Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
On Monday morning, House Democrats formally introduced Articles of Impeachment saying President Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States” during the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week. Additionally, a House Republican blocked Democrats’ attempt to seek unanimous consent on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to convene the Cabinet and use the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove Trump from office. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will move forward with impeachment if the 25th amendment is not invoked and now is expected to vote on the article in the coming days. Here are some of the other recent headlines from over the weekend and today that you might have missed.
Biden announced on Monday that he is nominating Amb. William Burns, a career diplomat and national security expert, to be CIA director. This will not be a Cabinet position in the Biden administration, unlike in Trump’s administration, Politico reported on Friday.
Biden also announced additional members of the Office of the White House Counsel on Monday. See the full list here.
The Defense Department released the timeline for the “planning and execution” of the National Guard’s response to the Capitol riots. It shows that on December 31, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested support from the D.C. National Guard, but the Capitol Police declined help twice in the days leading up to January 6. There has been much “confusion and finger pointing” between the various law enforcement entities involved, as NBC News outlined. Additionally, the FBI and New York City Police Department passed along information to the Capitol Police about possible violence during the election certification process, NBC News also reported.
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steve Sund said last week his resignation will take effect January 16, but is already gone, NBC 4 reported on Sunday.
Sund told The Washington Post that the House and Senate sergeants-at-arms (who have also resigned) denied his requests to have the D.C. National Guard on stand-by. The Capitol Police is overseen by a board, which includes those two officials and the Architect of the Capitol.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told McClatchy the storming of the Capitol could have been a coronavirus “surge event” because “you had largely unmasked individuals in a non-distanced fashion, who were all through the Capitol. He said it was a “very, very sad day” for the country.
Over 100 State Department career officials sent dissent cables rebuking Trump’s handling of the breach of the Capitol, The Washington Post and Foreign Policy reported. Trump “played an integral role in breaking the 220-year streak of peaceful transfer of power between political parties during U.S. elections,” said one, obtained by the Post. “The Department of State should explicitly denounce President Trump's role in this violent attack on the U.S. government. Just as we routinely denounce foreign leaders who use violence and intimidation to interfere in peaceful democratic processes.”
Maritime Administration administrator and Federal Railroad Administration chief counsel, both under the Transportation Department, resigned after the insurrection, Politico reported on Monday. The No. 3 official at Transportation, Joel Szabat, “also announced prior to the riots that he would step down and return to a career civil service job he previously held at DoT,” said Politico. “And [Federal Highway Administration] Administrator Nicole Nason left her position on Friday after announcing her departure to staff earlier in the week.”
Biden seeks to release all available doses of the coronavirus vaccines, which breaks from the “Trump administration's strategy of holding back half of US vaccine production to ensure second doses are available,” CNN reported on Friday.
Political appointees and career intelligence officials clashed over how much Russia and China attempted to influence the 2020 elections, according to a recent report from the intelligence community ombudsman, The Washington Post reported on Friday. Each side accused the other of politicizing the intelligence.
Trump issued executive orders on Friday night changing the orders of succession at the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. During these last few months he’s done this for several other agencies.
White House officials forced the U.S. attorney in Atlanta to resign earlier than expected before the runoff Senate elections in Georgia last Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. This was because “Trump was upset he wasn’t doing enough to investigate the president’s unproven claims of election fraud, people familiar with the matter said,” according to the report.
The Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower advocacy group that represents current and former staff members at Voice of America, sent a letter to the U.S. Agency for Global Media and VOA leadership on Friday––on behalf of anonymous employees–– expressing concerns about an address Pompeo will give at VOA headquarters on Monday to its staff that will be broadcast on all the VOA channels. This “endangers public health and safety; violates law, rule and regulation; and grossly wastes government resources,” wrote David Seide, GAP senior counsel. Specifically, “a broadcast speech by the outgoing Secretary of State on topics on which he has been widely covered should be seen for what it is: the use of VOA to disseminate political propaganda in the waning days of the Trump administration. As proposed, the planned coverage by language services will be one-sided and lacking the necessary objectivity protected by the firewall.”
In response, Pompeo tweeted on Sunday: “Voice of America employees complaining about broadcasting ... the voice of America’s most senior diplomat? Seems like exactly what we should be doing to promote American values abroad. Tune in to hear my remarks about American greatness [and] America first tomorrow at 3 p.m.”
Related, the five recent heads of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a network of the global media agency, who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, sent a letter to Biden on Friday saying that Michael Pack, CEO of the agency, poses “a long-term threat to the credibility and professionalism of the five networks,” NPR reported.
Politico flagged on Sunday that the 2021 omnibus spending bill includes over $30 million that the secretary of State can authorize for “extraordinary protective services” through September 30, 2022. “A senior State Department official says the money will provide for private security for Trump administration officials who have been the subject of death threats from Iranian officials seeking to avenge the death of Qasem Soleimani,” according to Politico. “They include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; former Iran Envoy Brian Hook; and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.”
Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode features GovExec’s Adam Butler and Ross Gianfortune talking about the insurrection last week as D.C. residents and journalists.
Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the transition? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.