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Today’s Headlines: A second impeachment and the first 100 days

The White House
An American flag flies at half-staff above the White House in Washington on Sunday.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Democrats in the House of Representatives are looking to impeach President Trump without slowing down President-elect Joe Biden’s momentum in addressing the nation’s problems.

TOP STORIES

A Second Impeachment and the First 100 Days

President Trump is facing the possibility of a second impeachment after he incited a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol last week. House leaders have set the plans in motion, with a vote as early as Wednesday, but they also face a difficult task: how to carry out a Senate trial later this month without derailing President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda in the midst of a public health and economic crisis that now includes the increased threat of violence.

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Democrats said they’re confident they have the votes needed to pass the article of impeachment (read it here) that was introduced Monday. It has only one charge: incitement of insurrection. More than 200 Democratic House members have signed on as cosponsors, and a handful of GOP members have indicated they’re considering removing the president from office. But others have criticized the Democrats’ effort as divisive.

Prospects for a Senate trial, however, are far less clear. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told fellow senators last week that under the chamber’s rules, starting a trial before Biden’s inauguration would require unanimous agreement, a near impossibility. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will become majority leader on Jan. 20, is exploring whether to use emergency powers to reconvene the Senate to allow for a trial to begin immediately after the impeachment article is sent to the Senate.

Even if Trump already has left office, a conviction could lead to his being barred from running again, although that would require a second Senate vote.

On High Alert

The FBI has warned law enforcement agencies of the possibility that right-wing groups might stage further demonstrations in Washington or state capitals as Biden’s inauguration draws near.

Underscoring the concerns, the National Park Service said it would close the Washington Monument for two weeks, starting Monday, and might close other areas because of potential security threats between now and Jan. 20. The Homeland Security Department announced that heightened security for the inaugural would begin Wednesday rather than next week as planned. Not long after, it was announced that acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf was stepping down.

In California, officials are putting “additional security measures” in place at the state Capitol in Sacramento. The efforts, described as precautionary, are part of an astonishing, nationwide rush by law enforcement to gird statehouses and other government targets against white supremacists and other radicalized supporters of Trump, who has actively encouraged baseless conspiracy theories challenging Biden’s victory in November.

More From Washington

— Since Twitter pulled Trump’s account, the president has gone silent — not using the White House briefing room, coming into public view or granting interviews, even to favored right-wing media figures. But today, Trump plans to travel to Alamo, Texas, along the border with Mexico, to highlight progress toward erecting a physical barrier.

— An administration official confirmed that Trump met with Vice President Mike Pence in the Oval Office, the first interaction between them since Wednesday’s insurrection in the Capitol. An official called it a good conversation in which Trump and Pence discussed the week ahead and reflected on the last four years of the administration’s work

Melania Trump released a statement saying she is “disappointed and disheartened” by the deadly riot at the Capitol last week by supporters of her husband. But she also lashed out at people she said have used the tragic event to spread “salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks and false and misleading accusations about me.”

— Democratic Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey says she has tested positive for the coronavirus and believes she was exposed during protective isolation in the U.S. Capitol during Wednesday’s rioting.

— A Kamala Harris biographer reflects on her political upbringing and what to expect from her as vice president.

The Central Coast Surge

Three counties northwest of Los Angeles are experiencing alarming spikes in coronavirus cases, further heightening the level of infections in already hard-hit Southern California and triggering new fears about potentially overtaxing local healthcare systems.

Conditions in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties have worsened considerably because of a post-holiday surge of the virus, with the average number of daily new cases more than doubling the rate seen two weeks ago, according to data compiled by The Times. Infections in Ventura County have risen so rapidly that one doctor publicly wondered whether the area could face its own “New York moment.”

L.A., San Bernardino and Riverside counties have been slammed throughout the pandemic, but data compiled by The Times show that Ventura County had the third-highest case rate of all California counties over the last week, with 1,033 new infections per 100,000 residents. By comparison, L.A. County ranked fourth, at 1,006 new cases per 100,000 residents during that same period.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Once COVID-19 vaccines are available to children, Los Angeles Unified School District students will have to be immunized before they can return to campus, Supt. Austin Beutner said.

— A return to a normal college experience is likely this fall as both the University of California and USC said they are planning to bring students back to their campuses for mostly in-person classes.

— Nurses, janitors and others who are self-employed in jobs that expose them to COVID-19 are looking for answers on when they can get vaccinated.

— Health officials will begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines this week at Disneyland, the Orange County Board of Supervisors said, making the resort the first “super” vaccination site in the county.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

As President Reagan prepared to leave office, he said his goodbyes to the job. He had been popular with the public, but the military in particular was fond of him. Reagan had overseen a major expansion of defense resources.

On Jan. 12, 1989, Reagan attended a farewell ceremony, where military leaders thanked him for his service as president. According to Times coverage of the event, Reagan was on the verge of tears as he gave a final salute at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. President George H.W. Bush was inaugurated on Jan. 20.

President Reagan gives a salute.
Jan. 12, 1989: President Reagan gives a final salute to service members during a farewell ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.
(Bernie Boston / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— In an unprecedented move, a judge allowed the San Diego County district attorney’s office to move to reclaim jurisdiction over several charges filed in L.A. connected to a violent crime rampage that left two people dead, marking one of the strongest rebukes yet of newly elected L.A. County Dist. Atty. George Gascón’s policies.

— L.A. Police Department detectives want to question two men about a suspected hate crime last week in downtown when members of a pro-Trump crowd accosted a Black woman.

— Can California address the shortage of lifesaving oxygen at some hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus cases? It’s a complicated task.

— Multiple gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have contracted the coronavirus in the first known instances of natural transmission to great apes, the zoo announced.

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NATION-WORLD

— The Trump administration re-designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a move that hits the communist country with new sanctions shortly before Biden takes office.

— In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for Western public lands to keep pumping oil for years and undercut Biden’s plans to curb new drilling because of climate change, according to public records and industry analysts.

— Indonesian navy divers scoured the floor of the Java Sea as they hunted for the black boxes of a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the water over the weekend with 62 people aboard.

Pope Francis changed church law to allow women to do more things during Catholic Mass, granting them access to the most sacred place on the altar, but he continued to affirm that they cannot be priests.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— In the Netflix series “Pretend It’s a City,” Martin Scorsese and Fran Lebowitz team to explore New York City.

— Is it still “Sex and the City” without Samantha Jones? A new limited-series revival of the 1998 “SATC” concept just ordered by HBO Max stars only three of the original series’ lead actresses, disappointing some fans.

Fox News, which has watched its ratings leadership slip since the election loss of President Trump, announced a major revamp of its daytime lineup. The change include replacing a prime-time news program with more opinion content.

Quibi died. But some of its shows like “Die Hart” might be revived on the Roku Channel, as executives show interest in concepts helmed by A-list celebrities.

For more about the entertainment business, subscribe to The Times’ newest free newsletter, the Wide Shot.

BUSINESS

— Businesses are rethinking their political contributions after the deadly Capitol siege. Some, like Citigroup, have paused all federal political donations for three months while others are stopping donations only to Republicans who opposed certifying Biden’s election.

Amazon booted the far-right-friendly communication service Parler off its web hosting service. Parler responded by suing Amazon, seeking reinstatement.

SPORTS

— No. 1 Alabama won the College Football Playoff national championship game 52-24 over No. 3 Ohio State with about 15,000 fans at the stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

— New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that he will not receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying, “Remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”

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OPINION

— Trump needs to be punished for his incendiary role in last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol. Impeach him again, The Times’ editorial board recommends.

— Her best friend died of COVID-19. Now she is helping Black people find trust in vaccines, writes columnist Erika D. Smith.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Videos show pro-Trump rioters pulling three police officers down a set of stairs during a violent attempt to breach the U.S. Capitol. (New York Times)

— Trump’s first secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, says of his former boss, “We’re in a worse place today than we were before he came in, and I didn’t think that was possible.” (Foreign Policy)

ONLY IN L.A.

Architect Frank Gehry is known for cultural landmarks such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Now, the 91-year-old is a lead architect in a proposal to transform the Los Angeles River into more than just a concrete flood channel — and address the blight, poverty and inequality the communities along its banks have struggled with for decades. The proposal imagines green space stretching nearly a mile over the confluence of the river and the Rio Hondo in South Gate.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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