- Senate to hear witness testimony from law enforcement officers
- Ruling on Trump tax records could be costly defeat
- US coronavirus death toll passes 500,000
- Biden: ‘We must not become numb to the sorrow’
- Merrick Garland hearing will continue today
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At least 160 public Confederate symbols were taken down or moved from public spaces in 2020, according to a new count by the Southern Poverty Law Center, report the Associated Press.
The law center, which keeps a raw count of nearly 2,100 statues, symbols, placards, buildings and public parks dedicated to the Confederacy, will release the latest figures from its Whose Heritage? database on Tuesday. It has been tracking a movement to take down the monuments since 2015, when a white supremacist entered a South Carolina church and killed several black parishioners.
A judge plans to hear arguments today by lawyers for former Michigan governor Rick Snyder that he has been charged in the wrong county for misdemeanors over the Flint water supply.
Snyder’s lawyers argue that the paperwork specifies that the events took place in the locale of the affected water supply – Genesee County – but that Snyder was actually in his office in Ingham County at the time.
Politico has this today teeing up the Senate hearing into the 6 January Capitol riot:
The story of the day has become clearer as hundreds of rioters have faced charges, but high-level decision-making by top congressional security officials has so far remained a black box.
That lack of transparency from the upper echelons of the Capitol Police leadership in particular has sparked pushback from the police force’s union. It’s also clouded congressional efforts to increase security and ensure the Hill learns from the insurrection chaos. Senators expect Tuesday’s hearing to be only the first step in their efforts to investigate the run-up and response to the siege.
The Stephen Collinson analysis piece for CNN today is on that subject – Joe Biden’s confirmation battles. He writes:
Growing intrigue over a trio of controversial presidential picks is also underscoring the power of individual senators such as Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, when the partisan balance is so evenly divided.
Another bruising hearing is looming on Tuesday, for interior secretary nominee Deb Haaland, whose opposition to fossil fuels has GOP members branding her as extreme. And Xavier Becerra, chosen by the President to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has emerged as a culture war lightning rod over his stance on abortion and Obamacare.
One of Biden’s cabinet picks, Neera Tanden for the director of the office of management and budget, has hit choppy waters with at least four senators already coming out with a ‘no’ vote – including Democrat Joe Manchin.
Yesterday White House press secretary Jen Psaki was still vocal in backing Tanden for the job. Overnight though Axios have published what they’ve labelled a scoop on a “plan B”:
House Democratic leaders are quietly mounting a campaign for Shalanda Young, a longtime congressional aide, to replace Neera Tanden as nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The nascent campaign for Young, who would be OMB’s first Black female leader, reflects a stark reality taking hold in the Democratic Party: Tanden’s prospects are rapidly fading.
Donald Trump used to promise his supporters that they would be winning so much, they would get sick and tired of winning. But the former US president is now on a seemingly endless losing streak.
He lost the presidential election, lost more than 60 legal challenges to the result, lost his bid to overturn the electoral college, lost control of the Senate and lost an impeachment trial 43-57, though he was spared conviction on a technicality. On Monday, Trump lost yet again – with potentially far-reaching consequences.
The future of the Republican party is handwritten notes apparently, according to this tweet by NBC’s Henry Gomez.
What does a Trump endorsement look like, literally, now that he’s off Twitter? The South Carolina GOP shares this handwritten note to state party chair @DrewMcKissick, who is seeking another term: pic.twitter.com/MyeBfLzsBY
Canadian prime ministers are traditionally the first foreign leader to visit the White House when a new president takes office. It’s slightly different this time around, as due to Covid, Joe Biden’s first official bilateral with another world leader will be over videocall. Aamer Madhani and Rob Gillies at the Associated Press have set out how things are expected to unfold.
The two leaders — Joe Biden in the Oval Office in Washington and Justin Trudeau in the prime minister’s office in Ottawa — will first deliver brief remarks in front of the media at the start of their meeting.
We are expecting some better news about vaccine manufacture supply to be delivered in Congress today. As Tim Stelloh reports for NBC News, executives with Pfizer and Moderna will say they are able to ramp up supplies in the coming weeks.
In a prepared statement to be made before a House subcommittee Tuesday, John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, is expected to say the company plans to increase its delivery capacity of 4 million to 5 million doses a week to more than 13 million by mid-March.
Moderna expects to double its monthly delivery capacity to 40 million doses by April, according to Dr. Stephen Hoge, the company’s president.
With the US having reached the grim total of over 500,000 Covid deaths, Sam Levin in Los Angeles reports for us on issues with the vaccine roll-out:
California, the largest state in the US, has administered more than 7.3m vaccine doses but is lagging behind other states in vaccine administration. Eligibility is due to dramatically expand in March, but with supplies limited and many doses being used for second shots, essential workers could likely be waiting weeks or longer to get appointments.
The hearing into appointing Merrick Garland as US attorney general will continue today. Alex Rogers and Jeremy Herb for CNN identified six key takeaways from yesterday, of which this is perhaps one of the more significant for a certain former president:
Democrats largely didn’t mention Donald Trump by name when they asked about the investigation into the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but they touched on the question of whether the Justice Department should examine the former president’s role for encouraging the mob, which led to his impeachment. Even Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, after voting to acquit Trump in the Senate trial, suggested that the criminal justice system is the right venue in which to consider those allegations.
Sen Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, encouraged Garland to look “upstream” and “not rule out investigation of funders, organizers, ringleaders, or aiders and abettors, who were not present in the Capitol on 6 January.”
I mentioned it was a busy day in Congress today, here’s how Chuck Schumer laid out the agenda last night.
What we’re doing tomorrow:
Moving forward on COVID relief
Voting to Confirm:
—Thomas-Greenfield @ UN
—Vilsack @ USDA
Confirmation hearings on:
—Becerra @ HHS
—Haaland @ Interior
—Adeyemo @ Treasury
—Garland @ Justice
Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian write for the Washington Post that what it is at stake today in the Senate is who gets to write the narrative of what happened on 6 January. While there has been a push to make the hearing as bipartisan as possible, it is inevitably going to surface divisions. They write:
Sen Amy Klobuchar said in an interview that preparations for the hearing have been strictly bipartisan and that she expected a “constructive tone” to prevail. “This is a moment to get the actual facts about what happened at the Capitol,” she said. “The issues we identify and the answers we get are part of the solution, so this isn’t just about throwing popcorn at a movie screen to try to get sound bites. We actually have to make decisions in the coming months.”
But she acknowledged that other senators may focus on contested aspects of the narrative surrounding the riot. At least one senator who will ask questions Tuesday has shown a willingness to challenge the prevailing evidence showing that the Capitol attack was conducted by Trump supporters.
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters said in an interview Monday that he expects Tuesday’s hearings to “lead to even more questions” about what contributed to the security failures on 6 January. Both he and Klobuchar said that at least one additional hearing will be called featuring senior officials of the federal agencies who were involved in the preparations and response to the insurrection.
You might think that an impeachment trial was enough of an investigation into the events of 6 January and to put them on the record in Congress, but today there will be more delving into what happened. Here’s a reminder of the video montage that Democrats used when presenting their evidence that Donald Trump was responsible for what unfolded.
Welcome to our live coverage of US politics for Tuesday. Here’s a catch-up on what is happening, and what we might expect to see later today…