Happy Impeachment Day! (Again)
Making the Capitol mob … Malik’s soccer team takes a step down … Cooper urges North Carolina to "overcome disinformation and lies" (good luck with that!)
Monday, Jan. 11, 2021
Hey, y’all …
On Friday afternoon, Substack announced that they were giving us a few different fonts and formats to play with. After some experiments, I liked this one, especially the white text on black background, which I found pretty readable. I want to know how it’s working for you — and in particular, if anything looks wonky.
As always, thanks for spending your mornings with me. Today’s newsletter is an eight-minute read.
Weather: High of 49, mostly cloudy (WRAL)
Today’s Number: 8,323
Average reported new COVID-19 cases in North Carolina over the last seven days, a record high. (CBS 17)
+TODAY’S TOP 4
1. Democrats Will Impeach Trump Again
House Democrats will introduce an article of impeachment today, and by midweek, Donald Trump will become the first twice-impeached president in American history, quite the accomplishment for a one-termer. Unless Mike Pence removes him first.
“In a letter to colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would move forward on Monday with a nonbinding resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and wrest the powers of the presidency from Mr. Trump. She called on Mr. Pence to respond ‘within 24 hours.’”
The impeachment article faults Trump for his behavior leading up to Wednesday’s insurrection, including pressuring Georgia election officials and a federal prosecutor to overturn results and priming the mob with lies about a conspiracy.
56% of Americans — but only 13% of Republicans — want Trump removed before he leaves office. The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board and his former communications director agree.
The House might not transmit the impeachment to the Senate until several months into Biden’s term, so the trial doesn’t distract from his immediate priorities.
2. How Rioters Bumrushed the Capitol
The more we learn about how law enforcement prepared for Wednesday, the worse things look.
“In memos issued Monday and Tuesday in response to a request from the D.C. mayor, the Pentagon prohibited the District’s [national] guardsmen from receiving ammunition or riot gear, interacting with protesters unless necessary for self-defense, sharing equipment with local law enforcement, or using Guard surveillance and air assets without the defense secretary’s explicit sign-off, according to officials familiar with the orders.” (WaPo)
“Despite ample warnings about pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, U.S. Capitol Police did not bolster staffing on Wednesday and made no preparations for the possibility that the planned protests could escalate into massive violent riots, according to several people briefed on law enforcement’s response. The revelations shed new light on why Capitol police were so quickly overrun by rioters. The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day. While some of those officers were outfitted with equipment for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.” (AP)
—> HOW UGLY WAS IT: A Republican congressman from Michigan writes:
After the Capitol was cleared of insurrectionists, with windows shattered and the smell of tear gas lingering, the consequences of his dangerous lies became clear. As we moved to accept Arizona’s electors, a fellow freshman lingered near a voting terminal, voting card in hand.
My colleague told me that efforts to overturn the election were wrong, and that voting to certify was a constitutional duty. But my colleague feared for family members, and the danger the vote would put them in. Profoundly shaken, my colleague voted to overturn.
An angry mob succeeded in threatening at least one member of Congress from performing what that member understood was a constitutional responsibility.
—> MAKING THE MOB: A dark money group associated with the Republican Association of Attorneys General encouraged the march to the Capitol.
“An arm of the Republican Attorneys General Association, a national group representing the top law enforcement officers in their states, sent out robocalls encouraging people to march to the U.S. Capitol the day before the building was stormed by a pro-Trump mob.”
—> RELATED: Black Capitol Police officers say their managers left them unprepared.
“BuzzFeed News spoke to two Black officers who described a harrowing day in which they were forced to endure racist abuse — including repeatedly being called the n-word — as they tried to do their job of protecting the Capitol building, and by extension the very functioning of American democracy.” (Buzzfeed)
Also: “DC police arrested more than five times as many people at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer than they did during the day of insurrection at the Capitol, according to a CNN analysis of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) data.”
Since Wednesday, dozens of people have been arrested or charged.
3. North Carolina FC Drops Out of USL-Championship
On Saturday, news broke that North Carolina FC, which for the last three seasons has competed in the USL-Championship League — considered the second tier of U.S. soccer, behind Major League Soccer — informed players that it was self-relegating to USL League One.
This comes while owner Stephen Malik, along with John Kane, asks the city of Raleigh for hundreds of millions of dollars into tax incentives for the Downtown South development, which would include a new soccer stadium.
The team’s dues for USL League One would be less than half what they would be for USL Championship. The pandemic disrupted the USL Championship season last year, and Charlotte FC is preparing a jump to MLS.
“North Carolina FC said it sees the transition as a way to emphasize its role in youth-to-pro soccer development by increasing first-team minutes for young players and focusing additional financial resources on youth development, including through enhanced scouting and recruitment.” (N&O)
The NC Courage — the National Women’s Soccer League team — will not be affected.
In 2016, right after acquiring the team, Malik pursued an MLS bid — which is how the idea of a downtown soccer stadium got going. The stadium is supposed to anchor the entertainment portion of Downtown South.
I can’t say I know enough about professional soccer to say how big of a deal this relegation is in terms of the club’s future viability, or whether the team will bounce back to the USL-Championship once the pandemic is under control.
4. Cooper Gets Sworn In, Minus Ceremony
On Saturday, Roy Cooper was sworn in for his second term as North Carolina governor in a small (but live-streamed) ceremony outside of the Executive Mansion, along with members of the Council of State — all of whom wore masks or face shields, save for Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson. The event featured Cooper’s pre-recorded inaugural address as well as recorded musical performances, including a Ben Folds track from Australia, which feels very on-brand.
Cooper: “As we enter 2021, we carry the imprint of our people’s frustration and loss as well as our determination and resilience. I hold close the memories of the suffering and the heroic North Carolinians.” (WRAL)
“Cooper said he was committed to focusing on the state’s most important challenges — coming out of the pandemic ‘smarter and stronger than ever,’ ‘educating our people and ensuring that every North Carolinian gets health care,’ and ‘overcoming disinformation and lies and recommitting to the truth.’ ‘We can respect our disagreements, but we must cherish our democracy,’ he said.” (Policy Watch)
Speaking on behalf of, well, everyone, might I make a suggestion?
Now that Mark Robinson is our lieutenant governor, can someone hermetically seal Roy Cooper in some kind of bubble? If the last week has shown us anything, it’s that there are genuine risks to letting actual insane people run things.
+NEED TO KNOW
—> Local & State
The chair of the Wake County Republican Party blamed “outside agitators” for the violence at the Capitol. According to reality, however, the mob comprised Trump die-hards. (WRAL, AP)
In solidarity with Donald Trump’s removal from Twitter, the Cabarrus County GOP announced that its account will go silent for 30 days. (Twitter)
Wake County has finally entered phase 1b of vaccine distribution. (N&O)
The State Board of Education unanimously revoked the charter of Rowan County schools, meaning students will be placed elsewhere next academic year. (Policy Watch)
Robeson County sheriff’s deputies shot and killed a man after they say he lit his car on fire and pointed a gun at them. (CBS 17)
Sandy Smith, a conspiracy-theorist who got thumped by GK Butterfield in November but still thinks she’s campaigning for something, attended the Jan. 6 rally and boasted about it in a campaign statement:
—> Nation & World
Biden promised to release all available doses of the coronavirus vaccine as soon as he takes office. (WaPo)
Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife voiced support for the Capitol rioters just before the insurrection began. (Yahoo!)
A Capitol Police officer died by suicide over the weekend after being on the scene at the riot on Wednesday. (WaPo)
Trump’s demoralized staff is looking for the exits. (Reuters)
Julian Assange’s supporters are lobbying Trump for a last-days pardon. (NYT)
Colorado police officers who held Black children at gunpoint won’t face criminal charges, though the district attorney called their actions “unacceptable.” (NPR)
An Indonesian jetliner carrying 62 passengers crashed into the sea. (NYT)
—> Science & Tech
In case you missed it, the internet canceled Trump, and Trump lost his mind after losing Twitter. (NYT, Politico)
A sudden stratospheric warming event above the North Pole that split the polar vortex could lead to punishing snowstorms and cold Arctic air in Northern Europe and, possibly, North America. (WaPo)
—> Culture & Entertainment
The New York Racing Association barred a prominent trainer for changing the name of one of his horses to a racial slur. (NYT)
Tracy Chapman and Nicki Minaj settled Chapman’s lawsuit over Minaj’s sample of “Baby I Can Hold You” for $450,000. (NBC)
Michael Apted, the director of the Up series of documentaries — which examined the lives of ordinary Britons every seven years — has died at the age of 79. (WaPo)
HBO Max has ordered a Sex and the City revival. (NYT)
Kamala Harris’s team is apparently not happy with the photo Vogue reportedly selected for its February 2021 print cover — and, well, yeah. (The Root)
Olive Garden did not actually cancel Sean Hannity’s lifetime pasta pass. The real story is much better. (The Verge)
+WHAT I’M READING
1. “Time for Consequences: President-elect Joe Biden Must Look Forward — But the Rest of Us Must Contend with the Past.”
[Biden and Harris] are taking responsibility for a range of emergencies not seen since Franklin D. Roosevelt followed Herbert Hoover in 1933, and exceeded only by what Abraham Lincoln faced in 1861. Just a few items on a very long list are a surging pandemic, a damaged and unsustainably imbalanced economy, and a governing system whose basic principles are under direct attack and whose operational competence has been hollowed out.
And their decisions are harder than for most new administrations, because in addition to looking forward, to all the problems they are now supposed to solve, they must look backward, to reckoning with what Donald Trump and his enablers have done. …
The new president and vice president can’t afford to look back. The rest of us have to. The person with the most individual responsibility for this week’s carnage is, of course, Trump. He is stained, culpable, unfit, and forever disgraced. But that is who he has always been ….
Trump could not have fulfilled his dark potential without a complaisant, also culpable supporting cast. That includes a political organization that converted itself from the “Grand Old Party” to a group of “Vichy Republicans,” who cowered rather than standing up to Trump. It includes a highly partisan press claque that magnified Trump’s lies … and a self-consciously nonpartisan mainstream press that seemed terrified of using the word lie. (The safe-harbor alternative was without evidence. In other times, this would have given us, “Without evidence, Soviets claim to have landed first on the moon,” or “Without evidence, Richard Nixon claims not to be a crook.”) And it includes social-media companies, notably Facebook and Twitter, that have knowingly been crucial parts of the ecosystem of disinformation. Twitter provided Trump a megaphone for lies and incitement for nearly a decade, until its overdue but welcome decision to deny him an untrammeled platform. Facebook’s own employees have protested the role it played.
Source: The Atlantic