➤TRUMP RELEASES NEW VIDEO: President Trump was the subject of growing talk Thursday about removing him from office before the end of his term on January 20th because of his actions egging on his supporters before they went on to storm the Capitol Wednesday. In the face of that, Trump released a brief new video in which he condemned the the violence that had taken place at the Capitol, after having a day earlier said of the rioters, "We love you" and you're "very special." He also finally acknowledged there would be a new administration -- although never mentioning President-elect Joe Biden by name -- and said he would focus on helping ensure there is a smooth transition of power, adding, "This moment calls for healing and reconciliation." For the more than two months since the election, Trump had until that video insisted that he'd won and was cheated out of his victory by massive voter fraud.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday charged that Trump had, quote, "incited an armed insurrection against America," calling him "a very dangerous person who should not continue in office." She urged that the 25th Amendment be used by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Cabinet to remove Trump from office, and said that if that wasn't, the House was eyeing impeaching Trump again, even though his term ends in just 12 days. It was reported, however, that Pence is opposed to using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump.
In further fallout of the storming of the Capitol and the Trump's actions leading up to it:
- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos both resigned. Although both cited what had happened at the Capitol, there was speculation they resigned to avoid involvement in any potential 25th Amendment move.
- Trump's former chief of staff, retired General John Kelly, told CNN he thought Trump should be removed via the 25th Amendment.
- The Wall Street Journal, which, like Fox News, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, called on Trump to resign. The conservative editorial board wrote, "This was an assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election."
USA Today just came out in favor of a 25th Amendment removal. They are running my column as the opposing view. https://t.co/44doQBIzUm In order to impose this ignoble moment on Trump, the Congress would create precedent for future such removals on ill-defined mental disabilities.— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 8, 2021
Stunning >> MULTITUDE of officers line the front of the Capitol in silence, honoring fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick... Rest In Peace#breaking @WUSA9 @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/swKVbSKcQe— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) January 8, 2021
Fears of new attacks after pro-Trump rioters breach Capitol https://t.co/yHNQro0SNV— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 8, 2021
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Pentagon put tight limits on the D.C. National Guard ahead of the Wednesday's protest to keep the use of military force constrained, with the guardsmen carrying out a narrow mission requested by Mayor Muriel Bowser to help handle traffic. They were barred from receiving ammunition or riot gear, interacting with protesters unless necessary for self-defense, sharing equipment with local law enforcement, or using Guard surveillance and air assets without the defense secretary’s approval. The Post said those limits were imposed because the Guard hadn't been asked to help with crowd or riot control. When the Capitol was stormed and Capitol Police asked for help from the National Guard, it was denied by the office of the secretary of the Army, with the Post citing an official as saying they didn't want the "optics" of soldiers in the Capitol building. Higher-up Pentagon leaders later activated the full D.C. Guard. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said yesterday that he'd gotten frantic calls from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asking that he send the Maryland National Guard, but federal authorization was being refused. Finally, Hogan said he got a call from the Army secretary about 90 minutes later asking if the guardsmen could, quote, "come as soon as possible."
➤U.S. HAS MORE THAN 4,000 CORONAVIRUS DEATHS IN ONE DAY FOR FIRST TIME: The U.S. had more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths in one day for the first time Thursday, with The COVID Tracking Project reporting 4,033 deaths. There have now been more than 365,000 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University's data. California continues to be hit very hard, with only Arizona ahead of it in cases per resident, and its overwhelmed hospitals are on the brink of having to ration care.
In some much-needed good news, new research suggests that Pfizer’s vaccine can protect against mutations first found in the U.K. and South Africa, which have been causing concern around the world because they are more contagious. The both share a common mutation, but Pfizer's vaccine seems to work against it. However, researchers say that even if the virus eventually mutates enough that the vaccine needs to be adjusted, it wouldn't be difficult to do.
➤BIDEN ANNOUNCES GARLAND AS ATTORNEY GENERAL PICK: President-elect Joe Biden made official Thursday what had been reported a day earlier, announcing Judge Merrick Garland as his pick for attorney general. Biden presented his choice as moving to de-politicize the Justice Department after President Trump, saying, "More than anything, we need to restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the Department of Justice that’s been so badly damaged." Biden said that Garland's loyalty would be to the law and Constitution, saying to him, "You don't work for me." Garland, who held senior positions at the Justice Department decades ago, was the judge chosen by then-President Barack Obama for the Supreme Court after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. However, his nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans, who refused to bring it up for a vote, saying the winner of the November election should fill the seat. Donald Trump won, and as president appointed Neil Gorsuch to the seat.
Vice President Mike Pence is expecting to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in less than two weeks, Politico reported yesterday (January 7th), citing three sources as saying he'd like to go in a show of support for the peaceful transition of power. The sources also said the decision to go became easier after President Trump publicly criticized Pence because of his refusal to block the certification of Biden's electoral college win, something he didn't have the power to do in his ceremonial role in Wednesday's counting of the votes anyway. Trump, meanwhile, hasn't said if he's going to the swearing-in, but it's not expected, with the president having told staff he doesn't plan to be there. Instead, it's being discussed that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump might leave the day before the inauguration to fly to Mar-a Lago so he won't be in Washington for it. Part of the reason is also that he wants to fly on Air Force One, and if he leaves after Biden is sworn in, he'd have to ask him to use the plane, which is customarily done.
Bold colors in shades of brown, red and green are a nod to Burger King’s flame grilling process and its use of fresh ingredients, the company said... pic.twitter.com/WXzajk5tgt— Marketing Mind (@MarketingMind_) January 8, 2021
🏀76ERS' CURRY TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry tested positive for the coronavirus last night, with the team finding out near the start of their 122-109 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN reported. Curry, who sat out the game with ankle soreness, was on the bench for the first quarter, wearing a face mask in line with the NBA's rules. However, he left the court area and went into isolation after the 76ers found out about the positive result.
The Cleveland Indians have traded star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets in a six-player deal.— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) January 7, 2021
Lindor has averaged 29 homers, 86 RBIs and 21 steals over 6 seasons.
by @twithersap https://t.co/mD2jNgbp7i
⚾INDIANS TRADE LINDOR, CARRASCO TO METS: The Cleveland Indians traded four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets yesterday in return for young infielders Andrés Giménez and Amed Rosario, and two minor league prospects. Trading Lindor, who's eligible for free agency after the upcoming season, takes about $30 million off the Indians' payroll, which will help them rebuild. Meanwhile, the Mets have a new owner, Steve Cohen, who wants to spend on his team.
➤TRUMP GIVES MEDAL OF FREEDOM TO GOLFERS SORENSTAM, PLAYER, ZAHARIAS: President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday to Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player, and late Olympian golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Although Trump has usually held public ceremonies when presenting the Medal of Freedom, one of the nation's highest civilian honors, yesterday's event was closed to the media. It was held the day after the storming of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.