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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically. 

 

The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Breaking — Biden lifts Trump’s transgender military ban |  Portman won’t run for reelection |  Dominion files defamation suit against Giuliani |  Senate to receive impeachment article tonight |  Trial could start as soon as Feb. 9 |  Trial logistics |  Senate in limbo as leaders negotiate sharing power |  Biden’s dogs arrive at White House |  Moderna says vaccine effective on COVID variants |  Works on booster shot

 

NEWS THIS MORNING

Transgender military ban, OUT:

 

 

President Biden lifted former President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE’s ban on most transgender people serving in the military. https://bit.ly/39fVZSY

From the fact sheet just released: “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity. Allowing all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform is better for the military and better for the country because an inclusive force is a more effective force.”

Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE, OUT:

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced this morning that he will not seek reelection in 2022. https://bit.ly/3c8p6JE

Portman cited partisanship in his statement: “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground. This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades.” 

What to know about Portman’s political career: “Portman, 65, has spent the better part of three decades in public office. First elected to the U.S. House in 1993, he left Congress to serve in the George W. Bush administration, first as U.S. trade representative and then as director of the Office of Management and Budget. He won election to the Senate in 2010, and handily won reelection in 2016.” 

Tidbit from Politico’s Burgess Everett: “Ohio GOP Sen. Portman told me in November he planned to run again. But a lot has changed since then, and he'll now be one of the Republicans to watch at Trump's (second) impeachment trial” https://bit.ly/3piPmVF

It’s Monday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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Would you have believed me if I told you a year ago that you could probably name a voting system company?:

Via The Hill’s John Kruzel, “Dominion Voting Systems on Monday filed a lawsuit against Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani again suspended from YouTube over false election claims Sacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Biden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug MORE alleging that the former New York City mayor spread numerous defamatory statements about the voting machine company while he helped lead former President Trump’s failed post-election legal campaign.”  

What the company is seeking: “$1.3 billion in damages over what it called a ‘viral disinformation campaign,’ alleging that Giuliani made malicious false accusations against Dominion, including that the company had engaged in voter fraud and election fixing.” 

The Supreme Court dismissed two Trump lawsuits as moot:

“The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a pair of emoluments lawsuits against former President Trump, ruling that the cases are moot now that he has left office.” Detailshttps://bit.ly/3ocxlGZ

 

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IN THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION

It’s theme week in the White House:

President Biden is signing an executive order today to increase the federal government’s use of American-made goods. https://bit.ly/3pgh4Cs

Today’s theme: “Buy American”

Other themes this week: Tuesday is “Equity” day, Wednesday is “Climate” day, Thursday is “Health Care” day and Friday is “Immigration” day. Details for eachhttps://bit.ly/2YcgJVn

TIDBIT — THE BIDENS HAVE OBJECTIVELY GOOD TASTE IN BAGELS:

After attending mass in Georgetown over the weekend, President Biden’s motorcade stopped at Georgetown bagel shop ‘Call Your Mother.’ https://bit.ly/39cs0eG 

 

 

Watchhttps://bit.ly/3ohmzj1 

The deli tweeted: “What a GREAT Sunday surprise! Growing heart Thrilled to have an admin again who will love all that DC has to offer — starting with sesame bagels!! Come back anytime @JoeBiden” https://bit.ly/2YftJJX

LATEST WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

I had a ‘whoa, how did we get here?’ moment this morning — this is the second impeachment trial in a year:

The House will send the impeachment article to the Senate this evening, kicking off preparation for former President Trump’s second impeachment trial in a year. 

What we know about timing: “Lawmakers have offered few details on how long a trial could last or if they’ll try to call additional witnesses or documents. Trump’s first trial, in 2020, lasted 21 days, with senators expecting the second trial to be shorter. [Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerA Biden stumble on China? First Black secretary of Senate sworn in Republican Ohio Senate candidate calls on GOP rep to resign over impeachment vote MORE (D-N.Y.)], speaking in New York on Sunday, predicted that the trial wouldn’t last too long.” https://bit.ly/3iIdjTR

TRIAL LOGISTICS:

7 p.m. EST today: The impeachment article arrives in the Senate.

Tomorrow: Former President Trump is issued a summons.

Feb. 2: Trump’s response is due. The House’s pre-trial brief is also due. 

Feb. 8: Trump’s pre-trial brief and the House’s rebuttal are due.

That means the earliest the trial can begin is Feb. 9.

The full logisticshttps://bit.ly/3sXBvWP

WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING IN CONGRESS

Let’s do the limbo:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, the Senate is stuck in limbo until Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.) reach a deal on how to share power in the 50-50 Senate.

The gist: “Without an agreement, Democrats are technically in the majority, because Vice President Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisElla Emhoff, inauguration designer join forces on knitwear collaboration Who is the Senate parliamentarian and why is she important? In America, women are frontliners of change MORE can break a tie, but Republicans are still in control of many of the committees because they are still operating under the previous Congress’ set up.” 

What to expecthttps://bit.ly/3iIdjTR

THE CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE:

“Biden is facing GOP opposition to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus package that is threatening his ability to enact any new relief measures quickly.”

Why GOP senators are hesitant to pass another $1.9 trillion package: Republicans are skeptical that another $1.9 trillion is necessary after the $900 billion relief bill was passed in December.  

Democrats may be able to pass the bill without Republican support, but it may be tricky: “In the Senate that likely means using reconciliation, a budget tool that allows some legislation to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster. Though they aren’t yet willing to pull the trigger on that, they’ve also acknowledged that it might be necessary.”

NOMINATIONS:

“Treasury Secretary nominee Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Senators push for changes as chamber nears vote on .9T relief bill | Warren offers bill to create wealth tax OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Texas sues power provider Griddy, alleging deceptive advertising and marketing | More states follow California's lead on vehicle emissions standards | Financial regulators home in on climate risks Warren bill would impose wealth tax on M households MORE and Tony Blinken, Biden’s pick to lead the State Department, are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate this week after Democrats were unable to get them confirmed during the first few days of the new administration. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will vote on Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasHouse plans for immigration bills add uncertainty on Biden proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - J&J vax rollout today; third woman accuses Cuomo Biden officials urge patience on immigration amid border surge MORE’s nomination to be DHS secretary on Tuesday.”  

That’s just to name a few. Here’s a full list of nominations this weekhttps://bit.ly/3oiTofj 

I.e.: 

 



SKEPTICISM REIGNS IN THE BIDEN, MCCONNELL ERA:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Amie Parneshttps://bit.ly/3iI0yIW

MODERATES VOW TO ‘BE A FORCE’ UNDER BIDEN:

“Moderates in both chambers are hoping to grow their influence and cut deals under the Biden administration.” https://bit.ly/2YdIUTW

 

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LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

A backup for the new coronavirus variant:

While the vaccine appears to protect against the new COVID-19 variants first found in the U.K. and South Africa, Moderna is working on a booster shot.

“Its researchers said its current coronavirus vaccine appears to work against the two highly transmissible strains found in the U.K. and South Africa, although it looks like it may be less effective against the latter.” 

Details from CNBChttps://cnb.cx/39dQRi6

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 25,137,632

U.S. death toll: 419,263 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 22.4 million shots have been given 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.16 million doses.  

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH

NOTABLE TWEETS:

If you need Champ or Major, they’ll be busy sniffing every part of their new digs:

 

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2Nzbn4y 

What about adopting a cat?: CNN’s Kate Bennett tweeted, “The cat is coming, I am told. There are still plans to adopt, just haven't gotten around to it yet!” https://bit.ly/39dHsY2

This is pretty cool:

 

 

Watchhttps://bit.ly/3ploJ28

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

9:30 a.m. ESTPresident Biden and Vice President Harris received the President’s Daily Brief.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Biden meets with Vice President Harris, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinPentagon chief calls on military to reaffirm values, ethical conduct Overnight Defense: Tim Kaine moves to claw back war powers authority | Study on sexual harassment and assault in the military Commissioners tasked with scrubbing Confederate base names sworn-in at first meeting MORE and Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

12:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Harris ceremonially swears in Lloyd Austin as defense secretary.

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets. 

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate votes on the confirmation of Janet Yellen to be treasury secretary. The Senate’s full agenda todayhttps://bit.ly/3phKOie

7 p.m. EST: The House managers will present the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump.

1 p.m. EST Tuesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Modern Credit Systems, Alternative Data & the American Dream.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/39UeTho

3:30 p.m. EST Tuesday: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Listening to America.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/3sQpQsK

 

WHAT TO WATCH:

1 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Cardona seeks to pivot from DeVos era at Education White House says weekly vaccine doses will increase to 15.2 million MORE holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3sTSdq2 

1:30 p.m. EST: The Hill is hosting a virtual event, “Rebuilding the Federal Workforce.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/3c0bIqX

3:45 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks on strengthening American manufacturing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/39fQunn

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Irish Coffee Day. It’s also National Opposite Day

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog hanging out with its piglet friend: https://bit.ly/2KQgCvI

 

This post was updated at 12:43 p.m. EST.