Trump Administration, Week 209: Friday, 15 January – Wednesday, 20 January 2021 (Days 1,456-1,461)




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


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Friday, 15 January 2021, Day 1,456:


The Presidential Transition: The Capitol Police Are Investigating Whether Members of Congress Gave Rioters Tours of Capitol Before the Siege, The New York Times, Friday, 15 January 2021:

  • The Capitol Police are investigating whether lawmakers gave pre-riot building tours, as Pelosi names leader of security review.

  • Top lawmakers were not told of police request for backup before Capitol riot.

  • Pelosi says impeachment managers are preparing for Senate trial, but declines to offer timeline.

  • Joe Biden plans a vaccination blitz, but supplies are scarce.

  • Prosecutors unseal chilling accounts of violence at the Capitol.

  • The National Mall, focus of Trump’s grievances and marching orders, will be off limits for Biden’s inauguration.

  • Photos capture notes from Trump ally leaving the White House on Friday.

  • Biden names more administration picks, including a FEMA head and deputy director of the C.I.A.

  • Gun safety group calls for a ban on guns in ‘sensitive’ government buildings.
  • Justice Department closes an investigation of nine military ballots, citing ‘insufficient evidence’ of any criminal activity.
  • The F.B.I. questions dozens in the killing of a Capitol Police officer and other assaults by a pro-Trump mob.
  • In sharply worded departure letter, Alex Azar, the health secretary, tries to distance himself from Trump.

Transfer of Presidential Power: Biden unveils plans for expanded access to the coronavirus vaccine, The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 15 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden on Friday offered a sober assessment of the nation’s ability to conquer the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country remains ‘in a very dark winter’ as the number of dead approaches 400,000. Biden unveiled his incoming administration’s plan to get Americans vaccinated. Vice President Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris to congratulate her Thursday, more than two months after she and Biden won the November election and just five days before the new Democratic administration takes office. President Trump plans to leave Washington on Wednesday morning before Biden is sworn in, according to a senior administration official. Trump had previously announced he would not attend his successor’s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol, breaking with decades of tradition.

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

  • Biden is seeking to keep a focus on combating the coronavirus with his speech in Wilmington, Del., a day after he called the rollout by Trump’s administration a ‘dismal failure.’ ‘Things will get worse before they get better. I told you I would always level with you,’ Biden said Friday.
  • The vast majority of Americans say they oppose the actions of the rioters who stormed and ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, while smaller majorities say Trump bears responsibility for the attack and that he should be removed from office and disqualified from serving again, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
  • A hearing scheduled for Biden’s nominee to serve as the nation’s top intelligence official, Avril D. Haines, has been postponed until next week, according to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • The violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol came perilously close to Pence, who was not evacuated from the Senate chamber until about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex.

How the rioters who stormed the Capitol came dangerously close to Pence, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Carol D. Leonnig, Paul Kane, and Emma Brown, Friday, 15 January 2021: “The violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 came perilously close to Vice President Pence, who was not evacuated from the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex — enough time for the marauders to rush inside the building and approach his location, according to law enforcement officials and video footage from that day. Secret Service officers eventually spirited Pence to a room off the Senate floor with his wife and daughter after rioters began to pour into the Capitol, many loudly denouncing the vice president as a traitor as they marched through the first floor below the Senate chamber. About one minute after Pence was hustled out of the chamber, a group charged up the stairs to a second-floor landing, chasing a Capitol Police officer who drew them away from the Senate. Pence and his family had just ducked into a hideaway less than 100 feet from that landing, according to three people familiar with his whereabouts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. If the pro-Trump mob had arrived seconds earlier, the attackers would have been in eyesight of the vice president as he was rushed across a reception hall into the office. The proximity of the Jan. 6 mob to the vice president and the delay in evacuating him from the chamber — which have not been previously reported — raise questions about why the Secret Service did not move him earlier and underscore the jeopardy that top government leaders faced during the siege.”

Continue reading Week 209, Friday, 15 January  – Wednesday, 20 January 2021 (Days 1,456-1,461):

Critical Moments in the Capitol Siege, The New York Times, Lauren Leatherby and Anjali Singhvi, Friday, 15 January 2021: “From the Trump rally to the violent breach of the Capitol and its aftermath, here is a moment-by-moment look at some of the pivotal events on Jan. 6, when thousands of protesters flooded the Capitol grounds and many rioters came within steps of members of Congress, who were gathered to certify the presidential election results.”

Inspectors General of the Departments of Justice, Defense, Interior, and Homeland Security open sweeping review of security and intelligence surrounding Capitol attack, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Missy Ryan, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Internal investigators for the departments of Justice, Defense, the Interior and Homeland Security will investigate how security officials prepared for and responded to last week’s pro-Trump rally in Washington that descended into a riot at the U.S. Capitol, officials announced Friday. The inspectors general for all of those agencies will review what people knew and how they prepared for that day, Jan. 6, along with their actions during the riot that resulted in five deaths, according to news releases. Questions have swirled about how such an important government building — with so many security agencies available to assist — could be overcome by a mob of people wielding bats, bear spray and brute force.” See also, Inspectors General From the Departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, and Interior Open a Far-Reaching Investigation Into Failures in the Lead-Up to the Capitol Riot, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Glenn Thrush, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Inspectors general from a range of federal agencies are opening a coordinated investigation into the catastrophic failures that led to the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, amid reports that officials ignored, downplayed and responded sluggishly to a deadly assault on the nation’s core democratic institutions. Government watchdogs, who are shielded from political interference under federal law, said on Friday that they planned to review the protocols, and policies that were in place in the lead-up to last week’s breach. Their goal: To determine why the federal government was caught flat-footed when pro-Trump rioters attacked Congress, and come up with protocols to prevent similar failures in dealing with a dramatic escalation in political violence in Washington and in state capitols. The review will be jointly conducted by the inspectors general from the Justice Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Interior, according to a statement from the office of Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general. In the days following the attack, it has become clear that federal agencies, including the F.B.I., did not do enough to heed alarms, raised within the bureau itself, that far-right extremists allied with President Trump planned to attack the Capitol. Several people on a terrorist watch list were also in Washington for the rally by Mr. Trump that devolved into the assault. At the same time, questions have arisen about the Pentagon’s delay in sending national guard troops to help Capitol Police officers who were overwhelmed and, in some cases, badly beaten by the mob.”

Federal investigators have opened 275 criminal cases and charged roughly 98 individuals in Capitol riot investigation, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Friday, 15 January 2021: “US investigators have opened 275 criminal cases and charged roughly 98 individuals in connection to last week’s pro-President Donald Trump riot at the US Capitol, federal officials said Friday, emphasizing they are focused on rounding up the most violent offenders. That number will easily grow to over 300 by the end of the day, Michael Sherwin, acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia, told reporters during Friday’s news conference. The update comes as federal investigators are chasing thousands of leads in twin efforts to prosecute people involved in last week’s attack on the US Capitol and to try to prevent feared follow-up attacks in Washington, DC, and around the country. The challenge, FBI and Department of Justice officials say, is ‘unprecedented,’ particularly given the growing concerns about possible protests around the country this weekend and planning around what will be the most heavily fortified presidential inauguration in modern US history.”

House and Senate Leaders Not Told of Capitol Police Request for National Guard Backup Before Riot, Congressional Aide and Others Say, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes, Michael S. Schmidt, Luke Broadwater, and Adam Goldman, Friday, 15 January 2021: “In the days leading up to the mob attack on the Capitol, congressional security officials never let House and Senate leaders know that the Capitol Police had warned they might need National Guard backup, according to a congressional aide and other people familiar with the matter. The police request, made to the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms, was prompted by intelligence that showed Trump supporters planned to target the Capitol itself as Congress certified the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, according to a congressional official. The Capitol Police asked the sergeants-at-arms to request that the National Guard be placed on standby. But the sergeants-at-arms, Michael C. Stenger of the Senate and Paul Irving of the House, rejected the request without raising the issue with either the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, or Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the aide and another person familiar with the matter.” See also, Capitol Police internal intelligence report warned three days before attack that ‘Congress itself’ could be targeted, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Three days before thousands of rioters converged on the U.S. Capitol, an internal Capitol Police intelligence report warned of a violent scenario in which ‘Congress itself’ could be the target of angry supporters of President Trump on Jan. 6, laying out a stark alert that deepens questions about the security failures that day. In a 12-page report on Jan. 3, the intelligence unit of the congressional police force described how thousands of enraged protesters, egged on by Trump and flanked by white supremacists and extreme militia groups, were likely to stream into Washington armed for battle. This time, the focus of their ire would be members of Congress, the report said. ‘Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,’ according to the memo, portions of which were obtained by The Washington Post. ‘This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.’ The internal report — which does not appear to have been shared widely with other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI — was among a number of flags that security experts say should have alerted officials to the high security risks on Jan. 6.”

Billionaires backed Republicans who sought to reverse US election results. Guardian analysis shows Club for Growth has spent $20 million supporting 42 rightwing lawmakers who voted to overturn the election result. The Guardian, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Friday, 15 January 2021: “An anti-tax group funded primarily by billionaires has emerged as one of the biggest backers of the Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US election results, according to an analysis by the Guardian. The Club for Growth has supported the campaigns of 42 of the rightwing Republicans senators and members of the House of Representatives who voted last week to challenge US election results, doling out an estimated $20m to directly and indirectly support their campaigns in 2018 and 2020, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. About 30 of the Republican hardliners received more than $100,000 in indirect and direct support from the group. The Club for Growth’s biggest beneficiaries include Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, the two Republican senators who led the effort to invalidate Joe Biden’s electoral victory, and the newly elected far-right gun-rights activist Lauren Boebert, a QAnon conspiracy theorist. Boebert was criticised last week for tweeting about the House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location during the attack on the Capitol, even after lawmakers were told not to do so by police.”

Here are some of the people who have been arrested since a mob breached the Capitol. Authorities say they could ultimately arrest hundreds as the country seeks accountability. The Washington Post, The Washington Post Staff, Friday, 15 January 2021: “The four-hour insurrection that breached the U.S. Capitol brought the democratic process to a stunning halt and left one police officer and four others dead. Now, the country is seeking accountability. Authorities say they could ultimately arrest hundreds, building some of their cases with the social media posts and live streams of alleged participants who triumphantly broadcast images of the mob. Investigations into possible charges encompass not only trespassing but also assaults on law enforcement, theft of national security and defense information, felony murder and more.”

New Warnings of Violence as Security Tightens for Inauguration, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Eileen Sullivan, and Eric Schmitt, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Law enforcement officials are vetting hundreds of potential airplane passengers and beefing up airport security as officials amplify warnings of violence before the presidential inauguration from extremists emboldened by the Capitol attack last week. The Transportation Security Administration is increasing the number of federal marshals on flights and explosive-detection dogs at airports. Screening officers will be deployed to assist a militarized ‘green zone’ in downtown Washington. Federal officials say the security perimeter, which includes an increasing number of armed members of the National Guard, is necessary to prevent an attack from domestic extremists. Such groups ‘pose the most likely threat’ to the inauguration, according to a joint threat assessment from the F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security, which warned that attackers could target federal buildings and public officials in the days leading to the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president. The extremists ‘remain a concern due to their ability to act with little to no warning, willingness to attack civilians and soft targets, and ability to inflict significant casualties with weapons that do not require specialized knowledge,’ federal officials wrote in the bulletin obtained by The New York Times.”

Among the Insurrectionists. The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep Trump in power. A chronicle of an attack foretold. The New Yorker, Luke Mogelson, Friday, 15 January 2021: “By the end of President Donald Trump’s crusade against American democracy—after a relentless deployment of propaganda, demagoguery, intimidation, and fearmongering aimed at persuading as many Americans as possible to repudiate their country’s foundational principles—a single word sufficed to nudge his most fanatical supporters into open insurrection. Thousands of them had assembled on the Mall, in Washington, D.C., on the morning of January 6th, to hear Trump address them from a stage outside the White House. From where I stood, at the foot of the Washington Monument, you had to strain to see his image on a jumbotron that had been set up on Constitution Avenue. His voice, however, projected clearly through powerful speakers as he rehashed the debunked allegations of massive fraud which he’d been propagating for months. Then he summarized the supposed crimes, simply, as ‘bullshit.'”

Kill him with his own gun’: Police describe facing the mob at the Capitol, CNN Politics, Mark Morales, Friday, 15 January 2021: “As DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone lay on the ground at the US Capitol building, stunned and injured, he knew a group of rioters were stripping him of his gear. They grabbed spare ammunition, ripped the police radio off his chest and even stole his badge. Then, Fanone, who had just been Tasered several times in the back of the neck, heard something chilling that made him go into survival mode. ‘Some guys started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, Kill him with his own gun,’ said Fanone, who’s been a police officer for almost two decades. Fanone, one of three officers who spoke with CNN, described his experience fighting a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters who’d invaded the Capitol in an insurrection unheard of in modern American history. Federal officials have said the details of the violence that come out will be disturbing. ‘People are going to be shocked by some of the egregious contact that happened in the Capitol, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said Tuesday in reference to attacks on police officers.”

Trump’s legacy of corruption, four years and 3,700 conflicts of interest later, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington), Friday, 15 January 2021: “Next week marks the end of Donald Trump’s term as President. In his wake, he will leave behind a legacy of profound corruption and egregious conflicts of interest, the repercussions of which will echo for years after he is gone. In the last four years, Trump has flouted all kinds of norms set by previous presidents, starting with his decision not to divest from his business interests while in office, setting the stage for what became an administration marked by placing self-interest and profiteering at the highest levels above the public interest and culminated in a deadly insurrection that was rooted in the same self-serving ethos.”

Undercutting Trump, Justice Department ends Pennsylvania election investigation, having found ‘insufficient evidence’ of criminal intent, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky, Friday, 15 January 2021: “The top federal prosecutor in Harrisburg, Pa., announced Friday that his office has closed an investigation into nine discarded ballots found in the northeastern part of the state that President Trump had touted to support his unfounded claims of election rigging, saying in a statement that the probe had found ‘insufficient evidence to prove criminal intent on the part of the person who discarded the ballots.’ The investigation had been controversial from the start, as election law experts said the department seemed to be violating department policy and tradition in revealing an ongoing probe in such a way that could affect the election. Though just nine ballots in a dumpster were at issue, then-U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, who oversaw prosecutors in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, announced the probe in a public statement in September soon after Trump alluded to what happened on Fox News Radio’s ‘The Brian Kilmeade Show.’ Freed also first claimed that all nine ballots were cast for Trump, though he later clarified seven of the ballots had been cast for the president and two were found sealed.”

Manhattan Prosecutors Seek Records About Trump’s Seven Springs Estate. District attorney’s office sends subpoenas to officials in Westchester, N.Y., marking expansion of Criminal probe. The Wall Street Journal, Corinne Ramey, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Manhattan prosecutors have subpoenaed records relating to President Trump’s sprawling Seven Springs estate north of New York City, according to people familiar with the matter, expanding the known scope of the only publicly disclosed criminal investigation into the president and his business. Some of the information requested by Manhattan prosecutors relates to the president’s valuation of Seven Springs, which he bought for $7.5 million in 1995 and in 2012 said was worth almost $300 million as he tried to develop it into a luxury residential community. Inflating assets to help secure loans or other financial benefits can be a state criminal offense, legal experts said.”

Trump explodes at Nixon comparisons as he prepares to leave office, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, Friday, 15 January 2021: “In his final days in office, President Donald Trump has found the parts of the job he loved replaced by cold legal warnings, forced video addresses and a shrinking circle of downtrodden aides, all anxiously wondering what life will be like after noon on January 20. Gone are the clicks of flashing cameras. Absent is the roar of a cheering crowd…. Trump has been consumed by the unraveling of his presidency during his last days in office, according to people around him, which included a casual discussion among advisers recently about a possible resignation. Trump shut the idea down almost immediately. And he has made clear to aides in separate conversations that mere mention of President Richard Nixon, the last president to resign, was banned. He told one adviser during an expletive-laden conversation recently never to bring up the ex-president ever again. During the passing mention of resigning this week, Trump told people he couldn’t count on Vice President Mike Pence to pardon him like Gerald Ford did Nixon, anyway…. Inside the building, Trump has been weathering a second impeachment and growing isolation from his onetime allies in sullen desolation. He has grown more and more worried about what legal or financial calamities may await him when he is no longer president, people who have spoken to him said, fueled by warnings from lawyers and advisers. He is weighing pardons, including for himself and his family, as he attempts to muster a legal team for another impeachment trial. And he is resentful of Republicans who he feels abandoned him in his hour of need, including the GOP leaders of the House and Senate.”

Last-Minute Rule Seeks Term Limits on Top Career Health Officials, The New York Times, Noah Weiland and Margot Sanger-Katz, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Top government scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could face reassignment every five years under a new regulation the Trump administration issued Friday evening, a move that surprised health officials across the government. The rule, which the Department of Health and Human Services described in a news release as an effort to ‘increase professional development opportunities’ and ‘harmonize H.R. practices,’ was summarized in more blunt terms in the document’s file name: ‘term limits.’ Under the rule, more than a dozen senior officials could lose their positions as soon as this year — including a key regulator at the F.D.A. responsible for evaluating Covid-19 drugs. Altogether, around 60 top government health officials would be subject to new employment reviews under the policy. Although the regulation may well be reversed by the Biden administration, it is a parting shot in the Trump administration’s consistent efforts to give political appointees more sway over policy.”

Survey Finds Majority of Voters Support Initiatives to Fight Climate Change. A survey carried out after the November election found that 66 percent of respondents said that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority. The New York Times, John Schwartz, Friday, 15 January 2021: “A majority of registered voters of both parties in the United States support initiatives to fight climate change, including many that are outlined in the climate plans announced by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a new survey. The survey, which was conducted after the presidential election, suggests that a majority of Americans in both parties want a government that deals forcefully with climate change instead of denying its urgency — or denying that it exists. In the survey, published Friday by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 53 percent of registered voters said that global warming should be a high or very high priority for the president and Congress, and 66 percent said that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority. Eight in 10 supported achieving those ends by providing tax breaks to people who buy electric vehicles or solar panels, and by investing in renewable energy research.”

National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) Declares Bankruptcy and Seeks to Exit New York. The group, which said it planned to reincorporate in Texas, is currently being investigated by New York’s attorney general, who is seeking to dissolve it. The New York Times, Danny Hakim, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Seeking an end-run around an investigation by the New York attorney general, the National Rifle Association said Friday that it was declaring bankruptcy and would reincorporate in Texas. The gun group was set up in New York after the Civil War. The group’s effort to circumvent New York’s legal jurisdiction raised immediate questions from Letitia James, the New York attorney general and a Democrat, who is seeking to use her regulatory authority to dissolve the N.R.A. She has been conducting an investigation into corruption at the gun group since 2019. ‘The N.R.A.’s claimed financial status has finally met its moral status: bankrupt,’ Ms. James said in a statement Friday. ‘While we review this filing, we will not allow the N.R.A. to use this or any other tactic to evade accountability and my office’s oversight.'” See also, NRA files for bankruptcy, CNN Business, Clare Duffy, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “The National Rifle Association of America, the nation’s foremost gun lobby, has filed for bankruptcy, according to court documents filed Friday in the Northern District of Texas. The group said it plans to leave New York State, where it was founded in 1871, and reincorporate as a Texas nonprofit in a move it is calling ‘Project Freedom,’ according to a statement published Friday. The Chapter 11 announcement follows leadership shakeups and allegations of financial mismanagement at the NRA in recent years. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in August accusing the NRA’s senior leadership of violating laws governing nonprofit groups and using millions of dollars from the organization’s reserves for personal use and tax fraud.” See also, NRA to move to Texas, fleeing litigation brought against it by New York state, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Friday, 15 January 2021: “The National Rifle Association announced Friday it plans to move to Texas, fleeing ongoing litigation brought against it by the New York State attorney general, who has sought to dissolve the organization for violating its nonprofit status…. The NRA was chartered in New York state in 1871, but has long had most of its employees based in the Washington area.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 15 January 2021: Over Two Million Around the World Have Died From Covid-19, The New York Times, Friday, 15 January 2021:

  • There have now been over two million virus-related deaths worldwide.

  • Joe Biden plans a vaccination blitz, but supplies are scarce.

  • Trump health officials scramble to clarify confusing statements about how vaccines will be released to states.

  • The pandemic slowed global migration sharply in 2020.

  • Britain will require travelers from abroad to show a negative test, then quarantine.

  • The C.D.C warns that the new virus variant could fuel huge spikes in cases.

  • New York is afraid of being ‘starved’ for the vaccine just as the rollout speeds up.

  • India prepares to launch a vast Covid-19 vaccine drive, aiming to reach 1.3 billion people.

  • Upgrades will take Pfizer’s main European vaccine plant offline for weeks, stirring outrage in the region.
  • Who gets priority? Patchwork U.S. vaccination policies create uncertainty.
  • Hopes for the Tokyo Olympics dim as Japan’s cases rise, and other news from around the world.
  • New York City’s Filipino nurses were hard hit by last year’s surge and dread the second wave.
  • A leading public health organization takes stock of U.S. testing strategy.
  • Doctors’ offices contend with a deluge of requests for the vaccine.
  • Undeterred by the pandemic, Hindu pilgrims gather in India.
  • Participants in Moderna’s early clinical trials are being offered a booster shot.
  • China, after reporting a rare virus death, says its active caseload exceeds 1,000.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 15 January 2021: U.S. death toll approaches 400,000, far exceeding Trump’s benchmark of 200,000 for his administration’s success in containing the virus, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Friday, 15 January 2021: “The coronavirus death toll in the United States is fast approaching 400,000, double the upper limit of what President Trump said would signal his administration’s success in responding to the pandemic. As of Friday morning, the virus had killed more than 388,000 people in the United States, according to The Washington Post’s analysis of pandemic data. With more than 3,000 Americans dying of the virus daily on average, the country could surpass the bleak figure before Trump leaves office Wednesday. Just over one year after the first death was reported in Wuhan, the world has counted more than 2 million deaths. It took nine months to surpass 1 million, and less than half that time to reach Friday’s milestone. The U.S. death toll exceeds some of the worst predictions laid out at the beginning of the pandemic and stretches far beyond what Trump himself said was tolerable under the federal government’s efforts to slow the spread of infections. If deaths remained below 200,000, he said in March of last year, it would show his administration had ‘done a very good job.’ ‘Four hundred thousand is an astounding number of deaths,’ said Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. He noted that the total dead could end up rivaling the country’s fatalities in the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than half a million people in the United States. ‘Those kinds of numbers have a mind-numbing effect on us, particularly if you weren’t affected yourself,’ he said, ‘but we can’t discuss this enough.’ A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

  • The highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first seen in the United Kingdom will become the dominant strain in the United States within about two months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted Friday in its most sobering warning yet about mutations in the virus.
  • The federal government’s vaccine reserve was already exhausted when the Trump administration announced this week that it would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held for second shots, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. Now, health officials nationwide are grappling with the reality that their vaccine stocks may not immediately increase.
  • President-elect Joe Biden has selected David Kessler, a close adviser on the coronavirus crisis, to lead the next administration’s efforts to accelerate the manufacture, distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines, the Biden transition team announced Friday morning.
  • Biden laid out a $1.9 trillion emergency relief plan Thursday night that will serve as an early test of his ability to steer the nation out of a pandemic disaster and rapidly deteriorating economy.
  • Biden also unveiled his administration’s vaccination plan, which aims to put 100 million shots in arms within 100 days using FEMA-created community vaccination centers in places like school gymnasiums, sports centers and community centers.
  • New Jersey’s decision to allow the state’s estimated 2 million smokers to get vaccinated before teachers and public service workers is drawing intense criticism from some public health experts, who say the risks aren’t significant enough to bump them to the top of the list.

Operation Warp Speed Leaders Waited Months to Approve Distribution Plans, Leaving States With Little Time to Implement a Mass-Vaccination Campaign Amid a Coronavirus Surge, The Wall Street Journal, Betsy McKay, Rebecca Ballhaus, and Stephanie Armour, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Operation Warp Speed leaders waited more than two months to approve a plan to distribute and administer Covid-19 vaccines proposed by U.S. health officials, administration officials said, leaving states with little time to implement a mass-vaccination campaign amid a coronavirus surge. State and local officials had been clamoring for months for help preparing for the largest vaccination program in U.S. history when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a playbook in September to guide them. The CDC had wanted to start helping states plan in June how to get people vaccinated. But officials at Operation Warp Speed rebuffed the agency’s plan for distributing vaccines. They adopted a similar plan in August only after exploring other options—and then held the release of the CDC’s playbook for states for two weeks for additional clearance and to put it out with another document, the officials said. Operation Warp Speed was supposed to be a high-water mark of the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, but it stumbled at the finish line because of problems in federal planning and foresight. Now, the public-private partnership is scrambling to speed up vaccinations, adjusting eligibility guidelines while states race to increase their abilities to administer doses on a large scale.”

Biden to deploy FEMA and the National Guard to set up Covid Vaccine Clinics across the U.S., CNBC, Berkeley Lovelace Jr. and Noah Higgins-Dunn, Friday, 15 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden plans to use FEMA and the National Guard to build coronavirus vaccine clinics across the United States, according to new details of his Covid-19 vaccination plan released by his transition team on Friday. The Biden administration will also ‘quickly jumpstart’ efforts to make the vaccines available at local pharmacies across the U.S., which should ensure that Americans have access to doses at facilities only miles from their home, according to the plan.”

Coronavirus vaccine reserve was exhausted when Trump administration vowed to release it, dashing hopes of expanded access, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Lena H. Sun, Friday, 15 January 2021: “When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses that had been held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available, starting at the end of December, taking second doses for the two-dose regimen directly off the manufacturing line. Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will remain largely flat, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others were still in the dark Friday. Because both of the vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States are two-dose regimens, the Trump administration’s initial policy was to hold back second doses to protect against manufacturing disruptions. But that approach shifted in recent weeks, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.” See also, Despite Trump administration promise, government has no more ‘reserve’ 2nd vaccine doses, CNN Politics, Kristen Holmes and Sara Murray, Friday, 15 January 2021: “Hopes of a surge in Covid-19 vaccine shipments under a new policy to release second doses held in reserve appear to be evaporating — with the revelation that those doses have already been distributed, contrary to recent indications by the Trump administration. A senior administration official told CNN that when the administration announced that it would be releasing reserved doses Friday, many of those reserves had already been released into the system starting last year as production was ramping up. When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was asked Friday whether there is in fact a reserve of second doses left to release, he said, ‘No. There’s not a reserve stockpile.'”


Saturday, 16 January 2021, Day 1,457:


Presidential Transition Highlights: Amid Fears of Inauguration Violence, Man With Gun Is Arrested in Washington, but He Calls It an ‘Honest Mistake,’ The New York Times, Saturday, 16 January 2021:

  • A man with a gun arrested by Capitol Police at a security checkpoint calls it an ‘honest mistake.’

  • Trump will leave office with his lowest approval rating ever.

  • Biden plans to roll out dozens of executive orders in his first 10 days as president.

  • Biden and Harris introduced members of their White House science team.

  • Sonia Sotomayor will swear in Kamala Harris on Inauguration Day.

  • Loews Hotels says it won’t host a fund-raiser with Senator Josh Hawley.

  • Far-right activist ‘Baked Alaska’ is among the latest Capitol rioters to be arrested.

  • Intelligence agencies are under review for their conduct before the Capitol riot.

  • Who is Mike Lindell, one of Trump’s last remaining supporters from corporate America?

  • James Murdoch accuses media outlets of ‘propagating lies.’
  • Representative Lou Correa tests positive for coronavirus after the Capitol attack.
  • Georgia prosecutors are moving closer to investigating Trump.
  • Republicans are headed for a bitter internal showdown.
  • The Capitol attack could fuel extremist recruitment for years.
  • Trump’s actions have exposed the deception of his ‘law and order’ message.

Transfer of Power: Officials anxiously await Sunday protests after a smattering of small pro-Trump demonstrations, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Tim Craig, Mariana Alfaro, Meryl Kornfield, Marisa Iati, Alexandra Ellerbeck, and Jessica Contrera, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “Officials in state capitals were prepared for protests and potential violence this weekend, but with the exception of a few locations, state houses were relatively quiet on Saturday. Armed men and supporters of President Trump gathered at the Texas Capitol in Austin as law enforcement officials closely watched their movements. In St. Paul, hundreds of officers surrounded the Minnesota Capitol building, far outnumbering a group of about 50 pro-Trump protesters. A small number of demonstrators also gathered in Illinois and Nevada. Most of the weekend’s protests were planned for Sunday, however. But some conservative activists have urged their followers to stay home, claiming the events are a ‘setup’ to frame Trump supporters for violence.

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

41 minutes of fear: A video timeline from inside the Capitol siege, The Washington Post, Dalton Bennett, Emma Brown, Sarah Cahlan, Joyce Sohyun Lee, Meg Kelly, Elyse Samuels, Jon Swaine, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “To reconstruct the pandemonium inside the Capitol for this video, The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and hundreds of videos, some of which were exclusively obtained. By synchronizing the footage and locating some of the camera angles within a digital 3-D model of the building, The Post was able to map the rioters’ movements and assess how close they came to lawmakers — in some cases feet apart or separated only by a handful of vastly outnumbered police officers.”

Videos show how a rioter was trampled in the stampede at the Capitol, The New York Times, Evan Hill, Arielle Ray, and Dahlia Kozlowsky, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “Rosanne Boyland, a 34-year-old Trump supporter from Georgia who died during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, appears to have been killed in a crush of fellow rioters during their attempt to fight through a police line, according to videos reviewed by The Times. The manner of her death had been unclear until The Times discovered that the clothes and backpack strap of a woman in widely circulated videos match those that Ms. Boyland wore in a picture taken of her earlier that day. The rush that led to Ms. Boyland’s death began when rioters, captured on video, massed together in a dangerous crush and attempted to use the weight of their combined bodies to push officers back in a tunnel on the west side of the Capitol, trapping many people in the process.”

Off-duty police were part of the Capitol mob. Now police are turning in their own. The Washington Post, Kimberly Kindy, Kim Bellware, and Mark Berman, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “During the chaos at the Capitol, overwhelmed police officers confronted and combated a frenzied sea of rioters who transformed the seat of democracy into a battlefield. Now police chiefs across the country are confronting the uncomfortable reality that members in their own ranks were among the mob that faced off against other law enforcement officers. At least 13 off-duty law enforcement officials are suspected of taking part in the riot, a tally that could grow as investigators continue to pore over footage and records to identify participants. Police leaders are turning in their own to the FBI and taking the striking step of reminding officers in their departments that criminal misconduct could push them off the force and behind bars.”

FBI is investigating whether foreign governments and groups helped fund extremists who helped execute the attack on the Capitol. As part of the investigation, the FBI is examining payments of $500,000 in bitcoin to key figures in extremist groups  before the January 6th riot. NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments, organizations or individuals provided financial support to extremists who helped plan and execute the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, one current and one former FBI official told NBC News. As part of the investigation, the bureau is examining payments of $500,000 in bitcoin, apparently by a French national, to key figures and groups in the alt-right before the riot, the sources said. Those payments were documented and posted on the web this week by a company that analyzes cryptocurrency transfers. Payments of bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, can be traced because they are documented on a public ledger.” See also, Before the Capitol Riot, Calls for Cash and Talk of Revolution, The New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick, Mike McIntire, and Christiaan Triebert, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “Much is still unknown about the planning and financing of the storming of the Capitol, aiming to challenge Mr. Trump’s electoral defeat. What is clear is that it was driven, in part, by a largely ad hoc network of low-budget agitators, including far-right militants, Christian conservatives and ardent adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory.”

For one of the first times in his life, Trump’s words are having consequences for him, The New York Times, Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “The relationship between President Trump’s words and their consequences has always been fairly straightforward: He says what he wants, and nothing particularly durable tends to happen to him. But in the final frames of his presidency, and in the aftermath of his second impeachment, Mr. Trump is confronting an unfamiliar fate. He is being held to account as never before for things he has said, finding his typical defenses — denial, obfuscation, powerful friends, claiming it was all a big joke — insufficient in explaining away a violent mob acting in his name. In almost certainly the most expansive series of penalties he has incurred in his life, Mr. Trump’s Twitter account has been banned, his business brand badly dented, his presidency doomed to the historical infamy of a second impeachment. His largest lender, Deutsche Bank, is moving to create distance from him. His New Jersey golf club was stripped of a major tournament. Some once-reliable Republican congressional loyalists are revisiting their commitment, threatening his grip on the party, even as the president’s popularity with much of his support base remains undimmed.”

Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 16 January 2021: World Braces for Surge of Coronavirus Variants, The New York Times, Saturday, 16 January 2021:

  • Countries are bracing for the impact of more contagious virus variants.

  • India begins inoculating its 1.3 billion people, starting with health care workers.

  • A fast-spreading variant could become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March, C.D.C. says.

  • Biden and Harris introduce key members of their science team.

  • People in the U.S. are frustrated over the pace of vaccinations at long-term care facilities.

  • Representative Lou Correa tests positive for the virus after the Capitol attack.

  • Nepal plans a vaccine rollout, and other news from around the world.

  • Ahead of the Australian Open, a few positive tests yield chaos for 47 tennis players.

  • Rolling two windows down can sharply reduce the Covid-19 risk in cars. Bet they’re not the two you’d guess.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Biden Seeks Quick Start With Executive Actions and Aggressive Legislation, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Peter Baker, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., inheriting a collection of crises unlike any in generations, plans to open his administration with dozens of executive directives on top of expansive legislative proposals in a 10-day blitz meant to signal a turning point for a nation reeling from disease, economic turmoil, racial strife and now the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol. Mr. Biden’s team has developed a raft of decrees that he can issue on his own authority after the inauguration on Wednesday to begin reversing some of President Trump’s most hotly disputed policies. Advisers hope the flurry of action, without waiting for Congress, will establish a sense of momentum for the new president even as the Senate puts his predecessor on trial. On his first day in office alone, Mr. Biden intends a flurry of executive orders that will be partly substantive and partly symbolic. They include rescinding the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries, rejoining the Paris climate change accord, extending pandemic-related limits on evictions and student loan payments, issuing a mask mandate for federal property and interstate travel and ordering agencies to figure out how to reunite children separated from families after crossing the border, according to a memo circulated on Saturday by Ron Klain, his incoming White House chief of staff, and obtained by The New York Times.”

One Sentence in Biden Stimulus Plan Reveals His Health Care Approach. An increase in subsidies could drive millions to enroll in Obamacare marketplaces, experts say. The New York Times, Sarah Kliff, Saturday, 16 January 2021: “Tucked into President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan is a one-sentence provision that could drive billions in federal subsidies to help people afford to buy health insurance. The proposal would do two things: make upper-middle-income Americans newly eligible for premium subsidies on Obamacare marketplaces, and increase the financial help that already goes to lower-income enrollees. Taken together, some experts expect these changes to drive more sign-ups for plans after they fell in the Trump era.”


Sunday, 17 January 2021, Day 1,458:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 17 January 2021: California Confronts New Variants as Virus Deaths Climb. An incoming Biden administration official warns the United States will pass 500,000 deaths. The New York Times, Sunday, 17 January 2021:

  • As the U.S. surpasses 24 million cases, Los Angeles now confronts a more contagious variant.

  • States are scrambling after the Trump administration’s vaccine promise falls apart.

  • Biden’s incoming chief of staff warns that the virus death toll will reach 500,000 by the end of February.

  • Norwegian officials emphasize vaccine’s safety after nursing home deaths.

  • The Dutch police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in Amsterdam.

  • Chinese officials trace a growing new outbreak to a salesman hawking health products.

  • Phil Spector, the imprisoned music legend [and murderer], spent his last days suffering with Covid.

  • Ahead of the Australian Open, a handful of positive tests yield chaos for more than 70 tennis players.

One Year, 400,000 Coronavirus Deaths: How the U.S. Guaranteed Its Own Failure. After the White House declined to pursue a unified national strategy, governors faced off against lobbyists, health experts and a restless public consumed by misinformation. The New York Times, Sarah Mervosh, Mike Baker, Patricia Mazzei, and Mark Walker, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “For nearly the entire pandemic, political polarization and a rejection of science have stymied the United States’ ability to control the coronavirus. That has been clearest and most damaging at the federal level, where Mr. Trump claimed that the virus would ‘disappear,’ clashed with his top scientists and, in a pivotal failure, abdicated responsibility for a pandemic that required a national effort to defeat it, handing key decisions over to states under the assumption that they would take on the fight and get the country back to business. But governors and local officials who were left in charge of the crisis squandered the little momentum the country had as they sidelined health experts, ignored warnings from their own advisers and, in some cases, stocked their advisory committees with more business representatives than doctors.”

Presidential Transition Highlights, The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) Will Install a Trump Loyalist as Its General Counsel, The New York Times, Sunday, 17 January 2021:

  • The N.S.A. is installing a Trump loyalist as its general counsel days before Biden’s inauguration.

  • Kamala Harris will resign from her Senate seat on Monday.

  • Raskin, lead impeachment prosecutor, says Trump is guilty of ‘the most serious presidential crime’ in U.S. history.

  • Gary Gensler has been tapped to head the S.E.C. under Biden.

  • The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars from people seeking pardons.

  • Twitter temporarily suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account.

  • Biden’s incoming chief of staff warns that the virus death toll will reach 500,000 by the end of February.

  • As Kamala Harris makes history this week, so will her big, blended family.

  • Biden plans to roll out dozens of executive orders in his first 10 days as president.

  • Since impeachment, some Republicans have said Kevin McCarthy has not been loyal enough to the president.
  • Biden and Harris introduced members of their White House science team.
  • Intelligence agencies are under review for their conduct before the Capitol riot.

Transfer of Presidential Power: Statehouses see only small protests as FBI screens U.S. troops for possible insider threats, The Washington Post, Paulina Firozi, Griff Witte, Lateshia Beachum, Laura Meckler, Rebecca Tan, Rachel Chason, Emily Davies, Julie Zauzmer, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Knowles, Meryl Kornfield, Teddy Amenabar, and Paul Sonne, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “Only small protests materialized outside statehouses nationwide on Sunday after authorities had braced for violence, boarding up windows, deploying National Guard troops and preemptively declaring states of emergency in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. With officials on high alert days away from President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, U.S. defense officials say the federal government is conducting insider threat screening on the 25,000 National Guard troops who have begun flowing into the nation’s capital to secure the inauguration, as concerns intensify about extremism in the ranks.

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

  • Armed demonstrators showed up to capitol buildings in Austin; Columbus, Ohio; Lansing, Mich.; Phoenix; and Salem, Ore. But the gatherings were uneventful, with some drawing fewer than a dozen people.
  • Several cities saw armed but peaceful demonstrators, some identifying themselves as part of the fringe anti-government “boogaloo” movement.
  • A 22-year-old Virginia man whose Facebook page features a photo from the storming of the U.S. Capitol was arrested near the Capitol complex Sunday, amid a strict lockdown in that area and much of downtown Washington. D.C. police said the man was carrying three high-capacity magazines, 37 rounds of unregistered ammunition and a Glock 22 firearm.
  • Experts say the threat from extremism inspired by President Trump is likely to persist — and grow.
  • Federal prosecutors have charged a Kentucky man suspected of smashing the glass in a door leading to the House Speaker’s Lobby during the U.S. Capitol breach, moments before and in the same location where rioter Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot.
  • At least four other riot suspects were arrested or charged over the weekend, including two cousins accused of assaulting police and a New Mexico county commissioner who spoke about storming the Capitol.
  • Virginia officials are on edge ahead of a potentially massive gun rights demonstration planned for Monday in Richmond.

Capitol Riot Fallout: State Capitols, Warned of Threats, Stay on High Alert, The New York Times, Sunday, 17 January 2021:

  • Armed protesters gathered at state capitols on Sunday as officials prepared for the days ahead.

  • Here is what our reporters were seeing.

  • Images from around a country on high alert.

  • Cowboys for Trump founder charged in connection to Capitol riot.

  • F.B.I. seeks help from public to identify Jan. 6 rioters in attack on police officer.

  • On Washington’s streets, heavy security and a watchful quiet.

  • Raphael Warnock preached a message of equity at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

  • A military photographer captures this unnerving moment in Washington.

  • The Capitol riot on Jan. 6 could fuel far-right extremism for years, experts warn.

Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump. The president’s allies have collected tens of thousands of dollars — and potentially much more — from people seeking pardons. The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “As President Trump prepares to leave office in days, a lucrative market for pardons is coming to a head, with some of his allies collecting fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency, according to documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers. The brisk market for pardons reflects the access peddling that has defined Mr. Trump’s presidency as well as his unorthodox approach to exercising unchecked presidential clemency powers. Pardons and commutations are intended to show mercy to deserving recipients, but Mr. Trump has used many of them to reward personal or political allies.”

What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Attack on the Capitol, ProPublica, Lena V. Groeger, Jeff Kao, Al Shaw, Moiz Syed, and Maya Eliahou, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “As supporters of President Donald Trump took part in a violent riot at the Capitol, users of the social media service Parler posted videos of themselves and others joining the fray. ProPublica reviewed thousands of videos uploaded publicly to the service that were archived by a programmer before Parler was taken offline by its web host. Below is a collection of more than 500 videos that ProPublica determined were taken during the events of Jan. 6 and were relevant and newsworthy. Taken together, they provide one of the most comprehensive records of a dark event in American history through the eyes of those who took part. Read more: Why We Published Hundreds of Videos Taken by Parler Users of the Capitol Riots | Inside the Capitol Riot: What the Parler Videos Reveal.”

The two days of rallies ahead of Capitol riot were planned by established Washington insiders, The Washington Post, Robert O’Harrow Jr., Sunday, 17 January 2021: “The fiery rallies that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were organized and promoted by an array of established conservative insiders and activists, documents and videos show. The Republican Attorneys General Association was involved, as were the activist groups Turning Point Action and Tea Party Patriots. At least six current or former members of the Council for National Policy (CNP), an influential group that for decades has served as a hub for conservative and Christian activists, also played roles in promoting the rallies. The two days of rallies were staged not by white nationalists and other extremists, but by well-funded nonprofit groups and individuals that figure prominently in the machinery of conservative activism in Washington.” See also, Trump allies were behind the Trump rally that ignited the Capitol riot, Associated Press, Richard Lardner and Michelle R. Smith, published on Monday, 18 January 2021: “Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the ‘Save America Rally’ on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be ‘on site’ during the demonstration have close ties to the White House. Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally.”

Records show that members of the Trump campaign were behind the rally that ignited the US Capitol riot, Associated Press, Richard Lardner and Michelle R. Smith, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters. A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the ‘Save America Rally’ on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be ‘on site’ during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.”

National Security Agency (N.S.A.) Installs Trump Loyalist Michael Ellis as Top Lawyer Days Before Biden Takes Office, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and Michael S. Schmidt, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “The National Security Agency is moving forward with hiring a Trump administration loyalist, the agency said on Sunday, after the acting defense secretary ordered he be made the spy agency’s top lawyer. Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, gave Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the spy agency’s director, until 6 p.m. on Saturday to install Michael Ellis as its general counsel. The deadline came and went with the National Security Agency remaining silent. But the agency said in a statement on Sunday that ‘Mr. Ellis accepted his final job offer yesterday afternoon. N.S.A. is moving forward with his employment.’ He has not been formally sworn in, and it is not clear when that would happen. Mr. Ellis has been accused of having a hand in one of the more contentious legal decisions the Trump administration made: the attempt to stop John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser, from publishing a damning book about the president.” See also, In a last-minute move, the National Security Agency (NSA) is installing Trump loyalist Michael Ellis as general counsel, CNN Politics, Jeremy Herb, Barbara Starr, Oren Liebermann, and Zachary Cohen, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “The National Security Agency said Sunday it was installing Trump National Security Council staffer Michael Ellis as its general counsel, after acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller ordered NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone to place the Trump loyalist into the role.”

Fox Settled a Lawsuit Over Its Lies. But It Insisted on One Unusual Condition. Why did the network insist an agreement with the family of a murdered young man, Seth Rich, remain undisclosed until after the election? The New York Times, Ben Smith, Sunday, 17 January 2021: “On Oct. 12, 2020, Fox News agreed to pay millions of dollars to the family of a murdered Democratic National Committee staff member, implicitly acknowledging what saner minds knew long ago: that the network had repeatedly hyped a false claim that the young staff member, Seth Rich, was involved in leaking D.N.C. emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Russian intelligence officers, in fact, had hacked and leaked the emails.) Fox’s decision to settle with the Rich family came just before its marquee hosts, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, were set to be questioned under oath in the case, a potentially embarrassing moment. And Fox paid so much that the network didn’t have to apologize for the May 2017 story on But there was one curious provision that Fox insisted on: The settlement had to be kept secret for a month — until after the Nov. 3 election. The exhausted plaintiffs agreed. Why did Fox care about keeping the Rich settlement secret for the final month of the Trump re-election campaign? Why was it important to the company, which calls itself a news organization, that one of the biggest lies of the Trump era remain unresolved for that period? Was Fox afraid that admitting it was wrong would incite the president’s wrath? Did network executives fear backlash from their increasingly radicalized audience, which has been gravitating to other conservative outlets?”


Monday, 18 January 2021, Day 1,459:


The Presidential Inauguration: Pressure Mounts on Some Trump Appointees as Biden’s Inauguration Approaches, The New York Times, Monday, 18 January 2021:

  • Two suspects in the Capitol riot turn themselves into the police.

  • [Former Attorney General William] Barr says questioning the election led to the Capitol riot, but he avoids blaming Trump.

  • Census Bureau director [Steven Dillingham] resigns from post one year before term ends after claims that he politicized his role.

  • Trump’s ‘1776 report’ defends America’s founding on the basis of slavery and blasts progressivism.

  • Trump lifted coronavirus travel restrictions from Europe and Brazil; Biden team says it won’t last.

  • Inauguration week is here, and with it questions about Trump’s fate and the new dynamics in Washington.

  • Pelosi increases pressure on Pentagon, saying Trump loyalist isn’t qualified to be the N.S.A.’s top lawyer.

  • Biden is expected to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline permit on his first day in office.

  • Justice Dept. charges militia members, including military veterans, in Capitol assault.

  • The Bidens volunteer at a food pantry to observe the day of service on Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
  • Kamala Harris resigns from her Senate seat, ready to embrace her new role as a legislative tiebreaker.
  • Dominion Voting Systems threatens to sue Mike Lindell, MyPillow C.E.O., over false claims.
  • In farewell video, Melania Trump, who like her husband bristled at White House norms, defends her legacy.
  • Gun rights rally in Virginia’s capital draws smaller crowd than last year amid pandemic and fears of violence.
  • Regnery Publishing picks up Senator Hawley’s book after it was dropped by Simon & Schuster.
  • Giuliani will not be part of Trump’s defense in the Senate impeachment trial.
  • Michigan Republican Party looks to replace election board member who certified election for Biden.
  • Biden and Harris will honor those who died of the coronavirus at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Presidential Inauguration: Harris resigns Senate seat; Biden to roll out sweeping immigration overhaul, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Amy B Wang, and John Wagner, Monday, 18 January 2021: “Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris resigned her Senate seat Monday, stepping down four years after she was elected as California’s junior senator. She sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, with her resignation effective at noon. President-elect Joe Biden, meanwhile, will send to Congress on Wednesday a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, including an eight-year pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status, alongside an enforcement plan that deploys technology to patrol the border. Earlier Monday, Biden volunteered at a hunger relief organization in Philadelphia as part of a national day of service coordinated by his inaugural committee ahead of his swearing-in at a heavily fortified Capitol on Wednesday.

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

FBI is vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack, Associated Press, Lolita C. Baldor, Monday, 18 January 2021: “U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event. The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance.”

QAnon adherents discussed posing as National Guard to try to infiltrate inauguration, according to FBI intelligence briefing, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky, Monday, 18 January 2021: “The FBI privately warned law enforcement agencies Monday that far-right extremists have discussed posing as National Guard members in Washington and others have reviewed maps of vulnerable spots in the city — signs of potential efforts to disrupt Wednesday’s inauguration, according to an intelligence report obtained by The Washington Post. The document, a summary of threats that the FBI identified in a Monday intelligence briefing, warned that both “lone wolves” and adherents of the QAnon extremist ideology, some of whom joined in the violent siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6, have indicated they plan to come to Washington for President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. The FBI also said it had observed people downloading and sharing maps of sensitive locations in Washington and discussing how those facilities could be used to interfere in security during the inauguration.”

Investigators Eye Right-Wing Militias at Capitol Riot. The F.B.I. has arrested several members associated with violent right-wing extremist groups known as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. The New York Times, Adam Goldman, Katie Benner, and Alan Feuer, Monday, 18 January 2021: “F.B.I. agents and prosecutors investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol have increasingly shifted their attention to dangerous right-wing extremist groups, arresting several people in recent days suspected of taking part in the violence and of possessing ties to notorious militias such as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. The spate of arrests helps fill in a more complete picture of the mob that stormed the Capitol after being incited by President Trump on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The arrests, in Ohio, Colorado, Indiana and Texas, came as investigators gathered evidence to determine whether any of the groups had planned ahead of time to attack the Capitol. Videos and photos have revealed chilling scenes of rioters weaving through the mobs inside the building in tight formation, wearing tactical gear, carrying restraints and using hand signals and hand radios to communicate. Militia groups have a long history of taking part in anti-government events and right-wing political protests. The Oath Keepers are an anti-government, pro-gun militia composed largely of former law enforcement and military veterans ‘who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights,’ according to the F.B.I. The name of the Three Percenters, an anti-government group, is a reference to the purported 3 percent of the American colonial population that rose up to fight the British Army in the Revolution.”

FBI probes possible connections between extremist groups at heart of Capitol violence, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett and Spencer S. Hsu, Monday, 18 January 2021: “The FBI investigation of the Capitol riot has begun to zero in on potential key figures in the chaos, including some self-styled militia members who in some videos and photos appear to be planning or urging further violence. Though no one has been charged with leading or directing the violence, investigators are working to find out whether certain individuals helped coordinate aspects of the attack, before and during the chaos, or were merely opportunistic instigators.” See also, Pentagon Accelerates Efforts to Root Out Far-Right Extremism in the Ranks. The nation’s military has a history of downplaying white nationalism and right-wing activism, but the siege of the Capitol has created a new urgency for dealing with them. The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Jennifer Steinhauer, and Helene Cooper, Monday, 18 January 2021: “The Pentagon is intensifying efforts to identify and combat white supremacy and other far-right extremism in its ranks as federal investigators seek to determine how many military personnel and veterans joined the violent assault on the Capitol. In the days since a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, senior leaders of the 2.1 million active-duty and reserve troops have been grappling with fears that former or current service members will be found among the horde. The F.B.I. investigation into the Capitol siege, still in its very early stages, has identified at least six suspects with military links out of the more than 100 people who have been taken into federal custody or the larger number still under investigation. They include a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel from Texas, an Army officer from North Carolina and an Army reservist from New Jersey. Another person with military service was shot and killed in the assault.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 18 January 2021: Brazil Begins Vaccinations as It Battles Virus Variants, The New York Times, Monday, 18 January 2021:

‘Expedited Spree of Executions’ Faced Little Supreme Court Scrutiny. In its last six months, the Trump administration put more than three times as many prisoners to death as the federal government had in the previous six decades. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 18 January 2021: “In 2015, a few months before he died, Justice Antonin Scalia said he would not be surprised if the Supreme Court did away with the death penalty. These days, after President Trump’s appointment of three justices, liberal members of the court have lost all hope of abolishing capital punishment. In the face of an extraordinary run of federal executions over the past six months, they have been left to wonder whether the court is prepared to play any role in capital cases beyond hastening executions. Until July, there had been no federal executions in 17 years. Since then, the Trump administration has executed 13 inmates, more than three times as many as the federal government had put to death in the previous six decades. In a dissent issued late Friday, as the court cleared the way for the last execution of the Trump era, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took stock of what the nation had learned about the Supreme Court’s attitude toward the death penalty. ‘Over the past six months, this court has repeatedly sidestepped its usual deliberative processes, often at the government’s request, allowing it to push forward with an unprecedented, breakneck timetable of executions,’ she wrote. ‘Throughout this expedited spree of executions, this court has consistently rejected inmates’ credible claims for relief,’ Justice Sotomayor continued. ‘The court made these weighty decisions in response to emergency applications, with little opportunity for proper briefing and consideration, often in just a few short days or even hours.'”

Trump’s 1776 Commission Critiques Liberalism in Report Derided by Historians. The report charges that Americans are being indoctrinated with a false narrative of the nation’s founding and identity, including the role of slavery in its history. New York Times, Michael Crowley and Jennifer Schuessler, Monday, 18 January 2021: “The White House on Monday released the report of the presidential 1776 Commission, a sweeping attack on liberal thought and activism that calls for a ‘patriotic education,’ defends America’s founding against charges that it was tainted by slavery and likens progressivism to fascism. President Trump formed the 18-member commission — which includes no professional historians but a number of conservative activists, politicians and intellectuals — in the heat of his re-election campaign in September, as he cast himself as a defender of traditional American heritage against ‘radical’ liberals. Not previously known for his interest in American history or education, Mr. Trump insisted that the nation’s schools had been infiltrated by anti-American thought and required a new ‘pro-American’ curriculum.” See also, A big chunk of Trump’s 1776 report appears lifted from an author’s prior work, Politico, Tina Nguyen, published on Tuesday, 19 January 2020: “President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission was supposed to be the definitive ‘patriotic’ rejoinder to the academic left for what conservatives view as a slanderous rendering of U.S. history. But the report released by the commission on Monday has been mocked by historians as slapdash and slanted. And a good chunk appears lifted or recycled from other publications. An entire page of the report suggesting classroom discussion topics for teachers appears to be copied nearly verbatim from an opinion piece published in 2008 by one of the commission’s members, Thomas Lindsay.” See also, Trump commission’s ‘1776 Report’ outrages historians: ‘A hack job,’ ‘outright lies,’ The Washington Post, Gillian Brockell, published on Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Two days after historians responded with dismay and anger to the White House’s ‘1776 Commission’ report, the Biden transition team announced President-elect Joe Biden would rescind the commission with an executive order on his first day in office. The report was intended to a version of U.S. history that would ‘restor[e] patriotic education’ in schools. Historians largely condemned it, saying it was filled with errors and partisan politics. ‘It’s a hack job. It’s not a work of history,’ American Historical Association executive director James Grossman told The Washington Post. ‘It’s a work of contentious politics designed to stoke culture wars.'”

Biden Will Kick Off Inaugural Events at a Ceremony Honoring Victims of Covid-19, The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Glenn Thrush, Monday, 18 January 2021: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will arrive in the nation’s capital on Tuesday evening for an inauguration eve ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool honoring the nearly 400,000 people who have died during the coronavirus pandemic that will be his first priority after he is sworn in the next day. The somber remembrance will kick off two days of in-person and virtual events as Mr. Biden takes the oath of office on Jan. 20, becoming the 46th president of the United States at a time of economic struggle and cultural upheaval in the wake of President Trump’s four years in the White House. Mr. Biden has planned a mix of celebratory, upbeat events to mark the occasion — the singer Garth Brooks was the most recent addition to the list of those performing at his swearing-in ceremony — along with more serious moments aimed at marking the grim times that many Americans are facing as he takes office.”


Tuesday, 19 January 2021, Day 1,460:


Trump Pardons Steve Bannon Hours Before Leaving Office, The New York Times, Tuesday, 19 January 2021:

  • With hours left in office, Trump pardons Bannon and other allies.

  • McConnell, weighing impeachment vote, says mob that assaulted the Capitol was ‘provoked by the president.’

  • ‘To heal, we must remember,’ Biden says at ceremony for coronavirus victims, as U.S. tops 400,000 deaths.

  • Biden plans to propose a sweeping immigration overhaul on his first day in office.

  • Trump approves document disclosures in apparent bid to taint Russia investigation.

  • As he heads for the exit, Trump vows that his movement ‘is only just beginning.’

  • The Senate worked through a marathon day of confirmation hearings for Biden’s cabinet.

  • The Justice Department ends stock trade inquiry into Burr without charges.

  • Who has the nuclear football? Actually, the question is when Biden gets ‘the biscuit.’
  • The Trump administration issues leases for drilling in the Arctic refuge.
  • Biden’s Peloton bike could present cybersecurity risks at the White House.
  • Biden and Harris announce creation of a White House gender policy council.
  • Women will wear pearls on Inauguration Day in support of Kamala Harris.
  • F.B.I. arrests 5 people from California and Florida in connection with Capitol riot.
  • Two members of ‘straight pride’ group are arrested for involvement in Capitol melee.
  • More Capitol Police officers test positive for coronavirus after riot.
  • An alleged leader of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group that specializes in recruiting current and former police officers and members of the military, is charged with conspiracy in the Capitol riot.
  • Mike Pompeo’s parting message as secretary of state: Multiculturalism is ‘not who America is.’

The Inauguration: Biden and Harris remember coronavirus victims with vigil at Lincoln Memorial, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris remembered the 400,000 people in the United States who have died of the coronavirus with a dusk vigil at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday. ‘To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today,’ Biden said in brief remarks on the eve of his inauguration. Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pointedly accused President Trump of having ‘provoked’ the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. On the final full day of his White House tenure, Trump released a video and could issue scores of pardons. Senate confirmation hearings were held for five of Biden’s Cabinet nominees throughout the day on a heavily fortified Capitol Hill, where preparations continue for Biden’s swearing-in at noon Wednesday.

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

  • Biden announced Tuesday that he will nominate Pennsylvania’s top health official, Rachel Levine, to be his assistant secretary of health. She would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
  • Confirmation hearings were held Tuesday for Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, Alejandro Mayorkas as homeland security secretary, Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Janet L. Yellen as treasury secretary and Lloyd J. Austin III as defense secretary.
  • In a farewell address released Tuesday afternoon, Trump touted his record as president and declared that ‘the movement we started is only just beginning.’ He referred to the inauguration of a ‘new administration’ but made no mention of Biden by name.
  • U.S. authorities have leveled the first conspiracy charge against an apparent leader of an extremist group in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, arresting an alleged Oath Keeper who is accused of plotting to disrupt the electoral vote confirmation of Biden’s victory.
  • Here’s what you need to know about Biden’s presidential inauguration.

On Night Before Inauguration, Biden Leads Mourning for Virus Victims. ‘To heal we must remember,’ Mr. Biden said, standing in front of the Reflecting Pool, which was surrounded by 400 lights meant to mark the 400,000 people who have died from Covid-19. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in the nation’s capital on Tuesday for the first time since his election, and on the eve of his inauguration, he did what his predecessor declined to do by leading a national mourning for Americans killed by the coronavirus. In a somber sundown ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in a city virtually occupied by troops on guard against political violence, Mr. Biden paid tribute to the victims of the pandemic on the same day that the death toll in the United States topped a staggering 400,000 — and almost a year to the day from the first report of the virus appearing in the country. ‘To heal we must remember,’ Mr. Biden said, standing in front of the Reflecting Pool, which was surrounded by 400 lights meant to mark the 400,000 victims of the virus. ‘It’s hard sometimes to remember. But that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today. Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all whom we lost.'”

Mike Pompeo’s parting message as secretary of state: Multiculturalism is ‘not who America is.’ The New York Times, Lara Jakes, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Multiculturalism ‘is not who America is,’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on his last full day at the State Department…. ‘Wokeism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they’re not who America is,’ Mr. Pompeo wrote. ‘They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.’ The tweet infuriated American diplomats abroad and in the United States who described it as a final insult by an administration that has promoted far more white male Foreign Service Officers than women or people of color.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacks multiculturalism, saying it is ‘not who America is,’ CNN Politics, Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood, and Nicole Gaouette, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “With one day left in his tenure, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to his taxpayer-funded Twitter account and denounced multiculturalism, saying it is ‘not who America is.’… The secretary of state’s assertion that ‘multiculturalism’ is not part of the American ethos was swiftly denounced as a shocking and racist affront to the workforce he leads, the agency he represents and the values it is meant to espouse. ‘Unconscionable,’ one diplomat said.”

‘This Kettle Is Set to Boil’: New Evidence Points to Riot Conspiracy. Oath Keeper Suspects Charged With Conspiracy. While most arrests in the Capitol riot have been individuals, new charges accused three people tied to a right-wing militia of conspiring to commit violence. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Adam Goldman, and Neil MacFarquhar, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “In the days leading up to the Jan. 6 riot, Thomas Edward Caldwell, an apparent leader of the far-right Oath Keepers, had a message for the militia members he had organized to mobilize against Congress: ‘This kettle is set to boil.’ Court documents unsealed on Tuesday said Mr. Caldwell, a 66-year-old from rural Virginia, advised the others on Dec. 31, ‘It begins for real Jan 5 and 6 on Washington D.C. when we mobilize in the streets. Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets.’ Mr. Caldwell and two associates from Ohio — Donovan Crowl, 50, and Jessica Watkins, 38 — were charged with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. All three had admitted to invading the Capitol to reporters and were also identifiable in videos posted on social media. The case revealed the first evidence of planning among a known militia group ahead of the day of chaotic mob violence. Investigators have said they are increasingly focused on right-wing extremist groups to determine whether any plotted aspects of the attack on the Capitol in advance….” See also, U.S. files conspiracy charge against Oath Keeper leader Thomas Edward Caldwell in alleged plot against the Capitol, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “U.S. authorities have leveled the first conspiracy charge against an apparent leader of an extremist group in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, arresting an alleged Oath Keeper who is accused of plotting to disrupt the electoral vote confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and proposing further assaults on state capitols. Thomas Edward Caldwell, 66, of Clarke County, Va., was taken into custody before 7 a.m. on four federal counts, including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States in the attack on the Capitol. The conspiracy charge is reserved for offenses interfering with or obstructing the lawful operation of government. A charging affidavit says he helped organize a group of eight to 10 individuals, including self-styled Ohio militia members apprehended Sunday, who wore helmets and military-style gear and were seen moving purposefully toward the top of the Capitol steps and leading the move against police lines.” See also, Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot, The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Prosecutors filed conspiracy charges related to the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, saying in a new complaint that three rioters had acted in an ‘organized and practiced fashion’ and at one point appeared to suggest the possibility of gassing lawmakers in the tunnels below the building. A search of the home of one of the three people also turned up directions for making explosives from bleach, according to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint. The three were allegedly part of a group that approached the east side of the Capitol and tried to push their way through a set of center doors in between the House and the Senate wings. A separate mob of pro-Trump supporters battled a thin line of police officers on the west entrance during the riot. The complaint is among the first to charge multiple alleged members of the mob with conspiracy in connection with the events of that day. Around eight to 10 people wearing helmets, reinforced vests and clothing with paraphernalia identifying themselves of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers moved in a tactical fashion and forced their way to the front of the crowd, a video cited in the complaint shows. During the breach, one of the members allegedly communicated: ‘We have a good group. We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan,’ the new complaint said.” See also, Self-styled militia members made plans to storm the U.S. Capitol days in advance of Jan. 6 attack, court documents say, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman, and Devlin Barrett, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Self-styled militia members from Virginia, Ohio and other states made plans to storm the U.S. Capitol days in advance of the Jan. 6 attack, and then communicated in real time as they breached the building on opposite sides and talked about hunting for lawmakers, according to court documents filed Tuesday. While authorities have charged more than 100 individuals in the riot, details in the new allegations against three U.S. military veterans offer a disturbing look at what they allegedly said to one another before, during and after the attack — statements that indicate a degree of preparation and determination to rush deep into the halls and tunnels of Congress to make ‘citizens’ arrests’ of elected officials.”

Deepening Schism, McConnell Says Trump ‘Provoked’ Capitol Mob. The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Senator Mitch McConnell flatly blamed President Trump on Tuesday for the violent rampage at the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying that the mob that stormed the building had been ‘fed lies’ and ‘provoked by the president’ to carry out its assault. Mr. McConnell’s remarks, on the eve of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration, were the clearest signal yet from the most powerful Republican left in Washington that after four years of excusing and enabling Mr. Trump, he has come to regard the departing president as a force who could drag down the party if he is not firmly excised by its leaders. Mr. McConnell, who is said to privately believe that Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses, gave no indication of whether he would vote to convict Mr. Trump at his impeachment trial on a single charge of ‘incitement of insurrection.’ But it was a notable condemnation from the senator who will play a leading role in determining whether enough Republicans join Democrats to find the president guilty, allowing them to disqualify him from holding office in the future. ‘The mob was fed lies,’ Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor. ‘They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.'” See also, ‘The Mob Was Fed Lies’: Mitch McConnell Rebukes Trump for His Role in Capitol Riot, NPR, Kelsey Snell and Barbara Sprunt, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “For the first time since the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly denounced President Trump and his supporters for instigating the insurrection. ‘The mob was fed lies,’ McConnell, R-Ky., said in a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. ‘They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like.’ Two weeks ago, after rioters stormed the Capitol as lawmakers were fulfilling their constitutional duty to tally the Electoral College votes, McConnell strongly condemned the mob but stopped short of calling out Trump for his role.”

12 members of the National Guard are removed from inauguration duty, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton, and Paul Sonne, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “A dozen members of the National Guard have been removed from inauguration duty as the federal government screens troops involved for security concerns, senior U.S. defense officials said Tuesday, one day before President-elect Joe Biden is set to take over as commander in chief. The troops include at least two with possible sympathies for ­anti-government groups, said two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Ten were removed for reasons that defense officials declined to detail but said did not involve extremism.” See also, 12 Army National Guard members removed from inauguration duty, CNN Politics, Barbara Starr, Oren Liebermann, and Zachary Cohen, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Twelve Army National Guard members have been removed from inauguration duty in Washington, DC, as part of the security vetting process initiated, in part, to ensure troops tasked with securing Wednesday’s ceremony in the nation’s capital do not have ties to extremist groups, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau said Tuesday. Two of the individuals were flagged due to ‘inappropriate’ comments and texts, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson told reporters after a defense official told CNN earlier Tuesday that they were removed over possible links to extremists. The other 10 Guard members were removed for questionable behavior found in the vetting process, Hokanson said, emphasizing that this does not necessarily mean they have ties to extremists, but simply that they were ‘identified’ and removed from service ‘out of an abundance of caution.'” See also, Twelve National Guard members are removed from inaugural protection, two for possible links to extremist groups, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Jennifer Steinhauer, and Helene Cooper, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Twelve National Guard members have been removed from duties related to the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., two of them for possible links to right-wing extremist movements, Defense Department officials said on Tuesday. The two made inappropriate comments or sent inappropriate texts, officials said. Another group of 10 were flagged for reasons unrelated to recent events in the Capitol. Officials declined to provide any details about the vetting that detected the Guard members, who are from different states.”

Trump talked out of pardoning his children and Republican lawmakers, CNN Politics, Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, and Pamela Brown, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “President Donald Trump received an unsettling warning on his final Saturday night in the White House. Huddled for a lengthy meeting with his legal advisers, Trump was warned the pardons he once hoped to bestow upon his family and even himself would place him in a legally perilous position, convey the appearance of guilt and potentially make him more vulnerable to reprisals. So, too, was Trump warned that pardons for Republican lawmakers who had sought them for their role in the Capitol insurrection would anger the very Senate Republicans who will determine his fate in an upcoming impeachment trial. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and another attorney who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial, Eric Herschmann, offered the grave warnings as Trump, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner listened. Other lawyers joined by telephone. They all told Trump he should not pardon himself, his family or any GOP lawmakers in a prospective manner unless he was prepared to list specific crimes. Cipollone and former Attorney General William Barr both warned Trump earlier this month they did not believe he should pardon himself, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN last week. Barr conveyed this position to Trump before resigning last month, sources say. Trump continued to bring the matter up in the ensuing days, even after officials believed the issue was resolved. But the sobering meeting on Saturday evening at the White House seemed to put the idea to rest.”

Lawmakers who objected to election results have been cut off from 20 of their 30 biggest corporate PAC donors, The Washington Post, Douglas MacMillan and Jena McGregor, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “The 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed certification of the presidential election earlier this month have lost the support of many of their largest corporate backers — but not all of them. The Washington Post contacted the 30 companies that gave the most money to election-objecting lawmakers’ campaigns through political action committees. Two-thirds, or 20 of the firms, said they have pledged to suspend some or all payments to their PACs. Meanwhile, 10 companies said only that they would review their political giving or did not commit to take any action as a result of this month’s events.”

Daniel Dale’s reflections on four weird years fact checking every word from Donald Trump, CNN Politics, Daniel Dale, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “I had to email the Boy Scouts to find out if the President had invented a nonexistent phone call from the head of the organization. (He had.) I had to email a Babe Ruth museum to find out if the President had made a bunch of false claims about the baseball legend while awarding him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. (He had.) I had to email some of Michigan’s most prominent organizations to find out if the President had actually received a state ‘Man of the Year’ award he kept claiming he once got. (Nope.) I fact checked every public word Donald Trump said or tweeted for just under four years. The job was unrelenting. The job was unrelentingly weird. Lots of politicians lie as a means to an end — to wiggle out of a scandal or to inflate their policy accomplishments. Trump was willing to lie about everything, all the time, often for no obvious reason. This was lying as a way of life. And it took over much of my own life.”

The Complete List of Trump’s Twitter Insults (2015-2021), The New York Times, Kevin Quealy, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: æAs a political figure, Donald J. Trump used Twitter to praise, to cajole, to entertain, to lobby, to establish his version of events — and, perhaps most notably, to amplify his scorn. This list documents the verbal attacks Mr. Trump posted on Twitter, from when he declared his candidacy in June 2015 to Jan. 8, when Twitter permanently barred him. More recent insults are highlighted.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 19 January 2021: California’s Surge Recedes, But Alarm Grows Over Variants, The New York Times, Tuesday, 19 January 2021:

  • California’s surge may be receding, but a new variant and a jumbled vaccine rollout could threaten progress.

  • A new California variant may be driving the virus surge in the state, a study suggests.

  • The virus death toll in the U.S. has passed 400,000.

  • ‘To heal, we must remember,’ Biden says at ceremony for coronavirus victims.

  • The SAT is dropping its essay section and subject matter tests to streamline during the pandemic.

  • Fauci urges Americans to get vaccinated as he receives his second dose, and other vaccine news.

  • Demanding federal relief, Cuomo warns that New York State is facing a possible $15 billion deficit.
  • A Wisconsin pharmacist pleaded not guilty to charges related to spoiling vaccine doses.
  • An American college student who was jailed for violating quarantine rules in the Caymans has apologized.
  • Germany tightens lockdown ‘to prevent the danger that lies in this mutated virus,’ and other news from around the world.
  • Russia mulls ‘Covid passports’ to let people with some immunity to travel more easily.
  • The E.U.’s executive arm sets its goal: 80% of people over 80 and 80% of health care workers to be vaccinated by March.
  • Much of Texas remains overrun by the virus, threatening U.S. progress.
  • Andrew Yang, running for New York City mayor is quarantining after an aide tested positive.
  • N.Y.C. will run out of its current vaccine supply on Thursday, the mayor says. It’s not scheduled to get more until next week.
  • Some prisons are offering skeptical inmates incentives to consent to vaccination.
  • Eight former Treasury secretaries call for Janet Yellen’s swift confirmation.
  • Many nursing home workers in New York State have declined to be vaccinated.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 19 January 2021: U.S. surpasses 400,000 deaths as Biden invites the country to mourn together, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault and Lateshia Beachum, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “Covid-19 has now killed more than 400,000 Americans. The country reached that devastating milestone Tuesday, the eve of the first anniversary of the first confirmed U.S. case and the final full day of Donald Trump’s presidency, which historians say will be defined by his bungling of the public health crisis. ‘To heal, we must remember,’ President-elect Joe Biden said in a Tuesday evening vigil for coronavirus victims at the Lincoln Memorial. ‘And it’s hard sometimes to remember. But that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.’ The somber event offered a striking contrast to Trump’s near-constant downplaying of the virus, and served as the new administration’s signal that it would take the dangerous pandemic seriously.

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

  • Most Americans think the pandemic is out of control in the United States, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Attitudes about the virus and vaccines differ across party lines.
  • Trump awarded presidential commendations on Tuesday to officials involved in Operation Warp Speed, which is overseeing vaccine distribution. Recipients included Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony S. Fauci and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
  • Several national public health officials received their second doses of the coronavirus vaccine, including National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, Azar and Fauci, Collins said Tuesday.
  • California public health officials have paused the administration of about 330,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine as they investigate reports of a ‘higher-than-usual number’ of severe allergic reactions to the drug.
  • Florida data scientist who said she was fired by the state for her conflicting data about the coronavirus pandemic turned herself in on accusations of ‘illegally’ accessing the health department platform and sending a message to about 1,750 people.
  • China is hurrying to build a coronavirus quarantine center with a 4,000-person capacity in the city of Shijiazhuang, the latest virus hot spot in the county.
  • World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday that the world is nearing a ‘catastrophic moral failure’ as wealthy countries control vaccine supplies that could leave poorer nations to struggle more with curtailing the virus’s spread.

Federal court strikes down major Trump climate rollback, Associated Press, Matthew Daly and Ellen Knickmeyer, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “In a last-minute slap at President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court struck down one of his administration’s most momentous climate rollbacks on Tuesday, saying officials acted illegally in issuing a new rule that eased federal regulation of air pollution from power plants. The Trump administration rule was based on a ‘mistaken reading of the Clean Air Act,’ the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency ‘fundamentally has misconceived the law.’ The decision is likely to give the incoming Biden administration a freer hand to regulate emissions from power plants, one of the major sources of climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions…. Environmental groups celebrated the ruling by a three-member panel of the Court of Appeals.” See also, Trump Rules Easing Power-Plant Emissions Limits Are Vacated by Appeals Court, The Wall Street Journal, Timothy Puko and Brent Kendall, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday vacated the Trump administration’s rules that eased restrictions on greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, potentially making it easier for the incoming Biden administration to reset rules targeting climate emissions. A 2-1 majority on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided to send the Affordable Clean Energy rule back to the Environmental Protection Agency, ruling the Trump administration adopted an unlawfully narrow view of federal clean-air law.”

U.S. Says China’s Repression of Uighurs Is ‘Genocide,’ The New York Times, Edward Wong and Chris Buckley, Tuesday, 19 January 2021: “The State Department declared on Tuesday that the Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its wide-scale repression of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in its northwestern region of Xinjiang, including in its use of internment camps and forced sterilization. The move is expected to be the Trump administration’s final action on China, made on its last full day, and is the culmination of a yearslong debate over how to punish what many consider Beijing’s worst human rights abuses in decades. Relations between the countries have deteriorated over the past four years, and the new finding adds to a long list of tension points. Foreign policy officials and experts across the political spectrum in the United States say China will be the greatest challenge for any administration for years or decades to come.”


Wednesday, 20 January 2021:


    Biden Inaugurated as 46th   President of the United States


Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. Inaugurated as the 46th President Amid a Cascade of Crises. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. and Kamala Devi Harris took the oath of office at a Capitol still reeling from the attack of a violent mob at a time when a deadly pandemic is still ravaging the country. The New York Times, Peter Baker, Wednesday, 30 January 2021: “Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, assuming leadership of a country ravaged by disease, dislocation and division with a call to ‘end this uncivil war’ after four tumultuous years that tore at the fabric of American society. Mr. Biden sought to immediately turn the corner on Donald J. Trump’s polarizing presidency, inviting Republicans to join him in confronting the nation’s dire economic, social and health crises even as he began dismantling his predecessor’s legacy with orders to halt construction of his border wall, lift his travel ban and rejoin the Paris climate agreement. The ritualistic transfer of power ended weeks of suspense as the vanquished president waged a relentless bid to hang on, only to be rebuffed at every level of government, clearing the way for Mr. Biden to claim his office. With his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Mr. Biden recited the 35-word oath administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at 11:49 a.m., 11 minutes before the constitutionally prescribed noon hour. Vice President Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in a few minutes earlier by Justice Sonia Sotomayor using a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and Supreme Court justice. Ms. Harris thus became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States and the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second highest office. The drama of the moment was underscored by the sight of Mr. Biden taking the oath on the same West Front of the Capitol seized just two weeks ago by a marauding mob trying to block final ratification of Mr. Trump’s election defeat. Without ever naming Mr. Trump, who left the White House early in the morning for Florida but still faces a Senate trial for provoking his supporters, Mr. Biden said that the United States’ democratic experiment itself had come under assault by extremism and lies but ultimately endured.” See also, President Biden’s Full Inauguration Speech, Annotated, The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Wednesday, 20 January 2021.

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president, pledging to confront an array of convulsing challenges and to bring healing and unity to a deeply fractured nation, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa and Annie Linskey, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, pledging to confront an array of convulsing challenges and bring healing and unity to a deeply fractured nation. ‘This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,’ Biden said in an inaugural address that called on America to end its ‘uncivil war’ and embrace a united front amid a series of daunting crises. ‘Unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail.’ With his hand on his thick family Bible and with his wife, Jill Biden, by his side, Biden recited the oath administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The moment marked the pinnacle of a career in public leadership that began a half-century ago. Moments before, Kamala D. Harris took her oath of office, making her the country’s first female vice president, and also the first Black American and first person with Asian heritage to hold the nation’s second-highest office. She had placed her hand on twin Bibles, one from a family friend and the second belonging to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice of the Supreme Court.” See also, Joe Biden’s inauguration speech transcript, annotated, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake and Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 20 January 2021.

Video: The Poet Amanda Gorman Says America Can Be the ‘Light’ It Needs, The New York Times, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, recited her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ at President Biden’s inauguration.” See also, Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet, asks ‘Where can we find light?’ in Inauguration Day recitation,  The New York Times, Alexandra Alter, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “When Amanda Gorman was writing her inaugural poem, ‘The Hill We Climb,’ she faced a challenge unlike any of her predecessors. Gorman set out to craft a poem that was both hopeful and realistic, one that reflected the political divisions that have fractured the country, but also the promise of greater unity. She finished writing the poem just after rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.” See also, The Hill We Climb: the Amanda Gorman poem that stole the inauguration show, The Guardian, Amanda Gorman, Wednesday, 20 January 2021.

Biden Kicks Off Term With Executive Orders and Prime-Time Celebration. Vice President Kamala Harris, who is the first woman and the first woman of color to serve in the role, swore in the Rev. Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff and Alex Padilla as U.S. senators. A prime-time event, hosted by Tom Hanks, commemorated the new administration and featured an array of stars. The New York Times, Wednesday, 20 January 2021:

  • ‘Democracy has prevailed,’ President Biden declares as he is inaugurated.

  • Biden’s first executive actions include rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and ending Trump’s travel ban.

  • Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president, a barrier-breaking moment in U.S. history.

  • Critic’s notebook: ‘Celebrating America’ promised that daylight is coming.

  • Critic’s notebook: Biden took office to a soundtrack of folk and classic soul that was best when it escaped the ceremonial.

  • ‘America is back’: Foreign leaders react to Biden’s inauguration.

  • With two newly elected Georgians officially joining their ranks, Democrats take Senate control.

  • The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as intelligence director, Biden’s first and only Cabinet official to be approved on Day 1.

  • Jen Psaki, Biden’s new press secretary, pledges to bring ‘truth and transparency back.’
  • Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina says former President George W. Bush told him he [Clyburn] was ‘the savior’ for endorsing Biden.
  • Trump extends Secret Service protection for his children, cabinet secretaries and chief of staff for six months.
  • Michael Ellis, a Trump appointee at the National Security Agency (N.S.A.) who was sworn in on Tuesday, has been placed on leave.
  • The Biden administration removed Peter B. Robb as the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.
  • The Biden administration quickly revamped the White House website. Here’s how.
  • In the Capitol Rotunda, where rioters once stood, Biden and Harris received gifts from congressional leaders.
  • Purple was a popular color at the inauguration, and Bernie Sanders’ mittens made a splash.
  • Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police officer who diverted the mob during the riot, escorted Kamala Harris.
  • After an inauguration like no other, Biden walked to the White House.
  • Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet ever, reads a work she finished after the Capitol riot.
  • Taking over @POTUS, Biden sends his first tweet as president.
  • Trump departed the White House for the last time and is said to have left a note for Biden.

Biden signs executive orders as Democrats take control of Senate, The Washington Post, Washington Post Staff, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “At an inauguration like no other, amid a raging pandemic, in a city that had become a fortress of fences, concrete barriers and security checkpoints, President Biden pleaded for unity in his inaugural address to a divided nation, promising to ‘be a president for all Americans.’ Shortly after moving into the White House, Biden signed several executive orders, including one to rejoin the Paris climate accord and another ordering a mask mandate on federal property.

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

On his first day, Biden signs executive orders to reverse some of Trump’s policies, The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “President Biden signed a ­blizzard of executive orders Wednesday on the coronavirus, immigration and climate change — launching a 10-day cascade of directives reversing policies of his GOP predecessor as Democrats pushed for even more-sweeping and prompt legislative action. The most pressing of his priorities are measures to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Biden signed executive actions to require masks on all federal grounds and asked agencies to extend moratoriums on evictions and on federal student loan payments. He urged Americans to don face coverings for 100 days, while reviving a global health unit in the National Security Council — allowed to go dormant during the Trump administration — to oversee pandemic preparedness and response. Biden also began to reverse several steps taken by President Donald Trump by embracing the World Health Organization, revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and rejoining the Paris climate agreement.” See also, On Day 1, Biden Moves to Undo Trump’s Legacy. President Biden took a series of executive actions on issues including immigration and criminal justice. He also moved to rejoin the Paris climate accord. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “President Biden unleashed a full-scale assault on his predecessor’s legacy on Wednesday, acting hours after taking the oath of office to sweep aside President Donald J. Trump’s pandemic response, reverse his environmental agenda, tear down his anti-immigration policies, bolster the sluggish economic recovery and restore federal efforts aimed at promoting diversity.” See also, Biden’s 17 Executive Orders and Other Directives in Detail, The New York Times, Aishvarya Kavi, Wednesday, 20 January 2021. See also, Biden targets Trump’s legacy with first-day executive actions, CNN Politics, Eric Bradner, Betsy Klein, and Christopher Hickey, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “President Joe Biden is finalizing 17 executive moves just hours after his inauguration Wednesday, moving faster and more aggressively to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy than any other modern president.”

In His Final Hours in Office, Trump Wipes Away Convictions and Prison Sentences for a Roster of Corrupt Politcians and Business Executives and Allies, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Kenneth P. Vogel, Eric Lipton, and Michael S. Schmidt, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “President Trump used his final hours in office to wipe away convictions and prison sentences for a roster of corrupt politicians and business executives and bestow pardons on allies like Stephen K. Bannon, his former chief strategist, and Elliott Broidy, one of his top fund-raisers in 2016. The wave of clemency grants, hours before Mr. Trump’s departure from the White House, underscored how many of his close associates and supporters became ensnared in corruption cases and other legal troubles, and highlighted again his willingness to use his power to help them and others with connections to him.”

Hours before leaving office, Trump undoes one of the only measures he took to ‘drain the swamp,’ The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “President Trump rescinded an executive order early Wednesday morning that had limited federal administration officials from lobbying the government or working for foreign countries after they leave their posts, undoing one of the few measures he had instituted to fulfill his 2016 campaign promise to ‘drain the swamp.’ Trump had signed the now-reversed executive order with much fanfare in an Oval Office ceremony in January 2017. ‘Most of the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work’ after they leave government, Trump said at the time, flanked by senior aides. The order required executive branch appointees to sign a pledge that they would never work as registered foreign lobbyists, and it banned them from lobbying the federal agencies where they worked for five years after leaving the government.”

Army falsely denied Flynn’s brother was involved in key part of military response to Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe, Paul Sonne, Carol D. Leonnig, and Aaron C. Davis, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “The Army falsely denied for days that Lt. Gen. Charles A. Flynn, the brother of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was involved in a key meeting during its heavily scrutinized response to the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol. Charles Flynn confirmed in a statement issued to The Washington Post on Wednesday that he was in the room for a tense Jan. 6 phone call during which the Capitol Police and D.C. officials pleaded with the Pentagon to dispatch the National Guard urgently, but top Army officials expressed concern about having the Guard at the Capitol.”

Trump’s final day in office: A diminished and aggrieved president stays out of public view before exit, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 20 January 2021: “President Trump spent his final full day in office Tuesday the same way he spent many of his 1,460 prior days as president: brooding over imagined injustices, plotting retribution against perceived enemies and seeking ways to maximize his power. But the same pathologies that abetted Trump’s political rise, animated his followers and became hallmarks of his turbulent single term have now, in the twilight of his presidency, left him a man diminished. In an indication of his wounded state, the president who took office determined to be omnipresent in American life, with daily and at times hourly appearances before the press corps, was almost entirely absent from public view as he prepared to vacate the White House on Wednesday morning. Trump has spent the past seven days effectively in hiding, apart from delivering a scripted farewell address that his staff recorded and released Tuesday afternoon. In the 19-minute speech, he acknowledged that his term as the 45th president is concluding and declared, ‘We did what we came here to do and so much more.'” See also, Trump Departs Vowing, ‘We Will Be Back in Some Form,’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Before departing for Florida, Mr. Trump — defeated at the pollstwice impeachedsilenced by social media platforms and facing an array of legal and financial problems — laid down a marker about his future, telling the roughly 300 supporters who greeted him on the windy tarmac, several holding American flags, that they had not seen the last of him. ‘Goodbye. We love you. We will be back in some form,’ Mr. Trump vowed….”

Pro-Trump Media Keeps the Disinformation Flowing: ‘They Have Not Legitimately Won,’ The New York Times, Jeremy W. Peters, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Forgoing any appeals for healing or reflection, right-wing media organizations that spread former President Donald J. Trump’s distortions about the 2020 election continued on Wednesday to push conspiracy theories about large-scale fraud, with some predicting more political conflict in the months ahead. The coverage struck a discordant tone, with pro-Trump media and President Biden in a jarring split screen: There was the new president delivering an inaugural address of unity and hope, while his political opponents used their powerful media platforms to rally a resistance against him based on falsehoods and fabrications. For some outlets like One America News, it was as if Mr. Biden weren’t president at all. The network, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s because of its sycophantic coverage, didn’t show its viewers Mr. Biden’s swearing in or his inaugural address. Rush Limbaugh, broadcasting his weekday radio show a few miles from the Palm Beach retreat where Mr. Trump is spending the first days of his post-presidency, told his millions of listeners on Wednesday that the inauguration of Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris did not make them the rightful winners of the election.”

The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump: ‘A Total Failure,’ The New York Times, Sheera Frenkel and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “After the presidential election last year, the Proud Boys, a far-right group, declared its undying loyalty to President Trump. In a Nov. 8 post in a private channel of the messaging app Telegram, the group urged its followers to attend protests against an election that it said had been fraudulently stolen from Mr. Trump. ‘Hail Emperor Trump,’ the Proud Boys wrote. But by this week, the group’s attitude toward Mr. Trump had changed. ‘Trump will go down as a total failure,’ the Proud Boys said in the same Telegram channel on Monday. As Mr. Trump departed the White House on Wednesday, the Proud Boys, once among his staunchest supporters, have also started leaving his side. In dozens of conversations on social media sites like Gab and Telegram, members of the group have begun calling Mr. Trump a ‘shill’ and ‘extraordinarily weak,’ according to messages reviewed by The New York Times. They have also urged supporters to stop attending rallies and protests held for Mr. Trump or the Republican Party. The comments are a startling turn for the Proud Boys, which for years had backed Mr. Trump and promoted political violence. Led by Enrique Tarrio, many of its thousands of members were such die-hard fans of Mr. Trump that they offered to serve as his private militia and celebrated after he told them in a presidential debate last year to ‘stand back and stand by.’ On Jan. 6, some Proud Boys members stormed the U.S. Capitol.” See also, ‘We All Got Played’: QAnon Followers Implode After Big Moment Never Comes, Forbes, Jack Brewster, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “As Joe Biden was sworn in as president, QAnon followers finally saw their hope for the ‘storm’—when President Donald Trump would bring down the ‘deep state’ and expose a far-reaching child-sex-trafficking ring—disappear, leaving followers of the unhinged conspiracy theory in despair and searching for answers, while one of the most prominent adherents gave up…. Ron Watkins, the founder of 8chan who is one of several people suspected of being the anonymous poster ‘Q’ who spawned the conspiracy theory, conceded shortly after Biden was sworn in, telling his supporters it was time for believers to keep their ‘chins up’ and ‘go back to our lives.'”

Obituary for a Failed Presidency, The New Yorker, Susan B. Glasser, Wednesday, 20 January 2021: “Precisely at noon on Wednesday, Donald Trump’s disastrous Presidency will end, two weeks to the day after he unleashed a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol, seeking to overturn the election results, and one week to the day after he was impeached for so doing. He leaves behind a city and a country reeling from four hundred thousand Americans dead, as of Tuesday, from a pandemic whose gravity he downplayed and denied; an economic crisis; and an internal political rift so great that it invites comparisons to the Civil War.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 20 January 2021: Thousands of Vaccine Appointments Are Canceled as Supply Lags, The New York Times, Wednesday, 20 January 2021:

  • ‘It’s such a lottery’: Disappointment and frustration as vaccine offers melt away.

  • On Biden’s first day in charge, swift action on Covid-19 and the economy is a priority.

  • A new president takes office: the view from an I.C.U.

  • Without big galas, an inauguration so small, it fit on your phone.

  • A company vaccinating Ohio nursing-home residents lets 890 doses go bad.

  • Doctors in Peru stage a hunger strike over the government’s pandemic response.

  • Convinced that they are immune, many Iraqis take heedless risks.

  • Biden restores ties with the World Health Organization that were cut by Trump.



Now that the Biden administration is settling into D.C. (late January 2021), my daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration, Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence is coming to an end. I will post some 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.