right to respond. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move, which will include sanctions against the movement and three of its leaders, in a statement late on Sunday, hours after Reuters reported it. It will come into effect on Jan. 19, the Trump administration’s last full day in office.” See also, U.S. Rush to Declare Houthis Terrorists Threatens to Halt Aid to Yemen, The New York Times, Lara Jakes and Ben Hubbard, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The Trump administration’s rush to declare Houthi rebels in Yemen a terrorist organization leaves humanitarian aid workers and commercial importers vulnerable to criminal penalties, officials said Monday, risking future shipments of food, medical supplies and other assistance to the impoverished country. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced the terrorism designation late Sunday, said officials were ‘planning to put in place measures’ to ensure that the aid continued. But that failed to assure a number of lawmakers, diplomats and aid groups who accused the administration of pushing through the policy before President Trump leaves office next week, and said clear-cut legal protections should have been enacted in tandem with the terrorism designation to prevent another barrier to assisting one of the world’s poorest states.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 10 January 2021: Chicago Is Reopening Schools Against Fierce Resistance From Teachers, The New York Times, Sunday, 10 January 2021:

  • Lawmakers may have been exposed to the coronavirus while sheltering during the Capitol riot, a doctor says.

  • Five vaccination centers open in New York in an effort to hasten inoculations.

  • The U.S. vaccine rollout needs to ‘hit the reset,’ an ex-F.D.A. chief says.

  • Elite hospitals have vaccinated workers who were supposed to wait.

  • A coronavirus infection at an air traffic control center near Washington causes delays.

  • In Florida’s vaccine free-for-all, one state site is closing Monday for a football game.

  • As the anniversary of the world’s first coronavirus lockdown nears, China scrubs the history of any mistakes.

  • The pandemic has reshaped a heated market for sperm donations.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

 

Monday, 11 January 2021, Day 1,452:

 

Presidential Transition Highlights: House Democrats Introduce Article of Impeachment Against Trump. House Democrats are accusing President Trump of ‘inciting violence against the government of the United States.’ President-elect Joe Biden has chosen his C.I.A. director, William Burns, a career foreign service officer. The New York Times, Monday, 11 January 2021:

  • An impeachment charge against Trump is introduced as Biden considers a trial in the first days of his administration.

  • Would impeachment prevent Trump from seeking office in the future? It’s complicated.

  • William Burns, a career diplomat, is Biden’s choice to head the C.I.A.

  • Acting homeland security secretary resigns, days before inauguration security operations are set to begin.

  • The State Department labels Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, in a last-minute constraint for Biden.

  • Biden plans an inaugural message of unity, in an event with Obama, Bush and Clinton.

  • Hundreds of historians join a call for Trump’s impeachment.

  • The National Guard plans to deploy up to 15,000 troops for the inauguration.

  • The Supreme Court won’t put Trump’s election challenges on a fast track.

  • Big companies pause their political contributions.

House Sets Impeachment Vote to Charge Trump With ‘Inciting Violence Against the Government of the United States.’ Democrats are planning a Tuesday vote to formally call on the vice president to wrest power from President Trump and a Wednesday impeachment vote if he does not. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 11 January 2021: “House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump on Monday for his role in inflaming a mob that attacked the Capitol, scheduling a Wednesday vote to charge the president with ‘inciting violence against the government of the United States’ if Vice President Mike Pence refused to strip him of power first. Moving with exceptional speed, top House leaders began summoning lawmakers still stunned by the attack back to Washington, promising the protection of National Guard troops and Federal Air Marshal escorts after last week’s stunning security failure. Their return set up a high-stakes 24-hour standoff between two branches of government. As the impeachment drive proceeded, federal law enforcement authorities accelerated efforts to fortify the Capitol ahead of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration on Jan. 20. The authorities announced plans to deploy up to 15,000 National Guard troops and set up a multilayered buffer zone with checkpoints around the building by Wednesday, just as lawmakers are to debate and vote on impeaching Mr. Trump. Federal authorities also said they were bracing for a wave of armed protests in all 50 state capitals and Washington in the days leading up to the inauguration.” See also, Impeachment Resolution Cites Trump’s ‘Incitement’ of Capitol Insurrection, NPR, Brian Naylor, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a single article of impeachment against President Trump, charging him with ‘incitement of insurrection’ over Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol. ‘Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States,’ the resolution argues, citing his false claims of election fraud in the months leading up to the riot — which he repeated on Jan. 6 — and a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where Trump urged him to ‘find’ votes to overturn the results there. The impeachment article says that during an address to supporters on Wednesday, Trump ‘willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a county anymore.'” See also, Read the Article of Impeachment, The New York Times, Monday, 11 January 2021.

Presidential Transfer of Power: Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf to step down, nine days ahead of Biden inauguration, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, Paulina Firozi, and Nick Miroff, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf is stepping down, nine days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration and amid widespread fears about security in the aftermath of the mob attack on the Capitol last week. In Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that the House will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if Vice President Pence does not seek to remove him under the 25th Amendment by Wednesday. Her threat came shortly after House Democrats formally introduced an article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob on Wednesday. Democrats say that measure already has 218 co-sponsors, enough to guarantee passage.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), a 75-year-old cancer survivor, has tested positive for the coronavirus after sheltering in place during the Capitol riot with lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
  • Biden announced that he will nominate William J. Burns as the next director of the CIA. A seasoned diplomat, Burns has served as U.S. ambassador to Russia and Jordan and was most recently deputy secretary of state.
  • Biden expressed hope that the Senate could work on Trump’s impeachment trial while confirming the new president’s Cabinet and working on his agenda. If the House impeaches Trump this week, it is unlikely that the Republican-led Senate would hold a trial before Trump leaves office Jan. 20.
  • The campaign finance system has been rocked, with American Express, FedEx, Dow, Facebook and other major companies pausing or halting political donations in the wake of the violent assault on the Capitol.
  • At least two U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the Wednesday demonstration that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol, according to two congressional officials briefed on the developments.

Capitol Riot Fallout: Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Resigns; New England Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick Won’t Accept Medal of Freedom from Trump, The New York Times, Monday, 11 January 2021:

Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, and Philip Rucker, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Hiding from the rioters in a secret location away from the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) appealed to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) phoned Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. And Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Trump confidante and former White House senior adviser, called an aide who she knew was standing at the president’s side. But as senators and House members trapped inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday begged for immediate help during the siege, they struggled to get through to the president, who — safely ensconced in the West Wing — was too busy watching fiery TV images of the crisis unfolding around them to act or even bother to hear their pleas. ‘He was hard to reach, and you know why? Because it was live TV,’ said one close Trump adviser. ‘If it’s TiVo, he just hits pause and takes the calls. If it’s live TV, he watches it, and he was just watching it all unfold.’ Even as he did so, Trump did not move to act.”

FBI memo warns law enforcement across the U.S. of possible armed protests at 50 state capitols. The FBI also says an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington and stage an uprising if Congress removes Trump from office. NBC News, Tom Winter and Andrew Blankstein, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The FBI has sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning about possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting Saturday and saying an armed group has threatened to travel to Washington, D.C., the same day to stage an uprising if Congress removes President Donald Trump from office, according to a senior law enforcement official. The memo includes information provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Defense Department; U.S. Park Police; and the U.S. Marshals Service, among other agencies, according to the official. Some of the information came from social media, some from open sources and some from other sources of information. The memo was first reported by ABC News.”

Several Capitol police officers are suspended and more than a dozen are under investigation over actions related to the rally and the violent riot, The Washington Post, Aaron C. Davis, Rebecca Tan, and Beth Reinhard, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement with or inappropriate support for the demonstration last week that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol, according to members of Congress, police officials and staff members briefed on the developments. Eight separate investigations have been launched into the actions of Capitol officers, according to one congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the status of the internal review. In one of the cases, officers had posted what Capitol Police investigators found to be messages showing support for the rally on Wednesday that preceded the attack on the complex, including touting President Trump’s baseless contention that the election had been stolen through voter fraud, the aide said. Investigators in another instance found that a Capitol officer had posted ‘inappropriate’ images of President-elect Joe Biden on a social media account. The aide declined to describe the photographs. The scrutiny of the Capitol Police comes amid intensifying recriminations over why the complex was insufficiently protected when thousands of Trump supporters converged on Washington to protest the congressional action to certify Biden’s win.”

Congress’s Sergeants-at-Arms Face Scrutiny After Siege. The House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, who have resigned, now face questions about why they failed to do more to deter the Trump loyalists who swarmed the Capitol last week. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Ali Watkins, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Both men had similar backgrounds, working for years as Secret Service agents but considered more skilled in navigating the agency’s political infighting than as experts in protection. Both went on to land plum assignments: the sergeants-at-arms of the Senate and House. Now, the two men, Michael C. Stenger and Paul D. Irving, have resigned from those posts and are facing intense scrutiny over the security failure last week that led to the deadly siege of the Capitol, its first occupation since the War of 1812. The former chief of the Capitol Police Steven Sund told The Washington Post that they refused to grant his requests to put the National Guard on standby leading up to Congress’s Electoral College certification, which Trump supporters ultimately disrupted, because they were too concerned about the ‘optics’ of such a move.”

Justice Department Pursues at Least 150 Suspects in Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The Justice Department and the F.B.I. have embarked on a nationwide manhunt to track down scores of people who attacked the Capitol last week, according to law enforcement officials, as they grapple with the fallout from the widespread government failure to protect the building. Investigators are pursuing more than 150 suspects for prosecution, a total that is almost certain to grow, an official said. Analysts are also scouring intelligence to identify any role that domestic terrorist organizations or foreign adversaries may have played in radicalizing Americans who were among the rioters, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigations.”

The Army is investigating psychological operations officer Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in the attack on the Capitol, Associated Press, Jake Bleiberg, Sarah Blake Morgan, and James Laporta, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The Army is investigating a psychological operations officer who led a group of people from North Carolina to the rally in Washington that led up to the deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. Commanders at Fort Bragg are reviewing Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in last week’s events in the nation’s capital, but she said she acted within military regulations and that no one in her group broke the law…. Rainey said she led 100 members of Moore County Citizens for Freedom, which describes itself online as a nonpartisan network promoting conservative values, to the Washington rally to ‘stand against election fraud’ and support Trump.”

What Trump said before his supporters stormed the Capitol, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Democrats are on the verge of impeaching President Trump again. On Monday, they introduced a single article of impeachment alleging that Trump incited the violent attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. Trump’s culpability for the violence is the topic of much debate. But even many of his Republican allies have tied it to his long-running, baseless claims about a stolen election. And others have said Trump went too far in his fiery speech to protesters that preceded their storming of the Capitol. Trump’s speech included no overt calls for his supporters to actually enter the Capitol or resort to violent means. But it included plenty of allusions to the idea that Congress accepting Joe Biden’s victory — an all-but-assured outcome at the time — was a result that simply couldn’t be countenanced and must be stopped. He urged his supporters to ‘fight’ and ‘fight like hell’ and lamented that they didn’t do so as hard as Democrats. The speech must also be viewed in the context of a president who has often alluded to the idea that his supporters might one day get violent. And while he said those who would march to the Capitol after his speech should ‘peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,’ his speech was also littered with allusions to the protesters having the power to stop what Congress was doing — and indeed, that he was counting on them to do so. All of it will be at issue in the looming impeachment proceedings, but it’s also worth an in-depth look at precisely what Trump said shortly before the historic siege of the Capitol. [Here] is the full speech, with annotations providing analysis and context.”

Does Trump Face Legal Jeopardy for His Incendiary Speech Before the Riot? Trump’s actions just before his supporters’ deadly rampage at the Capitol has created new risks for him. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Scrutiny increased on Monday on how President Trump sought to foment anger at a rally of his supporters and then dispatched them to the Capitol shortly before they rioted last week, as House Democrats on Monday unveiled an article of impeachment accusing him of inciting an insurrection. Here is an overview of some of the broader forms of legal jeopardy the president may be facing.”

Before Capitol Riot, Republican Lawmakers Fanned the Flames and Used Bellicose Language to Urge Their Supporters to Attend the January 6 Rally That Turned Into a Deadly Riot, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson and Luke Broadwater, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Standing before a crowd of thousands of MAGA-clad protesters on the National Mall on Wednesday, Representative Mo Brooks roared out a message that he said members of Congress who dared to accept President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory needed to hear. ‘Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass,’ said Mr. Brooks, Republican of Alabama. ‘Are you willing to do what it takes to fight for America? Louder! Will you fight for America?’ Hours later, urged on by President Trump at the same rally, rioters stormed the Capitol, where Congress was meeting to formalize Mr. Biden’s election, chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ threatening to shoot Speaker Nancy Pelosi and forcing lawmakers to evacuate the building in a scene of violence and mayhem. Afterward, police officers recovered long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and zip ties. At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died during the protests and the siege and in the immediate aftermath. Even after the tear gas cleared and the Capitol was secured, more than 135 House Republicans, including the party’s two top leaders, ultimately voted to throw out millions of lawfully cast votes, fulfilling the rioters’ demands and answering Mr. Trump’s call for Congress to subvert the election results in his favor. But a handful of Mr. Trump’s most loyal allies in the House had gone even further in the days and weeks before the riot, urging their supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to make a defiant last stand to keep him in power. They linked arms with the organizers of the protest and used inflammatory, bellicose language to describe the stakes.”

Beaten, sprayed with mace, and hit with stun guns: police describe injuries to dozens of officers during assault on U.S. Capitol, The Washington Post, Peter Hermann and Julie Zauzmer, Monday, 11 January 2021: “An officer was hit with a bat. Another was struck with a flagpole. A third was pinned against a statue. A fourth was clobbered with a wrench. One became stuck between two doors amid a frenzied mob. Many were hit with bear spray. The number of injuries suffered by police as they attempted to fend off supporters of President Trump who seized the U.S. Capitol last week runs long. They include swollen ankles and wrists, bruised arms and legs, concussions and irritated lungs. How those injuries occurred is varied: pushed down stairs, trampled by rioters, run over in a stampede, punched with fists. More than 58 D.C. police officers and an unknown number of U.S. Capitol Police officers were injured in the hours-long riot and assault on Wednesday as lawmakers were formalizing the election victory for Joe Biden as president. It was a battle in which police were outnumbered. One Capitol Police officer died in circumstances that remain unclear.” See also, ‘They Got an Officer!’: How a Mob Dragged and Beat Police at the Capitol, The New York Times, Evan Hill, Arielle Ray, and Dahlia Kozlowsky, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob left a police officer and a rioter dead. More than 50 members of the U.S. Capitol Police were injured, including 15 who required hospitalization, most of them with head wounds, according to Representative Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio. Of all the scenes of violence, one of the most intense occurred during a struggle to breach a west-side door, during which multiple rioters dragged police officers out of a formation and assaulted them while they were trapped in the crowd.”

Trump declares state of emergency in D.C. ahead of inauguration, Politico, Matthew Choi, Monday, 11 January 2021: “President Donald Trump on Monday declared a state of emergency in Washington, D.C., citing the emergency conditions surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had declared a state of emergency in the city on Wednesday in the aftermath of the takeover of the Capitol by rioters incited by Trump. Reports of further planned violent demonstrations have continued to circulate ahead of Inauguration Day, and Trump’s order on Monday allows the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the city in any emergency response.”

Beyond Impeachment, a Push for Ethics Laws That Do Not Depend on Shame. Congressional Democrats and a slew of groups are preparing to push for the kinds of ethics and governance changes not seen since the post-Watergate era. The New York Times, Elizabeth Williamson, Monday, 11 January 2021: “As House Democrats move toward punishing President Trump with a history-making second impeachment, they are also pressing ahead with a parallel effort to try to ensure that Mr. Trump’s four-year record of violating democratic and constitutional norms cannot be repeated. Mr. Trump’s term has revealed enormous gaps between the ideals of American democracy and the reality. Even before he incited a mob to attack the Capitol and the legislative branch of government, he ignored watchdog rulings and constitutional safeguards, pressed to overturn the outcome of an election, and pardoned those who covered for him, all while funneling taxpayer dollars to his family business. In response, lawmakers and pressure groups are pushing for a wide-ranging overhaul of ethics laws, the likes of which have not been seen since the post-Watergate era, hoping to reconstruct and strengthen the guardrails that Mr. Trump plowed through. ‘If anything, the events at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday create even more urgency to swiftly reform the structural flaws in our democracy,’ said Representative John P. Sarbanes, a Maryland Democrat who is leading the legislative effort. Among the changes embraced by House Democratic leaders are limits on the president’s pardon powers, mandated release of a president’s tax returns, new enforcement powers for independent agencies and Congress, and firmer prohibitions against financial conflicts of interest in the White House. ‘We kept on having to add to it as the administration engaged in new abuses,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. ‘It’s a long list.’ Two major pieces of legislation, the Protecting Our Democracy Act and H.R. 1, will be the main vehicles to address the sweep of questionable practices in the Trump era, which culminated in the president’s efforts to reverse the election outcome and provoke a riot to thwart the final electoral vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. Last Tuesday, a provision in the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would shield independent inspectors general from retaliation and help ensure that vacant watchdog slots are filled promptly, was pulled out and passed by the House by a bipartisan voice vote.”

Hundreds of Historians Join Call for Trump’s Impeachment. More than 1,000 historians and writers, including Ron Chernow and Taylor Branch, have signed an open letter calling President Trump ‘a clear and present danger to American democracy.’ The New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler, Monday, 11 January 2021: “More than 1,000 historians and constitutional scholars have signed an open letter calling for the impeachment and removal of President Trump. They say his continuation in office after encouraging supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol posed ‘a clear and present danger to American democracy and the national security of the United States.’ Those who signed the letter, released on Medium on Monday, include best-selling authors like Ron Chernow, Taylor Branch, Garry Wills and Stacy Schiff, as well as many leading academic historians. A number of the signatories had joined a previous letter in December 2019, calling for the president’s impeachment because of ‘numerous and flagrant abuses of power’ including failure to protect the integrity of the impending 2020 election. ‘Since November 2020,’ the new letter says, ‘Trump has refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, something no president before him has ever done.’ Politically, the condemnation by historians may carry less weight than the president’s loss of support in recent days from business groups that once supported him or his policies. But David Greenberg, a historian at Rutgers who drafted the new letter, said that historical expertise mattered. ‘Trump has defied the Constitution and broken laws, norms, practices and precedents, for which he must be held accountable now and after he leaves office,’ the letter says of his presidency. ‘No future president should be tempted by the example of his defiance going unpunished.'”

Trump Administration Is Racing to Install New Business Rules and to Reduce Regulations Before President-Elect Joe Biden Takes Over, The New York Times, The New York Times, Monday, 11 January 2021: “In the remaining days of his administration, President Trump is rushing to put into effect a raft of new regulations and executive orders that are intended to put his stamp on business, trade and the economy. Previous presidents in their final term have used the period between the election and the inauguration to take last-minute actions to extend and seal their agendas. Some of the changes are clearly aimed at making it harder, at least for a time, for the next administration to pursue its goals. Of course, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. could issue new executive orders to overturn Mr. Trump’s. And Democrats in Congress, who will control the House and the Senate, could use the Congressional Review Act to quickly reverse regulatory actions from as far back as late August. Here are some of the things that Mr. Trump and his appointees have done or are trying to do before Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.”

Update: More corporations suspend donations to Republicans who objected to Electoral College vote, Popular Information, Judd Legum and Tesnim Zekeria, Monday, 11 January 2021: “On Sunday, Popular Information broke the news that three major corporations — Marriott, BlueCross BlueShield, and Commerce Bank — were suspending PAC donations to the 147 Republicans who objected to the Electoral College vote. This newsletter uncovered this information by asking 144 companies if they planned to continue supporting the politicians who tried to overturn the election. Popular Information’s report quickly became a national and international story, receiving coverage in The Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostBloombergThe Financial TimesReutersMarketWatchForbesBusiness InsiderThe Daily BeastAxios, and other publications. Why was the story picked up so extensively? The three companies were cutting off donations to more than half of the Republicans in Congress. As Public Citizen explained, that kind of action is virtually unprecedented in corporate America.” See also, Campaign finance system rocked as firms pause or halt political contributions after election results challenged, The Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel, Jeff Stein, and Tony Romm, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Several major companies on Monday said they planned to cut off political donations to the 147 members of Congress who last week voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, while other major corporations said they are suspending all contributions from their political action committees — a sign of corporate America’s growing unease with the election doubts and violent attacks encouraged by President Trump. Companies that collectively pour millions of dollars each year into campaigns through employee-funded PACs are registering their worry and anger about last week’s chaos with a reexamination of their role in powering the nation’s fractious politics.” See also, Companies Pull Back Political Giving Following Capitol Violence, The New York Times, Kate Kelly, Emily Flitter, and Shane Goldmacher, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Days after a pro-Trump mob attacked the United States Capitol, some of America’s biggest companies said they would pause political giving as they rethink their support of certain lawmakers and their own involvement in politics more broadly. Marriott International, Dow, Airbnb and Morgan Stanley were among those that said they would halt donations from their political action committees, or PACs, to the 147 Republican members of Congress who objected to certifying the election results on Jan. 6. The plans to object to the results appear to have contributed to the deadly storming of the Capitol that day. AT&T, whose PAC donated the most of any single public company in the 2019-20 election cycle, also said it would suspend contributions to those lawmakers. At the same time, Facebook, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs said they were pausing PAC donations to both Republican and Democratic candidates for various lengths of time — a tactic that will also penalize those who voted to uphold the election. The moves are notable because corporations and their employees are active players in the political process, making campaign contributions through PACs and helping politicians raise funds in myriad ways. But it was not clear how long the pause would last — the first quarter is the slowest period of the cycle — and whether the companies would quietly roll back the changes after public attention had shifted.” See also, These Businesses and Institutions Are Cutting Ties With Trump, The New York Times, Neil Vigdor and Azi Paybarah, Monday, 11 January 2021.

Colin Powell says he no longer considers himself a Republican, CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday he is no longer a Republican following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol incited by President Donald Trump and criticized the party for supporting his behavior…. The announcement by Powell, a grandee of the Republican Party who served in multiple administrations and at one point was considered a potential presidential nominee, underscores the ongoing estrangement of the so-called establishment wing of the GOP from its modern direction under Trump.”

Talk-radio owner of Cumulus Media orders conservative hosts to temper election fraud rhetoric, The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Monday, 11 January 2021: “After months of stoking anger about alleged election fraud, one of America’s largest talk-radio companies has decided on an abrupt change of direction. Cumulus Media, which employs some of the most popular right-leaning talk-radio hosts in the United States, has told its on-air personalities to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump — or else face termination. A Cumulus executive issued the directive on Wednesday, just as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s election victory and an angry mob of Trump supporters marched on the Capitol, overwhelmed police and briefly occupied the building, terrorizing lawmakers and leading to the deaths of five people.”

Amazon begins removing QAnon goods for sale, after booting pro-Trump Parler from its cloud service, The Washington Post, Jay Greene, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Amazon said it will remove merchandise related to QAnon, a discredited conspiracy theory that the FBI has identified as a potential domestic terrorist threat, just a day after the e-commerce giant suspended the pro-Trump social media site Parler from using its cloud computing technology. Amazon is beginning to remove QAnon products from its site, a process that could take a few days, spokeswoman Cecilia Fan said Monday afternoon following inquiries from The Washington Post and other media outlets. Third-party merchants that attempt to evade Amazon’s systems to list QAnon goods may find their selling privileges revoked, Fan added.”

Twitter, in Widening Crackdown, Removes Over 70,000 QAnon Accounts. The actions followed the barring of Trump from the service last week, as Twitter has moved to distance itself from violent content. The New York Times, Kate Conger, Monday, 11 January 2021: “Twitter on Monday said that it had removed more than 70,000 accounts that promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory in recent days, as the company widened its crackdown on content that could incite violence after barring President Trump from its service last week. Twitter, which carried out the suspensions over the weekend, said it acted to clamp down on posts that have ‘the potential to lead to offline harm.’ It added that many of the users who were removed had operated multiple QAnon accounts, driving up the total number of accounts that were taken down.”

William Burns Is Biden’s Choice for C.I.A. Director, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Pranshu Verma, Monday, 11 January 2021: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has selected William J. Burns, a career State Department official who led the U.S. delegation in secret talks with Iran, to run the C.I.A. In selecting Mr. Burns, Mr. Biden is turning to an experienced diplomat with whom he has a long relationship. The two men have worked together on foreign policy issues, not just during the Obama administration, but also while Mr. Biden led the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Biden said Mr. Burns’s first task would be to make sure intelligence collection and analysis were not influenced by politics after years of President Trump’s attacks on the intelligence agencies. In a statement early Monday, the president-elect said that Mr. Burns, 64, ‘shares my profound belief that intelligence must be apolitical and that the dedicated intelligence professionals serving our nation deserve our gratitude and respect.'”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Returns Cuba to Terrorism Sponsor List, Constraining Biden’s Plans, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Ed Augustin, and Kirk Semple, Monday, 11 January 2021: “The State Department designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism on Monday in a last-minute foreign policy stroke that will complicate the incoming Biden administration’s plans to restore friendlier relations with Havana…. The action, announced with just days remaining in the Trump administration, reverses a step taken in 2015 after President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations with Cuba, calling its decades of political and economic isolation a relic of the Cold War.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 11 January 2021: Washington Grapples With High Number of Coronavirus Cases. The nation’s capital, still reeling from the assault on the Capitol last week, is part of a broader surge in the Mid-Atlantic region. Two lawmakers have tested positive after being in lockdown in the Capitol. The New York Times, Monday, 11 January 2021:

  • Two lawmakers test positive after being in lockdown in Capitol.

  • ‘We transferred risk from one area to another’: Outbreaks shift across the U.S.

  • Chicago reopens classrooms, over strong objections from teachers about safety.

  • More New Yorkers start receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

  • Russia considers altering its vaccine dosage to inoculate more people.

  • Biden receives his second vaccine shot.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 11 January 2021: Fixing the vaccine distribution system in the United States must be top priority, experts say, The Washington Post, Paulina Villegas, Brittany Shammas, Antonia Noori Farzan, Erin Cunningham, Adam Taylor, Kim Bellware, and Hamza Shaban, Monday, 11 January 2021: “As new coronavirus cases in the United States rise precipitously after the holidays, health experts are urging states and the federal government to speed up vaccine distribution, which has proved a logistical nightmare. ‘In large metro areas such as Boston, Washington, D.C., and Houston, we need to be vaccinating at least 10,000 people every day for the next eight months to stay on target,’ vaccine expert Peter Hotez wrote for The Washington Post. ‘We are not even close to that,’ he added.

 

Tuesday, 12 January 2021, Day 1,453:

 

The Biden Transition: House Votes 223-205 to Call on Vice President Mike Pence to Strip Trump of Power by Invoking the 25th Amendment. The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 January 2021:

  • The House formally calls on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip Trump of power. He declines.

  • In letter to Pelosi, Pence rejects House effort to have him strip Trump of powers.

  • McConnell is said to be pleased about impeachment, believing it will be easier to purge Trump from the G.O.P.

  • Five House Republicans back impeachment as party leaders forgo formally lobbying against it.

  • YouTube suspends Trump’s channel for at least seven days.

  • Pelosi names nine Democrats to lead the impeachment effort.

  • In his first public appearance since the Capitol siege, Trump expresses no contrition for inciting the mob.

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff remind members of armed forces to reject extremism.

  • Enhanced security measures for the inauguration are starting earlier than planned.

Presidential Transfer of Power: House votes to officially call on Pence to remove Trump by invoking 25th Amendment, rebuffing the vice president’s objections, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Donna Cassata, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, and Kim Bellware, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The Democratic-led House voted late Tuesday to officially call on Vice President Pence to remove President Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment, rebuffing the vice president’s objections. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Pence had urged Congress ‘to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.’ The House proceeded with the vote and is on course to consider impeaching Trump on Wednesday on one charge, ‘incitement of insurrection,’ days after a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol. Four Republicans have said they would vote to impeach Trump, including Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), No. 3 Republican in the House, who said there has ‘never been a greater betrayal’ by a president to his office and his oath to the Constitution. Trump called the effort by House Democrats to impeach him for a second time a ‘witch hunt’ and offered no regrets for inciting the mob attack on the Capitol last week as he emerged from seclusion Tuesday to travel to Alamo, Tex., to tour a section of the border wall.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Rep. Bradley Schneider (D-Ill.) has become the third lawmaker to announce a positive test for the novel coronavirus after sheltering at close quarters with dozens of members of Congress during last week’s takeover of the Capitol.
  • The attack on the Capitol has done little to upend Biden’s preparations for the beginning of his administration Jan. 20, for the worst of reasons: It is only one of several calamities that the new president and his administration will confront when he takes office.
  • The House’s acting sergeant at arms installed metal detectors outside the chamber in the wake of the Capitol riot, requiring all individuals to undergo security screening. Those who refuse to be screened or who are carrying prohibited items could be denied access to the chamber.
  • Several U.S. Capitol Police officers have been suspended and more than a dozen others are under investigation for suspected involvement in or inappropriate support for the demonstration last week that turned into a deadly riot at the Capitol.
  • Here are the nominees Biden has picked to fill his Cabinet.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Privately Backs Impeachment as House Moves to Charge Trump, The New York Times, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Senator Mitch McConnell has concluded that President Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that Democrats’ move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Mr. Trump from the party, according to people familiar with Mr. McConnell’s thinking. The private assessment of Mr. McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, emerged on the eve of a House vote to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country for his role in whipping up a mob of his supporters who stormed the Capitol while lawmakers met to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. In a sign that the dam could be breaking against Mr. Trump in a party that has long been unfailingly loyal to him, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House, announced her intention to support the single charge of high crimes and misdemeanors, as other party leaders declined to formally lobby rank-and-file lawmakers to oppose it. ‘The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,’ Ms. Cheney said 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.’ Even before Mr. McConnell’s position was known and Ms. Cheney had announced her plans, advisers to the Senate Republican leader had already privately speculated that a dozen Republican senators — and possibly more — could ultimately vote to convict Mr. Trump in a Senate trial that would follow his impeachment by the House. Seventeen Republicans would most likely be needed to join Democrats in finding him guilty. After that, it would take a simple majority to disqualify Mr. Trump from ever again holding public office.” See also, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes impeachment push will help rid Trump from the GOP, but he has not said if he will vote to convict, CNN Politics, Manu Raju, Phil Mattingly, Jeff Zeleny, Jim Acosta, and Kaitlan Collins, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he believes that impeaching President Donald Trump will make it easier to get rid of the President and Trumpism from the Republican Party, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. Another person with direct knowledge told CNN there’s a reason McConnell has been silent on impeachment as other Republicans have pushed back: he’s furious about last week’s attack on the US Capitol by the President’s supporters, even more so because Trump has shown no contrition. His silence has been deliberate as he leaves open the option of supporting impeachment. McConnell has made no commitments on voting to convict Trump, and wants to see the article itself before voting. It’s a stark contrast to the President’s first impeachment, when McConnell repeatedly spoke out against Democratic intentions to hold Trump accountable for a pressure campaign on the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his family.”

Capitol Riot Fallout: F.B.I. Warned of Violence Before Siege; More Arrests Made, The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 January 2021:

  • Prosecutors are weighing sedition and conspiracy charges and expect to arrest ‘hundreds’ tied to Capitol riot.

  • The Pentagon will arm National Guard troops deploying to Capitol for inauguration.

  • F.B.I. report is said to have warned of plans for violence at the Capitol.

  • Chamber of Commerce calls Trump’s conduct ‘inexcusable’ and vows to curb certain donations.

  • Washington-area hotels and airports are tightening security.

  • In his first public appearance since the Capitol siege, Trump expresses no contrition for inciting the mob.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Manhunt Intensifies as Authorities Warn Some Rioters May Face Sedition Charges. Evidence emerged that top officials, including at the F.B.I., had warnings about violence before the riot at the Capitol. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Adam Goldman, and Katie Benner, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Federal law enforcement officials vowed on Tuesday to accelerate a nationwide manhunt for hundreds of people who committed serious crimes during last week’s assault on the Capitol, even as new evidence surfaced that the F.B.I., police and White House were warned of potential violence that day. Michael R. Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, called the investigation into the attack on the Capitol ‘unmatched’ in scope and said it had already resulted in more than 170 cases involving 100,000 digital tips. He pledged that prosecutors could file charges of seditious conspiracy, murder and other serious felonies in the weeks ahead. ‘The Capitol grounds outside and inside are essentially a crime scene,’ Mr. Sherwin said during a news conference in Washington, adding that ‘we have literally thousands of potential witnesses’ around the country.” See also, FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “A day before rioters stormed Congress, an FBI office in Virginia issued an explicit warning that extremists were preparing to travel to Washington to commit violence and ‘war,’ according to an internal document reviewed by The Washington Post that contradicts a senior official’s declaration the bureau had no intelligence indicating anyone at last week’s demonstrations in support of President Trump planned to do harm. A situational information report approved for release the day before the U.S. Capitol riot painted a dire portrait of dangerous plans, including individuals sharing a map of the complex’s tunnels, and possible rally points for would-be conspirators to meet in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and South Carolina and head in groups to Washington. ‘As of 5 January 2021, FBI Norfolk received information indicating calls for violence in response to “unlawful lockdowns” to begin on 6 January 2021 in Washington, D.C.,’ the document says. An online thread discussed specific calls for violence to include stating ‘Be ready to fight. Congress needs to hear glass breaking, doors being kicked in, and blood from their BLM and Pantifa slave soldiers being spilled. Get violent. Stop calling this a march, or rally, or a protest. Go there ready for war. We get our President or we die. NOTHING else will achieve this goal.'”

House Democrats Briefed on 3 Terrifying Plots to Overthrow Government. One plot includes surrounding the Capitol and murdering Democrats to allow Republicans to take control of the government. HuffPost, Matt Fuller, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Capitol Police briefed Democrats on Monday night about three more potentially gruesome demonstrations planned in the coming days, with one plot to encircle the U.S. Capitol and assassinate Democrats and some Republicans. On a private call Monday night, new leaders of the Capitol Police told House Democrats they were closely monitoring three separate plans that could pose serious threats to members of Congress as Washington prepares for Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. The first is a demonstration billed as the ‘largest armed protest ever to take place on American soil.’ Another is a protest in honor of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed while trying to climb into the Speaker’s Lobby during Wednesday’s pro-Trump siege of the Capitol. And another demonstration, which three members said was by far the most concerning plot, would involve insurrectionists forming a perimeter around the Capitol, the White House and the Supreme Court, and then blocking Democrats from entering the Capitol ― perhaps even killing them ― so that Republicans could take control of the government. The members of Congress whom HuffPost spoke to Monday night were extremely concerned by the call.” See also, New terror threat points to plot to surround Capitol, lawmaker says, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Lauren Fox, and Priscilla Alvarez, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Thousands of armed pro-Donald Trump extremists are plotting to surround the US Capitol ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a member of Congress who was among those briefed late Monday on a series of new threats against lawmakers and the Capitol itself. ‘They were talking about 4,000 armed “patriots” to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in,’ Rep. Conor Lamb, a Pennsylvania Democrat, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on ‘New Day.’ ‘They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don’t. So this is an organized group that has a plan. They are committed to doing what they’re doing because I think in their minds, you know, they are patriots and they’re talking about 1776 and so this is now a contest of wills.”

Military Chiefs Remind Troops of Their Oath After Fallout From Assault on Capitol, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff sent an unusual message to the entire American armed forces on Tuesday reminding them that their job was to support and defend the Constitution, and declaring that Joseph R. Biden Jr. would soon be their next commander in chief. ‘As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ said the one-page memorandum signed by the eight senior officers who serve as the Joint Chiefs. ‘As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation,’ the memo continued. ‘We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.’ That the chiefs, led by Gen. Mark A. Milley of the Army, found it necessary to remind their rank and file of their sworn oath to the country was extraordinary. But the memo came as federal law enforcement authorities were pursuing more than 150 suspects, including current or former service members, involved in the mob that stormed the Capitol last week. It was also the latest example of an apolitical American military and its top leadership thrust into an awkward, even potentially dangerous, position of possibly having to weigh dubious orders from the president against their oath to uphold the Constitution. Defense Department officials have expressed worries this week that some of the rioters who assaulted the Capitol are former military members. While the Pentagon has not announced a specific search for deployed National Guard troops with sympathies for the pro-Trump protesters, officials said they were reviewing photographs and videos from the siege.”

Pentagon to Arm National Guard Troops Deploying to Capitol for Inauguration, The New York Times, Helene Cooper and Adam Goldman, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “National Guard troops who are flooding into Washington to secure the Capitol for Inauguration Day will be armed, the Army secretary, Ryan McCarthy, has decided, Defense Department officials said Tuesday. The armed troops will be responsible for security around the Capitol building complex, the officials said. As up to 15,000 troops continued to arrive in Washington from all over the country, Defense Department officials had been weighing whether to deploy them with arms. Mr. McCarthy has decided that at the very least those around the Capitol building will carry weapons, said the officials, who confirmed the decision on the condition of anonymity. Mr. McCarthy’s decision came after a meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. Ms. Pelosi, according to congressional staff members, demanded that the Pentagon take a more muscular posture after a mob, egged on by President Trump last week, breached the Capitol. Pentagon officials say they are deeply worried about protests that are planned for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. next week. About 16 groups — some of them saying they will be armed and most of them made up of hard-line supporters of Mr. Trump — have registered to stage protests in Washington, officials said.”

Trump Says His Comments Before the Insurrection at the Capitol Were ‘Totally Appropriate,’ NPR, Domenico Montanaro, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Eight days from the end of his presidency, President Trump expressed no regret for his comments last week ahead of a riot and mob violence at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in the deaths of at least five people and multiple injuries. ‘People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,’ Trump said Tuesday when asked about his role in the siege, despite many at the highest levels of government — Republicans and Democrats — saying otherwise, three of his Cabinet members having resigned and a second impeachment effort now underway.” See also, Trump is defiant and unapologetic about his role in inciting Capitol mob attack, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “President Trump emerged Tuesday from six days out of public view defiant and unapologetic about his incitement of last week’s mob attack on the Capitol and warned that his impeachment could lead to more violence. The president denied any culpability in the violent riot that killed a police officer and threatened the lives of Vice President Pence and members of Congress. He said his remarks encouraging throngs of supporters last Wednesday to march to the Capitol in a show of force to pressure and intimidate lawmakers to overturn the election results were ‘totally appropriate.'” See also, In his first public appearance since the Capitol siege, Trump expresses no contrition for inciting the mob, The New York Times, James Dobbins and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “President Trump on Tuesday showed no contrition or regret for instigating the mob that stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of members of Congress and his vice president, saying that his remarks to a rally beforehand were ‘totally appropriate’ and that the effort by Congress to impeach and convict him was ‘causing tremendous anger.’ Answering questions from reporters for the first time since the violence at the Capitol on Wednesday, Mr. Trump sidestepped questions about his culpability in the deadly riot that shook the nation’s long tradition of peaceful transfers of power. ‘People thought what I said was totally appropriate,’ Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, en route to Alamo, Texas, where he was set to visit the wall along the Mexican border. Instead, Mr. Trump claimed that protests against racial injustice over the summer were ‘a real problem.'”

Trump falsely blames Antifa for Capitol insurrection, Axios, Jonathan Swan, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “President Trump on Monday privately — and falsely — blamed ‘Antifa people’ for storming the Capitol, even though clear video and documentary evidence exists showing the rioters were overwhelmingly Trump supporters. Despite facing an impeachment vote for an assault he helped incite, the outgoing president is still sticking with his tried-and-true playbook of deflecting and reaching for conspiracies. In a tense, 30-minute-plus phone call this morning with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Trump trotted out the Antifa line. McCarthy would have none of it, telling the president: ‘It’s not Antifa, it’s MAGA. I know. I was there,’ according to a White House official and another source familiar with the call. The White House official said the call was tense and aggressive at times, with Trump ranting about election fraud and an exasperated McCarthy cutting in to say, ‘Stop it. It’s over. The election is over.'”

Vice President Mike Pence Reached His Limit With Trump. It Wasn’t Pretty. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Annie Karni, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “For Vice President Mike Pence, the moment of truth had arrived. After three years and 11 months of navigating the treacherous waters of President Trump’s ego, after all the tongue-biting, pride-swallowing moments where he employed strategic silence or florid flattery to stay in his boss’s good graces, there he was being cursed by the president. Mr. Trump was enraged that Mr. Pence was refusing to try to overturn the election. In a series of meetings, the president had pressed relentlessly, alternately cajoling and browbeating him. Finally, just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol to oversee the electoral vote count last Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the vice president’s residence to push one last time. ‘You can either go down in history as a patriot,’ Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, ‘or you can go down in history as a pussy.’ The blowup between the nation’s two highest elected officials then played out in dramatic fashion as the president publicly excoriated the vice president at an incendiary rally and sent agitated supporters to the Capitol where they stormed the building — some of them chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence.’ Evacuated to the basement, Mr. Pence huddled for hours while Mr. Trump tweeted out an attack on him rather than call to check on his safety.”

Republicans protest and circumvent new metal detectors inside Capitol after riot, NBC News, Dartunorro Clark, Alex Moe, and Haley Talbot, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Several Republican members of Congress on Tuesday complained about — or outright bypassed — the metal detectors to enter the House floor, which were ordered put in place by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after last week’s deadly riot at the Capitol. Ahead of a House vote Tuesday evening calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, the Republican members expressed anger and frustration in accessing the chamber. Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve Stivers of Ohio, Van Taylor of Texas, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Debbie Lesko of Arizona and Larry Bucshon of Indiana, among others, were seen not complying with police at checkpoints or complained about the measure’s implementation, according to press pool and media reports. Boebert, a newly elected member who vowed in a viral video to carry a gun in the Capitol, was seen in an apparent dispute with police over going through the metal detector. ‘I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex,’ she tweeted. ‘Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week — it’s just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.’ Members, however, have been told: ‘firearms are restricted to a Member’s Office.'”

Harvard removes Republican Representative Elise Stefanik from advisory committee, Politico, Stephanie Murray, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The Harvard Institute of Politics removed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) from its Senior Advisory Committee in the wake of last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, pointing to her unfounded claims of voter fraud in the November election. ‘Elise has made public assertions about voter fraud in November’s presidential election that have no basis in evidence, and she has made public statements about court actions related to the election that are incorrect,’ Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf wrote in a letter released Tuesday. ‘Moreover, these assertions and statements do not reflect policy disagreements but bear on the foundations of the electoral process through which this country’s leaders are chosen.'”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 12 January 2021: U.S. to Require Negative Virus Tests From International Air Travelers. The Trump administration expanded vaccine eligibility to all Americans over 65 as part of an effort to accelerate distribution. The New York Times, Tuesday, 12 January 2021:

  • The U.S. will require negative virus tests from international passengers arriving by air.

  • The Trump administration calls for wider vaccine eligibility, including people 65 and over.

  • Experts urge caution in delaying the second dose of the vaccine.

  • Imposing strict measures faster could have saved tens of thousands of lives in Europe, a C.D.C. report says.

  • The first Covid-19 vaccines have reached the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

  • Trump visited the Texas border, where the virus is surging.

  • Indonesia’s president receives a Chinese-made vaccine that produced disappointing trial results.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 12 January 2021: U.S. sets new coronavirus deaths record as sweeping changes in vaccination rollout are announced, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Lena H. Sun, Antonia Noori Farzan, Erin Cunningham, Marisa Iati, Jennifer Hassan, Brittany Shammas, and Hamza Shaban, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The United States set a another record for coronavirus deaths reported in a single day, tallying more than 4,250 lives lost on Tuesday, with new infections still at an all-time high and hospitals across the country contending with a flood of sick patients. The milestone came as the Trump administration announced sweeping changes to its vaccination rollout, including making all of the coronavirus vaccine supply immediately available, urging states to provide shots to anyone 65 and older and warning states with lagging inoculations that they could lose some of their shots to speedier places.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

States Told to Vaccinate Everyone 65 and Over as Deaths Surge, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Abby Goodnough, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The Trump administration, racing a surging Covid-19 death toll, instructed states on Tuesday to immediately begin vaccinating every American 65 and older, as well as tens of millions of adults with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of dying from coronavirus infection. The federal government will release all available doses of the vaccine instead of holding about half in reserve for second doses, Alex M. Azar II, the health secretary, said, adding that states should start allowing pharmacies and community health centers, which serve largely poor populations, to administer the shots. The announcement came with a cudgel: States will lose their allocations, Mr. Azar said, if they do not use up doses quickly. And starting in two weeks, state vaccine allocations will be based on the size of a state’s population of people 65 and older, not on its general adult population. It was unclear, however, whether that would hold past Jan. 20, when President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office.”

Supreme Court restores requirements for medication abortions, siding with Trump administration, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed with the Trump administration and reinstated requirements that women seeking medication abortions receive the drugs in person at a clinic, setting aside a judge’s ruling that protocol was dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic. The administration sought to reinstate rules by the Food and Drug Administration that women pick up the abortion pills at a medical facility — rather than receive them by mail or delivery — even though there is no requirement they take the medication in such a setting. Most take the pills that end a pregnancy in its early stages at home.”

Robert Reilly, Director of Voice of America, reassigns White House reporter Patsy Widakuswara after asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo questions he refused to answer, Vox, Alex Ward, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “Voice of America’s senior White House correspondent was demoted on Monday evening just hours after asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo questions he refused to answer, demonstrating that even US government-funded journalists face retaliation for confronting top Trump administration officials. On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech at VOA, lambasting the US government-run media outlet for its unwillingness to uncritically promote the administration’s line around the world. Afterward, VOA director Robert Reilly engaged Pompeo in a question-and-answer session filled with softballs, only to let the Cabinet member leave without facing any hard-hitting queries from the outlet’s reporters in the audience. Unhappy with what transpired, VOA’s White House senior correspondent Patsy Widakuswara — who was in the audience — pursued Pompeo as he left VOA’s building in downtown Washington, DC. She asked what he planned to do to improve America’s reputation around the world and if he regretted saying in November that the presidential transition would proceed smoothly into a second term for President Donald Trump. Pompeo ignored her questions and left. See also, Voice of America reassigns White House reporter after she sought to question Mike Pompeo, The Washington Post, Paul Farhi, Tuesday, 12 January 2021: “The director of Voice of America ordered the reassignment of a reporter for the international news organization after she sought to ask questions of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a VOA-sponsored appearance on Monday, according to several people who attended the event. Patsy Widakuswara, who covers the White House for VOA, was ordered off the beat by Director Robert Reilly after firing questions at Pompeo after his speech and a brief Q&A session conducted by Reilly…. The White House Correspondents’ Association called the decision to reassign Widakuswara ‘an assault on the First Amendment’ in a statement Tuesday morning. VOA’s action ‘is an affront to the very ideals Secretary of State Pompeo discussed in his speech Monday,’ wrote Zeke Miller, the organization’s president. It ‘harms the interests of all Americans who depend on the free press to learn about the actions of their government and gives comfort to efforts to restrict press freedom around the world.'”

 

Wednesday, 13 January 2021, Day 1,454:

 

                             IMPEACHED

TRUMP, AFTER INCITING RAMPAGE IN CAPITOL, IS FIRST PRESIDENT TO FACE 2nd SENATE TRIAL, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Donald J. Trump on Wednesday became the first American president to be impeached twice, as 10 members of his party joined with Democrats in the House to charge him with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in egging on a violent mob that stormed the Capitol last week. Reconvening in a building now heavily militarized against threats from pro-Trump activists and adorned with bunting for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., lawmakers voted 232 to 197 to approve a single impeachment article. It accused Mr. Trump of ‘inciting violence against the government of the United States’ in his quest to overturn the election results, and called for him to be removed and disqualified from ever holding public office again. The vote left another indelible stain on Mr. Trump’s presidency just a week before he is slated to leave office and laid bare the cracks running through the Republican Party. More members of his party voted to charge the president than in any other impeachment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, declaring the past week one of the darkest chapters in American history, implored colleagues to embrace ‘a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.’… The top House Republican, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, conceded in a pained speech on the floor that Mr. Trump had been to blame for the deadly assault at the Capitol. It had forced the vice president and lawmakers who had gathered there to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory to flee for their lives. ‘The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,’ said Mr. McCarthy, one of the 138 Republicans who returned to the House floor after the mayhem and voted to reject certified electoral votes for Mr. Biden. ‘He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.’ Outside the House chamber, a surreal tableau offered reminders of the rampage that gave rise to the impeachment, as thousands of armed members of the National Guard in camouflage fatigues surrounded the complex and snaked through its halls, stacking their helmets, backpacks and weapons wherever they went. Their presence gave the proceedings a wartime feel, and evoked images of the 1860s, when the Union Army had quartered in the building.” See also, House of Representatives hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with Republican support, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The House made history Wednesday by impeaching a president for a second time, indicting President Trump a week before he leaves office for inciting a riot with false claims of a stolen election that led to the storming of the Capitol and five deaths. Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, which proceeded with almost no GOP support, Wednesday’s effort attracted 10 Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 party leader in the House. The Senate now appears likely to hold a trial after Trump’s departure, an unprecedented scenario that could end with lawmakers barring him from holding the presidency again. The final vote was 232 to 197.” See also, House impeaches Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Lauren Fox, and Phil Mattingly, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The House voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time in a swift and bipartisan condemnation of the President’s role inciting last week’s riot at the US Capitol. The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump exactly one week after rioters forced lawmakers to flee from the very chamber in which they cast ballots in the fourth presidential impeachment in US history — and the first time a President has been impeached twice. Ten Republicans, including the House’s No. 3 Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, joined all Democrats to impeach Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection.'”

Trump is isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him as he is impeached again, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “When Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president ever impeached twice, he did so as a leader increasingly isolated, sullen and vengeful. With less than seven days remaining in his presidency, Trump’s inner circle is shrinking, offices in his White House are emptying, and the president is lashing out at some of those who remain. He is angry that his allies have not mounted a more forceful defense of his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol last week, advisers and associates said. Though Trump has been exceptionally furious with Vice President Pence, his relationship with lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of his most steadfast defenders, is also fracturing, according to people with knowledge of the dynamics between the men…. As he watched impeachment quickly gain steam, Trump was upset generally that virtually nobody is defending him — including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to a senior administration official…. The White House released a video Wednesday evening featuring Trump seated behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office pleading with supporters not to engage in further violence. ‘Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,’ he said. A senior administration official said Kushner, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and Pence persuaded Trump to film the video, telling him it could boost support among weak Republicans. They asked him not to mention impeachment, and he didn’t.” See also, Trump grows defiant as the White House becomes a ghost town. As he becomes the first president to be impeached twice, Trump lacks a robust response for the first time. NBC News, Shannon Pettypiece, Hallie Jackson, Peter Alexander, and Kristen Welker, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “President Donald Trump was impeached again on Wednesday, but this time he lacks the megaphone of Twitter to respond and will be without a robust and aggressive defense from his White House and allies. Stripped of the ability to fire off real-time responses, Trump must rely on a White House staff that has largely been replaced with moving boxes as aides head for the exits and allies fail to offer a defense of him in public.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell breaks with Trump, says he’ll consider convicting him in Senate trial, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim and Paul Kane, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The bipartisan impeachment vote in the House against President Trump on Wednesday set up a politically explosive reckoning for Senate Republicans, who spent four years enabling Trump’s behavior but in the wake of last week’s Capitol riot are grappling with how — or whether — to punish him with just seven days left in office. The most striking position came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said Wednesday that he will consider convicting Trump on inciting the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — a remarkable break between the two men who worked in lockstep for four years, even as the majority leader continually deflected questions about Trump’s untoward conduct and rhetoric. It was also a dramatic shift from his position during Trump’s first impeachment a year ago, when he publicly stressed that he was ‘not an impartial juror’ and privately worked in concert with White House officials to map out the president’s eventual acquittal in the Senate.” See also, McConnell rebuffs Democrats’ call for speedy impeachment trial, but he is undecided on convicting Trump, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Clare Foran, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting Democratic calls to bring the Senate back immediately to convict President Donald Trump, a decision that is likely to allow the President to serve out his final days in office. McConnell’s office made that clear to Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s aides on Wednesday, according to Republican officials. The majority leader also sent a note to Republican senators telling them the chamber won’t return until January 19, according to a person who has seen it, meaning an impeachment trial won’t begin until the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency.”

The Trump Impeachment: House of Representatives, With Some Republican Support, Votes to Impeach Trump a Historic Second Time. The House impeached President Trump for inciting an insurrection against the government, and 10 Republicans joined Democrats to do so. Senator Mitch McConnell said he would not agree to use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session for a trial before Jan. 19. The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 January 2021:

  • The House impeaches Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ setting up a Senate trial.
  • Now that the House has impeached Trump, what happens next?
  • These are the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment.
  • Trump posts video condemning Capitol violence but does not mention his role in instigating it.
  • Lawmakers recount feeling unsafe because of colleagues’ behavior during Capitol siege.
  • ‘It is never too late to do the right thing.’ Read key quotes from Democrats and Republicans on impeachment.
  • The ‘People’s House’ looked like a war zone during the impeachment debate, one week after the Capitol riot.
  • Pelosi names nine Democrats to lead the impeachment effort.
  • Republican lawmakers are accused of giving Capitol tours to insurrectionists before the riot as new inquiries are opened.
  • Biden’s inauguration celebration will include virtual performances and a prime-time special.
  • With a week before his inauguration, Biden focuses on filling out his staff.
  • The Pentagon will arm National Guard troops deploying to the Capitol for the inauguration.

Inside the Capitol for Impeachment: National Guard in Every Corner, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “They slept on the marble floors, lined up for coffee in the 24-hour snack bar and marveled at the marble likenesses of the nation’s founders in the Rotunda and Statuary Hall. They snapped photos with their phones, ate pizza and sometimes played cards, their M4 carbines at their sides. Throngs of armed, camouflage fatigue-clad members of the National Guard ringed the Capitol and lined its halls on Wednesday, weapons, helmets and backpacks stacked seemingly in every corner of the complex. The heavily militarized presence provided a jarring and sobering backdrop to the House chamber as a majority of lawmakers moved to impeach a sitting American president for inciting an insurrection on the nation’s Capitol.”

Capitol Riot Fallout: Calls Made for New Inquiries as Democrats Demand Answers About Visitors a Day Before the Riot. Lawmakers question what they described as an ‘extremely high number of outside groups’ let into the Capitol on Jan. 5. The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 January 2021:

  • More arrests are made in connection with Capitol attack, as lawmakers demand answers.
  • Speaker Pelosi wants heavy fines for lawmakers who refuse to pass through House metal detectors.
  • Federal authorities warn that the Capitol breach will be a ‘significant driver of violence.’
  • F.B.I. and U.S. officials urge police chiefs to be prepared and share intelligence.
  • The acting attorney general promises accountability for an ‘intolerable, shocking and tragic episode in our nation’s history.’
  • Airbnb will cancel and block all Washington-area reservations for next week.
  • A Proud Boys supporter threatened violence against the Rev. Raphael Warnock, prosecutors said.
  • Rioter wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt is arrested, according to law enforcement.
  • New York City will end its contracts with the Trump Organization.
  • Google bans political ads until the inauguration.
  • Top U.S.A.I.D. officials spread disinformation about the election and the Capitol siege.
  • She saw her mother at the Capitol melee and called her out–publicly.
  • Biden’s inauguration will draw stars, but not the crowds.

Presidential Transfer of Power: In new video, Trump condemns violence without mentioning his second impeachment, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The House voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday to impeach President Trump an unprecedented second time, on a charge of ‘inciting violence’ against the U.S. government. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) left open the possibility of voting to convict at a trial, which would occur after Trump leaves office next week. During debate on the House floor, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Trump ‘bears responsibility’ for last week’s violent takeover of the Capitol but argued against impeachment so close to the end of his term. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump ‘a clear and present danger’ and said ‘he must go.’

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • In his first public statement since getting impeached a second time, Trump condemned violence without mentioning his indictment for inciting the attack at the Capitol. ‘Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,’ the president said in a video statement. He warned his supporters that upcoming demonstrations should remain peaceful.
  • President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next week, has announced no public events Wednesday as Trump’s impeachment is debated on the House floor.
  • An additional 5,000 members of the National Guard could arrive to support Inauguration Day security in Washington, city officials said Wednesday, which would increase the total to at least 20,000 in a rapidly swelling security apparatus focused on the Capitol.

Pressure Mounts on Republican Lawmakers to Buck Trump Amid Impeachment Battle. A lengthening list of blue-chip giants of corporate America are pledging to cut off funds to Republicans who opposed certifying the election, and Democrats are planning ad campaigns against them. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Nick Corasaniti, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Republican lawmakers are facing intensifying pressure from some longtime allies and financiers over their continued ties with President Trump, as they reckon with taking stands on impeachment and protecting themselves politically to survive the 2022 midterm primaries and elections. From Amazon to Walmart, a lengthening list of blue-chip giants of corporate America — long a bastion of G.O.P. money — are pledging to cut off funds to Republicans who opposed certifying the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. An arm of Charles Koch’s political and nonprofit network, which is one of the largest and most influential in conservative circles and spent about $60 million in federal elections last year, said that opposing certification would be a factor that would ‘weigh heavily’ in determining its future spending decisions. And a handful of Democratic and independent groups are pledging to spend aggressively on advertising against Republican lawmakers who opposed certifying the results, with the first ads already hitting the airwaves in Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas and California.”

A Preordained Coda to a Presidency: The impeachment of President Trump for a second time — in a Capitol ringed by troops — seemed like the almost inevitable culmination of four years that left the nation fractured, angry and losing its sense of self, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Not since the dark days of the Civil War and its aftermath has Washington seen a day quite like Wednesday. In a Capitol bristling with heavily armed soldiers and newly installed metal detectors, with the physical wreckage of last week’s siege cleaned up but the emotional and political wreckage still on display, the president of the United States was impeached for trying to topple American democracy. Somehow, it felt like the preordained coda of a presidency that repeatedly pressed all limits and frayed the bonds of the body politic. With less than a week to go, President Trump’s term is climaxing in violence and recrimination at a time when the country has fractured deeply and lost a sense of itself. Notions of truth and reality have been atomized. Faith in the system has eroded. Anger is the one common ground. As if it were not enough that Mr. Trump became the only president impeached twice or that lawmakers were trying to remove him with days left in his term, Washington devolved into a miasma of suspicion and conflict. A Democratic member of Congress accused Republican colleagues of helping the mob last week scout the building in advance. Some Republican members sidestepped magnetometers intended to keep guns off the House floor or kept going even after setting them off.”

The president as pariah: Trump faces a torrent of retribution over his role in the U.S. Capitol siege, The Washington Post, David Nakamura, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “He has been banned on social media, shunned by foreign leaders, impeached (again) in the House, threatened with censure by Republicans, deserted by Cabinet members, turned on by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), canceled by his hometown of New York City, dropped by the PGA golf tour and snubbed by New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick. And that’s just in the past few days for President Trump, who after ruling Washington for nearly four years through a mix of bullying, intimidation, patronage and a sense that his willingness to spread falsehoods and misinformation would have no consequences is suddenly facing a torrent of retribution from those who long excused his behavior or were too scared or powerless to confront it.”

Meet Eugene Goodman, a Black Capitol Police officer who faced down a mostly White mob at the Capitol, The Washington Post, Rebecca Tan, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “It was a video clip that captured not only the terror of the day, but the values at stake: a lone Black police officer in the marble halls of the U.S. Capitol building, facing down a mob of mostly White rioters who had stormed in bearing Confederate flags, weapons and vows to reclaim a lost election. The footage captured by HuffPost political reporter Igor Bobic has gone viral in the past week, spurring people across the world to hail the officer as a hero. The U.S. Capitol Police has not publicly identified him, but three of his friends told The Washington Post that the officer is Eugene Goodman of Maryland, confirming what journalists at CNN and elsewhere have reported. For 85 tense seconds, Goodman tries to hold back dozens of rioters, twice retreating up a flight of stairs. Police experts say he wasn’t fleeing, but luring the mob away from the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were sheltering and armed officers — including one with a semiautomatic weapon — were securing the doors. His actions likely preempted what could have been a violent confrontation, Kirk D. Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, said in an interview.”

More Arrests Made Amid New Calls for Investigation of Capitol Attack, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “One week after an angry mob stormed the Capitol, Congress struggled on Wednesday to make sense of the most serious incursion on its home in more than two centuries as lawmakers called for new investigations and federal authorities fanned out across the country, taking into custody several more suspects, including two police officers from Virginia and a firefighter from Florida…. Led by Representative Mikie Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat and former Navy pilot, more than 30 lawmakers called on Wednesday for an investigation into visitors’ access to the Capitol on the day before the riot. In a letter to the acting House and Senate sergeants-at-arms and the U.S. Capitol Police, the lawmakers, many of whom served in the military and said they were trained to ‘recognize suspicious activity,’ demanded answers about what they described as an ‘extremely high number of outside groups’ let into the Capitol on Jan. 5 at a time when most tours were restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, the inspector general’s office of the Capitol Police said it was opening a potentially wide-ranging inquiry into security breaches connected to the siege. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan federal watchdog agency, signaled that it would look into what role, if any, members of Congress may have played in inciting the mob of Trump supporters who breached metal barricades and shattered windows on Jan. 6, seeking to overturn the results of the election.” See also, Democratic congresswoman Mikie Sherrill says lawmakers gave groups ‘reconnaissance’ tours of the Capitol one day before the riots, The Washington Post, Andrea Salcedo, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “One day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, a Democratic lawmaker says, she saw colleagues leading groups on ‘reconnaissance’ tours of the building. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) made the startling claim in a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday night as she accused Republicans of inciting the pro-Trump mob that vandalized the Capitol and attacked police officers. Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot, described seeing ‘members of Congress who had groups coming through the Capitol that I saw on Jan. 5 for reconnaissance for the next day. I’m going to see that they’re held accountable,’ Sherrill added. Sherrill did not specifically identify which lawmakers she saw leading groups through the Capitol.” See also, Representative Tim Ryan Says an Investigation Is Underway on Whether House Members Gave Capitol Tours to Rioters, NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, says an investigation is underway looking at ‘potentially members of Congress’ who gave tours to pro-Trump rioters prior to the insurrection last week on the U.S. Capitol. ‘All of that is being reviewed, both people on the campus who were here and behavior before and after, a lot of videos floating around out there,’ Ryan told NPR’s Michel Martin during NPR’s special coverage of the House impeachment vote. ‘That’s all going to be considered, including anybody that may have been on the inside, including members of Congress.'” See also, Capitol Police Officers Said They Wouldn’t Be Surprised if Members of Congress Helped Plan the Attack on the Capitol, BuzzFeed News, Emmanuel Felton, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “After seeing one of their colleagues killed last Wednesday, Capitol Police officers are angry that Republican members of Congress refuse to submit to the security changes put in place since then, and say they wouldn’t even be surprised if some lawmakers helped organize the attack. Officers told BuzzFeed News that members of Congress often see security as optional. Even after last week’s deadly attack, some Republican members refused to go through metal detectors, pushing their way past Capitol Police officers.” See also, Questions swirl around possible ‘insider’ help for Capitol attack, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, published on Thursday, 14 January 2021: “One week after the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, there are still more questions than answers on whether any lawmakers or police assisted the pro-Trump rioters. The idea of an insurrection is unheard of in modern US history, and the possibility that lawmakers or allies inside the Capitol were helping only contributes to the uncertainty and worry about the event and what’s to come. At least one protest organizer said he coordinated with three House Republicans. There are unverified accusations of a ‘reconnaissance’ mission one day before the attack. And more than a dozen US Capitol Police officers are under internal investigation for allegedly helping rioters. While President Donald Trump’s role in inciting the violence is clear, there are some early indications and accusations that other insiders may have more actively aided the mob.”

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Recounts Capitol Insurrection: ‘Many of Us Narrowly Escaped Death,’ NPR, Barbara Sprunt, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “In an hourlong Instagram Live video Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., described her personal experience last week when a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding. ‘I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me,’ she described. ‘And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event, due to security concerns. But I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die.’ She added: ‘Wednesday [Jan. 6] was an extremely traumatizing event, and it is not an exaggeration to say that many, many members of the House were nearly assassinated. It’s just not an exaggeration to say that at all. We were very lucky that things happened within certain minutes that allowed members to escape the House floor unharmed. But many of us narrowly escaped death.’… ‘I myself did not even feel safe going to that extraction point, because there were QAnon and white supremacist sympathizers and frankly white supremacist members of Congress in that extraction point, who I know, and who I had felt would disclose my location and allow me to, who would create opportunities to allow me to be hurt, kidnapped, etc.’ She also pointed to several Republican members’ refusal to wear masks while under lockdown, which she said endangered the lives of her colleagues. At least three Democratic members of Congress have tested positive for the coronavirus in the days following the insurrection.”

Amid Riot Chaos, Some National Security Leaders Are Absent From View. The Trump administration’s response to the attack, incited by the president, has lacked broad reassurances to a country on edge. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Adam Goldman, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Amid the sea of troubling facts, arrests and iconic images that have emerged in the days since the assault on the Capitol, one element remains largely absent: reassurances from some of the nation’s top national security officials. Neither the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, nor the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, has appeared at the type of high-profile news conference that typically marks a major criminal investigation, instead issuing news releases. Mr. Rosen also called for calm and vowed to fully investigate the violence, but the comments came in a video posted by the Justice Department on YouTube around midnight. Chad F. Wolf, the departing acting secretary of homeland security, was in the Middle East during the siege and did not return until later in the week. He also issued a news release that week calling the riot ‘tragic and sickening.’ For the most part, officials have not addressed that President Trump himself incited the attack by his supporters on Congress’s certification of the Electoral College results. Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede the election or to acknowledge his role in goading his supporters has forced administration officials to choose between remaining relatively silent or speaking out in a public setting where they could be pushed to directly contradict him, according to two current government officials and two former national security officials.”

F.B.I. Urges Police Chiefs Across the U.S. to Be on High Alert for Threats. A joint intelligence bulletin warned that the deadly breach at the Capitol would be a ‘significant driver of violence’ ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The New York Times, John Eligon, Frances Robles, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Helene Cooper, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The F.B.I. on Wednesday urged police chiefs across the country to be on high alert for extremist activity and to share intelligence on any threats they encounter, as the U.S. government issued a dire intelligence bulletin warning of potential violence ahead of the inauguration. In the call with police chiefs, Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. director, and Kenneth Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, warned about potential attacks on state capitols, federal buildings, the homes of congressional members and businesses, according to one of the chiefs on the call. The officials failed to identify any specific threats, participants said, but called on law enforcement officers across the country to watch for signs of trouble, no matter how small.”

New York City ends contracts with Trump, the latest business partner to abandon him in the wake of Capitol attack, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “New York City is terminating its contracts with President Trump’s company to run a carousel, two ice rinks and a golf course in city parks, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Wednesday — calling it a response to Trump’s encouragement of a mob that ransacked the U.S. Capitol. ‘The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,’ de Blasio said in a written statement. ‘The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form.’ That decision — which will cut off the Trump Organization from businesses that bring in $17 million per year in revenue — makes New York the latest business partner to cut ties with Trump’s company.”

‘Too little, too late’: Extremism experts criticize payment companies. Hate group experts say they have pushed for payment companies to cut off extremism for years. NBC News, Olivia Solon and Leticia Miranda, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “After violent Trump supporters stormed the Capitol last week, several mainstream payment companies pledged to sever ties with groups or individuals promoting hate and violence. Stripe, PayPal and Square said that they had stopped providing services to individuals and organizations connected to the riot as part of a sweeping enforcement of policies against inciting violence. But extremism experts say it’s too little, too late. The flurry of activity and public pledges follows years of efforts by extremism and brand safety experts to get payment companies to better police their platforms to ensure they don’t let hate groups receive direct donations or provide them payment tools for selling merchandise.”

After Deadly Capitol Riot, Fox News Stays Silent on Their Stars’ Incendiary Rhetoric, NPR, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Among some prominent Republicans, inside social media companies and in other major institutions throughout society, a reckoning has erupted following the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. Not at the Fox News Channel, however. On the contrary, the network that has helped shape conservative politics in the U.S. for more than two decades has yet to acknowledge how the heated rhetoric radiating from its shows and stars may have helped inspired the pro-Trump rampage. Comments from prominent Fox News hosts and guests had helped stoke the MAGA mob’s fury for the two months following the November elections. In December, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs said opponents of Trump throughout the government had committed ‘treason,’ and later suggested that any Republican who upheld Biden’s victory in the Electoral College may be ‘criminal.'”

The Donors Trust, a dark-money Republican fund, funneled millions of dollars to groups that pushed voter fraud claims, CNBC, Brian Schwartz, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “A dark-money group used by Republican donors funneled millions of dollars to high-profile conservative organizations that pushed or investigated claims of election fraud before and after Joe Biden defeated President Trump. That group, the Donors Trust, is officially labeled as a nonprofit. The designation allows financiers to give to the organization anonymously. That money is then channeled to other dark-money groups. Among the pro-Trump groups that have received money from the Donors Fund are pro-Trump students organization Turning Point USA and an anti-immigration organization that has been called a hate group.”

Census Bureau Stops Work on Trump’s Request for Unauthorized Immigrant Count, NPR, Hansi Lo Wang, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The U.S. Census Bureau has halted all work on President Trump’s directive to produce a state-by-state count of unauthorized immigrants that would have been used to alter a key set of census numbers, NPR has learned. Senior career officials at the bureau instructed the internal team assigned to carry out Trump’s presidential memo to stand down and cease their work immediately on Tuesday night, according to a bureau employee who spoke to NPR on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation in the workplace for speaking out. The move by civil servants effectively ends the bureau’s participation in Trump’s bid to make an unprecedented change to who is counted in the 2020 census numbers that will be used to reallocate each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes for the next decade. According to the 14th Amendment, those counts must include the ‘whole number of persons in each state.'”

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) team overrules career scientists on toxic chemical. Changes to the safety assessment for a major cause of water pollution are the administration’s latest ‘landmine’ for Joe Biden’s incoming appointees, one Democratic aide said. Politico, Annie Snider, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “Political officials at EPA have overruled the agency’s career scientists to weaken a major health assessment for a toxic chemical contaminating the drinking water of an estimated 860,000 Americans, according to four sources with knowledge of the changes. The changes to the safety assessment for the chemical PFBS, part of a class of ‘forever chemicals’ called PFAS, is the latest example of the Trump administration’s tailoring of science to align with its political agenda, and another in a series of eleventh-hour steps the administration has taken to hamstring President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to support aggressive environmental regulations.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 13 January 2021: World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Finally Lands in China to Begin Tracing the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Wednesday, 13 January 2021:

  • A W.H.O. team is in China to investigate the virus. It’s already meeting obstacles.
  • ‘There are some good things to report’: One California region is emerging from lockdown.
  • Which Americans can get a vaccine now? Here’s a look at the new guidance.
  • States across the U.S. scramble to meet the skyrocketing demand for vaccines.
  • More than 10 percent of the U.S. Congress has tested positive.
  • N.Y.C. works with the Yankees on a vaccine site, and more virus variant cases are found statewide.
  • Oklahoma, with no statewide mask mandate, grapples with a surging caseload.
  • Downgraded results on Chinese vaccines dim hopes in poorer countries that are counting on them.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 13 January 2021: U.S. sets single-day death record of more than 4,200 deaths on Tuesday, and new variants emerge, The Washington Post, Lateshia Beachum and Meryl Kornfield, Wednesday, 13 January 2021: “The United States reported more than 4,200 deaths Tuesday, bringing the nation’s total to more than 381,000 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, according to Washington Post data. The single-day death total, which is a record, and peak levels of new infections and hospitalizations are grim milestones for a country still reeling from the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. President Trump has announced sweeping changes to coronavirus vaccine rollouts, quickly making all vaccine supplies accessible, encouraging states to provide shots to residents 65 and older and cautioning states with slow vaccine rollouts that they could lose some of their supply to faster-moving states.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Scientists at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have discovered a new variant of the virus that is similar to the mutation found in the United Kingdom but probably originated in the United States, researchers announced Wednesday. The new mutations challenge scientists to determine whether they will cause vaccines and therapeutic approaches to be less effective, according to one of the lead researchers.
  • Texas became the second state to record 2 million coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, the Houston Chronicle reported. California reached that figure in December.
  • New, more transmissible variations of the coronavirus have popped up in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, prompting scientists to learn more about how those variants might be causing a worldwide increase in infections, the New York Times reported. On Sunday, Japan announced that it had discovered a new variant in four travelers arriving from Brazil.
  • New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) confirmed Wednesday that 15 cases of the U.K. variant have been detected in his state. New Mexico also announced its first case of the variant.
  • A one-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson is safe and generates an immune response to the coronavirus in nearly all people who received the vaccine in a trial, according to data published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

Thursday, 14 January 2021, Day 1,455:

 

Biden Outlines $1.9 Trillion Spending Package to Combat Virus and Downturn, The New York Times, Jim Tankersley and Michael Crowley, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to combat the economic downturn and the Covid-19 crisis, outlining the type of sweeping aid that Democrats have demanded for months and signaling the shift in the federal government’s pandemic response as Mr. Biden prepares to take office. The package includes more than $400 billion to combat the pandemic directly, including money to accelerate vaccine deployment and to safely reopen most schools within 100 days. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments bridge budget shortfalls, while the plan would also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals, more generous unemployment benefits, federally mandated paid leave for workers and large subsidies for child care costs.” See also, A Look at What’s in Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Plan, The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek, Thursday, 14 January 2021. See also, Biden unveils $1.9 trillion economic and health-care relief package. The proposal is aimed at addressing the nation’s immediate needs. A larger recovery package will follow. The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden laid out a $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan Thursday night that will serve as an early test of his ability to steer the nation out of a pandemic disaster and rapidly deteriorating economy — and his promise to unite a divided Congress. The wide-ranging package is designed to take aim at the twin crises Biden will confront upon taking office Wednesday, with provisions delivering direct aid to American families, businesses and communities, and a major focus on coronavirus testing and vaccine production and delivery as the pandemic surges. Biden is aiming to get GOP support for the measure, although at nearly $2 trillion the price tag is likely to be too high for many Republicans to swallow. But after campaigning as a bipartisan dealmaker, Biden wants to at least give Republicans the opportunity to get behind his first legislative effort as president.” See also, Fact-checking Biden’s speech on his coronavirus economic relief plan, The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, published on Friday, 15 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday night announced his nearly $2 trillion economic plan to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. There were five factual claims he made that caught our interest. When we queried the Biden-Harris transition team, we received citations for each factoid within 15 minutes — setting a standard for a response that we hope is maintained. The Trump White House, of course, rarely responded to such queries, generally because the president’s claims almost never could be supported.” See also, Here’s what’s in Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package, CNN Politics, Tami Luhby and Katie Lobosco, published on Friday, 15 January 2021: “Bigger stimulus checks. More aid for the unemployed, the hungry and those facing eviction. Additional support for small businesses, states and local governments. Increased funding for vaccinations and testing. These are key parts of a $1.9 trillion proposal that President-elect Joe Biden unveiled Thursday evening. Billed as the American Rescue Plan, the package augments many of the measures in Congress’ historic $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill from March and in the $900 billion legislation from December, which was scaled back to garner support from Senate Republicans.” See also, Biden Proposes $1.9 Trillion Covid-19 Relief Package, The Wall Street Journal, Richard Rubin and Eliza Collins, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden is calling for a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan to help Americans weather the economic shock of the pandemic and pump more money into testing and vaccine distribution. Mr. Biden in a speech Thursday evening described his priorities related to the pandemic for the early days of his administration, pressing the often-divided Congress for urgent, unified action. His plan calls for a round of $1,400-per-person direct payments to most households, a $400-a-week unemployment insurance supplement through September, expanded paid leave and increases in the child tax credit. Aid for households makes up about half of the plan’s cost, with much of the rest going to vaccine distribution and state and local governments.”

Biden calls on Senate to pursue impeachment along with the nation’s ‘other urgent business,’ CNN Politics, Caroline Kelly and Jeff Zeleny, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday urged the Senate to conduct the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump while simultaneously working on other critical issues, indicating a desire to settle the proceedings against Trump that are likely to remain unresolved when Biden takes office. While he said in a statement Wednesday that the House’s vote ‘to impeach and hold the president accountable’ was ‘a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience,’ Biden wants to hit the ground running on a broad spectrum of economic and public health initiatives when he takes office next week. He said the Senate needs to be able to follow through on Trump’s impeachment trial while working on his agenda.”

The Biden Transition: Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, Is Latest Republican Senator to Signal Possible Support for Convicting Trump. The timing of the Senate’s impeachment trial remains unclear. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a sweeping economic plan on Thursday that included additional $1,400 stimulus checks. The Secret Service will establish a security ‘green zone’ in the capital ahead of Inauguration Day. The New York Times, Thursday, 14 January 2021:

  • Murkowski signals she is open to convicting Trump as the timing of the Senate impeachment trial remains unclear.

  • Here are the highlights of Biden’s $1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan.’

  • People on terrorism watch list are said to have been part of crowd in Washington on the day of Capitol riot.

  • Several more Capitol rioters have been arrested including man who carried a Confederate flag inside building.

  • Investigators are eyeing any military members or police officers who were part of last week’s siege.

  • Federal authorities are said to be looking into Bitcoin donations made to people who breached the Capitol last week.

  • Cheney facing internal backlash for impeachment vote as Republican rifts deepen over Trump.

  • Biden will keep a Trump appointee at the Pentagon until Austin is confirmed, and will name a new spokesman.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Presidential Transfer of Power: Amid fallout from Trump’s impeachment, Biden seeks to keep focus on the coronavirus and the economy, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, John Wagner, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Amid the fallout from President Trump’s second impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden remained focused on his priorities in a speech Thursday outlining his proposed $1.9 trillion package to tackle the coronavirus and address the economic havoc it has caused. Biden also repeated his plea for national unity, saying it’s ‘not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s a practical step to getting the things.’ The country can’t overcome its many challenges ‘as a separate and divided nation,’ he said in closing. ‘The only way we can do it is to come together.’ Biden will take office Wednesday, with inaugural activities dramatically altered because of the pandemic and unprecedented security in Washington because of fears of more violence after last week’s deadly takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. At a briefing on inauguration security with Vice President Pence, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said more than 100 people have been arrested in connection with the riot and more than 200 suspects identified.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Biden is poised to tap Jaime Harrison, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, to lead the Democratic National Committee. Harrison set fundraising records in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) last year.
  • The House made history by impeaching a president for a second time, indicting Trump a week before he leaves office for ‘incitement of insurrection’ with false claims of a stolen election that led to the storming of the Capitol and five deaths.
  • The bipartisan impeachment vote set up a politically explosive reckoning for Senate Republicans, who spent four years enabling Trump’s behavior but in the wake of last week’s Capitol riot are grappling with how — and whether — to punish him.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved Thursday to forestall a messy internal leadership fight, making clear he did not support calls to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) as the No. 3 GOP leader in the House after her vote to impeach Trump.
  • National Guard forces from a growing list of states moved into positions around Washington as authorities scrambled to understand the threats surrounding Biden’s inauguration and prevent a repeat of last week’s attempted insurrection at the Capitol.

How battered D.C. police made a stand against the Capitol mob, The Washington Post, Peter Hermann, Thursday, 14 January 2021. This is a gut-wrenching account of some things that happened on Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at the Capitol.

Inaugural Security Is Fortified in D.C. as Military and Police Links Are Eyed in Riot. Dozens of people in Washington on the day of the attack on the Capitol were said to be on a terrorism watch list. The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Katie Benner, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Thousands of armed National Guard troops were on their way to Washington to bolster security for next week’s inaugural celebration as federal investigators turned their attention to the difficult question of how many military and police personnel took part in the violent attack on the Capitol, a law enforcement official said on Thursday. Adding to the tensions, dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were found to have been in Washington on Jan. 6 for pro-Trump events that ultimately devolved into the assault on the Capitol, according to two government officials briefed on the Justice Department investigation into the riot. Most were suspected white supremacists, according to The Washington Post, which earlier reported on their status on the list. It was not clear how many people on the watch list were part of the mob that stormed the Capitol, but their presence in the capital adds to the urgent questions about security preparations for the events of Jan. 6.” See also, Dozens of people of FBI terrorist watch list came to D.C. the day of the Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Marissa J. Lang, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events Jan. 6, a day that ended in a chaotic crime rampage when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, according to people familiar with evidence gathered in the FBI’s investigation. The majority of the watch-listed individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists whose past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, these people said. The watch list is larger and separate from the ‘no-fly’ list the government maintains to prevent terrorism suspects from boarding airplanes, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces, current and former officials said. The presence of so many watch-listed individuals in one place — without more robust security measures to protect the public — is another example of the intelligence failures preceding last week’s fatal assault that sent lawmakers running for their lives, some current and former law enforcement officials argued. The revelation follows a Washington Post report earlier this week detailing the FBI’s failure to act aggressively on an internal intelligence.”

‘No One Took Us Seriously’: Black Cops Warned About Racist Capitol Police Officers for Years. Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building. ProPublica, Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “When Kim Dine took over as the new chief of the U.S. Capitol Police in 2012, he knew he had a serious problem. Since 2001, hundreds of Black officers had sued the department for racial discrimination. They alleged that white officers called Black colleagues slurs like the N-word and that one officer found a hangman’s noose on his locker. White officers were called ‘huk lovers’ or ‘FOGs’ — short for ‘friends of gangsters’ — if they were friendly with their Black colleagues. Black officers faced ‘unprovoked traffic stops’ from fellow Capitol Police officers. One Black officer claimed he heard a colleague say, ‘Obama monkey, go back to Africa.’ In case after case, agency lawyers denied wrongdoing. But in an interview, Dine said it was clear he had to address the department’s charged racial climate. He said he promoted a Black officer to assistant chief, a first for the agency, and tried to increase diversity by changing the force’s hiring practices. He also said he hired a Black woman to lead a diversity office and created a new disciplinary body within the department, promoting a Black woman to lead it. ‘There is a problem with racism in this country, in pretty much every establishment that exists,’ said Dine, who left the agency in 2016. ‘You can always do more in retrospect.’ Whether the Capitol Police managed to root out racist officers will be one of many issues raised as Congress investigates the agency’s failure to prevent a mob of Trump supporters from attacking the Capitol while lawmakers inside voted to formalize the electoral victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Already, officials have suspended several police officers for possible complicity with insurrectionists, one of whom was pictured waving a Confederate battle flag as he occupied the building. One cop was captured on tape seeming to take selfies with protesters, while another allegedly wore a red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat as he directed protesters around the Capitol building. While many officers were filmed fighting off rioters, at least 12 others are under investigation for possibly assisting them. Two current Black Capitol Police officers told BuzzFeed News that they were angered by leadership failures that they said put them at risk as racist members of the mob stormed the building. The Capitol Police force is only 29% Black in a city that’s 46% Black. By contrast, as of 2018, 52% of Washington Metropolitan police officers were Black. The Capitol Police are comparable to the Metropolitan force in spending, employing more than 2,300 people and boasting an annual budget of about a half-billion dollars.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 14 January 2021: As California Eases Vaccine Rules, Many Complain of Chaos, The New York Times, Thursday, 14 January 2021:

  • California just made it easier for people to get vaccinated. For many, it feels harder than ever.

  • ‘The very health of our nation is at stake’: Biden proposes a $1.9 trillion virus package.

  • Virus drains $2.5 billion from N.Y.C. property tax revenue.

  • The slowest states to roll out vaccines are in the South.

  • China, after reporting a rare virus death, says its active caseload exceeds 1,000.

  • Participants in Moderna’s early clinical trials are being offered a booster shot.

  • Adriano Espaillat is the latest member of Congress to test positive for the virus after Capitol siege.

  • Strict safeguards should protect schools from the virus variant, experts say.

  • The U.K. bans travel from Latin America and Portugal, citing concern about a Brazilian variant.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 14 January 2021: Biden announces $1.9 trillion economic and health-care rescue plan; daily death toll again exceeds 4,000, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi and Paulina Villegas, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden, whose administration will take over the pandemic response in six days, on Thursday announced a $1.9 trillion economic and coronavirus emergency plan that will include $400 billion for provisions to fight the pandemic with a focus on bolstering vaccine production and testing, as the virus continues to tear though the nation. In an evening speech, Biden laid out his plan aimed to tackle the double crisis the country is facing: public health, with more than 4,000 covid-19 deaths reported for two days in a row, and economic fallout. The package includes $1 trillion in direct relief for families, stimulus checks and jobless benefits; and $440 billion for aid for businesses and communities, according to The Washington Post’s Erica Werner and Jeff Stein.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • New unemployment claims filed last week soared, increasing by 181,000 to 965,000. It’s the largest increase since the start of the pandemic and the largest number of new unemployment claims since August.
  • Three members of Congress who recently announced that they tested positive might have contracted the virus while hunkered down in a crowded room in the Capitol, soon after receiving initial coronavirus vaccine doses. But experts say their diagnoses don’t mean the vaccines were faulty, as immune protection could take more than a week to kick in.
  • Two members of the World Health Organization’s team tasked with investigating the origins of the coronavirus were barred from entering China after the pair tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in their home countries. China requires airline passengers to present negative antibody tests before being allowed to travel there.
  • Germany reported 1,244 coronavirus deaths Thursday, its highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the nation’s disease control agency.

Justice Department review finds Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy was pushed aggressively by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, despite warnings, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “The Trump administration and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions barreled forward with their ‘zero tolerance’ border crackdown in 2018 knowing that the policy would separate migrant children from their parents and despite warnings that the government was ill-prepared to deal with the consequences, according to a long-awaited report issued Thursday by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. The report called the Justice Department and the attorney general’s office a ‘driving force’ in making sure the Department of Homeland Security aggressively prosecuted adults arriving with children, findings that cast doubt on statements made by Sessions that the government ‘never really intended’ to separate families. The bureaucratic chaos and trauma for families that resulted from the policy were not unanticipated consequences, the inspector general found. ‘DOJ officials were aware of many of these challenges prior to issuing the zero tolerance policy, but they did not attempt to address them until after the policy was issued,’ the report states.” See also, Justice Department Report Says Trump and White House Aides Are Implicated in the ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy That Led to Family Separations at the Border, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “President Trump and top aides in the White House aggressively pushed the get-tough policy that led migrant children to be separated from adults at the border with Mexico, according to a top Justice Department official in a new report from the department’s inspector general and other internal documents. In the report, formally released on Thursday, Gene Hamilton, a top official, said the policy was put in place after complaints by the president and others at the White House involved in carrying out his immigration agenda. ‘The attorney general was aware of White House desires for further action related to combating illegal immigration,’ the report quotes Mr. Hamilton as saying in response to questions about the origins of the program, in which the Justice Department began prosecuting migrant adults who arrived at the border with children. Mr. Hamilton said that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ‘perceived a need to take quick action’ from Mr. Trump and that after a meeting at the White House on April 3, 2018, Mr. Sessions ‘directed that I draft a memo that would put in effect a zero-tolerance approach to immigration enforcement at the border.'” See also, Justice Investigation Faults Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Pressing Policy of Separating Immigrant Families at the Border, The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Hackman and Alicia A. Caldwell, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Top Justice Department officials knew their zero-tolerance policy of arresting all adults crossing the border illegally would result in migrant families being separated, and they pressed ahead with the policy change despite a lack of preparation, a new review by the department’s inspector general said in a report released Thursday. The 2½-year investigation documents the central role former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice Department officials played in pushing the policy ahead despite a lack of coordination or planning with other parts of government, under pressure from the White House to take action as migrants arrived at the border in increasing numbers. The policy, implemented along the border in May and June of 2018, resulted in the separation of more than 3,000 children. According to a recent court filing, 611 children—some of whom were separated during an earlier pilot program—still haven’t been reunited with their parents.” See also, Top Justice Department Officials Pushed to Separate Immigrant Parents From Their Children Despite Knowing It Would Be Hard to Reunite Them, BuzzFeed News, Adolfo Flores and Hamed Aleaziz, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Top Justice Department officials under President Donald Trump pushed to separate immigrant families at the border despite knowing how difficult it would be to reunite them, according to a government watchdog report released Thursday. In spring 2018, the Trump administration announced the “zero tolerance” policy, which called for prosecuting everyone who was caught crossing the border illegally. In practice, from May 5 to June 20 that year, the policy resulted in the separation of more than 3,000 children from their parents, prompting widespread backlash and confusion. Lawyers working to reunite immigrant families separated at the border said Wednesday that they still can’t find the parents of 611 children. In its report, the Department of Justice’s inspector general found that Jeff Sessions, who was attorney general at the time, and other leaders at the department did not effectively coordinate with government agencies that would ultimately be involved in prosecuting the parents and caring for the children. ‘We concluded that the Department’s single-minded focus on increasing immigration prosecutions came at the expense of careful and appropriate consideration of the impact of family unit prosecutions and child separations,’ the report states. A draft of the report was first reported by the New York Times. Prior to the zero tolerance policy, the Justice Department was made aware of the challenges that would result from the increased immigration prosecutions, but officials did not attempt to address them until after the policy was instituted, the report states.”

D.C. attorney general seeks to interview president’s son in inauguration spending suit, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “The D.C. Attorney General’s office said Thursday it has notified Donald Trump Jr. that it wishes to interview him as part of a lawsuit alleging that President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee improperly funneled money to the president’s business. D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s lawsuit, filed in January 2020, alleges that the Trump Inaugural Committee — a tax-exempt nonprofit — wasted $1 million of donors’ money on an overpriced, little used ballroom at the president’s D.C. hotel, and then paid a $49,000 hotel bill that should have gone to the Trump Organization.” See also, DC attorney general wants to interview Donald Trump Jr. as part of Trump inaugural funds abuse investigation, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “The DC attorney general’s office has notified President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., that it would like to interview him as part of its investigation into misuse of his father’s inaugural funds, a spokesperson with the office tells at CNN. The interview request comes after new information about Trump Jr.’s role was revealed in court filings earlier this week. In January 2020, the DC attorney general’s office sued the Trump Organization and Presidential Inaugural Committee alleging they misused more than $1 million raised by the nonprofit by ‘grossly overpaying’ for use of event space at the Trump Hotel in Washington for the 2017 inauguration.”

U.S. Unemployment Claims Rise as Coronavirus Weighs on Economy, The Wall Street Journal, Gwynn Guilford and Hannah Lang, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “The number of workers filing for jobless benefits posted its biggest weekly gain since the pandemic hit last March and the head of the Federal Reserve warned the job market had a long way to go before it is strong again. Applications for unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose by 181,000 to 965,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, reflecting rising layoffs amid a winter surge in coronavirus cases. The total for the week ended Jan. 9 also was the highest in nearly five months and put claims well above the roughly 800,000 a week they had averaged in recent months.” See also, Unemployment Claims Rise Sharply, Showing New Economic Pain, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Ten months after the coronavirus crisis decimated the labor market, the resurgent pandemic keeps sending shock waves through the American economy. Though more than half of the 22 million jobs lost last spring have been regained, a new surge of infections has prompted shutdowns and layoffs that have hit the leisure and hospitality industries especially hard, dealing a setback to the recovery. The latest evidence came on Thursday when the Labor Department reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, exceeding one million for the first time since July.”

Nasa says 2020 was the hottest year on record by narrow margin. Due to different methods, US Noaa judged 2020 as fractionally cooler than 2016 while UK met Office put 2020 in close second place. The Guardian, Oliver Milman, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “Last year was by a narrow margin the hottest ever on record, according to Nasa, with the climate crisis stamping its mark on 2020 through soaring temperatures, enormous hurricanes and unprecedented wildfires. The average global land and ocean temperature in 2020 was the highest ever measured, Nasa announced on Thursday, edging out the previous record set in 2016 by less than a tenth of a degree. Due to slightly different methods used, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) judged 2020 as fractionally cooler than 2016, while the UK Met Office also put 2020 in a close second place. The European Union’s climate observation program puts the two years in a dead heat. Regardless of these minor differences, all the datasets again underlined the long-term heating up of the planet due to the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities.” See also, A Global Tour of a Record-Hot Year, The New York Times, Henry Fountain, Blacki Migliozzi, and Nadja Popovich, Thursday, 14 January 2021: “2020 was effectively tied with 2016 for the hottest year on record, as global warming linked to greenhouse gas emissions showed no signs of letting up.”