Some Democrats in the Senate are wavering over Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. Is it really a distraction, or a necessary showing of accountability?
Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Department issues a rare warning over domestic terrorism. Surprise, surprise, the threat relates to Trump’s January 6th insurrection.
And lastly, we all saw the Bernie Sanders in mittens memes. Now wait until you hear how much he’s raised for charity by selling merch based on the memes – it’s a lot!
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The prospect of likely acquittal for Donald Trump at his Senate trial has some Democrats contemplating an off-ramp, the Washington Post reports. This option would condemn the former president but stop short of impeachment and a ban from future office. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia said yesterday that he has been exploring a bipartisan censure of Trump that would short-circuit a potentially lengthy trial. He told reporters he wanted the Senate to focus on responding to the coronavirus pandemic and confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet. Kaine added, "To do a trial knowing you’ll get fifty-five votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time."
As we said yesterday, forty-five of fifty Republican senators voted to back Trump in a test vote on Tuesday. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who pushed the vote, said it showed that impeachment was, "dead on arrival," the Post reports. Convicting Trump would require the support of sixty-seven senators. But top Democratic leaders said yesterday they intended to proceed with Trump’s trial for incitement of insurrection. A team of nine House managers is preparing to begin arguments for Trump’s removal on February 9th. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, "Make no mistake, there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented in living color... And in turn, we will all be judged on how we respond."
The format of the trial, however, remains in flux, according to the Post. As Schumer’s comments suggested, House managers are expected to use video to draw a connection
between the president’s words and the violence of January 6th. But some Democrats argue that the House managers should call witnesses to further enliven the proceedings. Let’s just not downplay what happened, okay?
Insurrectionists Prompt Terrorism Warning
It’s hard to believe some still want to let Trump off the hook. The Department of Homeland Security released a rare national terrorism warning yesterday, according to the New York Times. The warning says that the United States will face heightened threats from violent extremists emboldened by the assault on the Capitol for weeks to come. The terrorism bulletin said, "some ideologically motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence." That’s a mouthful, but I guess they can’t just come out and say the threat is coming from crazed Trump supporters.
The Capitol breach may have encouraged domestic extremists to target elected officials and government facilities, the Times reports, citing the advisory. The extremists are motivated by issues including coronavirus restrictions, the results of the 2020 election, and a strong opposition to immigration, according to the agency. The advisory was issued by the acting secretary of homeland security, David Pekoske. President Biden’s nominee for secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.
The Homeland Security Department will periodically release bulletins to the public to warn of potential threats to national security, the Times says. But the decision to release a warning about the threat of domestic terrorism is a pivot from the Trump administration. A former homeland security intelligence chief said in a whistleblower complaint filed in September that Trump’s Homeland Security Department directed analysts to downplay the threat of white supremacy. A threat report eventually singled out white supremacy as a lethal threat after the whistleblower complaint prompted backlash from Congress. And now here we are.
Bernie Sanders Raises Charity Windfall
Here is an entirely wholesome story from the Associated Press. About those wooly mittens that Senator Bernie Sanders wore to the presidential inauguration, sparking endless quirky memes across social media? They've helped to raise $1.8 million in the last five days for charitable organizations in Sanders' home state of Vermont, the independent senator announced yesterday. The sum comes from the sale of merchandise with the image of him sitting with his arms and legs crossed, clad in his brown parka and recycled wool mittens.
Sanders put the first of the so-called Chairman Sanders merchandise, including T-shirts, sweatshirts and stickers, on his website last Thursday night, according to the AP. The first run sold out in less than thirty minutes. More merchandise was added over the weekend and sold out by Monday morning. Sanders said, "Jane and I were amazed by all the creativity shown by so many people over the last week, and we’re glad we can use my internet fame to help Vermonters in need. But even this amount of money is no substitute for action by Congress, and I will be doing everything I can in Washington to make sure working people in Vermont and across the country get the relief they need in the middle of the worst crisis we’ve faced since the Great Depression."
Sanders’ mittens were made by Jen Ellis, a Vermont elementary school teacher who has a side business making mittens out of recycled wool, the AP reports. The groups that will benefit from the proceeds of the Chairman Sanders items include Meals on Wheels, Vermont community action agencies, Vermont Parent Child Network, The Chill Foundation, senior centers in Vermont and dental care improvements in the state. It warms the heart, as well as the hands.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Federal spending on the country’s largest nutrition assistance program – food stamps – increased by nearly fifty percent in 2020 amid the economic shock of the pandemic. That’s according to newly released data from the Agriculture Department, as reported by Politico. There are now nearly forty-four million individuals on the program, up more than twenty percent from 2019. It’s a good program. No one should go hungry.
President Biden yesterday signed a series of executive actions aimed at combating climate change, CBS News reports. In addition to restricting new oil and gas leases on public lands, Biden set a goal of conserving at least thirty percent of land and water by 2030. We told you yesterday how advocates were pushing for that goal. Now ban fracking already!
Russian President Vladimir Putin took aim yesterday at the power of social media companies, the Washington Post reports. In a video address to the World Economic Forum, Putin said, "These are no longer just economic giants — in some areas they are already de facto competing with states." What, is Twitter issuing passports now?
Reuters reports that Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012. A federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people. The bootlicker is a narc, go figure!
JAN 28, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn