Janet Yellen sworn in as Treasury Secretary
Vice president Kamala Harris formally swore in Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, making her the first woman to serve in the role in the department’s 232-year history.
Staged outside on the East Landing of the White House, which overlooks the Treasury building, Yellen raised her right as Harris, physically distanced across the entryway, administered the oath of office.
Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary pic.twitter.com/kqDIK0crDj
Yellen inherits an economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic, which has exacerbated longstanding inequalities.
She joins Biden’s history-making cabinet, which so far includes Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first African American to lead the Pentagon, and National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, who is the first woman to serve in the role.
at 5.07pm GMT
Kayleigh McEnany joins Fox News – report
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has joined Fox News as a contributor, the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Tuesday, lamenting “the revolving door between Fox News and the Trump administration”.
Kayleigh McEnany. Photograph: Leigh Vogel/EPA
News of McEnany’s move to Fox News followed former press secretary Sarah Sanders’ exit from the same outlet, shortly before she announced a run for governor in Arkansas with a statement including an attack on the mainstream media.
“According to her termination financial disclosure report,” Crew said in a release, “McEnany reached an agreement with the company in January 2021 to start working there this month. During her stint in the Trump administration, McEnany regularly appeared on the network, including more than 20 times after Trump lost the 2020 election.”
The report published by Crew featured a reference to an “employment agreement with Fox News, starting work in January” 2021. Before entering the White House, she worked for both Fox News and CNN.
A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McEnany was Donald Trump’s fourth White House press secretary, succeeding Sean Spicer, Sanders and Stephanie Grisham in April 2020.
“I will never lie to you,” she declared on her debut in the White House briefing room. “You have my word on that.”
In an administration founded on misleading statements and outright lies spread from the president down, they proved to be famous first words.
McEnany spent her last days in the White House role repeating Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen.
at 4.53pm GMT
My colleague Daniel Strauss got his hands on an invitation for a conference call between the National Governors Association and Biden administration officials to discuss the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
The call, scheduled for 3.00 pm EST on Tuesday, will include White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky, remarks by General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of the Department of Defense, White House COVID-19 Response Team vaccination coordinator Bechara Choucair, and fellow team member and supply coordinator Tim Manning, according to an invitation for the call obtained by the Guardian.
A question and answer portion will be facilitated for the governors participating on the call by NGA executive director Bill McBride.
This is the first meeting of its kind the Biden has had with governors since taking office last week. The Biden team had previously held calls during the transition period. The Trump administration held similar calls with top officials, sometimes including then-vice president Mike Pence.
The call with governors comes as Democrats and the Biden administration prioritizes COVID relief through the levers of government at their disposal.
On Monday Biden said he could see reaching 1.5 million vaccine shots per day, an increase from a previously low goal the Biden team had set and the Trump administration was on course to meet.
Senate panel advances Mayorkas nomination for DHS
The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs advanced the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security, overriding the objections of several Republicans on the committee.
Biden DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas is favorably reported out of Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Mayorkas, who served as DHS deputy secretary under president Barack Obama, would be the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the department.
A handful of Republicans, led by the panel’s outgoing chairman, senator Ron Johnson, raised concerns about Mayorkas’ previous tenure at the department and misleadingly attempted to tie him to Trump’s family separation policy.
Sen. Ron Johnson beginning hearing for Biden’s DHS Sec. nominee Alejandro Mayorkas by reading off of an IG report detailing his handling of the EB-5 visa program.
Mayorkas will next receive a vote by the full Senate.
at 4.42pm GMT
Twitter bans CEO of MyPillow Mike Lindell, a Trump ally
Twitter has “permanently suspended” MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a devoted supporters of Trump who helped lead he mendacious campaign to overturn the results of the presidential campaign.
According to a Twitter spokesperson, Lindell was removed from the platform for repeatedly violating the company’s civic integrity policy.
Lindell, a major Republican donor, is the latest Trump ally to be booted from Twitter, after the social media company removed Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon and Trump himself.
Though McConnell dropped his objection, the fight over the filibuster – which effectively requires 60 votes to advance a measure – is far from over.
The fate of Biden’s legislative agenda hangs in the balance of an evenly-divided Senate, and Democratic activists are pushing lawmakers to dispatch with the rule, arguing that it is the the only way to achieve any of their legislative priorities before the 2022 midterms.
Speaking on the floor Monday, McConnell delivered a stark warning for Democrats.
McConnell guarantees “NIGHTMARE” for Democrats in the Senate, grinding the chamber to a halt, if Democrats ever nuke the filibuster.
“When I could have tried to grab this power, I turned it down,” McConnell said, referring to to the possibility that he could have abolished the filibuster as majority leader. “I am grateful that’s been reciprocated by at least a pair of our colleagues across the aisle. I’m glad we’ve stepped back from this cliff. Taking that plunge would not be some progressive dream. It would be a nightmare. I guarantee it.”
at 4.00pm GMT
Late Monday night, Senate Mitch McConnell dropped his demand that Democrats promise to protect the filibuster, paving the way for a power-sharing agreement that will allow Democrats to officially assume control of the chamber.
The climbdown followed weeks-long negotiations between McConnell, now the minority leader, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who refused to make the commitment, as activists in his party push them to abolish the procedural tool often used to grind Senate activity to a halt.
Two Democrats on Monday – senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – said they were opposed to abolishing the filibuster, which McConnell pointed to as an assurance that it would be preserved.
“I am glad the Republican leader finally relented,” Schumer said in floor remarks on Tuesday morning.
Schumer says McConnell agreed to “exactly what Democrats proposed from the start” on the organizing resolution.
“I am glad the Republican leader finally relented,” he adds
During her opening remarks, Raimondo stressed that her priorities as commerce secretary would include strengthening trade enforcement and boosting US manufacturing.
Introducing herself to the committee, Raimondo recalled growing up in Rhode Island, the daughter of a factory worker. When her father lost his job at the Bulova watch factory he was forced into early retirement in his 50s.
I know the pain that losing a job causes a family, and I’ve seen that pain in communities that have lost jobs to outsourcing and to the pandemic,” she said, according to a transcript of her testimony. “At its heart, the Commerce Department is about opportunity. The opportunity to start or grow a business. The opportunity to get a good, stable job. The opportunity to pursue the American Dream, regardless of where you live.”
She also touts actions she took as governor to combat climate change, saying: “We need to recognize that tackling climate change goes hand-in-hand with creating good-paying jobs.”
The Senate confirmation hearing for Biden’s secretary of commerce nominee Gina Raimondo, which began at 10am, is off to an auspicious start. Chairman Roger Wicker, a Republican of Mississippi, said he expects Raimondo, a former venture capitalist in her second term as governor of Rhode Island, to be confirmed by the Senate.
Right off the bat, Chairman Wicker says he expects Governor Raimondo to be confirmed.
Biden’s cabinet is starting to come together. This afternoon, vice president Kamala Harris will swear in Janet Yellen, who will make history as the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary. Yellen, the former chair of the Federal Reserve, was confirmed by the Senate on an 84-15 vote on Monday.
The full Senate is also expected to vote to confirm Antony Blinken to be Biden’s secretary of state shortly after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee votes on Alejandro Mayorkas the DHS secretary.
at 3.50pm GMT
Jonathan Turley, a law professor and Fox News contributor, will join Republican senators for lunch on Tuesday to discuss the constitutionality of Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial.
Turley, who was Republicans’ lone expert during Trump’s first impeachment, has argued that impeaching a former president is “at odds” with the Constitution. It’s a question that has divided scholars.
A bipartisan coalition of constitutional experts that included members of the conservative Federalist Society legal group wrote in an open letter that “our carefully considered views of the law lead all of us to agree that the Constitution permits the impeachment, conviction, and disqualification of former officers, including presidents.” Turley offered a rebuttal to the letter.
Jonathan Turley will join Senate Republicans today for their first in-person lunch since November, two aides tell me and @frankthorp.
Turley, who testified last impeachment, calls this trial “at odds with the language of the Constitution” because Trump is no longer in office.
Many Republican senators, squeezed between a Trump-loving base and brazen actions of the former president, have turned to this argument as a way to object to the trial without passing judgement on whether Trump committed an impeachable offense.
Democrats have dismissed this argument, pointing to historical precedented – the 1876 impeachment of Secretary of War William Belknap, who was tried after he resigned over allegations he received kickbacks. On Monday, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer also countered that it’s only possible to disqualify an official from ever holding public office again after the official has been convicted in a Senate impeachment trial – a punishment officials could avoid by resigning or leaving office.
“It makes no sense whatsoever that a president—or any official—could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress’ impeachment powers by simply resigning, so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disqualify them from future office,” Schumer said.
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has said he intends to force a vote on the question, putting his colleagues on the record over where they stand on the constitutionality of an impeaching a former president. Though the effort is likely to fail, it will provide insight into the thinking of several senators who have been more circumspect about their views on impeachment, including the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell.
Senator Rand Paul
I object to this unconstitutional sham of an “impeachment” trial and I will force a vote on whether the Senate can hold a trial of a private citizen.
Source by www.theguardian.com