Welcome to the D.C. Memo. This week, a look at the upcoming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump; the House votes to punish Marjorie Taylor Greene; and we figure out how much COVID money you might (or might not) be getting from Uncle Sam. So let’s get to it:
The impeachment case
The lines of argument have been drawn in the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which is expected to begin next week.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, the House of Representatives passed a single article of impeachment against Trump that charges him with “incitement of insurrection.” If convicted, Trump would be barred from holding public office again.
As the Associated Press reports, House Democrats plan to use the trial to describe the riot “in graphic detail — an effort to get through to Senate Republicans who have largely avoided talking about the attack itself and Trump’s role in it, instead focusing on the process of the impeachment trial.”
House impeachment managers are also expected to explain how they believe Trump’s actions over the previous several months led up to the riot and eventually incited the insurrectionists to act. They will look at Trump’s “prolonged effort” to persuade supporters to believe his false claims that the election was stolen, the AP writes, and describe how his pleas for them to come to Washington and his words immediately before the attack directly caused it.
The ex-president’s lawyers, meanwhile, will argue that the trial is unconstitutional.
Trump attorney David Schoen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he did not plan to argue that Trump lost the election because of voter fraud. He also said he will make the case that Trump’s words were protected by the First Amendment and did not incite a riot.
Minnesota Dems to head subcommittees
Committee assignments have been doled out for the 117th Congress, and a couple of Minnesota House Democrats have landed leadership posts.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents the Fourth District, has been confirmed as chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In a prepared statement, she said: “The national security threats facing our nation are real and multifaceted, including near-peer adversaries, terrorist groups, cyber warfare, and climate change. My focus leading the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee is to ensure the more than 2 million men and women in uniform and civilians serving our nation have the training, tools, and support to keep America safe, secure, and successful.”
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, who represents the Third District, will also chair a subcommittee — the Investigations, Oversight and Regulations Subcommittee, an offshoot of the Small Business Committee. During his first term in Congress, Phillips worked on the Paycheck Protection Program and an early pandemic relief bill, and recently said the new position will “allow him to continue his efforts to ensure federal COVID relief dollars are reaching those who need it most.”
Speaking of committees …
The House of Representatives planned to vote Thursday on whether to strip freshman member Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia of committee assignments over her past comments endorsing violence and conspiracy theories. [Update: The House voted 230 to 199 to remove Taylor Greene from the Education and Budget committees.]
Among other things, Greene once expressed support on her Facebook page for the execution of top Democrats and promoted the completely false and very-bonkers QAnon conspiracy theory during her run for Congress.
Perhaps predictably, the move set off a round of industrial-grade whataboutism, with some Republican lawmakers taking aim at a Minnesota Democrat whose past comments have also been criticized: U.S. Rep. Ihan Omar.
Four Republican members sponsored a proposed amendment to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Not unrelated: all four also objected to Joe Biden’s electoral college win amid the insurrection that attempted to take over the U.S. Capitol.
How much relief, and for whom?
More COVID-19 economic relief appears to be on the way, though it’s not clear who will receive the checks or how big they will be.
Politico reports that President Biden is willing to compromise on who would be eligible for aid from the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus package but that he remains firm on the size of the stimulus checks: $1,400.
Under Biden’s plan, the $1,400 payment would be limited to individuals earning no more than $75,000 a year, though people with higher incomes would receive smaller checks. Some Republican senators are proposing a $618 billion package that calls for checks of $1,000 for individuals earning less than $40,000 a year, with smaller payments for those making up to $50,000 per year and no payments for anyone making more than that.
Biden indicated his willingness to compromise in a phone call with House Democrats, the news site reported, but he stressed the urgency of delivering the relief bill quickly to the nation. “We can better target the number, I’m OK with that,” Biden said, reports Politico, citing multiple sources on the phone call.
The Fed’s Kashkari says the feds should go big on COVID relief
Neel Kashkari, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, supports an aggressive COIVID-19 relief package, including another round of checks for Americans. As Walker Orenstein reports in this MinnPost piece, while Kashkari didn’t say what the exact amount of the payments should be in his testimony before Minnesota lawmakers this week, he did say that “we have the capacity for this war-time spending to support our fellow Americans until we get this pandemic behind us.”
Quote of the week
“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality.” — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, commenting on Marjorie Greene Taylor’s views in a statement to The Hill.
What I’m reading
JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956, by Fredrik Logevall. You’re right, there are a million Kennedy books out there and I’m not enough of a historian to know whether this one breaks any new ground. But it sure is a good read. In this first of two planned volumes on the 35th president, the author examines John F. Kennedy during his formative years – from his prep-school and Harvard days to his service in the Navy and his first campaigns for office – all under the watchful eye of his famously overbearing father, Joe Kennedy. What emerges is a portrait of a thoughtful and well-liked – if certainly flawed – young man who was shaped by that singular event that affected so many men of his generation: World War II.
ICYMI, here are some other good MinnPost reads from the past week:
- “DFL groups poured money into 2020 legislative races. How’d that work out for them?” by Peter Callaghan.
- “What Michael Osterholm has learned one year into the pandemic,” by Greta Kaul.
- “Mental health supports help rural care providers weather a COVID surge,” by Andy Steiner.