Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 10, 2021

Democratic support for impeachment grows, GOP's Toomey expresses openness, Black boxes of crashed Indonesian jet located, and more


Democratic support for impeachment grows, GOP's Toomey expresses openness

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), one of the authors of an article of impeachment against President Trump, said Saturday that 185 House Democrats have signed onto the document, which accuses Trump of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday and is expected to be introduced Monday. On Saturday, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said during a Fox News interview that he thinks "the president committed impeachable offenses, but I don't know what is going to land on the Senate floor, if anything. I do think the president's behavior this week does disqualify him from serving." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, circulated a memo Friday that suggested it wouldn't be possible to hold a trial before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, even if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reconvenes the lower chamber, as the Senate is on recess until Jan. 19.


Black boxes of crashed Indonesian jet located

Indonesian officials announced Sunday that the black boxes of a passenger jet carrying 62 people that crashed into the Java Sea on Saturday have been located. Divers are expected to be able to retrieve the two flight recorders soon. There are still no clues as to what caused the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 to crash shortly after taking off from Jakarta, but it's possible weather was a factor. The aircraft, which was 26-years-old but reportedly in good condition, did not send a distress signal and is thought to have dropped more than 10,000 feet in less than a minute. Investigators said the plane broke apart upon hitting the water, ruling out a midair breakup. Search efforts will continue, and it's likely more significant parts of the plane will be recovered, though there appears to be no hope of finding survivors.


Pence reportedly plans to attend inauguration

Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 20, sources familiar with the situation told multiple media outlets. The revelation comes shortly after President Trump announced, in one of his final tweets before his account was suspended, that he would skip the ceremony. Trump's absence had been expected for a while, and The New York Times notes it was always more likely that Pence would show up than the president, but it appears that Wednesday's deadly riot at the Capitol, which caused a rift between the two, cemented Pence's decision. Biden said this week he was pleased Trump wouldn't be there, but said Pence was "welcome."


Reports reveal more Trump efforts to overturn Georgia vote

More revelations about President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of Georgia's presidential vote came to light this weekend, with The Wall Street Journal reporting Saturday that White House officials pushed Atlanta's top prosecutor, Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Byung Pak, to resign before the state's Senate runoffs because Trump was upset he hadn't done enough to investigate unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud. Pak resigned abruptly Monday. Separately, Trump had a December phone call with the unnamed investigations chief for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office, The Washington Post and CBS News report. During the call, Trump reportedly pressed the official, who was leading an inquiry into fraud claims in Cobb County, to find him votes. No audio of the call has been released, but the description suggests it was similar to the now-infamous conversation Trump had with Raffensperger a few days later.


Pompeo lifts restrictions on contacts between U.S., Taiwan diplomats

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that he is lifting "self-imposed restrictions" on contacts between American diplomats and their Taiwanese counterparts, ending a practice that was in place to appease China. The United States, like most countries, doesn't have official relations with Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, but the Trump administration has "ramped up" its support for the self-ruled, democratic country over the years, Reuters notes, and Pompeo's latest move appears to be part of an effort to "lock in a tough approach" to Beijing before the White House transition takes place later this month. Taiwan's government welcomed the decision, but Chinese state media was critical, calling it a "cowardly act of sabotage" that "crossed a dangerous red line."


Law enforcement reportedly arrest, charge more notable figures from Capitol riot

More arrests have been made in the wake of Wednesday's riot at the United States Capitol, during which President Trump's supporters stormed the building while Congress was attempting to certify the Electoral College vote. The incident resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer. Since then, law enforcement has begun identifying and apprehending those who were involved, and it's been reported that Jacob Anthony Chansley, who calls himself QAnon Shaman, is in custody on charges for violent entry and disorderly conduct. Chansley is allegedly the man seen wearing horns, a bearskin headdress, and face paint inside the Capitol. Police have also reportedly arrested and charged Adam Johnson, the man allegedly photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) lectern out of the House chamber. Meanwhile, Derrick Evans, a West Virginia state lawmaker who is facing federal charges for entering the Capitol, has resigned from office.


Queen Elizabeth II receives COVID-19 vaccine, Pope Francis in line for next week

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip received their initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, Buckingham Palace said in a statement. It's rare to receive a royal medical report, but the announcement appears to be aimed at encouraging the British public to get vaccinated. It's not known whether queen and her husband received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot or the one produced by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, the two that are available in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Pope Francis said the Vatican will begin its vaccination process next week, noting that he is in line to receive a jab. "It is an ethical duty to take the vaccine," he reportedly said in an interview set to air Sunday.


Apple, Amazon join Google in removing Parler from services

Apple and Amazon are removing Parler, a social media platform that has become popular among right-wing groups and President Trump's supporters, from their services, the companies said Saturday, joining Google, which removed the app from its Google Play store Friday. Amazon announced it would no longer provide clouding-computing services to Parler, and Apple suspended it from its app store. The tech giants have cited Parler's shortcomings in moderating posts as the reason for their decisions, with Apple clarifying that the app "has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation" of "threats of violence and illegal activity." The moves come not long after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. Parler has attempted to increase its moderation since then, but the efforts have yet to satisfy the companies. CEO John Matze said the bans were a "coordinate attack ... to kill competition in the market place."


New Zealand central bank says data system breached

New Zealand's central bank said Sunday that an unidentified hacker breached one of its data systems, potentially accessing commercially and personally sensitive information. The hack has been contained, and the bank's core functions "remain sound and operational," the bank's Governor Adrian Orr said, but "it will take some time to understand the full implications of this breach." Dave Parry, a professor of computer sciences at Auckland University, said the attack was significant and was likely carried out by another government. In the past year, several other major organizations in New Zealand, including the country's stock exchange, have been the target of cyber interference.


Buffalo Bills win 1st playoff game in 25 years

The NFL's expanded wild card round kicked off Saturday with the Buffalo Bills defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24, marking the franchise's first playoff win since 1995. Buffalo, fresh off its most successful season in decades, which included a 13-3 record, the AFC East division title, and the no. 2 seed in the AFC, held off a late surge by Indianapolis to move onto the divisional round. Quarterback Josh Allen threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another. Later Saturday, the Los Angeles Rams went on the road to defeat the Seattle Seahawks, 30-20, while Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers survived a scare from the Washington Football Team, coming away with a 31-23 win. The playoffs continue Sunday with matchups between the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.


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