House to deliver articles of impeachment to Senate. Biden’s campaign broke “dark money” record. China rescues 11 miners after 14 days underground. That and more below.
House to deliver articles of impeachment to Senate
Members of the House of Representatives will officially present articles of impeachment for President Trump to the Senate this afternoon. The House has charged Trump with “inciting insurrection” and Trump will be the first president to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. Arguments in the case will begin the week of February 8, giving time to both sides to prepare.
Republican ire against the President has cooled since the revolt, dampening Democratic hopes of a conviction for Trump. Democrats were also banking on a second vote to ban Trump from ever holding high office again. GOP Senators are now rallying behind Trump, saying the trial will be partisan and divisive.
With the trial about to move forward, federal officials are monitoring ominous online chatter from Trump supporters threatening to kill or attack lawmakers outside the Capitol. For the time being, Capitol Police are insisting that thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington to guard against a possible second assault on the Capitol. Texas authorities have charged a man involved in the first assault with threats to assassinate Democratic lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Biden campaign brought in record “dark money”
Despite Democrats’ claims to leadership in the fight against anonymous campaign donations, President Biden’s election campaign broke the previous record for “dark money” donations. At $145 million, Biden’s dark money takings blew past Republican Mitt Romney’s record of $113 million for his 2012 presidential bid. Overall, Biden’s campaign took in $1.5 million, the most ever for a challenger to a presidential incumbent.
Campaign funding laws allow for anonymous donations to PACs supporting a candidate. These donors “will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield”.
China rescues 11 gold miners after 14 days underground
After predicting last week that it would take another two weeks to rescue 12 gold miners trapped underground after an explosion, rescuers managed to break through ahead of schedule. Eleven miners were brought to the surface alive. One of the 12 had succumbed to a head injury from the explosion before rescuers could reach them. Rescuers found the bodies of an additional 9 miners who apparently died in the initial explosion. After making contact with 12 of the miners a couple of weeks ago, the fate of the other 10 had remained unknown until now. One of those 10 remains unaccounted for.
China tests Biden’s support for Taiwan with warplane incursions
Over the weekend, Chinese warplanes made a show of force over the Taiwan Strait. During the Trump administration, Taiwan received an unprecedented amount of political, financial and military support from the US. Beijing expressed its displeasure numerous times over the past year, both in words and in military actions.
Last year, another flyover of Chinese warplanes in the Taiwan Strait coincided with a visit from former US Health Secretary Alex Azar. This was the highest-level diplomatic visit from US officials to Taiwan in decades.
Since taking office, Biden has promised that US support for Taiwan will remain “rock-solid”. As yet, there has been no official response from the White House from China’s weekend incursions. However, the Biden administration has reaffirmed its willingness to counter China in another arena. In his first phone call with his Japanese counterpart, the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised to support Tokyo in defending its claims to islands in the East China Sea against competing claims by China.