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Trump becomes first president to be impeached twice

The House voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week while Congress met to count the Electoral College vote.

Why it matters: Trump is now the only president in history to have been impeached twice — his first impeachment happened just over a year ago in December of 2019. He has just one week left in his term before President-elect Biden is sworn-in on Jan. 20.


  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Republican colleagues today he has "not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” But he will not move to reconvene the Senate before they are scheduled to return on Jan. 19, meaning a trial may not take place until Joe Biden takes office.
  • Axios' Mike Allen reports that sources say McConnell sees this fight as his legacy — defending the Senate and the institution against the verbal attack of the president and the literal attack of his followers. As of Tuesday night he was leaning towards convicting Trump, Allen reports.

The big picture: After four years of unpredictable behavior and controversial policy, swaths of Republicans have finally begun to turn on Trump after a mob breached the Capitol last week, causing mass evacuations and at least five deaths. Ten House Republicans on Wednesday voted to impeach him.

  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who is in GOP leadership, and several other House Republicans announced before the vote that they would vote to impeach Trump. "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," Cheney said.
  • Trump encouraged his supporters at the rally on Jan. 6 to march to the Capitol.
  • While he did tell later demonstrators to "go home," Trump also insisted on Twitter: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office before proceeding with impeachment. The House approved a resolution pressuring Pence to do just that.

  • Pence declined. Three Cabinet members who would have been involved in 25th amendment proceedings have also resigned.

Collins helps contractor after pro-Susan PAC gets donation

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

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Cutting corporate cash could push GOP to embrace party's rightward fringe

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

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Tim Kaine, Susan Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Donald Trump

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on-the-record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

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Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

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AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

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Biden makes a down payment on racial equity with a series of executive orders

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

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Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday in an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

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Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but could face pushback from the courts.

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