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- Note: We apologize for the delay in broadcasting today’s edition.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
1. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE: Vice President Kamala Harris’s advisers are facing each other. Harris’ vice presidency continues to be subject to unflattering portraits, prompting those close to her to increasingly strike in all directions as the negative headlines pile up. Mutual struggles come with the White House seeking to sell President Joe Biden’s massive infrastructure overhaul, which he signed on Monday.
Here’s how some Democrats say the White House should try to fix the ship:
There was continued talk of great tremors: “They almost have to have a public scalp,” a Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns told my colleague. Others say Biden and his top employees need to do a better job of shutting down the gossip from within.
- But some in Harris’ circle think things are unlikely to change anytime soon: “It’s not like a question or a confrontation or a group of people disagreeing – it feels like it’s all upside down,” another Democratic strategist said of the situation.
Much of the finger-pointing is aimed at journalists: “What the media has done at her office is terrible,” Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told Insider. Many Democrats feel that Harris is being judged by a different set of standards given her status as the first woman and first colored person to hold office.
- Key quote: “None of this is helpful. I do not care if you work for Joe Biden or Kamala Harris,” said a former Harris assistant. “My advice to everyone is to stop using the media as your therapist.”
Read more about how Kamala Harris’ allies react to bad press.
2. Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping try to stop tensions during their meeting: The leaders of the world’s two largest economies spoke for more than three hours during a virtual meeting and agreed on the need to find a better way forward amid rising tensions, reports Reuters. “Just simple, straightforward competition,” Biden told Xi about his desire to ensure that concerns about Taiwan’s future, human rights violations and trade practices would not lead to direct conflict. The meeting ended without any major announcement or joint statement after the two sides tried to lower expectations for it. More on what Biden and Xi discussed.
The Republicans are submitting a bill to legalize cannabis: Rep. Nancy Mace, a novice Republican from South Carolina, is due to present a bill that would federally decriminalize cannabis. Legislation proposes to regulate pot much more like alcohol, and if passed, it would allow cannabis to be transported across state borders, though the last word in many areas would be up to the states. The proposal shows the increasing bipartisan support for action on hash-related issues, but it is unlikely that it will pass in the near future. Here are 4 key details from the 131-page bill.
4 jurors to begin hearings in Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial: A Wisconsin jury spent two weeks listening to dozens of witnesses and examining countless pieces of visual evidence during Rittenhouse’s trial for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and injuring Gaige Grosskreutz amid civil unrest in Kenosha in August 2020. Rittenhouse has declared himself. not guilty and testified that he acted in self-defense. Despite all the emotionally charged testimony, there are some important details that jurors were not allowed to hear. Here are 6 things the jury will not consider, including videos in which Rittenhouse boasted about shooting people as well as the criminal records of the three people he shot.
5. Corey Lewandowski said Trump knew the election was over, but would then doubt: Lewandowski, who served as Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign leader, said Trump knew the 2020 election was over when the major news networks predicted his loss. But Lewandowski told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl for a new book that Trump wanted to “create enough doubt about Biden’s victory so that when he leaves, he can say he did not lose and that it was stolen from him.” More than a year after the election, Trump continues to hold on to this narrative.
6. Steve Bannon remains defiant after court hearing: The former Trump administration chief strategist said he “took on the Biden regime” after a performance in which he faced two federal charges of criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by lawmakers investigating the Capitol riot on the 6th. January, reports the Associated Press. Here is what is expected in the case.
7. #FreeBritney activists say they are not done fighting: A judge concluded Friday’s Britney Spears’ 13-year-old conservatory. #FreeBritney fans and activists celebrated the verdict but told Insider they were not going anywhere. The organizers hope to be able to use the movement’s platform to combat the abuse of conservatism more broadly. “This is bigger than Britney. It’s not just about Britney,” said one activist.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke says he’s running for governor of Texas: O’Rourke announced plans to challenge incumbent Republican Greg Abbott in 2022. The former lawmaker rose to national prominence with his closer-than-expected campaign to oust Senator Ted Cruz in 2018 before a disastrous presidential campaign. O’Rourke’s liberal views, which he adopted during his brief presidential election, may haunt his recent efforts, but he remained somewhat defiant during an interview with Texas Monthly because of his push for mandatory repurchase of certain weapons. More what’s expected of O’Rourkes uphill to make Texas blue.
9. The current longest-serving U.S. senator is retiring: Late. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, leaves his Senate seat open ahead of next year’s midterm terms. However, the race to replace Leahy is not expected to be competitive after Biden’s 2-on-1 victory over Trump last year. He was first elected to the Senate as part of the “Watergate Babies” Democratic wave in 1974. More on Leahy’s retirement.
10. Brendan Fraser became a TikTok obsession and triggered “the Brenaissance”: Phrases have been out of the limelight for years. But content about the actor has garnered over 166 million views on TikTok. More on how nostalgic creators see Fraser as a welcome contrast to the “dark and sad” side of the Internet.
Today’s trivia questions: Who is the longest-serving senator in American history? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.