Day 22: "Inciter in chief."
⚖️ Trump’s Second Senate Impeachment Trial: Day 2.
What happened today? House Democrats opened their impeachment case against Trump arguing that he “assembled, inflamed and incited” the attack against the U.S. Capitol because he “ran out of nonviolent” ways to overturn the result of the election. The House impeachment managers, calling Trump no “innocent bystander” but the “inciter in chief,” presented never-before-seen security footage from Jan. 6 of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol, played audio of Capitol Police declaring a riot, and methodically detailed a nearly minute-by-minute account of what happened once the Capitol was breached. The prosecution argued that Trump sought to “prime” his supporters for the deadly Capitol attack months before it happened by engaging in a series of “false, outlandish lies” that he could only lose the election through fraud, likening Trump’s actions to someone trying “to light the match.”
What’s next? The Senate has taken a break in the proceedings for dinner and will resume shortly. Each trial day is expected to last about eight hours, and House managers have 16 total hours to make their presentations, after which Trump’s team will have the same amount of time to present its defense. Thursday’s proceedings are scheduled to begin at noon Eastern.
✏️ Sources: Associated Press /Politico / NBC News
💻 Live blogs: Washington Post / NPR / Politico / The Guardian / Bloomberg / NBC News / ABC News / CBS News / Wall Street Journal / CNBC
1/ Trump was reportedly “not happy” and “frustrated” by the performance of his lawyers during the first day of his second impeachment trial. Trump was particularly angry at Bruce Castor, one of his lawyers, for praising the House impeachment manager’s presentation before delivering a meandering, nearly hour-long defense during the first day of the Senate impeachment trial. In fact, Trump’s other lawyer, David Schoen, was supposed to present first, but Castor told the Senate that they “changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the House managers’ presentation was well done.” Castor also referred to Trump as the “former president,” conceding that Trump lost the 2020 election when “smart” voters elected Biden. One person familiar with Trump’s reaction said that on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Trump “was an eight.” (New York Times / CNN / Politico / The Guardian)
- Mitch McConnell signaled to Republicans that the vote on Trump’s impeachment is matter of conscience, suggesting that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict. Six Republicans on yesterday voted in favor of the constitutionality of the Senate process. (Bloomberg / Politico)
2/ Georgia prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election result, including a January phone call where Trump pressured the state’s top elections official to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s victory. In letters to state Republican officials, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested that they preserve documents related to “an investigation into attempts to influence the administration” of the 2020 election, “with particular care being given to set aside and preserve those that may be evidence of attempts to influence the actions of persons who were administering that election.” Willis did not mention Trump by name, but the letters indicate that the office is conducting a criminal investigation. (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Politico / Axios / NBC News)
3/ The CDC recommends double masking to reduce exposure to the coronavirus. A new study found that when you and another person double mask – i.e. wear a surgical mask with a cloth mask on top – the risk of transmitting the coronavirus falls more than 95%. The benefit falls to 80% if only one person wears a double mask. For optimal protection, the CDC study suggests improving the fit of the surgical mask – by knotting the ear loops and tucking in the sides close to the face to form a closer fit – so the mask fits snugly against your face. When only one person adjusted their surgical mask for a tighter fit, the protection benefit of double masking fell to 60%. The CDC continues to recommend that everyone age 2 and older should wear a mask when outside their home. (ABC News / Washington Post / Bloomberg / Politico / NPR)
- The Biden administration is on track to meet its goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 shots in his first 100 days in office. The administration is averaging 1.5 million shots per day – up from 1.1 million two weeks ago. (NBC News)
4/ The White House clarified Biden’s school reopening goal, saying the administration wants more than 50% of schools to have “some teaching” in person “at least one day a week” – not fully reopened – by Day 100. In December, Biden said his goal was for “a majority of our schools” to be open within 100 days – a benchmark that many schools are already hitting. White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the objective “not the ceiling,” adding “hopefully, it’s more.” Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said “there is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen” and that “vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” Teachers, however, have called for more coronavirus testing, vaccinations and other safety measures before returning to classrooms. (USA Today / CNN / Bloomberg)
5/ The Biden administration “indefinitely” shelved the Trump administration’s forced U.S. takeover of TikTok. Last year, Trump ordered a ban on the Chinese-owned app, citing on national security concerns, unless it allowed for Oracle and Walmart take a large ownership stake in the popular video app. (Wall Street Journal / ABC News)
6/ Biden announced sanctions against Myanmar and those involved in the military coup. “The military must relinquish power seized and demonstrate respect for the role of the people,” Biden said as he signed an executive order to impose “strong export controls” and freeze U.S. assets that benefit Myanmar’s government. (Politico / NBC News)
poll/ 67% of Americans plan to get the Covid-19 vaccine or have already done so, 15% are certain they won’t, and 17% say probably not. (Associated Press)
poll/ 37% of Americans have a positive opinion of the Republican Party – down from 43% in November. 48% of Americans have a positive opinion of the Democratic Party. (Gallup)
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