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Trump offers meek concession in last-ditch move to stop removal talk

Lack of time may be the only thing that saves President Trump from becoming the first U.S. president to be impeached a second time, Hill sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: House Democrats have a caucus call today to discuss that very topic. Rep. Debbie Dingell(D-Mich.) told Kasie Hunt on MSNBC's "Way Too Early'": "I think that Democrats are going to move forward with another impeachment because they do believe that he must be held accountable."


The big picture: Republicans are openlyabandoning him. Top officials are resigning. Talk is rising of a second impeachment, or removal from office via the 25th Amendment.

  • Trump's national security team has begun operating as if he weren’t the president, but rather a guy in the White House who needs to be carefully managed, Jonathan Swan reports.

So 61 days after President-elect Biden was declared the winner, Trump was spooked into the concession he never wanted to give, saying on a video last night:

  • "A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20," he said, reading from a teleprompter. "My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation."

Here's what implosion looks like:

  • Two of Trump's Cabinet secretaries — Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — resigned in one day.
  • Both Speaker Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called for Vice President Pence and members of Trump's Cabinet to remove him via the 25th Amendment.
  • Former Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump's conduct the day of the riot "was a betrayal of his office and supporters."
  • Retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump's former White House chief of staff, told CNN's Jake Tapper that Trump is "a laughingstock now." Tapper asked: "If you were in the Cabinet right now, would you vote to remove him from office?" Kelly hesitated a split-second, then said: "Yes, I would."
  • A Republican congressman said Trump should be removed via the 25th Amendment — Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who said he has become “unmoored” from reality.
  • The conservative editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, run by Trump's former confidant Rupert Murdoch, calls today for Trump to resign to avoid a second impeachment: "[I]t would give Mr. Trump agency, a la Richard Nixon, over his own fate."
  • Today's USA Today editorial page: "Invoke the 25th Amendment."

The bottom line: A senior administration official tells me Trump finally conceded because he has "no friends left. He could feel it all slipping away."

GOP party leaders face internal revolt for failing to stand up for Trump

The GOP is getting torn apartby a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

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The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

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Why made-for-TV moments like Amanda Gorman matter during the pandemic

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

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Russian police arrest over 3,000 protesters demanding Navalny's release

Russian police on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations that began in the eastern regions of Russia spread west to more than 60 cities. At least 3,324 of people were detained and tens of thousands of others protested into the night despite the presence of law enforcement and extremely low temperatures, per the OVD-Info group, which monitors political arrests.

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Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and Jeff Flake

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump, per AZCentral.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

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DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

A Texas man who has be charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

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Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

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Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

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