Tag Archives: Trump

Election Aftermath Suits

Election Aftermath Suits

As the US Senate’s second impeachment trial of former President Donald J Trump  moved toward its foregone acquittal,  the State of Georgia announced that it had begun an investigation into Trump regarding his alleged attempt to change the vote total there and reverse the election results.

The State of New York already had an tax inquiry into Trump.

Here is a chronology of those suits following the acquittal.

Trump Tired and Tried Again

January 2, 2021: the Guardian reported that in an hour-long phone call President Trump pressed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory there in the election the president refuses to concede.

The Washington Post obtained a tape of the conversation, which Trump acknowledged on Twitter (Twitter later permanently suspended his account).

Election Aftermath Suits 

February 4, 2021:  Smartmatic, which provided election technology in one county, filed suit against Donald J. Trump’s longtime favorite news outlet and three Fox anchors, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, all ardent supporters of the former president. A trial could reveal how Mr. Trump’s media backers sought to cast doubt on an election that delivered a victory to Joseph R. Biden Jr. and a loss to an incumbent who refused to accept reality.

Filed in New York State Supreme Court, Smartmatic’s suit sought at least $2.7 billion in damages. In addition to Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corporation, Fox News and the three star anchors, it targets Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell, lawyers who made the case for election fraud as frequent guests on Fox programs while representing President Trump. [NYT article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Fani T. Willis

Trump Aftermath Suits 
Fulton County, Georgia

February 11, 2021: Fani T. Willis, the recently elected Democratic prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia, sent a letter to numerous Georgia stage government officials, including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, requesting that they preserve documents related to “an investigation into attempts to influence” the state’s 2020 presidential election.

The criminal investigation revolved around the former President’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Raffensperger in which Trump pressured him to “find” enough votes to help him reverse his loss.

Election Aftermath Suits 

Lindsey Graham included

The criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s post-election conduct expanded to include Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham.

According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Graham asked Raffensperger in November whether the secretary of state had the power to throw out all mail-in ballots in certain Georgia counties, a move that would potentially have tipped the state, and its 16 electoral votes, to Trump in the November election. [VOX article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

New York City Inquiry

February 19, 2021: the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office subpoenaed a New York City property tax agency as part of a criminal investigation into Donald Trumps company, suggesting prosecutors were examining the former president’s efforts to reduce his commercial real-estate taxes for possible evidence of fraud.

The subpoena issued to the New York City Tax Commission was the latest indication that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. was looking at the values Trump assigned to some commercial properties in tax filings and loan documents.

Along with information already subpoenaed from creditors, the tax agency documents would help investigators determine whether Trump’s business inflated the value of his properties to secure favorable terms on loans while deflating those values to lower tax bills for those same properties.

New York City Tax Commission President Frances Henn confirmed the subpoena in response to an inquiry from Reuters. [HuffPost article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Lawyer reprimand

February 19, 2021:  U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg in Washington formally referred Erick Kaardal, a Minnesota lawyer, for potential discipline over a lawsuit filed in December seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s wins in at least five battleground states.

Boasberg said the suit was so flimsy and legally flawed that it could merit Kaardal facing some sort of punishment from the court.

The relief requested in this lawsuit is staggering: to invalidate the election and prevent the electoral votes from being counted. When any counsel seeks to target processes at the heart of our democracy, the Committee may well conclude that they are required to act with far more diligence and good faith than existed here,” wrote Boasberg [Politico article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Supreme Court/Trump Taxes/New York

February 22, 2021:  the Supreme Court cleared the way for a Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns, dealing a massive loss to Trump who has fiercely fought to shield his financial papers from prosecutors.

The ruling is a bitter loss for Trump, even if the tax records are shielded from public disclosure, after he consistently argued that the subpoena issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was overbroad and issued in bad faith.

It means that the grand jury investigation into alleged hush money payments and other issues would no longer be hampered by Trump’s fight to keep the documents secret. [CNN story]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Cobb County, Georgia

February 22, 2021: Cobb County asked Donald Trump and Georgia GOP chair David Shafer to pay $10,875 in fees and DeKalb County asked for $6,105, for a lawsuit challenging the state’s election results that the Trump campaign ultimatelywithdrew in January.

“Given the number of failed lawsuits filed by the former President and his campaign, Petitioners apparently believed that they could file their baseless and legally deficient actions with impunity, with no regard for the costs extracted from the taxpayers’ coffers or the consequences to the democratic foundations of our country,” attorneys for Cobb County official Janine Eveler wrote in the court filing, saying they were asking for fees “in an effort to provide a modicum of accountability for the actions of Petitioners and to send a signal that similarly deficient contests filed in the future will face similar consequences.”[Forbes article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Manhattan Investigation

March 1, 2021: according to people with knowledge of the matter, state prosecutors in Manhattan who were investigating former President Donald J. Trump and his family business sharpened their focus on the company’s long-serving chief financial officer, asking witnesses questions about his dealings at the company.

The increased focus on the executive, Allen H. Weisselberg, could step up pressure on him to cooperate with the investigation if the prosecutors unearth evidence of wrongdoing on his part. He had served as the Trump Organization’s financial gatekeeper for more than two decades and would be a vital source of information for the government about the inner workings of the company. [NYT article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Congressional Suit

March 5, 2021: Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, a former House impeachment manager, sued Donald J. Trump in federal court, attempting to move Congress’s case that the former president incited the January 6 assault on the Capitol into the justice system after his acquittal in the Senate last month.

The suit brought accused Trump and key allies of inciting the deadly attack and conspiring with rioters to try to prevent Congress from formalizing President Biden’s election victory. And like the case laid out in the Senate trial, it meticulously traces a monthslong campaign by Trumpto undermine confidence in the 2020 election and then overturn its results.

The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the defendants’ unlawful actions,” asserts the suit, filed for Mr. Swalwell in Federal District Court in Washington. “As such, the defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”

He wanted the court to declare that in doing so, Donald Trump violated federal civil rights law and terrorism and bias crime statutes in the District of Columbia and inflicted serious emotional distress — findings that could severely tarnish his legacy and political standing. [NYT article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

Racketeering Lawyer

March 6: sources told Reuters that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willishas hired John Floyd, an expert in racketeering cases, to help with her investigation into President Trump’s calls during the counting of Georgia votes during the 2020 election.

Floyd will “help as needed” during the Trump investigation when issues of racketeering are brought up. [The Hill article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

New York Expansion

March 8, 2021: CNN reported that in a sign that the investigation into the former president’s finances continued to expand, the Manhattan district attorney’s office subpoenaed documents from Fortress Investment Management that had loaned the Trump Organization millions of dollars for its Chicago skyscraper.

Investigators’ interest in how Trump and his company treated the Chicago loan was an expansion of an inquiry that encompasses multiple aspects of the Trump business.
Prosecutors were also investigating fees paid to consultants and a conservation easement taken on a New York family estate called Seven Springs.
Election Aftermath Suits 

Another Recording

March 10: WSB-TV in Atlanta reported that on December 23, 2020, before President Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger,  the President called Francis Watson, the chief investigator for Georgia’s Secretary of State Office. Watson recorded the call.

In the recording, Trump mentioned other states in the South where he defeated President Joe Biden, including Florida and Alabama and questions how he didn’t win Georgia. He also urged investigators to check signatures on ballots going back several years to verify their accuracy.

“If you go back two years or four years, you’ll see it’s a totally different signature. But, but hopefully, you know, I will, when the right answer comes down, you’ll be praised,” Trump said.

The investigation found there were only two mismatched signatures among the more than 15,000 votes in the audit.

Election Aftermath Suits 

Proud Boys Charged

 March 17, 2021: F.B.I. agents arrested two organizers for the Proud Boys in Philadelphia and North Carolina, and prosecutors filed new charges against two other prominent members of the far-right group in Florida and Washington State as federal authorities continued their crackdown on its leadership ranks.

With the new conspiracy indictment, prosecutors had brought charges against a total of 13 people identified in court papers as members of the Proud Boys. Federal investigators described the group, which appeared in force in Washington on January 6, as one of the chief instigators of the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

In the indictment, prosecutors accused Charles Donohoe, a Proud Boys leader from North Carolina, and Zach Rehl, the president of the group’s chapter in Philadelphia, of conspiring to interfere with law enforcement officers at the Capitol and obstruct the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory. Two other high-ranking Proud Boys who were already facing similar charges — Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Wash., and Joseph Biggs of Ormond Beach, Fla. — were also implicated as part of the conspiracy.

Election Aftermath Suits 

Dominion Suit

March 26, 2021: Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company that was at the center of a baseless pro-Trump conspiracy about rigged voting machines, filed a lawsuit that accused Fox News of advancing lies that devastated its reputation and business.

Dominion sought at least $1.6 billion in damages. The lawsuit came less than two months after Smartmatic, another election tech company, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Mr. Murdoch’s Fox Corporation and named several Fox anchors, including Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs, as defendants.

In a 139-page complaint filed in Delaware Superior Court, Dominion’s legal team, led by the prominent defamation firm Clare Locke, portrayed Fox as an active player in spreading falsehoods that Dominion had manipulated vote counts and manipulated its machines to benefit Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the election. [NYT article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

2 grand juries 

March 29: Yahoo News reported that there were now two grand juries underway in Fulton County, Georgia, where District Attorney Fani Willis was investigating former President Donald Trump for allegedly interfering with and pressuring state election officials as they recounted votes from the 2020 presidential election, The Daily Beast reports. The jurors in the secret proceedings were reportedly expected to issue subpoenas demanding documents and recordings related to the investigation. “I suspect that’s in the very near future,” Willis told The Daily Beast.

Guiliani

April 28: federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office, seizing computers and cellphonesin a major escalation of the Justice Department’s investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his leadership after 9/11, has been under federal scrutiny for several years over his ties to Ukraine. The dual searches sent the strongest signal yet that he could eventually face federal charges. [AP article]

Election Aftermath Suits 

New York State 

Criminal Investigation

May 11, 2021: Donald J. Trump and his family came under increasing pressure from New York investigators after the attorney general’s office said  it was working alongside the Manhattan district attorney in an ongoing criminal fraud investigation.

The two offices had been conducting parallel investigations for more than a year, though the inquiry by the office of New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, had been a civil one, meaning it could result in a lawsuit or fines. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., had been conducting a criminal investigation, which could result in charges.

The new development, first reported by CNN, was disclosed after the attorney general’s office wrote to the Trump Organization in recent days notifying it that information collected as part of the civil inquiry could now be used as part of a criminal investigation.

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Ms. James, said in a statement. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan D.A. We have no additional comment at this time.”  [NYT article]

Allen Weisselberg

May 19: the New York attorney general’s office opened a criminal tax investigation into top Trump Organization officer Allen Weisselberg, increasing the legal pressure on the long-time aide to former President Donald Trump, people familiar with the investigation say.

The pressure on Weisselberg  was mounting from two directions with the attorney general looking into his personal taxes, while prosecutors in the district attorney’s office were digging into his role at the Trump Organization, his personal finances, and benefits given to his son Barry, a long-time employee of the Trump Organization. [CNN article]
Special Grand Jury

May 18: New York prosecutors convened a special grand jury to consider evidence in a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business dealings.

The development signaled that the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr’s office was moving toward seeking charges as a result of its two-year investigation, which included a lengthy legal battle to obtain Trump’s tax records. [AP article]

Republicans Castigated

June 23, 2021: U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth castigated Republican lawmakers  for downplaying the violence of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying in handing down the first sentence to a charged defendant that those who break the law must pay a penalty.

“I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol,” he said. “I don’t know what planet they were on. . . . This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent; it was intended to halt the very functioning of our government.”

Anna Morgan-Lloyd, a 49-year-old Indiana woman before him, who had just pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of demonstrating inside the Capitol, did not disagree.

Although the day after the riotMorgan-Lloyd described Jan. 6 as “the most exciting day of my life,” in court she expressed regret and contrition. [WP article]

Giuliani Suspended

June 24, 2021: an appellate court in New York suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in New York state.
In a ruling released following disciplinary proceedings, the court concluded that “there is uncontroverted evidence” that Giuliani, the former Manhattan US attorney, “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” [CNN article]

Trump Organization/Allen Weisselberg

June 30, 2021: a Manhattan grand jury indicted the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

The charges were related to alleged tax crimes in connection with an array of perks and benefits awarded to employees.
Though former President Donald Trump faced multiple federal and state prosecutorial inquiries during his administration, the district attorney’s indictment would be the first to charge his namesake company with criminal conduct. [CNN article]

Trump/Justice Department

July 30, 2021: while it was previously known that Trump publicly and privately pushed the Justice Department to investigate his baseless claims that the election was stolen,  new documents — nine pages of contemporaneous notes from a Dec. 27 phone call between Trump, then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and then-acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue — provide new insights into those efforts

.The notes, which were taken by Donoghue, show Trump raising his now-familiar falsehoods about rampant voter fraud in Georgia, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

We have an obligation to tell people that this was an illegal, corrupt election,” Trump is quoted as saying. [NPR article]

US Capitol Police Sue Trump

Seven US Capitol Police officers sued former President Donald Trump, Stop the Steal rally organizers, and members of far-right extremist groups, accusing them of spreading lies, using White supremacist sentiments to attempt to overthrow the 2020 election, and ultimately bearing responsibility for the riot that injured more than 140 officers on January 6.

Plaintiffs and their fellow law enforcement officers risked their lives to defend the Capitol from a violent, mass attack — an attack provoked, aided, and joined by Defendants in an unlawful effort to use force, intimidation, and threats to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 Presidential election,” says the lawsuit filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.
“Because of Defendants’ unlawful actions, Plaintiffs were violently assaulted, spat on, tear-gassed, bear-sprayed, subjected to racial slurs and epithets, and put in fear for their lives,” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiffs’ injuries, which Defendants caused, persist to this day.” [CNN article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Trump Impeachment Redux

President Trump had survived his 2020 Senate impeachment trial  and his retaliatory behavior following that acquittal put on full display his righteous view of what it meant disloyalty to him meant.

Then came the November election. It took several days to complete the count, but in the end Joe Biden won despite the President’s immediate and repeated false accusations of election fraud.

Save America March

He declared a “Save America March” for January 6, 2021, the day that Congress formally and Constitutionally counts the electoral votes and officially declares the next President.

On that day, President Trump, Donald Trump, Jr, and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani spoke to the crowd. Trump continued to prevaricate and repeat debunked claims of widespread election fraud. He incited the crowd with statements like, “We will never give up, we will never concede.

Only seven minutes into the 75 minute speech, the crowd chanted: Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!

His inflammatory words pushed an already embittered and combative crowd to their successful, if temporary, violent takeover of the Capitol building forcing the members of Congress into hiding within. Dozens were injured and  five died, including a Capitol police officer.

Some Trump supporters said that Trump adversaries Antifa had surreptitiously incited the  insurrection. That it had lead the charge into the Capitol. FBI reports found no such evidence.

In the weeks following, dozens of insurrectionists were identified, arrested, and charged.

Calls for Trump’s removal from office immediately followed, albeit mainly from the Democrats, but from some Republicans as well.

The irony of his July 27, 2020 tweet was not lost on those who saw the riot as the insurrection it was. Most Republicans stuck their head in the ground or up their….

Trump Impeachment Redux

Article Introduced

Monday 11 January: the New York Times reported that House Democrats on  introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump for inciting the mob that attacked the Capitol, vowing to press the charge as Republicans blocked a separate move to formally call on Vice President Mike Pence to strip him of power under the 25th Amendment.

The dual actions came as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus sought to ratchet up pressure on Mr. Pence to intervene and push Trump to resign. If they did not, the Democrats promised immediate consequences for Trump’s role in an attack that put the lives of the vice president, members of Congress and thousands of staff working on Capitol Hill at risk as officials met to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.

“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” Pelosi said.

Trump Impeachment Redux

Pence Called Upon

Tuesday 12 January: the House voted to formally call on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to strip President Trump of his powers after he incited a mob that attacked the Capitol, as lawmakers warned they would impeach the president the next day if Pence did not comply.

Pence sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to act.

Lawmakers, escorted by armed guards into a heavily fortified Capitol, adopted the nonbinding measure just before midnight largely along party lines. The final vote was 223 to 205 to implore Mr. Pence to declare Mr. Trump “incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.” [NYT article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Impeachment

from the New York Times

 

Wednesday 13 January: Democrats in the House of Representatives debated and voted on a single article of impeachment against President Trump, charging him with “incitement of insurrection” over last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Though he said he would not re-convene the Senate until January 19, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, was said to support the effort as a means of purging his party of Mr. Trump.

Trump Impeachment Redux

Giuliani Out

Monday 17 January: the New York Times reported a person close to President Trump said that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, would not be taking part in the president’s defense in the Senate trial.

Trump met with Giuliani the night of January 16 at the White House and the next day the president began telling people that Giuliani was not going to be part of the team. It was unclear who would be a defense lawyer for Trump, given that many attorneys had privately said they would not represent him.

Giuliani himself at first said he was taking part in the trial and then a day later said he would had no involvement.

He told ABC News on Sunday 17 January that he would not be part of the defense, noting that he was a potential witness since he gave a speech at the January 6 rally.

Trump Impeachment Redux

McConnell Admits Trump Provocation

January 19, 2021: Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, said  that the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 had been “provoked by the president and other powerful people,” stating publicly for the first time that he holds President Trump at least partly responsible for the assault.

The mob was fed lies,” Mr. McConnell said, referring to attempts by Mr. Trump to overturn the election based on bogus claims of voter fraud.

They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.” [NYT article]

McConnell Seeks delay

January 21, 2021: Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, asked Democrats  to delay the impeachment trial until mid-February. His request complicated Democrats  hopes of reaching a swift agreement to prevent the proceeding from interfering with the crucial first weeks of President Biden’s tenure. [NYT article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Date Announced

January 22, 2021: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats plan to send the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday 25 January, triggering the start of the Senate’s trial of former President Donald Trump on Friday 29 January.

Unless senators strike an agreement to delay the trial, it would begin on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. [CNN article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Senator Patrick J. Leahy

Aides and other officials said that Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Senate president pro tempore, was expected to preside over former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, assuming a role filled last year by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

The Constitution states that the chief justice of the United States presides over any impeachment trial of the president or vice president. But it does not explicitly give guidance on who should oversee the proceeding for others, including former presidents, and it appeared that Chief Justice Roberts was uninterested in reprising a time consuming role that would insert him and the Supreme Court directly into the fractious political fight over Mr. Trump. [NYT article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Article delivered/Senators Sworn In

January 25: at about 7 p.m. ET, U.S. House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, Rep. Jamie Raskin, and Rep. David Cicilline walked through the Capitol’s Statuary Hall and delivered the article of impeachment for incitement of insurrection against former President Trump to the Senate floor. The prompted preparations for an historic trial.

January 26: U.S. senators, who act as jurors in an impeachment trial,  were sworn in.

The trial itself scheduled begin on February 9, giving the nine House impeachment managers and Trump’s defense team two weeks to file briefs and finalize their legal preparations. [NPR article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

February 2…pretrial briefs filed

Democrats

In a meticulously detailed 80-page pretrial brief filed with the Senate, the nine House Democrats preparing to prosecute the case next week argued that Mr. Trump was “singularly responsible” for a violent attack on the democratic process, and would do anything to “reassert his grip on power” if he were allowed to seek election again.

The impeachment managers argued that the riot at the Capitol on January 6 was the direct result of a campaign by former President Donald J. Trump to undermine American democracy and overthrow the election at any cost.

They warned that acquitting him and failing to disqualify him from future office could do grave damage to the nation. [NYT article]

Republicans

Trump’s lawyers filed an official response to the article of impeachment.

In their 14-page filing, the former president’s attorneys largely ignored the factual assertions contained in the House document, denying the allegation without presenting evidence, and asserting that it is up to the House to prove its case.

They argued that Trump did not incite the crowd on Jan. 6 “to engage in destructive behavior.” They focus much of their reply on the argument that the Constitution’s impeachment provision does not apply to a president who is no longer in office. [NPR story]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Trial Begins

Tuesday 9 February

The Senate voted  to proceed with the impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump, rejecting his defense team’s claim that it would be unconstitutional to prosecute a president after leaving office.

The 56-to-44 vote, with six Republicans joining all 50 Democrats, paved the way for the House Democrats trying the case to formally open their arguments on Feb 10 as they seek to prove that Mr. Trump incited an insurrection by encouraging supporters who stormed the Capitol last month and disrupted the counting of Electoral College votes.

The 44 Republicans who agreed with Trump’s claim that a former president cannot be subject to an impeachment trial seemed to all but guarantee that he would have the 34 votes he needs on the final verdict to avoid conviction. [NYT article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Wednesday 10 February

The House managers presented for nearly eight hours on , walking the jury — senators who were in the Capitol during the attack on January 6 — through footage of the riot and of former President Trump’s speeches in the weeks leading up to it. Most of that had been publicly available and previously televised, but parts of their presentation — like security camera footage of staff members sheltering in offices and radio chatter from Capitol Police officers — had not been released before.

Trump’s lawyers sought to avoid arguing the case on its merits, saying the trial itself was in violation of the Constitution. [NYT article, NPR article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

Thursday 11 February

The NY Times reported that House impeachment managers had wrapped up their incitement case against former President Donald J. Trump by warning that he remained a clear and present danger to American democracy and could foment still more violence if not barred from running for office again.

With the sounds of a rampaging mob still ringing in the Senate chamber, the managers sought to channel the shock and indignation rekindled by videos they showed of last month’s attack on the Capitol into a bipartisan repudiation of the former president who inflamed his supporters with false claims of a stolen election.

My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he’s ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way?” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the lead impeachment manager, asked the senators. “Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?

Trump Impeachment Redux

Friday 12 February

The NY Times reported that lawyers for Donald J. Trump delivered an incendiary but brief defense of the former president , calling the House’s charge that he incited an insurrection at the Capitol a “preposterous and monstrous lie” as they falsely equated his conduct to Democrats’ own combative rhetoric.

Confident they have enough votes from Republicans to acquit Mr. Trump, the lawyers used only about three of their 16 allotted hours, allowing senators to proceed Friday afternoon to a period of questioning the prosecution and defense.

Earlier, the defense team had channeled the former president’s own combative style and embrace of falsehoods to claim, contrary to facts, that Mr. Trump never glorified violence during his presidency and that he consistently called for peace as the rampage at the Capitol unfolded. Showing video clips of Democrats urging their supporters to “fight” and Mr. Trump venerating “law and order,” they sought to rewrite not just the narrative of his campaign to overturn the election but that of his entire presidency.

This trial is about far more than President Trump,” said Bruce L. Castor Jr., one of the lawyers, as he closed the defense. “It is about silencing the speech the majority does not agree with. It is about canceling 75 million Trump voters and criminalizing political viewpoints.”

Trump Impeachment Redux

Saturday 13 February

Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, privately told his colleagues he was ready to acquit Mr. Trump, confirming that an eventual conviction was exceedingly unlikely.

Acquittal

The voted on Saturday to acquit Donald J. Trump.

Voting 57-43, the Senate fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction. Seven Republicans voted to find the former president guilty of “incitement of insurrection,” with all 50 Democrats, the most bipartisan support for conviction in any of the four presidential impeachments in U.S. history. [NYT article]

Senator Schumer responds

After the acquittal,  Senate majority leader Charles Schumer spoke. His beginning remarks were:

The case of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial was open and shut. President Trump told a lie — a big lie — that the election was stolen, and that he was the rightful winner. He laid the groundwork for this big lie in the months before the election, he told the big lie on election night, and he repeated the big lie more than 100 times in the weeks afterwards. He summoned his supporters to Washington, assembled them on the Ellipse, whipped them into a frenzy, and directed them at the Capitol.
And then he watched, as the violence unfolded, and the Capitol was breached, and his own Vice President fled for his life—and President Trump did nothing.
None of the facts were up for debate. We saw it. We heard it. We lived it. This was the first presidential impeachment trial in history in which all Senators were not only judges and jurors, but witnesses to the constitutional crime that was committed.
The former president inspired, directed, and propelled a mob to violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power, subvert the will of the people, and illegally keep that president in power.
[see text for Schumer’s complete remarks]
Senator Mitch McConnell responds

After Senator Schumer spoke, Senate minority leader McConnell spoke. He had voted to acquit because, he explained, Congress could not impeach and find guilty someone no longer President, but still condemned Trump.

January 6th was a disgrace.
American citizens attacked their own government. They used terrorism to try to stop a specific piece of democratic business they did not like.
Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President.
They did this because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth — because he was angry he’d lost an election.
He added later:
There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.
[see text for McConnell’s complete remarks]
Trump responds

Later, former President Donald Trump thanked most of the Senate Republicans for his impeachment acquittal  adding that the political movement he began with his 2016 election has “only just begun.”

We have so much work ahead of us, and soon we will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant, and limitless American future,”

While thanking GOP allies, Trump – who was considering another presidential run – attacked Democrats by saying “it is a sad commentary on our times that one political party in America is given a free pass to denigrate the rule of law.” [NPR article]

Trump Impeachment Redux

December 2020 COVID 19

December 2020 COVID 19

In November, voters had legitimately elected Joe Biden to be President.  Without any actual evidence, President Trump continuously  and baselessly claimed voter fraud despite State election officials’ diligent recount evidence to the contrary and judges’s tossing the dozens of President Trump’s lawyers challenges.

President Trump’s obsessive fixation on his defeat exacerbated his continued lackluster response to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic catastrophe.

December 2020 COVID 19

In US Earlier Than Thought

December 1: according to a new government study, the coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified,

The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn’t until January 19 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S.

However, new findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases suggested that the coronavirus had infected people in the U.S. even earlier.

SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized,” the authors said.   [NYT article]

1,477,230 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 1: 63,750,408 cases worldwide; 1,477,230 deaths worldwide

274,386 COVID Deaths USA

December 1:  13,923,758 cases in the USA; 274,386 deaths in the USA.

Advisory Committee Recommendations

December 2: the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, voted to recommend that residents and employees of nursing homes and similar facilities be the first people in the United States to receive coronavirus vaccines, along with health care workers who are especially at risk of being exposed to the virus.

The panel voted 13 to 1 during an emergency meeting to make the recommendation. The director of the C.D.C., Dr. Robert R. Redfield, was expected to decidequickly whether to accept it as the agency’s formal guidance to states as they prepared to start giving people the shots as soon as within two weeks.

“We are acting none too soon,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a panel member and global health expert at the University of Washington, noting that Covid-19 would kill about 120 Americans during the meeting alone. [NYT article]

December 2020 COVID 19

The UK First

December 3: the NYT reported that Britain gave emergency authorization to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, leaping ahead of the United States to become the first Western country to allow mass inoculations against a disease that had killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.

US Single-Day Record

December 3: the United States  recorded its single-worst daily death toll since the pandemic began, and on a day when Covid-19 hospitalizations also hit an all-time high, the pace of loss showed no signs of slowing any time soon.

Not since spring, during the pandemic’s first peak, were so many deaths reported. The high point then was 2,752 deaths on April 15. On this date, it was at least 2,760.

Hospitalizations from the virus topped 100,000 — more than double the number at the beginning of November. That was a clear indicator of what the days ahead may look like, experts say.

“If you tell me the hospitalizations are up this week, I’ll tell you that several weeks down the road, the deaths will be up,” said Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. [NYT article]

December 2020 COVID 19

December 4: the United States finished one of the very worst weeks since the coronavirus pandemic had began nine months ago.

On December 4, a national single-day record was set, with more than 226,000 new cases. It was one of many data points that illustrated the depth and spread of a virus that had killed more than 278,000 people in this country, more than the entire population of Lubbock, Texas, or Modesto, Calif., or Jersey City, N.J.

“It’s just an astonishing number,” said Caitlin Rivers, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “We’re in the middle of this really severe wave and I think as we go through the day to day of this pandemic, it can be easy to lose sight of how massive and deep the tragedy is.” [NYT story]

December 2020 COVID 19

1,527,144 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 5: 66,358,071 cases worldwide; 1,527,144 deaths worldwide

285,668 COVID Deaths USA

December 5:  14,775,308 cases in the USA; 285,668 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

December 8: Britain’s National Health Service delivered its first shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, opening a mass vaccination campaign with little precedent in modern medicine and making Britons the first people in the world to receive a clinically authorized, fully tested vaccine.  [NYT story}

December 2020 COVID 19

1,553,081 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 8: 68,047,740 cases worldwide; 1,553,081 deaths worldwide

290,474 COVID Deaths USA

December 8:  15,370,339 cases in the USA; 290,474 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

December 9: the NYT reported that federal data showed more than a third of Americans lived in areas where hospitals were running critically short of intensive care beds

Hospitals serving more than 100 million Americans reported having fewer than 15 percent of intensive care beds still available as of last previous week, according to a Times analysis of data reported by hospitals and released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Many areas were even worse off: one in 10 Americans — across a large swath of the Midwest, South and Southwest — lived in an area where intensive care beds are either completely full, or fewer than 5 percent of beds are available. At these levels, experts say maintaining existing standards of care for the sickest patients may be difficult or impossible.

“There’s only so much our frontline care can offer, particularly when you get to these really rural counties which are being hit hard by the pandemic right now,” said Beth Blauer, director of the Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins University.

December 2020 COVID 19

December 11: the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, clearing the way for millions of highly vulnerable people to begin receiving the vaccine within days.

The authorization was an historic turning point in a pandemic that had already taken more than 290,000 lives in the United States. With the decision, the United States became the sixth country — in addition to Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico — to clear the vaccine. Other authorizations, including by the European Union, were expected within weeks. [NYT article]

December 2020 COVID 19

1,607,590 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 12: 71,797,890 cases worldwide; 1,607,590 deaths worldwide

303,600 COVID Deaths USA

December 12:  16,359,904 cases in the USA; 303,600 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

December 14: the first shots were given in the American mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus pandemic, which had killed more people in the United States — over 300,000 — than in any other country and had taken a particularly devastating toll on people of color. [NYT story]

1,627,068 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 14: 73,149,501 cases worldwide; 1,627,068 deaths worldwide

307,874 COVID Deaths USA

December 14:  16,915,194 cases in the USA; 307,874 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

December 15: NPR reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the first coronavirus test that people will be able to buy at a local store without a prescription and use for immediate results at home to find out if they’re positive or negative.

The test would cost about $30 and be available by January, according to the Australian company that makes it, Ellume.

December 2020 COVID 19

Employers/Vaccinations

December 2020 COVID 19

December 16:  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  [EEOC] issued guidelines regarding COVID vaccinations and employers. The guidance said that employers can require workers to get a Covid-19 vaccine and bar them from the workplace if they refuse/ [NYT article]

Moderna Vaccine

December 18: the Food and Drug Administration authorized the coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna for emergency use, allowing the shipment of millions more doses across the nation and intensifying the debate over who will be next in line to get inoculated. [NYT article]

1,683,882 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 19: 76,131,763 cases worldwide; 1,683,882 deaths worldwide

320,845 COVID Deaths USA

December 19:  17,888,353 cases in the USA; 320,845 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

COVID variant

December 21: the NYT reported that, Britain, struggling to contain an outbreak of what officials said was a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, found itself increasingly isolated  as nations raced to ban travelers from the country, suspending flights and cutting off trade routes.

France imposed a 48-hour suspension of freight transit across the English Channel, leaving thousands of truck drivers stranded in their vehicles  as the roads leading to England’s ports were turned into parking lots.

1,748,571 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 24: 79,722,398 cases worldwide; 1,748,571 deaths worldwide

337,066 COVID Deaths USA

December 24:  19,111,326 cases in the USA; 337,066 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

Variant Precautions 

December 24:  as a new highly transmissible variant of the virus appeared first in Britain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the United States would require all airline passengers arriving from Britain to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their departure.

The rule would apply to Americans as well as foreign citizens, and would require passengers to show proof of a negative result on a genetic test, known as a P.C.R., or an antigen test.

1,764,393 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 26: 80,709,594 cases worldwide; 1,764,393 deaths worldwide

339,921 COVID Deaths USA

December 26:  19,433,847 cases in the USA; 339,921 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

EU Rollout

December 27: the NY Times reported that the European Union began a COVID vaccination campaign to  inoculate more than 450 million people across the EU.

Variant

December 28: Colorado, state officials said that a case of the new coronavirus variant, initially seen in the United Kingdom, was found marking the first time the variant had been officially documented in the United States.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said that the man who tested positive was in his 20s, had not been traveling and was currently isolating.

The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through thorough contact tracing interviews,” the statement said. [NPR story]

1,799,946 COVID Deaths Worldwide

December 29: 82,464,719 cases worldwide; 1,799,946 deaths worldwide

346,579 COVID Deaths USA

December 29:  19,977,704 cases in the USA; 346,579 deaths in the USA.

December 2020 COVID 19

UK/AstraZeneca

December 30: health officials in the U.K. authorized the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine giving the nation a second option for inoculation against the coronavirus.

The government said it would begin rolling out the inexpensive and easy-to-store vaccine beginning January 4, 2021. It ordered 100 million doses — enough to vaccinate 50 million residents, or three-quarters of the country’s population.

The government had already given first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to more than 600,000 Britons. [NPR article]

December 2020 COVID 19

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