👋 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/ Nancy Pelosi will transmit the article of impeachment charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday, triggering the start of Trump’s second impeachment trial. “The Senate will conduct a trial on the impeachment of Donald Trump,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “It will be a fair trial. But make no mistake, there will be a trial.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, suggested that Trump’s trial should be delayed to mid-February to give him time to “mount a defense,” adding that “this impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House.” Under Senate rules, the impeachment trial must begin within one day after the House transmits the article if the chamber is in session. (NPR / Politico / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / CNBC / Washington Post / Axios)
- Dozens of influential Republicans – including former top Trump administration officials – have reportedly lobbied GOP Senators to convict Trump. The effort would require at least 17 GOP votes to join all 50 Democrats in order to convict Trump. Some GOP members, however, are reportedly backing a long-shot bid to dismiss Trump’s trial, claiming it’s unconstitutional to put an ex-president on trial. (CNN / Politico / The Hill)
- Trump hired South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers to defend him at his second impeachment trial after struggling to find someone to lead his defense. As attorneys who previously represented Trump declined to sign on for a second trial. (Politico / CNBC)
- Trump’s campaign paid more than $2.7 million to the organizers of the Jan. 6 rally that led to violent rioters storming the U.S. Capitol. (Bloomberg)
2/ Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the new coronavirus variant first found in England “may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.” Some studies have suggested that the variant, known as B117, is 50 to 70% more transmissible. The CDC has also warned that the new variant might become the dominant source of infection in the U.S. by March. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / CNBC)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
- Global: Total confirmed cases: ~97,902,000; deaths: ~2,100,000
- U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~24,738,000; deaths: ~413,000
- Source: Johns Hopkins University
- Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged that the Trump administration’s lack of truthfulness and resistance to following the science on coronavirus “very likely” cost American lives. Fauci, was sidelined by the Trump task force in favor of advisers, like Scott Atlas, who pushed coronavirus misinformation, said the Biden administration’s approach to the pandemic will be “completely transparent, open and honest” with the American people. (CNN / Axios)
3/ Biden is expected to sign an executive order to significantly increase federal food assistance for millions of families struggling amid the pandemic. The orders will increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for about 12 million families and provide money for families to replace the free or reduced-price lunches meals students would have normally received at school before the pandemic forced students out of classrooms. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said the orders are “not a substitute” for the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill that Biden hopes Congress will pass, but instead a “critical lifeline” for millions of Americans who need assistance now. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)
4/ The Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin to be the new Defense secretary, making the retired four-star Army general the first Black person to run the Pentagon. The 93-2 vote came a day after Congress granted General Austin a waiver to hold the post because he hadn’t been out of uniform for the legally mandated seven-year period. (New York Times / NPR / Politico / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Biden revoked Trump’s order banning federal agencies, contractors, and recipients of federal funding from conducting diversity training. Trump had deemed the workplace trainings “un-American” and harmful to white workers. (ABC News)
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