The Texas Legislature convened Tuesday for the first day of its regular 87th session.
- The Independent
- The Telegraph
- The Week
- National Review
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and 45 members of his caucus backed an effort to declare the impeachment trial of former President Trump “unconstitutional” on Tuesday. McConnell’s colleague from Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul, introduced a point of order on Tuesday to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional on the grounds that a president can’t be impeached once he has left office. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then moved to table Paul’s point of order, blocking the effort to preemptively invalidate the impeachment trial. McConnell joined all but five Senate Republicans in opposing Schumer, signaling a willingness to entertain the argument that the impending trial is unconstitutional. The point of order resolution effectively forced Republicans to declare on the record whether they consider the impeachment trial constitutional, given that it’s taking place after Trump has left office. The resolution failed after a majority of senators voted in favor of Schumer’s move to table it, meaning the impeachment trial will go ahead as planned. However, only five Republicans voted against the resolution: Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. At the close of the impeachment trial itself, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join Democrats in order to convict Trump. “I think there will be enough support on” the point-of-order resolution “to show there’s no chance they can impeach the president,” Paul told reporters before the vote on Tuesday. “If 34 people support my resolution that this is an unconstitutional proceeding, it shows they don’t have the votes and we’re basically wasting our time.” Senator Collins said following the vote that there would be little chance of an impeachment conviction. “I think it’s pretty obvious from the vote today that it is extraordinary unlikely that the president will be convicted,” Collins told The New York Times. “Just do the math.” McConnell was reportedly pleased with the idea of impeaching Trump, after the former president incited a mob of his supporters to amass at the Capitol on January 6, though the majority leader later said publicly that he hadn’t decided whether to vote to convict. The mob breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers to evacuate, and five people died in the riots including a Capitol police officer. An impeachment conviction could allow the Senate to bar Trump from running for office again, however a number of Republican senators have come out against the impeachment push. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said it would be “arrogant” for the Senate to prevent Trump from running again. “Voters get to decide that,” Rubio told Chis Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “Who are we to tell voters who they can vote for in the future?” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also voiced skepticism regarding the impeachment trial. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton told the Associated Press on Monday. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that McConnell voted to declare Trump’s impeachment trial unconstitutional. In fact, the minority leader voted against a motion to table Senator Paul’s point of order, which deems the trial unconstitutional. We regret the error.
- Yahoo News Video
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: Putin said growing inequality and “systemic socio-economic problems” were “splitting the society,” adding: “This pressure shows through even in those countries which seem to possess well-established civic and democratic institutions.” * He said Big Tech firms had established monopolies, and questioned whether their services were serving “the public interest” or further contributing to the divide. * “We have seen all of this quite recently in the United States, and everybody understands quite well what I’m talking about," he said.Between the lines: This could also be read as a self-serving argument from Putin, who has sharply curtailed freedoms online and was only yesterday forced to respond to a viral YouTube video in which Navalny claimed he owned a “billion dollar palace."The other side: Putin’s style diverged sharply from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the conference on Monday. * Xi appeared polished and camera-ready, breaking his speech into four themes and speaking in sweeping terms about international cooperation. * Putin was late to start, sat in a slouched position and peppered his speech with economic statistics in a tone that alternated between combativeness and disinterest.Worth noting: Putin also contended that countries facing internal divisions were seizing on “external enemies,” particularly “countries that do not agree to become docile, easy to control satellites.” * He argued that the increasing the use of tools like sanctions would only increase the risk of future “military force.”Go deeper: Biden's Russia challengeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
- The Independent
Police have not released a motive in the attack
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- National Review
- NBC News
Tommy Frederick Allan said he took the documents because he is a taxpayer, according to an arrest warrant.
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Biden’s new sign language interpreter runs a right-wing Facebook group and has been pictured in a MAGA hat
One video featuring Heather Mewshaw is titled ‘Joe Biden is literally and legally not the President elect’
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hoped to declare victory over the pandemic before the elections on March 23, but new fast-spreading variants of COVID-19 have dashed those hopes.Why it matters: Netanyahu's main political vulnerability is his handling of the pandemic. He has acknowledged that his poll numbers will be directly connected to the rates of vaccinations, new infections and deaths, as well as his ability to reopen the economy.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.He had wanted to base his election push on Israel's world-leading vaccination campaign, which has already seen 21% of the over-16 population obtain both doses, including 70% in the highest-priority groups (medical workers and people over 60). * But Israel is also in the midst of its worst COVID-19 wave to date, with daily death tolls hitting record highs. The capacity of the medical system is stretched close to a breaking point. * Four weeks of lockdown have only just begun to slow Israel's rate of new cases, which remains among the highest in the world, adjusted for population. Israeli officials say the fast spread is due to new virus variants. * The government is likely to prolong the lockdown for another week or two.Between the lines: The infection rate is particularly high in ultra-Orthodox communities, which have largely not complied with lockdown rules and kept schools open even as they were closed elsewhere. * Netanyahu has faced harsh criticism for not enforcing the lockdown among the ultra-Orthodox community, which constitutes an important chunk of his right-wing political bloc. * When the police did attempt to enforce the lockdown in recent days, violent riots erupted in ultra-Orthodox cities. That only generated more criticism of Netanyahu. * A Channel 12 poll published on Tuesday found that 61% of Israelis — and 52% of right-wing voters — want ultra-Orthodox parties excluded from the next coalition government.The state of play: Recent polls showed Netanyahu's Likud party stable with 29-30 seats, with public praise over the vaccination campaign balanced out by criticism about the lockdown and rising death toll.What’s next: Netanyahu's broader political bloc is short of the 61-seat majority needed to form the next coalition. Without a positive change in the COVID-19 numbers by March, he will have a hard time reaching it.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
President Joe Biden vowed to ultimately put an end to private prisons, but activists says the move isn't enough to fully address mass incarcerations.