Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 374,329; Tuesday, 376,280.
House Democrats say they will vote on Wednesday to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse GOP leader tells members to quit spreading lies on riot, antifa DC attorney general says Trump Organization improperly paid K bill incurred during inauguration 70K QAnon Twitter accounts suspended in the wake of Capitol riot MORE for “inciting violence” against the government based on his inflammatory remarks last week to thousands of followers he commended as “special.” He is accused of encouraging his followers to storm the Capitol last week in an effort to delay or derail Congress’s confirmation that President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenCapitol Police confirm investigation into some officers’ behavior during riot GOP lawmakers told Trump takes some responsibility for Capitol riot Director of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment MORE won in the Electoral College on Nov. 3.
The fast-moving effort to punish and weaken Trump in the waning days of his term — one year after his 2020 impeachment — is fueled by lawmakers’ anger and fear and two arguments: Trump is an unpredictable threat to the nation as long as he’s president, and Congress should keep him from holding another federal office.
READ the article of impeachment against the president.
The Hill: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse GOP leader tells members to quit spreading lies on riot, antifa GOP lawmakers told Trump takes some responsibility for Capitol riot Republicans gauge support for Trump impeachment MORE (R-Calif.), who opposes impeachment, spoke to Trump on Monday and later told his colleagues that the president accepted some responsibility for the riots at the Capitol. McCarthy said he advised Trump to phone Biden to congratulate him.
Democrats unsuccessfully sought Republican support on Monday for a resolution to nudge Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to strip Trump of presidential powers as an alternative to the harsh stain of impeachment for a second time (The Associated Press).
Lawmakers do not expect Pence to move against Trump, which would require support from a majority of a dwindling number of Cabinet secretaries as Inauguration Day approaches. While Republicans blocked Monday’s push to use the 25th Amendment, a small but vocal group of House Republicans appeared willing to support impeachment (The Hill). Pence will attend Biden’s inauguration, as will three former presidents. Trump says he will not be there.
The vice president, a somber, prayerful loyalist, was seen entering the West Wing on Monday afternoon. Bloomberg News reported that Trump and Pence agreed to work together for the remaining days of the term, signaling there will be no resignation or removal.
Relations between Pence and Trump cooled after the president publicly assailed Pence for not overturning states’ electoral ballots, which he had no constitutional power to do (The Hill). The riot at the Capitol and the resulting destruction and vandalism inside the building have been described by some law enforcement authorities as domestic terrorism aimed at harming the vice president and members of Congress.
Some Republicans say they are prepared to support a presidential censure, but House and Senate Democrats have rejected that fallback option. Censure would not bar Trump, 74, from seeking federal office in the future, including the presidency in 2024. Such a punitive ban could theoretically spring from an impeachment conviction in the Senate, even after Trump’s departure.
The Washington Post: Inside the remarkable rift between Trump and Pence.
The Hill: Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin: House impeachment plan ‘ill-advised’ Former Ocasio-Cortez spokesman: Biden doesn’t ‘have time’ to wait for Manchin’s approval on agenda Sunday shows – Capitol siege, Trump future dominate MORE (D-W.Va.), a Democrat representing a red state where Trump is popular, believes the House push for impeachment is “ill advised.” He said Biden seeks unity as his administration gets underway.
Niall Stanage: The Memo: Democrats scorn GOP warnings on impeachment.
Timothy Snyder, New York Times Magazine essay by author and professor who specializes in the history of the Holocaust: “Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. … His vision never went further than a mirror. He arrived at a truly big lie not from any view of the world but from the reality that he might lose something. … The responsibility for Trump’s push to overturn an election must be shared by a very large number of Republican members of Congress. … An elected institution that opposes elections is inviting its own overthrow. Members of Congress who sustained the president’s lie, despite the available and unambiguous evidence, betrayed their constitutional mission. … For some Republicans, the invasion of the Capitol must have been a shock, or even a lesson. … Afterward, eight senators and more than 100 representatives voted for the lie that had forced them to flee their chambers.”
> Dept. of resignations: Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfTrump approves DC emergency declaration ahead of Biden inauguration Acting DHS chief Chad Wolf stepping down DHS secretary says security measures tied to inauguration will begin Wednesday MORE became the latest Trump administration official to resign on Monday as part of the exodus following last week’s pro-Trump mob at the Capitol. Wolf’s departure comes nine days before the inauguration, which has been designated as a national special security event.
Wolf, who overstayed his legal timeline to head the department as the White House withdrew his nomination to permanently head the department last week, said in a statement his successor will be Pete Gaynor, previously director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Axios).
> Money talks: The wave of companies announcing they will no longer make contributions to lawmakers who objected to the Electoral College results last week grew larger on Monday, with oil giant BP and scores of other companies announcing suspensions of donations to those individuals.
While some companies vow they will not donate to any politicians in coming months, the announcements disproportionately hurt Republicans, as The Hill’s Juliegrace Brufke and Alex Gangitano report. Some lawmakers believe this trend will only be a blip.
“This is a temporary issue that will quickly disappear when corporate America sees how extreme the agenda is of the Democrats who now have complete unchecked power in Washington,” one Republican member told The Hill. “They will be running to NRCC [National Republican Campaign Committee] and CLF [Congressional Leadership Fund] by March or April.”
The New York Times: Fractured by Trump, the GOP can’t agree on a way back to power.
ESPN: In a prominent about-face, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday he will not “move forward” with a Presidential Medal of Freedom that Trump planned to present to him on Thursday.
LEADING THE DAY
MORE FALLOUT: Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDirector of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment Trump approves DC emergency declaration ahead of Biden inauguration National Guard to ramp up DC presence to at least 10,000 ahead of Biden inauguration MORE (D) asked Trump on Sunday to issue an emergency declaration, which would free up federal spending for additional security and personnel leading up to the inauguration. She asked the president to approve National Guard deployments in the city through Jan. 24 (CNN). She also asked the Interior Department to revoke all permits for public gatherings in the District between Monday and Jan. 20 (WTOP).
Trump agreed to the emergency declaration (The Hill), and on Monday, the National Guard announced it will have 10,000 to 15,000 troops in Washington for the inauguration (CNN). According to Axios, federal officials will begin locking down portions of Washington, including areas around the White House and the Capitol, starting on Wednesday — six days earlier than originally planned.
Outgoing DHS Secretary Wolf said the change was made in the aftermath of “events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray.”
The National Park Service also announced that the Washington Monument will be closed through Jan. 24 due to “credible threats” following last week’s riot at the Capitol. The Park Service said more closures could be coming, including roads, restrooms, and other facilities along the National Mall and Memorial Park (Fox 5).
> The FBI sent a memo to law enforcement agencies across the country warning of possible armed protests at all 50 state Capitols starting Jan. 16 through Inauguration Day and warned that an armed group threatens to travel to Washington, D.C., to stage an uprising if Congress removes Trump from office (ABC News and NBC News).
> Parler app: Amazon kicked conservative-friendly app Parler off its web-hosting service on Monday because of its role as a platform through which pro-Trump demonstrators organize protests. The company promptly sued to get back online, telling a federal judge that the tech giant had breached its contract and abused its market power. Digital activists made off with an archive of Parler posts, including any that might have helped organize or document last week’s Capitol attack. Google yanked Parler’s smartphone app from its app store Friday for allowing postings that seek “to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.” (The Associated Press).
> Arrests, investigations, discipline: The Capitol Police are investigating at least 10 officers for their conduct during last week’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol, a congressman told reporters on Monday, adding that the nature of the inquiries was unclear (The New York Times). … Capitol Police suspended two officers for their actions during the crisis, according to Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanCapitol Police confirm investigation into some officers’ behavior during riot 1 member of law enforcement arrested, 2 suspended over conduct during Capitol attack Former NYPD head calls for 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol riot MORE (D-Ohio), who heads the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds Capitol Police. He said one officer was suspended for taking a selfie with some of the pro-Trump rioters, while another received a ban for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat (The Wall Street Journal).
Emily Rainey, a former psychological operations officer with the Army based in North Carolina, resigned her commission after receiving a career-ending letter of reprimand from the Defense Department after it launched an investigation into her role during riots at the Capitol. The Army is investigating the number and identities of soldiers from Fort Bragg who accompanied Rainey to Washington last week. She said she acted as a private citizen and heeded military regulations and the law (CBS News).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
NEW ADMINISTRATION: Inauguration: After Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOn The Money: Wave of companies cut off donations, much of it to GOP | Wall Street braces for tougher rules under new Democratic majority | Why Biden’s diversity efforts fall flat Biden publicly receives second dose of coronavirus vaccine MORE are sworn in on Jan. 20, former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton will join them at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (USA Today).
> Agenda: Biden on Friday urged Congress to be ready to hit the ground running to enact his 100-day legislative agenda, dominated by a proposed economic package for coronavirus relief and economic support, which he said he will unveil on Thursday. Biden’s team and Democrats in Congress are weighing whether public and partisan support behind that ambitious agenda could erode rapidly if lawmakers become embroiled in a second Trump impeachment trial (The Hill).
> Election security: Incoming Biden administration officials and Democratic congressional advocates who want to improve U.S. election security could attract Republican support following tumultuous events since November (The Hill).
> Budget Committee outlook: The new administration, working with narrow Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, is expected to try to move major policy initiatives through the Senate using an optional, expedited budget process known as reconciliation, which requires a simple majority rather than 60 votes. Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhat’s the future of the Republican Party now? The Memo: GOP and nation grapple with what comes next Trump stares down new impeachment threat MORE (I-Vt.), a Biden presidential rival in the last year’s primaries, will be chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a powerful gatekeeper when it comes to how reconciliation is used (The Hill).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
Trump’s 2024 hopes just crashed into the 14th Amendment, by Noah Feldman, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/35wVXnD
Americans want unity. Here’s why that’s still so difficult to achieve, by Henry Olsen, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/38AjXYL
WHERE AND WHEN
The House at 9 a.m. will debate a resolution calling on Pence to strip Trump of his powers using the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Senate convenes at 12:30 p.m. for a pro forma session. Senators are not currently scheduled to return to Washington until the inauguration.
The president will travel today to Alamo, Texas, to tout the incomplete construction of a border wall and immigration policies he promoted over four years, some of which remain bound up in the courts (Houston Chronicle).
The vice president at 2 p.m. will lead a teleconference discussion of COVID-19 responses with governors.
Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoLawmakers push back on late Trump terror designation for Yemen’s Houthis Pompeo feud with US global media agency intensifies Trump administration names Cuba a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ MORE will speak at Washington’s National Press Club at 10:30 a.m. His remarks will be livestreamed at www.state.gov.
Futures Forum on Preparedness, a two-day event that tackles the global responses to COVID-19 and unveils a 23-nation comparative study. Organizers, sponsors and experts meet today by virtual hookup, including Anthony FauciAnthony FauciYouTube removes Steve Bannon podcast channel over false election claims Grim December jobs report shows shutdowns must end Once the slam-dunk nominee, Trump’s 2024 aspirations already toast after Capitol chaos MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Information is HERE.
Biden and Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief and meet with transition advisers.
➔ CORONAVIRUS: The winter surge of COVID-19 is hitting Los Angeles particularly hard as one of the nation’s virus epicenters. Health officials there tell residents to wear masks even when at home if they go outside regularly and live with someone elderly or otherwise at high risk. Fatalities in the nation’s most populous state from COVID-19 surpassed 30,000. Over the weekend, California reported 1,163 more coronavirus deaths, a new record. “The damaging impact to our families and local hospitals from this surge is the worst disaster our county has experienced for decades,” Los Angeles health director Barbara Ferrer said (The Associated Press). … In West Virginia, another U.S. hotspot, Gov. Jim Justice (R) plans to restart in-person education on Jan. 19 in as many schools as possible. The state last week reported new records for confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, but West Virginia also leads the nation in the number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents (The Associated Press).
> Vaccines: About 9 million Americans have received their first COVID-19 shot, or 2.7 percent of the U.S. population, a pace that’s way too slow. Many states are responding by throwing open the line to additional categories of at-risk workers and age groups and ramping up the pace of administering the drugs, in some cases offering inoculation around the clock, seven days a week and in gigantic, drive-in settings, such as football stadiums and ballparks (The Associated Press).
> Infected: Rep. Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanDemocratic Women’s Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Democrats smell blood with new DHS whistleblower complaint New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE (D-N.J.) tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering with House colleagues, some of whom refused to wear masks, during the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, she said (HuffPost). … Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocrats vow to deliver K checks with control of Senate House Judiciary Democrats ask Pence to invoke 25th Amendment to remove Trump Hillary Clinton trolls McConnell: ‘Senate Minority Leader’ MORE (D-Wash.) announced late Monday that she also tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement, she laid blame at the maskless contingent of GOP members. “I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,” she wrote (NBC News). … At least eight gorillas at the San Diego Zoo tested positive for COVID-19 in what is the first known nonhuman infection of primates. The animals likely contracted the virus from a handler (The Associated Press). Other animals that have tested positive for COVID-19 include dogs and cats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
> COVID-19 strains: Japanese health officials alerted the World Health Organization over the weekend about a new COVID-19 variant found in Japan that differs genetically from virulent mutations first identified in the United Kingdom and in South Africa (ABC News).
➔ INTERNATIONAL: In one of his final acts in the Trump administration, Pompeo on Monday designated Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, complicating U.S.-Cuba relations under the incoming Biden administration (Bloomberg News and NBC News). … In defiance of a court order and a law enacted by Congress, the Defense Department has not halted a troop drawdown by Jan. 15 to 2,500 U.S. forces in Afghanistan (Reuters).
➔ STATE WATCH: New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo vows New York ‘will legalize adult-use recreational cannabis’ Columnist Ross Barkan discusses the slow vaccination process in the state of New York Overnight Health Care: Biden to quickly release nearly all vaccine doses | FDA chief urges states to allow vaccination of lower-priority groups | Biden previews COVID-19 proposal ‘in the trillions of dollars’ MORE (D) said Monday that his state will legalize recreational adult-use cannabis, “joining 15 states that have already done so,” he tweeted on Monday. The move, Cuomo said, will “raise revenue and end the failed prohibition of this product that has left so many communities of color over-policed and over-incarcerated” (The Hill).
➔ SPORTS: The University of Alabama trounced the Ohio State University, 52-24, to take home its sixth national title in 12 seasons and complete an undefeated season. Heisman Trophy recipient DeVonta Smith was the star, hauling in 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, and garnering Offensive MVP honors (ESPN). The victory also marked Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s seventh national title win, the most in college football history. He surpassed Alabama legend Paul “Bear” Bryant’s six titles with Monday’s win (ESPN).
And finally … To benefit their pets, Americans give them spa days, behaviorists, costumes, expensive dietary concoctions and elaborate toys. In such a lucrative consumer market in which the average U.S. pet owner spends upwards of $1,200 a year on their four-legged pals, Ben & Jerry’s found another way to chew into our wallets: frozen dog treats (The Associated Press).
(And to think we at Morning Report somehow believed custard cups at drive-thrus would suffice for doggos and their humans).