10 things you need to know today: February 10, 2021
The Senate votes to move forward with Trump's trial, Trump is reportedly frustrated by his lawyers' performance, and more
Senate affirms constitutionality of Trump impeachment trial
The Senate on Tuesday voted 56-44 that holding an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump was constitutional, clearing the trial to proceed on Wednesday. Six Republicans joined Democrats in rejecting the defense team's assertion that the Senate no longer had jurisdiction in the case since Trump is out of office. The House's Democratic managers launched Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial by showing a graphic video of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump's supporters immediately after a rally where he told the crowd to fight to overturn President Biden's electoral victory, based on the false allegation that the election was stolen. Arguments on the merits of the charge that Trump incited an insurrection get started Wednesday.
Trump reportedly frustrated by his impeachment lawyers' performance
Former President Donald Trump was frustrated with his legal team's widely criticized arguments in the first day of his impeachment trial on the charge that he incited the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. "President Trump was not happy with the performance of his legal team in action," said a person familiar with his thinking. Trump reportedly watched his lawyers' dry, meandering arguments from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. At one point, the right-wing network Newsmax cut away from Trump's lawyers to talk with Alan Dershowitz, who represented Trump in his first impeachment trial. Dershowitz said Trump did not appear to be getting "effective advocacy" from former Pennsylvania prosecutor Bruce Castor, who is leading Trump's defense along with trial attorney David Schoen.
California surpasses N.Y. as state with most COVID-19 deaths
California on Tuesday surpassed New York as the state with the largest coronavirus death toll. California has averaged 433 deaths per day over the past week, bringing its total to more than 44,900. But as the nation's most populous state, California's death rate of about 114 deaths per 100,000 people is lower than 31 states and Washington, D.C., and about half the rates of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Mississippi. The U.S. death toll stood at 468,203 early Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nationally, daily new cases and deaths are falling and health officials are getting close to administering 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine per day, the goal President Biden set shortly after taking office in January.
Biden asks most Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys to resign
The Biden administration on Tuesday started requesting the resignations of remaining U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Donald Trump. The move, which is a typical part of a presidential transition, makes exceptions for David Weiss, who is the federal prosecutor overseeing the ongoing tax investigation involving President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and John Durham, the Connecticut prosecutor appointed by former Attorney General William Barr to investigate the start of the inquiry into Russia's 2016 election meddling. "These were decisions that were made in order to fulfill (Biden's) promise of maintaining independence and ensuring that he sent that message and every action that was taken," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Coup protesters defy ban, crackdown in Myanmar
Protesters returned to the streets in Myanmar on Wednesday, denouncing a military coup and demanding the restoration of the elected government. Demonstrations resumed in Yangon and Mandalay, the country's two largest cities, as well as the capital of Naypyitaw and other areas. The continuing demonstrations came despite a ban on protests and an increasingly violent crackdown by security forces. In Naypyitaw, police fired rubber bullets and apparently live rounds, severely wounding a protester, witnesses said. Three other people were treated for wounds suffered during the clashes. Police also raided the headquarters of the political party of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
5 wounded by gunman at Minnesota health clinic
A man opened fire at a Buffalo, Minnesota, health-care clinic on Tuesday, wounding five people. The suspect was identified as Gregory Ulrich, a 67-year-old local man who was "very familiar" to authorities. Investigators said Ulrich appeared to have "targeted at the facility or someone within that facility" and had clashed with medical providers before. "There is a history of him being unhappy with health care — with the health care he received," Buffalo Police Chief Pat Budke said. Police officers found a suspicious package outside the facility, the Allina Health Care Clinic. Police also found several suspicious devices at a Super 8 motel where Ulrich was staying.
Investigators: Kobe Bryant helicopter pilot likely violated standards
The pilot of the helicopter that crashed in Southern California last year killing Kobe Bryant and eight other people flew into thick clouds, contrary to his training and flight rules, investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board said in a Tuesday hearing on the causes of the crash. Pilot Ara Zobayan probably became disoriented and lost the ability to tell up from down, the investigators said. Just before the crash, Zobayan told flight controllers he was climbing and was breaking through the clouds. The aircraft banked and crashed into a hillside during a 40-minute flight. Zobayan was killed as were all of his passengers, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Biden meets with corporate executives to discuss coronavirus relief
President Biden met with the chief executives of Walmart, Gap, Lowe's, and JPMorgan Chase at the White House on Tuesday in a bid to build support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and a higher minimum wage. The group, which also included Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and outgoing U.S. Chamber of Commerce leader Thomas Donohue, discussed Biden's push for gradually raising the minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, to $15 an hour. They also talked about expanding earned-income tax credits and other options for stimulating the pandemic ravaged economy. Biden argued for the need of his stimulus plan, then opened the floor for input. Gap CEO Sonia Syngal spoke about the pandemic's effect on women and people of color working in retail.
Aunt Jemima rebranded as Pearl Milling Company
The Aunt Jemima brand has been renamed the Pearl Milling Company, Quaker Oats parent PepsiCo said in a statement released Tuesday. Quaker Oats announced in June that it was changing the name and logo of the 130-year-old pancake and syrup brand, which featured a Black woman long depicted wearing a kerchief, because "Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype." Products with the new name and logo will reach stores this summer. PepsiCo said the Pearl Milling Company was founded in 1888 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and "was the originator of the iconic self-rising pancake mix that would later become known as Aunt Jemima." Pearl Milling Company said in its own statement that customers and employees helped decide the name, and it was "developed with inclusivity in mind."
World's 2nd-oldest person survives COVID-19
The world's second-oldest person, 116-year-old French nun Sister Andre, has survived COVID-19. Sister Andre, whose birth name is Lucile Randon, reportedly now is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday. She tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-January but is now considered fully recovered. "I didn't even realize I had it," she told the French newspaper Var-Matin. Sister Andre is blind and uses a wheelchair. She reportedly never expressed concern about her diagnosis. "She wanted to know if meal or bedtime schedules would change. She showed no fear of the disease," said David Tavella, the communications manager for the care home where Sister Andre lives. "On the other hand, she was very concerned about the other residents."