Today started with the expectation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would shed some light on when the articles of impeachment passed Wednesday would be transferred to the Senate for a trial, the next step in the impeachment process. Instead, Pelosi told assembled press that the articles would not be transferred yet and gave no further timeline except to say that the press would "be the first to know when we announce." What's the holdup? Pelosi explained that preparing the case takes time, and that the House managers—the prosecutors of the trial—are "solemnly and prayerfully preparing." But almost certainly part of the holdup is that, if they transferred articles right now, the trial would begin on Joe Biden's Inauguration Day and would interrupt plans for legislation in the early days of his presidency. Holding the articles in the House allows the Senate to approve Biden's cabinet appointments (which Republicans have not moved on) and address pressing legislation like covid relief. Shifting timing for the trial or adjusting Senate rules to allow for both a trial and other work simultaneously requires a deal to be brokered and one hasn't been yet, so we wait. Maybe for a while, maybe for less. (Source: Bloomberg)
Every day reveals more information about just how much worse things at the Capitol attack could have gone. Today the Washington Post reported for the first time that the mob "came perilously close" to Vice President Pence, who was not evacuated from the Senate chamber "for about 14 minutes after the Capitol Police reported an initial attempted breach of the complex." It now turns out that just one minute after the VP was finally evacuated from the chamber, a group of insurrectionists made it to a landing just outside the still-open Senate chambers. The new information about how long it was until the VP was moved and how close the mob got raises "questions about why the Secret Service did not move him earlier," which, yes. Yes it does. (Source: Washington Post)
The reason that the mob outside the Senate chambers didn't enter right then was thanks to the work of a single Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman. Today, ProPublica surfaced new video of Goodman leading the mob away from the Senate chambers. The video, which compliments one that has circulated widely, "depicts the showdown between Goodman and the angry mob, and lets viewers see more clearly the size of the crowd and its rage." It is a true testament to Goodman's courage that things didn't take an even darker turn. (Source: ProPublica)
Meanwhile, inspectors general from the Justice Department, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Interior jointly announced plans to "review the protocols and policies that were in place in the lead-up to last week's breach" of the Capitol. The goal of the joint investigation, according to the New York Times, is "to determine why the federal government was caught flat-footed when pro-Trump rioters attacked Congress" and to "come up with protocols to prevent similar failures" in the future. (Source: New York Times)
Whatever new safety protocols the joint investigations recommend will come long after the immediate need presented by the "credible threats" against the government that continue to be reported. As a result, with the inauguration of Joe Biden just days away, Washington DC is becoming heavily locked down. 25,000 National Guard troops will be stationed in the nation's capitol for at least the next week, the National Mall and all the memorials around it will shut down starting today, and vehicle inspection checkpoints will go up around central DC. "We cannot allow a recurrence of the chaos and illegal activity that the United States and the world witnessed last week," Matthew Miller, the head of the Secret Service’s Washington field office, told the Associated Press today. On a personal note, readers in the DC area: I hope you stay safe. (Source: Reuters)
It feels genuinely waves hands in all directions to conclude today's entry this way, but even as Washington prepares for Joe Biden's inauguration, investigations into the attack that happened just last week are ongoing, and the House prepares to transfer articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial over his incitement of an insurrection, Donald Trump apparently is continuing to entertain delusions of, well, inciting an insurrection. Close inspection of a photograph of—of all people—a bedding CEO entering the West Wing this afternoon revealed that he was carrying a plan that suggested the president could implement martial law via the insurrection act to, apparently, overthrow the government. So that seems real chill and good and definitely the kind of thing that will blow over easily on the last weekend the president spends in office. (Source: Twitter)
What's coming next: With the timing of the transfer of the articles of impeachment a mystery, the only thing immediately coming next is the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and, hopefully, that will happen with no further violence of the kind we saw just two weeks ago.