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White House

Tony Webster

A number of media critics gave poor grades to reporters questioning President Biden at his first formal press conference last week. Is there a disconnect between what the media cares about, such as the filibuster and the 2024 election, and what people care about?

As President Biden called on senators to quickly pass legislation to tighten the nation's background checks system, he said that he did not need to "wait another minute" to address the epidemic of gun violence.

Updated at 2:01 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a one-sentence unsigned order, declined former President Donald Trump's request to further delay the enforcement of a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney for Trump's financial records. Monday's order paves the way for a New York grand jury to obtain the records and review them.

We had trouble mustering enthusiasm to wrap up our final episode of this second season of Pardon Me. Last week's roller coaster of a trial culminated in 43 senators choosing to acquit on a weak and deceptive defense -- despite a factual and painstaking accounting of how bad the breach was, how bad it might have been, and how Donald Trump incited it.

Donald Trump's legal team delivered their defense of the former president Friday. They followed a tightly argued and visceral presentation delivered by House managers that, some say, has made it easy for Republican senators to convict Trump. They likely won't.

We wondered if our show, recorded in part on Thursday, would omit important events that occurred thereafter. Given that many Republican senators have already decided to acquit, why would the defense feel the need to address the 144 constitutional lawyers who debunked their First Amendment argument, the 150 constitutional lawyers who say the impeachment of Trump is constitutional, or the people of this country?

We knew the ending before it even began.

Updated on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. ET: The video for this event has ended.

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial came to a close on Saturday, with Democrats falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president.

The final vote was 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined with all of the chamber's Democrats and independents to vote to convict.

Trump faced a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

House impeachment managers will focus on the harm and damage left behind by the insurrection in the second day of their presentations for the Senate impeachment trial, senior aides to the team said ahead of the proceedings.

The aides said they will also focus on what they say is former President Donald Trump's lack of remorse in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in this final day of opening statements.

Ninian Reid / Fox News / Zuma Wire

As of Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are still working out the details for the Senate impeachment trial scheduled to begin this Tuesday, February 9. Forty-five senators say it's not constitutional. Conservative lawyer Charles Cooper says it is. We talk to Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on impeachment, intelligence, and more. 

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Thursday that he will work with allies and partners to sanction Myanmar, end the war in Yemen, admit more refugees, and protect the rights of LGBTQ people around the world, signaling his plans to chart a course away from former President Donald Trump's "America First" approach to foreign policy.

In his first two weeks in office, President Biden has signed nearly as many executive orders as Franklin Roosevelt signed in his entire first month. And President Roosevelt holds the record.

Adding his signature to three executive orders on immigration Tuesday, Biden has now signed 28 executive orders since taking office. FDR signed 30 in his first month.

"By sheer volume, Biden is going to be the most active president on this front since the 1930s," said Andy Rudalevige, a professor of government at Bowdoin College.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

Some say the press continues to portray the Republican Party as a "mainstream, center-right entity," long after their words and deeds reflect something more ominous. Is the media failing to convey the extreme behavior of the GOP out of fear they will be accused of liberal bias? It's not the first time the media has been accused of bias or been too slow to see something for what it is instead of what they want it to be.

Also this hour: Five members of former President Trump's impeachment team departed Saturday, a little over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin on February 9. On Sunday, Trump hired lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. to take over. Will they be ready by next week?

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II / Joint Chiefs of Staff

Moderna announced today they were making new versions of their vaccine that can be used as boosters against variants seen in South Africa, Brazil, and the U.K. The vaccine should be effective against variants but it seems to create fewer antibodies against the one that has emerged in South Africa. Either way, vaccines alone will not be enough. We talk about mutations and vaccines. 

Also this hour: The Biden inauguration was the most Catholic inauguration in history. Is a more liberal Christianity on the rise? 

Lastly, a tribute to John McDonough, actor, singer, and a Connecticut native.

We took a chance that House Democrats were going to send the Article of Impeachment to the Senate this week. We were wrong. Instead, the House will transmit its Article of Impeachment charging former President Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday.

Why should the House wait any longer when more than a dozen Republican senators are trying to dismiss the impeachment trial before it begins, based on the disputed claim that it's unconstitutional to try an ex-president. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is already walking back his prior claim that Trump incited the riot at the Capitol.

The House will transmit its Article of Impeachment charging former President Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday.

Sate Capitol
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

As dignitaries filed into their seats for President Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., roughly a dozen people affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in Connecticut marched to the front of the state Capitol in Hartford.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The day before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, five of his Cabinet nominees will answer questions from Senate panels handling their confirmations. The busy committee calendar is ramping up at the same time an impeachment trial is expected to start, posing a split-screen challenge for the Senate, which is still reeling from an attack less than two weeks ago.

Previously on Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?): House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump on two Articles of Impeachment: "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress." He was later acquitted promptly after Senate Republicans voted against calling witnesses or admitting new evidence.

Now (less than 48 weeks later), on Season Two of Pardon Me: House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Trump Wednesday on one Article of Impeachment: "incitement of insurrection." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promptly responded that there'll be no trial while he's Senate leader.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The U.S. Capitol has seen countless protests and a number of violent incidents over its two centuries. But what we observed last week, when a mob of President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol intent on stopping the count of electoral votes, has been called unprecedented.

Previously on Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?): House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump on two Articles of Impeachment: "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress." He was later acquitted promptly after Senate Republicans voted against calling witnesses or admitting new evidence.

Now (less than 48 weeks later), on Season Two of Pardon Me: House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Trump Wednesday on one Article of Impeachment: "incitement of insurrection." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promptly responded that there'll be no trial while he's Senate leader.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday's insurrection by Trump supporters at the Capitol was the culmination of months of Trump perpetuating the lie that the election was stolen from him. The fire he built might have sputtered without oxygen from Republican colleagues and right-wing media intent on capitalizing on his lies.

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment Monday. It charges President Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States," after House Republicans objected to a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. The House will consider the impeachment resolution on the floor if the vice president refuses to intervene "within 24 hours" or if the president refuses to resign.

Stephanie Clifford / Creative Commons

President Trump has gotten away with bad behavior since long before he was elected to the presidency. When faced with an election loss that he couldn't change, he instigated his followers to fight for him. They obeyed his command. He may not be able to get out of the consequences of the actions they took on his behalf. 

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Donald Trump campaigned hard on military issues.

He vowed to bring "endless wars" to a close, "rebuild" the fighting forces and compel allies to pay their fair share, saying the U.S. would no longer be "suckers."

That message resonated among voters and helped propel him to the White House in the 2016 election. Among troops, he seemed to enjoy fairly strong support. A Military Times poll showed that 46% had a favorable view of him at the start of his term, 10 points higher than President Barack Obama had in January 2017.

Updated 11 p.m. ET

President Trump issued dozens more pardons on Wednesday evening to many wealthy and well-connected convicts with ties to his innermost circles, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Republican operative Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father-in-law of Ivanka Trump.

In total, Trump pardoned 26 people and commuted the sentences of three more people — the second consecutive night of what is expected to be a flurry of acts of clemency before he leaves office.

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Each state's slate of electors will cast their votes for president and vice-president today. President Trump won't win today. Nor will he win in the final Congressional certification on January 6, despite talk among some Republican legislators about plans for some type of electoral coup during the final vote count. 

Roger Cohen, a former columnist and current Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, longs for a return to decency - a moral shift away from a Trump Presidency characterized by retreat, self-obsession, and a lack of respect for truth or decency.

He welcomes the tenor he anticipates President-elect Biden will bring to the White House, but cautions against a return to the status quo. Too much has changed that still threatens liberalism and the Western alliance. 

David Valdez / Creative Commons

The Trump presidency has exposed many vulnerabilities in the laws and norms that govern presidential behavior. His brazen disrespect demands action to protect against a future president who might build on Trump's playbook. 

Wikipedia

We're almost three weeks past Election Day. Yet, President Trump and his evolving legal team continue to spew conspiracy theories intended to delegitimize the voting process, sow confusion, and delay the transition of power to incoming President-elect Joe Biden. 

Meanwhile, most Senate Republicans remain silent and Trump's most fervent supporters ignore our post-election reality in favor of conspiracy theories that run unchecked on platforms like Parler

Updated on Friday at 6:20 p.m. ET

Although many Senate Republicans are still resisting recognition of President-elect Joe Biden's election win, they are signaling support for the former vice president to receive intelligence briefings as part of the transition process.

Robert McNeely / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump campaign threatened legal challenges Wednesday, to force four states to stop counting ballots after Joe Biden's wins in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin narrowed the President's path to reelection. How bad must an American president behave before a majority of voters repudiate him for his actions? 

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