Momentum among Democrats is continuing to build for a fresh and fast push to impeach President Donald Trump. And now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is accusing his backers who violently invaded the Capitol this week of choosing “their whiteness over democracy.” Pelosi spoke as Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline says an impeachment article he and colleagues have drafted accusing Trump of inciting insurrection has has collected 176 co-sponsors. The lawmakers plan to formally introduced the proposal Monday, and a vote is possible by Wednesday. Pelosi spoke to her San Francisco constituents Saturday but shed no fresh light on Democrats' plans to move against Trump.
- The Independent
First family orders sesame bagels with cream cheese
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment.
- NBC News
The Biden administration aims for 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days as president.
U.S. Army Forces Command has reinstated the top enlisted leader at Fort Hood, Texas after an investigation cleared him of allegations that he used unprofessional language with subordinates last year.
- Associated Press
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday he has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the symptoms are mild. Mexico's president, who has been criticized for his handling of his country's pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said on his official Twitter account that he is under medical treatment. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said López Obrador had a “light” case of COVID-19 and was “isolating at home.”
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden attended Mass for the first time since taking office, worshipping Sunday at the church he frequented when he was vice president. Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, picked Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, a few miles from the White House. It's where the nation’s only other Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, often went to Mass.
- NBC News
A motive wasn't immediately known. Mayor Joe Hogsett said the shooting had brought "terror to our community."
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- The Telegraph
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced the establishment of its embassy in Tel Aviv as the US national security advisor announced that America hopes to build “on the success of Israel’s normalisation agreements” under the Biden administration. The UAE cabinet decision to approve establishing the embassy comes after they signed the Abraham Accords in September, becoming the first Gulf state to establish a full diplomatic relationship with Israel. No further details about the embassy were given in UAE media. While Israel’s government recognises Jerusalem as its capital, the international community does not, with Palestinians claiming East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Most countries base their embassies in Tel Aviv. Before the deal, Israel only had peace deals with only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan - where it has fortified embassies. Most Arab countries had previously refrained from recognising Israel, believing that recognition should only be granted if serious concessions are made in the Palestinian peace process. Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco later agreed to follow in the UAE’s footsteps and normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals.
- The Week
President Biden is enjoying a honeymoon period, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday suggests.Just a few days after assuming office, Biden has received high marks for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and his handling of the presidential transition. More than half of those polled also think he has a chance to unify the country, although only 22 percent have a "great deal" of confidence he'll be able to pull off that feat.Per the poll, Republicans don't seem pleased with some of the executive orders Biden has issued so far, including his reversal of a travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations and the termination of the national emergency declaration at the southern border, but GOP voters are, relatively speaking, somewhat amenable to his coronavirus response. The poll shows 40 percent of Republicans approve of Biden's pandemic leadership. For context, former President Donald Trump's highest approval rating (in regards to his COVID-19 response) among Democrats in the same poll was 30 percent, and that was all the way back in mid-March of 2020.> The more than two-thirds of Americans who approve of Pres. Biden's leadership on the coronavirus includes 40% of Republicans -- a notably high level of support from across the aisle a year into the pandemic. https://t.co/Foyzv1E8Ji> > — Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) January 24, 2021The friendly numbers may give Biden some breathing room, ABC News notes, but early tenure bliss generally doesn't last forever.The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel between Jan. 22 to 23, 2021 among a random national sample of 504 adults. The margin of error is 5 percentage points. Read more at ABC News.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Trump's pressure on DOJ to sue states over election in Supreme Court reportedly 'got really intense' Biden foolishly low-balls America's COVID response
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
Pacific island nations are turning to China-led agencies to plug funding gaps in their pandemic-ravaged budgets after exhausting financing options from traditional western partners, stoking fears the region is becoming more dependent on Beijing. The Cook Islands, a tiny country of around 20,000 people in the South Pacific, turned to the Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) late last year after loans from the U.S. and Japanese-led Asian Development Bank (ADB) and grant from close ally New Zealand fell short. The US$20 million AIIB loan to the Cook Islands was the second to a strained Pacific economy in the last few months, after Fiji secured a US$50 million facility, signalling the arrival of a development bank closely linked to China's Belt and Road Initiative to the Pacific.
- NBC News
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," the woman said of the assault in Harlem.
- The Telegraph
In the Taliban controlled-fields and villages of central Helmand, residents report a sound that would once never have been allowed – music blaring from mobile phones. The playing of music would once have earned a swift beating or humiliating punishment from the militant movement's austere local enforcers. Now they turn a blind eye. “The Taliban have changed a lot on some things,” explained Mohammad Saber, a farmer from Nad-e Ali. “They are much less serious about many things, like music, television and shaving off beards,” he said, while still insisting on hiding his real name in case he offended the militants. “They are now thinking about bigger issues, because they have a lot of territory and resources.” A decade after the fields and lanes outside Helmand's capital were patrolled by thousands of British and American troops, the Taliban now rule almost unopposed. Afghan government forces built up at great expense and effort by the Nato allies melted away in early October in the face of a militant push on Lashkar Gah. The Taliban in these districts were always a formidable foe for the government forces and their international backers, but they now have almost complete control. "The government has no authority in our areas and the Taliban are not afraid of them," explains Abdul Salaam, a farmer from Marjah. The consolidation of Taliban power in these villages and market towns has allowed their parallel government to come out of the shadows and take charge. While the insurgents' envoys broach negotiations with the Afghan government on how the country should be run after American troops leave, in these districts of Helmand, they are already able to put their plans in place. Their rule has allowed residents a glimpse of whether the Taliban have changed since they imposed their severe and backward vision of Islamic governance on the nation in the 1990s. Elders in these central Helmand districts told the Telegraph that the militants appeared to have back-pedaled on some of their most draconian pronouncements and made an effort to be more approachable. Yet they still ruled by coercion and threats where they deemed it necessary and many of their previous red lines for the population remained. Residents of Marjah, Nad-e-Ali and Garmsir said that the militants once notorious for using beatings and public humiliation to enforce edicts banning music, or decreeing men grow long beards, had stepped back from such unpopular rules. “Although the Taliban have not given formal permission to young people, they let them listen to music on their phones, cut their beards and hold gatherings with music,” said Abdul Salaam. They have also stepped up efforts to bring services demanded by locals. Vows to provide better governance than the corrupt and predatory central government have always been at the heart of the Taliban's insurgency campaign. They no longer attack schools and clinics as symbols of the government and instead now take-over government services in their area, allowing teachers and medics to continue their work as long as they abide by Taliban rules. The shift has even seen them relax one of their most notorious restrictions from the 1990s, and allow girls to go to school. Girls can study up to their early teens, residents said, while government monitors can visit schools. However the Taliban demand a say in who is employed and often try to force their officials onto school payrolls. They have also tried to ban some books from the curriculum, locals said. Justice remains one of the Taliban's main selling points, residents said. Robbers and criminals face harsh punishment. A system of courts, with two levels of appeal, brings quick and binding judgments on land disputes and disagreements and is at odds with the tortuous and corrupt government judiciary. Criticism of the Taliban had been unheard of in the past, said Abdul Salaam. “No one could talk about their rights and no one could question their policies,” he recalled. Residents had now at times been able to stop some of the most onerous Taliban practices, like the billeting of fighters on families, after complaining to leaders, he said. A recent study of Taliban governance in Nad-e Ali by the Afghanistan Analysts Network found that: “Although there are very few direct ways in which residents or elders can influence the Taliban in the district, let alone hold them to account, the Taliban do seem a little less intolerant – at least in some cases – to community concerns.” Yet for some signs of changes in Taliban policy, residents said that the militants' religious and moral strictures remained severe. Accusations of immorality between men and women, or of neglecting prayers remained a “serious red line to the Taliban,” said Abdul Salaam. “If the Taliban hear something like that happened, they 100 per cent, the person will see heavy punishment.” Mild policy changes to appease conservative villagers in the Taliban heartlands are also unlikely to give much reassurance in Afghanistan's cities. Even as the militants attempt to tell Helmandis they are more tolerant and approachable, they are accused of waging an unrelenting assassination campaign in Kabul, targeting journalists, civil servants and members of civil society. “The Taliban still think like villagers,” said one prominent Kabul businessman. “They have no idea how the country has evolved in the past two decades.”
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Republicans back Biden's coronavirus response at a surprisingly high rate, poll suggests Trump's pressure on DOJ to sue states over election in Supreme Court reportedly 'got really intense'
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said that they seized an Iranian tanker and Panamanian tanker suspected of carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in their country's waters Sunday. The tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea — were seized in waters off Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, said Wisnu Pramadita, a spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency.
- The Independent
Priest who attended pro-Trump rally ahead of Capitol insurrection is suspended from post and may be defrocked
Reverend Mark Hodges described event as ‘joyful, positive and orderly’
- LA Times
Column: You thought McConnell was tough as majority leader? Wait until you see him as minority leader
Get ready for the same tough-as-nails obstructionist we saw when Obama was in office.