Monday, January 11, 2021

Wake-Up Confidential: House To Move On Impeachment

➤FIRST CALL ON VP, CABINET TO ACT ON 25TH AMENDMENT: Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that the House will move forward with legislation to impeach President Trump in the wake of the assault on the Capitol last Wednesday by supporters of the president, after a rally at which Trump repeatedly said the presidential election was being stolen and called on them to fight. First, however, Pelosi will today seek a vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump, with a vote expected Tuesday. Pence and the Cabinet would then have 24 hours to act before the House would proceed with impeachment. In letter late yesterday to her colleagues, Pelosi said, "We will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat."

While the move is to impeach now, Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, explained a strategy of actually delaying a Senate impeachment trial, which can be held after a president is no longer in office, for 100 days, allowing President-elect Joe Biden to focus on other priorities, including the coronavirus, as soon as he is inaugurated. Meanwhile, a second Republican senator, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, yesterday joined Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in calling on Trump to resign, quote, "and go away as soon as possible." But other Republicans spoke out against it, with Senator Marco Rubio of Florida saying that instead of uniting, Democrats wans to, quote, "talk about ridiculous things like ‘Let’s impeach a president’” with just days left in office."

Trump Planning Activities

In the face of the impeachment and 25 Amendment threats and calls for his resignation, Trump is planning to move forward with activities in his last days as president. One of them will be going to Alamo, Texas, along the border this week to highlight the border wall and his administration's actions against illegal immigration. He also, according to AP, plans to attack Twitter, Facebook and other social media companies that over this weekend took down his accounts and banned him, which, particularly the loss of his Twitter account, reportedly infuriated him. Aides are also said to be pushing him to celebrate his policy achievements in his final days.

Capitol Police Not Prepared, Requests for Help Rejected

U.S. Capitol Police had the same number of officers on duty last Wednesday as they would on a normal day and didn't prepare for the possibility that the planned pro-Trump protests could turn into a riot, despite warnings about what could happen, AP reported, citing several sources. The Capitol Police were quickly overrun by the violent mob, with Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters telling AP, "They were left naked." Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told the Washington Post yesterday that he'd asked ahead of time for the D.C. National Guard to be placed on standby, but the House Sergeant at Arms and Senate Sergeant at Arms both said no, with House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving saying he wasn’t comfortable with the, quote, "optics" of formally declaring an emergency ahead of the demonstration. All three of have since resigned. Sund claimed it was the first of six times ahead of and during the assault on the Capitol that his requests for help were denied or delayed. One of those was a call during the siege with the Pentagon asking for National Guard forces, during which the director of the Army Staff, Lieutenant General Walter E. Piatt, said he couldn't recommend that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, approve the request, saying, "I don’t like the visual of the National Guard standing a police line with the Capitol in the background." 

FBI Probing if Kidnap Plans

The FBI is investigating whether some of the rioters planned to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage, particularly because some of them were seen carrying plastic handcuffs and made it to areas of the Capitol that it's usually difficult for members of the public to find. Two of the protesters who were seen in photos carrying the plastic handcuffs, Larry Rendell Brock of Texas, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and Eric Gavelek Munchel of Tennessee, were arrested by the FBI yesterday.

Capitol Police Officer Dies in Apparent Suicide

A 51-year-old Capitol Police officer who responded to the assault on the Capitol on Wednesday died in an apparent suicide on Saturday (January 9th). Howard B. Liebengood had been with the Capitol Police since 2005, and was the son of late Senate Sergeant of Arms Howard S. Liebengood. Liebengood's death came three days after Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed by the rioters after being violently attacked. 

➤SCHWARZENEGGER RELEASES VIDEO ABOUT CAPITOL ATTACK: Actor and former California Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a video yesterday about the attack on the Capitol in which he compared the mob to the Nazis and blasted President Trump. Referring to "Kristallnacht," which means "the Night of Broken Glass," when Nazis in Germany and Austria vandalized Jewish homes, schools and business during a 1938 attack, Schwarzenegger said, "Wednesday was the Night of Broken Glass right here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted. They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded." Schwarzenegger, who was born and raised in post-World War Two Austria, compared the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, some of whom were at the Capitol to the Nazis. He took aim at Trump, charging that he, quote, "sought to overturn the results of the election -- and of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies." 

At one point, he held up the sword he used in the movie Conan the Barbarian, saying swords only get stronger when they are tempered, and stated, "I believe, as shaken as we are about the events of recent days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost." Schwarzenegger called for national unity and spoke in support of President-elect Biden, stating, "[T]o those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this: You will never win." 

➤JANUARY ON TRACK TO BE DEADLIEST MONTH OF PANDEMIC: Last month was the deadliest of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with a record 77,431 deaths in December, but as cases continue to soar, boosted by people who gathered with families for the holidays, January is already on track to surpass that as the deadliest month if the current trend continues, according to CNN. 

More than 27,000 deaths were reported in just the first 10 days of January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and a total of more than 374,000 total deaths as of early this morning. There were 129,229 hospitalized Covid-19 patients on Sunday, according to The COVID Tracking Project, the sixth-highest day, and the 40th day in a row with more than 100,000.

➤MAN WHO KILLED THREE, WOUNDED FOUR IN CHICAGO RANDOM SHOOTINGS LEFT RANTING VIDEOS: Chicago police said Sunday that a 32-year-old man who killed three people and critically wounded four others in a series of random shootings on Saturday afternoon posted ranting, nonsense-filled videos in the days and hours before the attacks. Police are still trying to determine a motive for the shootings by Jason Nightengale, who was killed in a shootout with officers four hours after he shot his first victim. Those killed were ages 20, 30, and 46, and a 15-year-old girl was among the wounded. Nightengale first shot a man in the head who was sitting in his car in a parking garage in Hyde Park soon after 2 p.m., killing him. He then randomly walked into a nearby apartment building and shot a woman, killing her, and shot another woman, critically injuring her. He then went to another nearby building, stole a car, and then opened fire at a convenience store, killing a man and wounding a woman critically. He left the store and shot the 15-year-old girl, who was in a car with her mother, leaving her in critical condition. He drove about 10 miles to Evanston, and opened fire in a CVS, but didn't hit anyone. 

He then went into an IHOP restaurant across the street and shot a woman, critically injuring her. Nightengale had a criminal record, but AP cited friends describing him as a devoted father of twin girls who'd been through difficult times, and saying there were shocked by the shootings.

➤''SEX AND THE CITY' IS COMING BACK: There's some much-needed good news for fans of Sex and the City, with the beloved HBO series' star, Sarah Jessica Parker, announcing Sunday  that the show is coming back with a revival on HBO Max. Parker posted a teaser video of iconic New York City locations and sounds on Instagram with the caption, "I couldn’t help but wonder ... where are they now?" Parker will star in and executive produce the show, called, And Just Like That... Also starring will be her Sex and the City co-stars Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis, but the fourth co-star, Kim Cattrall, won't be returning. Cattrall made clear in 2019 that she would never reprise her role. Nixon and Davis also posted the teaser clip. The 10-episode, half-hour series will follow the three women as they, quote, "navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s," according to HBO Max. Production is set to begin in the late spring in New York, but no date was given for its deubt.

➤STRESSED? TRY SCREAMING. YES, REALLY:  If you’ve been feeling stressed you might just want to scream, and you should, it could help you feel better. Avi Klein, a psychotherapist, says, “I think every emotion that we feel has a kind of correlating action that goes along with it. It feels really good or even healthy to discharge that emotion.” John Norcross is a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton and says that no matter how you vent your feelings out, it’s a good way to relieve tension. Klein notes that simply screaming won’t fix your issues, and you’ll still have to face whatever it is that is bothering you and work through it, even after taking the edge off. He advises that if you don’t feel like screaming all the time you should figure out what issues are giving you those emotions, and work on finding some healthier coping mechanisms for solving the problem.

➤RESEARCH FINDS INCREASED TRUST IN GOVERNMENT AND SCIENCE AMID PANDEMIC: It seems tough times drive people to trust more in the government and science—at least in some parts of the world. New Curtin University researchers surveyed people in Australia and New Zealand and found a dramatic increase in people’s trust in public health scientists, and the government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 75 percent of those surveyed said they thought management of the pandemic had increased their trust in government and more than 85 percent had confidence that public health scientists worked in the public interest, and these numbers correlated with people using the COVID phone app. However, researchers added that, “Because the research was conducted during a global pandemic, the findings may not signal a long term change in trust in government, which may return to previous levels when, and if the crisis passes.” Still, they say the “trust in government could be viewed as a ‘reservoir’ that can be drawn upon when needed.”


Saturday, January 9th
  • Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 24 (AFC)
  • Los Angeles Rams 30, Seattle Seahawks 20 (NFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31, Washington Football Team 23 (NFC)
Sunday, January 10th
  • Baltimore Ravens 20, Tennessee Titans 13 (AFC)
  • New Orleans Saints 21, Chicago Bears 9 (NFC)
  • Cleveland Browns 48, Pittsburgh Steelers 37 (AFC)

Next Weekend's Divisional Playoffs Matchups:

Saturday, January 16th
  • Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (NFC)
  • Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills (AFC)

Sunday, January 17th
  • Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (AFC)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (NFC)
🏈BROWNS GET FIRST POST-SEASON WIN SINCE 1995: The Cleveland Browns won an upset 48-37 wild card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday (January 10), getting their first post-season win in more than 25 years. The last was in 1995. They'll face the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round next week. 

🏌PGA CHAMPIONSHIP PULLED FROM TRUMP'S N.J. GOLF COURSE: The PGA of America announced yesterday that it has pulled the PGA Championship from President Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course, the move coming in the wake of the assault on the Capitol that Trump is accused of having incited. The 2022 tournament was supposed to take place at the Trump National course. PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh told AP it was a business decision and they weren't pressured into it. This is the second time in just over five years the PGA of America removed one of its events from a Trump course. The first time came in 2015 after Trump's disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was running for president. The Trump Organization said in response, "This is a breach of a binding contract and they have no right to terminate the agreement." 

🏈ALABAMA AND OHIO STATE PLAY FOR CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TONIGHT: Number 1 Alabama and Number 3 Ohio State will face off tonight in the College Football Playoff national championship game. They'll be playing at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Alabama last win the championship in 2017 and Ohio State in 2014.

🏀HEATS-CELTICS GAME POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19: Last night's game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat was postponed because Miami didn't have the minimum eight players available because of ongoing contact tracing due to Covid-19. Earlier in the day, Heat guard Avery Bradley was placed into the health and safety protocol. The Celtics had been set to play with the minimum eight players after nine players were ruled out. This is the second game postponed in the NBA this season because of Covid issues.

🏈REPORT: SAINTS QB BREES LIKELY TO RETIRE AFTER POSTSEASON: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is likely to retire after the end of the postseason, the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported yesterday. The 41-year-old Brees is currently in his 20th season, and holds the all-time passing yards record and is only behind Tom Brady in career touchdown passes. After the Saints won their wild card game yesterday against the Chicago Bears, Brees will lead them against Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round next week.

🏈HAWKS' BOGDANOVIC FRACTURED KNEE: The Atlanta Hawks announced Sunday (January 10th) that guard Bogdan Bogdanovic had fractured his right knee the during their game against Charlotte the night before. It's not know yet how long he'll be out, but he could miss an extended period of time.

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