1/ The U.S. reported a pandemic record 403,385 Covid-19 cases over the past week – about 60% higher than the previous U.S. peak in Jan. 2021. The seven-day PCR test positive rate in the U.S. hit 17% – the highest since April 2020. The number of tests reported by states, however, are running below the 2021 highs, which suggests that cases are significantly undercounted. Hospitalizations and deaths, meanwhile, remain below previous peaks. Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, warned of an “unprecedented” number of cases among members and staff, saying the seven-day coronavirus positivity rate within the Capitol has gone from less than 1% to greater than 13%, with Omicron making up a majority of those cases. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / Politico)
2/ The FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. The agency also shortened the timeframe between the second and third shots to at least five months, down from six months. The agency will also allow some immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11 to get a third dose. (NPR / Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)
3/ Twitter “permanently suspended” the personal account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for “repeated violations” of its Covid-19 misinformation policies. The suspension came after she published a tweet falsely suggesting “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.” Facebook, meanwhile, suspended Greene 24 hours for spreading similar misinformation about the coronavirus. (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)
4/ New York Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed Ivanka Trump and Trump Jr. as part of her civil tax fraud investigation into the Trump Organization. Ivanka and Trump Jr., however, have refused to comply with subpoenas. The attorney general’s office previously subpoenaed Trump for testimony and set a Jan. 7 deadline. Eric Trump was previously subpoenaed and provided testimony in Oct. 2020. (NBC News / ABC News / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Politico)
5/ The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot said it has “firsthand testimony” that Ivanka Trump twice asked Trump to intervene as his supporters stormed the Capitol. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the committee, said Ivanka “went in at least twice to ask [Trump] to ‘please stop this violence.’” Chairman Bennie Thompson added that the panel has “significant testimony” that the White House “had been told to do something.” Thompson said the panel believes Trump made “several videos” before he released his one-minute clip on social media 187 minutes after the attack began, in which Trump repeated false claims about the election he lost while encouraging the rioters to “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.” The panel has asked the National Archives for the videos that were never shared. (CNN / NBC News)
6/ Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will vote on changes to the filibuster rules by Jan. 17 if Republicans continue to block voting rights legislation. In a letter to colleagues, Schumer said the Senate “must evolve” and will “debate and consider changes” to the rules by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Schumer, however, will need buy-in from both Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to change or eliminate the filibuster. Both have voiced opposition to changing Senate rules along party lines. “Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process,” Schumer wrote, “and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.” (Associated Press / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC)
poll/ 64% of Americans believe U.S. democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing.” 65% of Americans agree that U.S. democracy is “more at risk” now than it was a year ago. Among Republicans, that number climbs to 80%. (NPR)
poll/ 34% of Americans say violence against the government might be justified – from 23% in 2015 and 16% in 2010. While 62% said violence against the government is never justified, that view is down from 1995 when 95% of respondents said violence was never justified. (Washington Post)
poll/ 72% of Americans believe the people involved in the attack on the Capitol were “threatening democracy,” while 25% believes that the individuals involved were “protecting democracy.” (ABC News)
poll/ 34% of voters say the Republican Party is headed in the right direction – 10 points higher than before the attack on the Capitol. (Morning Consult)
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