New York Times: “Whispered, panicked calls from terrified staff members barricaded in an office. Violent scenes of smashed windows and kicked-open doors. Frenzied audio between Capitol Police officers.”
“On the second day of the impeachment trial, the House impeachment managers showed senators previously unseen Capitol security footage, offering a chilling portrait of the violence unleashed by the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
“The new evidence was introduced by Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands, who crafted a methodical narrative of the day, marking each new video with a time stamp. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) continued the presentation.”
CBS News: New footage shows Officer Goodman directing Sen. Mitt Romney to safety.
John Podhoretz: “I understand Republicans in the Senate are not going to vote in sufficient numbers to convict Trump—let’s say because their constituents do not want it, he poses a political danger to them, and, who knows, they might actually fear for their lives from the same kinds of people who were in the building on January 6. But how can they have watched the footage of Mitt Romney narrowly avoiding his own murder and not understanding that could have been any one of them? And how can they avoid the understanding that the mob was there because Trump summoned a crowd to Washington on that day?”
“Are they just going to let… it… slide?”
James Poniewozik: “We saw the attack the day it happened, of course. We saw more of it in the days after. But we’d never seen it so completely, so sweepingly.”
“What the impeachment managers put together wasn’t simply a deluge of shocking clips. It was a complex, edited narrative that moved us from one vantage point to another — Mr. Trump, the mob, the police, the fleeing lawmakers and staffers.”
“The daylong arguments also had dramatic structure, including cliffhanger-like act breaks as the trial went into recesses… But there was also a larger, serial arc that laid out, over the course of months, the charge that Mr. Trump had primed his followers to believe he could lose the election only if it were rigged; that he cheered on violence in his name; that he publicized the Jan. 6 rally and targeted politicians — including his own vice president — in a series of increasingly furious tweets.”
“All of this was an effort to use the tools of television — imagery, emotion, montage — to build a case against a president who was made by and obsessed with TV.”
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump‘s impeachment is matter of conscience and that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president,” Bloomberg reports.
“The Kentucky Republican has also suggested that he hasn’t made up his mind how he’ll vote, even though he voted Tuesday to declare it unconstitutional for the Senate to hear the case against a former president.”
The Louisiana Republican party quickly rebuked Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), saying it is “profoundly disappointed” he backed the constitutionality of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
From a statement: “We feel that an impeachment trial of a private citizen is not only an unconstitutional act, but also an attack on the very foundation of American democracy.”
Playbook: “It’s not easy for any Republican to cross Trump, let alone one from a deep-red Southern state. Cassidy shocked the chamber — and his constituents — when he did just that, joining five other Senate Republicans to say the proceedings were in fact constitutional.”
A Trump team adviser told CNN that former President Donald Trump could be in serious legal jeopardy if he finds himself charged in criminal court for the charges he’s facing in his impeachment trial: “Trump is fucked if anyone ever charges him. No one wants to work with him.”
“Donald Trump’s legal team is scrambling to collect and produce more videos to bolster their impeachment trial arguments after a rambling debut performance that enraged the former president and dismayed Republicans,” CNN reports.
“The move to use more videotape — and lean away from in-person arguments — amounts to a tacit acknowledgment that the lawyers Trump has enlisted to defend him during his second impeachment trial are failing to inspire confidence.”
“An Atlanta-area prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia in the wake of two calls then-President Donald Trump placed to state officials, urging them to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state,” the Washington Post reports.
New York Times: “The inquiry makes Georgia the second state after New York where Mr. Trump faces a criminal investigation. And it comes in a jurisdiction where potential jurors are unlikely to be hospitable to the former president; Fulton County encompasses most of Atlanta and overwhelmingly supported President Biden in the November election.”
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said the investigation of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia is “of high priority” and will go before a grand jury as soon as March, MSNBC reports.
“For years, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden wrestled over the Democratic Party’s future in a public tug of war that spanned three elections, two administrations and one primary contest,” the New York Times reports.
“But when Mr. Sanders walked into his first Oval Office meeting with the new president last week and saw the large portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt opposite the Resolute Desk, the liberal luminary felt as if he were no longer battling Mr. Biden for the soul of the party.”
“After a 15-month primary contest that highlighted deep divides within the party, Mr. Biden and his fractious Democratic coalition are largely holding together. United by a moment of national crisis and the lingering influence of his predecessor, the new president is enjoying an early honeymoon from the political vise of a progressive wing that spent months preparing to squeeze the new administration.”
Politico: “In his first weeks in office, [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin] has installed a slate of well-respected national security professionals in his front office who are working to restore order to the Pentagon’s policymaking process. Those staffers are already making changes to ensure that civilian voices are included in policy meetings.”
“As the Senate’s impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins Tuesday in Washington, a matter even more important to his immediate future is being discussed some 990 miles to the south by the Palm Beach Town Council: Whether he can continue living at Mar-a-Lago,” the AP reports.
“The council members will hear their attorney’s opinion on whether the town can bar Trump from living at his club. That was the deal Trump’s lawyer offered nearly 30 years ago: He told the town in 1993 that Trump would be prohibited from living there if it allowed him to convert it from a residence to a club. But this promise was not specifically included in the written agreement, which may take precedence.”
“Democrats’ coronavirus relief proposal includes major changes to the Affordable Care Act, aiming to make health insurance more affordable for the millions of people who have lost their employer-based coverage during the pandemic,” Axios reports.
“These changes would check off a whole lot of moderate Democrats’ heath care agenda, at least temporarily. They include some of the biggest changes that President Biden campaigned on.
Daily Beast: “Top members of Biden’s COVID response team are warning internally that the U.S. may not reach herd immunity until Thanksgiving or even the start of winter—months later than originally calculated—according to two senior administration officials.”
Washington Post: “Less than a month into the Biden presidency, as the rate of vaccinations continues to increase, the country has nearly reached the pace needed to achieve that milestone, with 1.48 million shots per day administered over the past week.
“Yet as the country faces a deadly pandemic made even bleaker by emerging and more infectious variants of the coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19, epidemiologists and public health experts say the Biden administration must set its sights even higher.”
Politico: “The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 22 and 23, sets [Attorney General nominee Merrick] Garland up for a March 1 vote out of committee and comes after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reached an agreement for the schedule.”
“The Biden administration faced a double-dose of bad and not-so-bad news Tuesday on Iran: Iranian leaders hinted they are rethinking their vow to never seek a nuclear weapon, and new Israeli intelligence suggests they are at least two years away from producing one,” the New York Times reports.
“Few Trump-era mysteries are as intriguing as what the 45th president said to Vladimir Putin in at least a dozen rambling, off-the-cuff calls and meetings over four years. Understanding what was said between the two could help illuminate whether Trump ever revealed sensitive information or struck any deals with the Kremlin leader that could take the new administration by surprise,” Politico reports.
“Now that President Joe Biden is in the White House, he can see for himself.”
Nearly 60% of the people facing charges related to the Capitol riot showed signs of prior money troubles, including bankruptcies, notices of eviction or foreclosure, bad debts, or unpaid taxes over the past two decades, according to a Washington Post analysis of public records for 125 defendants with sufficient information to detail their financial histories.
One of the Proud Boys arrested for participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol told a court Wednesday that he was duped by President Donald Trump’s “deception” and “acted out of the delusional belief” that he was responding patriotically to the commander in chief, Politico reports.
“Vice President Kamala Harris will have her first private lunch with Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday, meetings that are expected to continue with regularity,” CNN reports.
“The meetings, which will be worked around their schedules and Covid-19 regulations, continue a tradition of vice presidents in close collaboration with their administration’s secretary of state. Then-Vice President Joe Biden was known to host meals with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
“Harris has told those close to her that she wants to shape her vice presidency after Biden’s own tenure.”
Wall Street Journal: “President Biden is expected Wednesday to announce the creation of a Pentagon review of the national security aspects of the administration’s China strategy as part of a broader administration effort to determine its approach to countering Beijing, administration officials said.”