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Today’s Headlines: GOP senators close ranks around Trump

Sen. Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) arrives for a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Most Republican senators voted to oppose an impeachment trial of former President Trump, signaling that Democrats don’t have the votes now to convict him.

TOP STORIES

GOP Senators Close Ranks Around Trump

Moments after senators were sworn in as jurors in former President Trump’s impeachment trial, Republicans forced a vote on the constitutionality of the process.

Though they lost, the fact that 45 out of 50 Republican senators supported a resolution by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) arguing the trial is unconstitutional — because Trump is a private citizen and no longer president — suggests Democrats may not be able to get the 67 votes needed for a conviction.

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Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the theory that the Constitution prohibits a trial of a former official is “flat-out wrong by every frame of analysis.” He pointed out that the Constitution allows the Senate to not only remove an impeached official from office, but also bar him or her from holding future office.

Though many GOP lawmakers have condemned Trump’s actions in inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the party has coalesced around the idea that impeaching a former president would be improper. Moreover, there is political calculus involved. Trump remains a dominant figure among Republican voters, candidates and officials beyond the Beltway, even as the party clashes over whether remaining loyal to him will help or hurt in the long run.

More From Washington

President Biden took action to disavow another aspect of Trump’s legacy — racial animus toward Asian Americans, hostility that rose sharply during a pandemic Trump blamed on “the China virus.” Biden’s executive order was one of four addressing racial equity that he signed Tuesday.

— The Senate confirmed Antony J. Blinken as secretary of State. He’ll be tasked with carrying out Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances.

— A federal judge barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of Biden.

— In his first call with Vladimir Putin, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and pressed Putin about his nation’s involvement in a massive cyberespionage campaign and bounties on American troops in Afghanistan, two senior administration officials said.

— Can Trump rehab his reputation? An aide to Richard Nixon offers some lessons.

A Shot in the Arm

Biden said that his administration will rush additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to states, territories and tribal governments and purchase 200 million more, ramping up its effort to inoculate more Americans more quickly as the death toll is on track to surpass 500,000 next month.

Under the plan, 10 million doses would be distributed each week for the next three weeks, up from the current 8.6 million. Acknowledging that even the increased number of doses is unlikely to meet the vast demand for vaccines, Biden urged patience and encouraged people to continue to wear masks to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“The brutal truth is, it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” he said. “In the next few months, masks — not vaccines — are the best defense against COVID-19.”

Insufficient vaccine supplies are not the only challenge, however. Some states, including California, have struggled to quickly administer doses that they’ve already acquired, leaving people frustrated and confused.

‘I Have a Son to Feed’

The COVID-19 shutdown orders imposed in March and again during the holidays crippled large swaths of the California economy. But even before an easing of restrictions announced this week by Gov. Gavin Newsom, some business owners carried on covertly.

In Los Angeles and other counties with forced closures, you could still get your nails done and your hair trimmed, practice Pilates inside a studio and eat a restaurant meal with a group of friends — no takeout containers involved.

By continuing to serve customers, the businesses violated the spirit — and in some cases the letter — of public health orders and complicated efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus, health officials said.

But those who have been operating for months under the radar say their decision isn’t a repudiation of face masks, social distancing or government overreach, or about enabling parties during a pandemic. It’s simply to make ends meet.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— Just weeks into California’s rocky rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, evidence is emerging of inequities in who is getting the shots, prompting growing demands that vulnerable communities receive more attention.

— Newsom’s announcement that California would shift vaccine priority to an age-based eligibility structure has sparked concerns from groups representing some essential workers and disabled people who may now have to wait longer to get vaccinated.

— See how many vaccinations have been given in California with our tracker.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On the morning of Jan. 25, 1948, a Santa Fe locomotive that had just been unhooked from the El Capitan passenger train from Chicago rolled down the tracks at Union Station in downtown L.A. — and just kept rolling, crashing through barriers until it came to a stop with part of it hanging over Aliso Street.

No one was hurt, but Army motor pool car driver Pfc. Wayne A. Schmidt, who was picking up hospital patients at the station, had a close call.

“Schmidt was directly in front of the locomotive when it ran out of track, ran over the steel bumper and started for him,” a Times story reported. “The locomotive, moving at what trainmen said was ‘two or three miles an hour,’ struck the light car in the side. Schmidt jammed it into low gear and, as he said, ‘gunned her out of there.’ ”

A locomotive hangs over a street
Jan. 25, 1948: A Santa Fe diesel passenger locomotive hangs over Aliso Street after running off the end of rails at Union Station.
(Los Angeles Times Archive /UCLA)

CALIFORNIA

— A storm could trigger massive debris flows, road closures and prolonged power outages in areas scorched by the CZU August Lightning Complex fires last summer.

— The California State University announced it would not increase tuition this year for the system’s 485,000-plus students, amid pandemic-related hardships and higher-than-expected funding from the state.

— After hearing powerful firsthand accounts of Los Angeles police officers rescuing children from sex traffickers, the Police Commission called on the City Council to protect the LAPD’s anti-trafficking efforts against budget cuts.

— L.A. City Councilman Kevin de León was asked to lead his colleagues in the Pledge of Allegiance. His delivery was far from smooth.

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NATION-WORLD

— The Justice Department rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations.

— Can Kim Jong Un’s economic ambitions survive the COVID-19 pandemic?

— In a nod to diversity, the U.S. Army has loosened its rules on hairstyles and grooming.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Hollywood and the film permitting group FilmLA are facing some tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have to look at this industry as people and small businesses because so often we think of it as a big monster conglomerate businesses,” the group’s leader says.

— Compton artist Fulton Leroy Washington’s lost prison painting has found its way to the Hammer Museum.

— It’s not “Pinkerton,” but Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo gets pretty emo on “OK Human.”

BUSINESS

— Poor planning and ineffective management left California’s unemployment agency unprepared to help workers left jobless by the pandemic, and it failed to address problems in its system that were known for nearly a decade, according to an emergency state audit.

GameStop Corp.’s stock price nearly doubled in Tuesday trading, taking its market value over $10 billion as its shares soared 685% this year. Columnist Michael Hiltzik gives his perspective.

SPORTS

— For the second time in nine years, baseball writers elected no one to the Hall of Fame after some candidates proved too controversial.

Wayne Gretzky just turned 60 years old. Columnist Helene Elliott says it’s long past time for the NHL to establish an award in his name.

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OPINION

— Do Black lives matter to Congress? The fate of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will tell us, The Times’ editorial board writes.

Banning Trump from Facebook may feel good. Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, explains why it might be wrong.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Democracy activist and chess champion Garry Kasparov on what’s different about recent protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and why they may be the beginning of the end of autocracy in Russia. (Foreign Policy)

— Most discussions of transgender student athletes center on cisgender notions of trans girls’ potential competitive advantage. But what about the trans boys who already compete, and win, in boys’ sports? (InsideHook)

ONLY IN L.A.

“Long ago, when the world was young and there were only landlines, one area code ruled them all, from the Mexican border to Bakersfield: 213,” writes columnist Patt Morrison. “Then it began to divide and multiply. 714 was born, and 805, and then L.A. became the first burg with three area codes within the city limits.” Now, we’re up to 10 area codes — each with it own personality.

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


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