House to Send Article of Impeachment to Senate on Monday, Triggering Trial

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Senate Will Receive Impeachment Article Monday, Schumer Says

Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said the House will deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, charging former President Donald J. Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”

“The Senate will also conduct a second impeachment trial for Donald Trump. I’ve been speaking to the Republican leader about the timing and duration of the trial. But make no mistake, a trial will be held in the United States Senate, and there will be a vote on whether to convict the president. I’ve spoken to Speaker Pelosi, who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday. Now, I’ve heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office, an argument that has been roundly repudiated, debunked by hundreds of constitutional scholars left, right and center, and defies basic common sense. It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country, and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office.” “By Senate rules, if the article arrives, we’ll start a trial right then. This impeachment began with an unprecedentedly fast and minimal process over in the House, the sequel cannot be an insufficient Senate process that denies former President Trump his due process or damages the Senate or the presidency itself. Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defense, and the Senate can properly consider the factual, legal and constitutional questions.”

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Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said the House will deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, charging former President Donald J. Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The House will transmit its article of impeachment charging former President Donald J. Trump with “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate on Monday, triggering the start of a trial unlike any in American history, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said on Friday.

Mr. Schumer, the majority leader, said the decision had been relayed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi but he declined to elaborate further on how the trial would run. Once the article arrives, Senate rules say the chamber must almost immediately be transformed into a court of impeachment and sit in judgment until a verdict is reached.

Mr. Schumer and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, his Republican counterpart, have been negotiating for days over further parameters for the trial in hopes of settling on bipartisan rules. Democrats are intent on trying to set up a dual track whereby the Senate could still confirm President Biden’s cabinet nominees before the trial starts each day to try to minimize the impact of the proceeding on his first days in office.

Ms. Pelosi’s decision to move on Monday, a little less than two weeks after the House’s bipartisan impeachment vote, rebuffed a request Mr. McConnell made on Thursday to delay the trial to provide Mr. Trump’s newly appointed legal team time to prepare. He had asked that the heart of the trial not begin until mid-February.

However, senators could still come to their own agreement to build in extra time for pretrial written briefs to delay the start of oral arguments in the Senate. Democrats involved in the planning indicated they were not entirely opposed to giving Mr. Trump’s team some time, out of fairness, and could use the lag to confirm more Biden nominees.

“I’ve been speaking to the Republican leader about the timing and duration of the trial,” Mr. Schumer said on Friday. “But make no mistake a trial will be held in the United States Senate and there will be a vote,” to determine Mr. Trump’s political fate.

Mr. McConnell acknowledged Friday that his request had been turned down, at least in part. But he continued to argue Republicans would insist that the president’s team be given ample time.

“Senate Republicans strongly believe we need a full and fair process where the former president can mount a defense,” he said.

The imminent arrival of the article now gives the two leaders a deadline to agree to set of trial rules to replace the default arrangement already codified in the Senate. It could also hasten along a stalled power sharing agreement that will more broadly govern the Senate this term.

President Biden speaks after signing executive orders at the White House on Thursday. 
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

After issuing a series of executive orders on his first full day in office and pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, President Biden on Friday will continue apace with two more executive orders aimed at steering additional federal aid to families struggling to afford food amid the pandemic and helping workers stay safe on the job.

Mr. Biden, who has vowed to use the power of the presidency to help mitigate economic fallout from the pandemic, will also direct the Treasury Department to find ways to deliver stimulus checks to millions of eligible Americans who have not yet received the funds.

Mr. Biden also plans to sign a second executive order that will lay the groundwork for the federal government to institute a $15 an hour minimum wage for its employees and contract workers, while making it easier for federal workers to bargain collectively for better pay and benefits.

The executive actions are part of an attempt by Mr. Biden to override his predecessor, former President Donald J. Trump, on issues pertaining to workers, the economy and the federal safety net. The orders Mr. Biden will sign on Friday are a break from the Trump administration’s attempts to limit the scope of many federal benefits that Trump officials said created a disincentive for Americans to work.

The orders follow an ambitious raft of measures Mr. Biden took on his first full day in office, on Thursday. He signed a string of executive orders and presidential directives aimed at combating the worst public health crisis in a century, including new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses and for international travelers to quarantine after arriving in the United States.

“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared on Thursday in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House. Appearing by his side were Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, who later warned in his first White House address in months that the nation was “still in a very serious situation.”

Later, in a briefing on Thursday, Mr. Biden said he was carrying out his longstanding pledge to invoke the Defense Production Act to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

During the presidential campaign, he had called for using the Korean War-era law to increase the nation’s supply of essential items like coronavirus tests and personal protective equipment. On Thursday, he signed an executive order directing federal agencies to make use of it to increase production of materials needed for vaccines.

With thousands of Americans dying every day from Covid-19, a national death toll that exceeds 400,000 and a new, more infectious variant of the virus spreading quickly, the pandemic poses the most pressing challenge of Mr. Biden’s early days in office. How he handles it will set the tone for how Americans view his administration going forward, as Mr. Biden himself acknowledged.

In a 200-page document released earlier Thursday called “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” the new administration outlined the kind of centralized federal response that Democrats have long demanded and that Mr. Trump had refused.

But the Biden plan is in some respects overly optimistic and in others not ambitious enough, some experts say. It is not clear how he would enforce the quarantine requirement. And his promise to inject 100 million vaccines in his first hundred days is aiming low, since those 100 days should see twice that number of doses available.

Efforts to untangle and speed up the distribution of vaccines — perhaps the most pressing challenge for the Biden administration that is also the most promising path forward — will be a desperate race against time, as states across the country have warned that they could run out of doses as early as this weekend.

Maggie Astor contributed reporting.

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III retired in 2016 after 41 years in the military, and is widely respected across the Army.
Credit…Pool photo by Jim Lo Scalzo

The Senate on Friday confirmed Lloyd J. Austin III as defense secretary, filling a critical national security position in President Biden’s cabinet and elevating him as the first Black Pentagon chief.

The 93-2 vote came a day after Congress granted General Austin, a retired four-star Army general, a special waiver to hold the post, which is required for any defense secretary who has been out of active-duty military service for fewer than seven years. It reflected a bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill that it was urgent for Mr. Biden to have his defense pick rapidly installed, a step normally taken on a new president’s first day.

“It’s an extraordinary, historic moment,” said Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. “A significant portion of our armed forces today are African-Americans or Latinos, and now they can see themselves at the very top of the Department of Defense, which makes real the notion of opportunity.”

Mr. Austin, 67, is the only African-American to have led U.S. Central Command, the military’s marquee combat command, with responsibility for Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. He retired in 2016 after 41 years in the military, and is widely respected across the Army.

Lawmakers in both parties initially had been uneasy at the prospect of granting General Austin an exception to the statutory bar against recently retired military personnel serving as Pentagon chiefs, a law intended to maintain civilian control of the military. They had already done so four years ago for President Donald J. Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, a retired four-star Marine officer, and many had vowed not to do so again.

But facing intense pressure from officials from Mr. Biden’s transition team and top Democrats, and after receiving assurances from General Austin that he was committed to the principle of civilian control, lawmakers rallied behind a barrier-shattering nominee. Two Republicans, Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Mike Lee of Utah, voted against the confirmation.

Even though 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty in the United States are people of color, the leaders at the top of the military’s chain of command have remained remarkably white and male. When President Barack Obama selected General Austin to lead the United States Central Command, he became the one of the highest-ranked Black men in the military, second only to Colin L. Powell, who had been chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. Austin will be the first Black Pentagon chief since the position was created in 1947 — just nine months before President Harry S. Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces, Representative Anthony Brown, Democrat of Maryland and a Black retired colonel in the Army Reserve, noted.

“Secretary Austin’s confirmation is a historic first and symbolizes the culmination of the nearly 75-year march toward genuine integration of the department,” Mr. Brown said. “He is well positioned to draw upon his experiences as a seasoned military commander, respected leader and as a Black man who grew up amid segregation to drive progress forward as our next Secretary of Defense.”

National Guard troops marching near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

The governors of Texas, Florida and New Hampshire said they had ordered their National Guard troops to return home from Washington, D.C., after some Guard members providing security during the inauguration were later told to sleep in a parking garage.

“They’re soldiers, they’re not Nancy Pelosi’s servants,” Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a Republican, said on “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning. “This is a half-cocked mission at this point, and I think the appropriate thing is to bring them home.”

His comments came after Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas and Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, also Republicans, said they, too, had called for their troops to return.

“They did an outstanding job serving our nation’s capital in a time of strife and should be graciously praised, not subject to substandard conditions,” Mr. Sununu wrote on Twitter on Friday morning.

The governors’ orders were the latest signs of outrage over the relocation of the troops on Thursday to the ground of a parking garage at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building. Members of Congress demanded that the National Guard members be returned to the Capitol building, with some offering to let the troops sleep in their offices. They were eventually moved back into the Capitol, Capt. Edwin Nieves Jr., a spokesman for the Washington, D.C., branch of the National Guard, said on Friday morning.

He said the troops had been moved out of the Capitol on Thursday afternoon at the request of the Capitol Police because of “increased foot traffic” as Congress came back into session, but a statement from the acting chief of the Capitol Police on Friday sought to distance the beleaguered agency from the move.

Chief Yogananda Pittman said that the Capitol Police had not told the troops to leave the Capitol except for certain times on Inauguration Day, and that even then, the troops were encouraged to return to the building by 2 p.m. that day. She said the managers of the office building whose parking lot the troops were using had reached out “directly to the National Guard to offer use of its facilities.”

The backlash from governors and lawmakers comes as many troops were already leaving the city, their mission concluded after President Biden was successfully sworn in on Wednesday. The Pentagon said Friday that most of the nearly 26,000 National Guard troops who had helped secure the event were heading home. About 19,000 troops from all over the country have started packing up and returning to their home states, a process that will take about five to 10 days and include coronavirus screenings.

About 7,000 troops are expected to stay in Washington through the end of January to provide support to federal agencies and guard against a possible repeat of the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of President Trump.

Members of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group, were seen in the crowd at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 
Credit…Jim Bourg/Reuters

Of the 125 federal arrests made so far in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, most have been relatively simple: Agents and prosecutors have put together cases largely by scouring the news and social media for incriminating photographs and videos, with some of the evidence almost comically easy to obtain.

But the inquiry into the Capitol assault, a huge effort that has focused its attention on as many as 400 people, took an important turn this week as prosecutors filed their first serious conspiracy charges, accusing three members of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers of plotting the incursion in advance. If, as they have promised, investigators are hoping to narrow their gaze on organized extremists who may have planned the attack, they are going to have to use a different and more difficult-to-master set of skills.

The F.B.I.’s most challenging work, legal scholars say, may have only just begun.

“It’s a lot harder to charge a conspiracy, especially compared to the first wave of cases where you basically had people confessing on video to federal crimes,” said Aitan Goelman, a former federal prosecutor who helped try Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

In making more conspiracy cases, the first question investigators must confront is how much conspiring actually went into the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. Five people died in the violent attack, and the final certification of President Biden’s election was abruptly interrupted as lawmakers fled the House and Senate floors.

Chilling videos and photos have emerged showing some people moving inside the building in tight formation, wearing military gear, carrying restraints and sometimes using hand signals or radios to communicate.

But many people appear to have acted spontaneously and, at least so far, have been accused of misdemeanors like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.

The Oath Keeper case could be a model moving forward for more complicated cases. The criminal complaint shows investigators employing a variety of techniques in tracking down and charging the defendants: Thomas E. Caldwell, Donovan Crowl and Jessica Watkins. Mr. Caldwell said he intended to fight the charges at a hearing this week. Mr. Crowl and Ms. Watkins have not yet appeared in court to respond to the complaint.

Agents in their case pored through video footage at the Capitol looking for badges or insignia suggesting that the three accused militia members were part of the same group. They trolled social media accounts on platforms like Parler for any indications that the three were not only at the building, but had planned in advance to be there. And they obtained audio recordings of Ms. Watkins talking with others who are suspected of being Oath Keepers on Zello, a push-to-talk cellphone app that operates like a walkie-talkie.

Easy charges were brought early in the inquiry in an effort to get people into custody while investigations pressed forward. Prosecutors have echoed that notion in court, indicating that they are considering more serious charges against some defendants who have already been charged.

Shortly after the riot, the prosecutor in charge of the overarching inquiry, Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, announced that some people could face sedition charges, which are difficult to bring and rarely filed.

To prove a seditious conspiracy, prosecutors need to show that at least two people agreed to use force to overthrow government authority or delay the execution of a U.S. law, such as stopping Congress from certifying the results of the election. The charge is powerful, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

But some prior sedition cases have fallen apart because prosecutors failed to prove that the defendants had a concrete plan to commit a physical attack, even if there was evidence of openly discussing bringing down the government. That defense could be more challenging in the Capitol riot cases, former federal prosecutors say, because the attack has already happened.

Adam Goldman, Katie Benner and Rebecca R. Ruiz contributed reporting.

A Covid-19 testing site at Beltzville State Park in Pennsylvania on Wednesday.
Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday revealed a slate of new executive orders and presidential directives intended to speed up production of Covid-19 supplies, increase testing capacity and require mask wearing during interstate travel — part of a sprawling 200-page national pandemic strategy he announced at a White House event. He is expected to sign more orders on Friday.

Taken together, the orders signal Mr. Biden’s earliest priorities in mounting a more centralized federal response to the spread of the coronavirus. Some of them mirror actions taken during the Trump administration, while most look to alter course.

Here’s what the orders aim to do.

Ramp up the pace of manufacturing and testing.

One order calls on agency leaders to check for shortages in areas like personal protective gear and vaccine supplies, and identify where the administration could invoke the Defense Production Act to increase manufacturing.

Another order establishes a Pandemic Testing Board, an idea drawn from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s War Production Board, to ramp up testing. The new administration is promising to expand the nation’s supply of rapid tests, double test supplies and increase lab space for tests and surveillance for coronavirus hot spots.

Require mask wearing during interstate travel.

Mr. Biden has vowed to use his powers as president to influence mask wearing wherever he is legally allowed to, including on federal property and in travel that crosses state lines. An order issued Thursday requires mask wearing in airports and on many airplanes, intercity buses and trains.

The same order also requires international travelers to prove they have a recent negative Covid-19 test before heading to the United States and to comply with quarantining guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once they land.

Publish guidance for schools and workers.

Mr. Biden issued an order meant to protect the health of workers during the pandemic, telling the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to release new guidance for employers. The order also asks the agency to step up enforcement of existing rules to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.

The president also directed the departments of Education and Health and Human Services to issue new guidance on how to safely reopen schools — a major source of controversy over the summer when White House and health department officials pressured the C.D.C. to play down the risk of sending students back.

Find more treatments for Covid-19 and future pandemics.

The Biden administration is calling on the health and human services secretary and the director of the National Institutes of Health to draft a plan to support the study of new drugs for Covid-19 and future public health crises through large, randomized trials.

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Kamala Harris’s ancestral village in southern India celebrated her swearing-in as vice president.CreditCredit…P. Ravikumar/Reuters

As inauguration festivities were winding down in Washington, parallel celebrations were underway more than 8,000 miles away in Kamala Harris’s ancestral village.

The village in southern India, Thulasendrapuram, is where Ms. Harris’s maternal grandfather was born more than 100 years ago. On Election Day, residents there held a special ceremony at the village’s main temple to wish her luck.

To celebrate Ms. Harris’s inauguration as vice president, they began setting off fireworks at dawn on Wednesday under a coppery sun. Children and elderly people danced on narrow streets hemmed in by lush green paddy fields. And residents held up photos of Ms. Harris in front of the same temple, where believers had flocked to pray for her success in office.

Gopalan Balachandran, Ms. Harris’s uncle, watched the inauguration from his home in Delhi.

“We are all very proud of her,” he said in an interview, adding that he advises his niece on the occasional family Zoom call to “just keep doing what your mother taught you.”

Ms. Harris often speaks of her South Asian roots and the political activism her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was steeped in — first as a child in India, and later as a student at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi singled out Ms. Harris on Thursday in one of his congratulatory tweets to the Biden administration.

Former President Donald J. Trump was supported by many people in India, but he was regularly mocked on Indian social media platforms and generally disdained by the country’s urban intellectuals.

India’s main English-language newspapers struck a tone of relief on Thursday about the transition of power in the United States. “America returns,” The Economic Times proclaimed in a banner headline.

Gurcharan Das, a prominent author in New Delhi who once championed Mr. Modi but later became disillusioned with the prime minister’s polarizing Hindu nationalist agenda, said that he hoped the Biden administration would help heal America’s split.

That the inauguration followed the assault on the U.S. Capitol, he added, was an “affirmation that institutions work in America.”

“That is a very good lesson for India,” Mr. Das said. “Institutions are only so good as they are independent.”

President Biden could end up cementing as many of former President Donald J. Trump’s tax cuts as he rolls back.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Democrats have spent years promising to repeal the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Republicans passed without a single Democratic vote and was estimated to cost nearly $2 trillion over a decade. But President Biden appears more likely to tinker with it, despite saying during a presidential debate that he was “going to eliminate the Trump tax cuts.”

Mr. Biden and his aides are committing to only a partial rollback of the law, with their focus on provisions that help corporations and the very rich. It’s a position that Mr. Biden held throughout the campaign, and in the September debate he promised to only partly repeal a corporate rate cut.

In some cases, including tax cuts that help lower- and middle-class Americans, the Biden administration is looking to make former President Donald J. Trump’s temporary tax cuts permanent.

Mr. Biden still wants to raise taxes on some businesses and wealthy individuals, and he remains intent on raising trillions of dollars in new tax revenue to offset the federal spending programs that he plans to propose, including for infrastructure, clean energy production and education. Much of the new revenue, however, could come from efforts to tax investment and labor income for people earning more than $400,000, in ways that are not related to the 2017 law.

Mr. Biden did not include any tax increases in the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan he proposed last week, which was meant to curb the pandemic and help people and companies endure the economic pain it has caused.

His nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, told a Senate committee this week that the president would hold off on reversing any parts of the tax law until later in the recovery, which most likely means as part of a large infrastructure package that he is set to unveil next month.

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