Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 30, 2022

Trump says he’ll pardon Jan. 6 rioters if he wins a 2nd term, White House rebukes GOP senator who said SCOTUS pick will be 'beneficiary' of racial 'quota,' and more

1

Trump says he’ll pardon Jan. 6 rioters if he wins a 2nd term

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that, if he wins a second term as president, he plans to pardon those charged for their actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. "If I run, and if I win, we will treat those people from Jan. 6 fairly," Trump said at a rally in Conroe, Texas. "And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons, because they are being treated so unfairly." Trump called the prosecutors who have charged more than 700 people with crimes for their role in the incident, "vicious, horrible people" and "racists."

2

White House rebukes GOP senator who said SCOTUS pick will be 'beneficiary' of racial 'quota'

White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement Saturday that President Biden's pledge to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court reflects "the best traditions of both parties and our nation." He pointed out that Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump both pledged to fill open SCOTUS seats with female justices. Bates was responding to comments Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) made Friday in which he pointed out the irony of using "affirmative racial discrimination" to put a Black woman on the Supreme Court while the court is hearing a major case on affirmative action in college admissions. He also said whoever Biden nominates would be the "beneficiary" of a racial "quota."

3

Tom Brady might not be retiring after all

Despite ESPN's announcement Saturday that quarterback Tom Brady, who many consider the greatest of all time, had decided to retire after 22 NFL seasons, other sources now say Brady has not yet made up his mind. Two anonymous sources say the seven-time Super Bowl winner told Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht he was still weighing his options. Brady's father told a group of reporters the same thing.

4

Pennsylvania Democrats won’t endorse in Senate primary

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party voted Saturday not to endorse a candidate in the primary race for the Senate seat currently occupied by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.). Rep. Connor Lamb (D), a moderate from Western Pennsylvania, received 159 votes at the meeting in Harrisburg, falling 17 short of the two-thirds majority needed to secure the endorsement. Lamb, who trails progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) in the polls, had campaigned aggressively for the endorsement, portraying himself as the candidate most likely to win in the November general election. Celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz is currently the frontrunner in the state's Republican primary.

5

Trudeau flees after trucker convoy enters Ottawa

As thousands of protesters entered Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family were moved from their home to an undisclosed location somewhere in the city on Saturday afternoon due to security concerns. A "Freedom Convoy" of truckers and other protesters entered the Canadian capital city of Ottawa Saturday to protest Trudeau's COVID-19 policies. Law enforcement expressed concerns that violent "lone wolf" actors may have concealed themselves in the crowd, but the protests remained peaceful.

6

U.K. may send troops to Eastern Europe as foreign secretary calls Russian invasion 'highly likely'

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Sunday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is "highly likely" but that it is "very unlikely" British soldiers would be deployed to fight the Russians directly. The U.K. has sent lethal weapons to Ukraine and is considering sending more troops to NATO member countries in Eastern Europe. Truss also said new sanctions against Russia, which the Foreign Office is expected to announce Monday, could target "any interest that has an impact on the Russian government."

7

Italian President Sergio Mattarella elected to 2nd term

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who at age 80 had hoped to retire, has been elected to a second seven-year term after electors failed to agree on any other candidate. Italy's president is elected not by popular vote, but by a group of 1,009 "great electors" comprising members of parliament and regional representatives. Mattarella received 759 votes on the eighth ballot. Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who asked Mattarella on Saturday to accept a second term, said the result is "fantastic news for Italians." Right-wing leader Giorgia Meloni said Mattarella had been "forced" to remain in office by a parliament "not fit for Italians."

8

North Korea tests most powerful missile since 2017

North Korea launched a missile Sunday, ending a month that saw an unusually high number of weapons tests. Observers believe this latest launch to be the longest-range missile North Korea has tested since 2017. North Korea suspended nuclear and long-range ballistic missile testing in 2018, but this test likely marks the end of that self-imposed moratorium. The missile was launched at 7:52 a.m. local time and did not enter the airspace of any other country.  

9

'Do it now,' Marine Le Pen tells party members who want to defect

French right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Saturday that anyone who wants to leave her National Rally (RN) party should "do it now." The announcement comes in the wake of several defections to rival candidate Éric Zemmour, whose overtly reactionary campaign stands in contrast to the traditionally far-right RN's attempts to broaden its appeal by taking more moderate stances. On Friday, Le Pen reacted to news that her niece, Marion Maréchal, had declined to back her presidential campaign and had floated the possibility of "returning to politics" to support Zemmour.

10

'Aaron Rodgers' stars in Russian propaganda in new SNL cold open

In the most recent Saturday Night Live cold open, a military officer and two White House advisors (Kenan Thompson, Alex Moffat, and Ego Nwodim) assembled to brief President Biden (James Austin Johnson) on Russia's disinformation campaign against Ukraine. The campaign included an ad starring NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers (Pete Davidson). "Oh no! I am American balltoss player Aaron Rodgers, and my car has broken down in Ukraine," Davidson-as-Rodgers said in an Eastern European accent. To save himself, he sang a version of the State Farm jingle: "Like a good neighbor, Russia is there!" The company's logo appeared on the screen, revealing State Farm's Russian name to be Колхоз, a term referring to Soviet-era collectivized agriculture.

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