A Metro North employee who was identified as one of the rioters at the Capitol last week has been taken into custody.
- National Review
A Honduran migrant worker claimed that a migrant caravan was headed to the U.S. because incoming president Joe Biden would give migrants “100 days” to arrive at the country, in an interview with CNN. Biden may seek to enact a 100-day moratorium on deportations, however transition team officials have cautioned that the president-elect will not be able to overhaul immigration policy immediately upon taking office. Even so, a group of about 3,000 migrants from Honduras clashed with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday during their trek north to the U.S.-Mexico border. One migrant claimed the caravan was heading north because Biden had promised to help them, in a CNN interview later reposted by The Hill. Honduran migrant: President-elect Biden is "going to help all of us." pic.twitter.com/LkrVCsXcSb — The Hill (@thehill) January 18, 2021 “I just want patience and prayers that we can get to the U.S. because they [will] have a new president, Biden,” the migrant said. “He’s going to help all of us, he’s giving us 100 days to get to the U.S. and give us [legal] papers, so we can get a better life for our kids, and for our families.” Meanwhile, Guatemala deemed the attempted crossing illegal. “Guatemala’s message is loud and clear: These types of illegal mass movements will not be accepted, that’s why we are working together with the neighboring nations to address this as a regional issue,” the office of Guatemala’s president said in a statement on Sunday.
During an interview, he recalls his colleague ‘taking a group of people for a tour sometime after the 3rd and before the 6th.’ Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) revealed he witnessed Congresswoman Lauren Boebert leading a group through the Capitol building in the days before the riot. “We saw Congressman Boebert taking a group of people for a tour sometime after the 3rd and before the 6th,” Cohen remarked on CNN.
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The letter also orders Lindell to "preserve and retain all documents relating to Dominion and your smear campaign against the company." * Lindell also must preserve all communications with any member of the Trump campaign, in addition to communications with Rudy Giuliani, Powell, Jenna Ellis and Lin Wood. The big picture: Lindell met with Trump last week and was caught by photographers with notes referencing martial law and Sidney Powell. The CEO has become known for pedaling election-overturning conspiracies and last year promoted a fake cure to the coronavirus. What they're saying: Dominion's letter reads... "Despite knowing your implausible attacks against Dominion have no basis in reality, you have participated in the vast and concerted misinformation campaign to slander Dominion ... Litigation regarding these issues is imminent."A spokesperson for My Pillow did not immediately return a request for comment. Read the full letter here: Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- National Review
A senior Biden transition official is warning migrants hoping to cross the southern border into the U.S. during the early days of the new administration that “now is not the time” to come. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” an unnamed Biden official said, NBC News reported. The Biden administration is looking to end the Trump administration’s policy of requiring that migrants wait in Mexico as immigration courts consider their asylum applications. Those who have been waiting at the border will be considered first for entry over migrants who only recently arrived. Additionally, the Biden administration will scrap the stricter restrictions the previous administration imposed on asylum seekers, which limit who is eligible for entry. However, any immigration legislation proposed by the Biden administration will address illegal immigrants living in the U.S. rather than new migrants arriving at the border, the official said. “The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official explained, saying that migrants seeking to gain asylum right away “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately.” A caravan of about 2,000 Honduran migrants desperate to reach the U.S. forced their way past Guatemalan authorities Friday night and are expected to reach the southern border within the next few weeks. The caravan “will not find when they get to the U.S. border that from Tuesday to Wednesday, things have changed overnight and ports are all open and they can come into the United States,” the official cautioned. “We have to provide a message that help and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety … while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future,” the official said. In 2018, just before the midterm elections, a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants headed for America’s southern border. Similarly, in early 2017, just before President Trump took office, a caravan made its way to the border, drawing the ire of Trump.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday the world is "on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure" because of unequal COVID-19 vaccine distribution.Why it matters: Tedros noted during an executive session that 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries, while one lowest-income nation had "just 25 doses." Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * This "me-first" approach will ultimately "prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering," he added.Of note: The WHO itself faced criticism in an interim report on Monday for being slow to respond to the outbreak after it was first detected in late 2019 in China, which was also singled out for failings early on. * "The global pandemic alert system is not fit for purpose," said the preliminary report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, an independent panel commissioned by the WHO. * "The WHO has been underpowered to do the job."What they're saying: China's public health measures "could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities" in January, said the report's panel of experts, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. * The experts noted it was unclear why the WHO did not meet until the third week of January 2020, nor why it was unable to agree to declaring a Public Health Emergency of International Concern until a week later.What to watch: A World Health Organization team of researchers is in Wuhan, China, investigating the origins of the pandemic. * Tedros said his focus is on the roll-out of the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, which is due to begin next month. Over 180 countries have signed up to the WHO-led scheme. * He hopes that by World Health Day on April 7, COVID-19 vaccines "are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
A woman identified as having taken part in the storming of the US Capitol is accused of stealing a laptop belonging to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi which she hoped to sell to a Russian spy agency, according to the FBI. There is no indication Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old careworker from Pennsylvania, took a laptop from Ms Pelosi's office. The FBI, which is working off a tip, said in the court record the "matter remains under investigation." The complaint, filed late Sunday in US District Court in Washington, sought the arrest of Williams on grounds including "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds." Relying on several photos and videos of the chaotic January 6 riot, an FBI agent said Williams was seen near the office of Ms Pelosi, US House Speaker. A witness, identified in the court document only as W1 but who claimed to be "the former romantic partner of Riley June Williams," alleged that Williams planned to send the laptop to a friend in Russia to sell it to the SVR foreign intelligence agency. That sale "fell through for unknown reasons, and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it," the affidavit says.
- The Independent
‘I really can’t keep the ARs on the wall’ gun store manager says as enthusiasts stock up over fears new administration will enact gun-control laws
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he told Bloomberg TV https://bloom.bg/369WLz9 in an interview. The Qatari foreign minister added that his government was supporting ongoing discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard early this month.
The officer who may have saved the life of Vice President Mike Pence could now be giving him the side-eye. The cop hailed as a hero for leading a crowd of insurrectionists away from the Senate floor and potentially saving hundreds of lawmakers’ lives has, perhaps, left the vice president on read. Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly reached out to thank Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman for his heroism on Jan. 6, but they have yet to connect.
- The Telegraph
Miners trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said on Monday. The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine’s entrance. After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds". A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday. "We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.
- National Review
At the outset of the pandemic, the government undertook a deliberate effort to reduce economic activity in what was widely thought to be a necessary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. Whereas most recessions call for policy that stimulates the economy, the COVID-19 recession called for the opposite — measures that would enable workers and businesses to hit pause until a vaccine or therapeutic became widely available. Now that vaccines are being administered, policy-makers face a different challenge — not keeping Americans inside, but getting them back to work as quickly as possible. In this context, President-elect Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package misses the mark. The proposal gives a nod to public health — with $20 billion allocated to vaccine distribution, $50 billion to testing, and $40 billion to medical supplies and emergency-response teams — but fails to address the most pressing hurdles to COVID-19 immunity. Vaccines sit unused not for lack of funding but thanks to burdensome rules determining which patients can receive shots and which doctors can administer them. Additional spending to speed up vaccine distribution is welcome, but its effects will be muted if bureaucratic hurdles remain in place. Even if the public-health provisions were to succeed in reopening the economy, much of the rest of Biden’s plan guarantees that it will reopen weaker. For one, an expanded unemployment-insurance top-up of $400 a week would mean more than 40 percent of those receiving unemployment benefits would make more off-the-job than on-the-job at least until September, and possibly for longer. The food-service and retail industries hit hardest by the pandemic would see the largest shortfalls in labor, exacerbating the challenges they’ve faced over the past year. Enhanced unemployment may have been reasonable when we wanted workers to stay home, but it’s catastrophic when we want them to go back to work. Meanwhile, Biden’s proposed minimum-wage increase to $15 nationally would eliminate an estimated 1.3 million jobs, hitting low-income states hardest. In Mississippi, where the median wage is $15, as many as half the state’s workers would be at risk. A minimum-wage hike may be high on the Democratic wish list, but it does not belong in an emergency-relief bill. The Biden plan isn’t all Democratic priorities, though. He took a page from Trump’s book and proposed $1,400 checks to households, bringing the second-round total to $2,000. With household income now 8 percent above the pre-pandemic trend, additional checks would do little more than pad savings accounts. Indeed, 80 percent of the recipients of last year’s checks put the money into savings or debt payments, not consumption. The flagship item in Biden’s plan would do little to spur economic growth even on Keynesian assumptions. The same goes for state and local aid, for which Biden is seeking $370 billion on top of $170 billion in public-education grants. The total of $540 billion far surpasses the roughly $50 billion hit to state and local tax revenues last year. As we wrote in December, states and cities are slow to spend federal grants, so the lion’s share of this stimulus would not show up until 2023. Rather than attempting to stimulate the economy, Biden is hoping to launder bailouts of profligate Democratic states through COVID-19 relief. Other parts of the bill — expansions of the earned-income and child-tax credits — are defensible long-term structural reforms, but as year-long emergency measures, they will have the same muted effect as direct checks. By including a slew of proposals unrelated to the pandemic, Biden has weakened his hand in negotiations and made it less likely that urgent measures pass quickly. In the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic policy-makers rose to the occasion. Following an unprecedented external shock, the U.S. economy has emerged in relatively good shape, with less unemployment and bankruptcy than most feared. But the policies implemented to curb COVID-19 are not suited for what will begin to become, over the course of this year, a post-pandemic economy. Biden may have campaigned during a recession, but he is taking office during a recovery. He should govern accordingly.
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- NBC News
In a freewheeling and at times combative interview, Jenna Ryan said she has no regrets about participating in the Capitol incursion.
- Reuters Videos
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may end the Keystone XL pipeline project as one of his first acts in office, a source familiar with his thinking told Reuters it could happen as early as day one. Biden, who will be inaugurated on Wednesday, was vice president when Barack Obama rejected the $9 billion project in 2015. Then two years later, Donald Trump issued a presidential permit that allowed the line to move forward. Since then the project has seen opposition by environmentalists seeking to check Canada's oil industry and Native Americans whose land faced encroachment. Construction of the pipeline is well underway and if completed, would move oil from Canada's Alberta province to the U.S. state of Nebraska. In his 2020 run for president, Biden vowed to scrap its permit once elected. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Saturday, the words 'rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit' appeared on his list of Biden's executive actions likely scheduled for his first day. Biden's team did not respond to a request for comment, but Canada's ambassador to the U.S. said she looks forward to a decision that fits both countries' environmental protection plans. In a statement, Ambassador Kirsten Hillman said: "There is no better partner for the U.S. on climate action than Canada as we work together for green transition." Meanwhile Alberta's Premier tweeted he was "deeply concerned" by the report, adding the decision would kill jobs, increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and weaken U.S.-Canada relations.
- The Telegraph
Pfizer vaccine recipients are unlikely to transmit the virus to others, according to the author of an Israeli study. Participants in the survey developed up to 20 times more antibodies within a week of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The survey, which reviewed data from 102 of about 1,000 of the Sheba Medical Centre’s medical staff who have received both shots, showed that only two subjects have developed low amounts of antibodies - one of the subjects suffered from a compromised immune system. There was no explanation for why the second person did not develop antibodies, and the hospital said it was investigating the matter. The rest - 98 per cent - have developed levels of antibodies that were even higher than patients who have recovered from a serious coronavirus-induced condition, the hospital said in a statement released on Monday.
- The Independent
SLC’s ‘Save America’ rally also saw a defiant teenage protester and an attack on a local media member.
Kevin McCarthy warned members to not call out colleagues by name, citing potential political violence
Members of the House Republican Conference ignored leader Kevin McCarthy last week when he warned them against criticizing colleagues by name based on intelligence that doing so could trigger more political violence. Why it matters: McCarthy made clear that name-dropping opponents, instead of spelling out complaints in more general terms, can put a literal target on a politician, especially with tensions so high following the events of Jan. 6.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.That's what happened to Rep. Liz Cheney, the GOP conference chairperson, after she said she would support impeaching President Trump. * She and several other members had to increase their security and take extra precautions because of death threats and other alarming warnings after their colleagues singled them out in their complaints.What McCarthy said: The House minority leader issued his warning during a conference call last Monday. He said his concern was driven by the FBI briefings he receives. * "It doesn’t matter which side of the position you were: I respect it, I respect why you did what you did. But what we are saying on television, when we say a member’s name. ... This is not the moment in time to do it." * "You can incite something else. The country is very divided and we know this. Let’s not put any member, I don’t care who they are Republican, Democrat or any person not even in Congress. Watch our words closely. I get these reports on a weekly basis. I’ve seen something I haven’t seen before.”Several minutes later, McCarthy repeated the message: “Emotions are high. What you say matters. Let’s not put other people in danger. Let’s watch what words we’re using and definitely not be using other members' names in any media.”Days later, some GOP members ignored him and openly criticized their colleagues * Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the name of his Republican colleague, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, "will be one forgotten by next January." * Rep. Lauren Boebart (R-Colo.) mocked Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House's new mask fines.One of the most blatant attacks, leading to a media firestorm, was when several members of the House Freedom Caucus went after Cheney for voting to impeach Trump. * On the day of the vote, the members circulated a petition to remove her from her leadership role. * Cheney is now fielding a series of threats against her, many from fiery Trump supporters angered by her vote, a source with direct knowledge of the threat said. * “We don’t comment on security matters,” Cheney’s communications director, Jeremy Adler, told Axios.What we’re hearing: McCarthy's team told Axios he isn't looking for repercussions. Spokesman Matt Sparks said the leader wants to lower the temperature and is encouraging members to be mindful of the current environment.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- National Review
So what would I do if I had to vote on impeachment in the Senate? From the first, I’ve described President Trump’s behavior on January 6 as impeachable — particularly in the context of what went on in the weeks since the election, but even without that. I was not trying to be cute. I have been wrestling with the wisdom of proceeding with impeachment due to the lateness of Trump’s term. But I would not call something impeachable unless it was serious enough to be condemnable by conviction, removal, and disqualification. Indeed, I have written a book about impeachment, Faithless Execution, in which I argued that several actions taken by President Obama were impeachable. None of them was as egregious as what President Trump did — and, especially, what he omitted to do — nine days ago. Alas, whether serious executive misconduct warrants conviction by the Senate by the constitutionally required two-thirds’ supermajority vote is not solely controlled by the question of whether the conduct in question is impeachable. This is why I can’t bring the same clarity as such friends and colleagues as Ramesh Ponnuru, Matthew Continetti, Kevin D. Williamson, and Jay Nordlinger, for whom the imperative to convict, remove, and disqualify Trump is more obvious. I ultimately agree with them, but let me try to explain why I’m having a harder time with it. Impeachment Is a Political Process I argued in Faithless Execution that the question of whether to impeach and remove a president is a political one, not a legal one. That is, the fact that a president engages in grave misconduct that qualifies as impeachable does not settle the question whether that president should, in fact, be removed. The Framers saw impeachment as essential to the checks and balances that create the equilibrium they were trying to establish between and among the central government’s three branches. President-elect Biden’s recent meanderings on the subject notwithstanding, the branches are not “co-equal” — Congress was supposed to have pride of place, though not so much so that it could dominate the executive. The Framers worried that the presidency could transform into something closer to a monarchy, and that certain varieties of presidential treachery — e.g., a president covertly working with foreign powers against the United States — could destroy the republic. To endow Congress with impeachment power was thus deemed “indispensable” by Madison. Though it has turned out to be a historical rarity, the Framers expected that impeachment would be invoked with more regularity. Nevertheless, because they similarly feared Congress’s potential accumulation of tyrannical power were it to be given too potent a check, the Framers made impeachment very hard to do. The simple-majority-vote trigger in the House means that any grave presidential misconduct can readily be alleged as an impeachable act; but the mandatory two-thirds-vote in the Senate ensures that impeachment-and-removal will not take place unless the misconduct is so grave that a consensus of the nation, cutting across partisan and ideological lines, is established that the president must be expelled. Whether an impeachable offense warrants removal is about much more than whether it is impeachable per se — or even whether it is patently disqualifying. The political component of impeachment very much includes whether the nation strongly supports removal, versus whether removal is apt to intensify national strife. The supermajority removal requirement was intended to forestall the potential for impeachment driven mainly by partisanship — to discourage the House from impeaching unless there was at least a real possibility, if not a probability, that the Senate would convict. Not least, there is another consideration: A president who is impeached but acquitted may be emboldened to abuse power, rather than tamed. For these and other reasons, I argued that Obama should not be impeached despite my belief that he had committed serious misconduct that profoundly threatened both the Constitution’s framework (e.g., by usurping legislative power) and national security (e.g., by empowering Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of anti-American terrorism). I don’t pretend to be politically neutral, but political leanings are inevitable, and thus part of the reason why impeachment-and-removal is, and should be, a near-insuperable hurdle. If it is done prematurely, driven by partisan animus (or at least perceived to be), or based on flimsy grounds, it will do more harm than good and set the country on a banana-republic style trajectory of strife, instability, and upheaval. Incitement and the Question of Whether a Prosecutable Crime Is Necessary Kevin Williamson could not be more right that it is unnecessary to have a penal offense prosecutable in criminal court in order to have high crimes and misdemeanors, the Constitution’s standard for an impeachable offense. But he overstates the case when he argues that the lack of a chargeable crime “is immaterial to the question of impeachment.” Since we are dealing with a political judgment as to which two-thirds of the Senate must agree, it makes a significant difference whether it can be argued that others who did what the president has done would be prosecuted — i.e., that the presidency is operating as a shield that puts the president above the law. Moreover, there are prominent politicians and the occasional scholar who contend that a crime is necessary for misconduct to rise to impeachment-level gravity. The fact that they are wrong about that does not mean they believe it any less — and they, too, are part of the public who need to be persuaded. This, along with my background as a prosecutor, is why I have been intently focused on the formal allegation and the text of the impeachment article, entitled “incitement to insurrection” (see here, here and here). Pace Kevin, I think it is relevant (not dispositive, but relevant) that Trump could not conceivably be convicted of incitement. That is so even if we stipulate that he demagogically stoked the crowd to descend on the Capitol, and thus did incite it in the common usage of that word as opposed to its more narrow, First Amendment–confined meaning, which requires an unambiguous call for violence that creates an imminent, probable threat of violence. My “convict now” friends are also right that what happened at the Capitol is properly described as an insurrection. I don’t think the matter is as clear as they seem to, but that’s not important in what is a political process, not a legal one. Yet, there are important political considerations in this regard, which are separate from judgments about Trump’s misconduct, namely, the double standard and the Democrats’ motive. Insurrection Insurrection cannot be a politicized concept, such that whether it’s been committed or not depends on whether the violent mob includes Trump supporters whom Democrats despise or “racial-justice protesters” whom they lionize. Impeachment is about more than the president; it is about social cohesion. Condemning Trump after months of turning a blind eye to rampant insurrectionist violence — during which Democrats and the Left explicitly objected to invocation of the Insurrection Act to restore order — is going to make a lot of the country very angry. And I am not talking about miscreants who would storm the Capitol. I am talking about people of good will who are convinced that our institutions are cratering, and with them our society, because our leaders so fear the radical Left and its propensity to take it to the streets when things don’t go its way. This not a sufficient reason to exonerate Trump. Two wrongs don’t make a right: You don’t cure the problem by ignoring what was, in fact, an insurrection at the Capitol. Righteous anger over the double-standard would, however, have been a good reason for the House to avoid making insurrection the gravamen of its impeachment article. Moreover, Republicans cannot be expected to ignore that the Democrats intentionally highlighted insurrection, in part, because they are laying the groundwork for an invocation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Section Three disqualification clause. As Dan McLaughlin has explained, Democrats and progressive scholars would like to use Section 3 to disqualify other Republicans besides Trump. The Democrats’ political narrative is that the violence at the Capitol was caused not only by the president but by Republicans in the House and Senate (about 150 in all) who supported Trump’s campaign to pressure Vice President Pence and Congress to refuse to acknowledge Biden’s state-certified Electoral College victory. Constitutionally speaking, this was indefensible on the part of participating Republicans. But that does not make them abettors of the storming of the Capitol, which endangered them as much as the other lawmakers. I remain baffled that these Republicans clung to their untenable position even after the siege. Still, they do not warrant Fourteenth Amendment disqualification gambits, and Democrats have undermined the impeachment effort by transparently encouraging such gambits. Rest assured: the lawsuits are coming. How Impeachment Should Have Been Framed: Dereliction of Duty What should the House impeachment resolution have looked like? Though impeachment is not a criminal case, it is still about persuasion. An able prosecutor would focus on what cannot credibly be denied and on what righteously inflames people. More arguable or dubious issues should fade to the background — you get what advantage you can out of them while making sure the jury understands they are not make-or-break. With that in mind, Trump committed two very clear impeachable offenses. First, he was derelict in his duty as president and commander-in-chief by failing to take any action — indeed, by turning a deaf ear to pleas that he take action — when the seat of the United States government was stormed and lives were in jeopardy, particularly the lives of security personnel, members of Congress, and Trump’s own vice president. Second, he betrayed his duty to preserve, protect, and defend the United States Constitution by pressuring his vice president and members of Congress to violate their Twelfth Amendment duty to preside over the counting of the states’ electoral votes — in the process, undermining state sovereignty over elections, an aspect of the Constitution’s federalism principles that the president is also duty-bound to uphold. Pleading the case this way would have had several benefits. It would have made Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was murdered, the face of impeachment. An impeachment manager opening the presentation to the Senate could have declared without hesitation: “When Officer Sicknick needed a president, Donald Trump was missing in action. When America needed a commander-in-chief to protect the seat of its democracy, Donald Trump wouldn’t be disturbed — he was busy watching television.” Focusing the case on what the president was doing, and willfully failing to do, while Officer Sicknick was killed, other Capitol police were assaulted (at least one other of them savagely so), and the lives of the vice president and the people’s representatives were imperiled, would have framed the case around misconduct (1) as to which there is no factual defense or legal ambiguity; and (2) which would powerfully illustrate the danger of maintaining the president in office, even for a few more days. Contrary to what the House passed, to frame the case this way would have made it much harder for Senate Republicans to decline to reconvene for an immediate trial. Next, I want to return to Kevin’s point about the fact that impeachment does not require an indictable offense. As explicated by Hamilton, impeachment is more resonant of military than civilian justice. There may not be a civilian crime here, but dereliction of duty is a serious offense under military law. During a forcible siege against the seat of government, it is inexcusable in a commander-in-chief. The fact that an American military commander would be severely disciplined for what the president did makes the impeachment case stronger. Constructing the case as I suggest would also have diminished the legal significance of incitement and insurrection. Instead of playing defense — Can the president be said to have committed “incitement” consistent with federal law and First Amendment protection of political speech? — the prosecution would be playing offense: Regardless of whether the president is guilty of incitement, he is even more culpable for failing to respond to the siege because he urged people to march on the Capitol and to pressure those inside — and, in fact, publicly rebuked the vice president even as he knew people were marching on the Capitol. (See Jim Geraghty’s report.) Furthermore, as Rich Lowry detailed in his column on Friday, reports indicate that the violence at the Capitol started before Trump was done speaking at the Ellipse. If the key question were whether the president incited the crowd, this fact would be highly pertinent. It is largely irrelevant, though, if the issue is how the commander-in-chief responded once he became aware of the violence. It doesn’t matter, as some in the administration now half-heartedly claim, that the president had earlier in the week green-lighted any necessary armed forces deployment to support civilian law-enforcement and the Capitol. He became aware of the siege in real time and he abdicated — leaving it to the vice president to attempt to fill the void by spurring the Pentagon to action (though Pence technically lacked that authority). The president’s performance is inexcusable. People, including Officer Sicknick, were killed and injured while Trump dithered — and, according to some reports, reveled in his supporters’ zeal to fight for him. It is beside the point whether the siege is best described an insurrection, a riot, a protest run amok, etc. Subversion of the Constitution’s Election Process It is impossible to assess the president’s dereliction independent of its context. Trump and his supporters touted the rally on the Capitol days in advance in order to intensify pressure on Pence and congressional Republicans to abdicate their constitutional duty to preside over the counting of the states’ electoral votes and acknowledge Biden as the winner of the election. And this itself came in the broader context of the president’s agitation of his supporters by making inflammatory statements about the election, many of which were either blatantly false or recklessly indifferent about their inaccuracy. In the constitutional system that the president is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend, the states are sovereign on the matter of conducting and certifying their elections. To the extent the states are bound to comply with the Constitution, the president had a full and fair opportunity to contest that question in federal court — and, for the most part, his legal team folded when federal judges invited them to prove their extravagant allegations of fraud, rigging, and constitutional violations. It was perfectly appropriate for the president to rely on his legal right to seek recounts and contest state election procedures. It is inexcusable, however, for the president to have tried to induce the vice president and congressional Republicans to violate their sworn constitutional duties. That in itself is worthy of an impeachment article. Guilty or Not Guilty? To summarize, my problem with the impeachment article the House has lodged against the president is that it is ill-considered, legally dubious, politically motivated, deeply divisive, and calculated as a first salvo in targeting Republicans other than President Trump for disqualification from public office. That said, this is not a legal trial, but a political one. I cannot say that the president did not “incite an insurrection” as that phrase is commonly understood. Despite that, I would still be inclined to vote to acquit, except for one inescapable fact: Impeachable conduct for which condemnation is warranted did in fact occur. Since the animating issue here is whether the president of the United States merits removal and disqualification for the good of the nation, rather than whether he has received model due process, I would vote to convict, my deep reservations about the impeachment article notwithstanding. What Should Happen? I don’t agree with Senator Mitch McConnell’s judgment that it would be — or at least would have been — impossible to conduct a Senate impeachment trial with adequate due process prior to the conclusion of the president’s term. As Rich and I have discussed on our podcast, due process is the process that is due under the circumstances. In impeachment, due process is an aspiration; the national security of the United States is the imperative. If we woke up one morning to smoking-gun, undeniable proof that an American president was a spy for a foreign adversary, Congress would have to impeach and remove the president immediately. The 25th Amendment, which allows for instantaneously suspending the president’s authority, would have no bearing on a situation that did not involve a severe health-related disability. And the protection of the republic would demand swift impeachment and removal. No one in his right mind would say, “Let’s leave a foreign spy in the Oval Office for a few more weeks so we can have some hearings and make sure the Senate trial is fair.” Those who have urged that, after the events of January 6, the president cannot be trusted with our security — the president’s highest obligation — have a point. The Senate should have reconvened to conduct the trial, an outcome the House might have persuasively pushed for had Democrats not so patently politicized an impeachment that should and could have won broader bipartisan support. At this point, I fear it would be counterproductive to have a Senate trial. In five days, the president will no longer be in office. If he is tried after he is out of office, the Senate will have to suspend business at a time when the new administration is not yet fully set up, and foreign adversaries may see that as an opportunity to make mischief. With no urgency to have a rapid trial since Trump will already be gone, there will be much less justification for limiting due process to a minimum. The proceedings will be more drawn out than they should be. More to the point, the high probability is that Trump would be acquitted. As noted above, impeachment is meant to be very difficult. Here, beyond that, Republicans have been given at least four reasons to vote against conviction: (1) the profound constitutional question of whether a president already out of office may properly be tried (I am in the camp that says a removed official may be impeached, tried, and disqualified, but it is a disputed issue); (2) the afore-described manner in which the article of impeachment was poorly drafted and rashly adopted; (3) the lack of overwhelming consensus in the country that Trump should be convicted and disqualified; and (d) the blatant partisanship of the House impeachment proceedings, including the fact that the first impeachment was unserious and the current one lays the groundwork to seek disqualification of Republicans other than Trump under the Fourteenth Amendment. Consequently, the main effects of a Senate impeachment trial would be to keep Trump in the limelight, playing the martyr, and then to enable him to claim vindication when he is acquitted. That would make him more likely to mount an audacious 2024 campaign. I don’t believe he could succeed in retaking the presidency, but he could be destructive of Republican and conservative prospects. Under the circumstances, the best thing for the country would be a bicameral, bipartisan resolution of censure that compellingly summarized and condemned the president’s misconduct. The Senate could then agree not to proceed with a trial. Trump would remain the only president ever impeached twice, and the censure would stand as an emphatic verdict of history. The country could move on from this sorry chapter, rather than enhancing Donald Trump’s relevance and setting the stage for him, perversely, to claim victory.