Aftermath of the Trump Administration, Including the Impeachment Trial (January – February 2021)


Now that the Biden administration is settling into Washington, D.C. (late January 2021), my daily chronicle (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021) of news about the Trump administration, Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence is coming to an end. I will post a few important articles that are published between now and the impeachment trial and cover the trial, of course. Then I hope to return to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy.


Thursday, 21 January 2021:


The New Washington: Biden Signs Executive Orders for Covid Response. President Biden signed a series of executive orders, including ones on mask wearing and international travelers, and is aiming for 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days. The New York Times, Thursday, 21 January 2021:

  • Biden rolls out ‘full-scale, wartime’ coronavirus strategy, including requiring masks on some planes, trains and buses.

  • Fauci warns of virus variant risks, but voices confidence in vaccines.

  • McConnell plans to ask for impeachment trial delay to allow Trump’s legal team time to prepare a defense.

  • The No. 2 official at the F.B.I. is departing.

  • For the impeachment trial, Trump settles on a South Carolina lawyer arranged through Lindsey Graham.

  • National Guard troops who protected the Capitol for Biden’s Inauguration were told to sleep in a parking garage.

  • Biden is invoking the Defense Production Act. Here’s what that means.

  • Avril Haines is the only member of Biden’s cabinet approved so far.

  • Congress granted a waiver to allow Austin to serve as defense secretary, clearing the way for confirmation Friday of the first Black American to hold the job.

  • Kamala Harris’s rise is celebrated in India, especially in her ancestral village.

  • Biden plans to hold a ‘Climate Leaders’ Summit’ on Earth Day.
  • Here’s how the Biden administration began addressing key issues with executive actions.
  • In his Senate confirmation hearing, Pete Buttigieg urges ‘generational’ opportunity to transform transportation.
  • Charlottesville, which inspired Biden’s presidential run, has a message for him as he calls for unity.
  • Federal authorities have charged a man they say beat officers with a hockey stick during the Capitol riot.
  • Trump extends Secret Service protection for his children, cabinet secretaries, and chief of staff.

First 100 Days: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seeks to delay Trump impeachment trial until February; Congress approves waiver for Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Felicia Sonmez, Seung Min Kim, and Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 21 January 2021: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is proposing to delay the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until February to give the former president’s lawyers more time to prepare, saying in a statement that the Senate, the presidency and Trump ‘deserve a full and fair process.’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says her chamber is ready to send an article of impeachment to the Senate as soon as it is ready to hold a trial. Separately, Congress approved a waiver for Lloyd Austin to lead the Defense Department, paving the way for the retired Army general’s historic confirmation. Austin, who would become the first Black defense secretary, requires an exemption because he has not been retired from active military service for the seven years stipulated by law. President Biden, as he rolled out a new coronavirus plan Thursday, said that the death toll from the pandemic will probably top 500,000 next month and that it will take months ‘for us to turn things around.’

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

  • Pete Buttigieg, a young, former Midwestern mayor with a national profile, made his pitch to a Senate committee weighing his nomination to become Biden’s transportation secretary.
  • Seven Democratic senators lodged an ethics complaint against two of their Republican colleagues, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, over their actions ahead of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
  • Biden is seeking a five-year extension with Russia on the only remaining treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals just days before it expires, said two senior U.S. officials.
  • Democrats claimed control of the Senate on Wednesday by the thinnest possible margin as Vice President Harris swore in three new Democratic senators, bringing Republicans and Democrats to a 50-50 split in the chamber, with Harris as the tiebreaker.

Joe Biden marks start of presidency with flurry of executive orders. Some orders undo significant actions from the Trump administration, including the Paris climate agreement, while others address Covid. The Guardian, Sam Levine, Thursday, 21 January 2021: “Joe Biden has marked the start of his presidency by signing a flurry of executive orders on a suite of issues, including Covid-19, the environment, immigration and ethics. Some of the executive actions undo significant actions from Donald Trump’s administration, including halting the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries, and ending the declaration of a national emergency used to justify funding construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border. He also signed an order allowing the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement and end the Trump administration’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data used to determine how many seats in Congress each state gets.”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, Including the Impeachment Trial (January – February 2021):

On Day 2, Biden Focuses on COVID-19 Strategy With 10 Executive Actions, NPR, Ayesha Rascoe, Alana Wise, Thursday, 21 January 2021: “President Biden signed a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirus — steps that he and his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments. Accelerating the sluggish federal response to COVID-19 is Biden’s top priority, and he has promised 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days.” See also, Biden unveils Covid-19 plan based on ‘science not politics’ as he signs new initiatives, CNN Politics, Betsy Klein, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Kate Sullivan, Thursday, 21 January 2021: “President Joe Biden’s first full day in office on Thursday focused on rolling out his national strategy to get the coronavirus pandemic under control and signing several executive actions, including ramping up vaccination supplies and requiring international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to traveling to the US. ‘Our national strategy is comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it’s detailed,’ Biden said, speaking from the White House. He said the 198-page plan is posted on”

Dr. Anthony Fauci praises World Health Organization leadership in coronavirus pandemic, signaling break from Trump era, The Washington Post, Paul Schemm and Emily Rauhala, Thursday, 21 January 2021: “Going forward, the United States will work with — not against — the World Health Organization. That was the message delivered Thursday by President Biden’s chief medical adviser and Vice President Harris. In remarks to the U.N. health agency’s executive board Thursday morning, Anthony S. Fauci confirmed that the United States will halt its withdrawal from the WHO and work cooperatively to fight the coronavirus pandemic. That will mean opting into Covax, a multilateral plan to distribute coronavirus vaccines that has drawn support from more than 170 nations but was spurned by President Donald Trump during his feud with the WHO. Harris also spoke with the agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, according to the WHO. Tedros tweeted Thursday that he thanked Harris and Biden ‘for their commitment to @WHO and global health.'”


Friday, 22 January 2021:


Trump and Justice Department Lawyer Jeffrey Clark Are Said to Have Plotted to Oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 22 January 2021: “The Justice Department’s top leaders listened in stunned silence this month: One of their peers, they were told, had devised a plan with President Donald J. Trump to oust Jeffrey A. Rosen as acting attorney general and wield the department’s power to force Georgia state lawmakers to overturn its presidential election results. The unassuming lawyer who worked on the plan, Jeffrey Clark, had been devising ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark. The department officials, convened on a conference call, then asked each other: What will you do if Mr. Rosen is dismissed? The answer was unanimous. They would resign. Their informal pact ultimately helped persuade Mr. Trump to keep Mr. Rosen in place, calculating that a furor over mass resignations at the top of the Justice Department would eclipse any attention on his baseless accusations of voter fraud. Mr. Trump’s decision came only after Mr. Rosen and Mr. Clark made their competing cases to him in a bizarre White House meeting that two officials compared with an episode of Mr. Trump’s reality show ‘The Apprentice,’ albeit one that could prompt a constitutional crisis. The previously unknown chapter was the culmination of the president’s long-running effort to batter the Justice Department into advancing his personal agenda. He also pressed Mr. Rosen to appoint special counsels, including one who would look into Dominion Voting Systems, a maker of election equipment that Mr. Trump’s allies had falsely said was working with Venezuela to flip votes from Mr. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr. This account of the department’s final days under Mr. Trump’s leadership is based on interviews with four former Trump administration officials who asked not to be named because of fear of retaliation.” See also, Jeffrey Clark Was Considered Unassuming. Then He Plotted With Trump to Oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen in an Effort to Overturn Georgia’s Election Results. The New York Times, Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, published on Sunday, 24 January 2021: “It was New Year’s Eve, but the Justice Department’s top leaders had little to celebrate as they discussed Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the civil division, who had repeatedly pushed them to help President Donald J. Trump undo his electoral loss. Huddled in the department’s headquarters, they noted that they had rebuked him for secretly meeting with Mr. Trump, even as the department had rebuffed the president’s outlandish requests for court filings and special counsels, according to six people with knowledge of the meeting. No official would host a news conference to say that federal fraud investigations cast the results in doubt, they told him. No one would send a letter making such claims to Georgia lawmakers. When the meeting ended not long before midnight, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen hoped that the matter was settled, never suspecting that his subordinate would secretly discuss the plan for the letter with Mr. Trump, and very nearly take Mr. Rosen’s job, as part of a plot with the president to wield the department’s power to try to alter the Georgia election outcome. It was clear that night, though, that Mr. Clark — with his willingness to entertain conspiracy theories about voting booth hacks and election fraud — was not the establishment lawyer they thought him to be. Some senior department leaders had considered him quiet, hard-working and detail-oriented. Others said they knew nothing about him, so low was his profile. He struck neither his fans in the department nor his detractors as being part of the Trumpist faction of the party, according to interviews. The department’s senior leaders were shocked when Mr. Clark’s machinations came to light. They have spent recent weeks debating how he came to betray Mr. Rosen, his biggest champion at the department, and what blend of ambition and conviction led him to reject the results of the election and embrace Mr. Trump’s claims, despite all evidence to the contrary, including inside the department itself. The plot devised by Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump would have ousted Mr. Rosen and used the Justice Department to pressure lawmakers in Georgia to overturn the state’s election results. But Mr. Trump ultimately decided against firing Mr. Rosen after top department leaders pledged to resign en masse.”

The New Washington: Senate Leaders Strike Deal to Delay Trump’s Impeachment Trial, The New York Times, Friday, 22 January 2021:

  • Two Trump appointees are being investigated for posting reports denying climate change.

  • The House will transmit its impeachment article on Monday, but Trump’s trial will wait two weeks.

  • Giuliani concedes that an associate did ask for $20,000 a day to help Trump post-election.

  • Biden keeps his focus on the pandemic, with more executive orders planned at delivering aid.

  • Lloyd Austin is confirmed, becoming the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history.

  • White House orders intelligence agencies to look at violent extremism in the U.S.

  • Trump, who spurned legislative achievement for executive action, sees his agenda quickly undone.

  • Murkowski rules out switching parties to join Democrats, saying, ‘I can’t be somebody that I’m not.’

  • Biden apologizes after some National Guard troops were told to sleep in a parking garage.

  • Biden’s Education Department moves to cut ties with an accrediting body linked to a fraud scandal.

  • Texas sues the Biden administration over pause in deportations.

First 100 Days: Biden signs executive orders to boost economic relief for Americans struggling amid pandemic, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Amy B Wang, Friday, 22 January 2021: “President Biden on Friday signed two executive orders to boost economic relief for Americans struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves. … We have to act,’ he said in remarks at the White House. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced late Friday that the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump will be held the week of Feb. 8. The House impeached Trump for ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the Jan. 6 takeover of the U.S. Capitol in Washington by a violent mob. Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin won Senate confirmation Friday as President Biden’s defense secretary, becoming the first Black American to hold the post.

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

  • Biden is pushing to significantly increase federal food assistance for millions of hungry families as part of executive actions intended to stabilize a deteriorating economy weighed down by the raging coronavirus pandemic.
  • Up to 100 sites run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency could begin offering coronavirus vaccinations within the next month, part of a Biden strategy that would dramatically expand the federal government’s role in the effort to corral the pandemic.
  • The White House announced that Biden is commissioning ‘a comprehensive threat assessment’ on domestic violent extremism as part of the White House’s response to the Jan. 6 takeover of the Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob.
  • Biden signed an order mandating masks in airports and on many planes, trains, ships and intercity buses. His action follows an order — his first as president — requiring masks on federal property.

Biden Signs Orders to Expand Food Stamps and Raise Wages, but He Says the Economy Needs More Help, The New York Times, Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport, Friday, 22 January 2021: “President Biden signed two executive orders on Friday to provide help to struggling families and raise wages for certain workers, turning once again to the power of the executive branch to advance his economic goals as the legislative chances for his broader stimulus package remain uncertain…. Mr. Biden’s executive orders are intended to increase the amount of money poor families get for food each month and provide additional meal money for needy students whose schools have been closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The president will also direct the Treasury Department to find ways to deliver stimulus checks to at least eight million Americans who are eligible for money but have not yet received funds. A second executive order will lay the groundwork for the federal government to require a $15 an hour minimum wage for its employees and contract workers, while making it easier for federal workers to bargain collectively for better pay and benefits.”

Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Chaotic Last Week: ‘Trump Threw Us Under the Bus.’ Throughout the final, frenzied days of the Trump administration, a reporter rode shotgun with the outgoing acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, the man who, under the distracted eye of his commander in chief, became America’s de facto guardian. Vanity Fair, Adam Ciralsky, Friday, 22 January 2021: “In the hours before Donald Trump’s last flight aboard Air Force One—and Joe Biden’s inauguration on the steps of the reclaimed and restored Capitol—many Americans and TV anchors wondered what the hell the 45th president and his inner circle had been doing, or undoing, in his waning days. Until Biden took the oath of office, the country had held its collective breath. Trump, in those final weeks in office, hadn’t simply dented the guardrails of governance. He’d demolished them. In order to watch things up close, I sought and secured a front-row seat to what was happening inside the Department of Defense, the only institution with the reach and the tools—2.1 million troops and weapons of every shape and size—to counter any moves to forestall or reverse the democratic process. I came away both relieved and deeply concerned by what I witnessed.”


Saturday, 23 January 2021:


Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry Played a Key Role in Trump’s Plot to Oust Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Catie Edmondson, Saturday, 23 January 2021: “When Representative Scott Perry joined his colleagues in a monthslong campaign to undermine the results of the presidential election, promoting ‘Stop the Steal’ events and supporting an attempt to overturn millions of legally cast votes, he often took a back seat to higher-profile loyalists in President Donald J. Trump’s orbit. But Mr. Perry, an outspoken Pennsylvania Republican, played a significant role in the crisis that played out at the top of the Justice Department this month, when Mr. Trump considered firing the acting attorney general and backed down only after top department officials threatened to resign en masse. It was Mr. Perry, a member of the hard-line Freedom Caucus, who first made Mr. Trump aware that a relatively obscure Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, the acting chief of the civil division, was sympathetic to Mr. Trump’s view that the election had been stolen, according to former administration officials who spoke with Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump. Mr. Perry introduced the president to Mr. Clark, whose openness to conspiracy theories about election fraud presented Mr. Trump with a welcome change from the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who stood by the results of the election and had repeatedly resisted the president’s efforts to undo them. Mr. Perry’s previously unreported role, and the quiet discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Clark that followed, underlined how much the former president was willing to use the government to subvert the election, turning to more junior and relatively unknown figures for help as ranking Republicans and cabinet members rebuffed him.”

Trump made 30,573 false or misleading claims as president. Nearly half came in his final year. The Washington Post, Glenn Kessler, Saturday, 23 January 2021: “He overstated the ‘carnage’ he was inheriting, then later exaggerated his ‘massive’ crowd and claimed, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that it had not rained during his address. He repeated the rain claim the next day, along with the fabricated notion that he held the ‘all-time record’ for appearing on the cover of Time magazine. And so it went, day after day, week after week, claim after claim, from the most mundane of topics to the most pressing issues. Over time, Trump unleashed his falsehoods with increasing frequency and ferocity, often by the scores in a single campaign speech or tweetstorm. What began as a relative trickle of misrepresentations, including 10 on his first day and five on the second, built into a torrent through Trump’s final days as he frenetically spread wild theories that the coronavirus pandemic would disappear ‘like a miracle’ and that the presidential election had been stolen — the claim that inspired Trump supporters to attack Congress on Jan. 6 and prompted his second impeachment.”

Trump Pressed the Justice Department to Go Directly to Supreme Court to Overturn Election Results, The Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin and Sadie Gurman, Saturday, 23 January 2021: “In his last weeks in office, former President Donald Trump considered moving to replace the acting attorney general with another official ready to pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and he pushed the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate President Biden’s victory, people familiar with the matter said. Those efforts failed due to pushback from his own appointees in the Justice Department, who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court. Later, other senior department officials threatened to resign en masse should Mr. Trump fire then-acting AttorneyGeneral Jeffrey Rosen, according to several people familiar with the discussions. Senior department officials, including Mr. Rosen, former Attorney General William Barr and former acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall refused to file the Supreme Court case, concluding that there was no basis to challenge the election outcome and that the federal government had no legal interest in whether Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden won the presidency, some of these people said. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his deputy, Patrick Philbin, also opposed Mr. Trump’s idea, which was promoted by his outside attorneys, these people said.”

Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform, Politico, Tyler Pager, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “The Biden administration is moving forward with the creation of a bipartisan commission to study reforms to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. The commission will be housed under the purview of the White House Counsel’s office and filled out with the behind-the-scenes help of the Biden campaign’s lawyer Bob Bauer, who will co-chair the commission. Its specific mandate is still being decided. But, in a signal that the commission is indeed moving ahead, some members have already been selected, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.”


Sunday, 24 January 2021:


Dr. Anthony Fauci on What Working for Trump Was Really Like, The New York Times, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Sunday, 24 January 2021: “For almost 40 years, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has held two jobs. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he has run one of the country’s premier research institutions. But he has also been an adviser to seven presidents, from Ronald Reagan to, now, Joseph R. Biden Jr., called upon whenever a health crisis looms to brief the administration, address the World Health Organization, testify before Congress or meet with the news media. For Dr. Fauci, 80, the past year has stood out like no other. As the coronavirus ravaged the country, Dr. Fauci’s calm counsel and commitment to hard facts endeared him to millions of Americans. But he also became a villain to millions of others. Trump supporters chanted ‘Fire Fauci,’ and the president mused openly about doing so. He was accused of inventing the virus and of being part of a secret cabal with Bill Gates and George Soros to profit from vaccines. His family received death threats. On Jan. 21, appearing in his first press briefing under the Biden administration, Dr. Fauci described the ‘liberating feeling’ of once again being able to ‘get up here and talk about what you know — what the evidence, what the science is — and know that’s it, let the science speak.’ In an hourlong conversation with The New York Times over the weekend, Dr. Fauci described some of the difficulties, and the toll, of working with President Donald J. Trump.”

Here are the 30 executive orders and actions Biden signed in his first three days, CNN Politics, Kate Sullivan, Christopher Hickey, and Sean O’Key, Sunday, 24 January 2021: “President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, actions and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of President Donald Trump’s policies. The 30 executive actions Biden has taken in the first days of his administration include halting funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversing Trump’s travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries, imposing a mask mandate on federal property, ramping up vaccination supplies and requiring international travelers to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test prior to traveling to the US.”

State Republicans push new voting restrictions after Trump’s loss. Georgia is at the center of the effort, with state Republicans discussing voter ID changes and other new policies after Biden won the state. Politico, Zach Montellaro, Sunday, 24 January 2021: “Republican legislators across the country are preparing a slew of new voting restrictions in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s defeat. Georgia will be the focal point of the GOP push to change state election laws, after Democrats narrowly took both Senate seats there and President Joe Biden carried the state by an even smaller margin. But state Republicans in deep-red states and battlegrounds alike are citing Trump’s meritless claims of voter fraud in 2020 — and the declining trust in election integrity Trump helped drive — as an excuse to tighten access to the polls.”


Monday, 25 January 2021:


The New Washington: House Delivers to the Senate an Impeachment Charge Against Trump. Nine House managers walked across the Capitol to inform the Senate that they were ready to prosecute the former president for ‘incitement of insurrection.’ And the Justice Department opens inquiry into an ‘improper attempt” by officials to overturn the presidential election. The New York Times, Monday, 25 January 2021:

  • For the second time in just over a year, the House delivered to the Senate an impeachment charge against Trump.

  • The Justice Dept.’s inspector general opens an investigation into any efforts to overturn the election.

  • Democratic opposition to scrapping the filibuster softens as Republicans unite to oppose Biden’s agenda.

  • The Senate confirms Janet Yellen as the Treasury secretary.

  • Biden signs executive order, hoping to tighten ‘Buy American’ provisions.

  • Senator Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving Democrat, will preside over Trump’s impeachment trial.

  • Who’s next? Sanders’ bid to be Arkansas’s next governor generates speculation about others in Trump’s family and inner circle.

  • Biden’s Treasury will seek to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, an effort the Trump administration halted.

  • Biden overturns Trump’s transgender military ban.

  • An activist who tried to get Democrats to switch parties was arrested for his role in the Capitol riot.

  • Biden names his longtime doctor as the White House physician, a role that was in the spotlight under Trump.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

First 100 Days: Biden expects widespread availability of vaccines by spring; House managers deliver impeachment article to Senate, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Paulina Firozi, Monday, 25 January 2021: “House impeachment managers late Monday delivered to the Senate an article of impeachment accusing former president Donald Trump of ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol that left a Capitol Police officer and four rioters dead. The delivery will clear the way for a historic Senate trial next month. President Biden said that he thinks the United States will have made significant progress toward achieving herd immunity to the novel coronavirus by summer and expects anyone who wants a vaccination to be able to get it by spring. He made the remarks on a day in which he signed two executive orders — one to overturn a ban on transgender people serving in the military, the other to get the government to buy more U.S.-made products.

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

  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $1.3 billion from Rudolph W. Giuliani, an attorney for Trump who played a key role in promoting the falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged.
  • Biden signed an executive order fulfilling a campaign promise to overturn a ban on transgender people serving in the military. Trump largely barred their open service in 2017, announcing the decision in a tweet. Biden also signed an executive order aimed at pushing the federal government to buy more U.S.-made goods.
  • The Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as the first female treasury secretary, on a bipartisan vote of 84 to 15, while the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced the nomination of Antony Blinken to be secretary of state.
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that he will not seek reelection next year. He is the second Republican senator to announce his intention not to seek another term. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania also has decided not to run again.
  • Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders formally launched her bid for Arkansas governor with a video and a website focused heavily on her work with Trump.

Here’s a full list of Biden’s executive actions so far, NBC News, Elizabeth Janowski, Monday, 25 January 2021: “In his first days in office, President Joe Biden moved to dismantle a slew of Trump-era regulations and make sweeping measures to bolster the nation’s Covid-19 response. The new president also ordered the establishment of a variety of environmental protections and changes to immigration policy. As he embarks on his first full work week as president, Biden is poised to continue scrapping a number of the Trump administration’s policies, including the controversial transgender military ban. Here’s a round-up of the measures that the president has taken so far.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell relents on Senate rules and signals power-sharing deal with Democrats, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Monday, 25 January 2021: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday night signaled he would step back from an ultimatum over Senate rules that sparked a partisan showdown and threatened to obstruct President Biden’s early legislative agenda. McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that he was ready to move forward with a power-sharing accord with Democrats on how to operate the evenly divided Senate, defusing a potentially explosive clash over the minority’s rights to block partisan legislation. At issue for McConnell was the fate of the filibuster, the Senate rule that acts as a 60-vote supermajority requirement for most legislation. With many Democrats calling for its elimination as their party takes control of the House, Senate and White House, McConnell had sought ­assurances from the new Senate majority leader, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), that the filibuster would be preserved. Democrats bristled at the request, demanding that McConnell agree to a power-sharing arrangement that followed the model used during the last 50-to-50 Senate, in 2001 — which would give the party with the vice presidency and its tie-breaking powers control of the floor agenda — without any additional provisions. Without the deal in place, Senate committees remained frozen from the previous Congress, where Republicans held a majority. That has created the unusual circumstance where Democrats have control of the floor while GOP chairs remain in charge of most committees.”

Biden overturns Trump’s transgender military ban, The New York Times, Helene Cooper and Michael D. Shear, Monday, 25 January 2021: “President Biden reversed his predecessor’s ban on transgender troops serving in the military, administration officials announced Monday, moving swiftly into a social issue that has tangled the Pentagon over the past five years. With Lloyd J. Austin III, his new defense secretary, by his side in the Oval Office, Mr. Biden signed an executive order restoring protections first put in place by former President Barack Obama that opened up the ranks of the armed services to qualified transgender people.” See also, In sprint to address LGBTQ rights, Biden reverses Trump-era ban on transgender people serving in the military, The Washington Post, Missy Ryan, Samantha Schmidt, and Matt Viser, Monday, 25 January 2021: “President Biden on Monday repealed the Trump administration’s ban on transgender personnel serving openly in the U.S. military, taking early action to advance campaign promises targeting discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in the federal government, schools and other areas of American society. The executive order, which will provide immediate protection to transgender troops at risk of being forced out of the military, addresses critics’ concerns that Trump-era restrictions would shrink the military’s recruiting pool and sideline qualified service members. Lifting the ban, Biden said, will make for a more effective force.”

Biden administration revives effort to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill, The Washington Post, Jacob Bogage, Monday, 25 January 2021: “The $20 bill is getting a new — but familiar — face. The Biden administration will resume the process to replace President Andrew Jackson’s face on the note with famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during her Monday news briefing. A Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed the change. Tubman will become the first Black person on the face of American paper currency and the first woman in generations; Martha Washington appeared on a $1 bill in the 1890s, and Pocahontas was in a group picture on the $20 bill in the 1860s, according to Reuters.” See also, White House recommits to getting Harriet Tubman on $20 bill after Trump delay, CNN Politics, Donald Judd and Maegan Vazquez, Monday, 25 January 2021: “The Biden administration says it is ‘exploring ways to speed up’ release of $20 bills featuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman after the Trump administration delayed the move first initiated by President Barack Obama.”


Tuesday, 26 January 2021:


The New Washington: Most Republican Senators Vote Against Holding Impeachment Trial for Trump. In a 55-to-45 vote that strongly suggested that the Senate would not be able to convict the former president, lawmakers narrowly killed a Republican effort to dismiss the impeachment charge as unconstitutional. President Biden signed executive orders intended to promote racial equity. The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 January 2021:

  • Most Republicans vote against trying Trump, signaling he is likely to be acquitted of the impeachment charge.

  • In the first blow to Biden’s immigration agenda, a federal judge blocks a 100-day pause on deportations.

  • Biden moves to end Justice Dept. contracts with private prisons as part of focus on targeting racial inequality.

  • Biden said his administration was nearing a deal with Pfizer and Moderna for 200 million more doses by summer’s end. It may not speed up vaccinations.

  • Capitol Police chief apologizes for security failures during the assault, including a delay in calling for Guard troops.

  • Antony J. Blinken is confirmed as secretary of state.

  • Janet Yellen, the first woman to be Treasury secretary, is sworn in by the first woman to be vice president.

  • Gina M. Raimondo, Biden’s nominee for commerce secretary, testifies before the Senate.
  • Lloyd Austin, the new defense secretary, prepares to address sexual assault in the military.
  • Capitol riot investigation will slow as officials work to build more complicated cases, Justice Department says.
  • The Capitol attack wasn’t a ‘false flag.’ Republican officials continue to spread the theory anyway.
  • Fox gives a show to one former Trump aide but shoots down claims it hired another.
  • The White House press briefings will include an American Sign Language interpreter.
  • Few who sought clemency from Trump through official channels were granted it.

First 100 Days: In first call with Putin, Biden pressed Russian president on several issues, White House says, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 26 January 2021: “President Biden had his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussing a range of topics, including arms control, reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and interference in the 2020 election, the White House said Tuesday. Meanwhile, nearly all Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), voted against holding an impeachment trial, all but assuring that former president Donald Trump has the votes to avoid conviction. The Senate is moving ahead with the trial Feb. 9, with Trump facing the House charge of ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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

  • Biden signed more executive actions Tuesday, including orders on housing and prisons, as he outlined what the White House is calling his ‘racial equity agenda.’
  • Biden announced that the administration will seek to buy 200 million more doses of the two coronavirus vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the United States. The purchases would increase the available supply by 50 percent, bringing the total to 600 million doses by this summer.
  • Antony Blinken, Biden’s pick for secretary of state, won Senate confirmation, becoming the fourth Cabinet pick to clear that hurdle.
  • Biden is scheduled to take executive actions as early as Thursday to reopen federal marketplaces selling Affordable Care Act health plans and to lower recent barriers to joining Medicaid.
  • McConnell warned Democrats that Republicans would counter any attempt to eliminate the filibuster with ‘immediate chaos’ that would grind the chamber — and the Democratic governing agenda — to a halt.
  • Janet Yellen was confirmed as the first female secretary of the Treasury Department by the Senate on Monday evening and sworn in at the White House on Tuesday.

Biden signs orders on racial equity, and civil rights groups press for more, The Washington Post, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., and Tracy Jan, Tuesday, 26 January 2021: “President Biden signed four executive actions Tuesday aimed at increasing racial equity across the nation, a move the administration said was a big early step in his efforts to dismantle systemic racism, though civil rights groups made it clear they will press for more-sweeping change in the months ahead. The measures seek to strengthen anti-discrimination housing policies that were weakened under President Donald Trump, halt new Justice Department contracts with private prisons, increase the sovereignty of Native American tribes and combat violence and xenophobia against Asian Americans and Pacific islanders, weeks after the departure of a president who blamed the Chinese for the coronavirus pandemic.”

Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene indicated support for executing prominent Democrats in 2018 and 2019 before running for Congress, CNN Politics, Em Steck and Andrew Kaczynski, Tuesday, 26 January 2021: “Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress, a CNN KFile review of hundreds of posts and comments from Greene’s Facebook page shows. Greene, who represents Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, frequently posted far-right extremist and debunked conspiracy theories on her page, including the baseless QAnon conspiracy which casts former President Donald Trump in an imagined battle against a sinister cabal of Democrats and celebrities who abuse children. In one post, from January 2019, Greene liked a comment that said ‘a bullet to the head would be quicker’ to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In other posts, Greene liked comments about executing FBI agents who, in her eyes, were part of the ‘deep state’ working against Trump.”

Pentagon restricted commander of D.C. Guard ahead of Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Paul Sonne, Tuesday, 26 January 2021: “The commander of the D.C. National Guard said the Pentagon restricted his authority ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, requiring higher-level sign-off to respond that cost time as the events that day spiraled out of control. Local commanders typically have the power to take military action on their own to save lives or prevent significant property damage in an urgent situation when there isn’t enough time to obtain approval from headquarters. But Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, the commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, said the Pentagon essentially took that power and other authorities away from him ahead of the short-lived insurrection on Jan. 6. That meant he couldn’t immediately roll out troops when he received a panicked phone call from the Capitol Police chief warning that rioters were about to enter the U.S. Capitol.”

Biden Will Restore U.S. Relations With Palestinians, Reversing Trump Cutoff, The New York Times, Michael Crowley, Tuesday, 26 January 2021: “The Biden administration will restore diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, more than two years after President Donald J. Trump effectively ended them. The action signals a return to a more traditional and evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a Trump administration policy that was heavily slanted toward Israel. The shift, which will include a resumption of American aid to the Palestinians, was announced on Tuesday in a speech by Richard Mills, the acting United States ambassador to the United Nations.”


Wednesday, 27 January 2021:


The New Washington: Extremists Emboldened by Capitol Attack Pose Growing Threat, Homeland Security Says. The Department of Homeland Security said publicly for the first time on Wednesday that the United States faced a growing threat from ‘violent domestic extremists’ after the Capitol riot. The Biden administration plans to reopen enrollment in many Affordable Care Act marketplaces.The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 January 2021:

  • U.S. faces heightened threats from violent domestic extremists after Capitol attack, Homeland Security says.

  • Biden signs sweeping climate orders focusing on job creation and including a ‘pause’ in fossil fuel leasing.

  • Biden plans to reopen Obamacare exchanges in many states.

  • The Biden administration is reviewing arms sales to the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia that were approved by Trump.

  • Virus advisers warn the U.S. will remain vulnerable without the quick passage of a relief bill by Congress.

  • Whitmer pleads with Michigan lawmakers to find common ground amid the pandemic.

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly endorsed executing Democrats on Facebook before she was elected to Congress.

  • Two officers who defended the Capitol have died by suicide, a police chief says.

  • The Capitol Police union says nearly 140 officers were injured during the riot.
  • Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, has cooperated with the police before to help convict others.
  • After the presidency, the Trump hotel in Washington is a limited draw.

First 100 Days: Biden focuses on climate change and environmental justice; Senate examines more Cabinet nominees, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “President Biden sought Wednesday to focus on climate change, signing an array of executive actions, including one that directs federal agencies to invest in low-income and minority communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of pollution. He also imposed a moratorium on new federal oil and gas leasing and announced he would host an international climate summit on Earth Day in April. A week into Biden’s presidency, the Senate is also moving forward with hearings and votes on several of his Cabinet nominees and preparing for an impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump.

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

Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Actions to Fight Climate Change. The array of executive orders elevate climate change at every level of the federal government. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Coral Davenport and Christopher Flavelle, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “President Biden on Wednesday signed a sweeping series of executive orders that aim to ‘confront the existential threat of climate change’ throughout the federal government, framing them as an economic boon that would create millions of new jobs. ‘We’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis. We can’t wait any longer,’ said Mr. Biden, speaking at the White House. ‘We see it with our own eyes. We feel it. We know it in our bones. And it’s time to act.’ Looking to counteract Republican claims that his climate policies would hurt an economy already weakened by the pandemic, the president cast many of his orders as job creators, among other things pledging to use the purchasing power of the federal government to buy a vast fleet of zero-emissions vehicles. ‘This will mean one million new jobs in the American automobile industry,’ Mr. Biden said. Wednesday’s executive orders also set broad new foreign policy goals, including specifying that climate change, for the first time, will be a core part of all foreign policy and national security decisions. Earlier in the day Mr. Biden’s international climate envoy, John Kerry, said the United States would host an international climate change summit on Earth Day, April 22. ‘The convening of this summit is essential to ensuring that 2021 is going to be the year that really makes up for the lost time of the last four years,’ said Mr. Kerry.” See also, Biden signals radical shift from Trump era with executive orders on climate change, The Guardian, Oliver Milman, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “Joe Biden has warned the climate crisis poses an ‘existential threat’ to the world as he unveiled a radical change in direction from the Trump era by halting fossil fuel activity on public lands and directing the US government to start a full-frontal effort to lower planet-heating emissions…. Biden has instructed the US government to pause and review all oil and gas drilling on federal land, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and transform the government’s vast fleet of cars and trucks into electric vehicles, in a sweeping new set of climate executive orders…. He pledged to put ‘environmental justice’ at the center ‘of all we do’ to help mitigate the disproportionate effects of climate change on Black and brown communities in the US, with policy and funding changes.”

Extremists Emboldened by Capitol Attack Pose Rising Threat, Homeland Security Says. The warning was a notable departure for a Department of Homeland Security accused of being reluctant during the Trump administration to publish intelligence reports or public warnings about the dangers posed by extremists and white supremacist groups. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and David E. Sanger, Wednesday, 28 January 2021: “Warning that the deadly rampage of the Capitol this month may not be an isolated episode, the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday said publicly for the first time that the United States faced a growing threat from ‘violent domestic extremists’ emboldened by the attack. The department’s terrorism alert did not name specific groups that might be behind any future attacks, but it made clear that their motivation would include anger over ‘the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives,’ a clear reference to the accusations made by President Donald J. Trump and echoed by right-wing groups that the 2020 election was stolen.” See also, Homeland security bulletin warns Americans about violence by grievance-fueled domestic extremists, The Washington Post, Nick Miroff, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning Wednesday to alert the public about the growing threat of ‘ideologically-motivated violent extremists’ agitated about President Biden’s inauguration and ‘perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.’ DHS periodically issues such advisories through its National Terrorism Advisory System, but the warnings have typically been generated by concerns about attacks by foreign governments or radical groups, not domestic extremists. In a statement, the department said the purpose of the new bulletin was to warn the public about a ‘heightened threat environment’ across the United States ‘that is likely to persist over the coming weeks.’ The bulletin is a lesser-status warning designed to alert the public about general risks, rather than an imminent attack or a specific threat.

U.S. authorities allege self-styled militia members in three states began planning in November for recruits and weapons ahead of attack on the Capitol, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Tom Jackman, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “Three self-styled militia members charged in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol began soliciting recruits for potential violence within days of the 2020 presidential election, later training in Ohio and North Carolina and organizing travel to Washington with a busload of comrades and a truck of weapons, U.S. authorities alleged Wednesday. A four-count indictment returned in D.C. laid out fresh details and allegations against Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50 — both of Woodstock, Ohio — and Thomas E. Caldwell, 66, of Berryville, Va. The three, all U.S. military veterans, are accused of conspiring to obstruct Congress and other counts, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors have said Caldwell appears to have ties to the anti-government Oath Keepers extremist group — although his attorney said he is not a member. They also have alleged that the retired Navy lieutenant commander helped organize dozens of others who coordinated their movements as they ‘stormed the castle’ to disrupt the confirmation of President Biden’s electoral college victory. Real-time conversations recovered from a walkie-talkie-style app captured Watkins discussing a group of about 30 to 40 ‘sticking together and sticking to the plan’ during the breach, according to court documents previously filed in the case.”

Health and Human Services Inspector General says millions in vaccine research funds went instead for unrelated office expenses, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “Millions of dollars in federal funds earmarked for vaccine development and other public health matters were wrongly used for the removal of office furniture, news subscriptions and other administrative expenses by an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, according to an investigation launched by its inspector general into a whistleblower complaint. The anonymous whistleblower made a complaint in 2018 that ‘alleged that (HHS’) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response … misappropriated millions of dollars that Congress appropriated for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority … to respond to public health emergencies like outbreaks of Ebola, Zika, and — now — Covid-19,’ according to a letter sent by special counsel Henry Kerner on Wednesday to President Joe Biden detailing the report’s findings.” See also, Inspector general says millions earmarked for public health emergencies were used to pay for unrelated projects, The Washington Post, Dan Diamond and Lisa Rein, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “Federal officials repeatedly raided a fund earmarked for biomedical research in the years leading up to the covid-19 pandemic, spending millions of dollars on unrelated salaries, administrative expenses and even the cost of removing office furniture, according to the findings of an investigation into a whistleblower complaint shared with The Washington Post. The investigation, conducted by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services and overseen by the Office of Special Counsel, centered on hundreds of millions of dollars intended for the development of vaccines, drugs and therapies by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority or BARDA, an arm of the federal health department. The unidentified whistleblower alleged that officials in the office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, which oversaw the biomedical agency, wrongly dipped into the money set aside by Congress for development of lifesaving medicines, beginning in fiscal 2010 and continuing through at least fiscal 2019, spanning both the Obama and Trump administrations. The inspector general substantiated some of the whistleblower’s claims, finding that staff referred to the agency as the ‘bank of BARDA’ and told investigators that research and development funds were regularly tapped for unrelated projects, sometimes at ‘exorbitant’ rates.”

Democrats introduce bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state, NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Wednesday, 27 January 2021: “House and Senate Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. The measure was reintroduced in the House by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat who represents the District of Columbia, and its companion was unveiled in the Senate by Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. As of Tuesday evening, Norton said that she had more than 200 co-sponsors in the House. ‘There’s never been a time when statehood for the District was more likely,’ Norton said in a statement, adding the bill was passed by the House last year for the first time and now had a ‘record’ 202 co-sponsors. With the Senate companion bill also gaining co-sponsors, ‘we’re ready to achieve voting representation and full local self-government for the 712,000+ residents of the District of Columbia,’ she said.”


Thursday, 28 January 2021:


The New Washington: Biden Signs Orders Aimed at Expanding Health Care. President Biden used executive action to reopen enrollment in Affordable Care Act marketplaces, a step in his broader agenda to bolster the act with a new optional government health plan. The Biden administration is imposing several new rules in the West Wing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The New York Times, Thursday, 28 January 2021:

  • Biden signs orders aimed at expanding health care access, including abortion, and opening Obamacare enrollment.

  • Pelosi savages G.O.P. leaders for giving education committee seat to congresswoman who called school shootings staged.

  • Representative Jim Jordan, a Trump loyalist, has decided not to run for an open Senate seat.

  • U.S. names envoy to Iran amid tensions with Tehran and criticism from conservatives.

  • Democrats could use budget reconciliation to speed up Biden’s pandemic stimulus bill.

  • Three people who stormed the Capitol tried to recruit a large following ahead of time, prosecutors say.

  • Matt Gaetz rallied against Liz Cheney in her own state.

  • Inside the White House, strict rules aim to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Biden’s pick for top economist testifies in the Senate.

  • Whitmer pleads for common ground on the pandemic, but Michigan Republicans say she has cut them out.

  • Analysis: Why aren’t progressives pushing Biden on the filibuster?

  • Acting Capitol Police chief calls for permanent fencing and backup forces in wake of assault.

  • The F.B.I. intensifies its search for people accused of targeting journalists in the Capitol riot.

First 100 Days: Biden announces steps to expand access to health care and to reverse Trump abortion policies, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Thursday, 28 January 2021: “President Biden on Thursday announced several steps intended to expand access to health care, including an executive order to temporarily reopen the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace for Americans seeking coverage during the pandemic. Biden also directed federal agencies to reexamine Trump administration policies that he said have made it more difficult to enroll in Medicaid and protect people with preexisting medical conditions. In a second order, he sought to reverse Trump policies that restricted access to abortion both in the United States and overseas. Biden said the aim of both actions was to ‘undo the damage Trump has done.’

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

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lashed out at Republican leadership for putting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on the House Education and Labor Committee in light of her past endorsements of baseless conspiracy theories that deadly school shootings in Connecticut and Florida were ‘false-flag’ operations staged by gun-control advocates.
  • The full Senate took a procedural vote that advanced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security. A final vote is scheduled Monday. The Banking Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Marcia Fudge as housing secretary and Cecilia Rouse to chair the Council of Economic Advisers.
  • Bracing for the prospect of a likely acquittal, Senate Democrats are eyeing a rapid-fire impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump while also contemplating alternatives such as censure that could attract more support from Republicans.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Thursday, a session described as cordial. McCarthy had angered Trump earlier this month when he said the former president bore responsibility for the deadly Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol.

Here are the executive actions Biden has signed so far, CNN Politics, Kate Sullivan, Christopher Hickey, Curt Merrill, Janie Boschma, and Sean O’Key, Thursday, 28 January 2021: “President Joe Biden has signed a flurry of executive orders, actions and memorandums aimed at rapidly addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of former President Donald Trump’s policies. The executive actions Biden has taken in the first days of his administration include halting funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversing Trump’s travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries, imposing a mask mandate on federal property, ramping up vaccination supplies and requiring international travelers to provide proof of negative Covid-19 tests prior to traveling to the US. See also, Biden’s Initial Batch of Executive Actions Is Popular, FiveThirtyEight, Perry Bacon Jr., Thursday, 28 January 2021: “In his first week in office, Biden announced at least 33 new policies that he will implement through the executive branch, according to a count from CNN. Polls conducted by Morning Consult and Ipsos since Biden’s first day in office have assessed public opinion on 14 of these policies. In all cases, more of those polled favor the policies than oppose them, and a majority support nearly every policy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls appointment of Representative Marjorie Green to education committee ‘absolutely appalling’ and ‘beyond the pale,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner, Thursday, 28 January 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said it was ‘absolutely appalling’ and ‘beyond the pale’ that Republican leadership had placed freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has called deadly school shootings in Connecticut and Florida ‘false-flag’ operations staged by gun-control supporters, on the chamber’s education committee. ‘What I’m concerned about is the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives who was willing to overlook, ignore those statements, assigning her to the education committee when she has mocked the killing of little children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, when she has mocked the killing of teenagers in high school at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,’ Pelosi said at her weekly news briefing. ‘What could they be thinking? Or is thinking too generous a word for what they might be doing?'”

Representative Kevin McCarthy Seeks Thaw With Trump as Republicans Rally Behind Former President, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 28 January 2021: “Two weeks after Representative Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, enraged Donald J. Trump by saying that he considered the former president responsible for the violent mob attack at the Capitol, the two men met on Thursday for what aides described as a ‘good and cordial’ meeting, and sought to present a united front. The meeting at Mr. Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., came two weeks after Mr. McCarthy, in a speech on the House floor, said that the former president ‘bears responsibility’ for the events of Jan. 6, when a throng of his supporters stormed the Capitol after a rally in which Mr. Trump urged them to ‘fight like hell’ against his election defeat. It was the latest evidence that top Republicans, many of whom harshly criticized Mr. Trump after the assault, have quickly swung back into line behind him and are courting his support as he faces a second impeachment trial.”

The Biden Administration’s Landmark Day in the Fight for the Climate, The New Yorker, Bill McKibben, Thursday 28 January 2021: “January 27th was the most remarkable day in the history of America’s official response to the climate crisis, at least since that June afternoon in 1988, when nasa’s James Hansen told a congressional committee that the planet had begun to heat. On Wednesday, in the course of a few hours, the Biden Administration took a series of coördinated actions that, considered together, may well mark the official beginning of the end of the fossil-fuel era. The Biden Administration temporarily paused the new leasing of federal lands and waters for fossil-fuel production, while speeding up the process of permitting renewables. The President pledged that the federal government would start buying electric cars in volume. His order sets up or strengthens offices in the Justice Department, the Energy Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency to focus on what he called ‘environmental justice.’ He announced that climate change would become a national-security priority for the Pentagon. And all of this came after his earlier pledges to rejoin the Paris climate accord and to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline. There’s a shock-and-awe feel to the barrage of actions, and that is the point: taken together, they send a decisive signal about the end of one epoch and the beginning of another. And that signal, most of all, is aimed at investors: fossil fuel, Biden is making clear, is not a safe bet, or even a good bet, for making real money. Coal, oil, and gas are the past, not the future. They’re the present, too, of course—but you don’t make big-money bets on the present. We may not get to that future fast enough to stave off truly disastrous global warming—the natural world made some announcements of its own this week, including the news that the melt from glaciers and ice sheets is in line with the worst-case scenarios that scientists have produced—and we won’t get to that safer future easily. The fossil-fuel industry is already hitting back hard against the Biden announcements, using the only argument it has left: jobs. But the Administration’s team was prepared for the onslaught—Biden styled his announcements as a job-creation scheme, predicting, for instance, that electric cars would create a million new jobs for autoworkers. And his aides made clear that they understood the need to cushion the blow in areas where oil, gas, and coal jobs are disappearing. ‘We’re going to make sure that nobody is left behind,’ the domestic climate czar Gina McCarthy told reporters. ‘We need to put people to work in their own communities. That’s where their home is. That’s where the vision is. So we are creatively looking at those opportunities for investment, so that we can get people understanding that we are not trying to take away jobs.'”


Friday, 29 January 2021:


The New Washington: Biden Hopes to Win Republican Support on $1.9 Trillion Relief Package, The New York Times, Friday, 29 January 2021:

  • Biden wants Republicans to back a $1.9 trillion relief package, but some Democrats are happy to go it alone.

  • Biden intelligence briefings to be led by veteran C.I.A. officer, who previously briefed George W. Bush.

  • Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died from injuries at the Capitol riot, will lie in honor in the Rotunda.

  • Biden visits wounded troops at Walter Reed.

  • The retired general in charge of the Air Force Academy alumni association refuses to condemn Jan. 6 riot, angering its members.

  • The Biden administration is reviewing a deal to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

  • Former F.B.I. lawyer who pleaded guilty to altering an email related to the Russia investigation gets no jail time.

  • Janet Yellen briefs Biden on the economy, saying acting ‘big’ far outweighs ‘the costs in the long run.’

  • Prosecutors unseal charges against two brothers in Capitol riot.

  • Ties between some Republican lawmakers and extremist groups are under scrutiny after the Capitol riot.

First 100 Days: Biden urges swift passage of his coronavirus relief plan, highlighting ‘the cost of inaction,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Amy B Wang, Friday, 29 January 2021: “President Biden urged swift passage of his $1.9 billion coronavirus relief plan Friday, arguing during an Oval Office appearance that Americans will be ‘badly, badly hurt’ if Congress does not pass legislation soon. Biden later headed to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to visit wounded troops, his first trip to the hospital since taking office. During the visit, he also toured a coronavirus vaccination site and thanked hospital officials for the care they provided to his son Beau during the final days of his battle with brain cancer in 2015. President Donald Trump was treated at Walter Reed in October after contracting the coronavirus.

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

House Democrats are building an elaborate and emotionally charged case against Trump, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Tom Hamburger, Karoun Demirjian, and Amy Gardner, Friday, 29 January 2021: “House Democrats have sought out new cellphone footage of the Capitol siege as well as updated details about injured police officers as they seek to build an emotionally compelling impeachment case against former president Donald Trump. The goal is to present the Senate with fresh evidence that reveals what Trump knew in advance of the Jan. 6 rampage at the Capitol, as well as how his words and actions influenced those who participated. The rioting left five dead, including one member of the U.S. Capitol Police. In addition, two officers, one with the D.C. Police Department, have since died by suicide. The effort to present new video evidence and witness testimony appears designed to make Republican senators as uncomfortable as possible as they prepare to vote to acquit Trump, as most have indicated they will do. The prospect of injured police officers describing the brutality of pro-Trump rioters to Republicans who regularly present themselves as advocates of law enforcement could make for an extraordinary, nationally televised scene. Yet the strategy appears to be on a collision course with the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed reluctance to allow witness testimony in the interest of limiting the trial’s length to about a week. Both parties are eager to move past the final days of Trump’s presidency, with Democrats hoping to turn their attention to President Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda, and Republicans hoping to shift attention away from their standard-bearer’s role in the shocking riot. The House impeachment managers are determined to present as much evidence as senators allow, to ensure a permanent record of Trump’s role in the riots — and to force Republicans to witness the chaos and carnage one more time before they vote against conviction, several individuals familiar with Democratic thinking said.”

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Controversies Are Piling Up. Republicans Are Silent. In a video from 2018, Ms. Greene falsely suggested that 9/11 was a hoax, President Barack Obama was a Muslim and the Clintons were guilty of murder. New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Friday, 29 January 2021: “Marjorie Taylor Greene had just finished questioning whether a plane really flew into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and flatly stating that President Barack Obama was secretly Muslim when she paused to offer an aside implicating another former president in a crime. ‘That’s another one of those Clinton murders,’ Ms. Greene said, referring to John F. Kennedy Jr.’s death in a 1999 plane crash, suggesting that he had been assassinated because he was a potential rival to Hillary Clinton for a New York Senate seat. Ms. Greene casually unfurled the cascade of dangerous and patently untrue conspiracy theories in a 40-minute video that was originally posted to YouTube in 2018. It provides a window into the warped worldview amplified by the freshman Republican congresswoman from Georgia, who in the three months since she was elected has created a national brand for herself as a conservative provocateur who has proudly brought the hard-right fringe to the Capitol. In the process, Ms. Greene, 46, has also created a dilemma for Republican leaders, who for months have been unwilling to publicly rebuke or punish her in any way for her inflammatory statements, in part for fear of alienating voters delighted by her incendiary brand of politics and conspiratorial beliefs. After avoiding the issue for months in the hope that it would resolve itself, Republicans are now facing calls from Democrats to expel Ms. Greene from Congress, pressure from a prominent group of Jewish Republicans to discipline her, and private consternation from within their own ranks. Their reticence to take action is yet another example of how Republican leaders have allowed those forces to fester and strengthen.”

Republican Ties to Extremist Groups Are Under Scrutiny. A number of members of Congress have links to organizations and movements that played a role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Matthew Rosenberg, Friday, 29 January 2021: “The video’s title was posed as a question, but it left little doubt about where the men who filmed it stood. They called it ‘The Coming Civil War?’ and in its opening seconds, Jim Arroyo, who leads an Arizona chapter of Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, declared that the conflict had already begun. To back up his claim, Mr. Arroyo cited Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, one of the most far-right members of Congress. Mr. Gosar had paid a visit to the local Oath Keepers chapter a few years earlier, Mr. Arroyo recounted, and when asked if the United States was headed for a civil war, the congressman’s ‘response to the group was just flat out: We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.’ Less than two months after the video was posted, members of the Oath Keepers were among those with links to extremist groups from around the country who took part in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, prompting new scrutiny of the links between members of Congress and an array of organizations and movements that espouse far-right beliefs.”

Two members of the Proud Boys face conspiracy charges in US Capitol riot, CNN Politics, Marshall Cohen, Friday, 29 January 2021: “The Justice Department on Friday announced conspiracy charges against two members of the far-right Proud Boys who allegedly participated in the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6. The new indictment against Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe, both of New York, is the first riot-related case to accuse Proud Boys members of working together to attack the Capitol. But the men are not accused of planning the attack before coming to Washington. They have been charged with conspiring to interfere with police officers defending the Capitol, participating in civil disorder, unlawfully entering restricted grounds and other federal crimes. Both men were first hit with charges two weeks ago. Prosecutors alleged they had removed metal barricades at the Capitol and that Pezzola had smashed a window using a police officer’s riot shield. Footage of the attack shows pro-Trump rioters entering the Capitol through the broken window.”

New York judge orders Trump Organization’s tax firm to hand over more documents to New York Attorney General Letitia James, CNN Politics, Sonia Moghe, Friday, 29 January 2021: “A New York state judge on Friday ordered a tax firm that has worked with former President Donald Trump to turn over more documents to New York Attorney General Letitia James as part of her office’s investigation into the Trump Organization. The supplemental order is one of several that Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has made in the past month requesting that the tax firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius turn over documents that James’s office has requested as part of its investigation.”

Congress Must Pass the ‘For the People Act,’ Brennan Center, Wendy R. Weiser, Daniel I. Weiner, and Dominique Erney, Friday, 29 January 2021: “American democracy urgently needs repair. We now have a historic opportunity to bring about transformative change. In both houses of Congress, the For the People Act — H.R. 1 in the House and S. 1 in the Senate — was designated as the first bill, a top priority this session. This historic legislation responds to twin crises facing our country: the attack on democracy, epitomized in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, and the urgent demand for racial justice. It is based on the key insight that the best way to defend democracy is to strengthen democracy. If enacted, it would be the most significant voting rights and democracy reform in more than half a century. The 2020 election, like the 2018 midterms, featured historic levels of voter mobilization — the highest in over a century, even in the face of a deadly pandemic. But there were also unprecedented efforts to thwart the electoral process and disenfranchise voters, primarily in Black and brown communities, based on lies about ‘voter fraud’ (culminating in the violent attack on the Capitol). Extreme partisan gerrymandering continued to distort far too many races for the House. And despite increased engagement by small campaign donors, the most expensive campaign in American history was still largely bankrolled by a small coterie of individual megadonors and entrenched interests. While these problems were more extreme this cycle, they are certainly not new. For decades, public trust has declined as our political system’s longstanding challenges have worsened: Citizens’ voices have been silenced through voter suppression, gerrymandering, and deceptive tactics. Wealthy campaign donors maintain outsized sway over policy. And the guardrails against discrimination, corruption, and manipulation of the system for personal gain have all been cast aside or eroded. The virulent coronavirus, whose worst effects in terms of both health and economics have fallen disproportionately on communities of color, underscores the urgent need for a functioning democracy that serves all the people. But here is the good news: we know what we need to do to address these problems and strengthen American democracy. It starts with passing the For the People Act. The Act incorporates key measures that are urgently needed, including automatic voter registration and other steps to modernize our elections; a national guarantee of free and fair elections without voter suppression, coupled with a commitment to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act; small donor public financing to empower ordinary Americans instead of big donors (at no cost to taxpayers) and other critical campaign finance reforms; an end to partisan gerrymandering; and a much-needed overhaul of federal ethics rules.”


Saturday, 30 January 2021:


Trump’s impeachment defense team leaves less than two weeks before trial, CNN Politics, Gloria Borger, Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Zeleny, and Ashley Semler, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “Former President Donald Trump’s five impeachment defense attorneys have left a little more than a week before his trial is set to begin, according to people familiar with the case, amid a disagreement over his legal strategy. It was a dramatic development in the second impeachment trial for Trump, who has struggled to find lawyers willing to take his case. And now, with legal briefs due next week and a trial set to begin only days later, Trump is clinging to his election fraud charade and suddenly finds himself without legal representation. Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said it was a mutual decision for both to leave the legal team. As the lead attorney, Bowers assembled the team…. A person familiar with the departures told CNN that Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.” See also, Trump Parts Ways With Five Lawyers Handling Impeachment Defense, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “Former President Donald J. Trump has abruptly parted ways with five lawyers handling his impeachment defense, just over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin, people familiar with the situation said on Saturday. Those departures include his lead lawyer, Butch Bowers, whose hiring was announced last week, a person familiar with the situation said. Four other lawyers who were reported to be joining, including Deborah Barbier, a criminal defense lawyer in South Carolina, are also leaving, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. Mr. Trump had pushed for his defense team to focus on his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him, one person familiar with the situation said. A person close to Mr. Trump disputed that that was the case but acknowledged that there were differences in opinion about the defense strategy. However, Mr. Trump has insisted that the case is ‘simple’ and has told advisers he could argue it himself and save the money on lawyers. (Aides contend he is not seriously contemplating doing so.) The decision for Mr. Bowers to leave was ‘mutual,’ another person familiar with the situation said, adding that Mr. Trump and Mr. Bowers had no chemistry, a quality the former president generally prizes in his relationships. Mr. Trump prefers lawyers who are eager to appear on television to say that he never did anything wrong; Mr. Bowers has been noticeably absent in the news media since his hiring was announced.”

FBI investigation of U.S. Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault: ‘Be ready to fight,’ The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “FBI agents around the country are working to unravel the various motives, relationships, goals and actions of the hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Some inside the bureau have described the Capitol riot investigation as their biggest case since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a top priority of the agents’ work is to determine the extent to which that violence and chaos was preplanned and coordinated. Investigators caution there is an important legal distinction between gathering like-minded people for a political rally — which is protected by the First Amendment — and organizing an armed assault on the seat of American government. The task now is to distinguish which people belong in each category, and who played key roles in committing or coordinating the violence. Video and court filings, for instance, describe how several groups of men that include alleged members of the Proud Boys appear to engage in concerted action, converging on the West Front of the Capitol just before 1 p.m., near the Peace Monument at First Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Different factions of the crowd appear to coalesce, move forward and chant under the direction of different leaders before charging at startled police staffing a pedestrian gate, all in the matter of a few minutes. An indictment Friday night charged a member of the Proud Boys, Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., with conspiracy, saying his actions showed ‘planning, determination, and coordination.’ Another alleged member of the Proud Boys, William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, N.Y., also was charged with conspiracy.”

How Trump’s Focus on Antifa Distracted Attention From the Far-Right Threat. Federal law enforcement shifted resources last year in response to Donald Trump’s insistence that the radical left endangered the country. Meanwhile, right-wing extremism was building ominously. The New York Times, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “As racial justice protests erupted nationwide last year, President Donald J. Trump, struggling to find a winning campaign theme, hit on a message that he stressed over and over: The real domestic threat to the United States emanated from the radical left, even though law enforcement authorities had long since concluded it came from the far right. It was a message that was quickly embraced and amplified by his attorney general and his top homeland security officials, who translated it into a shift in criminal justice and national security priorities even as Mr. Trump was beginning to openly stoke the outrage that months later would culminate in the storming of the Capitol by right-wing extremists. Mr. Trump’s efforts to focus his administration on the antifa movement and leftist groups did not stop the Justice Department and the F.B.I. from pursuing cases of right-wing extremism. They broke up a kidnapping plot, for example, targeting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, a Democrat. But the effect of his direction was nonetheless substantial, according to interviews with current and former officials, diverting key portions of the federal law enforcement and domestic security agencies at a time when the threat from the far right was building ominously.”

After Record Turnout in the Presidential Election, Republicans Are Again Trying to Make It Harder to Vote, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, state legislators have filed 106 bills to tighten election rules, generally making it harder to cast a ballot — triple the number at this time last year. In short, Republicans who for more than a decade have used wildly inflated allegations of voter fraud to justify making it harder to vote, are now doing so again, this time seizing on Mr. Trump’s thoroughly debunked charges of a stolen election to push back at Democratic-leaning voters who flocked to mail-in ballots last year.”

Fact-Checking Biden’s First Week in Office. All but three of 20 claims the president made were accurate, demonstrating his regard for basic facts and his proclivity to err when speaking off the cuff. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “President Biden, in his first week in office, typically stuck to vetted scripts and verified facts — a departure from his predecessor’s freewheeling and fact-free rhetorical style. Over all, Mr. Biden used the presidential podium to promote his policy priorities. His remarks were aspirational and light on empirical assertions. Of 20 factual claims The New York Times analyzed from Jan. 20 to Jan. 26, all but three were largely if not completely accurate. One claim was an overly optimistic projection, another falsely criticized former President Donald J. Trump and a third Mr. Biden corrected almost immediately.”

Organizers Say the January 6th Ellipse Rally Was Funded by Top Trump Donor Julie Jenkins Fancelli, Heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. Chain, and Helped by Seed Money From Alex Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Shalini Ramachandran, Alexandra Berzon, and Rebecca Ballhaus, Saturday, 30 January 2021: “The rally in Washington’s Ellipse that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol was arranged and funded by a small group including a top Trump campaign fundraiser and donor facilitated by far-right show host Alex Jones. Mr. Jones personally pledged more than $50,000 in seed money for a planned Jan. 6 event in exchange for a guaranteed ‘top speaking slot of his choice,’ according to a funding document outlining a deal between his company and an early organizer for the event. Mr. Jones also helped arrange for Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to the Trump campaign and heiress to the Publix Super Markets Inc. chain, to commit about $300,000 through a top fundraising official for former President Trump’s 2020 campaign, according to organizers. Her money paid for the lion’s share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse where Mr. Trump spoke. Another far-right activist and leader of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, Ali Alexander, helped coordinate planning with Caroline Wren, a fundraising official who was paid by the Trump campaign for much of 2020 and who was tapped by Ms. Fancelli to organize and fund an event on her behalf, organizers said. On social media, Mr. Alexander had targeted Jan. 6 as a key date for supporters to gather in Washington to contest the 2020-election certification results. The week of the rally, he tweeted a flyer for the event saying: ‘DC becomes FORT TRUMP starting tomorrow on my orders!'”


Sunday, 31 January 2021:


77 Days: Trump’s Campaign to Subvert the Election. For 77 days between election and inauguration, Donald Trump, advised by conspiracy-minded lawyers and funded by a new class of donors, tried to subvert American democracy with a lie about fraud that he had been grooming for years. The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Jo Becker, Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Martin, Matthew Rosenberg, and Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 31 January 2021: “A New York Times examination of the 77 democracy-bending days between election and inauguration shows how, with conspiratorial belief rife in a country ravaged by pandemic, a lie that Mr. Trump had been grooming for years finally overwhelmed the Republican Party and, as brake after brake fell away, was propelled forward by new and more radical lawyers, political organizers, financiers and the surround-sound right-wing media. In the aftermath of that broken afternoon at the Capitol, a picture has emerged of entropic forces coming together on Trump’s behalf in an ad hoc, yet calamitous, crash of rage and denial. But interviews with central players, and documents including previously unreported emails, videos and social media posts scattered across the web, tell a more encompassing story of a more coordinated campaign. Across those 77 days, the forces of disorder were summoned and directed by the departing president, who wielded the power derived from his near-infallible status among the party faithful in one final norm-defying act of a reality-denying presidency. Throughout, he was enabled by influential Republicans motivated by ambition, fear or a misplaced belief that he would not go too far.” See also, Key Takeaways From Trump’s Effort to Overturn the Election. A Times examination of the 77 days between election and inauguration shows how a lie the former president had been grooming for years overwhelmed the Republican Party and stoked the assault on the Capitol. The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg and Jim Rutenberg, Monday, 1 February 2021: “For 77 days between the election and the inauguration, President Donald J. Trump attempted to subvert American democracy with a lie about election fraud that he had been grooming for years. A New York Times examination of the events that unfolded after the election shows how the president — enabled by Republican leaders, advised by conspiracy-minded lawyers and bankrolled by a new class of Trump-era donors — waged an extralegal campaign that convinced tens of millions of Americans the election had been stolen and made the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol almost inevitable.”

The Gerrymander Battles Loom, as Republicans Look to Press Their Advantage, The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti, Sunday, 31 January 2021: “With the election over and Democrats in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, officials in both parties are bracing for a bruising new battle with a different balance of power: the redrawing of congressional maps, where Republicans hold the advantage in many state legislatures across the country, including in key battlegrounds. Republicans hold total control of redistricting in 18 states, including Florida, North Carolina and Texas, which are growing in population and expected to gain seats after the 2020 census is tabulated. Some election experts believe the G.O.P. could retake the House in 2022 based solely on gains from newly drawn districts. Already, Republicans are discussing redrawing two suburban Atlanta districts held by Democrats to make one of them more Republican; slicing Democratic sections out of a Houston district that Republicans lost in 2018; and carving up a northeastern Ohio district held by Democrats since 1985. ‘I would say that the national vote could be the same as this year two years from now, and redistricting by itself would easily be enough to alter who controls the chamber,’ said Samuel S. Wang, the director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. He estimated that reapportionment alone could net the Republicans three seats, and gerrymandering in North Carolina, Georgia and Florida another five seats.”


Monday, 1 February 2021:


The New Washington: Republican Senators Aiming to Shrink Recovery Package Meet With Biden, The New York Times, Monday, 1 February 2021:

  • Republicans pitch Biden on smaller aid plan as Democrats prepare to act alone.

  • McConnell says ‘loony lies’ spread by Marjorie Taylor Greene are a ‘cancer’ on G.O.P.

  • Trump’s defense will likely argue that the trial is unconstitutional because he’s no longer president.

  • In Ohio, an increasingly Republican state, Tim Ryan, a Democrat, says he’ll run for open Senate seat.

  • Air Force Academy alumni group condemns Capitol attack and signals some graduates may be ejected.

  • Court tosses a Trump-era rule limiting science in studies for public health regulations.

  • Biden’s hands are tied by a Trump official’s last-minute deal with ICE union.

  • As Biden plans a democracy summit, skeptics point to political strife in the U.S.
  • The Biden administration must decide how far it will go in disavowing Trump’s Supreme Court agenda.

First 100 Days: Biden meets with 10 Republican senators at the White House on pandemic relief, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Paulina Firozi, Monday 1 February 2021: “President Biden met with 10 Republican senators in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon for what the White House described as ‘a substantive and productive discussion’ about their $600 billion counterproposal to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. ‘I wouldn’t say that we came together on a package tonight. No one expected that in a two-hour meeting,’ Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters after leaving the White House. But she said discussions will continue at the staff level and senators are hopeful for a bipartisan deal. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden ‘noted many areas which the Republican senators’ proposal does not address.’ The Democrat-led Senate is also planning this week to advance several more of Biden’s Cabinet nominees and continue preparations for the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump for his role in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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

  • Biden’s meeting with Republican senators comes as Democrats prepare to move forward this week to set up a partisan path for the president’s relief bill, which Republicans have dismissed as overly costly.
  • Biden threatened sanctions on Myanmar after the Southeast Asian nation’s military seized power and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top officials in her ruling National League for Democracy.
  • Trump’s legal team imploded as he remained fixated on arguing at his second impeachment trial that the 2020 election was stolen from him. On Sunday night, his office announced new lawyers.
  • Trump’s new political action committee raised $31.5 million in the weeks after Election Day through fundraising appeals purportedly to fight election fraud and help Republicans maintain their majority in the Senate, new filings show.

With impeachment trial looming, Trump taps new lawyers who drew spotlight in past work, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Amy Gardner, and Tom Hamburger, Monday, 1 February 2021: “One lawyer has touted the number of accused mobsters who dot his client list and described his jailhouse visit with accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein during a spot on Fox News. The other built a reputation as an imposing county prosecutor who put murderers behind bars — only to come under the spotlight after he declined to prosecute comedian Bill Cosby on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a Temple University athletics official. Now, the duo of Atlanta-based attorney David Schoen and Pennsylvania lawyer Bruce L. Castor Jr. are taking over former president Donald Trump’s legal effort, just a week before his Senate trial for allegedly inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.”

Trump Official’s Last-Day Deal With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Union Ties Biden’s Hands. A whistle-blower accused Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II of an abuse of power in making sweeping concessions to pro-Trump Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Charlie Savage, Monday, 1 February 2021: “A whistle-blower complaint filed on Monday said a top Trump homeland security official sought to constrain the Biden administration’s immigration agenda by agreeing to hand policy controls to the pro-Trump union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The complaint accuses Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II of ‘gross mismanagement, gross waste of government funds and abuse of authority’ over the labor agreements he signed with the immigration agents’ union the day before President Biden’s inauguration. Mr. Cuccinelli — an immigration hard-liner whose legal legitimacy to serve in senior positions at the Department of Homeland Security was contested — essentially sought to tie Mr. Biden’s hands, according to the complaint.”

Trump’s Sleight of Hand: Shouting Election Fraud, While at the Same Time Pocketing Donors’ Cash for Future Use. With breathless, often misleading appeals, the former president promised small donors that he was using the money to fight the election results, but in fact stored much of it for future use. The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey, Monday, 1 February 2021: “Former President Donald J. Trump and the Republican Party leveraged false claims of voter fraud and promises to overturn the election to raise more than a quarter-billion dollars in November and December as hundreds of thousands of trusting supporters listened and opened their wallets. But the Trump campaign spent only a tiny fraction of its haul on lawyers and other legal bills related to those claims. Instead, Mr. Trump and the G.O.P. stored away much of the money — $175 million or so — even as they continued to issue breathless, aggressive and often misleading appeals for cash that promised it would help with recounts, the rooting out of election fraud and even the Republican candidates’ chances in the two Senate runoff races in Georgia. What fraction of the money Mr. Trump did spend after the election was plowed mostly into a public-relations campaign and to keep his perpetual fund-raising machine whirring, with nearly $50 million going toward online advertising, text-message outreach and a small television ad campaign. Only about $10 million spent by Mr. Trump’s campaign went to actual legal costs, according to an analysis of new Federal Election Commission filings from Nov. 4 through the end of the year.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of conspiracy theories is a ‘cancer’ for the Republican Party, The Hill, Juliegrace Brufke and Scott Wong, Monday, 1 February 2021: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday blasted Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s embrace of ‘loony lies and conspiracy theories’ as a ‘cancer for the Republican Party. Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,’ McConnell said in a statement first shared with The Hill…. McConnell didn’t mention Greene by name in his three-sentence statement, but his rare, scathing remarks about a freshman GOP lawmaker from the other chamber suggests he recognizes the potential damage her violent rhetoric and bizarre conspiracy theories could inflict on congressional Republicans as they try to take back both the House and Senate in next year’s midterms. Greene responded on Twitter, writing that ‘the real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully.'”

House Democrats file resolution to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee assignments, NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Monday, 1 February 2021: “A group of House Democrats introduced a resolution Monday to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., from her two committee assignments as a consequence for her inflammatory and false statements. The resolution, sponsored by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch, both of Florida, and Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, would remove Greene from the House Education & Labor Committee and the House Budget Committee. The Rules Committee said it would consider the resolution on Wednesday afternoon, the first step in getting it to a vote on the floor. Greene, a freshman congresswoman, came under scrutiny last week over past remarks, including ones suggesting that school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, were staged, as well as her claim that the 2018 California wildfires were started by ‘Jewish space lasers.'”

Trump pollster’s campaign autopsy paints damning picture of defeat. The 27-page report pins Trump’s loss on voter perception that he was untrustworthy and disapproval of his pandemic performance. Politico, Alex Isenstadt, Monday, 1 February 2021: “Former President Donald Trump has blamed the election results on unfounded claims of fraud and malfeasance. But at the top levels of his campaign, a detailed autopsy report that circulated among his political aides paints a far different — and more critical — portrait of what led to his defeat. The post-mortem, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, says the former president suffered from voter perception that he wasn’t honest or trustworthy and that he was crushed by disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. And while Trump spread baseless accusations of ballot-stuffing in heavily Black cities, the report notes that he was done in by hemorrhaging support from white voters.” See also, Trump campaign autopsy finds poor handling of virus cost Trump his reelection, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Monday, 1 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump lost the 2020 election largely because of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a post-election autopsy completed by Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio. The 27-page document shows that voters in 10 key states rated the pandemic as their top voting issue, and President Biden won higher marks on the topic. The report also indicates that Trump lost ground among key demographic groups he needed. The internal report cuts against Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him and that Biden could not have fairly beaten him — and mirrors what many Trump campaign officials said privately for months. The analysis by Fabrizio, a Florida pollster who has worked for Trump for years, was shared among campaign advisers late last year and was provided to The Washington Post on Monday night. Politico first reported on the existence of the document.”


Tuesday, 2 February 2021:


The New Washington: Prosecution Calls Trump ‘Singularly Responsible’ for the Capitol Riot as His Legal Team Says the Senate Has No Right to Try Him, The New York Times, Tuesday, 2 February 2021:

  • Trump’s lawyers deny he incited the Capitol riot as the House impeachment managers press their case to hold him responsible.

  • Democrats move to advance Biden stimulus plan through reconciliation, drawing Republicans’ ire.

  • Biden signs executive orders with the aim of dismantling Trump’s immigration agenda.

  • Alejandro Mayorkas is confirmed to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

  • The House approves $5,000 fines for lawmakers who refuse to go through metal detectors set up outside the chamber.

  • Trump’s new lawyer says Trump hasn’t pushed for a defense based on voter fraud allegations.

  • Georgia Republicans wrestle with how to respond to Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

  • As Moderna looks to increase the doses in vaccine vials, the White House announces an expected boost in manufacturing.
  • Ginni Thomas apologizes to her husband’s Supreme Court clerks for discord she says she caused.
  • Federal authorities are arresting people for domestic threats they might have just monitored in the past.
  • Biden’s election prompted a record-breaking run by gun buyers, new data shows.

First 100 Days: Biden signs orders on immigration; impeachment managers call Trump ‘singularly responsible’ for the insurrectionary riot at the Capitol, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “President Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders ‘modernizing’ the immigration system, including one that aims to identify and reunite hundreds of families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration. ‘I’m not making new law, I’m eliminating bad policy,’ Biden told reporters at the White House. House impeachment managers laid out their case against former president Donald Trump in a brief filed ahead of next week’s scheduled Senate trial. They argued that an ‘insurrectionary riot against a Joint Session of Congress’ was clearly impeachable conduct. In a separate memo to the Senate, attorneys for Trump said he ‘exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect.’ In any case, they argued, the Senate does not have constitutional grounds to try an impeached former president.

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

  • The Senate approved the nominations of Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary and Alejandro Mayorkas as homeland security secretary. A Senate committee voted to advance the nomination of Denis McDonough as secretary of veterans affairs. Another Senate committee held a hearing on Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary.
  • Biden will announce executive actions ordering the review and potential reversal of the Trump administration’s deterrent policies along the Mexican border and the barriers these created in the legal immigration system, senior administration officials said.
  • Biden urged Senate Democrats to go big on coronavirus relief, making an aggressive case in favor of his $1.9 trillion rescue package. The president made the comments in a private lunchtime call with the Senate Democratic caucus, shortly before they took their first steps to advance the legislation.
  • Congress was poised to honor U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died of injuries he suffered when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. His remains were to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday night, when members of the Capitol Police could pay their respects.

Trump’s actions described as ‘a betrayal of historic proportions’ in trial brief filed by House impeachment managers, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Karoun Demirjian, and Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “House Democrats made their case to convict former president Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in a sweeping impeachment brief filed with the Senate on Tuesday, accusing Trump of jeopardizing the foundations of American democracy by whipping his supporters into a ‘frenzy’ for the sole purpose of retaining his hold on the presidency. In the brief, the House’s nine impeachment managers made an impassioned case that Trump was ‘singularly responsible’ for the mayhem, accusing him of ‘a betrayal of historic proportions.’ They argued that he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, the threshold for conviction laid out in the Constitution, primarily because he used the powers of his office to advance his personal political interests at the expense of the nation. To bolster their case, the managers turned to the words and actions of the country’s founders, citing lofty passages from the Federalist Papers and contrasting Trump’s efforts to stay in office despite his electoral loss with George Washington’s insistence upon relinquishing the presidency after two terms in the interest of preserving democracy.” See also, Impeachment Case Argues Trump Was ‘Singularly Responsible’ for Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “The House impeachment managers on Tuesday laid out their case against Donald J. Trump, asserting that he was ‘singularly responsible’ for the deadly assault on the Capitol last month and must be convicted and barred from holding public office. In an 80-page brief filed on Tuesday, the managers outlined the arguments they planned to make when the Senate opens Mr. Trump’s trial next week, contending that the former president whipped his supporters into a ‘frenzy’ as part of a concerted campaign to cling to power. Spinning a vivid narrative of a harrowing day when lawmakers were forced to flee as a violent pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol, the prosecutors also reached back centuries to bolster their case, invoking George Washington and the Constitutional Convention. ‘The framers of the Constitution feared a president who would corrupt his office by sparing no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected,’ wrote the nine House Democrats, led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, quoting directly from the 1787 debate in Philadelphia. ‘If provoking an insurrectionary riot against a joint session of Congress after losing an election is not an impeachable offense, it is hard to imagine what would be.’ In Mr. Trump’s own shorter filing, specked with typos and stripped of the former president’s usual bombast, his lawyers flatly denied that he had incited the attack and repeatedly argued that the Senate ‘lacks jurisdiction’ to try a former president. They repeatedly urged an immediate dismissal of the single charge against him, ‘incitement of insurrection.'” See also, Impeachment Managers Argue Trump Is ‘Singularly Responsible’ for Capitol Attack, NPR, Ryan Lucas and Nina Totenberg, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “The House impeachment managers accuse Donald Trump of summoning a mob to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, whipping the crowd ‘into a frenzy’ and then aiming them ‘like a loaded cannon’ at the U.S. Capitol, pinning the blame for the deadly violence that ensued directly on the former president. The allegations are contained in a memo delivered to the Senate that presents an outline of the case against Trump that House impeachment managers plan to present on Feb. 9 when the trial begins. Also Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers filed an official response to the article of impeachment charging that Trump incited insurrection. In their 14-page filing, the former president’s attorneys largely ignore the factual assertions contained in the House document, denying the allegation without presenting evidence, and asserting that it is up to the House to prove its case.”

Biden announces efforts to reunite migrant families separated by Trump administration, The Washington Post, Kevin Sieff, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “President Biden on Tuesday announced the start of efforts to identify and reunite hundreds of families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration and remain apart years later. President Biden signed an executive order creating a task force to reunite the families, a step toward fulfilling a campaign promise. ‘With the first action today we are going to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families at the border and with no plan, none whatsoever, to reunify the children who are still in custody and their parents,’ he said.” See also, Biden Issues Orders to Dismantle Trump’s ‘America First’ Immigration Agenda. Officials and immigration advocates said the orders, which aim to reunite separated migrant families and review the former president’s actions, will broadly reshape policy, but not immediately. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “President Biden moved cautiously on Tuesday to confront the most intractable immigration issues that his predecessor left behind: reuniting migrant children separated from their families, rebuilding a working asylum system and restoring opportunities for foreign workers and students to enter the country. As a candidate, Mr. Biden vowed to once again welcome immigrants to American shores by quickly rolling back hundreds of actions by President Donald J. Trump that were aimed at deporting immigrants and shutting the country off from those seeking work or refuge. A trio of executive orders signed on Tuesday reflect a reimagining of America’s place in the world after four years of Mr. Trump’s ‘America First’ vision. But administration officials and immigration advocates cautioned that will not happen immediately. Mr. Biden’s government is wary of flinging open the border until it has rebuilt an asylum and refugee system that can process potentially large influxes of people.” See also, Biden signs immigration executive orders and establishes task force to reunite separated families, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “President Joe Biden signed three executive orders Tuesday that take aim at his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies and try to rectify the consequences of those policies, including by establishing a task force designed to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border. The latest orders build upon the actions taken in Biden’s first days in office and begin to provide a clearer picture of the administration’s immigration priorities.”

Democrats Speed Ahead on Economic Aid Package, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Jim Tankersley, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “Democrats are taking steps to push through President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan, using a budgetary maneuver that could eventually allow the measure to become law without Republican support. The move advanced the two-track strategy that Mr. Biden and Democratic leaders are employing to speed the aid package through Congress: show Republicans that they have the votes to pass an ambitious spending bill with only Democratic backing, but offer to negotiate some details in hopes of gaining Republican support. The party-line vote of 50 to 49 set the stage for Democrats to advance Mr. Biden’s plan through budget reconciliation, which would allow it to pass with a simple majority vote, bypassing the need for Republican support. (Senator Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, was absent and did not vote because he was delayed by snow.) The vote came the day after 10 Republican senators met at the White House with Mr. Biden seeking a smaller, $618 billion package they said could win bipartisan backing.”

An Extremely Detailed Map of the 2020 Election, The New York Times, Alice Park, Charlie Smart, Rumsey Taylor, and Mils Watkins, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “This map has detailed data from 1,922 of 3,143 counties in 42 states, representing 64% of all votes cast. It was last updated on 2 February.”

Pentagon Clears Out Advisory Boards to Oust Last-Minute Trump Picks. With clean sweep, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin avoids selectively firing Trump supporters. The Wall Street Journal, Nancy A. Youssef, Tuesday, 2 February 2021: “Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin dismissed hundreds of members of the Pentagon’s policy advisory boards Monday, ousting last-minute Trump administration nominees as well as officials appointed by previous administrations. By removing members, effective Feb. 16, Mr. Austin avoided selectively firing those appointed by the Trump administration. The defense chief also ordered a review of at least 42 boards to be completed by June, defense officials said. ‘Advisory boards have and will continue to provide an important role in shaping public policy within [the Department of Defense],’ Mr. Austin wrote in a memo to the Pentagon’s leadership. ‘That said, our stewardship responsibilities require that we continually assess to ensure each advisory committee provides appropriate value today.'”


Wednesday, 3 February 2021:


The New Washington: House to Vote Thursday on Removing Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Committees, The New York Times, Wednesday, 3 February 2021:

  • McCarthy condemns Marjorie Taylor Greene’s statements but declines to remove her from committees.

  • House Republicans choose to keep Liz Cheney in leadership post after her vote to impeach Trump.

  • Biden says he won’t drop his ‘promise’ for $1,400 stimulus checks, but is open to further targeting them.

  • Miguel Cardona, education secretary nominee, tells senators schools need more funds to recover.

  • Analysis: Fights over Greene and Cheney are bad news for a weakened McCarthy, less of a problem for McConnell.

  • The House approves a budget blueprint, a key step to pass a stimulus package without G.O.P. support.

  • Federal officials arrested another leader of the Proud Boys, Ethan Nordean, in the Capitol riot investigation.

  • Lloyd Austin ramps up the fight against right-wing extremism within the military.

  • Brian Sicknick, the officer who died from the Jan. 6 riot, is honored in a ceremony at the Capitol he helped protect.

First 100 Days: House to vote on removing Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 3 February 2021: “At a House GOP meeting late Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia apologized to her colleagues for her embrace of dangerous conspiracies as a far-right provocateur on the eve of a House vote to strip her of her committee assignments. At the same meeting, a majority of Republicans voted by secret ballot to keep Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming in leadership after some wanted to punish her for voting with Democrats to impeach former president Donald Trump. Earlier Wednesday, Democrats announced plans to hold a House vote Thursday on removing Greene from her committees after Republican leaders declined to do so Wednesday on their own. ‘A member of this House is calling for assassinations. That’s the new precedent,’ Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the Rules Committee, said at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. ‘If that’s the standard that we remove people from committees, I’m fine with that.’ House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) issued a statement late Wednesday condemning Greene’s words but stopped short of taking any action against her. In the Senate, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) came to terms on how to run a 50-50 chamber, after weeks of negotiations. Vice President Harris gives Democrats the tiebreaking vote, and they will control the committees.

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

  • Senate committees advanced the nomination of Gina Raimondo for commerce secretary and Jennifer Granholm for energy secretary. Confirmation hearings were held for Miguel Cardona to become education secretary, Isabel Guzman to lead the Small Business Administration and Michael Regan to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Biden sought to shore up support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation by joining a meeting of House Democrats by phone and hosting several senators at an in-person Oval Office meeting.
  • Brian D. Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who suffered fatal injuries Jan. 6 when a riotous mob rampaged through the building, was remembered Wednesday morning for his actions on that chaotic day.

Justice Department Unveils Further Charges in Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 3 February 2021: “The Justice Department continued building cases on Wednesday against people accused of storming the Capitol, arresting a leader of the far-right group the Proud Boys and charging two men with conspiracy in an effort to block certification of President Biden’s victory in the election. Ethan Nordean, the self-described ‘sergeant of arms’ of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, was arrested on Wednesday morning, federal prosecutors said. He had been under investigation for more than a week after prosecutors named him in court papers as a chief organizer of a mob of about 100 other members of the group that marched through Washington on Jan. 6, ending at the Capitol building. Separately, Nicholas DeCarlo, a 30-year-old Texas man, and Nicholas Ochs, a founder of Hawaii’s chapter of the Proud Boys, were charged with conspiring with one another and unnamed co-conspirators to stop the certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College win as part of last month’s riot at the Capitol, according to the indictment.”

In Rare Public Statement, Congressional Aides Call for Trump’s Conviction. More than 370 Democratic aides issued an unusual public appeal, notable because congressional staff members rarely publicly express their own views. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 3 February 2021: “More than 370 Democratic congressional aides issued an unusual public appeal on Wednesday, imploring senators — in some cases their own bosses — to convict former President Donald J. Trump for inciting a violent ‘attack on our workplace’ that threatened the peaceful transition of power. In a starkly personal letter, the staff members describe ducking under office desks, barricading themselves in offices or watching as they witnessed marauding bands of rioters who ‘smashed’ their way through the Capitol on Jan. 6. Responsibility, they argue, lies squarely with Mr. Trump and his ‘baseless, monthslong effort to reject votes lawfully cast by the American people. As congressional employees, we don’t have a vote on whether to convict Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent attack at the Capitol, but our senators do,’ they wrote. ‘And for our sake, and the sake of the country, we ask that they vote to convict the former president and bar him from ever holding office again.'” See also, Hundreds of congressional staffers sign letter to senators urging them to convict Trump, CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster and Annie Grayer, Wednesday, 3 February 2021: “Hundreds of congressional staffers wrote an open letter to senators urging them to consider the trauma aides experienced during the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol and to convict former President Donald Trump ‘for our sake, and the sake of the country.'”

Biden moves quickly to make his mark on federal courts after Trump’s record judicial nominations, The Washington Post, Anne E. Marimow and Matt Viser, Wednesday, 3 February 2021: “President Biden’s top advisers have spent months building an extensive pipeline of judicial nominees to fill court vacancies throughout the country, attempting to swiftly remake portions of the judiciary and undo one of his predecessor’s most significant achievements. President Donald Trump dramatically reshaped the courts over his four-year term with a record pace of nominations, and now Biden — who took part in hundreds of confirmations as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee — is eager to leave his mark with nominees of his own. More than a third of judges nationwide serving on federal appeals courts one level below the Supreme Court are eligible to step back from active service. With Democrats narrowly controlling the Senate — and with the prospect that they could lose control during the 2022 midterms — Biden intends to move quickly to fill openings that arise on courts affecting significant policies, including environmental regulations, gun laws and immigration.”


Thursday, 4 February 2021:


The New Washington: Senate Approves Biden’s Stimulus Plan but Blocks $15 Minimum Wage Hike, The New York Times, Thursday, 4 February 2021:

  • The House votes to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments.

  • Trump’s lawyers reject a request from House managers for testimony from the former president.

  • Biden announces the end of U.S. support to Saudi war in Yemen and a tougher line on Russia and China.

  • Schumer, seeking to pressure Biden, pushes a $50,000 student debt forgiveness plan.

  • Jobs numbers signal more pain ahead, as some sectors permanently downsize.

  • Marjorie Taylor Greene is testing the limits of some of her constituents.
  • A memoir by Hunter Biden, ‘Beautiful Things,’ will focus on his substance abuse.
  • Biden at 61 percent in a new poll, outdoing Trump as he undoes his agenda.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee will examine anti-government extremists.
  • Senator Mitt Romney proposes monthly payments to parents to fight child poverty.
  • All Capitol Police officers will be vaccinated, the acting chief says.
  • Migrant families are being released into the United States because of a new Mexican law.

First 100 Days: Trump rejects request to testify at his Senate impeachment trial; House strips Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Thursday, 4 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump is rejecting a request for his testimony at the Senate impeachment trial that begins next week. ‘The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,’ spokesman Jason Miller said Thursday. The House impeached Trump last month on a charge of ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in instigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The House impeachment managers had asked for testimony from the former president, but the managers do not have subpoena power. During his first major foreign policy speech, President Biden announced an end to U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen and a freeze on troop redeployments from Germany. The announcements, part of an address at the State Department, signaled a desire to strengthen alliances and reengage with multinational institutions.

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

  • The House, on a bipartisan vote, stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her two committee assignments over her extremist remarks, including her questioning the veracity of school shootings, encouraging political violence and promoting anti-Semitic falsehoods. Greene had defended herself, saying lawmakers want to ‘crucify me in the public square for words that I said — and I regret — a few years ago.’
  • A Senate committee held a hearing on the nomination of Marty Walsh as labor secretary. Another committee advanced the nomination of Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. And a third committee advanced Marcia Fudge as secretary of housing and urban development and Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.
  • Biden addressed a virtual National Prayer Breakfast in a videotaped message in which he talked about the value of faith in dark times.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats recount on House floor what they experienced during the Capitol siege, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Colby Itkowitz, Thursday, 4 February 2021: “Several Democratic lawmakers gave emotional and harrowing testimony on the House floor on Thursday describing their experiences during the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to personalize the trauma. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who helped organize the hour of testimonials with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, blasted those who demanded that lawmakers move on from the insurrection, ‘with little to no accountability for the bloodshed and trauma of the 6th. In doing so, they not only further harm those who were there that day and provide cover for those responsible, but they also send a tremendously damaging message to survivors of trauma all across this country that the way to deal with trauma, violence and targeting is to paper it over, minimize it and move on,’ Ocasio-Cortez said. ‘Twenty-nine days ago, our nation’s capital was attacked. That is the big story. And in that big story reside thousands of individual accounts just as valid and important as the other.’ For an hour, she and others shared powerful memories of what they had endured that day, when an angry pro-Trump mob overran the Capitol grounds in a violent insurrection that left five people dead. One of those killed, Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, was laid to rest earlier Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery after lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday night.” See also, Movie at the Ellipse Rally of Trump Supporters on January 6th: A Study in Fascist Propaganda, Just Security, Jason Stanley, Thursday, 4 February 2021: “On January 6, Trump supporters gathered at a rally at Washington DC’s Ellipse Park, regaled by various figures from Trump world, including Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani. Directly following Giuliani’s speech, the organizers played a video. To a scholar of fascist propaganda, well-versed in the history of the National Socialist’s pioneering use of videos in political propaganda, it was clear, watching it, what dangers it portended. In it, we see themes and tactics that history warns pose a violent threat to liberal democracy. Given the aims of fascist propaganda – to incite and mobilize – the events that followed were predictable.” See also, Voting technology company Smartmatic files $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell over ‘disinformation campaign,’ CNN Business, Oliver Darcy, Thursday, 4 February 2021: “A voting technology company swept up in baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election filed a monster $2.7 billion lawsuit on Thursday against Fox News, some of the network’s star hosts, and pro-Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, alleging the parties worked in concert to wage a ‘disinformation campaign’ that has jeopardized its very survival. ‘We have no choice,’ Antonio Mugica, the chief executive and founder of Smartmatic, told CNN Business in an interview about the company’s decision to file the lawsuit. ‘The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one. For us, this is existential, and we have to take action.’… Throughout the nearly 300-page lawsuit, Smartmatic surgically dismantled the theories against it. ‘The Earth is round. Two plus two equals four. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the 2020 election for President and Vice President of the United States,’ the lawsuit said. ‘The election was not stolen, rigged, or fixed. These are facts. They are demonstrable and irrefutable.'”


Friday, 5 February 2021:


The New Washington: House Puts $1.9 Trillion Stimulus on Fast Track, With No Republican Votes, The New York Times, Friday, 5 February 2021:

  • House gives final approval to budget plan including Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus, fast tracking the process.

  • Biden says he will bar Trump from receiving intelligence briefings, saying his ‘erratic behavior’ cannot be trusted.

  • State Dept. lifts terrorist designation against Houthi rebels issued in Trump’s final days.

  • Two G.O.P. House members, Louie Gohmert and Andrew Clyde, are fined for bypassing security screening.

  • A Lincoln Project co-founder resigns after allegations that a former colleague sent unsolicited, lurid messages to young men.

  • Greene says Democrats are ‘morons’ — and accuses critics of calling any Republican with ‘white skin’ a racist.

  • Pence accepts two fellowships from conservative groups — and starts a podcast.

  • 144 constitutional lawyers call Trump’s First Amendment defense ‘legally frivolous.’

  • Prosecutors explore the role played by the Proud Boys in coordinating the January 6 ‘war’ on Congress.

First 100 Days: Biden says Trump should not receive intelligence briefings because of his ‘erratic behavior,’ The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, and Amy B Wang, Friday, 5 February 2021: “President Biden, in an interview with the ‘CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell,’ said former president Donald Trump should not receive intelligence briefings, citing his ‘erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection. I just think that there is no need for him to have the intelligence briefings. What value is giving him an intelligence briefing? What impact does he have at all, other than the fact he might slip and say something?’ Biden said when questioned. The White House has been reviewing whether the former president, now out of office, should get the briefings. Separately, Biden pledged Friday ‘to act fast’ on securing passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, making clear that he and Democrats in Congress are willing to move forward without Republican support. He pointed to a disappointing jobs report for January to argue that the cost of the legislation is justified. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) held a combative news conference, responding to a House vote Thursday to remove her from her committee assignments as a rebuke for espousing extremist beliefs. She said committee service was a ‘waste of my time’ and she would now have more time to promote her conservative views.

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

  • The U.S. economy added 49,000 jobs in January, a modest increase amid the labor market’s ongoing strain from the coronavirus pandemic, according to new Labor Department data. The country has recovered just over half of the 22 million jobs lost between February and April.
  • The House approved a budget plan that directs committees to start working on the details underlying Biden’s stimulus package that aims to shore up the ailing economy and strengthen vaccine distribution. The Senate in the early Friday morning hours approved the budget bill through a narrow partisan vote.
  • Biden recommitted the United States to global alliances and a role in the world that projects democratic principles, using his first major foreign policy address to promise that he will counter ‘advancing authoritarianism’ and to announce an end to U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen that are blamed for thousands of civilian deaths.
  • House Democrats asked Trump to testify about his role in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, an invitation his advisers promptly rejected. Democrats did not immediately indicate whether other witnesses would be called to testify at next week’s Senate impeachment trial.

Biden Bars Trump From Receiving Intelligence Briefings, Citing ‘Erratic Behavior,’ The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Friday, 5 February 2021: “President Biden said on Friday that he would bar his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, from receiving intelligence briefings traditionally given to former presidents, saying that Mr. Trump could not be trusted because of his ‘erratic behavior’ even before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The move was the first time that a former president had been cut out of the briefings, which are provided partly as a courtesy and partly for the moments when a sitting president reaches out for advice. Currently, the briefings are offered on a regular basis to Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.” Update, see also, Trump’s access to sensitive briefings will be determined by intelligence officials, White House clarifies, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Saturday, 6 February 2021: “The White House on Saturday said President Biden’s statement that his predecessor should not receive intelligence briefings did not represent a final decision on the matter, which will instead be resolved by intelligence officials. Biden made his views known during an appearance on ‘CBS Evening News’ with Norah O’Donnell. Asked whether former president Donald Trump should receive the briefings, as is customary for ex-presidents, Biden said, ‘I think not.’… Biden has the unilateral authority to deny intelligence access to anyone he chooses, and his remarks seemed to suggest he considered Trump enough of a risk to do so. But his aides said he would leave that decision to his intelligence team.”

Muddled Intelligence Hampered Response to Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Adam Goldman, Friday, 5 February 2021: “On Jan. 4, the intelligence division of the United States Capitol Police issued a report listing all the groups known to be descending on the city and planning to rally for President Donald J. Trump two days later, such as the Prime Time Patriots, the MAGA Marchers and Stop the Steal. The dispatch, a kind of threat matrix, gave low odds that any of the groups might break laws or incite violence, labeling the chances as ‘improbable,’ ‘highly improbable’ or ‘remote.’ But the document, which was not previously disclosed, never addressed the odds of something else happening: that the groups might join together in a combustible mix, leading to an explosion of violence. But just a day earlier the same office had presented a slightly more ominous picture. The Capitol Police’s intelligence division, which draws on information from the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security, warned of desperation about ‘the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election’ and the potential for significant danger to law enforcement and the public. The documents show how the police and federal law enforcement agencies produced inconsistent and sometimes conflicting assessments of the threat from American citizens marching on the Capitol as Mr. Trump sought to hold on to power. That lack of clarity in turn helps explain why the government did not bring more urgency to security preparations for a worst-case outcome. But the decision in the face of muddled intelligence to take only limited measures to bolster security and prepare backup highlights another issue: whether, as some critics have long said, agencies that have spent two decades and billions of dollars reacting aggressively to intelligence about the potential for Islamic terrorism are similarly focused on the full array of threats from the homegrown far right.”

144 Constitutional Lawyers Call Trump’s First Amendment Defense ‘Legally Frivolous,’ The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Michael S. Schmidt, and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 5 February 2021: “Claims by former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers that his conduct around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is shielded by the First Amendment are ‘legally frivolous’ and should do nothing to stop the Senate from convicting him in his impeachment trial, 144 leading First Amendment lawyers and constitutional scholars from across the political spectrum wrote in a letter circulated on Friday. Taking aim at one of the key planks of Mr. Trump’s defense, the lawyers argued that the constitutional protections do not apply to an impeachment proceeding, were never meant to protect conduct like Mr. Trump’s anyway and would most likely fail to shield him even in a criminal court.”


Saturday, 6 February 2021:


Trump’s lie that the election was stolen has cost U.S. taxpayers $519 million (and counting) for enhanced security, legal fees, property repairs, and more, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Saturday, 6 February 2021: “President Donald Trump’s onslaught of falsehoods about the November election misled millions of Americans, undermined faith in the electoral system, sparked a deadly riot — and has now left taxpayers with a large, and growing, bill. The total so far: $519 million. The costs have mounted daily as government agencies at all levels have been forced to devote public funds to respond to actions taken by Trump and his supporters, according to a Washington Post review of local, state and federal spending records, as well as interviews with government officials. The expenditures include legal fees prompted by dozens of fruitless lawsuits, enhanced security in response to death threats against poll workers, and costly repairs needed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. That attack triggered the expensive massing of thousands of National Guard troops on the streets of Washington amid fears of additional extremist violence. Although more than $480 million of the total is attributable to the military’s estimated expenses for the troop deployment through mid-March, the financial impact of the president’s refusal to concede the election is probably much higher than what has been documented thus far, and the true costs may never be known. The problems at the Agriculture Department are reflected across the government. A few weeks after taking office, Biden and his team are confronted with numerous challenges, including smoothing over chaotic operations, boosting flagging morale and staffing up agencies that dwindled. To achieve their policy goals, they must move quickly to communicate a sense of mission, build expertise, improve performance, assure stability and regain public confidence, analysts say.”

Trump left behind a damaged government. Here’s what Biden faces as he rebuilds it. The Washington Post, Dan Diamond, Lisa Rein, and Juliet Eilperin, Saturday, 6 February 2021: “More than 18 months after the Agriculture Department relocated two research agencies from Washington to Kansas City, Mo., prompting a major exodus from both divisions, the agencies are still struggling to regain their strength. Even after a round of hiring in the past year, the permanent staff of the Economic Research Service is down 33 percent from where it was near the end of the Obama administration, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture workforce has declined 34 percent. According to USDA, they have 115 and 130 job vacancies, respectively. ‘We lost some of the nation’s best economists and agricultural scientists in the previous administration,’ USDA spokesman Matt Herrick said in an email. ‘It will take time for the new administration to rebuild USDA’s scientific and research agencies and restore their confidence and morale.'”

Lawsuits Take the Lead in Fight Against Disinformation. Defamation cases have made waves across an uneasy right-wing media landscape, from Fox to Newsmax. The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Saturday, 6 February 2021: “In just a few weeks, lawsuits and legal threats from a pair of obscure election technology companies have achieved what years of advertising boycotts, public pressure campaigns and liberal outrage could not: curbing the flow of misinformation in right-wing media. Fox Business canceled its highest rated show, ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ on Friday after its host was sued as part of a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit. On Tuesday, the pro-Trump cable channel Newsmax cut off a guest’s rant about rigged voting machines. Fox News, which seldom bows to critics, has run fact-checking segments to debunk its own anchors’ false claims about electoral fraud. This is not the typical playbook for right-wing media, which prides itself on pugilism and delights in ignoring the liberals who have long complained about its content. But conservative outlets have rarely faced this level of direct assault on their economic lifeblood. Smartmatic, a voter technology firm swept up in conspiracies spread by former President Donald J. Trump and his allies, filed its defamation suit against Rupert Murdoch’s Fox empire on Thursday, citing Mr. Dobbs and two other Fox anchors, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, for harming its business and reputation.”


Sunday, 7 February 2021:


Impeachment Case Against Trump Will Attempt to Rekindle the Outrage Lawmakers Experienced on January 6, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 7 February 2021: “When House impeachment managers prosecute former President Donald J. Trump this week for inciting the Capitol attack, they plan to mount a fast-paced, cinematic case aimed at rekindling the outrage lawmakers experienced on Jan. 6. Armed with lessons from Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial, which even Democrats complained was repetitive and sometimes sanctimonious, the prosecutors managing his second are prepared to conclude in as little as a week, forgo distracting witness fights and rely heavily on video, according to six people working on the case. It would take 17 Republicans joining every Democrat to find Mr. Trump guilty, making conviction unlikely. But when the trial opens on Tuesday at the very scene of the invasion, the prosecutors will try to force senators who lived through the deadly rampage as they met to formalize President Biden’s election victory to reckon with the totality of Mr. Trump’s monthslong drive to overturn the election and his failure to call off the assault. ‘The story of the president’s actions is both riveting and horrifying,’ Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead prosecutor, said in an interview. ‘We think that every American should be aware of what happened — that the reason he was impeached by the House and the reason he should be convicted and disqualified from holding future federal office is to make sure that such an attack on our democracy and Constitution never happens again.'”

On cusp of impeachment trial, court documents point to how Trump’s rhetoric fueled rioters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Rachel Weiner, and Spencer S. Hsu, Sunday, 7 February 2021: “Storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was no spur-of-the-moment decision for Jessica Marie Watkins, an Ohio bartender and founder of a small, self-styled militia, federal prosecutors allege. In documents charging her with conspiracy and other crimes for her role in the insurrection, they say she began planning such an operation shortly after President Donald Trump lost the November election, ultimately helping recruit and allegedly helping lead dozens of people who took violent action to try to stop congressional certification of the electoral college vote last month. In text messages cited in court documents, Watkins was clear about why she was heading to Washington. ‘Trump wants all able bodied patriots to come,’ she wrote to one of her alleged co-conspirators on Dec. 29, eight days before prosecutors say they invaded the building. The question of what exactly motivated Watkins and other alleged rioters — and when their plans took shape — will be among the central questions of Trump’s impeachment trial this week, when the Senate will consider whether to convict the former president on charges that he incited the crowd to attack the Capitol. The nine House impeachment managers leading Trump’s prosecution made clear in an 80-page brief filed last week that they will argue that his role in inspiring the crowd to action began long before the 70-minute speech he gave that day. They assert that the violence was virtually inevitable after Trump spent months falsely claiming that the election had been stolen from him. ‘He amplified these lies at every turn, seeking to convince supporters that they were victims of a massive electoral conspiracy that threatened the Nation’s continued existence,’ the House impeachment managers wrote. After refusing to take the ‘honorable path’ and admit defeat in the election, they wrote, Trump ‘summoned a mob to Washington, exhorted them into a frenzy and aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue.’ Evidence to bolster the Democratic case has already emerged in federal criminal cases filed against more than 185 people so far in the aftermath of the insurrection.”

Breaking With Republicans, Top Conservative Lawyer Charles J. Cooper, a Stalwart of the Conservative Legal Establishment, Said That Republicans Are Wrong to Assert That It Is Unconstitutional for a Former President to be Tried for Impeachable Offenses, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 7 February 2021: “One of Washington’s leading conservative constitutional lawyers publicly broke on Sunday with the main Republican argument against convicting former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial, asserting that an ex-president can indeed be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors. In an opinion piece posted on The Wall Street Journal’s website, the lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, who is closely allied with top Republicans in Congress, dismissed as illogical the claim that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president. The piece came two days before the Senate was set to start the proceeding, in which Mr. Trump is charged with ‘incitement of insurrection’ in connection with the deadly assault on the Capitol by his supporters on Jan. 6…. Many legal scholars disagree, and the Senate has previously held an impeachment trial of a former official — though never a former president. But 45 Republican senators, including Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader who is said to believe that Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses, voted last month to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional on those grounds. Mr. Cooper said they were misreading the Constitution. ‘The provision cuts against their interpretation,’ he wrote. He argued that because the Constitution allows the Senate to bar officials convicted of impeachable offenses from holding public office again in the future, ‘it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders.'” See also, Top conservative lawyer Charles J. Cooper says the Constitution does allow for Trump impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, published on Monday, 8 February 2021.


Monday, 8 February 2021:


The Trump Impeachment: Senate Leaders Announce Trial Rules After Trump’s Team Blasts Case as ‘Political Theater.’ Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell reached an agreement for the rules of a swift trial. The New York Times, Monday, 8 February 2021:

  • Trump’s lawyers deny incitement and urge a dismissal of the case as Senate leaders agree on trial rules.

  • Democrats roll out a plan to send $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans earning up to $75,000 a year.

  • Denis McDonough is confirmed as the V.A. secretary.

  • Here’s how Trump’s second impeachment trial will unfold in the Senate this week.

  • First up for senators: Can a former president even stand trial?

  • Georgia officials will review phone call where Trump pressured an election official to ‘find’ votes.

  • John Fetterman will run for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat in 2022, in a Rust Belt test for the Democratic left.

  • The United States is rejoining the U.N. Human Rights Council as an observer.
  • Representative Ron Wright of Texas dies after battling Covid-19.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announce agreement on schedule and format for Trump impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Paulina Firozi, and Colby Itkowitz, Monday, 8 February 2021: “Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Monday that they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan resolution that will govern the timing and structure of former president Donald Trump’s second Senate impeachment trial. Attorneys for Trump asked the Senate to dismiss the impeachment case against him in a brief Monday that contends that the Constitution does not permit a trial of a former president and accuses Democrats of a ‘hunger for this political theater.’ House impeachment managers rejected calls to dismiss the case, saying Trump ‘willfully incited violent insurrection against the government.’ President Biden, who returned to Washington from Delaware on Monday morning, took a virtual tour of a professional football stadium in Arizona that has been turned into a mass coronavirus vaccination site as he continues to focus on combating the pandemic.

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

  • Rep. Ron Wright (R-Tex.) has died after contracting covid-19. In a statement, Wright’s office said the 67-year-old lawmaker, who had been battling cancer, will be ‘remembered as a constitutional conservative.’
  • The Senate confirmed Denis McDonough as Biden’s veterans affairs secretary, choosing a non-veteran but a manager with years of government service to lead the sprawling health and benefits agency.
  • Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a fixture of the Senate who chaired the powerful Appropriations Committee, announced that he will retire when his term ends in 2022.
  • Senate leaders reached agreement on the logistics of Trump’s impeachment trial, in which he is accused of ‘incitement of insurrection’ related to the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Proceedings will begin Tuesday with debate over whether the Constitution permits the trial of a former president.
  • Democratic lawmakers are increasingly divided over the criteria for the next round of stimulus payments, splintering the caucus even as it aims to quickly pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package.

Georgia Officials Review Trump Phone Call as Scrutiny Intensifies. The office of Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, has initiated a fact-finding inquiry into Donald Trump’s January phone call to Mr. Raffensperger pressuring him to ‘find’ votes. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Monday, 8 February 2021: “The office of Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, on Monday started an investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn the state’s election results, including a phone call he made to Mr. Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to ‘find’ enough votes to reverse his loss. Such inquiries are ‘fact-finding and administrative in nature,’ the secretary’s office said, and are a routine step when complaints are received about electoral matters. Findings are typically brought before the Republican-controlled state board of elections, which decides whether to refer them for prosecution to the state attorney general or another agency.” See also, Georgia secretary of state’s office launches investigation into Trump’s phone call, CNN Politics, Jason Morris, Monday, 8 February 2021: “The office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger confirmed to CNN on Monday that it has started an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the state’s election results, including a phone call the former President made to Raffensperger. During the call, Trump pushed Raffensperger to ‘find’ votes to overturn the election results after his loss to then-President-elect Joe Biden, according to an audio recording first released by The Washington Post and later obtained by CNN. ‘All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state,’ Trump had said.”

Denying Incitement, Trump Impeachment Team Says He Cannot Be Tried. The lengthy legal brief provided the first extended defense of former President Donald J. Trump’s conduct since the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. It arrived as senators locked in rules for an exceedingly fast trial. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Monday, 8 February 2021: “Donald J. Trump’s lawyers laid out their first extended impeachment defense on Monday, arguing that holding him responsible for the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack was nothing more than ‘political theater’ by Democrats, and that the Senate had no power to sit in judgment of a former president. In a 78-page brief submitted to the Senate on the eve of the trial, the lawyers asserted that Mr. Trump did not ‘direct anyone to commit unlawful actions’ or deserve blame for the conduct of what they called a ‘small group of criminals’ who stormed into the Capitol. They said the former president’s rash of falsehoods about a stolen election, delivered at a rally outside the White House before the pro-Trump mob mounted its assault, were protected by the First Amendment. Relying on contested legal arguments, they also contended that the Senate ‘lacks jurisdiction’ to try a former president because, by definition, he cannot be removed. Hours later, in their own filing, the Democratic impeachment managers from the House called the lawyers’ attempt to dismiss their charge ‘wholly without merit,’ and argued that the Constitution gave them clear jurisdiction to proceed. Mr. Trump’s defense appeared to be aimed at persuading at least 34 Republicans needed to win acquittal on the charge of ‘incitement of insurrection’ to stick with the former president, despite their outrage over an assault that put their lives at risk. And it brimmed with partisan attacks.” See also, Read Trump’s Impeachment Defense Memo, The New York Times, Monday, 8 February 2021. See also, Read the House Impeachment Managers’ Memo, The New York Times, Monday, 8 February 2021. See also, Trump lawyers argue former President did not incite riots by telling supporters to ‘fight like hell,’ CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Jeremy Herb, Monday, 8 February 2021: “Donald Trump’s legal team accused House Democrats Monday of engaging in “political theater” and argued that the upcoming Senate impeachment trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer President.”

‘Its Own Domestic Army’: How Republicans Allied Themselves With Militants. Actions taken by paramilitary groups in Michigan last year, emboldened by President Donald J. Trump, signaled a profound shift in Republican politics and a national crisis in the making. The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntire, Monday, 8 February 2021: “Dozens of heavily armed militiamen crowded into the Michigan Statehouse last April to protest a stay-at-home order by the Democratic governor to slow the pandemic. Chanting and stomping their feet, they halted legislative business, tried to force their way onto the floor and brandished rifles from the gallery over lawmakers below. Initially, Republican leaders had some misgivings about their new allies. ‘The optics weren’t good. Next time tell them not to bring guns,’ complained Mike Shirkey, the State Senate majority leader, according to one of the protest organizers. But Michigan’s highest-ranking Republican came around after the planners threatened to return with weapons and ‘militia guys signing autographs and passing out blow-up AR-15s to the kiddies on the Capitol lawn.'”

House Democrats ask Biden White House for documents related to alleged Trump administration political interference in Covid response, CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster, Monday, 8 February 2021: “House Democrats on Monday asked the Biden administration to hand over long-sought documents from the Trump administration regarding its response to the coronavirus pandemic, renewing an investigation into what role alleged political interference by former officials may have played in the virus’ threat. In letters obtained by CNN to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and acting head of Health and Human Services Norris Cochran, House Majority Whip James Clyburn alleges the Trump administration ‘refused to cooperate’ with inquiries from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis; that HHS blocked documents and witnesses related to the response to the virus; and that Trump officials ‘failed to fully comply with two subpoenas and at least 20 document requests’ by the committee.”


Tuesday, 9 February 2021:


The Trump Impeachment: Day 1 Impeachment Trial Highlights: Senate Votes to Proceed With Trump’s Trial After Constitutionality Debate. The 56-to-44 vote paved the way for the House Democrats trying the case to formally open their arguments at noon on Wednesday. The New York Times, Tuesday, 9 February 2021:

  • Senate decides to proceed with trial, but Trump appears to have votes for acquittal.

  • Six G.O.P. senators vote to proceed with the trial, one more than in a similar vote last month.

  • ‘This cannot be our future.’ Raskin makes an emotional argument, describing his family being at the Capitol riot.

  • ‘The president’s lawyer just rambled on and on.’ Trump defense lawyer leaves some senators scratching their heads.

  • Trump is said to be angry at one of his lawyers for his performance at the trial.

  • Democrat says Trump lawyers misrepresented legal scholar’s argument.

  • Leahy has an unprecedented trifecta of impeachment roles: witness, juror and judge.

  • The basics: How the trial will unfold, the arguments each side is using and how long it might last.
  • Biden, focusing on stimulus bill and minimum wage increase, refuses to comment on impeachment trial.
  • In a final brief, the House managers say Trump has ‘no good defense.’
  • Senator Mike Lee of Utah suggests Trump should get a ‘mulligan’ for Jan. 6 speech.
  • Conservative media, the apparatus that fed Trump’s power, is facing a test, too.
  • The Capitol, scars in evidence, hosts a trial prompted by an attack on itself.

First 100 Days: Divided Senate votes to proceed with impeachment trial of Trump, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “A divided Senate voted 56 to 44 on Tuesday to proceed with the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump, rejecting his lawyers’ argument that it is unconstitutional. Most Republicans stood with Trump and his legal team, which contended the Senate cannot convict a person no longer in office. The House impeachment managers, in pressing for the trial to proceed, said Trump had a role in inciting the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and should be held accountable. Opening arguments in the trial are set to begin Wednesday.

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

  • The Senate voted 89 to 11 to agree to the rules of the trial. All 11 votes against the rules came from Republicans.
  • Here is the evidence being presented in Trump’s impeachment trial.
  • President Biden, who is trying to remain focused on his agenda this week, met Tuesday afternoon with leaders of several major U.S. companies about his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation.
  • Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget, said during a Senate committee hearing that she regretted the tone of some of her past social media posts and pledged to work in a bipartisan fashion if confirmed.
  • A Senate committee voted to advance the nomination of Michael Regan, the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Senate Agrees Impeachment Trial Is Constitutional, as Trump Consolidates Votes for an Acquittal. After a day that featured a harrowing video of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, only six Republicans joined Democrats in agreeing to allow the trial to proceed, signaling there was not enough support for a conviction. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “A divided Senate voted on Tuesday to proceed with Donald J. Trump’s second impeachment trial, narrowly rejecting constitutional objections after House prosecutors opened their case with a harrowing 13-minute video capturing the deadly Capitol riot he stands accused of inciting. Though the presentation stunned senators who lived through the rampage into silence, only six Republicans joined Democrats in clearing the way for the case to be heard. The 56-to-44 vote was the second indication in two weeks that Mr. Trump was all but certain to be acquitted. ‘The result of this trial is preordained,’ Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, said flatly. ‘President Trump will be acquitted.’ Even so, the nine House Democrats prosecuting the former president aimed their opening arguments squarely at Republicans who had the power to change the outcome. They cited an array of conservative legal scholars to argue that the Senate not only had the right to try a former president for official misconduct, but an obligation. And they offered a raw appeal from the well of the Senate, where a month before lawmakers had taken shelter as the pro-Trump mob closed in. ‘Senators, this cannot be our future,’ said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead manager, as he fought back tears. He described being locked inside the House chamber while colleagues called loved ones ‘to say goodbye’ and his own daughter and son-in-law feared for their lives nearby. ‘This cannot be the future of America,’ he continued. ‘We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people.'” See also, 5 Takeaways From Day One of Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial. Before senators could get started on the charge against former President Donald J. Trump, they spent a day debating whether they had the right to try a former president in the first place. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Tuesday, 9 February 2021. See also, Senate votes to pursue Trump impeachment trial after declaring the proceedings constitutional, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Mike DeBonis, Karoun Demirjian, and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “The Senate voted along mostly partisan lines Tuesday to pursue Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, after hours of arguments and the airing of a gripping documentary of the deadly Capitol riot that followed Trump’s inflammatory rally on Jan. 6. Aided by the graphic 13-minute video that spliced violent images of the Capitol siege with Trump’s rhetoric, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) and other impeachment managers delivered an impassioned account of the physical and emotional trauma to lawmakers, police, staffers and local residents. They said there was no ‘January exception’ in the Constitution — meaning that a president couldn’t escape accountability through impeachment just because he had left office before the trial. ‘If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing,’ Raskin said of Trump’s behavior. Trump’s lawyers countered that the trial — the first proceeding of its kind for an ex-president — would be unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office, even if he was impeached by the House before leaving. One of the attorneys acknowledged that the former president lost the election, undercutting one baseless claim that Trump has spread since Nov. 3. The Senate swiftly voted 56 to 44 against Trump. The proceedings will resume at noon Wednesday.” See also, Senators vote that impeachment trial is constitutional following House Managers and Trump lawyer debate, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, and Lauren Fox, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “The Senate voted Tuesday that the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is constitutional after the House impeachment managers made an emotionally compelling case showing how rioters violently breached the US Capitol and attacked police officers last month, invoking Trump’s name as they tried to disrupt the certification of the November election. The 56 to 44 vote, however, showed why there’s little path for the House managers to obtain the two-thirds majority needed for conviction, as all but six Republican senators voted for a second time that the trial was unconstitutional because Trump is no longer president — even while Republican senators praised the House managers’ presentation and panned the one made by Trump’s lawyers.” See also, Representative Jamie Raskin recounts his family’s terror on January 6: “I don’t want to come back to the Capitol,’ The Washington Post, Meagan Flynn, Tuesday, 9 February 2021.

The First Impeachment Trial Seemed Abstract. This One Is a Visceral Reckoning Over Trump. At issue will be many aspects that defined Donald Trump’s presidency: his relentless assaults on truth, his fomenting of divisions, his shattering of norms and his undermining of an election. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “This was no phone call transcript, no dry words on a page open to interpretation. This was a horde of extremists pushing over barricades and beating police officers. This was a mob smashing windows and pounding on doors. This was a mass of marauders setting up a gallows and shouting, ‘Take the building!’ and ‘Fight for Trump!’ As the United States Senate opened an unprecedented second impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday amid the echoes of history, the House managers prosecuting him played powerful video images of last month’s deadly assault on the Capitol that made abundantly clear how different this proceeding will be from the first. Where the case against Mr. Trump a year ago turned on what might have seemed like an abstract or narrow argument about his behind-the-scenes interactions with a far-off country, Ukraine, the case this year turns on an eruption of violence that Americans saw on television with their own eyes — and that the senators serving as jurors experienced personally when they fled for their lives. Rather than a judgment of where foreign policy turns into political excess, this sequel trial amounts to a visceral reckoning over Mr. Trump’s very presidency. At issue in the Senate chamber over the coming days will be many of the fundamental aspects that defined Mr. Trump’s four years in power: his relentless assaults on truth, his deliberate efforts to foment divisions in society, his shattering of norms and his undermining of a democratic election. Still, this trial may end up with the same verdict as the last one. On a test vote on the constitutionality of prosecuting a president after he leaves office, 44 Republicans on Tuesday stood by Mr. Trump, a measure of his enduring sway within his party and a signal that he most likely will win the 34 votes he needs for acquittal given the two-thirds supermajority required for conviction.”

Lie After Lie: Listen to How Trump Built His Alternate Reality, The New York Times, Larry Buchanan, Karen Yourish, Ainara Tiefenthäler, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: This “38-minute video … shows how Donald J. Trump’s persistent repetition of lies and calls to action over two months created an alternate reality that he won re-election. Mr. Trump’s words, which were echoed and amplified by the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, are a central focus of his second impeachment trial.”

Evidence from Trump’s second impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “This week marks the start of the second impeachment trial of former president Donald J. Trump. Trump is the first president to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. The impeachment managers and the defense will present their respective cases beginning Wednesday, Feb. 10 at noon ET. Both sides will have 16 hours to present, and the presentations must last no more than 2 days, of 8 hours each. Senior aides to House impeachment managers told reporters Tuesday morning that Trump’s trial will unfold like a ‘violent crime trial’ and will include previously unseen evidence of his role in inciting the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. This page will update with the evidence as it is presented at trial.”

Michigan Republican Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey falsely claims Capitol riot was ‘staged’ and dismisses Trump supporters’ role, The Washington Post, Hannah Knowles and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “Michigan’s Republican Senate majority leader told members of his party that the storming of the U.S. Capitol was ‘all staged’ and not perpetrated by Trump supporters in a moment captured on video that drew calls for his resignation Tuesday from Democrats. State Sen. Mike Shirkey’s false claims about the Capitol attack — contradicted by reporting, video and statements from the rioters themselves — circulated as Republicans remain divided over basic realities of the 2020 election and former president Donald Trump’s role in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, underscoring the continued promotion of debunked theories by prominent members of the GOP. Newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Tuesday also suggested that Trump supporters were not to blame, testing her party’s willingness to condemn falsehoods and echoing her past claims that mass shootings were ‘false flag’ events orchestrated by supporters of gun-control laws. ‘Republicans need to decide for themselves if they are going to hold their leaders accountable for spreading lies,’ Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said in a statement to The Washington Post. ‘They will either face the facts now or face the consequences with voters. One thing’s for sure, history will not gloss over this moment.'” See also, Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene falsely implies Capitol rioters weren’t Trump supporters. House Republican leaders are mostly silent. The Washington Post, Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 9 February 2021: “According to the House’s top-ranking Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) emerged from the imbroglio over her past embrace of conspiracy theories and misinformation regretful and committed to holding herself to the ‘higher standard’ her position demands. But less than a week after her social media activity prompted House Democrats to strip Greene of her two committee assignments, she took to Twitter on Tuesday morning and spread another false claim, implying that those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were not supporters of President Donald Trump. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — who had a private conversation with Greene and has publicly defended her since — declined to comment on the freshman lawmaker’s latest statements, which came on the day the Senate convened its second impeachment trial of Trump, who was charged with inciting the deadly attack.”


Wednesday, 10 February 2021:


Impeachment Trial Day 2 Highlights: Prosecution Recreates Capitol Riot Using Explicit, Never-Before-Seen Video. In powerful images played for a silent, sober Senate chamber, the House impeachment managers put the horror of the siege on vivid display. The Senate will reconvene at noon on Thursday, when the prosecution will resume oral arguments. The New York Times, Wednesday, 10 February 2021:

  • Prosecutors argue that Trump ‘became the inciter in chief’ and retell riot with explicit video.

  • House managers show senators previously unseen, graphic Capitol security footage from Jan. 6.

  • Prosecutors describe Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ of a stolen election.

  • Impeachment managers raise the role of racism in the Capitol riot.

  • Stacey Plaskett, the House delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, gets a high-profile role at the trial.

  • The meaning of incitement may differ in a court than in an impeachment trial.

  • Two Times videos show Trump’s persistent election lies echoed by rioters at the Capitol.
  • A graphic, 13-minute video of the January 6 riot moved hearts but not necessarily minds in the Senate.
  • Michigan Senate Republican majority leader is caught on hot mic claiming that Capitol riot was a hoax.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee on Wednesday released a list of 47 House Democrats they are targeting in the midterm elections.

House managers show previously unseen footage of pro-Trump mob’s violent assault on the Capitol, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, Ann E. Marimow, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “House managers introduced as evidence previously unseen security footage from Jan. 6 of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol as they argued that then-President Donald Trump incited the deadly attack and should be convicted by the Senate at his impeachment trial. The graphic images showed then-Vice President Mike Pence and his family being rushed from the Senate Chamber, members of the Senate hustled through a hallway and rioters chanting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The managers also played audio of police under siege and declaring a riot. ‘Senators, you’ve seen all the evidence so far. And this is clear. On January 6th, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead,’ said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), who described how the commander in chief did not call in the military to aid the overwhelmed police.

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

  • While the drama unfolds on Capitol Hill, President Biden and Vice President Harris visited the Pentagon on Wednesday to meet with military leaders as they seek to stay focused on the work of the new administration. Biden also announced new sanctions against Myanmar after declaring that the military seizure of power there was a coup.
  • An Atlanta-area prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia in the wake of two calls Trump placed to state officials, urging them to reverse Biden’s victory in the state.
  • The impeachment charge against Trump alleges that he ‘willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’
  • Trump’s speech before the riot 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 Biden’s victory was a result that must be stopped.

5 takeaways from Day 2 of Trump’s impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “Democratic House impeachment managers on Wednesday began formally laying out their case that President Donald Trump incited the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. They are allowed 16 hours, spread over two days, to make their arguments.” See also, House impeachment managers emphasize the danger to Pence and other top officials in harrowing retelling of January 6 attack, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Karoun Demirjian, Felicia Sonmez, and Paul Kane, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “House impeachment managers on Wednesday led a rapt U.S. Senate on a harrowing retelling of the terror that engulfed the Capitol last month, sharing shocking new audio and video recordings of rioters declaring their intent to harm Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials — and showing how close they came to doing so. The House Democrats, led by lead manager Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), spent Day 2 of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial displaying violent video scenes of the Jan. 6 attack and the rioters’ relentlessly raw language, including chants to ‘hang’ Pence and a sinister clip of a man looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking, ‘Naaaancy? Where aaaare you, Nancy?'” See also, Trump’s second impeachment trial: Day 2, CNN Politics, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha, Melissa Mahtani, and Mike Hayes, Wednesday, 10 February 2021. See also, ‘Harsh reminder’: Key takeaways from Day Two of Trump’s second impeachment trial, NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “Democrats played harrowing new video Wednesday of the riot that showed how close rioters intent on harming lawmakers came to finding them on Jan. 6, stoking raw emotions on the second day of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. As the House impeachment managers recounted their experiences on Jan. 6 in emotional terms, they sought to make senators relive their own near-misses with the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol. It is unclear whether they swayed Republicans, and it remains unlikely that a two-thirds majority will vote to convict. But Democrats, who have charged Trump with being ‘singularly responsible’ for inciting the assault, were determined to remind members of his party that their own safety and lives were in danger after he spoke to a crowd of supporters who soon turned violent and stormed the Capitol.” See also, Takeaways From Day 2 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial. Former President Donald J. Trump’s Twitter feed made a prominent appearance, and the House members prosecuting the case leaned on his words and those of his supporters to argue for conviction. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “House impeachment managers built their case against former President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday, methodically using video and audio clips to argue that he was responsible for the deadly assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6. Throughout much of the day, the managers let Mr. Trump and his supporters do the talking, showing videos of Mr. Trump’s speeches, his Twitter posts and footage of his supporters answering his rallying cries that began months before the attack.”

Democrats use compelling new video and audio to bolster their case for Trump’s conviction, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Amy B Wang, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “This time, the videos came from the inside — silent, chilling, never-before-seen footage from security cameras mounted throughout the U.S. Capitol. In one, Vice President Mike Pence hustles down a stairway, with only a quick glance back as rioters draw closer. Not far away, Sen. Mitt Romney spins around and runs from the encroaching mob. And on the other side of the Capitol, insurrectionists pound on doors near House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, as her staffers were cowering inside. These chilling scenes — captured as the Capitol was breached on Jan. 6 — were made public for the first time Wednesday, part of a meticulous ­re-creation of the violent siege offered by House Democrats during the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump. In addition to the security camera footage, Democratic impeachment managers marshaled a mountain of new evidence, including video from police body cameras and audio from police dispatches as lines were breached and officers frantically called for help. The presentation — the most detailed to date of the assault — underscored the importance of video, much of it shot and posted on social media by the attackers themselves, in shaping public understanding of the event.” See also, Graphic Video of Capitol Attack Leaves Emotions Raw but May Not Change Votes. The terror of that day felt palpably real again as senators sitting in judgment of Donald J. Trump were forced to relive the first mass siege of the Capitol since British invaders ransacked the building in 1814. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “It was ghastly to watch, but that was the point. A rampaging crowd threatening death as it hunted the vice president and speaker of the House. Senators spinning around midstep to run for their lives. Staff members barricading themselves in an office as attackers pounded on the door. Overwhelmed police officers retreating from rioters, desperately calling for help. It seems safe to assume that never in American history has such gut-churning video footage been shown on the floor of the Senate, where matters of great weight have been debated but hardly brought home in such a visually powerful way. The images shown in former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday were all the more resonant because some of the jurors themselves were onscreen. The display of never-before-seen video from Capitol security cameras, along with newly disclosed police dispatch audiotapes, brought the mob assault of Jan. 6 back to life as mere words from the House managers prosecuting Mr. Trump never could. The terror of that day felt palpably real all over again as senators sitting in judgment of the former president were forced to relive the first mass siege of the Capitol since British invaders ransacked the building in 1814.”

House Lays Out Case Against Trump, Branding Him the ‘Inciter in Chief,’ The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “The House impeachment managers opened their prosecution of Donald J. Trump on Wednesday with a meticulous account of his campaign to overturn the election and goad supporters to join him, bringing its most violent spasms to life with never-before-seen security footage from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Filling the Senate chamber with the profane screams of the attackers, images of police officers being brutalized, and near-miss moments in which Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers came steps away from confronting a mob hunting them down, the prosecutors made an emotional case that Mr. Trump’s election lies had directly endangered the heart of American democracy. They played frantic police radio calls warning that ‘we’ve lost the line,’ body camera footage showing an officer pummeled with poles and fists on the West Front of the Capitol, and silent security tape from inside showing Mr. Pence, his family and members of the House and Senate racing to evacuate as the mob closed in, chanting: ‘Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!’ All of it, the nine Democratic managers said, was the foreseeable and intended outcome of Mr. Trump’s desperate attempts to cling to the presidency. Reaching back as far as last summer, they traced how he spent months cultivating not only the ‘big lie’ that the election was ‘rigged’ against him, but stoking the rage of a throng of supporters who made it clear that they would do anything — including resorting to violence — to help him.”

Trump Impeachment Trial: Democrats Raise Role of Racism in Riot, The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “The impeachment managers opened their argument for convicting former President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday with a blunt charge that the pro-Trump mob responsible for storming the Capitol was, in part, motivated by racism. Representative Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Democrat leading the prosecution on behalf of House Democrats, concluded his opening remarks on the second day of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate by invoking the role played by rioters linked to white supremacist groups. On the day of the attacks, Jan. 6, some of the rioters brandished Confederate flags inside the Capitol, something that never happened during the Civil War era, while some demonstrators outside the building set up a noose, a chilling echo of the intimidation tactics used against Blacks in the South. And Mr. Raskin, as he did a day earlier, cast his assertion in deeply personal terms. He quoted one of the Black officers who battled the mob that day describing his despair at being subjected to racist taunts from a crowd of attackers that was, according to witness accounts and video, overwhelmingly white. ‘Afterwards, overwhelmed by emotion, he broke down in the rotunda. And he cried for 15 minutes,’ Mr. Raskin said, referring to an article published last month in BuzzFeed News that quoted several exhausted defenders of the Capitol anonymously. ‘And he shouted out, I got called an N-word 15 times today. And then he recorded, I sat down with one of my buddies, another Black guy in tears, just started streaming down my face, and I said what the F, man, is this America?’ Mr. Raskin said, paraphrasing the account to clean up the language.”

Georgia Prosecutors Open Criminal Investigation of Trump Phone Call. Fulton County prosecutors have sent letters to state officials instructing them to preserve documents related to the January call, in which former President Donald J. Trump asked the Georgia secretary of state to ‘find’ votes. The New York Times, Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “Prosecutors in Fulton County have initiated a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to “find” enough votes to help him reverse his loss.” See also, Georgia prosecutors open criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to subvert election results, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “An Atlanta-area prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia in the wake of calls President Donald Trump placed to state officials, urging them to invalidate Joe Biden’s victory in the state. In a letter Wednesday to several state Republican officials including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis did not mention Trump by name but stated that her office is examining a raft of potential criminal charges related to ‘attempts to influence’ the administration of the 2020 election in the state.” See also, Georgia prosecutors launch criminal inquiry into Trump’s efforts to overturn election. The investigation will look into the phone call in which Trump begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to reverse Joe Biden’s victory. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and Julia Jester, Wednesday, 10 February 2021: “Georgia prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s election results, NBC News confirmed Wednesday. The investigation by Fulton County prosecutors will look into a damning phone call in which Trump begged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ the votes to reverse President Joe Biden’s victory.”


Thursday, 11 February 2021:


Impeachment Trial Day 3 Highlights: Prosecutors Rest Their Case, Warning Trump ‘Can Do This Again’ if He Is Not Convicted, The New York Times, Thursday, 11 February 2021:

  • Prosecution rests, saying if Trump is not convicted, it sets ‘a new terrible standard for presidential misconduct.’

  • ‘We’re fighting for Trump!’: Impeachment managers leverage rioters’ own words, and videos, to make their case.

  • House impeachment managers rebut Trump’s expected First Amendment defense.

  • One thing Biden and his staff refuse to discuss: Trump’s impeachment trial.

  • Analysis: ‘Remember this day forever!’ Trump said. Democrats are heeding his advice.

  • Trump’s second impeachment trial draws a larger TV audience than the first.

  • ‘If Trump asks me to come, I will,’ Oath Keepers member texted before Capitol attack, federal officials say.
  • The graphic videos of the Capitol riot struck a chord with many Republican senators, but they remain unlikely to convict Trump.
  • A majority of Republicans still view Biden’s election as illegitimate, a poll finds.
  • Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a chief critic of Beijing, passed out party favors made with parts from China.

First 100 Days: Impeachment managers rest case against Trump and implore Senate to convict to prevent future violence, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, Felicia Sonmez, Ann E. Marimow, and John Wagner, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “House managers on Thursday wrapped up their case against former president Donald Trump, imploring the Senate to convict him while warning that he could stoke violence again. ‘We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?’ Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) said. Trump’s legal team is poised to respond on Friday, arguing that he should be acquitted. They are expected to use only one of two allotted days. A verdict could come as early as the weekend. The developments came on the third day of an impeachment trial in which Democrats have charged Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the Jan. 6 violent takeover of the Capitol.

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

  • While the drama unfolds on Capitol Hill, President Biden is seeking to focus on his priorities. He convened an Oval Office meeting Thursday morning on investing in the nation’s infrastructure and visited the National Institutes of Health, where he announced that his administration has secured deals for another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as promised last month.
  • On Wednesday, House managers led a rapt Senate on a harrowing retelling of the terror that engulfed the Capitol last month, sharing shocking new audio and video recordings of rioters declaring their intent to harm then-Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials.
  • There was little indication that most Republican senators would change their minds and vote to convict Trump. Many are holding on to the argument that a former president cannot be impeached.
  • The impeachment charge against Trump alleges that he ‘willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’
  • Trump’s speech before the riot had no overt calls for his supporters to enter the Capitol or resort to violent means. But it included plenty of allusions to the idea that Congress accepting Biden’s victory was a result that must be stopped.

The Trump Impeachment: House Managers Rest Their Case Against Trump, but Most Republicans Are Not Swayed, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “House impeachment managers wrapped up their emotionally charged incitement case against former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday by warning that he remains a clear and present danger to American democracy and could foment still more violence if not barred from running for office again. With the sounds of a rampaging mob still ringing in the Senate chamber, the managers sought to channel the shock and indignation rekindled by videos they showed of last month’s attack on the Capitol into a bipartisan repudiation of the former president who inflamed his supporters with false claims of a stolen election. ‘My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?’ Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager, asked the senators. ‘Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?’ The argument was meant to rebut Republicans who have said that holding an impeachment trial for a former president was pointless and even unconstitutional because he has already left office and can no longer be removed. But if Mr. Trump were convicted, the Senate could bar him from holding public office in the future, and the managers emphasized that the trial was aimed not at punishment but prevention. ‘I’m not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years,’ said Representative Ted Lieu, Democrat of California, another of the managers. ‘I’m afraid he’s going to run again and lose, because he can do this again.’ In the final day of their main arguments, the managers also sought to pre-empt the defense that Mr. Trump’s legal team will offer on Friday by rejecting his claim that he was simply exercising his free-speech rights when he sent a frenzied crowd to the Capitol as lawmakers were counting Electoral College votes and told it to ‘fight like hell.’ The First Amendment, managers said, does not protect a president setting a political powder keg and then lighting a match. ‘President Trump wasn’t just some guy with political opinions who showed up at a rally on Jan. 6 and delivered controversial remarks,’ said Representative Joe Neguse, Democrat of Colorado and another manager. ‘He was the president of the United States. And he had spent months using the unique power of that office, of his bully pulpit, to spread that big lie that the election had been stolen to convince his followers to stop the steal.'” See also, Takeaways From Day 3 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial. The House managers concluded their case by asserting that the Jan. 6 violence wouldn’t have happened without former President Donald Trump and that his supporters believed he had invited their help. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Thursday, 11 February 2021. See also, Four takeaways from Day 3 of  Trump’s impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Thursday, 11 February 2021.

Videos Turn Eugene Goodman Into a Reluctant Hero in the Capitol Attack. The Capitol Police officer, who served in the Sunni triangle during one of the most dangerous periods of the Iraq War, is credited with saving the lives of members of Congress on Jan. 6. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Eric Schmitt, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “Among the harrowing images presented during the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, one video stood out: a police officer sprinting toward a United States senator to warn of the angry mob nearby. The senator, Mitt Romney, is shown turning on his heels and fleeing for safety. For Officer Goodman, it was the second time a video went viral displaying actions widely credited with saving members of Congress. The first, which showed him single-handedly luring a mob away from the entrance of the Senate toward an area with reinforcements, turned him into a hero. The second has added to his lore.”

Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama says he informed Trump of Vice President Mike Pence’s evacuation before rioters reached the Senate, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “Sen. Tommy Tuberville revealed late Wednesday that he spoke to Donald Trump on Jan. 6, just as a violent mob closed in on the Senate, and informed the then-president directly that Vice President Mike Pence had just been evacuated from the chamber. ‘I said Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,’ Tuberville (R-Ala.) told POLITICO on Capitol Hill on Wednesday night, saying he cut the phone call short amid the chaos. The existence of the phone call had been previously reported, but the detail that Tuberville informed Trump his vice president was in danger is a new and potentially significant development for House prosecutors seeking Trump’s conviction: it occurred just around the time that Trump sent a tweet attacking Pence for not having ‘the courage’ to unilaterally stop Joe Biden’s victory. And Trump never indicated publicly that he was aware of Pence’s plight, even hours after Tuberville says he told him. It’s long been unclear precisely when Trump learned of the danger that Congress and his vice president faced — though it was broadcast all over live television — but Tuberville’s claim would mark a specific moment Trump was notified that Pence had to be evacuated for his own safety.” See also, Mounting evidence suggests Trump knew of danger to Vice President Mike Pence when he attacked him as lacking ‘courage’ amid Capitol siege, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 11 December 2021: “Mounting evidence emerging as former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial unfolds in the Senate this week indicates Trump may have been personally informed that Vice President Mike Pence was in physical danger during the Jan. 6 Capitol siege, just moments before denigrating him on Twitter. Trump’s decision to tweet that Pence lacked ‘courage’ — a missive sent shortly after the vice president had been rushed off the Senate floor — underscores how he delayed taking action to stop his supporters as they ransacked the Capitol. Many of them were intent on doing harm to Pence, whom Trump had singled out at a rally earlier in the day, falsely claiming the vice president had the power to stop Congress from formalizing Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. Trump’s tweet came at 2:24 p.m. that day — only 11 minutes after live television coverage showed Pence being hustled from the Senate floor because rioters were streaming into the building one floor below. The Senate then abruptly went into recess. Trump was watching news coverage of the session after he returned from his rally at the Ellipse, according to a person familiar with the events of the day who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe what was happening behind the scenes. The White House was typically immediately informed by Pence’s Secret Service detail about any significant movements involving the vice president, according to another person with knowledge of the security protocols. In addition, Trump heard directly about the vice president’s movement from a GOP senator. Shortly after Pence was rushed out of the Senate chamber, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) spoke to Trump on the phone and told him about Pence’s hasty exit, Tuberville told reporters Thursday.”

Three Republican senators meet with Trump’s lawyers on eve of impeachment defense presentation, CNN Politics, Manu Raju and Alex Rogers, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “A trio of Republican senators allied with former President Donald Trump met with his defense team Thursday evening, in the middle of an impeachment trial in which they will vote on whether to convict Trump and potentially bar him from holding public office again. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah were spotted going into a room in the US Capitol that Trump’s lawyers were using to prepare for their arguments.”

If Convicting Trump Is Out of Reach, House Managers Seek a Verdict From the Public and History. The House Democrats prosecuting former President Donald J. Trump may not win the Senate trial, but they are using it to make the searing images of havoc the inexpungible legacy of his presidency. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “As a day of violence and mayhem at the Capitol slid into evening last month, with blood shed, glass shattered and democracy besieged, President Donald J. Trump posted a message on Twitter that seemed to celebrate the moment. ‘Remember this day forever!’ he urged. The House Democrats prosecuting him at his Senate impeachment trial barely a month later hope to make sure everyone does. With conviction in a polarized Senate seemingly out of reach, the House managers, as the prosecutors are known, are aiming their arguments at two other audiences beyond the chamber: the American people whose decision to deny Mr. Trump a second term was put at risk and the historians who will one day render their own judgments about the former president and his time in power. Through the expansive use of unsettling video footage showing both Mr. Trump’s words and the brutal rampage that followed, the managers are using their moment in the national spotlight to make the searing images of havoc the inexpungible legacy of the Trump presidency. Rather than let the outrage subside, the managers are seeking to ensure that Mr. Trump is held accountable even if he is acquitted in the Senate.”

Legal Scholars on a Senator’s Oath, Medium, Friday, 12 February: 2021: “The question before you now, and to which history will record your answer, is: Did Donald J. Trump engage in ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’? In other words, you must decide whether he engaged in an abuse or violation of the public trust grave enough to warrant conviction and possible disqualification from holding future office. You must decide impartially based on what you have heard and seen: Does the evidence show that President Trump violated his oath of office and his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed by fomenting violence against Congress in an effort to extend his grip on power? Does the evidence show that President Trump attempted to subvert and obstruct the election results? Does the evidence show that President Trump imperiled the lives of Vice President Pence and members of Congress, or that he then disregarded his duty to come to their aid? Does the evidence show that President Trump undermined our national security? If the answer to any one of those questions is yes, you should vote to convict, and do so with the recognition that President Trump has no First Amendment defense to any of the charges against him, as all reasonable scholars and jurists would conclude. The First Amendment protects the freedoms of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition; it does not grant the president the freedom to betray his oath of office by attempting to undermine the peaceful transfer of power by misleading the public about an election and encouraging a mob to terrorize the Congress so as to obstruct the certification of his successor’s election victory.”

Justice Department Prosecutors Say Oath Keepers Plotting Before the Capitol Riot Awaited ‘Direction’ From Trump, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “Chilling new details emerged on Thursday about the plot by the Oath Keepers militia group to attack the Capitol as prosecutors said that members discussed a brazen plan to ferry ‘heavy weapons’ in a boat across the Potomac River into Washington and began training sessions ‘for urban warfare, riot control and rescue operations’ well before Election Day. The new accounts about the Oath Keepers’ role in the Capitol assault came on the third day of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial and included allegations that a member of the militia group was ‘awaiting direction’ from Mr. Trump about how to handle the results of the vote in the days that followed the election. ‘POTUS has the right to activate units too,’ the Oath Keepers member, Jessica M. Watkins, wrote in a text message to an associate on Nov. 9, according to court papers. ‘If Trump asks me to come, I will.'” See also, Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before the Capitol attack, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Friday, 12 February 2021: “The Justice Department is now making clear that a leader among the Oath Keepers paramilitary group — who planned and led others in the US Capitol siege to attempt to stop the Biden presidency — believed she was responding to the call from then-President Donald Trump himself. ‘As the inauguration grew nearer, [Jessica] Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump,’ prosecutors wrote in a filing Thursday morning. This is the most direct language yet from federal prosecutors linking Trump’s requests for support in Washington, DC, to the most militant aspects of the insurrection. Previously, the Justice Department has somewhat held back on linking Trump’s words so closely to the extremist group’s actions during the riot. At least four defendants this week have argued in court they followed Trump’s direction to go to the Capitol building on January 6. The Justice Department filing continued: ‘Her concern about taking action without his backing was evident in a November 9, 2020, text in which she stated, “I am concerned this is an elaborate trap. Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it’s not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can’t trust it.” Watkins had perceived her desired signal by the end of December.'”

Officers’ Injuries, Including Concussions, Show Scope of Violence at Capitol Riot. The impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump has heightened attention on the rioters’ attacks on officers, some of which resulted in serious damage. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “A little more than a month after the Capitol siege, a fuller picture of the injuries sustained by the police has emerged from court documents, footage revealed at former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, accounts provided by officers and interviews with law enforcement officials and experts. The Capitol assault resulted in one of the worst days of injuries for law enforcement in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. At least 138 officers — 73 from the Capitol Police and 65 from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington — were injured, the departments have said. They ranged from bruises and lacerations to more serious damage such as concussions, rib fractures, burns and even a mild heart attack…. About 170 of the roughly 1,200 Capitol Police officers on duty at the time of the attack were equipped with riot gear. Few other officers had gas masks or other protective equipment. Some without helmets sustained brain injuries, one officer had two cracked ribs, two shattered spinal discs, and another was stabbed with a metal fence stake, said Gus Papathanasiou, the chairman of the Capitol Police Union. Out of the roughly 2,000 officers altogether on the Capitol Police force, fewer than 200 had received recent training in dealing with protests, Mr. Papathanasiou said.”

A ‘Scary’ Survey Finding: 39% of Republicans Say Political Violence May Be Necessary, and 66% of Republicans Say President Biden Was Not Legitimately Elected, NPR, Tom Gjelten, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “The mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol may have been a fringe group of extremists, but politically motivated violence has the support of a significant share of the U.S. public, according to a new survey by the American Enterprise Institute. The survey found that nearly three in 10 Americans, including 39% of Republicans, agreed that ‘if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.’ That result was ‘a really dramatic finding,’ says Daniel Cox, director of the AEI Survey Center on American Life. ‘I think any time you have a significant number of the public saying use of force can be justified in our political system, that’s pretty scary.’ The survey found stark divisions between Republicans and Democrats on the 2020 presidential election, with two out of three Republicans saying President Biden was not legitimately elected, while 98% of Democrats and 73% of independents acknowledged Biden’s victory.”

Biden terminates Trump emergency order used to construct border wall, The Hill, Rebecca Beitsch, Thursday, 11 February 2021: “President Biden has rescinded the emergency order used by former President Trump to justify construction of the border wall, the White House announced Thursday. ‘I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border was unwarranted,’ Biden wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). ‘I have also announced that it shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall, and that I am directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.’ The proclamation is a final step from Biden after issuing an executive order on day one questioning the validity of Trump’s national emergency and ordering a pause on all border wall construction. Trump issued the national emergency at the border in early 2019 after repeatedly butting heads with lawmakers over funding for the project. The emergency declaration loosened the limits on taxpayer funding, paving the way for Trump to divert funds originally intended for other agencies.”


Friday, 12 February 2021:


Trump’s Impeachment Trial Highlights: Defense Rests and Questioning Ends, Likely Setting Up Saturday Vote. The defense team channeled former President Donald J. Trump’s own combative style and embrace of falsehoods to claim, contrary to facts, that he consistently called for peace during the Capitol rampage. The trial is expected to resume tomorrow at 10 a.m. with closing arguments. The New York Times, Friday, 12 February 2021:

  • Trump’s team concludes incendiary defense, seeking to rewrite the narrative of his actions on Jan. 6.

  • Senators question the prosecution and defense, with some jurors more interested in scoring political points.

  • Trump’s team presents a montage of Democrats urging supporters to ‘fight’ to counter the prosecution’s riot video.

  • Senators ask the defense: When did Trump learn that Pence was evacuated during the Capitol riot for his safety?

  • Herrera Beutler says McCarthy told her Trump sided with the Capitol mob as the assault unfolded.

  • Trump’s First Amendment defense relies on a core argument that has been discredited.

  • Trump’s defense made inaccurate claims about antifa, the Jan. 6 siege and impeachment.

  • Georgia prosecutors will scrutinize Trump allies like Graham and Giuliani.

  • Stacey Plaskett takes Trump’s lawyers to task for use of ‘clip after clip of Black women’ as part of the defense.

  • Lindsey Graham will meet with Trump to discuss the G.O.P.’s future.

  • Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who distracted the mob during the siege, is honored by senators.

  • Biden is keen to see whether Republicans ‘stand up’ to Trump, but he is not lobbying them.
  • ‘We shouldn’t have followed him’: Nikki Haley speaks out against Trump’s election falsehoods.
  • The extent of officers’ injuries show the scope of the violence at the capitol.
  • The Biden administration plans to let migrants stuck in limbo wait in the United States for asylum claims.
  • Twitter suspends Project Veritas, a conservative group, over tweets.

First 100 Days: Trump’s call to ‘fight’ was just political speech, impeachment lawyers say in seeking acquittal, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Felicia Sonmez, Donna Cassata, and John Wagner, Friday, 12 February 2021: “Tensions rose in the Senate on Friday night as senators asked questions of attorneys for Donald Trump and the House impeachment managers seeking to convict the former president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Defense attorneys, seeking to downplay the former president’s role in the violent attack, accused House impeachment managers of being motivated by hatred of Trump and showed selectively edited video of Democrats using the word ‘fight.’ Impeachment managers insisted that Trump perpetuating the ‘big lie’ that the election was rigged drove his supporters to attack the Capitol. At the conclusion of the question-and-answer period, the Senate voted unanimously to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman, whose actions Jan. 6 are credited with saving the lives of members of Congress. Barring a vote to call witnesses, the trial could end Saturday with lawmakers deciding whether to acquit or convict.

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

  • As the drama unfolds on Capitol Hill, President Biden continues to try to focus on his agenda. On Friday, he met with governors and mayors at the White House to discuss his coronavirus relief package.
  • House Democrats closed their impeachment case against Trump on Thursday by linking his history of incendiary rhetoric and his months-long campaign to undermine the election to the statements of rioters who stormed the Capitol. They also raised the prospect of future violence without a conviction.
  • The impeachment charge against Trump alleges that he ‘willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’
  • Trump’s speech before the riot contained no overt calls for his supporters to enter the Capitol or resort to violent means. But it included plenty of allusions to the idea that Congress accepting Biden’s victory was a result that must be stopped.

See all the evidence presented in Trump’s impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Friday, 12 February 2021: “During the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump, Democrats tried to build a case against the former president by using hours of video and audio evidence, hundreds of pages of documents and screenshots of the president’s social media postings, both before and on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. Trump, the first president to be tried in the Senate after leaving office, faces one charge of incitement of insurrection tied to the attack. Over two days of presentations, the House impeachment managers directly linked Trump’s history of incendiary rhetoric and his months-long campaign to undermine the November 2020 election with the statements of rioters who stormed the Capitol. A vote to acquit Trump, they argued, would leave the door open to a future run for office by the former president — and put the country at risk of further attacks by domestic violent extremists. Trump’s legal team moved faster, presenting for just over three hours. They argued the impeachment is a political stunt by Democrats afraid to run against Trump in another election; that false claims Trump made about the election being stolen are protected as free speech; and that the impeachment managers were unable to prove Trump directly incited the Capitol rioters. The Fact Checker found several misleading claims within the Trump team’s arguments. [Here] is a day-by-day look at the evidence presented at trial.”

Trump’s Lawyers Deny He Incited Capitol Mob, Saying It’s Democrats Who Spur Violence. The former president’s legal team rested its case without using even a quarter of the 16 hours allotted to it. The New York Times, Peter Baker and Nicholas Fandos, Friday, 12 February 2021: “Former President Donald J. Trump’s legal team mounted a combative defense on Friday focused more on assailing Democrats for ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘hatred’ than justifying Mr. Trump’s own monthslong effort to overturn a democratic election that culminated in last month’s deadly assault on the Capitol. After days of powerful video footage showing a mob of Trump supporters beating police officers, chasing lawmakers and threatening to kill the vice president and House speaker, Mr. Trump’s lawyers denied that he had incited what they called a ‘small group’ that turned violent. Instead, they tried to turn the tables by calling out Democrats for their own language, which they deemed just as incendiary as Mr. Trump’s. In so doing, the former president’s lawyers went after not just the House Democrats serving as managers, or prosecutors, in the Senate impeachment trial, but half of the jurors sitting in front of them in the chamber. A rat-a-tat-tat montage of video clips played by the Trump team showed nearly every Democratic senator as well as President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris using the word ‘fight’ or the phrase ‘fight like hell’ just as Mr. Trump did at a rally of supporters on Jan. 6 just before the siege of the Capitol.”

Trump lawyers hit impeachment trial as politically motivated ‘hatred,’ The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Mike DeBonis, and Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 12 February 2021: “Donald Trump’s lawyers delivered a relatively brief defense of the former president’s conduct in his second impeachment trial Friday, accusing House Democrats of staging a politically motivated proceeding in a rebuttal that echoed Trump’s misleading claims about the 2020 presidential election. The centerpiece of the Trump attorneys’ case was a video that edited together one Democratic official after another using the word ‘fight.’ While meant to argue that Democrats, too, used potentially violent rhetoric, many of the comments were taken out of context, and none led to incidents of violence.” See also, 5 takeaways from Day 4 of Trump’s impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 12 February 2021. See also, Takeaways From Day 4 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial, The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Friday, 12 February 2021. See also, Trump’s impeachment defense team rests, arguing his words before the riot were ‘ordinary political rhetoric,’ NBC News, Adam Edelman, Friday, 12 February 2021: “The Senate adjourned Friday evening after lawyers for Donald Trump’s defense rested their case in the former president’s second impeachment trial. Trump’s lawyers used under three hours of their allotted time for arguments to echo their client in calling the impeachment case built by Democratic House managers an act of ‘political vengeance’ and alleged that Trump’s speech preceding the Capitol riot was merely ‘ordinary political rhetoric.’ The defense lawyers said that Trump’s words at the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that preceded the violent storming of the Capitol was protected free speech and that convicting him for it would amount to ‘canceling’ him and his supporters.” See also, Trump’s Legal Defense Team Concludes Case in Fraction of Allotted Time, NPR, Brakkton Booker, Friday, 12 February 2021: “Former President Donald Trump’s legal team concluded its defense on Friday, arguing that the impeachment proceedings were ‘an act of political vengeance’ as well as ‘a politically motivated witch hunt.’… Trump’s attorneys had up to 16 hours over the course of two days to push back on House impeachment managers case that Trump should be convicted and barred from running for future office for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In the end, the defense team wrapped their case in about three hours. The impeachment managers had used about 10 hours over two days.” See also, Impeachment trial: defense lawyers argue Trump is victim of ‘cancel culture,’ The Guardian, Sam Levine and Lauren Gambino, Friday, 12 February 2021: “Impeachment lawyers for Donald Trump accused the prosecution of waging a ‘politically motivated witch-hunt’ against the former president, vehemently denying the charge that his words and actions incited the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol as they concluded their sharply partisan defense and prepared for a swift conclusion to the trial. Confident that Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment trial would again result in acquittal, the defense lawyers channeled the former president’s bombastic style – and his loose relationship with the facts – to denounce the case against him as an ‘unconstitutional act of political vengeance’ fueled by Democrats’ longstanding ‘hatred’ of their client. They claimed the House managers had grievously mischaracterized Trump’s remarks to his followers at a rally on 6 January, when he exhorted them to ‘fight like hell’ during a rally just before they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and attacked the US Capitol.” See also, Key Republican senators push Trump’s lawyers to explain ex-President’s actions as Pence was endangered, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Manu Raju, Kaitlan Collins, and Pamela Brown, Friday, 12 February 2021: “The Senate’s second impeachment trial of Donald Trump raced toward a conclusion on Friday, with the former President’s legal team quickly finishing its presentation and senators taking their turn to pose written questions to the legal teams. Trump’s team wrapped up its presentation in a little more than three hours before the question-and-answer session concluded several hours later Friday evening. In their brief argument, Trump’s team equated the former President’s speech with Democrats’ rhetoric — showing lengthy montages of Democratic politicians saying they would ‘fight’ — to argue that Trump’s words on January 6 did not incite the rioters who attacked the Capitol afterward. During the Senate questions, the key Republicans who could vote to find Trump guilty focused on the actions of the then-President as the riot unfolded and then-Vice President Mike Pence was endangered, a topic that Trump’s lawyers did little to address during their argument or when the GOP senators posed the questions.” See also, Trump’s lawyers turned impeachment into a MAGA video release. He ‘loved’ it. Politico, Meridith McGraw and Gabby Orr, Friday, 12 February 2021: Trump “was pleased as his legal team used Friday’s proceedings to rev up the base, including a nearly ten-minute montage of Democrats saying the word ‘fight.'”

Trump’s Lawyers Repeated Inaccurate Claims in Impeachment Trial. The three members of the former president’s legal team made a number of misleading or false claims about the events of Jan. 6, antifa, the impeachment process and voter fraud. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Friday, 12 February 2021: “As they mounted their defense of the former president on Friday, Donald J. Trump’s lawyers made a number of inaccurate or misleading claims about the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, Mr. Trump’s remarks, the impeachment process and 2020 election. Many claims were echoes of right-wing talking points popularized on social media or ones that were spread by Mr. Trump himself.”

New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Kevin Liptak, Michael Warren, and Marshall Cohen, Friday, 12 February 2021: “In an expletive-laced phone call with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy while the US Capitol was under attack, then-President Donald Trump said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy did. ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,’ Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy. McCarthy insisted that the rioters were Trump’s supporters and begged Trump to call them off. Trump’s comment set off what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call described as a shouting match between the two men. A furious McCarthy told the then-President the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, ‘Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?’ according to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call. The newly revealed details of the call, described to CNN by multiple Republicans briefed on it, provide critical insight into the President’s state of mind as rioters were overrunning the Capitol. The existence of the call and some of its details were first reported by Punchbowl News and discussed publicly by McCarthy.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s post-election call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will be scrutinized in Georgia investigation, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Tom Hamburger, and Josh Dawsey, Friday, 12 February 2021: “An Atlanta-area prosecutor plans to scrutinize a post-Election Day phone call between Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as part of a criminal investigation into whether former president Donald Trump or his allies broke Georgia laws while trying to reverse his defeat in the state, according to a person familiar with the probe.”


Saturday, 13 February 2021:


Impeachment Trial: Trump Is Acquitted by the Senate. All 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted ‘guilty,’ falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction. Senator Mitch McConnell followed his own vote to acquit with a surprisingly harsh speech calling Donald J. Trump ‘practically and morally responsible for provoking’ the Capitol riot. The New York Times, Saturday, 13 February 2021:

  • 7 Senate Republicans vote ‘guilty,’ the most bipartisan margin in favor of conviction in history.

  • ‘These criminals were carrying his banners.’ McConnell castigates Trump for provoking the Capitol riot minutes after voting to acquit him.

  • Biden, responsible for moving the country past crisis, emphasizes unity after the verdict.

  • Here are the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump.

  • Democrats cited Trump’s failure to halt the rioters in their summation. His lawyers accused them of ‘impeachment lust.’

  • After acquitting Trump, the Republican Party moves forward in his image.

  • Impeachment has provided the most comprehensive account to date of what happened on Jan. 6.

  • A federal inquiry into the Capitol riot may keep damning details in the headlines for months.

  • What we know about Trump’s calls to Republicans as rioters marauded through the Capitol.
  • Georgia prosecutors will scrutinize Trump allies like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer.
  • Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s defense lawyers, erupts at Democrats, drawing a call for ‘civil discourse.’
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Republicans he plans to vote to acquit Trump, calling it ‘a close call.’

Trump acquitted by minority of the Senate on charge of inciting January 6 riot at Capitol, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Amy B Wang, and Felicia Sonmez, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “The Senate voted Saturday to acquit Donald Trump of a charge of inciting the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, bringing the historic second impeachment trial of the former president to a close. Fifty-seven senators voted to find Trump guilty — short of the two-thirds threshold needed for a conviction — while 43 voted to find him not guilty. Seven Republicans joined the 50 members of the Democratic caucus in voting for conviction. In their final arguments, House managers on Saturday accused Donald Trump of having ‘willfully betrayed us’ as trial neared its end on a day punctuated by surprises. Trump’s lawyers countered that Democrats were motivated by an ‘impeachment lust’ and argued that Trump does not bear responsibility for the violent attack on the Capitol by his supporters.

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

  • After his Senate acquittal, a defiant Trump called his second impeachment by the House ‘another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our Country’ and hinted at a return to national politics.
  • Despite voting to acquit Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a speech following the vote in which he decried a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ by Trump. However, he also argued that the Senate did not have jurisdiction to try a former president.
  • During the trial, Democrats tried to build a case against the former president by using hours of video and audio evidence, hundreds of pages of documents and screenshots of the president’s social media postings, both before and on the day of the Jan. 6 attack.
  • President Biden remained out of public view on Saturday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Western Maryland. Aides said he plans to meet with national security advisers.

Trump Acquitted of Inciting Insurrection, Even as Bipartisan Majority Votes ‘Guilty.’ The verdict was unlikely to be the final word for former President Donald J. Trump, his badly divided party or the festering wounds the Jan. 6 riot that prompted the impeachment left behind. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “A Senate still bruised from the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries acquitted former President Donald J. Trump on Saturday in his second impeachment trial, as all but a few Republicans locked arms to reject a case that he incited the Jan. 6 rampage in a last-ditch attempt to cling to power. Under the watch of National Guard troops still patrolling the historic building, a bipartisan majority cast votes finding Mr. Trump guilty of the House’s single charge of ‘incitement of insurrection.’ They included seven Republicans, more members of a president’s party than have ever returned an adverse verdict in an impeachment trial. But with most of Mr. Trump’s party coalescing around him, the 57-to-43 tally fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict, and allow the Senate to move to disqualify him from holding future office. [T]he Republicans breaking ranks to find guilty the man who led their party for four tumultuous years, demanding absolute loyalty, were Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.” See also, Takeaways From Day 5 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial. Seven Republicans broke ranks in voting to convict former President Donald J. Trump, and despite moving to acquit the former president, Senator Mitch McConnell condemned him on the Senate floor. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “The conclusion of Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial was briefly cast into doubt on Saturday after a last-minute request for witness testimony threatened to extend a proceeding on whether the president had incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. But the House impeachment managers who had raised the request quickly dropped the issue, paving the way for closing arguments and a vote that delivered Mr. Trump’s second acquittal of high crimes and misdemeanors.” See also, Seven Republican senators vote to convict Trump; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the former president is responsible for the Capitol riot, but he votes to acquit, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Felicia Sonmez, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “Of the 57 ‘guilty’ votes that rang out on the Senate floor Saturday, only one — uttered by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) — elicited gasps from around the chamber. The North Carolina Republican had given no previous indication he was leaning toward voting to convict former president Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection, after a pro-Trump mob overran the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a violent siege that left a police officer and four others dead. But the days-long trial had convinced Burr of Trump’s culpability, he said in a statement afterward. ‘The evidence is compelling that President Trump is guilty of inciting an insurrection against a coequal branch of government and that the charge rises to the level of high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Therefore, I have voted to convict,’ Burr said. ‘I do not make this decision lightly, but I believe it is necessary. By what he did and by what he did not do, President Trump violated his oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.'” See also, Trump acquitted on impeachment charge of inciting deadly attack on the Capitol, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Mike DeBonis, Seung Min Kim, and Karoun Demirjian, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump was acquitted Saturday of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, becoming the first president in U.S. history to face a second impeachment trial — and surviving it in part because of his continuing hold on the Republican Party despite his electoral defeat in November. That grip appeared to loosen slightly during the vote Saturday afternoon, when seven Republicans crossed party lines to vote for conviction — a sign of the rift the Capitol siege has caused within GOP ranks and the desire by some in the party to move on from Trump. Still, the 57-to-43 vote, in which all Democrats and two independents voted against the president, fell far short of the two-thirds required to convict.” See also, 4 final takeaways from Trump’s impeachment trial, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Saturday, 13 February 2021.

One Legacy of Impeachment: The Most Complete Account So Far of January 6, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Sabrina Tavernise, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “Though Mr. Trump escaped conviction, the Senate impeachment trial has served at least one purpose: It stitched together the most comprehensive and chilling account to date of last month’s deadly assault on the Capitol, ensuring that the former president’s name will be inextricably associated with a violent attempt to subvert the peaceful transfer of power, the first in American history. In the new details it revealed and the methodical, minute-by-minute assembly of known facts it presented, the trial proved revelatory for many Americans — and even for some who lived through the events. There were close calls and near misses as the invaders, some wearing military-style tactical gear, some carrying baseball bats or flagpoles or shields seized from the police, came just several dozen steps from the vice president and members of Congress. There was almost medieval-level physical combat captured in body-cam footage and the panicked voices of officers on police dispatch tapes calling for help. There were more overt signs about the coming violence from social media in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 than many lawmakers had understood.”

As Impeachment Ends, Federal Inquiry Looms as Reminder of Trump’s Role in Riot, The New York Times, Anna Feuer and Nicole Hong, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “The acquittal of former President Donald J. Trump at his second impeachment trial will hardly be the last or decisive word on his level of culpability in the assault on the Capitol last month. While the Justice Department officials examining the rash of crimes committed during the riot have signaled that they do not plan to make Mr. Trump a focus of the investigation, the volumes of evidence they are compiling may eventually give a clearer — and possibly more damning — picture of his role in the attack. Case files in the investigation have offered signs that many of the rioters believed, as impeachment managers have said, that they were answering Mr. Trump’s call on Jan. 6. The inquiry has also offered evidence that some pro-Trump extremist groups, concerned about fraud in the election, may have conspired together to plan the insurrection.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Denouncing Trump After Voting to Acquit, Says His Hands Were Tied. The top Senate Republican gave his most damning condemnation of Donald Trump, but said the Senate had no power to convict an ex-president. He had refused to try Mr. Trump while he remained in office. The New York Times, Carl Hulse and Nicholas Fandos, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “Senator Mitch McConnell said he believed that Donald J. Trump was undeniably guilty of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6, when he incited and then failed to do anything to halt a deadly assault on the Capitol. ‘There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,’ Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, declared Saturday afternoon in an anti-Trump diatribe so scathing that it could have been delivered by any of the nine House prosecutors seeking a conviction. But minutes before he spoke, when it came time for the most powerful Republican in Washington to hold Mr. Trump to account on the charge of causing the riot, Mr. McConnell said his hands were tied. It could not be done, he argued. He voted to acquit…. Offering his most damning condemnation of Mr. Trump to date, Mr. McConnell accused the former president of spreading lies about a stolen election that he knew would stoke dangerous acts by his followers — though the senator said little about his own refusal for weeks to recognize President Biden’s victory, which helped create the conditions for Mr. Trump’s claims to continue to spread, unchallenged by top Republicans.” See also, After acquitting Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slams him for a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty,’ NBC News, Sahil Kapur, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “Moments after voting to acquit Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a speech excoriating the former president for a ‘disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and said he holds him responsible for ‘provoking’ the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol. McConnell was among the 43 Republicans who voted that Trump was ‘not guilty’ on the charge of incitement of insurrection. ‘There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it,’ the Kentucky Republican said Saturday. ‘The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.'”

In Georgia, New District Attorney Fani Willis Starts Circling Trump and His Allies. Fani Willis has opened a criminal investigation into efforts by the Trump camp to overturn the former president’s loss in Georgia. In an interview, Ms. Willis described a wide-ranging inquiry. The New York Times, Danny Hakim and Richard Fausset, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “After six weeks as a district attorney, Fani T. Willis is taking on a former president. And not just that. In an interview about her newly announced criminal investigation into election interference in Georgia, Ms. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, made it clear that the scope of her inquiry would encompass the pressure campaign on state officials by former President Donald J. Trump as well as the activities of his allies.”

New York Prosecutors Are Investigating Trump’s Manhattan Properties. Officials are investigating loans the former president took on four buildings, including his flagship Trump Tower. The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey and Emily Glazer, Saturday, 13 February 2021: “New York prosecutors are investigating financial dealings around some of Donald Trump’s signature Manhattan properties, extending the known range of the criminal probe of the former president and his company, according to people familiar with the matter. The people said Manhattan prosecutors are examining loans Mr. Trump took out on his flagship Fifth Avenue building, Trump Tower; 40 Wall St., an art deco skyscraper in New York City’s Financial District; Trump International Hotel and Tower, a hotel and condominium building at Columbus Circle; and Trump Plaza, an apartment building on Manhattan’s East Side.”


Sunday, 14 February 2021:


Post-Impeachment Updates: Republican Leaders Divided Over Trump’s Future Influence. The backlash against the seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump has begun. The federal criminal investigations related to the Capitol riot will keep the issue of Mr. Trump’s culpability alive for months. The New York Times, Sunday, 14 February 2021:

  • Republican leaders are sharply divided on Trump’s role and influence in the G.O.P. going forward.

  • A backlash against the 7 Republicans who voted to convict Trump has begun.

  • After acquitting Trump, the Republican Party moves forward in his image.

  • Republicans who backed Trump’s conviction are braving the repercussions.

  • Richard Burr’s vote to convict the ex-president renews talk of a Lara Trump run in North Carolina.

  • Trump’s quick acquittal was not exactly a victory for Biden. But it helped him move on.

  • Here’s where things stand with the criminal and civil investigations targeting Trump.

  • A commission appears to be the main remaining option to try to hold Trump accountable for his role in the attack.

  • House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s maneuvering: Hold up the trial, vote to acquit, and then blister Trump in a speech.
  • Democrats praise the Republicans who crossed the aisle on impeachment.
  • As Democrats plan their future electoral strategy, Tom Perez discusses the party’s mistakes.
  • Roger Stone’s guards joined the Capitol attack, a visual investigation finds.

First They Guarded Roger Stone. Then They Joined the Capitol Attack. The New York Times, Christiaan Triebert, Ben Decker, Derek Watkins, Arielle Ray, and Stella Cooper, Sunday, 14 February 2021: “At least six people who had provided security for Roger Stone entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to a New York Times investigation. Videos show the group guarding Mr. Stone, a longtime friend of former President Donald J. Trump, on the day of the attack or the day before. All six of them are associated with the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia that is known to provide security for right-wing personalities and protesters at public events.”

This Is What We Know About What Trump Was Doing From 1 pm. to 6 pm. on January 6, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, Sunday, 14 February 2021: “The impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump largely centered around his actions leading up to the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. But there was a crucial period that day of nearly five hours — between the end of Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse, urging his supporters to march to the Capitol, and a final tweet telling his followers to remember the day forever — that remains critical to his state of mind. Evidence emerged during the trial about what Mr. Trump was doing during those hours, from roughly 1 p.m. to about 6 p.m., including new details about two phone calls with lawmakers that prosecutors said clearly alerted the president to the mayhem on Capitol Hill.”

The ‘For the People Act’ Would Make the U.S. a Democracy, The Intercept, Jon Schwarz, Sunday, 14 February 2020: “Since the 117th Congress was convened on January 3, over 2,000 bills have been introduced in the House and Senate. But the very first legislation proposed by the Democratic Party majorities in both chambers — making it both H.R.1 and S.1 — is the ‘For the People Act’ of 2021. This is appropriate, because the For the People Act is plausibly the most important legislation considered by Congress in decades. It would change the basic structure of U.S. politics, making it far more small-d democratic. The bill makes illegal essentially all of the anti-enfranchisement tactics perfected by the right over the past decades. It then creates a new infrastructure to permanently bolster the influence of regular people. The bill’s provisions largely fall into three categories: First, it makes it far easier to vote, both by eliminating barriers and enhancing basic outreach to citizens. Second, it makes everyone’s vote count more equally, especially by reducing gerrymandering. Third, it hugely amplifies the power of small political donors, allowing them to match and possibly swamp the power of big money.”


Monday, 15 February 2021:


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will consider legislation to form a 9/11 Commission-style panel to examine the January 6th Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Meryl Kornfield, Karoun Demirjian, and Mike DeBonis, Monday, 15 February 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the House would move to establish an independent commission to investigate what led to a mob storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 — one similar to the body that studied the 9/11 attacks for 15 months before issuing a sweeping 585-page report. Two days after former president Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate of inciting the deadly attack, Pelosi (D-Calif.) signaled in a letter to Democratic colleagues that the House would soon consider legislation to form a commission to ‘investigate and report’ on the attack and interference in election proceedings, as well as an appropriation to pay for enhanced security features on the Capitol grounds.” See also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces plans for ‘9/11-type commission’ to investigate Capitol attack, CNN Politics, Clare Foran, Ryan Nobles, and Annie Grayer, Monday, 15 February 2021: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in a letter to House Democrats on Monday plans for the creation of a “9/11-type commission” to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol…. Pelosi has previously called for the formation of such a commission and said she believes there is a need for it. A commission of this nature would be established by a statute, passed by both chambers and signed into law by the President. The commission members would not be elected leaders and would be outside the government.”


Tuesday, 16 February 2021:


Trump, in Scorching Attack on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Urges Republicans to Replace Him. The former president, breaking an unusually long silence, called the Senate minority leader a ‘dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack’ and called on Republicans in the chamber to find a new leader. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, Tuesday, 16 February 2021: “Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday made a slashing and lengthy attack on Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, calling him a ‘dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack’ and arguing that the party would suffer losses in the future if he remained in charge. ‘If Republican senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,’ Mr. Trump said. The 600-word statement, coming three days after the Senate acquitted him in his second impeachment trial, was trained solely on Mr. McConnell and sought to paint Mr. Trump as the best leader of the G.O.P. going forward.” See also, Trump attacks House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as ‘political hack’ and says he will back pro-Trump candidates, The Washington Post, Mike DeBonis, Tuesday, 16 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump lashed out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday for a ‘lack of political insight, wisdom, skill, and personality,’ just days after the Senate — with McConnell’s help — acquitted Trump on the impeachment charge that he incited the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The lengthy and personal diatribe, issued through an affiliated super PAC, confirmed that Trump plans to be an active combatant in the battle for the direction of the Republican Party that threatens to play out in the months and years to come.”

N.A.A.C.P. Sues Trump and Giuliani Over Election Fight and January 6th Riot. The civil rights group brought the suit on behalf of Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, with other Democrats in Congress expected to join as plaintiffs. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Tuesday, 16 February 2021: “The N.A.A.C.P. on Tuesday morning filed a federal lawsuit against former President Donald J. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, claiming that they violated a 19th century statute when they tried to prevent the certification of the election on Jan. 6. The civil rights organization brought the suit on behalf of Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi. Other Democrats in Congress — including Representatives Hank Johnson of Georgia and Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey — are expected to join as plaintiffs in the coming weeks, according to the N.A.A.C.P. The lawsuit contends that Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute that includes protections against violent conspiracies that interfered with Congress’s constitutional duties; the suit also names the Proud Boys, the far-right nationalist group, and the Oath Keepers militia group. The legal action accuses Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani and the two groups of conspiring to incite a violent riot at the Capitol, with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the election. The suit is the latest legal problem for Mr. Trump: New York prosecutors are investigating his financial dealings; New York’s attorney general is pursuing a civil investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s company misstated assets to get bank loans and tax benefits; and a Georgia district attorney is examining his election interference effort there.” See also, House Homeland Security chairman Bennie Thompson sues Trump and Giuliani, accusing them of inciting Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 16 February 2021: “The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit accusing former president Donald Trump, lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and two extremist groups whose members have been charged in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol of illegally conspiring to intimidate and block Congress’s certification of the 2020 election. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) alleged in federal court in Washington that Trump’s and Giuliani’s false claims that the election was stolen fomented a raid that violated the Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 law enacted after the Civil War to bar violent interference in Congress’s constitutional duties. The lawsuit alleges that Trump, Giuliani, and members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys far-right groups sought to harass and impede lawmakers, and temporarily succeeded, forcing Thompson and others to don gas masks and take cover on the House gallery floor before being evacuated to shelter in the Longworth House Office Building with more than 200 other representatives, staffers and relatives.”


Wednesday, 17 February 2021:


Rush Limbaugh Dies at 70; He Turned Talk Radio Into a Right-Wing Attack Machine. With a following of 15 million and a divisive style of mockery, grievance and denigrating language, he was a force in reshaping American conservatism. The New York Times, Robert D. McFadden and Michael M. Grynbaum, Wednesday, 17 February 2021: “Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio megastar whose slashing, divisive style of mockery and grievance reshaped American conservatism, denigrating Democrats, environmentalists, ‘feminazis’ (his term) and other liberals while presaging the rise of Donald J. Trump, died on Wednesday at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 70…. He became a singular figure in the American media, fomenting mistrust, grievances and even hatred on the right for Americans who did not share their views, and he pushed baseless claims and toxic rumors long before Twitter and Reddit became havens for such disinformation. In politics, he was not only an ally of Mr. Trump but also a precursor, combining media fame, right-wing scare tactics and over-the-top showmanship to build an enormous fan base and mount attacks on truth and facts. His conspiracy theories ranged from baldfaced lies about Barack Obama’s birthplace — the president ‘has yet to have to prove that he’s a citizen,’ he said falsely in 2009 — to claims that Mr. Obama’s 2009 health care bill would empower ‘death panels’ and ‘euthanize’ elderly Americans. In the wake of last year’s election, he amplified Mr. Trump’s groundless claims of voter fraud; on President Biden’s Inauguration Day, during one of his final broadcasts, he insisted to listeners that the new administration had ‘not legitimately won it.'” See also, Rush Limbaugh’s Legacy of Venom: As Trump Rose, ‘It All Sounded Familiar,’ The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Wednesday, 17 February 2021: “Weaponizing conspiracy theories and bigotry long before Donald Trump’s ascent, the radio giant helped usher in the political style that came to dominate the Republican Party…. There was no person or subject that was off-limits for Mr. Limbaugh’s ire. Black people, gay men and lesbians, feminists, people with AIDS, the 12-year-old daughter of a president, an advocate for victims of domestic violence: All found themselves the subject of denigrating put-downs by Mr. Limbaugh over the years.”

Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops to remain in Washington through mid-March due to concerns about QAnon chatter, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Ellie Kaufman, Wednesday, 17 February 2021: “Nearly 5,000 National Guard troops will remain in Washington through March 12 due, in part, to concerns about potential violence stemming from online chatter among QAnon supporters who suggest former President Donald Trump could still be inaugurated on March 4, according to the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee…. The request for 4,900 National Guard troops to stay in Washington through March 12 was made by US Capitol Police, defense officials said Wednesday, adding that the Pentagon is working with relevant law enforcement agencies to determine what an appropriate force presence looks like now that the threat landscape has changed in the weeks since Biden’s inauguration.”

No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts, The New York Times, Dionne Searcey, Wednesday, 17 February 2021: “As his state was racked by an electricity crisis that left millions of people without heat in frigid temperatures, the governor of Texas took to television to start placing blame. His main target was renewable energy, suggesting that the systemwide collapse was caused by the failure of wind and solar power. ‘It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we will be able to heat our homes in the winter times and cool our homes in the summer times,’ said Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. Other conservative talk-show hosts had already picked up the theme. However, wind power was not chiefly to blame for the Texas blackouts. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production, which is responsible for the majority of Texas’ power supply. Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation this time of year…. As frigid weather grips the center of the nation, causing widespread power outages, freezing temperatures, slippery roads and weather-related deaths, Governor Abbott’s voice was among the most prominent in a chorus of political figures this week to quickly assert that green energy sources such as wind and solar were contributing to the blackouts. The talking points, coming largely from conservatives, reinvigorated a long-running campaign to claim that emissions-spewing fossil fuels are too valuable a resource to give up.”

White House says Biden supports study of slavery reparations, Reuters, Wednesday, 17 February 2021: “President Joe Biden supports a study on whether descendants of enslaved people in the United States should receive reparations, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Wednesday, as the issue was being debated on Capitol Hill. Psaki told reporters that Biden ‘continues to demonstrate his commitment to take comprehensive action to address the systemic racism that persists today.’ Reparations have been used in other circumstances to offset large moral and economic debts – paid to Japanese Americans interned during World War Two, to families of Holocaust survivors and to Blacks in post-apartheid South Africa. But the United States has never made much headway in discussions of whether or how to compensate African Americans for more than 200 years of slavery and help make up for racial inequality.”


Thursday, 18 February 2021:


Biden’s Immigration Plan Would Offer Path to Citizenship for Millions. The proposal, unveiled by Democrats on Capitol Hill, offers an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, eliminates restrictions on family-based immigration and expands worker visas. Senator Ted Cruz’s decision to fly to Cancun as Texas was battered by a storm sparks an outcry. The New York Times, Thursday, 18 February 2021:

  • Congressional Democrats roll out Biden’s immigration plan, offering an eight-year path to citizenship.

  • Harris says women leaving the work force because of the pandemic is a ‘national emergency.’

  • Senator Ted Cruz left Texas for Cancún as the state was battered by a winter storm.

  • ‘Something very wrong happened here.’ Lawmakers grill Robinhood’s chief executive at hearing on GameStop.

  • House Democrats and Biden aides are split over efforts to get an ex-Trump aide to testify to Congress.

  • Native American leaders press the White House to address poverty and poor health care on tribal lands.

  • Ivanka Trump will not run against Marco Rubio for one of Florida’s Senate seats.

  • Biden’s relationship with Europe could be complicated by Russia and China.

  • For Black aides on Capitol Hill, the riot brought particular trauma.

Biden administration announces $4 billion in funding for Covax, the global vaccine effort that Trump spurned, The Washington Post, Emily Rauhala, Erin Cunningham, and Adam Taylor, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “The White House is throwing its support behind a global push to distribute coronavirus vaccines equitably, pledging $4 billion to a multilateral effort the Trump administration spurned. At a Group of Seven meeting of leaders of the world’s largest economies Friday, President Biden will announce an initial $2 billion in funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to be used by the Covax Facility, senior administration officials said in a briefing.”

6 Capitol Police officers are suspended, and 29 others are being investigated for alleged roles in riot, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild and Paul LeBlanc, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “Six US Capitol Police officers have been suspended with pay, and 29 others have been placed under investigation, for their actions in the January 6 riot, a department spokesman said Thursday. ‘Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behavior is not in keeping with the Department’s Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline,’ department spokesman John Stolnis told CNN. CNN reported in January that the USCP had placed at least 10 officers under investigation, and two others had been suspended. One of the suspended officers took a selfie with someone who was part of the mob that overtook the Capitol, according to Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio. Another wore a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and started directing people around the building, Ryan said.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz faces storm of controversy for flying to Cancun as Texas grapples with power outages caused by inadequate preparation for severe weather, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, William Wan, and Amy B Wang, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “Sen. Ted Cruz was met with a wave of fury Thursday on his return to Houston from Cancun, Mexico, as critics questioned his decision to travel abroad while millions of Texas residents were without power and safe drinking water amid freezing temperatures that have left at least 21 people dead in the southern United States. Public outrage has mounted in recent days as officials in Texas have sought to deflect blame for the state’s lack of preparedness for the storms — and Cruz, a prominent Republican figure widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential contender, immediately became an object of scorn for Texans already incensed by state leaders’ response to the crisis.” See also, ‘Obviously a mistake’: Texas Senator Ted Cruz returns from Cancun after uproar, Associated Press, Steve Peoples and Jake Bleiberg, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said his family vacation to Mexico was ‘obviously a mistake’ as he returned stateside Thursday following an uproar over his disappearance during a deadly winter storm. The Republican senator said he began second-guessing the trip since the moment he first got on the plane Wednesday. ‘In hindsight, I wouldn’t have done it,’ he told reporters. The Associated Press and other media outlets reported that he had traveled out of the country with his family as hundreds of thousands of Texans were still grappling with the fallout of a winter storm that crippled the state’s power grid. The trip drew criticism from leaders in both parties and was seen as potentially damaging to his future political ambitions.” See also, Ted Cruz’s Cancún Trip: Family Texts Detail His Political Blunder, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Nicholas Fandos, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “The Texas senator faced fierce blowback for fleeing his state as a disaster unfolded. Text messages sent by his wife revealed a hastily planned trip away from their ‘FREEZING’ family home…. Like millions of his constituents across Texas, Senator Ted Cruz had a frigid home without electricity this week amid the state’s power crisis. But unlike most, Mr. Cruz got out, fleeing Houston and hopping a Wednesday afternoon flight to Cancún with his family for a respite at a luxury resort…. As the Cruzes were away, millions of Texans were still without electricity, many had no running water and the icy air that swept into the state was so severe that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been activated to send supplies, including generators. Some searched neighborhoods for discarded fallen trees to burn for warmth.”

The Supreme Court is still sitting on Trump’s tax returns, and justices aren’t saying why, CNN Politics, Joan Biskupic, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “Lawsuits involving Donald Trump tore apart the Supreme Court while he was president, and the justices apparently remain riven by him. For nearly four months, the court has refused to act on emergency filings related to a Manhattan grand jury’s subpoena of Trump tax returns, effectively thwarting part of the investigation. The Supreme Court’s inaction marks an extraordinary departure from its usual practice of timely responses when the justices are asked to block a lower court decision on an emergency basis and has spurred questions about what is happening behind the scenes. Chief Justice John Roberts, based on his past pattern, may be trying to appease dueling factions among the nine justices, to avoid an order that reinforces a look of partisan politics. Yet paradoxically, the unexplained delay smacks of politics and appears to ensnarl the justices even more in the controversies of Trump.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Recruits Top Prosecutor Mark Pomerantz for the Team Investigating the Trump Family Business, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “As the Manhattan district attorney’s office steps up the criminal investigation of Donald J. Trump, it has reached outside its ranks to enlist a prominent former federal prosecutor to help scrutinize financial dealings at the former president’s company, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. The former prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, has deep experience investigating and defending white-collar and organized crime cases, bolstering the team under District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. that is examining Mr. Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization. The investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, is focused on possible tax and bank-related fraud, including whether the Trump Organization misled its lenders or local tax authorities about the value of his properties to obtain loans and tax benefits, the people with knowledge of the matter said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation. Mr. Trump has maintained he did nothing improper and has long railed against the inquiry, calling it a politically motivated ‘witch hunt.'”

Biden Administration Formally Offers to Restart Nuclear Talks With Iran, The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Michael Crowley, David E. Sanger, and Farnaz Fassihi, Thursday, 18 February 2021: “The United States took a major step on Thursday toward restoring the Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration abandoned, offering to join European nations in what would be the first substantial diplomacy with Tehran in more than four years, Biden administration officials said. In a series of moves intended to make good on one of President Biden’s most significant campaign promises, the administration also backed away from a Trump administration effort to restore United Nations sanctions on Iran. That effort had divided Washington from its European allies. And at the same time, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told European foreign ministers in a call on Thursday morning that the United States would join them in seeking to restore the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, which he said ‘was a key achievement of multilateral diplomacy.’ Hours later, Enrique Mora, the European Union’s deputy secretary general for political affairs, appealed to the original signers of the nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — to salvage it at ‘a critical moment.'”


Friday, 19 February 2021:


Biden Declares ‘America Is Back’ on International Stage. President Biden called for a restoration of the trans-Atlantic alliance. ‘Democracy doesn’t happen by accident,’ he said. ‘We have to defend it.’ German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the U.S. and Europe should redefine a common approach to China and Russia. The New York Times, Friday, 19 February 2021:

  • Biden declares the era of Trump-style ‘America First’ diplomacy over.

  • Global leaders chart a new course in post-Trump era.

  • Merkel calls for common strategy in dealing with China and Russia.

  • French leader says the American-dominated world order should yield to new realities.

  • U.S. formally rejoins the Paris climate accord.

  • Biden returns to a familiar stage, but finds a vastly changed landscape.

  • European leader calls for the U.S. to join effort to better regulate internet giants.

  • W.H.O. head warns that unequal vaccine distribution poses global risk.

Biden stresses U.S. commitment to NATO during a major address to the Munich Security Conference, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Friday, 19 February 2021: “President Biden pledged Friday that the United States is ‘fully committed’ to NATO after four years of former president Donald Trump railing against the alliance. During a major address to the Munich Security Conference, Biden also warned that ‘democratic progress is under assault’ in many parts of the world, including the United States and Europe. On Friday afternoon, Biden traveled to Michigan, where he sought to reassure Americans about the safety of the coronavirus vaccine and took aim at Trump’s handling of the pandemic. ‘I can’t give you a date when this crisis will end, but I can tell you we’re doing everything possible to have that day come sooner rather than later,’ Biden said in remarks after touring a coronavirus vaccine manufacturing plant.

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

  • The United States has officially rejoined the Paris climate accord and is seeking to repair the country’s standing among nations in the global fight against climate change after Trump’s decision to exit the agreement.
  • The White House is throwing its support behind a global push to distribute coronavirus vaccines equitably, pledging $4 billion to a multilateral effort that was spurned by the Trump administration.
  • Biden formally announced his selection of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, a veteran of the Obama administration, to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, filling a major role in his health-care leadership team.

U.S. Formally Rejoins the Paris Climate Accord, The New York Times, Elian Peltier and Somini Sengupta, Friday, 19 February 2021: “The United States on Friday formally rejoined the Paris climate agreement, the international accord designed to avert catastrophic global warming. President Biden has said tackling the climate crisis is among his highest priorities and he signed an executive order recommitting the United States to the accord only hours after he was sworn into office last month. ‘We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change,’ Mr. Biden said on Friday. ‘This is a global, existential crisis. And we’ll all suffer the consequences if we fail.'”

State Republican lawmakers propose flurry of voting restrictions to placateTrump Supporters, spurring fears of a backlash, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Friday, 19 February 2021: “GOP state lawmakers across the country have proposed a flurry of voting restrictions that they say are needed to restore confidence in U.S. elections, an effort intended to placate supporters of former president Donald Trump who believe his false claims that the 2020 outcome was rigged. But the effort is dividing Republicans, some of whom are warning that it will tar the GOP as the party of voter suppression and give Democrats ammunition to mobilize their supporters ahead of the 2022 midterms. The proposals include measures that would curtail eligibility to vote by mail and prohibit the use of ballot drop boxes. One bill in Georgia would block early voting on Sundays, which critics quickly labeled a flagrant attempt to thwart Souls to the Polls, the Democratic turnout effort that targets Black churchgoers on the final Sunday before an election.” See also, Georgia Republicans Are Doubling Down on Racist Voter Suppression. After Black voters turned out in record numbers, the Republicans want to make it harder to vote. Mother Jones, Ari Berman, Friday, 19 February 2021: “After Donald Trump failed to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, Republicans in the state’s legislature are doing everything they can to make it more difficult for Democrats to win the next one. On Thursday, with almost no public notice, Georgia House Republicans introduced a 48-page bill to significantly change voting procedures in the state in a way that particularly targets Black voters in the Atlanta metro area. This followed similar moves by the state Senate earlier in the week. The House bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Barry Fleming, chair of a newly created Special Committee on Election Integrity, limits the weekend early-voting period to only one Saturday before the election. Fleming claimed the provision will provide ‘uniformity’ in voting hours across the state, but in practice it will take away voting opportunities for large, heavily Democratic counties in Atlanta, like DeKalb and Fulton, which held early voting on multiple weekends in the runup to the 2020 election when many Black voters turned out. It specifically eliminates early voting on Sundays, when Black churches traditionally hold ‘Souls to the Polls’ get-out-the-vote drives.”

U.S. authorities allege wider Oath Keepers conspiracy and charge 6 more defendants in January 6th Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner, Friday, 19 February 2021: “U.S. authorities on Friday alleged a broader conspiracy by Oath Keepers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, charging six new individuals who appeared to be members or associates of the right-wing group. One self-described leader in the group, which recruits among military and law enforcement, sent a Facebook message claiming at least 50 to 100 Oath Keepers planned to travel to D.C. with him on Jan. 6 and that they would ‘make it wild,’ echoing a comment President Donald Trump made on Twitter rallying supporters to the Capitol. A 21-page indictment alleged that the defendants ‘did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and others known and unknown’ to force entry to the Capitol and obstruct Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden as president in riots that led to five deaths and assaults on 139 police.” See also, More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Katie Benner, Friday, 19 February 2021: “The Justice Department lodged charges on Friday against six more suspected members of the Oath Keepers, adding new defendants to a case that had already accused others in the right-wing militia group of an organized plot to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6 and stop the final certification of the presidential election. The charges, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, accused Kelly Meggs, the self-described leader of the Oath Keepers’ Florida chapter, and his wife, Connie, of joining four other militia members — including a middle-aged couple from Ohio — in a military-style ‘stack’ that ascended a flight of stairs outside the Capitol and then broke into the building. The group of six, court papers say, worked with the three members of the Oath Keepers who were charged last month: Thomas E. Caldwell, Jessica M. Watkins and Donovan Crowl.” See also, Justice Department Confronts Increasingly Complex Capitol Riot Inquiry.  Additional prosecutors and agents around the country have been assigned to the investigation as officials try to manage it and stave off a backlog in the courts. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Friday, 19 February 2021: “Justice Department officials are adding prosecutors and agents to their sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as it moves into a more complicated phase and they strategize about how to handle the large caseload, including trying to stave off a potential backlog in the courts, according to law enforcement officials.”


Saturday, 20 February 2021:


Trump gears up for war with his own party, Politico, Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw, Saturday, 20 February 2021: “According to three people familiar with the planning, Trump will soon begin vetting candidates at Mar-a-Lago who are eager to fulfill his promise to exact vengeance upon incumbent Republicans who’ve scorned him, and to ensure every open GOP seat in the 2022 midterms has a MAGA-approved contender vying for it. Trump already has received dozens of requests from prospective candidates seeking to introduce themselves and nab his endorsement, and formal meetings with them could begin as early as March. Now that Trump has survived his second Senate impeachment trial, he has shifted his focus to post-presidential activism — a venture mostly bankrolled by his new leadership PAC, Save America, which had $31 million in its coffers at the start of this month.”


Sunday, 21 February 2021:


House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (Republican-Louisiana) says the Biden presidency is legitimate, but he refuses to say the election wasn’t ‘stolen,’ ABC News, Meg Cunningham, Sunday, 21 February 2021: “President Joe Biden is the legitimate winner of the November election now that electoral votes have been counted, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Sunday on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ but he would not say the election wasn’t ‘stolen.’ After serving as president for just over a month and despite the fact that over 60 lawsuits were litigated and almost entirely thrown out by courts across the country, Scalise did not concede on the legitimacy of the election after being asked by ABC Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl. ‘Look, Joe Biden is the president,’ Scalise said. ‘There were a few states that did not follow their state laws, that’s really the dispute that you’ve seen continue on.’ Karl challenged Scalise on the extent of Biden’s win. ‘I know Joe Biden is the president. He lives at the White House. I asked you, is he the legitimate president of the United States and can you concede that this election was not stolen,’ Karl asked. ‘Very simple question. Please just answer it.’ ‘Once the electors are counted, yes he’s the legitimate president. But if you’re going to ignore the fact that there were states that did not follow their own state legislatively set laws. That’s the issue at heart, that millions of people still are not happy with and don’t want to see happen again,’ Scalise said.” See also, Republican leader Steve Scalise refuses to admit Trump lost election to Biden, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, Sunday, 21 February 2021.

Ohio Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins claims she was VIP security at Trump rally before the Capitol riot and says she met with Secret Service agents, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Sunday, 21 February 2021: “A leader in an alleged Oath Keepers conspiracy in the US Capitol insurrection claims she was given a VIP pass to the pro-Trump rally on January 6, had met with Secret Service agents and was providing security for legislators and others, including in their march to the Capitol, according to a new court filing. Attorneys for Ohio Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins detail how the efforts among paramilitants who are now accused of conspiracy on January 6 were closer to the apparatus around then-President Donald Trump and his rally than was previously known. By sharing the new details in the filing Saturday, the defense attorney for Watkins, a former Army ranger who served in Afghanistan, argues for her release from jail on bond and other restrictions as she awaits trial. ‘On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally, to provide escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol as directed by the then-President, and to safely escort protestors away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest,’ the court filing said on Saturday. ‘She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to provide security for the speakers. At the time the Capitol was breached, she was still at the site of the initial rally where she had provided security.'”

A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack, The New York Times, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews, Sunday, 21 February 2021: “As federal prosecutors unveil charges in the assault on the Capitol last month, they have repeatedly highlighted two militant groups — the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — as being the most organized, accusing them of planning their strategy ahead of time and in some cases helping escalate a rally into an attack. The two organizations stand in contrast to a majority of the mob. Of the more than 230 people charged so far, only 31 are known to have ties to a militant extremist group. And at least 26 of those are affiliated with the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys. The groups differ in their focus and tactics: The Oath Keepers are part of an anti-government militia movement that emphasizes military-style training, while the Proud Boys espouse an ideology of male and Western superiority, with members often expressing white-supremacist and anti-immigrant views. But the groups have been united in their allegiance to former President Donald J. Trump. Conspiracy charges, among the most serious levied so far, indicate that members of these groups may have worked together and planned their activities, potentially in ways that made them more dangerous than other rioters. Federal prosecutors have said that some members used teamwork to help people escape arrest and to direct and provoke protesters to overwhelm police defenses. Of the 22 people charged with conspiracy crimes by mid-February, 18 were known to have ties to one of those two groups.”

The Lost Hours: How Confusion and Inaction at the Capitol Delayed a Troop Deployment, The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Luke Broadwater, Sunday, 21 February 2021: “At 1:09 p.m. on Jan. 6, minutes after protesters had burst through the barricades around the U.S. Capitol and began using the steel debris to assault the officers standing guard, the chief of the Capitol Police made a desperate call for backup. It took nearly two hours for officials to approve the deployment of the National Guard. New details about what transpired over those 115 minutes on that dark, violent day — revealed in interviews and documents — tell a story of how chaotic decision-making among political and military leaders burned precious time as the rioting at the Capitol spiraled out of control. Communication breakdowns, inaction and confusion over who had authority to call for the National Guard delayed a deployment of hundreds of troops who might have helped quell the violence that raged for hours.”

Impeachment is over. But other efforts to reckon with Trump’s post-election chaos have just begun. The WashingtoPost, Rosalind S. Helderman, Sunday, 21 February 2021: “The state of Michigan and the city of Detroit have asked a federal judge to sanction attorneys who filed lawsuits that falsely alleged the November presidential vote was fraudulent, the first of several similar efforts expected around the country. An Atlanta-area prosecutor has launched a criminal investigation into whether pressure that President Donald Trump and his allies put on state officials amounted to an illegal scheme to overturn the results of the election. And defamation lawsuits have been filed against Trump’s allies — the start of what could be a flood of civil litigation related to false claims that the election was rigged and to the subsequent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Although Trump was acquitted by the Senate on a charge that his rhetoric incited the deadly Capitol siege, public officials and private companies are pursuing a multi-front legal effort to hold him and his allies accountable in other ways. The actions target the former president and numerous others — including elected ­officials, media pundits and lawyers — who indulged and echoed his falsehoods that President Biden did not win the election.”


Monday, 22 February 2021:


Merrick Garland, Attorney General Nominee, Says Capitol Riot Investigation Will Be Top Priority. President Biden’s choice to lead the Justice Department is facing two days of questioning, and has vowed to a Senate panel to uphold the independence of the Justice Department. Mr. Biden remembers Americans who died from the coronavirus at an evening memorial. The New York Times, Monday, 22 February 2021:

  • Garland says the Capitol riot investigation will be his top priority as attorney general.

  • House Democrats push $1.9 trillion stimulus measure through Budget Committee.

  • ‘Nothing ordinary about them’: Biden and Harris are mourning the half-million who have died from Covid-19 in the U.S.

  • An anti-N.R.A. ad campaign focuses on the group’s own members.

  • The Biden administration is abandoning Trump-era changes to the citizenship test.

  • The Supreme Court denies Trump’s last-ditch bid to block the release of his financial records to N.Y. prosecutors.

  • President Biden adjusts the loan rules for the smallest companies.

  • Two more senators announce opposition to Neera Tanden as head of the Office of Management and Budget.

  • Confusion and inaction delayed the National Guard’s deployment to the Capitol riot.
  • Lawmakers are pressing cable TV providers over election fraud claims.
  • Washington reclaims its lost weekends, thanks to a reassuringly boring Biden.

Biden outlines loan program help for ‘mom-and-pop’ businesses; Republican opposition to the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget grows, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, and Paulina Firozi, Monday, 22 February 2021: “President Biden announced plans Monday to help ‘mom-and-pop businesses’ benefit from a loan program crafted by Congress, saying they had been ‘muscled out of the way by bigger companies.’ Later, Biden held a candle-lighting ceremony at the White House to mark the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus, noting that more Americans have died in a single year than in World Wars I and II and the Vietnam War combined. ‘Today, we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone,’ Biden said. He noted that the United States has lost more lives to the virus ‘than any other nation on Earth.’ Earlier Monday, on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Biden’s nomination of federal Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general, while the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the White House budget office faces further peril.

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

  • Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $1.3 billion in damages from MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell and his company after he repeatedly echoed then-President Donald Trump’s baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud involving Dominion.
  • Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced their opposition Monday to the nomination of Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Merrick Garland said Monday that his first briefing and top priority if confirmed would center on the sprawling investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as he more broadly vowed to stamp out the rising threat of domestic terrorism.
  • With millions of Texans grappling with water restrictions, spiking energy bills and other havoc left behind by last week’s winter storm, White House officials said Sunday that Biden is ‘eager’ to visit and could head there as soon as this week.

Supreme Court Denies Trump’s Final Bid to Block Release of Tax Returns. The former president’s accountants will give New York prosecutors the financial records he has spent years trying to shield. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Benjamin Weiser, Monday, 22 February 2021: “The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch attempt by former President Donald J. Trump to shield his financial records, issuing a brief, unsigned order that ended Mr. Trump’s bitter 18-month battle to stop prosecutors in Manhattan from poring over his tax returns as they investigate possible financial crimes. The court’s order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret, taking his case to the Supreme Court twice. There were no dissents noted. From the start, Mr. Trump’s battle to keep his returns under wraps had tested the scope and limits of presidential power. Last summer, the justices rejected Mr. Trump’s argument that state prosecutors cannot investigate a sitting president, ruling that no citizen was above ‘the common duty to produce evidence.’ This time, the court denied Mr. Trump’s emergency request to block a subpoena for his records, effectively ending the case. The ruling is also a big victory for the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. He will now have access to eight years’ worth of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, as well as other financial records that Mr. Vance’s investigators view as vital to their inquiry into whether the former president and his company manipulated property values to obtain bank loans and tax benefits.” See also, Here’s What’s Next in the Trump Taxes Investigation, The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Benjamin Weiser, Monday, 22 February 2021: “Terabytes of data. Dozens of prosecutors, investigators and forensic accountants sifting through millions of pages of financial documents. An outside consulting firm drilling down on the arcana of commercial real estate and tax strategies. That is the monumental task that lies ahead in the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his family business after a United States Supreme Court order on Monday cleared the way for prosecutors to obtain eight years worth of Mr. Trump’s tax returns and other financial records. The brief, unsigned order was a resounding victory for the prosecutors and defeat for Mr. Trump, capping his bitter and protracted legal battle to block the release of the records — an effort that twice reached the Supreme Court — and delivering a jolt to the prosecutors’ efforts after the lawsuit stalled them for more than a year.” See also, Supreme Court ends Trump’s bid to shield his tax returns and tosses out a slew of challenges to the presidential election, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 22 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump received a dual defeat Monday at the Supreme Court, a body he transformed with his appointments and one he had long hoped would be a last line of defense in his battles with Congress and liberal Democrats. The court refused Trump’s last-chance efforts to shield his private financial records from Manhattan’s district attorney in one case, and tossed out a slew of challenges to the presidential election and his loss to Democrat Joe Biden. None of the three justices Trump chose for the court — Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — publicly objected to the subpoena seeking his assiduously guarded tax records, or concluded that his reelection defeat was tainted. Now, Trump faces unprecedented legal peril for a former president. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s criminal investigation of his business dealings in New York will accelerate and broaden, and Trump faces scrutiny in Georgia for his efforts to subvert the election results there.” See also, Supreme Court Won’t Hear Pennsylvania Election Case on Mailed Ballots, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 22 February 2021: “The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not hear an appeal from Pennsylvania Republicans who sought to disqualify mailed ballots in the 2020 presidential election that arrived after Election Day. The court’s brief order gave no reasons for turning down the case, which as a practical matter marked the end of Supreme Court litigation over the election. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented, saying the court should have used it to provide guidance in future elections. The dissenting justices acknowledged that the number of ballots at issue in the case was too small to affect President Biden’s victory in the state. But the legal question the case presented — about the power of state courts to revise election laws — was, they said, a significant one that should be resolved without the pressure of an impending election.” See also, Supreme Court won’t take up challenge to Pennsylvania presidential election results, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 22 February 2021: “The Supreme Court on Monday turned away Republican challenges to the presidential election results in Pennsylvania, refusing to take up a months-long dispute over extending the deadline in that state for receiving mail-in ballots. It was part of a purge of sorts. The high court formally dismissed a range of suits filed by Donald Trump and his allies in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona — all states won by Democrat Joe Biden. The court’s intent in most of those had been signaled when it refused to expedite consideration of them before Biden was inaugurated as president.” See also, Supreme Court allows release of Trump tax returns, CNN Politics, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, and Mike Hayes, Monday, 22 February 2021.

Merrick Garland, at Confirmation Hearing, Vows to Fight Domestic Extremism. President Biden’s nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee that investigating the Capitol riot would be his first priority. The New York Times, Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, Monday, 22 February 2021: “Judge Merrick B. Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, said on Monday that the threat from domestic extremism was greater today than at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and he pledged that if confirmed he would make the federal investigation into the Capitol riot his first priority. Judge Garland, who led the Justice Department’s prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on the first day of his confirmation hearings that the early stages of the current inquiry into the ‘white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol’ seemed to be aggressive and ‘perfectly appropriate.’ He received a largely positive reception from members of both parties on the panel, five years after Senate Republicans blocked his nomination to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Garland, 68, who was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997, pledged on Monday to restore the independence of a Justice Department that had suffered deep politicization under the Trump administration…. Judge Garland also said he would reinvigorate the department’s civil rights division as America undergoes a painful and destabilizing reckoning with systemic racism. ‘Communities of color and other minorities still face discrimination in housing, education, employment and the criminal justice system,’ Judge Garland said in his opening statement. But he said he did not support the call from some on the left that grew out of this summer’s civil rights protests to defund the police.”

Covid-19: U.S. Surpasses 500,000 Covid-19 Deaths, a Monumental Loss, The New York Times, Monday, 22 February 2021:

  • Entering uncharted territory, the U.S. counts 500,000 Covid-related deaths.

  • ‘Nothing ordinary about them’: Biden and Harris are mourning the half-million who have died from Covid-19 in the U.S.

  • Here is how Covid-19’s toll compares with other causes of death in the U.S.

  • England will reopen schools in two weeks, but pubs and restaurants will stay shut for now, Johnson says.

  • Vaccine doses delayed by winter storms will be delivered by midweek, White House says.

  • Movie theaters in N.Y.C. can reopen with limited capacity late next week, Cuomo says.

  • The F.D.A. tells companies that vaccines adapted for new variants won’t need lengthy clinical trials.

  • Fauci says antiviral drugs will be key in the next phase of battle against Covid.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021:


Capitol’s Former Security Officials Point to Intelligence Failures Before the Riot. Top security officials who were at the Capitol told lawmakers of a communications breakdown ahead of the Jan. 6 attack. The New York Times, Tuesday, 23 February 2021:

  • Ex-Capitol security officials blame other agencies and communication failures in the riot.

  • Senators confirmed Biden’s U.N. ambassador and agriculture secretary nominees amid a busy day of hearings.

  • Trudeau before his first meeting with Biden: ‘U.S. leadership has been sorely missed.’

  • A huge hacking may still be underway as the White House weighs how to punish Russia for it.

  • Romney predicts Trump would win the 2024 G.O.P. nomination if he ran for president.

  • ‘We still think there’s a shot.’ Biden says he won’t give up on Neera Tanden as her nomination teeters.

  • Liz Cheney says G.O.P. must ‘make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy.’

  • As vaccine production ramps up, the White House announced the weekly supply for states will again increase.

  • The Bidens will visit Texas on Friday to review storm recovery and vaccine efforts.

  • Ted Cruz, stung by his Cancún saga, blames the media that covered it.

Biden holds first bilateral meeting with a world leader, a virtual session with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, John Wagner, Mike DeBonis, and Karoun Demirjian, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “President Biden held his first bilateral meeting with a world leader, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday. In the virtual session, the two discussed the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and refugees. ‘Our nations share close geography and history that will forever bind us together. But our values are even more consequential,’ Biden said in remarks after the session. Trudeau welcomed the change in Washington with a tacit swipe at former president Donald Trump. ‘U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years,’ Trudeau said during the meeting. Earlier in the day, the Senate held its first hearing examining breakdowns in intelligence gathering and security preparations surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of Trump. An FBI warning of potential violence reached the U.S. Capitol Police on the eve of the assault, but top leaders testified during a Senate hearing that they did not see it. Among the witnesses: former House sergeant-at-arms Paul D. Irvingformer Senate sergeant-at-arms Michael C. Stengeracting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III and Steven A. Sund, who was chief of the Capitol Police at the time of the mob attack.

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

  • Biden plans to travel to Houston on Friday in the wake of a winter storm last week that left dozens of people dead, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced Tuesday.
  • Senate committees held confirmation hearings on Biden’s nominations of Xavier Becerra for health and human services secretary and Deb Haaland for interior secretary. The full Senate confirmed Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The Biden administration is preparing sanctions and other measures to punish Moscow for actions that go beyond the sprawling SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
  • Former senator David Perdue (R-Ga.), who narrowly lost his seat in a January runoff election, announced that he will not run in 2022, clearing the GOP field in the race against Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D).

Ex-Security Officials Spread Blame for Failures of Capitol Riot. Former Capitol security officials gave sometimes conflicting accounts in the first high-profile public hearing on the attack by a pro-Trump mob. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “Three former top Capitol security officials deflected responsibility at a Senate hearing on Tuesday for security failures that contributed to the Jan. 6 riot, blaming other agencies, each other and at one point even a subordinate for the breakdowns that allowed hundreds of Trump supporters to storm the Capitol. Their testimony illustrated the chaos of the day, suggesting that officials were reluctant to accept responsibility for the politically charged issue of calling in National Guard troops even as the violence escalated. It also showed that the overlapping jurisdictions of the Capitol Police, the District of Columbia government and other agencies created utter confusion that hindered attempts to stop the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812. The officials testified that the F.B.I. and the intelligence community had failed to provide adequate warnings that rioters planned to seize the Capitol and that the Pentagon was too slow after the attack began to authorize Guard troops to help overwhelmed police. They also gave their own conflicting accounts of communicating with each other as they sought to quell the riot in its early minutes.” See also, FBI alert about possible ‘war’ against Congress reached D.C. and Capitol Police on eve of attack, deepening security questions, The Washington Post, Beth Reinhard and Matt Zapotosky, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “Around 7 p.m. on Jan. 5, less than 24 hours before an angry mob overran the U.S. Capitol, an FBI bulletin warning that extremists were calling for violent attacks on Congress landed in an email inbox used by the D.C. police department. That same evening, a member of the Capitol Police received the same memo. But the alert was not flagged for top officials at either agency, according to congressional testimony Tuesday — deepening questions about the breakdowns that contributed to massive security failures on Jan. 6. Both acting D.C. police chief Robert J. Contee III and former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund said the intelligence community at large failed to detect key information about the intentions of the attackers and adequately communicate what was known in the run-up to the Capitol riot.” See also, Top Capitol Security Officials Disagree Over Basic Facts of National Guard Delays on January 6, Forbes, Jemima McEvoy, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “Top security officials disputed basic facts and offered contrasting accounts of why it took so long to deploy National Guard troops on Jan. 6 during Congress’ first public hearing about the security failures amid the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.” See also, Capitol security officials point fingers over disastrous January 6 riot response, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Whitney Wild, and Marshall Cohen, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “Law enforcement officials told lawmakers Tuesday they were prepared for the possibility of limited violence on January 6 at the US Capitol, but the intelligence available ahead of time did not warn of a coordinated attack like the insurrection that overwhelmed officers and led to multiple casualties. ‘The breach of the United States Capitol was not the result of poor planning or failure to contain a demonstration gone wrong,’ former US Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told two Senate committees at the first open hearing on the Capitol riot. Former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving testified that intelligence assessments before the January 6 attack incorrectly concluded that there was only a ‘remote’ to ‘improbable’ chance of a civil disturbance that day, according to prepared testimony. This is the first time Americans are hearing in full why intelligence and operations failed dramatically on January 6 from the very people whose choices contributed to the crisis — information that will likely help shape the search for new leaders and possibly a new security management structure on Capitol Hill. Sen. Gary Peters revealed Tuesday that an FBI report containing ‘troubling’ information was given to US Capitol Police headquarters on the eve of January 6 but never made it to the department’s leadership, a breakdown the Michigan Democrat said is ‘clearly a major problem.'” See also, Capitol security officials in charge on January 6 blame Pentagon and intelligence failures. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said the Pentagon dragged its feet for hours on January 6, Politico, Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “The officials in charge of securing the Capitol on Jan. 6 largely deflected blame on Tuesday for the lapses that enabled a violent mob of Donald Trump’s supporters to storm the building. The quartet of top officials responsible for security during last month’s insurrection instead blamed ‘intelligence failures’ and senior Pentagon officials for leaving them unprepared for the ‘coordinated, military-style’ attack on Congress. Their Senate testimony revealed a tangled mess of conflicting orders, missed calls and bureaucratic delays. But they all agreed on two critical points — that the Pentagon slow-walked National Guard backup and federal intelligence authorities did not provide sufficient warnings of the attack.”

Audit Finds Voting Machines in Maricopa County, Arizona, Weren’t Rigged, Forbes, Joe Walsh, Tuesday, 23 February 2021: “A new forensic audit found ‘no evidence of tampering or hacking’ in voting machines in Maricopa County, Arizona, county officials announced Tuesday, offering more proof last November’s presidential election was not stolen from former President Donald Trump despite baseless claims from his allies in Arizona and across the country. Election workers in Maricopa County — home to Phoenix and more than half of Arizona’s population — hired two independent auditing firms last month to inspect the hardware and software on computers and ballot scanners made by Dominion Voting Systems. The auditors found no unexpected software modifications, viruses or unapproved hardware on any of the dozens of machines they inspected, and they saw no evidence the devices were connected to the internet, according to two reports released Tuesday.”


Wednesday, 24 February 2021:


Senator Joe Manchin Says He’ll Vote for Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary. If confirmed, Ms. Haaland would be the first Native American to head a cabinet agency. The New York Times, Wednesday, 24 February 2021:

  • Manchin supports Haaland for Interior secretary, a key vote that signals she could be confirmed along party lines.

  • Biden issues proclamation revoking Trump’s pause on green cards.

  • Biden announces nominees to fill seats on the Postal Service’s board as DeJoy faces questions on delivery problems.

  • Capitol officials tell lawmakers the costs from the riot will exceed $30 million.

  • Senate committees abruptly postpone votes on Neera Tanden, signaling pessimism on Biden’s nominee.

  • An awkward exchange by top Republicans at the Capitol illustrates their post-Trump reality.

  • Biden signs an executive order to bolster critical supply chains in auto, pharmaceutical and energy industries.

  • Biden’s pick to lead the C.I.A. pledges to improve spying on China at an amicable confirmation hearing.

  • ‘It was like the old days.’ Biden hails bipartisan spirit after meeting with lawmakers on supply chains.

  • The defense secretary urged U.S. military members to accept vaccinations.

The Words That Are In and Out With the Biden Administration. ‘The president has been clear to all of us — words matter, tone matters and civility matters,’ said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “Days after President Biden took office, the Bureau of Land Management put a scenic landscape of a winding river at the top of its website, which during the previous administration had featured a photograph of a huge wall of coal. At the Department of Homeland Security, the phrase ‘illegal alien’ is being replaced with ‘noncitizen.’ The Interior Department now makes sure that mentions of its stakeholders include ‘Tribal’ people (with a capital ‘T’ as preferred by Native Americans, it said). The most unpopular two words in the Trump lexicon — ‘climate change’ — are once again appearing on government websites and in documents; officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have even begun using the hashtag #climatecrisis on Twitter. And across the government, L.G.B.T.Q. references are popping up everywhere. Visitors to the White House website are now asked whether they want to provide their pronouns when they fill out a contact form: she/her, he/him or they/them. It is all part of a concerted effort by the Biden administration to rebrand the government after four years of President Donald J. Trump, in part by stripping away the language and imagery that represented his anti-immigration, anti-science and anti-gay rights policies and replacing them with words and pictures that are more inclusive and better match the current president’s sensibilities.”

Senator Joe Manchin to back Deb Haaland for interior secretary; White House stands by Neera Tanden for Office of Management and Budget, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday that he will vote to confirm Deb Haaland as interior secretary, citing the New Mexico congresswoman’s ‘bipartisan accomplishments and sincere willingness to work collaboratively on important issues.’ The announcement gives a boost to one of President Biden’s Cabinet nominees as they continue to face scrutiny at their confirmation hearings in the closely-divided Senate. Votes in two committees on the imperiled nomination of Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, have been delayed; the White House continued to maintain its support for Tanden. Biden met at the White House with a bipartisan group of lawmakers before signing an executive order calling for a 100-day government review of potential vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains for critical items, including computer chips, medical gear and electric-vehicle batteries.

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

Close ally of Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene is among those in Capitol mob, CNN Politics, Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “A close ally of Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took part in the January 6 mob at the Capitol and said he was among those who eventually made their way into the building. Greene, a freshman congresswoman with a history of promoting dangerous and violent conspiracies and comments, encouraged the big lie that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump by voting to object to the election certification and fanned the flames of the insurrection by telling her supporters to ‘fight for Trump.’ In tweets after the Capitol insurrection, Greene falsely suggested that those who had broken into the Capitol were not Republicans and instead falsely implied so-called ‘Antifa’ dressed as Trump supporters were to blame. In fact, Anthony Aguero, a conservative livestreamer, activist and associate of Greene, said on video following the January 6 assault on the Capitol that he had been among those who entered and attacked those who falsely claimed it was done by ‘Antifa.’ ‘We were all there. It was not Antifa and it was not BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday. I’m the first to admit it, being one myself,’ said Aguero in a video posted on January 7. ‘I walked amongst all those people,’ he added, later defending entering the Capitol.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney clashed over whether Trump should speak at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). Cheney, who voted in January to impeach Trump, said she doesn’t want him leading the Republican Party. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney clashed Wednesday after they were asked whether former President Donald Trump should speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend. At a GOP leadership news conference, McCarthy told reporters, ‘Yes, he should.’ Trump is expected to deliver remarks Sunday at the conference in Orlando, Florida. Cheney, who voted in January to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the assault on the Capitol, said that decision isn’t up to her, but made clear she doesn’t want him leading their party. ‘That’s up to CPAC. I’ve been clear on my views about President Trump,’ Cheney said. ‘I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.'”

Capitol Riot Costs $30 Million, Official Tells Congress, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “The top operations and maintenance official of the United States Capitol told lawmakers on Wednesday that the costs of the Jan. 6 attack will exceed $30 million, as his office works to provide mental health services, increase security and repair historical statues and other art damaged in the riot.”

Lawyers have found the parents of 105 separated migrant children in the past month, NBC News, Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “The lawyers working to reunite immigrant parents and children separated by the Trump administration reported Wednesday that they have found the parents of 105 children in the past month. The steering committee of pro-bono lawyers and advocates working on reunification said it had yet to find the parents of 506 children, down from 611 on Jan. 14, the last time it reported data to a federal judge overseeing the process. The lawyers said the parents of about 322 of the 506 children are believed to have been deported, making it more difficult to find them. The lawyers are not required by the judge to say how many of the parents and children have been reunited.”

Biden Revokes Trump’s Pause on Green Cards, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “President Biden reopened the country on Wednesday to people seeking green cards, ending a ban on legal immigration that President Donald J. Trump imposed last spring, citing what he said was the need to protect American jobs during the pandemic. In a proclamation, Mr. Biden said that the ban did ‘not advance the interests of the United States,’ challenging Mr. Trump’s claims that the way to protect the American economy during the health crisis was to shut the country off from the rest of the world…. The president’s action was the latest example of his efforts to roll back Mr. Trump’s assault on the nation’s immigration system. Since taking office, Mr. Biden has issued several executive orders and directives aimed at lifting restrictions on immigrants put in place over the past four years.”

US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy Says to Congress: ‘Get used to me,’ Politico, Nick Niedzwiadek, Wednesday, 24 February 2021: “Louis DeJoy, the embattled postmaster general, said on Wednesday he is not going anywhere as he faces withering criticism of his leadership of the U.S. Postal Service and calls for President Joe Biden to move to oust him. Testifying at a House Oversight and Reform Committee meeting, DeJoy said he intended to be around ‘a long time. Get used to me,’ he said. However, DeJoy’s resolve may be put to the test soon, as Biden nominated three people — Ron Stroman, Anton Hajjar and Amber McReynolds — to fill open seats on the board that determines the postmaster‘s fate, the White House announced on Wednesday afternoon. If confirmed, Democratic appointees would have a majority of the USPS Board of Governors’ nine-seat panel, potentially giving them the opportunity to get rid of DeJoy.”


Thursday, 25 February 2021:


White House Surprised by Level of Resistance to the Nomination of Neera Tanden to Head the Office of Management and Budget, The New York Times, Thursday, 25 February 2021:

  • Senate parliamentarian disqualifies minimum wage from stimulus plan.

  • The White House continues to fight for Tanden’s confirmation, a battle it didn’t expect to wage.

  • Biden speaks with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, but it’s unclear if the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was discussed.

  • At a Senate hearing and on the House floor, emotional debates erupt over transgender rights.

  • The United States carries out retaliatory airstrikes in Syria targeting Iran-backed militias.

  • Jennifer Granholm is confirmed as energy secretary.

  • Neera Tanden risks becoming the first cabinet-level casualty of the Twitter age.

  • The House passes sweeping gay and transgender equality legislation

  • Militia groups want to ‘blow up the Capitol,’ the acting chief of the Capitol Police tells lawmakers.

  • Here’s what to watch for at CPAC, where Trump, Cruz, and Pompeo will speak.
  • A Group claiming Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans asks the Supreme Court to hear its case.

Biden marks the 50 millionth coronavirus vaccination in the United States, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Amy B Wang, John Wagner, Karoun Demirjian, and Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “President Biden commemorated the 50 millionth coronavirus vaccination in the United States with an event at the White House in which several people were vaccinated as Vice President Harris and Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, looked on. Later, in a virtual meeting with governors, Biden promoted his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda D. Pittman on Thursday told a panel of House lawmakers that some of the armed groups behind the Jan. 6 riot ‘want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible’ during Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress, an event that has not yet been scheduled. Harris later swore in former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary, hours after she was confirmed 64-35 by the Senate. Granholm, a strong voice for zero-emissions vehicles, will take the reins of the agency as climate change and severe weather affect the nation’s energy supply.

Here are some of the major developments included in this article.

  • The Democratic-led House passed the Equality Act, sweeping legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran.
  • The Biden administration has fewer top government leaders in place than other recent presidents at this point in their terms, a pace that has been slowed by the Jan. 6 siege at the Capitol, an impeachment trial, the pandemic and snowstorms.
  • White House officials continued to express support for Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget after two Senate committees on Wednesday delayed votes on her nomination.

House Passes Sweeping Gay and Transgender Equality Legislation. The bill, first passed by the Democratic-led House in 2019, faces a steep climb in the Senate. It was approved as Democrats and Republicans sparred more broadly over transgender rights. The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “A divided House on Thursday narrowly passed a bill that would extend civil rights protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but the measure faced an uphill battle to enactment, with Republicans almost uniformly opposed. The legislation, passed 224 to 206 almost entirely along party lines, stands little chance of drawing enough Republican support in the Senate to advance, at least in its current form. It was the second time the Democratic-led House had passed the measure, known as the Equality Act, which seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add explicit bans on discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both public and private spaces. ‘In most states, L.G.B.T.Q. people can be discriminated against because of who they are, or who they love,’ said Representative David Cicilline, an openly gay Democrat from Rhode Island and the lead sponsor. ‘It is past time for that to change.'” See also, House passes the Equality Act, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Samantha Schmidt, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “The House voted Thursday to pass the Equality Act, a far-reaching measure that has been decades in the making and would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislation was passed by the House in 2019 but blocked in the Republican-led Senate. This time, Democrats control the White House, House and Senate. President Biden has signaled his support for the measure, but it still faces an uphill fight in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to break a legislative filibuster. ‘The Civil Rights Act is a sacred pillar of freedom in our country. It is not amended lightly,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a House floor speech Thursday afternoon. She thanked members of the Congressional Black Caucus who ‘gave their imprimatur to the opening of the Civil Rights Act to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.'” See also, House passes Equality Act aimed at ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, CNN Politics, Daniella Diaz and Annie Grayer, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “The House has passed the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and other services as well as access to public accommodations such as restaurants. The final vote was 224-206. Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the bill. Reps. John Katko, Tom Reed, and Brian Fitzpatrick voted with Democrats on this vote, and did so when the legislation passed in the House in 2019 as well. When the bill passed the House floor in 2019, eight Republicans joined Democrats to vote for the legislation.”

Capitol Police chief says extremists have discussed attack on Congress during Biden’s first joint address, The Washington Post, Karoun Demirjian, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police warned lawmakers Thursday that militia members involved in the Jan. 6 riot ‘want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible’ during President Biden’s first congressional address. The stark warning about another potential threat to Congress — which has not been corroborated by other law enforcement agencies — comes as a date for Biden’s first address on Capitol Hill has not been set. New presidents typically deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress in February. Acting chief Yogananda D. Pittman told lawmakers there was ‘a direct nexus’ between the threats and a Biden speech. She cited that intelligence to explain why National Guard members who were deployed and the tall security barriers that were erected around the Capitol after the insurrection have not yet been removed.” See also, Capitol Police Chief Testifies That Militia Groups Want to ‘Blow Up the Capitol,’ The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “The acting chief of the Capitol Police warned lawmakers on Thursday that extremist groups that carried out the Jan. 6 riot want to blow up the Capitol and kill lawmakers around President Biden’s first formal address to Congress, calling for security measures deployed after the deadly attack to remain for several more weeks. ‘We have no intention of keeping the National Guard soldiers or that fencing any longer than what is actually needed,’ the acting chief, Yogananda D. Pittman, told a House Appropriations subcommittee. ‘We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible, with a direct nexus to the State of the Union.’ Extremist groups and militia members were among the hundreds of pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol last month in an attempt to stop the certification of Mr. Biden’s victory and keep President Donald J. Trump in power. The violent rampage caused injuries to nearly 140 police officers and left five people dead. Afterward, tens of thousands of National Guard troops were sent to the Capitol, which is now fortified on all sides with tall fences topped with razor wire.” See also, Capitol Police chief says security will remain high due to State of the Union threat, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “The Capitol Police is keeping its security posture high in response to intelligence that indicates some extremists who joined the Jan. 6 insurrection have discussed plans to attack the building during the State of the Union, Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed Thursday. The chatter among extremists about trying to blow up the Capitol during the still-unscheduled presidential address, Pittman said, has prompted the Capitol Police to maintain the elevated presence it has kept since last month’s riot. Any decrease in the police’s posture, she said, would come after the threat passes and other gaps identified in the aftermath of the Capitol siege are resolved.”

Top Senate Official Disqualifies Minimum Wage From Stimulus Plan. The parliamentarian ruled that the provision, which would gradually increase the wage to $15 an hour, violated the strict budgetary rules that limit what can be included in the package. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “Democrats suffered a major setback on Thursday in their bid to push through a $15-an-hour minimum wage as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, after the Senate’s top rule-enforcer said that the increase could not be included in the bill. The decision effectively knocked out a crucial plank of Mr. Biden’s plan championed by liberals, and demonstrated the perils of Democrats’ strategy to fast-track passage of the sweeping pandemic aid legislation, part of an effort to steer around Republican obstruction. It underscored that even with control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Mr. Biden and Democrats still face formidable challenges in delivering on their most ambitious promises given their slim majorities and opposition from Republicans. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the House would keep the provision in its version of the stimulus plan, which is set to be voted on on Friday. But the ruling from Elizabeth MacDonough, the Senate parliamentarian, all but sealed the fate of Democrats’ push to gradually raise the wage to $15 by 2025, which faces enough opposition from Republicans that it is all but certain to die on its own. The decision also poured fuel on a smoldering debate among Democrats about how to use their Senate majority to achieve Mr. Biden’s agenda. Progressives who have pushed for the elimination of the filibuster — which effectively requires 60 votes to advance any major legislation — pointed to the ruling as evidence that Democrats had no choice but to change the rules of the Senate to enable them to push through crucial policy changes that have been stalled time and again amid Republican opposition.” See also, Minimum-wage increase imperiled in covid relief bill by Senate official’s ruling, The Washington Post, Erica Werner, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “President Biden’s proposed $15-an-hour minimum-wage increase cannot remain in his coronavirus relief bill as written, the Senate’s parliamentarian said Thursday, imperiling a major Biden campaign promise and top priority for the Democratic Party’s liberal wing.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Now Has Trump’s Tax Returns. After an 18-month court battle, prosecutors in Manhattan investigating possible bank and tax fraud have seized former President Donald J. Trump’s tax records. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “Tax and financial records that former President Donald J. Trump fought to keep secret for nearly 18 months have been turned over to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which is investigating possible fraud by Mr. Trump and his company, an official said. The voluminous records, including eight years of personal tax returns, were handed over to prosecutors on Monday, the same day that the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s final bid to block a subpoena for them…. Mr. Vance’s investigation, which started more than two years ago, has recently zeroed in on possible tax and bank-related fraud. Investigators are particularly concerned with whether the Trump Organization inflated or otherwise manipulated the value of its properties in order to obtain loans and tax benefits.” See also, Trump’s tax returns and related records are turned over to Manhattan district attorney, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Shimon Prokupecz, and Devan Cole, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “Tax records that former President Donald Trump tried to keep secret for years are now in the hands of the New York district attorney. Prosecutors obtained the records on Monday, just hours after the US Supreme Court denied Trump’s last-ditch effort to keep the records private, a spokesperson for the district attorney said. The millions of pages of documents, sources say, contain Trump’s tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement agreements, documents relating to the preparation and review of tax returns, and work papers and communications related to the tax returns. Though the documents handed off from Trump’s long-time accounting firm Mazars won’t be released to the public because they’re subject to grand jury secrecy rules, their delivery caps off an extraordinary 17-month quest by the former President and his lawyers to block investigators from obtaining the records.”

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene posts anti-transgender sign across the hall from lawmaker with transgender child, CNN Politics, Chandelis Duster, Thursday, 25 February 2021: “Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is facing sharp criticism after she posted an anti-transgender sign outside of her office, directly across the hall from another lawmaker who has a transgender child. The antagonizing move by Greene comes as the House is expected to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would ban discrimination against LGTBQ Americans, later Thursday, after the Georgia Republican’s attempt to block the act failed on Wednesday. It also follows a string of incendiary statements and actions by the freshman Georgia congresswoman, who was removed from her committee assignments earlier this month after violent past comments were unearthed. Illinois Rep. Marie Newman, whose daughter is transgender, posted a video on Twitter of her hanging the pink and blue transgender pride flag outside her office Wednesday afternoon, captioning that Greene tried to block the act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil,’ adding, ‘thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door’ with winking and transgender flag emojis. That evening, Greene retweeted Newman’s post and added a video of her hanging a sign that reads ‘There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE …Trust The Science!'”


Friday, 26 February 2021:


House Democrats Are Preparing to Approve Biden’s $1.9 trillion Stimulus Plan. President Biden on Friday visited parts of Houston damaged by the winter storms. The Biden administration released a newly declassified report that outlined who carried out the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Former President Trump took his first formal step toward trying to punish Republicans who voted to impeach him. The New York Times, Friday, 26 February 2021:

  • Biden visits areas of Houston damaged by winter storms.

  • Former President Trump endorses a former aide challenging a pro-impeachment House Republican.

  • At CPAC, Josh Hawley is unapologetic about challenging the election results, and draws a standing ovation.

  • Ted Cruz, speaking at CPAC, jokes about his Cancún trip and tells media to ‘lighten up.’

  • Biden won’t penalize Mohammed bin Salman over Khashoggi’s killing, fearing a breach with Saudi Arabia.

  • The Biden administration buys 100,000 doses of a combination antibody treatment for high-risk Covid-19 patients.

  • The Biden administration enlists business leaders in an effort to combat the coronavirus.
  • The political fights over setting up a Capitol riot inquiry echoes those waged over forming the 9/11 Commission.
  • Give Biden a chance? On coronavirus aid, some Trump voters just might.

‘It’s not the time to relax,’ Biden says after touring coronavirus mass vaccination site in Texas, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Friday, 26 February 2021: “President Biden on Friday toured a mass coronavirus vaccination facility in Houston, where he touted the progress that has been made so far in combating the pandemic, reassured Americans that vaccines are safe and urged them not to let their guard down in the coming months. ‘Cases and hospitalizations could go back up as new variants emerge,’ Biden said. ‘And it’s not the time to relax. We have to keep washing our hands, staying socially distanced, and for God’s sake, wear your mask. It’s not a political statement. It’s a patriotic thing to do.’ Earlier Friday, Biden surveyed recovery efforts from winter storms that left millions of Texans without power and clean water amid freezing temperatures. While Biden is away from Washington, the House is debating, and is ultimately expected to pass, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that he has heavily pushed and that includes a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks to individuals.

Here are some of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the operation that led to the brutal 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a long-withheld U.S. intelligence report made public Friday.
  • The Biden administration conducted an airstrike in Syria that officials believe killed a number of alleged Iranian-linked fighters.
  • The acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police warned lawmakers that extremists involved in the Jan. 6 riot ‘want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible’ during Biden’s first congressional address.
  • The Conservative Political Action Conference continues in Orlando. Former president Donald Trump is expected to close out the conference Sunday.
  • One day after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against them, House Democrats intend to pass the coronavirus relief package with the $15 minimum wage included. It is unclear how the issue will ultimately be resolved.

House Passes $1.9 Trillion Stimulus as Democrats Work to Salvage Wage Raise. Even as the House passed President Biden’s pandemic aid plan with a minimum wage increase included, Democrats were searching for a Plan B for the wage hike, which was ruled out in the Senate. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley, Friday, 26 February 2021: “The House passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan early Saturday in a nearly party-line vote, advancing a sweeping pandemic aid package that would provide billions of dollars for unemployed Americans, struggling families and businesses, schools and the distribution of coronavirus vaccines. The vote was 219 to 212, with Democrats pushing the measure over unanimous Republican opposition. After hours of debate that stretched past midnight, two Democrats — Representatives Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon — broke with their party and voted against the bill. The plan would provide $1,400 direct payments to individuals earning up to $75,000 a year and to couples earning up to $150,000. It would also expand a weekly federal unemployment benefit that is set to lapse in mid-March, increasing the payments to $400 a week from $300 and extending them through the end of August. It would increase the child tax credit; provide more than $50 billion for vaccine distribution, testing and tracing; and allocate nearly $200 billion to primary and secondary schools and $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments.” See also, House Democrats pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan despite setback on minimum wage, The Washington Post, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, published on Saturday, 27 February 2021: “The House approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan early Saturday and sent it to the Senate, as Democrats defied united GOP opposition to advance the massive relief package aimed at stabilizing the economy and boosting coronavirus vaccinations and testing. The legislation, Biden’s first major agenda item, passed 219-212. Republicans unanimously opposed the bill, a strikingly partisan outcome just a month after the new president was inaugurated with calls for bipartisanship and unity. All but two Democrats voted in favor…. Beyond the minimum-wage increase, the sprawling relief bill would provide $1,400 stimulus payments to tens of millions of American households; extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits through August; provide $350 billion in aid to states, cities, U.S. territories and tribal governments; and boost funding for vaccine distribution and coronavirus testing — among myriad other measures, such as nutritional assistance, housing aid and money for schools. Democrats hope to push the legislation through both chambers and get it signed into law by March 14, when enhanced unemployment benefits are set to expire. It is uncertain whether disputes over the minimum wage or other issues could complicate that timeline, although Pelosi insisted Friday that the March 14 deadline would be met, adding: ‘I would like it well before that.'”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Is Held Responsible for the Killing of  Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi According to a U.S. Intelligence Report Released on Friday. But the Biden administration stopped short of directly penalizing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calculating that the risk of damaging American interests was too great. The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger, Friday, 26 February 2021: “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia approved the assassination of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, according to an intelligence report that the Biden administration released on Friday that offered the world a reminder of the brutal killing. An elite team of operatives helped carry out the killing, the report said. The team reported directly to Prince Mohammed, who cultivated a climate of fear that made it unlikely for aides to act without his consent, according to the report. It omitted the brutal details of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, including the dismemberment of his body with a bone saw after Saudi officials lured him to their consulate in Istanbul. But the Biden administration took no direct action against Prince Mohammed, the de facto ruler of the kingdom, instead announcing travel and financial sanctions on other Saudis involved in the killing and on members of the elite unit of the Royal Guard who protect the crown prince. The administration concluded it could not risk a full rupture of its relationship with the kingdom, relied on by the United States to help contain Iran, to counter terrorist groups and to broker peaceful relations with Israel. Cutting off Saudi Arabia could also push its leaders toward China. Lawmakers of both parties praised the release of the report, but some Democrats, including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, spoke out in dismay that the administration stopped short of more severely punishing Prince Mohammed for the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a legal permanent resident of Virginia who was critical of the Saudi government in columns he wrote for The Post.” See also, Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Over Killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Fearing Relations Breach, The New York Times, David E. Sanger, Friday, 26 February 2021: “President Biden has decided that the diplomatic cost of directly penalizing Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is too high, according to senior administration officials, despite a detailed American intelligence finding that he directly approved the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident and Washington Post columnist who was drugged and dismembered in October 2018. The decision by Mr. Biden, who during the 2020 campaign called Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ state with ‘no redeeming social value,’ came after weeks of debate in which his newly formed national security team advised him that there was no way to formally bar the heir to the Saudi crown from entering the United States, or to weigh criminal charges against him, without breaching the relationship with one of America’s key Arab allies. Officials said a consensus developed inside the White House that the cost of that breach, in Saudi cooperation on counterterrorism and in confronting Iran, was simply too high.” See also, U.S. intelligence report concludes that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the operation that led to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Friday, 26 February 2021: “The Biden administration will impose no direct punishment on Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the conclusion of a long-awaited intelligence report released Friday that he ‘approved’ the operation, administration officials said. ‘The relationship with Saudi Arabia is bigger than any one individual,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a news conference. By making public the intelligence report — withheld by the Trump administration for two years — and taking other actions, President Biden has moved toward a promised ‘recalibration’ of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, he said. But for many lawmakers, human rights activists and Saudi dissidents, it was not enough. The crown prince ‘should suffer sanctions, including financial, travel and legal — and the Saudi government should suffer grave consequences as long as he remains in government,’ said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), whose legislation in early 2019 mandated release of the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).” See also, Biden doesn’t penalize Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite promise to punish senior Saudi leaders, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, Vivian Salama, and Kylie Atwood, Friday, 26 February 2021: “Despite promising to punish senior Saudi leaders while on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The choice not to punish Prince Mohammed directly puts into sharp relief the type of decision-making that becomes more complicated for a president versus a candidate, and demonstrates the difficulty in breaking with a troublesome ally in a volatile region. On Friday, Biden’s administration released an unclassified intelligence report on Khashoggi’s death, an action his predecessor refused to take as he downplayed US intelligence. The report from the director of national intelligence says the crown prince, known as MBS, directly approved the killing of Khashoggi. But while Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions that affected 76 Saudis involved in harassing activists and journalists, he didn’t announce measures that touch the prince. And while a sanctions list from the Treasury Department named a former deputy intelligence chief and the Saudi Royal Guard’s rapid intervention force, the crown prince wasn’t mentioned.”

Biden is hiking the ‘social cost of carbon.’ It will change how the U.S. tackles global warming. The Washington Post, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Friday, 26 February 2021: “President Biden on Friday dramatically altered the way the U.S. government calculates the real-world cost of climate change, a move that could reshape a range of consequential decisions, from whether to allow new coal leasing on federal land to what sort of steel is used in taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects. The administration plans to boost the figure it will use to assess the damage that greenhouse gas pollution inflicts on society to $51 per ton of carbon dioxide — a rate more than seven times higher than that used by former president Donald Trump’s administration. But the number, known as the ‘social cost of carbon,’ could reach as high as $125 per ton once the administration conducts a more thorough analysis.”

Biden Revokes a Trump Order Seeking ‘Classical’ Civic Architecture, The New York Times, Zachary Small, Friday, 26 February 2021: “Another classical age of sorts has come to an end — a very short-lived one. An executive order that former President Donald J. Trump issued in the waning days of his administration, which sought to make classical architecture the default style for new federal buildings, was revoked this week by President Biden as the White House continues its sweeping rollback of the previous administration’s policies. Though the Trump-issued order stopped short of banning newer designs from consideration, it was strongly condemned by several prominent architects and architectural associations — including the American Institute of Architects and National Trust for Historic Preservation — for trying to impose an official, preferred national style. Trump’s executive order, which he signed in December after losing his bid for re-election, was titled ‘Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture,’ and it praised Greco-Roman architecture as being ‘beautiful’ while describing modernist designs as ‘ugly and inconsistent.’ Those who championed the order heralded it as a return to a bygone era of federalist style. The American Institute of Architects, which had said it was ‘appalled’ by the Trump order, praised the decision to revoke it. The debate was not merely about aesthetics. ‘By overturning this order, the Biden Administration has restored communities with the freedom of design choice that is essential to designing federal buildings that best serve the public,’ the institute’s president, Peter Exley, said in a statement. ‘This is fundamental to an architect’s process and to achieving the highest quality buildings possible.’ Michael Kimmelman, the architecture critic for The New York Times, had condemned the measure when it was discussed last February. ‘Just to have this argument feels demeaning,’ he wrote.”


Saturday, 27 February 2021:


In Statehouses, Republican Legislators are Rewriting Election Laws to Restrict Voting, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Saturday, 27 February 2021: “Led by loyalists who embrace former President Donald J. Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election, Republicans in state legislatures nationwide are mounting extraordinary efforts to change the rules of voting and representation — and enhance their own political clout. At the top of those efforts is a slew of bills raising new barriers to casting votes, particularly the mail ballots that Democrats flocked to in the 2020 election. But other measures go well beyond that, including tweaking Electoral College and judicial election rules for the benefit of Republicans; clamping down on citizen-led ballot initiatives; and outlawing private donations that provide resources for administering elections, which were crucial to the smooth November vote.”


Sunday, 28 February 2021:


Trump’s Republican Hit List at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Is a Warning Shot to His Party. In his first public appearance since leaving office, Donald Trump went through, by name, every Republican who supported his second impeachment and called for them to be ousted. The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 28 February 2021: “After days of insisting they could paper over their intraparty divisions, Republican lawmakers were met with a grim reminder of the challenge ahead on Sunday when former President Donald J. Trump stood before a conservative conference and ominously listed the names of Republicans he is targeting for defeat. As Democrats pursue a liberal agenda in Washington, the former president’s grievances over the 2020 election continue to animate much of his party, more than a month after he left office and nearly four months since he lost the election. Many G.O.P. leaders and activists are more focused on litigating false claims about voting fraud in last year’s campaign, assailing the technology companies that deplatformed Mr. Trump and punishing lawmakers who broke with him over his desperate bid to retain power. In an address on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, his first public appearance since he left the White House, Mr. Trump read a sort of hit list of every congressional Republican who voted to impeach him, all but vowing revenge.” See also, Fact Check: Trump Revives Familiar Falsehoods in CPAC Speech. The former president attacked his successor and continued to claim that he won the 2020 election. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Sunday, 28 February 2020. See also, CPAC Takeaways: Trump Dominates, and Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota Stand Out, The New York Times, Shane Goldmacher and Elaina Plott, Sunday, 28 February 2021. See also, Trump Wins CPAC Straw Poll, but Only 68 Percent Want Him to Run Again, The New York Times, Elaina Plott and Shane Goldmacher, Sunday, 28 February 2021: “The Conservative Political Action Conference, made up largely of far-right Trump supporters, held two 2024 presidential straw polls. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida won one that did not include Mr. Trump.” See also, Trump rules out third party as he moves to firm up control of Republican Party, The Washington Post, David Weigel and Michael Scherer, Sunday, 28 February 2021: “Former president Donald Trump declared Sunday that he is considering a presidential run in 2024, has ruled out forming a third party and will devote himself to building up Republican efforts to take on Democrats and others he claimed have targeted his movement. The address before an ebullient crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference marked Trump’s first political speech since leaving the White House. It was staged as a public declaration of Trump’s intention to play a dominant political role in controlling the GOP through the 2022 election — and to potentially set himself up for a third campaign for the White House.” See also, Trump Keeps Up Conspiracies and Blasts Biden and Republican Foes in 1st Post-Presidency Speech, NPR, Jason Slotkin and Domenico Montanaro, Sunday, 28 February 2021: “Just a month after leaving office, Donald Trump on Sunday broke with the practices of past former presidents and took on the man who beat him in the 2020 election. During a keynote address in Orlando, Fla., that lasted an hour and a half — and began more than an hour late — to the friendly Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, Trump blasted President Biden’s tenure so far.”




Now that the Trump administration is no longer in power and the impeachment trial is over, I plan to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period of US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the new Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post investigative/muckraking journalism going back to the 19th century, and I hope to return to this activity in the near future. Thanks for reading!