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In Statehouses, myth of stolen elections fuels GOP campaign to rewrite the rules

Ms Bernier of Wisconsin, for example, said she saw no problem with a bill that would allocate one ballot box to voters in cities like New Berlin, with 40,000 residents, and one for voters in Milwaukee, with 590,000 inhabitants. There were no drop boxes at all, she noted, until state officials made an emergency exception during the pandemic.

“The Legislature could say that no drop box is needed at all,” she said.

Nathaniel Persily, political scientist and election specialist at Stanford University, said he disagreed. Presidential elections always attract more voters, he said, but the hard work of democracy often occurs during off-year votes for smaller offices where interest is lower. In these elections, “if there are barriers placed in the path of voters, they will not stand,” he said.

Mike Noble, a public opinion expert from Phoenix, wondered if Trumpian’s Arizona Legislature’s anti-fraud program has political legs, even though polls show a level of belief Republican in the stolen election myth of Mr. Trump which he calls “staggering.”

Republicans who consider themselves more moderate make up about a third of party support in Arizona, he said, and they are much less likely to believe the myth. And they can be turned off by a legislature that wants to reduce mailings of postal ballots in a state where voters – especially Republicans – have long voted overwhelmingly by mail.

“I don’t see how a rational person would see where the advantage is,” he said.

Some other Republicans apparently agree. In Kentucky, which has some of the toughest voting laws in the country, the staunchly Republican State House voted almost unanimously on Friday to allow early voting, albeit only three days, and online requests for postal votes. Both were first tried during the pandemic and, most importantly, were popular with voters and county election officials.

If that kind of recognition of November’s successes resonated in other Republican states, Mr. Persily and another electoral scholar, Charles Stewart III of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in a recent study, it could bode well for alleviating deep divisions over future elections. rules. If the stolen election myth continues to guide Republican politics, Mr Persily said, it could predict a future with two types of elections in which voting rights, turnout and confidence in the results would be significantly different, according to the Minister. party that wrote the rules. .

“These trajectories are on the horizon,” he said. “Some states take a deception approach to regulating voting that is only distantly linked to fraud issues. And that could lead to massive collateral damage for voting rights. “

Susan C. Beachy contributed to the research.

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TimesVideoWatch Live: Senate Hearing on Capitol Riot The Homeland Security Committee and Rules Committee are holding a joint hearing to examine the security failures that led to a violation of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

TimesVideoWatch Live: Senate Hearing on Capitol Riot The Homeland Security Committee and Rules Committee are holding a joint hearing to examine the security failures that led to a violation of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

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Resolution on the Rules of the Senate – Second Impeachment Trial of Donald J.

Page 2 of 8

ALB21257 NL5 SLC 1 rials filed in accordance with this section must be printed and 2 made available to all parties. 3 S EC. 2. When, in accordance with Senate Resolution 16, the 4th Senate meets in the Indictment Court on Tuesday February 5, 2021, there will immediately be 4 hours of oral argument by the equally divided parties on the 7 issue of whether Donald John Trump is subject to the jurisdiction 8 of an indictment court for acts committed under the Presidency of the United States, notwithstanding the expiration 10 of his tenure in that position. Each party can determine the number of 11 people to present arguments on the previous question. The Senate, without any action, motion or amendment, except for deliberation of the Senate 14, if so ordered under Rules of Procedure and Practice 15 of the Senate when sitting on impeachment trials (16 this resolution as “Rules of impeachment”), will then decide by the 18 yes and no of the previous question. If a majority of voting senators, with a quorum of 19 present, vote no, the Senate will order that the article of impeachment be immediately rejected and the secretary will notify the order to the House of Representatives. of dismissal. If the majority of the 23 voting Senators, the quorum being present, votes in the affirmative, the Senate will proceed as provided for in this resolution. 2

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Tourist arrested in Maui for violating quarantine rules

Hawaii has continued to clamp down on tourists who disobey the state’s strict travel and quarantine rules to visit the island.

A California man was arrested on Saturday for arriving in Maui from Los Angeles without a negative COVID-19 pre-trip test, according to the Maui Now publication.

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John Laurich, 50, was arrested for violating the state’s Travel Quarantine Rules and Orders. In addition to failing to produce a negative coronavirus test, Laurich did not have approved lodging to complete the mandatory 10-day quarantine that arrives without taking a test.

Laurich was transported to Wailuku Police Station without incident and was being held on a $ 2,000 bond.

The State of Aloha has been extremely vigilant since last summer when it comes to enforcing its interstate travel restrictions. The islands are small and hospitals and resources are limited. Hawaii was overwhelmed early last year with the virus and cannot risk importing new cases.

Hawaii has also been on the alert to enforce that. The state arrested nearly 200 tourists in the first seven months of last year.

The situation has eased somewhat since then. Now, the rules require out-of-state travelers to show proof upon arrival in Hawaii of a negative result on the FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), taken within 72 hours of travel prior to boarding. . Without a negative test result, passengers arriving from out of state will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

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Rules of the Supreme Court for Germany in the Nazi-Era Art Case

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously sentenced heirs to Nazi-era Jewish art dealers in Frankfurt who sought to sue Germany in US courts over artifacts they say the dealers were forced to sell for a third of their value.

The case Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, No. 19-351, concerned the Guelph Treasure, a medieval religious art treasure trove estimated today to be worth $ 250 million. A consortium of three Jewish-owned companies bought the collection at the end of the Weimar Republic and sold about half of it to individual buyers and museums, including the Cleveland Museum of Art.

When the Nazi government took power, the collection attracted the attention of Hermann Goering, Hitler’s second in command and Prime Minister of Prussia. According to the heirs, he threatened the merchants with political persecution and physical harm to coerce them to sell the remaining artifacts in 1935 for much less than they were worth.

The pieces are now at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin. In 2014, a German commission determined that the museum had acquired the collection legitimately. The commission said the 1935 sale to Prussia was voluntary and came after a year-long negotiation that resulted in a price halfway between the open positions of the two sides.

The heirs sued in federal court and a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against Germany, saying the case could be continued .

The question for the judges was whether prosecution was prohibited by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which generally prohibits prosecution against foreign states. The law provides for some exceptions, including one for the expropriation of property.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said the exception did not apply when a foreign government was accused of seizing the property of its own citizens.

The appeals court ruled that the heirs could invoke the exception because the artefacts were taken in connection with an act of genocide, relying on a provision in the law saying that sovereign immunity does not apply. not in cases “in which property rights taken in violation of international law are in question.” “

Chief Justice Roberts said the appeals court read that sentence too broadly.

“We do not need to decide whether the sale of the consortium property was an act of genocide, as the expropriation exception is best interpreted as referring to international law of expropriation rather than the rights of the ‘man,’ he wrote. “We are not looking to genocide law to determine whether we have jurisdiction over common law property claims of heirs. We are looking at the law of property. “

The Supreme Court rarely cites rulings from international tribunals in its rulings, but the chief justice made an exception on Wednesday, noting that the International Court of Justice had ruled in a case involving Germany that “a state is not deprived of immunity on account of being accused of serious violations of international human rights law. “

Chief Justice Roberts added that a general ruling could prompt lawsuits against the United States in foreign courts.

“As a nation, we would be surprised – and might even take reciprocal action – if a German court adjudicated Americans’ claims that they were entitled to hundreds of millions of dollars because of human rights violations. committed by the US government years ago, “he wrote.” There is no reason to expect that Germany’s reaction would be any different if the US courts exercised the claimed jurisdiction in this case. “

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts to consider “an alternative argument raised by the heirs” – that their relatives were not German nationals at the time of the 1935 sale and were therefore free to sue.

In their brief to the Supreme Court, lawyers for the heirs stated that German Jews had been deprived of the legal and economic rights normally associated with citizenship long before 1935. In response, lawyers for Germany wrote that “the laws depriving German Jews of citizenship were not promulgated until after the 1935 purchase ”and that in any event the heirs“ do not and cannot claim that they were nationals of another State.”

The court also issued a brief unsigned decision in a similar case, Republic of Hungary v. Simon, n ° 18-1447. He was brought in by 14 Holocaust survivors, including four US citizens, who said their property was stolen by Hungary and its state-owned railroad, which deported hundreds of thousands of Jews to the Nazi death camps in the summer of 1944.

The court’s opinion ordered the appeals court, which had allowed the case to continue, to reconsider its decision in light of the ruling in the German case.

The Supreme Court issued a third decision on Wednesday, Salinas v. United States Railroad Retirement Board, No. 19-199, allowing an injured railway worker to continue his business. It was the first 5-4 decision in a debated case in the court’s current tenure, and it was notable for the way the judges were divided.

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the Liberal wing of three members of the court – made up of Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – to form a majority. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett were dissenting.

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Automakers drop efforts to derail California climate rules

WASHINGTON – Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and several other major automakers said on Tuesday they would no longer try to stop California from setting its own strict fuel economy standards, signaling that the auto industry is ready to work with President Biden on his greatest effort to reduce greenhouse effects. gas emission.

The corporate move was widely anticipated, after General Motors dropped its support for the Trump-era efforts just weeks after the presidential election. But the change could help the Biden administration move quickly to restore national fuel efficiency standards that would control the global warming automobile pollution, this time with the backing of industry giants who have fought these regulations for years. .

“After four years of going backwards, it’s time to reboot and build a sustainable future, expand domestic manufacturing and deliver clean cars for America,” said Gina McCarthy, Senior Advisor on climate change at the White House. “We have to move forward – and quickly.”

The auto giants’ announcements come on top of a pledge from five other companies – Ford, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen and Volvo – to meet California’s strict standards. And last week, GM pledged to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035, a move that would bring the company into line with another recent California policy banning the sale of internal combustion vehicles by 2035. this year.

Tuesday’s decision also marked a brutal reversal of California’s influence on policymaking in Washington. After President Donald J. Trump rescinded the Obama-era auto pollution rules that were modeled on the California state-level rules, he then blocked the state authority from establish such rules. Mr Biden is now expected to use California as a model to quickly restore national rules.

“We will continue to play an important role in pushing the federal government and the automakers,” promised Jared Blumenfeld, California’s secretary of environmental protection, who added that Biden had recently spoken with Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, on using state auto emissions policies as a guide for federal policies.

In a statement, the automakers, represented by the industry group Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation, said the Trump administration’s lawsuit to block California’s fuel economy rules was no longer supported: ” We are aligned with the goals of the Biden administration to be achieved. Year-over-year improvements in fuel economy standards that provide significant climate benefits and national energy security.

They added: “In a gesture of good faith and to find a constructive way forward, the CSAR decided to withdraw from this trial in order to unify the automotive industry behind a single national program with ambitious and achievable standards.

Mr. Trump had made the rollback of Obama-era fuel economy standards the centerpiece of his deregulation agenda. The Obama-era standards, modeled after those in California, would have required automakers to manufacture and sell vehicles that achieved an average fuel economy of about 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The standards , which would have wiped out roughly six billion tonnes of the planet – the lifelong warming carbon dioxide pollution of vehicles is the biggest federal policy ever to reduce climate change.

Last year, the Trump administration lowered that standard to around 40 miles per gallon by 2026 – a move that would have effectively allowed most of that carbon dioxide to return to the atmosphere. California, however, has a separate deal with the five automakers, in which they agreed to reach a standard of 51 miles per gallon by 2026. The Trump administration, backed by GM and other automakers , has blocked California’s legal authority to set these standards.

Now that GM, Toyota and Fiat Chrysler have walked out of this lawsuit, officials in the Biden administration have one less retarder before a new federal standard. The White House is also expected to explore ways to adopt California’s policy requiring all new vehicles sold after 2035 to be zero-emissions.

The Biden administration is already working quickly to develop this new standard, which will be jointly published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation. On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed the new Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg. At his confirmation hearing, Mr Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., And 2020 presidential candidate, pledged to make tackling climate change one of the guiding principles of his tenure – a first for a transport secretary.

And he will be aided by a new senior official who helped negotiate the California deal with the five automakers: Steven Cliff, formerly deputy managing director of the California Air Resources Board, has been appointed by Mr Biden to lead the National Highway. transport department. and Traffic Safety Administration, the body that will oversee the rewrite of the new automotive fuel economy standards.

“He’s probably the most knowledgeable person in the world about how these automakers are aligning on this and how we’re pushing it,” Blumenfeld said.

McCarthy is expected to meet this week with heads of several major auto companies and representatives of the United Auto Workers and other unions as she begins to sketch out the details of the new rules.

Although the agreement with California sets a standard of 51 miles per gallon for the 2026 model year, the upcoming Biden Rule will likely take a year or more. Its first targets will therefore be later, 2028 or 2029. California and environmental groups are likely to push for even more aggressive standards to help achieve the goal of ending sales of gasoline and diesel cars by now. 2035.

Developing such rules could be a long and complex process, but several people close to the administration say they expect the EPA and the Department of Transportation to issue a “Notice of Proposed Settlement” – essentially, a document that launches the one-to-two – one year legal process of drafting and implementing these rules – by March.

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CDC relaxes coronavirus vaccine rules in ‘exceptional circumstances’

WASHINGTON – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly changed their recommendations for coronavirus vaccinations to give doctors the flexibility to handle “exceptional circumstances,” a spokeswoman said, although the changes have not been studied in large clinical trials.

In guidelines published on the agency’s website Thursday, the CDC said patients can switch between the two vaccines licensed – one by Pfizer and BioNTech, the other by Moderna – between the first and second. doses in “exceptional situations”. The CDC also said that patients could lengthen the interval between doses to six weeks by three or four if giving the second dose earlier was “not feasible.”

With the possibility of vaccine shortages on the horizon and little hope that supply can be increased before April, the changes could offer a way to vaccinate more people – a high priority for President Biden, who presented on Thursday its national coronavirus strategy.

So far, the CDC had warned against any dosage changes, saying there was no evidence for it. CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said that “the agency’s intention is not to suggest people do something different, but to provide clinicians with flexibility for exceptional circumstances.

Dr Anthony S. Fauci, the president’s special advisor on coronavirus, had repeatedly advised against delaying the second dose or making any other changes in the vaccination protocol without the data to back it up. But on Friday, he appeared ready to delay second doses, at least for short periods of time, telling CNN he had no problem with the agency’s recommendations.

“What the CDC says, sometimes the situation is pointed out where it’s very difficult to be exactly on time,” Dr. Fauci said. “So we’re saying you can probably do it six weeks later, which is two more weeks. Frankly, immunologically, I don’t think it will make a big difference.

This month Britain quietly updated its vaccination manual to allow for a mixed vaccination schedule if the second dose of the vaccine a patient initially received was not available or if the manufacturer of the first vaccine was not available. was not known. Some scientists questioned that decision at the time, saying Britain was playing with its new directions.

In the United States, the two vaccines with emergency federal clearance are both based on the same mRNA technology and require two doses. So far, the CDC has strictly adhered to the recommendations of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which specifically stated that vaccines should not be mixed.

Updated CDC guidelines still state that authorized vaccines are “not interchangeable with each other or with other Covid-19 vaccines.” The agency put the word “no” in bold on its website and noted that the safety and effectiveness of mixing doses have not been studied.

But “in exceptional situations where the vaccine product for the first dose cannot be determined or is no longer available,” the guidelines add, any available mRNA vaccine can be used for the second dose.

Regarding the dosage, the recommendations state that the second dose should be given as close to the recommended interval as possible – three weeks for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four weeks for Moderna. But if that is “not feasible,” the agency wrote, the interval between doses can be extended up to six weeks.

The timing of vaccination is essential not only to curb disease and death, but also to avoid the effects of more infectious forms of the virus. The CDC has warned that a variant, thought to be 50% more contagious, could become the primary source of infection in the United States by March.

Although public health experts are optimistic about the effectiveness of existing vaccines against this variant, known as B.1.1.7, it could increase the rate of new cases if enough people are not vaccinated.

During a White House briefing Thursday – his first since November – Dr Fauci said experts were particularly concerned about new variants of the virus in South Africa and Brazil, which have yet to reach states -United. He said vaccines always seemed to be effective against these variants, but the variants could bypass the immune system to some extent, making it all the more urgent to vaccinate people.

“Viruses that replicate only mutate if they replicate,” Dr Fauci then said, “and if you can suppress that with a really good vaccination campaign, you can actually avoid this deleterious effect that you might get. mutations. ”

Federal health officials and business leaders agree that it will not be possible to increase immediate vaccine supply until April due to lack of manufacturing capacity. And the current vaccination effort, which had little central leadership under the Trump administration, has so far caused confusion and frustration. Some communities complain about running out of doses, while others have unused vials on shelves.

According to a senior administration official, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are on track to deliver up to 18 million doses per week. Together, they have pledged to deliver 200 million doses by the end of March.

A third vaccine maker, Johnson & Johnson, is expected to release the results of its clinical trial as early as this weekend. If approved, this vaccine would also help support production. If all that supply were used, the country could average more than two million shots a day.

In April and beyond, the outlook brightens. Pfizer and Moderna have each pledged to deliver an additional 100 million doses by the end of July; companies may be able to provide even more. A week ago, Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner, raised their global production target for the year to two billion doses, from 1.3 billion doses.

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Murkowski rules out changing parties to join the Democrats, saying “I can’t be someone I’m not.”

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski said on Friday that she was committed to remaining a Republican, calling liberal aspirations to change parties and give Democrats an edge in the evenly divided Senate “a dream of some who will not materialize ”.

Ms Murkowski, a scathing critic of former President Donald J. Trump who has indicated she was prepared to condemn him during his impeachment trial for his role in the mob violence that stormed the Capitol, had raised the question of whether she could the GOP when she told a national newspaper that she had doubts about her place in the party.

Days after the January 6 assault, she told the Anchorage Daily News that “if the Republican Party is just Trump’s party, I sincerely wonder if this party is right for me.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday, Ms Murkowski expressed the same sentiment, but added that she had “absolutely no desire to go to the Democratic side of the aisle – I can’t be someone I am not.”

“As rambling as things are on the Republican side, you can’t convince me to go over to the other side,” she added. “It’s not who I am, it’s not who I’ll ever be.”

Ms Murkowski, who is due for re-election in 2022, has long been independent. She voted against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, helped end Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and was one of the first in her party to recognize President Biden’s victory when ‘a majority of his colleagues refused to do so. .

On Friday, she confirmed that she had not voted for Mr. Trump, although she would not release the name of the person whose name she had written down instead. Even though she vowed to remain a Republican, Ms Murkowski admitted her party struggled to regroup around an identity in the wake of Mr Trump’s presidency.

“I think in many ways we are a party that is struggling to identify with,” Ms. Murkowski said. “We have some who have strongly identified with Trump, and will likely continue to identify for years to come. But you have a lot of other people who haven’t really been sold, but absolutely bought into the policies. “

Asked about the role she planned to play as the party struggled to recalibrate after losing control of the White House and Senate, she said she would remain a senator “ who is not afraid of ‘be in the middle, even though there aren’t many people there who are with me.

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Restoring Trump’s Overturned Environmental Rules Could Take Years

“When it comes to restoring the vast majority of these Obama environmental policies, the backslides have actually been made by putting in place new regulations,” Jeffrey Holmstead, an attorney representing fossil fuel companies who has served in the EPA in both Bush administrations. “In some cases it took two to three years. They will have to be replaced by new regulations. There is a legal process that must be followed. “

The work of restoring more comprehensive federal regulations on air, water and climate pollution will take even longer. One key reason, legal experts explained: When the Trump administration rescinded these rules, it almost never eliminated them entirely. Instead, they replaced strict federal pollution regulations with new, weaker pollution regulations.

The Biden administration, in turn, will seek to legally rescind these weak regulations and replace them with stricter regulations. And this legal process typically takes two years or more. For example, the Trump EPA rolled back the Obama administration’s biggest policy to curb climate change, a rule that required automakers to quickly increase passenger vehicle fuel consumption and, in so doing, reduce considerably their pollution by heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Pollution. To do this, the EPA had to follow a long legal path, formally issuing a proposed rule change, opening it up for public comment, drafting legal, economic and scientific justifications for the rule, and making complex technical analyzes of the impacts of the rule. new rule on road safety, air quality and consumer behavior.

Although the Trump administration began its overturning of Obama’s auto pollution rule in the early days of taking office, it was only completed last spring.

The same timeline could await Mr Biden as he seeks to restore rule.

“It’s a laborious and time-consuming process,” said Richard Revesz, professor of environmental law at New York University, who was on Mr. Biden’s shortlist to lead the EPA.

“No one doubts the power of the EPA to reinstate these auto pollution regulations,” Revesz said. “But they can’t just do away with Trump’s rules by executive order. They have to go through the same process – prepare all the scientific and economic analyzes, and you have to do everything right.

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McConnell calls for arraignment delay, slows down Senate rules

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and leader of the minority, on Thursday asked Democrats to postpone the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump until mid-February, complicating their hopes of achieving a swift deal to prevent the procedure from interfering with the first weeks of President Biden’s tenure.

Mr McConnell made the request on a day when Mr Biden’s call for unity was already met with partisan dysfunction in the Senate. Mr McConnell and Senator Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat and Majority Leader, were locked in a separate impasse over how they would share power and whether Democrats would promise to preserve Republicans’ ability to make power. systematic obstruction.

The standoff highlighted Mr McConnell’s determination to maintain his influence to thwart Mr Biden’s priorities and the difficulty Democrats would have in doing business with a one-vote majority.

The result: In Mr. Biden’s first full day in office and Democrats’ first full control over Congress, the Senate was in a state of suspended animation, unable to move forward even with the tasks of basis of organizing committees or making rules to virtually get anything done.

It was not clear whether Mr. Schumer would agree to Mr. McConnell’s request to delay the impeachment trial. Justin Goodman, Mr Schumer’s spokesperson, said the chief would review Mr McConnell’s proposal and discuss it with him.

In a statement, the Republican leader argued that the former president’s defense team needed “modest and reasonable extra time” to prepare a case for trial after the House rushed to charge Mr. Trump inciting the insurgency for his role in a violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6. Mr McConnell has offered the House to present his case at the end of next week and then hand over Mr Trump’s defense team – led by Butch Bowers, a lawyer from South Carolina – until February 13 . to begin the pleadings.

“In this time of strong political passions, Senate Republicans believe it is absolutely imperative that we not allow a half-baked process to bypass the due process that former President Trump deserves, or damage. the Senate or the presidency, ”said McConnell, who told colleagues he was prepared to condemn the president.

Democrats were preparing to start a trial as early as Monday and hoped to reach a resolution in a week or less to try to minimize the effects of a divisive and consuming process during Mr Biden’s early days in the White House. But they also want to claim that they held a fair trial and that they may end up agreeing to a deadline to quickly further confirm Mr Biden’s cabinet.

Earlier Thursday, President Nancy Pelosi declined to say when she planned to send the House impeachment charge to the Senate, which would immediately trigger the timing of the trial start. She only said she would do it “soon”.

Persistent disputes over how to proceed with Mr. Trump’s trial and Senate business reflected how quickly Mr. Biden’s upbeat calls to brush aside partisan animosity and tackle an intimidating set of crises that overlaps were dissipating in the realities of polarized Congress.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate, who just 24 hours earlier had sent warm congratulations, were quickly retreating to their partisan corners. Even though they pledged to keep an open mind, they criticized Mr Biden’s decision on Wednesday to reinstate the Paris climate accord and his proposal to overhaul the country’s immigration system.

“Several big steps in the wrong direction,” McConnell warned in the Senate.

“The wrong priorities at the wrong time,” said his counterpart in the House, California Representative Kevin McCarthy.

Mr. McConnell in particular was returning to a familiar role as the main tactical antagonist of the majority, trying to use negotiations over a generally innocuous set of rules for the functioning of the Senate to weaken the power of Democrats to advance Mr. Biden on the United Republican. opposition.

Because the house is split 50-50, Republican cooperation is needed to settle the rules. But Mr McConnell made his approval conditional on Mr Schumer’s pledge not to remove filibuster, which effectively imposes a 60-vote threshold to advance the law. Mr McConnell himself resisted pressure to do so when he was majority leader during Mr Trump’s tenure, and warned Democrats that a rule change would backfire.

“If the talk of unity and common ground is to make sense,” said Mr McConnell, “then I can’t imagine the Democratic leader preferring to keep the power-sharing deal rather than just reaffirm that his side will not break this position. Senate rule. “

The demand put both Mr Biden and Mr Schumer in a difficult position, speeding up a debate that was always going to be difficult for Democrats. Progressives prefer to get rid of the filibuster to allow them to bypass Republicans completely and win crucial items on Mr. Biden’s agenda. Others say it’s the only way to embrace the kind of change needed to deal with climate change, racial injustice and the country’s failing healthcare system. But centrists like West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin III oppose it; some Democrats warn that repealing the rule could quickly backfire if their party loses control of the Senate next year.

Mr Schumer, who has remained publicly undecided about the filibuster, insisted on Thursday that Democrats would not let Mr McConnell prematurely tie his hands or divide them.

“Our caucus is strongly opposed to any superfluous arrangement,” he told reporters, “and so we will continue to work to try to get a bipartisan deal.”

He seemed to have Mr. Manchin’s support.

“Chuck is right to do this, he’s the chef,” Mr. Manchin said. “I’m not at all worried about this. They will get there. I just haven’t changed where I am.

With the Democrats’ margin of control so narrow, Mr. Manchin’s opposition alone would be enough to prevent change. But it was not clear that his assurances were enough to cause Mr. McConnell to back down.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, declined to say what Mr Biden thought of the prospect of abolishing a rule that has been a mainstay of the Senate, where he served for 36 years.

“The president has been clear,” Ms. Psaki said. “He wants to work with both sides and find bipartisan paths to move forward.”

Although the dispute is obscure, its practical effect could be significant if it persists. Without an organizational resolution, Democrats’ ambitions to push forward another coronavirus aid program or any tax, infrastructure or health care legislation that gathered dust when Republicans controlled the Senate were essentially crippled.

In the short term, the dispute created a surreal dynamic, in which Mr Schumer claimed the role of majority leader, even as influential chamber committees – middle stations for Mr Biden’s agenda – continued. to be overseen by Republican presidents.

Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat No.2, who is expected to take over from the Judiciary Committee, drily said he did not know who was in charge of his panel.

“We know it could be one of three people,” he said. They included it; Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who held the hammer the last term; or Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who was due to take the Republican top spot from Mr. Graham this quarter.

A spokesman for Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, who was in line to lead the Armed Services Committee, warned reporters not to call his boss “president” just yet, or any time soon.

“When will the official change take place?” the assistant, Chip Unruh, wrote. “If only I knew.”

Some committees, including the one overseeing the coronavirus response, simply couldn’t meet because their former Republican presidents had retired.

Others were more optimistic. Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia, predicted an early end to the bargaining over the Organizing Resolution. “It just seems a little rude not to do it,” he said. “They have a lot of tools in the minority.”

He added, “Stopping the organizing resolution and blocking committee assignments and things like that just seems a little petty. I just have a feeling we’ll get there.

Emily cochrane contribution to reports.