“House managers on Thursday wrapped up their case against former president Donald Trump, imploring the Senate to convict him while warning that he could stoke violence again,” the Washington Post reports.
Said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO): “We humbly, humbly ask you to convict President Trump for the crime for which he is overwhelmingly guilty of. Because if you don’t, if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again?”
New York Times: “With conviction in a polarized Senate seemingly out of reach, the House managers, as the prosecutors are known, are aiming their arguments at two other audiences beyond the chamber: the American people whose decision to deny Mr. Trump a second term was put at risk and the historians who will one day render their own judgments about the former president and his time in power.”
“Through the expansive use of unsettling video footage showing both Mr. Trump’s words and the brutal rampage that followed, the managers are using their moment in the national spotlight to make the searing images of havoc the inexpungible legacy of the Trump presidency. Rather than let the outrage subside, the managers are seeking to ensure that Mr. Trump is held accountable even if he is acquitted in the Senate.”
David Frum: “The remorseless, crushing power of the House managers’ evidence, all backed by horrifying real-time audio and video recordings, shuttered any good-faith defense of Trump on the merits of the case. The constitutional defense—that it’s impossible to convict a president if he leaves office between his impeachment and his trial—was rejected by 56 senators yesterday, not least because it defies a quarter millennium of federal and state precedents.”
“There is no defense. There is only complicity, whether motivated by weakness and fear or by shared guilt. And the House managers forced every Republican senator to feel that complicity from the inside out.”
“That feeling of complicity will not change the final outcome of this Senate trial. The weak will be no less weak for being shamed by their weakness; those who share Trump’s guilt will not cease to share it, because that guilt has been blazed to the world. But at least the House case can restrict the personal and political options of the weak and the guilty. If a senator like Marco Rubio did not feel his world tightening around him, he would not look so haunted. The Republican senators are shrinking before the eyes of the whole country. They are all becoming “liddle.” They know it. They feel it. They hate it. But they cannot stop it.”
A Wall Street Journal editorial says that while the Senate may acquit former President Donald Trump over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, “he won’t live down his disgraceful conduct.”
“Now his legacy will be forever stained by this violence, and by his betrayal of his supporters in refusing to tell them the truth. Whatever the result of the impeachment trial, Republicans should remember the betrayal if Mr. Trump decides to run again in 2024.”
“President Biden is expected to announce Thursday afternoon that his administration has secured deals for another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine,” the Washington Post reports.
“The purchases would increase available supply by 50 percent, bringing the total to 600 million doses. Because both products are two-dose regimens, that would be enough to fully vaccinate 300 million people.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci told Today that the pace of coronavirus vaccinations will pick up “as we get into March and April” and that by April, it will be “open season” for “virtually anybody” to receive shots.
Associated Press: “For Biden, beating back the pandemic is a defining challenge of his presidency, testing his central promise to the American people that he can better manage the outbreak than his predecessor. His team seemingly day by day rolls out an almost dizzying array of new efforts and appeals large and small — everything from building a surgical glove factory in the U.S. by year’s end to asking Americans to wear masks while walking their dogs.”
“The central question for Biden and his team, one that can’t be answered yet: Will it all add up to enough?”
Donald Trump’s tweet attacking his own vice president for lacking “the courage” to overturn the election for him ― enraging the January 6 Capitol mob even further ― came just minutes after learning that Mike Pence had been removed from the Senate chamber for his own safety, the HuffPost reports.
“Sen. Tommy Tuberville revealed late Wednesday that he spoke to Donald Trump on Jan. 6, just as a violent mob closed in on the the Senate, and informed the then-president directly that Vice President Mike Pence had just been evacuated from the chamber,” Politico reports.
Said Tuberville: “I said ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go.’”
“The existence of the phone call had been previously reported, but the detail that Tuberville informed Trump his vice president was in danger is a new and potentially significant development for House prosecutors seeking Trump’s conviction: it occurred just around the time that Trump sent a tweet attacking Pence for not having ‘the courage’ to unilaterally stop Joe Biden’s victory.”
Former President Donald Trump’s defense team expects to finish its arguments in the Senate’s impeachment trial by Friday night, CNN reports.
“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t pressuring fellow Republicans to acquit former President Trump as the impeachment trial appears poised to wrap as soon as this weekend,” The Hill reports.
“GOP senators have discussed their individual views about the trial behind closed doors this week, including at lunch meetings, but McConnell has limited his remarks to procedural steps and the timeline.”
President Joe Biden made his first substantive comments on the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump: “My guess is some minds may have been changed, but I don’t know.”
Associated Press: “Among some Biden aides, there is a sense that the president will need to weigh in at the end of the trial, particularly if an expected acquittal prompts Trump to break his silence and further inflame a deeply divided nation.”
“The Justice Department is now making clear that a leader among the Oath Keepers paramilitary group — who planned and led others in the US Capitol siege to attempt to stop the Biden presidency — believed she was responding to the call from then-President Donald Trump himself,” CNN reports.
From a court filing: “As the inauguration grew nearer, Jessica Watkins indicated that she was awaiting direction from President Trump.”
“This is the most direct language yet from federal prosecutors linking Trump’s requests for support in Washington, DC, to the most militant aspects of the insurrection.”
President Joe Biden has rescinded the emergency order used by former President Donald Trump to justify construction of the border wall, The Hill reports.
Said Biden, in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border was unwarranted.”
He added: “I have also announced that it shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall, and that I am directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to that end.”
“Once his impeachment trial concludes and former president Donald Trump returns to his business, he will face some obvious challenges, such as declining real estate income and investigations from New York authorities,” the Washington Post reports.
“But he may also have to finally face two tax issues that have been simmering in the background, either of which experts say could carry significant consequences should they materialize now that he is out of office.”
“One is a massive income tax refund Trump received before entering office… The other issue Trump faces is the possibility that Democrats, after five years of trying, will finally pry free Trump’s tax returns now that the party controls both Congress and the White House.”
Walter Shapiro: “In truth, citizens of Paris in 1794 displayed more courage in risking the guillotine than Republican senators do in contemplating a Trump-backed primary challenge or being occasionally shunned at the country club.”
“We are watching an entire political party on trial just one month after the failed putsch at the Capitol. Beyond Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and their ilk, how can retiring Republicans with reasonable reputations like Ohio’s Rob Portman and North Carolina’s Richard Burr live with themselves as they ignore the evidence of Trump’s determined efforts to overturn a free election?”
“It would be fascinating to know the thoughts that were going through Mitch McConnell’s cynical brain as he watched the Democratic presentation in his standard tight-lipped fashion. What may resonate with McConnell is not principle (good luck ever finding that in his mental makeup) but pure political self-interest.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced she’s introducing legislation that would give Capitol Police officers the Congressional Gold Medal for fighting back a violent mob of insurrectionists on Jan 6, Axios reports.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson went full conspiracy theory and told his viewers that the Capitol riot was a plot from “liberal America” to change the “old order” of the country, the Daily Beast reports. Said Carlson: “The feds likely had paid informers in the ranks of the protesters.”
“In the final months of the Trump administration, senior Justice Department officials repeatedly sought to block federal prosecutors in Manhattan from taking a crucial step in their investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s dealings in Ukraine, delaying a search warrant for some of Mr. Giuliani’s electronic records,” the New York Times reports.
“The actions by political appointees at the Justice Department in Washington effectively slowed the investigation as it was gaining momentum last year.”
After evading attempts for weeks by a civil process server that included being “pursued over state lines,” ex-Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell was served with a $1.3 billion lawsuit at her home in North Carolina, the Asheville Citzen-Times reports.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. job market remains a long way from a full recovery and called on both lawmakers and the private sector to support workers, Bloomberg reports.
Powell said that returning to maximum employment “will require a society-wide commitment, with contributions from across government and the private sector. The potential benefits of investing in our nation’s workforce are immense.”
“The federal government’s total debt is expected to exceed the size of the American economy this year, a figure that does not take into account President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package,” the Washington Post reports.
“The CBO’s debt projections are sure to invigorate the ongoing debate over Biden’s stimulus proposal, as Republicans try to argue that the U.S. faces unsustainable debt burdens after spending more than $4 trillion in response to the virus.”
“President Biden is considering nominating Lisa Cook, an economist at Michigan State University, to fill an open seat on the Federal Reserve Board,” Axios reports. “The appointment would be historic, since Cook would be the first Black woman to join the Fed.”
“President Donald Trump was sicker with Covid-19 in October than publicly acknowledged at the time, with extremely depressed blood oxygen levels at one point and a lung problem associated with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus,” the New York Times reports.
“His prognosis became so worrisome before he was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that officials believed he would need to be put on a ventilator.”
“Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level alone was cause for extreme concern, dipping into the 80s.”
Politico: “Democrats in both chambers are skeptical that the minimum wage hike will pass muster under the Senate’s strict rules. Some members and aides are already discussing other opportunities to muscle the increase through both chambers, such as a jobs package that is expected to be Biden’s second major legislative priority, or another reconciliation bill this fall.”
NBC News: “Some moderate House Democrats worry that it would be a strategic mistake to keep it in the bill, especially given the chances of its being removed in the Senate. They have privately expressed concerns that it may slow down the package and highlight party divisions.”
President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone Wednesday evening for the first time since taking office, NBC News reports.
Biden raised his “fundamental concerns” about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.”
Philip Bump: “The House impeachment managers arguing for Trump to be convicted by the Senate are… framing that day as the culmination of months of incitement by the former president. Before the Nov. 3 election, Trump claimed that he could lose his reelection bid only if rampant fraud occurred; once he lost, that’s precisely what he alleged. Week after week, Trump elevated any random allegation of fraud in an effort to show that something suspect had occurred, to create a miasma of uncertainty aimed at rationalizing his effort to peel back Joe Biden’s win. It was successful: Most Republicans still falsely believe that the election was marred by fraud.”
“Trump had a lot of assistance in pushing that case, including from the conservative media and his campaign team. But he was also assisted by a large segment of the Republican Senate caucus, the group that is currently being asked to see his behavior after the election as part of an effort to overthrow the results of the presidential election.”
“Nearly half of the Republican caucus, in other words, is being asked to judge that the falsehood they helped propel was an instrumental part of an attempted insurrection against the U.S. government.”
“The prosecution is compelling. Donald Trump incited and directed the insurrection. He knew what he was doing. I cannot imagine how any Senator could vote against removal.” — Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), on Twitter.