What Now?! – 1/26/21

“President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely bars transgender individuals from joining the military, dumping a ban ordered by President Donald Trump in a tweet during his first year in office,” the AP reports..

“Biden has been widely expected to overturn the Trump policy in his early days in office. The White House could announce the move as early as Monday.”

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit on Monday against Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer for Donald J. Trump who played a key role in the former president’s monthslong effort to subvert the 2020 election, the New York Times reports.

The 107-page lawsuit, filed in the Federal District Court in Washington, accuses Mr. Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” made up of “demonstrably false” allegations, in part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast.

“With a change of administrations, it looks like Harriet Tubman is once again headed to the front of the $20 bill,” the AP reports.

“Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put the 19th century abolitionist leader on the $20 bill.”

“President Joe Biden has commissioned Dr. Kevin O’Connor as his new White House physician, replacing Dr. Sean Conley in a role that became a source of controversy under former President Donald Trump’s four years in the White House,” ABC News reports.

“It’s not unusual for a new president to select their personal physician for their term, However, O’Connor will take on the job in the medical unit that faced a crisis of credibility under Trump following rosy readouts of physicals and misleading information about his COVID-19 treatment.”

“The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed two cases over whether former President Donald Trump unlawfully profited from his businesses while in office,” CNBC reports.

“The suits, which were brought by a nonprofit as well as the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia, alleged that the former president violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, little-known provisions that bar presidents from receiving gifts from local or foreign governments.”

Just Security published a collection of videos from the Capitol siege on January 6, which were scraped from Parler.

The collection contains footage that has not been widely seen before (including the audience’s immediate reactions to President Trump’s most potent remarks at the Ellipse; Trump supporters’ statements about Vice President Pence during the unfolding events).

“For months, as Democrats contemplated capturing control of the White House and the Senate and finally being in a position to push through their agenda, centrists like Senator Jon Tester of Montana warned that they would not join the party in jettisoning the filibuster, the ultimate weapon of mass obstruction, to clear the way,” the New York Times reports.

“But now that President Biden is in office and Democrats have taken hold of the Senate, even Mr. Tester, who sees the filibuster as a crucial mechanism to force the sort of bipartisan compromise that is sorely needed, says his determination to preserve it is not unconditional.”

Said Tester: “I feel pretty damn strongly, but I will also tell you this: I am here to get things done. If all that happens is filibuster after filibuster, roadblock after roadblock, then my opinion may change.”

However, a spokeswoman for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) told the Washington Post the senator is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster.”

Washington Post: “The executive order will call for increasing the amount of U.S. content that must be in a product for it to be considered made in America under existing ‘Buy American’ requirements. It will also create a website where American businesses can see what contracts are being awarded to foreign vendors, and a position at the White House Office of Management and Budget tasked with implementing Biden’s push on federal procurement, among other measures.”

“The order reflects in part the shifting consensus in American politics away from free trade and toward direct government intervention to promote U.S. producers and manufacturers.”

Washington Post: “The Justice Department’s inspector general announced Monday that its office is opening an investigation into whether any current or former department official tried to improperly ‘alter the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election’ — a broad review that comes on the heels of a revelation that then-President Donald Trump considered replacing his acting attorney general with an official more amenable to his unfounded claims of voter fraud.”

“Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will not preside over former President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, which is scheduled to begin in earnest on Feb. 8,” The Hill reports.

“Instead, Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Democratic Conference, will preside over the trial.”

Playbook: “The absence of Roberts is a gift to Trump: Simply having a Democrat in the seat may make the proceedings seem more partisan and could bolster Republican arguments that the process is somehow not legit.”

The Kansas City Star has a great profile of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), tracing his ideological makeup from high school to now. It also notes Hawley signed his high school yearbook: “Josh Hawley, president 2024.”

Max Boot: “When the impeachment proceedings begin in the Senate, it will not be just Donald Trump in the dock. The entire Republican Party will be on trial. And there is every reason to believe that the GOP will fail this test — as it failed every other during the past four years.”

“Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol,” the AP reports.

“The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump’s trial, the official said.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s upcoming Senate impeachment trial poses a security concern that federal law enforcement officials told lawmakers last week requires as many as 5,000 National Guard troops to remain in Washington through mid-March,” Politico reports.

Playbook: “Republicans are under intense pressure to acquit Donald Trump — whether they think he committed an impeachable offense or not. At this point, it’s all about self-preservation.”

“When Mitch McConnel signaled the trial vote would be one of conscience for members — and that he wouldn’t be whipping the issue — he was, some would argue, giving Republicans room to break with the ex-president. But Senate sources tell us activists and typical Republican primary voters are pushing them in the opposite direction. Some donors fear if more than a handful of Republicans vote to convict, there is a real threat of a third-party MAGA uprising.”

“Which is to say: This is not an easy vote even for Republicans who want Trump gone for good.”

Politico: “Many other aides have left his side, eager to start anew far away from their former boss. White House aides and administration officials who once relished their West Wing perches have jetted off on remote getaways — cashing in on a mountain of unused vacation time. Others are frantically asking former colleagues for help finding work as they prioritize their own careers over whatever chapter Trump is planning for himself.”

“It’s not been easy. Tainted by Trump’s reputation, several Trump aides described an increasingly bleak job market with virtually no chance of landing jobs in corporate America and some even having seen promising leads disappear after the rampage at the U.S. Capitol. A second former White House official said they knew of “people who got jobs rescinded because of Jan. 6.’”

A Republican strategist was blunter: “They are really fucked.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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