December 31, 2020

Republican House members and at least one senator are lining up to oppose President-elect Joe Biden's 2020 win. But Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) says that's not what's happening behind the scenes.

On Jan. 6, when Congress meets to certify the presidential election results, some Republicans are planning to object to the results. It's a last-ditch attempt to overturn Biden's win, after multiple recounts proved it was legitimate and dozens of court challenges failed to change the results. But despite all the pressure from his own party, Sasse wrote in a lengthy Facebook post Thursday that he won't be joining their "dangerous ploy."

Sasse went on on to break down what he thinks is the "truth" about the Jan. 6 certification, as well as voter fraud in the 2020 election. For starters, it's not only "unwise" for Congress to oppose the results; there are no state election results "in doubt" either, Sasse wrote. And after analyzing several court battles and fraud allegations, he came to the same conclusion as former Attorney General William Barr: There was no large-scale fraud that could've changed the election results.

Privately, Sasse said his fellow Republicans agree. "I haven't heard a single Congressional Republican allege that the election results were fraudulent —not one," Sasse wrote. "Instead, I hear them talk about their worries about how they will 'look' to President Trump's most ardent supporters." But while these "ambitious politicians" see their opposition efforts as "a quick way to tap into the president's populist base without doing any real, long-term damage," they're wrong, Sasse continued. And if they don't start working with Democrats to "rebuild trust" in self-government, "we're going to turn American politics into a Hatfields and McCoys endless blood feud — a house hopelessly divided," Sasse finished. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:11 a.m.

There's growing skepticism that 17 Senate Republicans will vote with Democrats to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, meaning his second impeachment trial would also end in acquittal. The GOP's legally dubious off-ramp — declaring it unconstitutional to try a former president — failed Tuesday, but 45 of the 50 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the motion. So Democrats are now looking for a Plan B to ensure that Trump is not let off essentially scot-free for the deadly Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

"Make no mistake — there will be a trial, and the evidence against the former president will be presented, in living color, for the nation and every one of us to see," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday. At the same time, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he's talking with a "handful" of his GOP colleagues to see if they would support a censure resolution.

Tuesday's 55-45 vote was "completely clarifying that we're not going to get near 67," Kaine said Wednesday, adding that his resolution is "more than just a censure, saying, 'Hey, you did wrong.'" The proposal would state that the Jan. 6 attack "was an insurrection and that President Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists," language intended to invoke the 14th Amendment and bar Trump from holding federal office again.

Constitutional scholars are skeptical such a ban would be enforceable. "I worry about the cop-out of a condemnatory censure, which Senators shouldn't be led to think gets them off the hook of having to convict the former president under the Article of Impeachment," Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe told The Washington Post.

Kaine and other Democrats are also floating the option of a quick trial, as short as a week, so the Senate can focus on passing President Biden's COVID-19 legislation and other priorities. Some moderate Democrats don't want to rush it, though.

"We have an obligation to get the facts, it seems to me," especially concerning Trump's personal involvement in the insurrection, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told The Associated Press. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) agreed. "This is much, much more serious than anything we've ever seen in our lifetime and it's really the purpose of having articles of impeachment in the Constitution," he said. "We want to make sure that no one ever does this again, never thinks about doing this again — sedition and insurrection." Peter Weber

1:44 a.m.

Now that Navy veteran Miyoko Toy has moved into her apartment, she's looking forward to everything that comes along with having a place of her own.

"I'm excited to have keys," she said. "I'm excited to have a bed. I'm excited to be able to get up from my nap and make myself something to eat. It means everything to me."

Toy is the 1,500th homeless veteran in Southern California's San Bernardino County to receive housing through the Homeless Veterans Initiative. Launched five years ago, this collaborative effort between the county and local social service organizations identifies homeless veterans and helps them develop housing plans before getting them moved. For some, they might need prolonged rental assistance, while others need short-term help.

After leaving the Navy, Toy bounced from living situation to living situation. She learned about the San Bernardino County Homeless Veterans Initiative through a women's group for vets, and earlier this month, moved into an apartment. When she walked through the door, Toy jumped for joy and began clapping, looking around to see her new furniture and cleaning supplies. Now that she's settled, Toy said she is thrilled to have "a place to bring my family home to and share space with them." Catherine Garcia

1:06 a.m.

Haifa is home to Israel's largest population of Holocaust survivors, and Yad Rosa is working around the clock to help them make it through the coronavirus pandemic.

Shimon Sabag started Yad Rosa 20 years ago, and over the last 10 months, has had to completely change the way the charity helps these elderly survivors. "This is the moment of truth," Sabag told The Washington Post. "Holocaust survivors see the finish line, but emotionally they are collapsing."

There are 192,000 registered Holocaust survivors in Israel, and even before the pandemic, many were struggling — a quarter live below the poverty line, the Post reports, and many of the charities tasked with offering assistance are underfunded. The first Israeli to die of COVID-19 was an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor from Hungary, and since then, roughly 5,300 survivors have tested positive for the virus and 900 have died, the Israeli government said.

A Bar-Ilan University study found that for many survivors who witnessed diseases like tuberculosis and dysentery sweep through concentration camps, the isolation they are now experiencing is making them remember the past. "They're returning back to memories of the ghetto, of the camps, of death," psychiatrist Isabella Greenberg told the Post. "Some of my patients feel that this is like Auschwitz."

Yad Rosa has changed its services to better assist survivors feeling especially vulnerable now. For those who do not want to travel by bus, volunteers drive them to their appointments and to get the COVID-19 vaccine — they've already helped more than 1,500 get the shot. Dozens of volunteers man a call center, where they check in on survivors to see if they need food, medicine, or just a chat. Contractors have made repairs in the homes of survivors, and more than 2,000 people receive daily food deliveries.

Renate Kaufmann, 83, survived the Holocaust in Germany by spending two years hiding in secret spaces. Yad Rosa recently delivered her a wheelchair, and she told the Post she looks forward to being able to go outside again one day, but until then, she must remain patient, just like she was decades ago. "Who is safe?" she said. "There is no safe place in this world." Read more at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

12:28 a.m.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has lived in public housing since 2013, first the Indiana governor's mansion and then the vice presidential residence at the Naval Observatory. In fact, he and his wife, former second lady Karen Pence, are currently "homeless," not having owned a house in years, and "couch-surfing" back home in Indiana, Business Insider reports.

The Pences are reportedly staying either at a cabin used by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R), staying with family, or moving frequently to evade murderous Trump supporters. But Stephen Colbert's Late Show imagined Pence actually couch-surfing on Wednesday night, and in its re-enactment, things go a little awry. Peter Weber

January 27, 2021

First lady Jill Biden intends on taking an active role in a Biden administration task force set up to reunite migrant children and their parents who were separated at the southern border during the Trump era, three people familiar with the matter told CNN.

In 2017 and 2018, under the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy, several thousand migrant children were separated from their parents. A federal judge instructed advocacy groups and law firms to find the parents so they can be reunited with their children, but according to the latest court filing, they have been unable to reach the parents of 611 kids.

Michael LaRosa, a spokesman for Biden, told CNN on Wednesday that the first lady's chief of staff, Julissa Reynoso, will "monitor the federal reunification effort given her background as a lawyer." President Biden is expected to announce the creation of a reunification task force in the near future, and a person familiar with the matter told CNN that high-ranking officials from the Health and Human Services Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department will lead the effort. Catherine Garcia

January 27, 2021

During a Wednesday phone call, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) let GOP lawmakers know he wants all infighting to stop, asking them to "cut this crap out."

Two representatives and an aide on the call told CBS News and CNN that McCarthy made the plea without calling anyone out by name. One known issue involves Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who as conference chairwoman is the No. 3 House Republican. Ardent supporters of former President Donald Trump want her pushed out of the role, angry at Cheney because she voted to impeach Trump earlier this month on a charge that he incited an insurrection.

McCarthy made it clear that if Republicans are turning on one another, they won't be able to focus on blocking Biden administration policies and winning the majority in 2022, people on the call said. The congressional aide told CBS News McCarthy sounded frustrated, while one lawmaker told CNN he relayed a hopeful message, saying "the only thing that can stop us from taking the majority is us."

McCarthy has held some private conversations with members, and reminded lawmakers on the call "no attacks on one another," the lawmaker told CNN. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) also asked his colleagues not to get angry in public about the metal detectors installed outside the House floor in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Several Republican lawmakers have been seen angrily confronting security officers after setting the detectors off, and Hudson said rather than throw a public fit, they need to let leadership know they are unhappy so they can work on modifications. Catherine Garcia

January 27, 2021

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) supports sanctions against colleagues who make extremist remarks, saying he hopes House leadership takes "measures that will send the message that this is unacceptable."

On Tuesday, CNN reported that before being elected last year, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) liked a comment on social media that said "a bullet to the head" would be a quick way to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Greene, an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy, also liked comments about executing FBI agents for being members of the "Deep State" and responded to a person asking if "we get to hang" former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton now by saying the "stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient."

In an interview with ABC News' Powerhouse Politics podcast, Reed said he doesn't know Greene but has "expressed concern about the rhetoric and the information that I'm seeing with her, and I would hope some folks would maybe talk to her." Greene represents the Republican Party as well as her constituents, and her fellow members of the GOP "all have to answer for" her remarks, Reed said. Democrats and Republicans both have to call out "any rhetoric that is of that extreme nature," Reed continued, and Greene's online behavior was "offensive" and "appalling. It cannot be accepted."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday morning said he "planned to have a conversation" with Greene. In a statement, Greene said that CNN wants to "cancel me and silence my voice," and called the report about her online comments "a hit piece on me focused on my time before running for political office." Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads