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A historic impeachment and a great choice for the Senate

Trump is impeached – again – but a Senate trial seems far away. In the meantime, the authorities are preparing for a day of resentful inauguration. It’s Thursday, and here’s your policy tip sheet. register here to get On Politics delivered to your inbox every day of the week.

President Nancy Pelosi oversaw the vote to impeach Trump yesterday.


Before the storming of the Capitol by rioting Trump supporters encouraged by the president himself, before President Trump claimed the November election was rigged, before the summer of racial unrest the president has used to promote his demagoguery, and before the coronavirus pandemic hits American shores. , the scandalous news that hit the country was the impeachment of Trump. But this outrage was highly polarized.

Democratic voters and lawmakers (as well as some generally non-partisan officials) angrily demanded the president’s impeachment based on their claim that Trump violated his oath by bribing a foreign official to publicly order a corruption investigation damaging on Trump’s opponent. Republican voters and lawmakers have said the multistep argument is convoluted and hypocritical in light of the recent history of Democrats sponsoring international opposition research efforts, like the infamous Steele dossier.

This time, however, it is different. In an opinion piece published on Wednesday, Steven G. Calabresi, Republican and professor at the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University, argues with Norman Eisen, Democrat and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, for a bipartisan approach to impeachment, rooted in the protection of democracy.

They write: “We have considerable political differences. But we strongly share a point of view that should transcend partisan politics: President Trump must be arraigned and tried again as soon as possible in the Senate, either before or after inauguration day on January 20. against his own vice-president, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and put pressure on the Georgian Secretary of State to “find” enough votes so that he can overturn the legitimate election result.

Reports have revealed that Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, will not lobby against the president’s impeachment. While Trump’s impeachment before inauguration day is highly unlikely, Eisen and Calabresi’s hope of a historic, interdisciplinary condemnation of the president may in fact become a reality.


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Video: House debates Trump’s historic second indictment

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives considered articles of impeachment against President Trump, accusing him of “inciting insurgency” after the Jan.6 attacks on Capitol Hill. By Maya Blackstone and Taylor Turner.

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“ From crisis to crisis ”: the moments that defined a historic congress

But when Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in late September, Republicans were determined to quickly take her seat ahead of an election that could cost Mr. Trump the presidency, or their Senate majority – or both. Abandoning the post that led them in 2016 to prevent President Barack Obama from filling a post months before an election, Republicans rushed to pass Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination, which Mr. Trump presented at the meeting. ‘a jubilant ceremony at the White House. was later determined to be a very widespread event, causing the virus to contract by several senators.

By the end of the 116th Congress, nearly 150 judges had been confirmed before the country’s highest court, circuit courts, and district courts across the country – all young, conservative and likely to shape the interpretation of the laws of the country for decades. Even as some Republicans began to break away from Mr. Trump in anticipation of what both parties believed was a punitive election result for their party, they enthusiastically rallied to support his Supreme Court candidate, a win after years of loyalty to the president.

Defying most expectations – including their own – House Republicans emerged with more than a dozen wins and a record 29 women in their ranks in January, according to the University’s Center for American Women and Politics. Rutgers.

He left Mr Biden, who was declared the winner soon after, with a slim majority in the House and Democratic control of the Senate based on the results of two second-round races in Georgia.

The political stakes in the competitions helped shift the months-long debate over providing pandemic relief to millions of unemployed Americans, small businesses, schools and hospitals across the country, pushing them leaders to negotiate another package.

Shortly after the November election, a group of moderates led by Senators Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, and Joe Manchin III, Democrat from West Virginia, began working on a compromise framework and rocked both houses. in a final round of frantic negotiations. They eventually came to a $ 900 billion deal that passed both houses days before Christmas after several near misses with the prospect of another government shutdown.

Yet Mr Trump threatened not to sign it, casting the fate of the legislation in limbo and raising the possibility of another government shutdown. Four days before the start of the new year, he signed it.

“I think a divided government can be an opportunity,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska. “And how we approach it, how we choose to use it is up to us.”

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A black general approached for the Pentagon, a historic first

In a column published this month in Atlantic, Biden called General Austin’s handling of the withdrawal from Iraq “the largest logistics operation undertaken by the military in 60 years” and the parallel with the effort it will take to distribute the vaccine against the coronavirus across the United States – a mandate that will fall to the next Secretary of Defense. “I know this man well,” said the president-elect during the official presentation of his candidate for the post in question.

When he was appointed by Barack Obama to head the United States’ Central Command – the country’s first military command and the one responsible for operations in the Middle East – General Austin found himself in the highest post ever in the United States. army by a black man, with the sole exception of Colin L. Powell, who served as Chief of the Defense Staff. If he becomes Secretary of Defense, he will have moved up one step further.

Admiral Mullen’s position as director of the JCS prepared him for everything that followed. “I was dealing with complex issues, interacting regularly with the Secretary of Defense,” says Austin. “People who didn’t necessarily know Lloyd Austin got to know him.”

Even if confirmed by the Senate at the head of the Pentagon, General Austin could face familiar hurdles in promoting people of color. One of his black contemporaries at JCS, General Spencer, recounted in an interview what happened to him when he tried to fill an executive assistant position – a promising job, likely to lead higher.

“They kept sending me lists of white candidates,” he recalls. When he called for a more varied selection, “the officer said to me, ‘Well, general, it would look bad if you pick a black executive assistant, because you are black.’

It remains to be seen whether Austin will have his hands tied by these kinds of views once he is Secretary of Defense. In an interview given before Mr. Biden offered him the Pentagon, the Iraq veteran insisted that it is up to the top leadership to move forward to diversify the higher ranks.

“People tend to surround themselves with people they feel comfortable with. If leadership doesn’t value diversity, that won’t happen, ”he warns. “He makes you believe it’s good to have goals and objectives, but having requirements might be better.”

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First coronavirus vaccines head to states, sparking historic effort

“They are still a little hesitant,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “If we don’t put ourselves out there first, take the first few doses of the vaccine and show that we believe and trust it, I don’t think long-term care people will have the vaccination rate that they have.” need. “

In most states, the concerted effort to vaccinate nursing home residents will begin a week later. Starting December 21, CVS and Walgreens will send teams of pharmacists to approximately 75,000 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in all 50 states, under contract with the federal government, to vaccinate as many residents. and of staff as agreed to it. CVS aims to complete the process over nine to 12 weeks.

On Thursday afternoon, as an FDA advisory committee debated whether to recommend the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine, the first packages of supplies to administer it – vaccination cards, masks, visors, information sheets and syringes – arrived at UPMC Presbyterian, a hospital in Pittsburgh. .

Dr Graham Snyder, medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at UPMC, said a hospital committee concluded that the immediate purpose of the allowance was to prevent transmission from the community. to hospital staff.

“The greater likelihood of their exposure is in the community and at home than in the workplace,” he said, noting that healthcare workers generally take great precautions when they are among the workers. patients.

Some hospitals have said they will prioritize workers with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk for serious illness.

Dr Marci Drees, infection control manager and hospital epidemiologist at ChristianaCare, a Delaware-based hospital system, said the system would offer its healthcare workers a list of these conditions, but would only ask them to disclose in such a way. general if they had any.

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The grave is found at the site of the historic Colonial Williamsburg Black Church

Archaeologists working at Colonial Williamsburg to uncover what life was like for the original worshipers of one of the country’s oldest black congregations have uncovered one and possibly two graves and more than 12,000 artifacts, including an ink bottle , doll fragments and coins.

By digging under a parking lot in the city of Virginia, researchers were able to find the foundations of a brick church built in 1856, which could be an even older church and potentially one or more graves for members of the congregation, the first historic Baptist. Williamsburg Church, said Jack Gary, director of archeology for Colonial Williamsburg on Tuesday. Mr Gary, who is overseeing the excavation, said there was at least one grave and possibly two and that there were likely more burial pits at the site.

“When I set foot on the dig site and listened to the story they were discovering, it was a great feeling,” said Rev. Dr. Julie Grace, who was baptized at the church in 1949. and is now associate minister. “To stand on the same ground as our ancestors – there is no feeling of realizing that your ancestors have such an important part of history.

Archaeological The project is supported by leaders of the historic church, whose members include descendants of those who attended church at the excavation site. The first phase of excavation began in September and ended earlier this month. The next phase is expected to start in January.

“The presence of African Americans is everywhere in Colonial Williamsburg,” Gary said. “Fifty-two percent of the population was black. The difference here is that it’s a space where a lot of people from this community come together. This is the space where things happened. “

According to the project’s website, free and enslaved blacks met in secret to found the first Baptist church at the start of the American Revolution. The remains of the first Baptist meeting house, which records show were on the site in 1818 and possibly as early as the late 18th century, can be buried at the excavation site, although more will be needed. research to be sure.

Another church building was erected in 1856 and lasted nearly a century until it was purchased by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1956. The building was demolished that year as part of the efforts Colonial Williamsburg Restoration Facility, with another church being built a few blocks away. The goal, Mr Gary said, was to restore the area to its original state during the colonial period.

“The story of a black congregation was not part of the Williamsburg colonial narrative in the 1950s,” he says.

The site was paved in 1965. A plaque in tribute to the church was placed there in 1983.

“You have to understand that during this time when things have been done and you weren’t able to participate in the decision making, there is resentment,” said Connie Matthews Harshaw, President of the Let Freedom Ring. Foundation of the church. Worshipers who remember the church before it was demolished told him that “community meetings were held in places where blacks were not allowed to come. The black community has not had the opportunity to voice its objection.

Colonial Williamsburg, in historic Williamsburg, Virginia, is an open-air museum that attempts to recreate life in Colonial times. It’s populated by historical re-enactors dressed in period clothing and interpreting the way people lived and worked at the time. However, it was not until 1979 that the stories of black residents began to be interpreted, and even then the primary sources that speak of black life were limited.

The project’s website stated that, if successful, “this initiative will allow Colonial Williamsburg to expand its interpretive programming of blacks through voices that have remained silent since the Revolution.

When the archeology project began to work in earnest to unearth the church, the impact was powerful. “When the trees fell and the parking lot came up, it was quite emotional,” said Matthews Harshaw.

The next phase of the project will last 18 months. Mr Gary said archaeologists hoped to make the excavations as accessible to the public as possible, allowing visitors to see the work daily and ask questions.

Ms Matthews Harshaw said her immediate concern was to identify those still buried at the site. At the same time, she and the church are recording the oral histories of the remaining descendants. She hopes the church will be restored and eventually become a museum.

“I didn’t grow up in this church,” she admitted. “But I am a member of this church. And I want to know the story. What happened to all these people? Where did they go?”

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Democrats applaud a ‘historic’ victory as the race is called for Biden and Harris.

“I encourage every American to give it a chance and support it,” Mr. Obama said.

Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, whose approval ahead of the state’s Democratic primary was a key turning point in the race and a huge boost for Mr Biden, said his victory ” marked a new chapter for our country ”.

“As we face unprecedented challenges, Americans have chosen you to pull us out of chaos and to build a stronger community,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today, I have high hopes for a better future.”

Maya Harris, Mrs. Harris’ sister, immediately invoked the memory of their mother, Shyamala, whose vice-president-elect has often discussed during the campaign to tell her story and share her values.Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the actress who for years played a vice-president in the HBO comedy “Veep”, be sure to note: “Madam Vice-President” is no longer a fictional character. “

The Trump campaign, for its part, has said it will continue to pursue its legal challenges, and Mr. Trump issued a statement in which he said he “will not rest until the American people have got the honest count it deserves and democracy demands. “

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House and one of Mr. Trump’s strongest supporters, insisted without foundation that the media had jumped the gun and declared the race winner before the recounts began and the court challenges unfolded.

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley also opposed the presidential call on Saturday. “The media cannot determine who the president is. People are doing it. When all the legal votes have been counted, the recounts completed, and the fraud allegations addressed, we will know who the winner is. “

But in one of the first statements made by a Republican lawmaker on Saturday, Representative Fred Upton of Michigan claimed a victory for Biden. “I raise my hand and pledge to work with President-elect Biden,” he said.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, Republican presidential candidate in 2012, offered his own congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, granting them the titles of “president-elect” and “vice-president-elect” in his statement tweeted.

“We know them both as people of good will and admirable character,” he said. “We pray that God will bless them in the days and years to come.”

And Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who failed to defeat Mr. Trump in the 2016 Democratic primary, said it was time to “heal deep wounds” and added that he ” would pray ”for Mr. Biden’s success.

The specter of a protracted legal battle could not dampen the enthusiasm of Democratic Party leaders who had known and worked with Mr Biden for years.

President Nancy Pelosi, in a statement, said voters had “elected a unifier who values ​​faith, family and community, and who will work tirelessly to heal our nation.” And Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the minority, said the American people had “placed their trust in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris” to face the challenges posed by the virus, the economy and global warming in the years to come.

In a statement, Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee said that in electing Mr. Biden, “the American people chose hope” and “dignity and opportunity for all”.

“It’s a historic victory,” he said.

“To the families of those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and to all of our Americans who yearn for change, our message is simple: you will finally get the leadership you deserve.”

And Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic candidate who won the popular vote but ultimately lost to Mr Trump, said voters had issued a ‘repudiation’ of the president and offered a riff on the ‘one of his campaign slogans.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen,” she said. “Forward, together.”

Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson and Luke Broadwater contribution to reports.

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California’s role in historic voter turnout

In other words, Californians play a major role in what my colleagues have reported as a historic increase in turnout across the country; the country is on track to exceed 150 million votes for the first time.

While it’s easy to say that opposition to the president is what drives Golden State voters to the polls, as The Reporter reported in Vacaville, Republican Party officials say their base is more energetic than never. This is part of why President Trump’s attacks on postal voting could backfire on the California government, according to CalMatters.

[Read The Times’s guide to the California races to watch.]

Yet the latest Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll found that not only will Joseph R. Biden Jr. clean up in California, but he could also win by the biggest margin since 1920, when Republican Warren Harding defeated the Democrat James Cox. by 42 percentage points.

Mr Biden leads by 36 percentage points, according to the poll, which – if confirmed in the vote tally – would be a Democratic presidential candidate’s biggest victory in state history, the poll’s authors said.

Either way, election officials are preparing to vote a lot more in person in the days ahead.

Over the weekend, new stadiums and arenas were opened as polling stations. While voters in some places, like Butte County and Riverside County, encountered computer delays, for the most part, things seemed to be going smoothly.

Learn more about the election:

  • On Sunday, Gov. Gavin Newsom has traveled to Nevada to campaign for Mr. Biden. [The Sacramento Bee]

  • President Trump has called on his supporters to watch the polls. It’s something people are already instructed to do – and it’s actually quite boring. [The New York Times]

  • Economists at Stanford University created a statistical model which estimated that at least 30,000 coronavirus infections and 700 deaths have been linked to 18 Trump campaign rallies. [The New York Times]

  • “I didn’t know there were so many Trump supporters in California.” Hundreds of people rallied for president in Beverly Hills. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Here is how the A’s transformed the Oakland Coliseum at the largest polling center in Alameda County. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

  • Connect to a live broadcast of The Daily on Election Day with Times reporters across the country. They will describe what is happening in the major battlefield states from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. PT, at nytimes.com/thedaily.

(This article is part of California today newsletter. Register to have it delivered to your inbox.)


As the picture of the pandemic grows darker across the country, California’s progress in tackling new cases of the virus has been mixed.

[Track coronavirus cases by California county.]

The governor on Friday cut the ribbon on a new lab built by the state in partnership with the company PerkinElmer, which will double the state’s current testing capacity, once it is at full capacity in March – a decision Newsom says will help more schools, healthcare facilities and businesses operate more safely.

Still, there are worrying signs that the virus is far from under control in the state.

In recent days, some counties in southern California, including Los Angeles and Riverside, have reported worrying increases – again. The numerous cases in Orange County have hampered authorities’ efforts to reopen more businesses, like Disneyland. Even in San Francisco, which has been touted as a model for a measured reopening, officials said over the weekend they would suspend reopening plans due to the increase in cases and hospitalizations.

[Read about a debate over reopening classrooms in San Francisco.]

And after months of growing arrears, which led to a hard reset of the state’s unemployment claims system, California Department of Employment Development Director Sharon Hilliard announced on Friday that she would take his retirement at the end of the year.

Ms Hilliard, a nearly four-decade veteran of the ministry, stepped in to help manage the pandemic response in February.

Her departure will make her the second major figure in California’s coronavirus response from following a tech-related snafus: In August, Dr Sonia Angell, the state’s director of public health, abruptly said resigned a week after a data tracking problem caused nearly 300,000 records to disappear from the state system. The governor did not respond to repeated questions at the time as to whether the two were related.

[Here’s what to know about California’s tiered reopening plan.]

Taken together, the incidents underscore how much work remains to be done to overhaul what Mr Newsom has described as catastrophically outdated computer systems “decades in the making” and how essential that work will be for millions of unemployed Californians.

Learn more about the pandemic:

  • “It was Covid who really killed this child. Police link pandemic stress to spike in homicides in cities across the country, including California. [The New York Times]

  • If you missed it, here’s a detailed look, in partnership with 11 local newsrooms across the country, on what it means to be unemployed during the pandemic. A story comes from Santa Ana. [The New York Times | Voice of OC]

  • Rural farming towns of Kern County were hardest hit by Covid-19. [The Bakersfield Californian]

Here’s why the pandemic has hit Central Valley communities. [The New York Times]

  • Skeptical that masks actually work? (Again?) Here’s a graphic that shows how they’re protecting you and the people around you – in microscopic detail. [The New York Times]

  • The pandemic made this the saddest Día de los Muertos: “The dead man? There are so many.” [The Los Angeles Times]


As Election Day – as it will exist this year – gets closer and closer, my colleagues in the Style office have once again broadened the boundaries of “public service journalism” with this slightly chaotic electoral distractor. (Disclaimer: Eligible voters are only allowed to use it if they have already voted.)

Click to listen to Michael Barbaro, host of The Daily, react to things; watch a video showing the birth of a baby star; and watch a comedian try to guess which paint color is mixed. In the process, stay away from social media and try to forget that we are unlikely to get any final results on Tuesday night. In fact, we never did, anyway – and certainly not in California.


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you received this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.