Jan 15, 2021: Biden Promises 'American Rescue'
Welcome to Majority.FM's AM QUICKIE! Brought to you by justcoffee.coop
Joe Biden to the rescue? The President-elect last night previewed his first major policy package, targeting the pandemic and the economic crisis that has come with it.
Meanwhile, dozens of white supremacist on a federal terrorism watch list were present for the storming of the Capitol last week. Investigators are looking into possible foreign financing behind the insurrection.
And lastly, Donald Trump is having a hard time finding lawyers to defend him in his second impeachment trial. I guess Rudy can fail, after all.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
They’re calling it the American Rescue Plan. President-elect Joe Biden, who will take over the pandemic response in five days, gave a speech last night on his plans to combat the coronavirus and address its economic consequences, the Washington Post reports. His remarks came as more than four thousand Covid-19 deaths were reported in the United States for the second day in a row.
The plan is divided into three major areas, according to the Post: $400 billion for provisions to fight the coronavirus, while reopening schools; more than $1 trillion in direct relief to families, including through stimulus payments and increased unemployment benefits; and $440 billion for aid to communities and businesses. The legislation includes a number of priorities sought by top congressional Democrats, from increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour to adding billions in funding for childcare. Biden said QUOTE We need more action, more bipartisanship, and we need to move fast ENDQUOTE.
The measures are narrowly tailored in an effort to garner GOP support, Biden’s team told the Post. The overall price tag is below $2 trillion. It will be followed by a broader recovery plan with more expansive Democratic priorities. But after campaigning as a bipartisan dealmaker, Biden wants to give Republicans the opportunity to get behind his first legislative effort as president. You might say he’s offering them an off-ramp from the road to insurrection. That part sounds like a longshot, frankly, but this is Joe Biden we’re talking about.
Foreign Insurrection Financing Investigated
Don’t call them patriots. The Washington Post reports that dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events on January 6th, when a violent mob stormed the US Capitol. The majority of the watchlisted individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists. Their past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, the Post’s sources said. The watch list is larger and separate from the no-fly list the government maintains, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces.
While the FBI is hunting hundreds of rioting suspects who have dispersed back to their hometowns, the Post reports, federal agents are increasingly focused on the Proud Boys. Privately, some federal law enforcement officials have described the group as roughly equivalent to a nascent street gang. But other officials have expressed concern that the group may be growing rapidly into something more dangerous and directed.
Separately, Yahoo News reports that law enforcement is investigating whether a series of large Bitcoin donations were linked to the assault on the Capitol. On December 8th, someone made a simultaneous transfer of Bitcoins worth more than $500,000 to twenty-two different virtual wallets, most of them belonging to prominent right-wing organizations and personalities. Right-wing figures and websites, including VDARE, the Daily Stormer and Nick Fuentes, received generous donations from a bitcoin account linked to a French cryptocurrency exchange. The suspicious December transaction, along with other intelligence, has prompted law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the sources of funding for individuals who participated in the Capitol insurrection. The government is hoping to prevent future attacks but also to uncover potential foreign involvement in or support of right-wing activities, Yahoo’s source said. The plot thickens!
Trump Lacks Impeachment Defense
Donald Trump, on the eve of facing a second impeachment trial, is having trouble finding a legal team to defend him, Bloomberg News reports. Allies of the outgoing president have been looking for representation but so far are coming up short. Lawyers who defended
him in the previous impeachment trial, including Jay Sekulow, have said no this time. Other lawyers who have defended Trump, including Pam Bondi, aren’t interested. Some of the lawyers have privately said what Trump did was indefensible.
Alan Dershowitz also defended Trump the first time around. He isn’t planning to represent the president now, Bloomberg reports. Rudy Giuliani is also unlikely to be on the president’s defense team, an administration official said. His conduct at the rally preceding the Capitol raid could be examined during an impeachment trial.
Separately, ABC News reports that the Trump family is pulling up stakes. Donald and Melania Trump have made no secret of their impending move to Florida after January 20, but they won't be alone. The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Junior, and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle have been house-hunting in the Palm Beach area. Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, also plan to relocate to the Sunshine State in the coming weeks, having recently purchased a plot of land in the Miami area.
In related real estate news, the Washington Post reports that the Secret Service detail assigned to Jared and Ivanka spent months searching for a restroom to use on the job. After resorting to a porta-potty, the agents finally found a toilet to call their own. But it came at a cost to US taxpayers. Since September 2017, the federal government has been spending $3,000 a month – more than $100,000 to date – to rent a basement studio, with a bathroom, from a neighbor of the Kushners. All this because agents were banned from using any the six point five bathrooms in Javanka’s mansion. Charming.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The New York State attorney general sued the New York City Police Department yesterday over widespread abuses in how officers handled Black Lives Matter protests last summer, the New York Times reports. The AG, Letitia James, wants a federal monitor to oversee the department’s policing tactics at future protests. She also wants a court to declare that the practices the department used during the protests were unlawful. Get ’em Letitia!
Rick Snyder, the former governor of Michigan, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges yesterday in connection with his role in the Flint water crisis. The Times reports thatnhe was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty. If he is convicted, he faces imprisonment of up to one year or a maximum fine of $1,000. It ain’t much but it’s something.
Joe Biden plans to name Jaime Harrison as his pick to lead the Democratic National Committee, the Washington Post reports. A former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Harrison last year raised $130 million in his losing race against Senator Lindsey Graham. Harrison is not expected to face a challenger, and his candidacy was promoted by Congressman James Clyburn, a close Biden ally.
Puerto Rican police are investigating the death of a transgender man found with multiple gunshot wounds, NBC News reports. Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, shot January 9, is the seventh known transgender person to die by violence in Puerto Rico since last February. Advocates say the police aren’t doing enough. Hopefully more awareness on the case will cause them to pick up the pace.
JAN 15, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie St…