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January 24, 2021

Dr. Deborah Birx, who served as the White House coronavirus response coordinator while former President Donald Trump was still in office, opened up about her time working with the Trump administration during an exclusive interview with CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday.

Birx was often criticized for not pushing back enough on Trump's comments about the pandemic, and while she suggested her reactions could be misinterpreted — like the time Trump asked her about whether COVID-19 could be treated with a bleach injection — she did anticipate the gig would likely be the end of her federal career. "You can't go into something that's that polarized and not believe you won't be tainted by that experience," she told Brennan, adding that she'll "need to retire" within the next few weeks.

Birx did say she wished she had "been more publicly outspoken" about certain things like COVID-19 testing, especially because she's been known to "push the envelope" in private. But she suggested that, ultimately, the culture of the White House proved too unfamiliar. Tim O'Donnell

January 24, 2021

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) didn't provide a clear hint about how he'll likely vote as a juror in former President Donald Trump's upcoming Senate impeachment trial, telling CNN's Dana Bash on Sunday's edition of State of the Union that he'll wait to see the facts and evidence. But he did at least seem open to the possibility of voting to convict, which would be familiar territory for the senator. Romney, of course, was the lone Republican senator to do so in Trump's first impeachment trial, joining his Democratic colleagues on one article.

First, Romney explained that, unlike some of his Republican colleagues, he believes a post-presidency impeachment trial is constitutional and that the House was well within grounds to impeach Trump after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. If inciting an insurrection isn't an impeachable offense, Romney asked, then what is?

Bash also asked Romney about his fellow Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who played significant roles in propping up Trump's unfounded claims that the presidential election was stolen from him by launching Electoral College challenges, which were interrupted by the Capitol siege. Romney didn't appear to be in favor of some form of formal punishment for Cruz and Hawley, but said he thinks history and voters will provide judgment. Tim O'Donnell

January 17, 2021

Despite security concerns, the plan is still for President-elect Joe Biden to take the oath of office on the West Front of the United States Capitol during Wednesday's inauguration ceremony, incoming White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said Sunday during an appearance on ABC's This Week.

Bedingfield said that doing so would reflect American "resilience" following the deadly riot at the Capitol earlier this month, when a pro-Trump mob violently forced its way into the building.

Bedingfield also provided a glimpse of what may be in Biden's inaugural address. She didn't get into specifics, but her expectations mirrored those of other advisers, who anticipate Biden will call for unity and "lay out a positive, optimistic vision for the country." Tim O'Donnell

January 17, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reiterated his belief that his Republican colleagues in the Senate should not embrace what he considers "an unconstitutional impeachment" of President Trump.

Speaking with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo on Sunday morning, Graham said Trump is facing a "scarlet letter" impeachment that's driven by the "radical left" and called on President-elect Joe Biden and the GOP to put a stop to it. The biggest risk of following through, Graham argued, is the destruction of the Republican Party. If the party "wants to move forward, President Trump's gonna be the most important voice ... for a long time."

That said, Graham did issue a warning for Trump, as well. When asked about the possibility of the president pardoning people involved in the deadly siege of the United States Capitol — the impetus for Trump's impeachment — Graham said he hopes "we don't go down that road" because it "would destroy" Trump. Tim O'Donnell

January 10, 2021

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser wants her city to be better prepared for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 than it was last Wednesday when a mob of President Trump's supporters stormed the United States Capitol, resulting in five deaths.

On Sunday, Bowser sent acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf a letter asking the department to extend the National Special Security Event period set to cover the Inauguration between Jan. 19-21, to Jan. 11-24. She also wrote that D.C. is requesting a pre-disaster declaration, which would "expedite and enhance" federal assistance, adding that she is urging federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the Justice Department, to coordinate with Congress and the Supreme Court so they can establish a federal force deployment strategy, freeing up the Metropolitan Police Department to "focus on its local mission."

Finally, Bowser asked the Department of the Interior to cancel or refuse to grant "any and all" public gathering permits in the nation's capital during the potentially extended security event period. Tim O'Donnell

January 10, 2021

Although former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is shocked by the deadly riot that took place at the United States Capitol on Wednesday, he's standing by the reasoning that informed his earlier prediction that President Trump would leave office "presidentially." Mulvaney wasn't defending Trump's actions — in fact, he resigned as envoy to North Ireland over the president's handling of the incident — but he doesn't think he should have seen it all coming.

Mulvaney told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday that while it may be easy for people who have always opposed the president to criticize his supporters for lack of foresight, he had seen a very different president during his time in the White House. Mulvaney did let Trump off the hook a little, as well, stating that what really surprised him was the fact that people took Trump's "fiery" rhetoric literally. "The country is different than I expected," he said.

Not everyone is buying Mulvaney's argument, but Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also thinks Trump underwent a sea change after Election Day. Toomey, who endorsed Trump's re-election bid and voted for him, has recently emerged as one of the GOP's stronger Trump critics, and has called on him to resign following the riot. But his comments suggest he doesn't consider the turn of events to have been inevitable. Tim O'Donnell

January 10, 2021

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) told CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that even if, as he expects, Congress introduces and votes on an article of impeachment against President Trump this week, they may not send it to the Senate right away.

For starters, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated that, because Congress is on recess, the upper chamber wouldn't be able to hold a trial until the afternoon of Jan. 20, which theoretically would be after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as Trump's successor. Clyburn's concern with that timeframe isn't related to Trump being out of office, though. Instead he's concerned it would distract Congress from important tasks during the early stages of Biden's presidency, which is why he thinks the House may consider sending the article to the Senate after the first 100 days of the new administration are up.

However, there's no historical precedent for impeaching an ex-president, so while there are legal scholars who think Trump could be subject to impeachment post-presidency, the question could lead to a lengthy court battle, pushing the congressional process even further down the road. Tim O'Donnell

January 3, 2021

While experts are urging patience with the slower-than-expected United States vaccine rollout, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Sunday suggested a logistical fix that could help speed things up.

Appearing on CBS News' Face the Nation, Gottlieb told host Margaret Brennan he thinks the U.S. should allow public health departments to focus on getting the vaccine to hard-to-reach, vulnerable communities while simultaneously making the shots available to the wider population — with priority based on age — through retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS. "You're not gonna see the long lines," he said. "They're gonna have a scheduling system in place, and it's gonna be a more orderly distribution."

Meanwhile, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Operation Warp Speed's chief science adviser, also appeared on Face the Nation, telling Brennan he isn't keen on following the United Kingdom's lead by spreading out the time between the first and second doses of the vaccines as a method for getting more people inoculated at a faster rate, since evidence is lacking. But he did say that "we know" Moderna's vaccine induces an "identical immune response" when given at half the dosage that is currently being administered. If that change is eventually allowed by the FDA, two shots would still be required, but it would still save enough of the vaccine to expedite the process. Tim O'Donnell

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