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Key Takeaways From Day 2 of Trump’s Impeachment Trial

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  • The second day of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial focused entirely on the prosecution, which argued that the former president spent months riling up his supporters with false claims and calls for violence.
  • House impeachment managers also showed never-before-seen security footage that illustrated how close the mob came to lawmakers.
  • One of the most notable clips showed Officer Eugene Goodman, who was hailed as a hero for guiding a mob away from the Senate chambers, stopping Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Ut.) from entering an area seized by rioters.
  • The prosecution will conclude its case Wednesday, and Trump’s lawyers will then have 16 hours to present their defense.

Unseen Security Footage Shows Mob’s Proximity to Lawmakers

During the second day of former President Donald Trump impeachment trial, House impeachment managers laid out their case tying Trump to the Jan. 6 insurrection

The most notable information to come from the day came in the form of never-before-seen security footage the prosecutors played. That footage showed just how close some of the nation’s top leaders came to the pro-Trump mob.

One of the most jarring clips portrayed former Vice President Mike Pence and his family being raced to evacuate, which was shown alongside footage of the mob shouting “hang Mike Pence!”

“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family,” said House manager Stacey Plaskett, the Delegate from the Virgin Islands. “They were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber, where many of you remained at that time.” 

The managers also showed other disturbing footage, including a video of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY.) heading down one hallway then quickly being directed by law enforcement officials to running the opposite way.

Officer Goodman Saved Sen. Romney From Entering Occupied Area

One widely talked about clip involved Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Ut.) and Officer Eugene Goodman, who was widely praised for guiding a mob away from the Senate chambers so senators could evacuate.

In the previously unseen security video, Goodman is seen running past Romney, who was headed in the direction of the rioters, telling him to go the other way. The clip was taken just moments before Goodman confronted the mob, which was just a floor below looking for the Senate chamber.

Romney, for his part, said that he had never seen that footage and had no idea how close he had been to the mob.

“It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes,” he said. “That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional.”

“I was very fortunate indeed that Officer Goodman was there to get me in the right direction,” he added. “I look forward to thanking him when I next see him.”

Prosecutors Connect the Dots

In addition to the videos, the House managers spent much of their time connecting Trump to the scenes of violence by outlining the timeline of events leading up to the insurrection.

They noted that he had been spreading false election claims since the spring, claiming the only way he would lose is if the election was rigged. They also argued that he had knowingly encouraged his supporters to take matters into their own hands, pointing out instances where his rhetoric encouraged or supported violence.

One example the prosecutors pointed to was when Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate. They also noted that when Trump supporters surrounded a campaign bus for Joe Biden in Texas and caused a car accident, Trump endorsed the violence and tweeted “These patriots did nothing wrong.”

The managers went on to detail all Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, saying he first filed dozens of lawsuits, but when that did not work he went on to pressure and directly threaten election officials. When all that failed, they argued, violence was his last option, and he turned to his supporters who he had been stirring up for months.

Trump then planned and promoted the Stop the Steal rally, calling it “wild.” On the day of the event, he explicitly told the crowd: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Once the mob took over, Trump refused for hours and tell the rioters to stop. Instead, the prosecutors alleged, he just incited them further by telling him he loved them.

What To Look for on Day 3

Thursday will be the last day for the prosecution to argue their case, and the House managers will have another eight hours to conclude why the senate should convict Trump.

After that, Trump’s lawyers will get 16 hours to present their defense. People close to the matter have said they will argue that Trump’s remarks are protected under the First Amendment and do not meet the legal definition of incitement.

On Thursday, sources told CNN that Trump’s defense team will not use their full 16 hours and will finish their arguments in one day.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (PBS NewsHour)

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Jan. 6 Committee Prepares Criminal Charges Against Steve Bannon for Ignoring Subpoena

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The move comes after former President Trump told several of his previous aides not to cooperate with the committee’s investigation into the insurrection.


Bannon Refuses to Comply With Subpoena

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection announced Thursday that it is seeking to hold former White House advisor Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena.

The decision marks a significant escalation in the panel’s efforts to force officials under former President Donald Trump’s administration to comply with its probe amid Trump’s growing efforts to obstruct the inquiry.

In recent weeks, the former president has launched a number of attempts to block the panel from getting key documents, testimonies, and other evidence requested by the committee that he claims are protected by executive privilege.

Notably, some of those assertions have been shut down. On Friday, President Joe Biden rejected Trump’s effort to withhold documents relating to the insurrection.

Still, Trump has also directed former officials in his administration not to comply with subpoenas or cooperate with the committee. 

That demand came after the panel issued subpoenas ordering depositions from Bannon and three other former officials: Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, and Pentagon Chief of Staff Kash Patel.

After Trump issued his demand, Bannon’s lawyer announced that he would not obey the subpoena until the panel reached an agreement with Trump or a court ruled on the executive privilege matter.

Many legal experts have questioned whether Bannon, who left the White House in 2017, can claim executive privilege for something that happened when he was not working for the executive.

Panel Intensifies Compliance Efforts

The Thursday decision from the committee is significant because it will likely set up a legal battle and test how much authority the committee can and will exercise in requiring compliance.

It also sets an important precedent for those who have been subpoenaed. While Bannon is the first former official to openly defy the committee, there have been reports that others plan to do the same. 

The panel previously said Patel and Meadows were “engaging” with investigators, but on Thursday, several outlets reported that the two — who were supposed to appear before the body on Thursday and Friday respectively —  are now expected to be given an extension or continuance.

Sources told reporters that Scavino, who was also asked to testify Friday, has had his deposition postponed because service of his subpoena was delayed.

As far as what happens next for Bannon, the committee will vote to adopt the contempt report next week. Once that is complete, the matter will go before the House for a full vote.  

Assuming the Democratic-held House approves the contempt charge, it will then get referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the matter before a grand jury.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Washington Post) (Bloomberg)

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Senate Votes To Extend Debt Ceiling Until December

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The move adds another deadline to Dec. 3, which is also when the federal government is set to shut down unless Congress approves new spending.


Debt Ceiling Raised Temporarily

The Senate voted on Thursday to extend the debt ceiling until December, temporarily averting a fiscal catastrophe.

The move, which followed weeks of stalemate due to Republican objections, came after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) partially backed down from his blockade and offered a short-term proposal.

After much whipping of votes, 11 Republicans joined Democrats to break the legislative filibuster and move to final approval of the measure. The bill ultimately passed in a vote of 50-48 without any Republican support.

The legislation will now head to the House, where Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said members would be called back from their current recess for a vote on Tuesday. 

The White House said President Joe Biden would sign the measure, but urged Congress to pass a longer extension.

“We cannot allow partisan politics to hold our economy hostage, and we can’t allow the routine process of paying our bills to turn into a confidence-shaking political showdown every two years or every two months,’’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Under the current bill, the nation’s borrowing limit will be increased by $480 billion, which the Treasury Department said will cover federal borrowing until around Dec. 3.

The agency had previously warned that it would run out of money by Oct. 18 if Congress failed to act. Such a move would have a chilling impact on the economy, forcing the U.S. to default on its debts and potentially plunging the country into a recession. 

Major Hurdles Remain

While the legislation extending the ceiling will certainly offer temporary relief, it sets up another perilous deadline for the first Friday in December, when government funding is also set to expire if Congress does not approve another spending bill.

Regardless of the new deadline, many of the same hurdles lawmakers faced the first time around remain. 

Democrats are still struggling to hammer out the final details of Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending agenda, which Republicans have strongly opposed.

Notably, Democratic leaders previously said they could pass the bill through budget reconciliation, which would allow them to approve the measure with 50 votes and no Republican support.

Such a move would require all 50 Senators, but intraparty disputes remain over objections brought by Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az.), who have been stalling the process for months.

Although disagreements over reconciliation are ongoing among Democrats, McConnell has insisted the party use the obscure procedural process to raise the debt limit. Democrats, however, have balked at the idea, arguing that tying the debt ceiling to reconciliation would set a dangerous precedent.

Despite Republican efforts to connect the limit to Biden’s economic agenda, raising the ceiling is not the same as adopting new spending. Rather, the limit is increased to pay off spending that has already been authorized by previous sessions of Congress and past administrations.

In fact, much of the current debt stems from policies passed by Republicans during the Trump administration, including the 2017 tax overhaul. 

As a result, while Democrats have signaled they may make concessions to Manchin and Sinema, they strongly believe that Republicans must join them to increase the debt ceiling to fund projects their party supported. 

It is currently unclear when or how the ongoing stalemate will be resolved, or how either party will overcome their fervent objections.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

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California Makes Universal Voting by Mail Permanent

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California is now the eighth state to make universal mail-in ballots permanent after it temporarily adopted the policy for elections held amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 


CA Approves Universal Voting by Mail

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill Monday requiring every registered voter in the state to be mailed a ballot at least 29 days before an election, whether they request it or not.

Assembly Bill 37 makes permanent a practice that was temporarily adopted for elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. The law, which officially takes effect in January, also extends the time mail ballots have to arrive at elections offices from three days to seven days after an election. Voters can still choose to cast their vote in person if they prefer.

Supporters of the policy have cheered the move, arguing that proactively sending ballots to registered voters increases turnout.

“Data shows that sending everyone a ballot in the mail provides voters access. And when voters get ballots in the mail, they vote,” the bill’s author, Assemblyman Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), said during a Senate committee hearing in July.

Meanwhile opponents — mostly Republicans — have long cast doubts about the safety of mail-in voting, despite a lack of evidence to support their claims that it leads to widespread voter fraud. That strategy, however, has also faced notable pushback from some that a lot of Republicans who say it can actually hurt GOP turnout.

Others May Follow

The new legislation probably isn’t too surprising for California, where over 50% of votes cast in general elections have been through mail ballots since 2012, according to The Sacramento Bee. Now, many believe California will be followed by similar legislation from Democrats across the country as more Republican leaders move forward with elections bills that significantly limit voting access.

Newsome signed 10 other measures Monday changing election and campaign procedures, including a bill that would require anyone advocating for or against a candidate to stand farther away from a polling place. Another bill increases penalties for candidates who use campaign funds for personal expenses while a third measure increases reporting requirements for limited liability corporations that engage in campaign activity.

“As states across our country continue to enact undemocratic voter suppression laws, California is increasing voter access, expanding voting options and bolstering elections integrity and transparency,” Newsom said in a statement.

“Last year we took unprecedented steps to ensure all voters had the opportunity to cast a ballot during the pandemic and today we are making those measures permanent after record-breaking participation in the 2020 presidential election.”

The news regarding California came just in time for National Voter Registration day today, giving Americans another reminder to make sure they’re registered in their states. For more information on how to register, visit Vote.gov or any of the other resources linked below.

See what others are saying: (The Hill) (Los Angeles Times) (The Sacramento Bee)

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