The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems kick off impeachment argument with new video footage

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Dems’ oral arguments begin | McConnell undecided on whether to convict | Trump’s lawyers widely criticized | ‘My Cousin Vinny’ trended on Twitter | Trump furious with performance | Attorney says he’ll ‘do better’ | Trial sights and sounds | Dems’ insurrection footage hits hard | A few GOP senators look away | Gottlieb discusses potential for vaccine glut | Lawyer’s Zoom cat filter goes viral | Best reactions



On today’s episode of ‘Trump On Trial: The Sequel,’ we have new footage YOU won’t want to miss:



Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis, “House Democrats on Wednesday offered a small window into their Day Two impeachment argument before the Senate, promising to air new video footage providing an ‘extraordinary’ glimpse of both the violence and heroics that accompanied the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.” https://bit.ly/3a72FmQ

An aide to the impeachment managers told reporters: "We'll be using footage never seen before that shows a view of the Capitol that is quite extraordinary, and a view of the attack that has never been public before, which you will see for the first time, starting today.”  

What we know about the new footage, according to that aide: "It will provide new insight into both the extreme violence that everyone suffered, the risk, and the threat that it could have led to further violence and death to many, but for the brave actions of the officers," the aide said. "And shows really the extent of what Donald Trump unleashed on our Capitol." https://bit.ly/3a72FmQ

Watch today’s trial proceedings — here’s the C-SPAN livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2MJYpkx

Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE isn’t a definite vote in Trump’s favor, BTW:

Via Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling to fellow Republicans that the final vote on Donald Trump’s impeachment is matter of conscience and that senators who disputed the constitutionality of the trial could still vote to convict the former president, according to three people familiar with his thinking.” https://bloom.bg/3rGzCfP

McConnell’s thinking on the final vote: “The Kentucky Republican has also suggested that he hasn’t made up his mind how he’ll vote, two of the people said, even though he voted Tuesday to declare it unconstitutional for the Senate to hear the case against a former president.” 

For context — this is a different McConnell than with the last Trump impeachment trial: “That position is starkly different than McConnell’s declaration at the start of Trump’s first impeachment trial last year that he did not consider himself an impartial juror.” 

More on the current Republican dynamic right now in the Senatehttps://bloom.bg/3rGzCfP


Happy Wednesday! 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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Do not insult My Cousin Vinny this way!:



While lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen presented their widely criticized opening defense of former President TrumpDonald TrumpRomney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS McConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS US raises concerns about Iran's seriousness in nuclear talks MORE, the famous film ‘My Cousin Vinny’ trended on Twitter. 

The criticism was mostly aimed at: Bruce Castor

Why: “Castor did not spend much time defending Trump or detailing the case the defense intended to make. Instead, he meandered, talking about the fall of ancient governments, praising the House impeachment managers and the senators seeking to impeach Trump, and recounting anecdotes about getting lost in the halls of Congress. At one point, Castor said the Senate should not impeach Trump because the voters had already thrown him out.”  Oh. https://bit.ly/3rDp0hM

Newsmax even cut away from Trump’s defense lawyers:


Dershowitz talks impeachment trial on Newsmax


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3p8i9v1

What we’re all wondering here — what does Trump think?:

Via The New York Times’s Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Pence sets the stage for 2024 Trump frustrated with pace of super PAC Media stumbles: Its bias shows in covering Biden v. Trump MORE, former President Trump watched the trial from his private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, and was furious with the performance of Castor and Schoen. https://nyti.ms/3p7KotO

Trump’s anger on a scale: “On a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the angriest, Mr. Trump ‘was an eight,’ one person familiar with his reaction said.”  

And without a Twitter account, Trump can’t defend himself: “Unlike his first Senate impeachment trial, just over a year ago, Mr. Trump has no Twitter feed to do what he believes he does better than anyone else — defend himself — and to dangle threats of retaliation over the heads of Republican senators who serve on the impeachment jury.”

The full story on how Trump reactedhttps://nyti.ms/3p7KotO


Via ABC’s Katherine Faulders and John Santucci, “Trump had been bracing for a defense much less successful than the one during his first impeachment trial, but at times he was stunned to hear some of the arguments, specifically how Bruce Castor complimented the House impeachment managers presentation.” https://bit.ly/2Z6CmH0

Trump’s lawyers obviously heard all the criticism — how they took it:

According to the pool: “Trump atty Bruce Castor after the trial: ‘I thought we had a good day.’” https://bit.ly/3d12Lyq 

But then Trump’s lawyer David Schoen said in an interview with USA Today: “I'm sorry he felt that way,” Schoen said critiques from Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyCalls grow for national paid family leave amid pandemic Senators urge Energy chief to prioritize cybersecurity amid growing threats Vivek Murthy confirmed as surgeon general MORE (R-La.) that their arguments didn’t resonate.  “I’ll have to do better next time.” https://bit.ly/3rLKZTX


If you watch one thing today — this is important, though it’s not easy to watch:


Raskin presents impeachment trial opening video



A few photos used as impeachment exhibitshttps://bit.ly/3a4CWLR 

Ugh, this is chilling: The News Station’s Matt Laslo tweeted, “If you were there you didn’t think you were making it home alive.  A congresswoman thought her last words to her husband were, ‘I’ve got a pen in my hand and I’m taking at least one of them out with me before they throw me over the balcony.’ (I’m not allowed to say her name)” https://bit.ly/2Nik6Ys 

From Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lead House impeachment manager, who buried his 25-year-old son a few days before the siege: “Raskin was separated from his daughter Tabitha and her fiance that day, and he thought he might lose another child. When he was reunited, he apologized to her and said it won't be like this for her next visit.  She replied: ‘Dad I don't want to come back to the Capitol.’” https://bit.ly/3q7WiFj

Raskin described how scary Jan. 6 was: “Raskin says during the attack lawmakers were calling their spouses to say goodbye. They were removing their congressional pins so the mob wouldn't know they were lawmakers. Staffers were sending texts to loved ones saying, ‘I love you.’” https://bit.ly/3q7UgVX 

Tidbit — a few GOP senators didn’t watch as the insurrection video played: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) looked down at the pad of lined paper in his lap, where he had already begun doodling with a pencil. Behind him, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) studied papers in his lap, taking only the tiniest glimpses at the screen to his right. A few seats over, Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (R-Ark.) also focused most of his attention on papers in front of him … and a few seats from him, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists The growing threat of China's lawfare MORE (R-Fla.) did the same.” (Via The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjianhttps://wapo.st/3abYkit

Trial drawings: Here’s a sketch of a senator reading the newspaper during the hearing: https://bit.ly/3a8jlKJ


Important op-ed — we could be looking at a vaccine glut in April:

In The Wall Street Journal, former FDA Commissioners Scott Gottlieb and Mark McClellan, “After early challenges, vaccine delivery is keeping up with supply. But by the end of March, the monthly vaccine supply may reach 100 million doses. To keep pace, the vaccination rate would have to double and then some. This will require an all-of-the-above approach to administering vaccines, tapping substantial capacity in pharmacies, primary-care practices and other trusted health-care providers.” https://on.wsj.com/36ZMJB1

Meaning (!): “Especially with improved delivery, at some point, perhaps in April, supply will start exceeding demand.”

How we handle the challenges of a vaccine gluthttps://on.wsj.com/36ZMJB1


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 27,194,717

U.S. death toll: 468,247

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


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 44.4 million shots have been given 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.53 million doses.  

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

Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH


Trending video — I laughed out loud watching this:


Lawyer says 'I am not a cat'



The New York Times’s write-up of the video is incredible:

The Times’s Daniel Victor wrote, “It was a civil forfeiture case hearing like any other hearing, except for the lawyer cat. Courts usually don’t let cats argue cases. But here was Rod Ponton, a county attorney in Presidio County, Texas, unable to figure out how to turn off the cat filter on his Zoom call during a hearing on Tuesday in Texas’ 394th Judicial District Court.” https://nyti.ms/3jCgFIf

It gets better: “’Augggh,’ an exasperated Mr. Ponton responds, as his kitten face looks forlornly at the corner of the screen, its eyes seeming to be full of terror, shame and sadness. ‘Can you hear me, Judge?’ he asks, although the audio was never at issue.”  

I suggest you read the full storyhttps://nyti.ms/3jCgFIf


The New York Times’s Dan Saltzstein made an important point: “ ‘I'm not a cat’ is exactly what a kitten lawyer would say” https://bit.ly/3a5Ah4l

The Huffington Post’s Ariel Edwards-Levy responded: “that would be purrjury” https://bit.ly/3q9W9kL 

This bothers me, too: CBS’s Weijia Jiang rightfully noticed: “I can’t stop thinking about how the other two men on the #catlawyer zoom were not laughing AT ALL.” https://bit.ly/3p9jvG3 


Cat Zoom call


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3cZ5RTn 

This!: “Can't get over the lawyer wanting to go on w the hearing as a cat” (From The New York Times’s Jonathan Martinhttps://bit.ly/3jCFZxY 

More reactions — if you need me this afternoon, I’ll be scrolling through these ;)  https://bit.ly/3q8IxWR


The more you know!:


CDC recommends two masks


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3a9goJG


The Senate is in. The House is out. President BidenJoe BidenBiden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS US mulling cash payments to help curb migration MORE and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C. 

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

2 p.m. EST: President Biden and Vice President Harris meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists The paradox of US-India relations Pentagon chief to visit Europe, Israel amid tensions with Russia, Iran MORE and other senior military and civilian leadership. 

3:30 p.m. EST: President Biden, Vice President Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tour the “African Americans in Service Corridor.” 

Thursday: The Hill is hosting an event, “COVID-19 & The Opioid Epidemic.” Details and how to RSVPhttps://bit.ly/2N2tlfs


11 a.m. EST: The White House COVID-19 Response team held a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3q7cIxW 

11:55 a.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Five takeaways from Biden's first budget proposal Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE holds a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3q84NR1 

Just announced — 1 p.m. ESTPresident Biden delivers remarks on the military coup in Myanmar. What to expect: Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams is reporting that the “Biden administration [is planning] to sanction Myanmar leaders over [the] coup.” Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3aTw7M9

2:50 p.m. ESTPresident Biden, Vice President Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin deliver remarks to Pentagon personnel. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3q7KD9v


Today is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day.

And because you made it this far, here’s a cat who gave 110% in finding its most comfortable place to sit: https://bit.ly/3q8Xjgw