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THE BIG NEWS
Republicans Fail to Impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas
In yet another useless act of political theater, the Republican-led House of Representatives rejected impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The vote was 216 to 214, including three Republican no votes. The impeachment would have potentially led to Mayorkas' removal, which would have done pretty much nothing except to allow Republicans to claim victory against an open-borders policy that doesn't exist.
In a late-but-pivotal vote, Rep. Al Green, a Democrat from Texas, appeared on the House floor in hospital clothes, having just had emergency abdominal surgery. "I didn’t come assuming that my vote was going to make a difference," said Green, who repeatedly tried to impeach President Donald Trump. "I came because it was personal."
Republican Speaker Mike Johnson still thought he had the votes needed, and he held the vote open for a few extra minutes as Democrats booed and called for a close, but it wasn't enough. The mangled act of vote whipping showed that the traditionally obstructionist Republicans no longer have the unified sense of purpose that made them an effective – and maddening – political instrument over the last decade.
Mayorkas isn't even a good DHS secretary, at least by liberal-left standards. He presides over a department every bit as draconian and anti-immigrant as those of past administrations. But the White House sets policy. And now, the Biden administration is in the maddening position of supporting what were, until this week, hardline Republican immigration and border policies that should be anathema to progressives. In a time of growing right-wing hysteria, the Democrats have become the new law-and-order party.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Appeals Court Rejects Trump Immunity Argument
Donald Trump does not have immunity for crimes he may have committed while president, according to a federal appeals court. The three-judge panel rejected the Trump legal team's arguments, which have basically amounted to the old Nixonian adage that if the president does it, it's not illegal. "We cannot accept that the office of the Presidency places its former occupants above the law for all time thereafter," the judges wrote in their opinion.
Trump now has until February 12 to decide whether he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. His trial was originally scheduled for March but has been postponed.
Republican National Committee Chair Resigns
After some speculation over her job security, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel has reportedly told former President Donald Trump that she plans to resign after the South Carolina presidential primary later this month. The leading candidate to replace her seems to be Michael Whatley, who heads the North Carolina Republican Party. Whatley is a 2020 election denier, which means he believes in the new MAGA gospel. Expect some particularly whacked out MAGA loyalists to ascend ever higher. How does RNC Co-Chair Laura Loomer sound?
- With Musk's Help, Gina Carano Sues Disney Actor Gina Carano, who was fired in 2021 from the Star Wars show "The Mandalorian," has sued Disney, and Elon Musk is paying her legal bills. Carano claims that she was fired for her tweets expressing her conservative political views. Musk plans to fund more lawsuits against Disney. via CBS News.
- Israeli Government Believes 50 Hostages May Have Died The Israeli government privately believes that as many as 50 hostages – and not the reported 29 – held by Hamas and its allies may be dead. At least 80 Israelis remain held as hostages in Gaza. via Wall Street Journal.
- Jury Convicts Mother of School Shooter A jury found a woman guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection with her son shooting dead four students in 2021. The parents bought their 15-year-old son the gun and didn't act on warning signs of his violent intent. It's the first case to find a parent culpable for their child's school shooting. via ABC News.
- Israel's Weak Evidence of UNRWA Terrorism Britain's Channel 4 News examined Israel's six-page dossier alleging that twelve UNRWA employees contributed to the October 7 attack. They found the document unconvincing. via Channel 4.
That's how far underground a hole was drilled for a new MTA tunnel beneath Grand Central Terminal. In what seems like a throwback to an earlier, more devout era of infrastructure projects, Reverend Brendan Fitzgerald, a Catholic priest, descended that 55 feet to recite a blessing and pour holy water on the construction site. In addition to his church in the Bronx, Rev. Fitzgerald is the official chaplain for Sandhogs Local 147, whose workers have dug tunnels in New York for decades. The tunnel, which will service the 7 train, should be complete by the end of 2024.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
2/7: It's Hump Day! Sam and Emma speak with independent journalist Erin Reed, author of the Erin In The Morning newsletter on SubStack, to discuss the state of anti-trans legislation moving its way around the country in 2024. Then, they speak with Margie Mason & Robin McDowell, investigative reporters for the Associated Press, to discuss their recent reporting on prison labor in the United States. And in the Fun Half, Tim Heidecker makes a special appearance!
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
The Democrats have replaced no policy with bad policy.
Nothing signals Kyrsten Sinema's contempt for voters like her extravagant spending.
"This has come to haunt us in our homeland. It’s come to haunt us in the U.S. It’s come to haunt us in Texas. This is not acceptable. And I beg you to call an end for this madness."
-- Nizar Doer, whose 23-year-old son, Zacharia, was stabbed after leaving a ceasefire protest in Austin. "Mr. Joe Biden, I blame you for what happened to me," said Zacharia, who survived the attack.
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