New estimates of COVID-19’s infection rates suggest that even with the vaccine on the way, strict social distancing requirements will be necessary to get us through the final months of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Senate gears up for another impeachment trial. Will this one bring actual consequences? Who knows, but let’s talk about it.
And lastly, ICE pushes to deport a New York City resident despite President Joe Biden’s moratorium on deportations.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
We’re starting to get a clearer picture of how the next few months of the pandemic will go, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a massive wave of vaccinations will bring an end to things anytime soon.
According to scientists at Columbia University, the big danger now is that social distancing guidelines and public health measures will be relaxed too early, which they warn could cause millions more to become infected.
The model predicts that if we start lifting restrictions in February, we could suffer as many as 19 million more infections than a scenario where we... don’t do that. The model shows that social restrictions need to be strengthened, not weakened, until late July of this year to get the best-case scenario, though millions of cases can be prevented by simply keeping existing protections in place until that point.
The other big variable is how bad the pandemic already is in certain places. The New York Times reported that epidemiologists think something like 60 percent of North Dakota’s population has already been infected, meaning that even widespread vaccinations won’t do much to stop the spread of the disease.
When things get that bad, the pandemic will basically burn out on its own. So the goal is clearly to prevent the rest of the country from going that way. The Times reports that California, for instance, is teetering right on the edge.
You know what the long and short of all this is, though: keep hanging in there. Wear your mask, stay isolated if you can, protect yourself as best as possible.
Impeachment Trial Update: Still Arguing
You know what time it is: laborious Senate trial for a presidential impeachment! Feels like deja vu, I know.
But this time, things could be different! For one, Donald Trump already isn’t president. So the stakes here aren’t removing him from office, but formally convicting him of impeachable offenses and preventing him from holding office ever again.
The House is transmitting its article of impeachment today, but the Senate’s going to delay the trial for two weeks to let Biden get his cabinet in place.
The big fight right now is whether or not Congress can actually do this. The Constitution, because it’s such an excellent document that definitely hasn’t screwed up the country multiple times, isn’t exactly clear on this issue. But at present, it looks relatively likely Democrats will be mounting a pretty serious attempt to push the effort through.
To actually convict Trump, of course, the Democrats will need to bring along 17 Republicans to hit the two-thirds supermajority. That’s a long shot, but there may be a case to be made with elements of the GOP who have an incentive to make sure Trump can’t come in and wreck the 2024 primary for them again.
Mitt Romney said on Sunday that he both thinks the President committed impeachable offenses when he incited the riot at the Capitol building on January 6, and that a trial after he’d left office was Constitutional. That’s one down at least! 16 more to go.
ICE Defies Biden Order
One of President Joe Biden’s first acts in office was to put a federal moratorium on deportations, but almost immediately, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is trying to test those limits.
ICE Is pushing for the deportation of 27-year-old Javier Castillo Maradiaga who was originally arrested by the NYPD in 2019 for a pedestrian violation that was later dismissed. But that minor case got him caught in the brutal grind of the immigration system, and he’s currently in custody in a federal detention center in Louisiana. Maradiaga came to New York when he was seven.
His lawyers told the New York Daily News that ICE’s plan to deport Maradiaga at 2 a.m. on Monday morning -- meaning it could have already happened by the time you hear this -- appear to be in conflict with Biden’s executive order signed last Wednesday.
But ICE is just beating around the bush, claiming that the executive order has only made it hit pause on quote “certain removals.” What this means is anyone’s guess, and Maradiaga has already spent 14 months in detention.
It seems like the new executive branch needs to get its underlings in line, and fast.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Well, she’s doing it: Former Trump Press Secretary and professional liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to announce her candidacy for Governor of Arkansas in a video going up this morning, according to the New York Times. This will be the first big test of a Trump inner-circle person running for a major office.
Reps. Cori Bush and Ayanna Pressley have signed up 35 other Democrats in an effort to push Joe Biden to commute the sentences of all 49 federal prisoners left on death row and end the federal death penalty, in the wake of the Trump administration’s lame-duck drive to execute 13 prisoners in his final days in office.
The New York Times reports that a little-known Pennsylvanian Congressman, Scott Perry, was at the center of a harebrained scheme for the Trump administration to fire the acting attorney general and replace him with a Trump loyalist who would have advanced the crackpot stop-the-steal lawsuits that Trump wanted. You can bet we’re going to see a whole lot more worms like this crawl out of the woodwork as Trump continues to sink.
Look, far be it from us to defend anyone with the last name McCain, but the Arizona GOP is eating itself alive. On Saturday, it issued formal rebukes to Cindy McCain, former Governor Doug Ducey, and former Senator Jeff Flake, because all three were insufficiently loyal to Donald Trump. He’s gone, people, give it a break!
That’s it for the Majority Report’s AM Quickie today. Sam will be with you this afternoon. SAM: Sign off.
JAN 25, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn