February 5, 2020

"You realize," Fox News' Chris Wallace told Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Wednesday, "this is war."

He was referring to the fact that Romney announced on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon he plans to vote to convict President Trump for abuse of power. After this news hit, Fox News aired an interview with Romney taped earlier in the day, during which the Utah Republican spoke about the inevitable fallout within the Republican Party to this decision.

"It is the last decision I wanted to take," Romney said. "The personal consequences, the political consequences that fall on me as a result of that are going to be extraordinary."

But Romney said he feels he "has to" vote this way after concluding that "what the president did was grievously wrong." Going forward, Romney agreed with Wallace's assessment that it's going to get quite "lonely" for him in Washington, D.C.

"Yeah, it's going to get very lonely," Romney said. "And again, the consequences are significant. ... There has not been a morning since this process began that I slept beyond 4 a.m."

Wallace reminded Romney that Trump "will never forgive you for this," which seems like a safe assumption. Already, Donald Trump Jr. has tweeted that Romney "should be expelled from" the Senate Republican Conference. Brendan Morrow

3:07 p.m.

Marty Golingan, a producer at One America News Network, a right-wing cable news channel often noted for its affinity for former President Donald Trump, told The New York Times he was worried his work may have helped inspire the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

At one point during the incident, Golingan said he caught sight of someone in the mob holding a flag with OAN's logo. "I was like, OK, that's not good. That's what happens when people listen to us," he told the Times, referring to OAN's coverage of the 2020 presidential election, which often gave credence to Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud and Democratic conspiracies.

Golingan said that many of his colleagues, including himself, disagreed with the coverage. "The majority of people did not believe the voter fraud claims being run on the air," he told the Times.

Indeed, the Times interviewed 18 current and former OAN employees, 16 of whom said the channel has "broadcast reports that they considered misleading, inaccurate, or untrue." But Allysia Britton, a former producer and one of more than a dozen employees to leave OAN in the wake of the riot, explained that while "many people have raised concerns ... when people speak up about anything, you will get in trouble." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

2:19 p.m.

As Minneapolis and the rest of the nation brace for the looming verdict in former police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial, ABC News' chief legal analyst Dan Abrams said Sunday that he believe it is "highly unlikely" the trial is headed toward an "all-out" acquittal.

Closing arguments still have to take place, and Abrams noted that the defense has the benefit of not having to prove that Chauvin did not kill George Floyd by kneeling on his neck during an arrest last May (the burden of proof is on the prosecution and the defense's goal is to show there's reasonable doubt), but, still, he said he and others who have followed the trial closely would be "stunned" if Chauvin was found not guilty on all three of charges — second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter — he faces.

ABC's Martha Raddatz asked civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd's family, what he thought the outcome might be, as well. Crump did not make a prediction, saying only that he is praying that Chauvin is found to be "criminally liable for killing" Floyd.

If that does not turn out to be the result, Crump said it would be another case in which "the American legal system has broken our heart." Tim O'Donnell

1:25 p.m.

Speculation continues to swirl about renowned actor and proud Texan Matthew McConaughey entering politics in his home state. There's no telling if that will actually happen, but that didn't stop The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler from teaming up to get a sense of how voters feel about the possibility of McConaughey challenging Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for his job next year.

The poll, released Sunday, is a bit of mixed bag for McConaughey. Among all voters, he actually held a 12-point advantage over Abbott, so in a head-to-head race, it seems like the idea is at least viable. Where the actor runs into some trouble is in the primaries. It's not entirely clear under what banner McConaughey, who has suggested he's "more of a moderate," would run, the Morning News writes. Only 30 percent of Republicans said they'd vote for him, compared to 56 percent who would back Abbott. Those numbers might help in the general election, but he'd be toast if he challenged Abbott within in his own party.

The more likely scenario is that McConaughey would run as a Democrat — 66 percent of Democratic voters said they'd back him over Abbott, who received just 8 percent support from the opposing party. Still, McConaughey wouldn't be a shoe-in. The poll also revealed that 51 percent of Texas Democratic primary voters prefer a progressive candidate, while just 25 percent are hoping for a centrist, which is seemingly the mold McConaughey fits.

The poll was conducted between April 6-13 among 1,126 registered Texas voters. The margin of error is 2.92 percentage points. Read the full results here and read more about a potential McConaughey run at The Week. Tim O'Donnell

12:40 p.m.

International travel has been on the back burner for most people since the coronavirus pandemic first hit, but vaccinated Americans may soon have the opportunity to stroll along the Seine in Paris once again.

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday. During the interview, he told host Margaret Brennan that France is looking to "progressively lift" travel restrictions at the beginning of May, and U.S. citizens are part of that plan, though they will likely have to carry a "special pass" as proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Macron said there's been discussions with the White House about how the formal process will work, though It sounds like it's still too early to pinpoint a specific target date. But if things move forward as planned — the strategy could certainly change depending on the course of the virus — it likely won't be too long before folks can hop on a plane. Tim O'Donnell

11:23 a.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States' top infectious disease expert, said Sunday that he does not believe the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson will be taken out of circulation altogether, but that, either way, its fate should be settled by Friday.

The one-shot vaccine was granted an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration earlier this year, but the agency last week recommended a temporary pause on administering the vaccine because of a possible causal link to a handful of rare, potentially fatal, blood clots.

Fauci made the network rounds on Sunday, predicting that the vaccine will be back in action before too long. He told NBC News' Chuck Todd, for instance, that he doubts "very seriously" the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee will simply cancel the vaccine. But he did acknowledge that if the shot gets another green light, warnings or restrictions may be attached this time. Not wanting to get ahead of himself, Fauci refrained from speculating too deeply about what the new labels may be. Tim O'Donnell

11:03 a.m.

It's rare that China and the United States are on the same page these days, but it appears the two powers made some progress when it comes to addressing climate change this past week.

In a joint statement on Sunday, Washington and Beijing announced they have agreed to cooperate with each other and other countries to "tackle the climate crisis." They will keep discussing "concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limits within reach."

Prior to the release of the statement, John Kerry, the Biden administration's climate envoy, traveled to Shanghai last week to meet with his Beijing counterpart, Xie Zhenhua. Kerry said Sunday that his discussions were productive, noting that "this is the first time China has joined in" calling climate change a "crisis." He also expressed optimism about the Chinese delegation saying the issue must be met with "urgency" and the fact that they talked about "enhancing" their emissions reduction goals. The language, at least, is "strong," Kerry said.

Li Shuo, the senior climate adviser for Greenpeace, said the joint statement "is as positive as the politics would allow," given that before its release the message of cooperation between the two countries was not one "we could assume."

President Biden will host a virtual climate change summit this week, with many world leaders expected to attend. Chinese President Xi Jinping has not formally confirmed his participation, but people familiar with the matter said he'll be there, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

8:01 a.m.

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny could die "in a matter of days," his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh wrote on Facebook on Saturday, NPR reports.

Navalny, who nearly died after a poisoning he has blamed on Russian President Vladimir Putin last August, is currently being held in a notorious penal colony outside of Moscow, where he is three weeks into a hunger strike. His physician Yaroslav Ashikhmin said test results Navalny's family shared with him showed he was at increased risk of cardiac arrest because of elevated potassium levels, and that his kidneys were deteriorating. "Our patient could die at any moment," Ashikhmin said in a translated Facebook post, per NPR.

The Kremlin has prevented Navalny's personal doctors from seeing him and insists he's receiving adequate care. Andrei Kelin, Russia's ambassador to the United Kingdom, told BBC on Sunday that Navalny "will not be allowed to die in prison" and suggested the Kremlin critic was merely trying to "attract attention."

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Navalny's allies put out an urgent call for his supporters to take to the streets en masse across Russia on Wednesday. Before the reports of Navalny's worsening condition, his team was determined to wait until 500,000 people had signed up to join the demonstration before announcing a date, but they've decided they can no longer wait for what they're calling "the final battle between good and neutrality." A "massive police crackdown" is expected in response, CNN's Bianna Golodryga reports. Read more at NPR. Tim O'Donnell

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