👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Congress confirmed Biden’s presidential victory after a violent mob loyal to Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election. Following the violent assault on the Capitol, members of Congress and Pence made Biden’s victory official just after 3:40 a.m. in Washington. Biden received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and will be inaugurated the 46th president on Jan. 20. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Reuters)
- Trump-Biden Transition Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / ABC News / NBC News
2/ Trump agreed to “an orderly transition” one day after inciting a mob to storm the Capitol and minutes after Congress certified Biden’s win. While Trump acknowledged for the first time he will leave office, he didn’t, however, admit defeat or concede. Instead, in a statement tweeted at 3:49 a.m. by aide Dan Scavino, Trump said: “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.” (Politico / Bloomberg / Washington Post / NPR / CNN)
3/ Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer called on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to immediately remove Trump from office. “By inciting sedition as he did yesterday, he must be removed for office,” Pelosi said. Earlier, Schumer said that “What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer” and the “quickest and most effective way” to remove Trump would be under the 25th Amendment. If Pence declines to act, Pelosi said Democrats were prepared to impeach Trump for a second time, and did not rule out canceling next week’s recess to bring the House back into session. “While there’s only 13 days left,” Pelsoi said, “any day could be a horror show for America.” (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Politico / Wall Street Journal / CNBC / Bloomberg / ABC News / CNN)
A trade group representing 14,000 U.S. companies called on Pence to “seriously consider” invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. “This is sedition and should be treated as such,” the National Association of Manufacturers said. “The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy.” (CNBC / New York Times)
Biden characterized the mob of Trump supporters that stormed the Capitol as “insurrectionists domestic terrorist,” referring to the violence as “one of the darkest days in the history of our nation” and the attack an “unprecedented assault on our democracy.” Biden blamed Trump for inciting the violence, saying he had “unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of democracy” and that he’s a “president who’s made his contempt for our democracy, the Constitution, the rule of law clear in everything he has done.” (Wall Street Journal / NBC News)
4/ The Justice Department said it would not rule out pursuing charges against Trump for his role in inciting a mob of his supporters to march on the Capitol and storm the building. “We are looking at all actors, not only the people who went into the building,” Michael Sherwin, the U.S. attorney in Washington, said. “If the evidence fits the elements of a crime, they’re gonna be charged.” The chairs of five House committees requested that FBI Director Christopher Wray brief them on the agency’s efforts to investigate the riot. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN)
5/ Trump told aides and advisers that he wants to pardon himself before leaving office. In multiple conversations since the election, Trump has asked whether he should pardon himself, including what the legal and political implications would be. It’s not clear, however, if Trump has brought up the idea since he incited his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight.” Following the riots, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone advised Trump that he could face legal jeopardy for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol building. Trump has also considered pre-emptive pardons for Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Rudy Giuliani. (New York Times / ABC News)
6/ Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram suspended Trump after he posted a video of himself repeating baseless claims that the election had been “stolen” while urging his supporters, who he had earlier incited to go to the Capitol, to “go home.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Trump would be banned from Facebook and Instagram “indefinitely.” The ban will not be lifted before Inauguration Day. Twitter locked Trump’s account and deleted three tweets for using the platform “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes.” Twitter threatened to permanently suspend Trump if he violated its rules again. YouTube also removed the video, while Shopify removed the online stores run by the Trump Organization and Trump campaign. (Politico / The Verge / CNN / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / New York Times / TechCrunch / NBC News)
- Ivanka Trump deleted a tweet calling for “American patriots” – who stormed the Capitol – to stop the violence. (The Hill)
7/ Multiple Trump administration officials resigned after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, including Elaine Chao (transportation secretary), Mick Mulvaney (Trump’s former acting chief of staff, now special envoy to Northern Ireland), Matthew Pottinger (deputy national security adviser), John Costello (senior cybersecurity official), Tyler Goodspeed (acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers), Stephanie Grisham (chief of staff to Melania Trump), Rickie Niceta (event planner), and Sarah Matthews (deputy White House press secretary). Mulvaney reportedly called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and told him: “I can’t do it. I can’t stay.” (New York Times / Axios / CNN / Associated Press / The Guardian / NPR)
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone reportedly instructed White House officials not to speak to Trump so they could reduce the chance that they could be prosecuted for treason under the Sedition Act. (Vanity Fair)
Trump banned Pence’s chief of staff from the White House. Trump blamed Marc Short for Pence’s decision to follow the Constitution as he presided over the Electoral College certification session. (Axios / Business Insider)
8/ A record 3,915 people died of Covid-19 in the United States on Wednesday – the second straight day that the country logged a record number of fatalities from the disease within a 24-hour period. The number of patients currently hospitalized nationwide is at a record high and 12 states hit a record number of hospitalizations. (Washington Post / ABC News)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~87,793,000; deaths: ~1,893,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~21,482,000; deaths: ~365,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
9/ Trump awarded Medals of Freedom to three golfers less than 24 hours after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol building and stalled congressional efforts to certify electoral college votes for Biden. (Washington Post)
poll/ 63% of voters believe Trump is at least “somewhat” responsible “for the events that led to” the riot at the Capitol. 49% say Trump is “very” responsible. (Politico)
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