1/ A sixth Memphis police officer “has been relieved of duty” for his involvement in the beating and subsequent death of Tyre Nichols by police officers. Five Black officers have been fired by the department and charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Nichols’s death. The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, has been suspended from duty and has not been charged. Hemphill is white. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was stopped by police on Jan. 7 for an alleged traffic violation. Videos show police officers kicking Nichols in the head, pepper-spraying him, hitting him repeatedly with a baton, and using a Taser on him after he was pulled over purportedly for reckless driving. Nichols appeared subdued and defenseless, and showed no signs of fighting back in the videos of the incident. He died three days later. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Biden and Kevin McCarthy will meet Wednesday to discuss a “reasonable and responsible way” to lift the debt ceiling and avert a U.S. default. The Biden administration has argued that Congress has a “Constitutional obligation to prevent a national default” and should pass a debt limit increase without conditions attached – like Congress did three times during Trump’s tenure. McCarthy and Republicans, meanwhile, want to cut government spending, including to Social Security and Medicare benefits, in exchange for raising the borrowing cap. (Politico / CNN / Bloomberg / Associated Press)
3/ The Supreme Court didn’t disclose its longstanding financial ties with the person tasked with independently validating the investigation into the leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. The court consulted with former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to assess the investigation, which failed to identify who was responsible for the unprecedented leak. Chertoff concluded that the probe was a thorough one and that he “cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures.” The court, however, has paid Chertoff’s consulting firm at least $1 million to improve the justices’ security. The exact amount couldn’t be determined because the Supreme Court isn’t covered by federal public disclosure rules. While all nine justices were interviewed as part of the court’s internal investigation into who leaked a draft of the opinion, the justices weren’t required to sign sworn affidavits attesting that they weren’t involved. (CNN)
4/ The Biden administration proposed ending a Trump-era exemption that allowed employer-provided health plans to exclude coverage of birth control on moral grounds. While the proposed rule would leave in place the existing religious exemption for employers with objections, it would create an independent pathway for individuals to access contraceptive services without charge. Doctors or facilities that provide contraception in this way would then be reimbursed by an insurer on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, which would then receive a credit on the user fee it pays the government. In 2018, the Trump administration allowed some employers to deny insurance coverage for contraception to their employees on religious or moral grounds. (CNN / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Trump, calling Ron DeSantis “very disloyal,” claimed that the Florida governor is “trying to rewrite history” about the state’s Covid-19 response. Trump said DeSantis had “changed his tune a lot” about vaccines and even “promoted the vaccine as much as anyone.” Trump added that “Florida was closed for a long period of time.” The WHO, meanwhile, said Covid-19 remains a global health emergency, though the crisis “may be approaching an inflection point.” (CNN / Politico / CNBC)
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