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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically. 


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Supreme Court’s blow to Trump | Declines to shield Trump from handing over financial records | Taxes, other records to be given to prosecutors | Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandGarland expected to become Biden’s AG after high court hold up Merrick Garland vows to fight discrimination, domestic extremism as attorney general Read: Merrick Garland outlines priorities if confirmed as attorney general MORE testifies | Biden to hold moment of silence for 500K COVID deaths | Romney, Collins oppose Neera TandenNeera TandenSchumer says he’s working to find votes to confirm Biden’s OMB pick Everybody wants Joe Manchin Biden won’t pull Tanden nomination, says she’ll get the votes MORE’s nomination | Newsmax guest mocks Biden’s dogs as ‘dirty’ | National Margarita Day deals



After five years, prosecutors will get Trump’s financial records: 

Via The New York Times’s Adam Liptak “The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a last-ditch attempt by former President Donald J. Trump to shield his financial records, issuing a brief, unsigned order requiring Mr. Trump’s accountants to turn over his tax and other records to prosecutors in New York.”

Why this development is important: “The court’s order was a decisive defeat for Mr. Trump, who had gone to extraordinary lengths to keep his tax returns and related documents secret.”


Via CNN’s Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaCNN changes morning, afternoon lineups ‘Convict Trump’ banner flies over Mar-a-Lago during Senate impeachment trial Sarah Huckabee Sanders touts Trump endorsement MORE and Pamela Brown, “Former President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Florida officer arrested after live streaming from inside US Capitol during breach, FBI says Schumer says he’s working to find votes to confirm Biden’s OMB pick Pence declined invitation to attend CPAC: reports MORE will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, next Sunday, according to a source familiar with the matter, while former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence declined invitation to attend CPAC: reports Enough is enough: It’s time to impose term limits on Congress Lawyer who filed suit to reverse 2020 election results referred by judge for discipline MORE declined an invitation to speak at the conference, two sources told CNN.”

It’s Monday and a happy National Margarita Day to you, friends! Keep reading for ways to celebrate 😉 I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook. 

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Five years later and Merrick can finally use his Senate confirmation hearing notes:

Merrick GarlandPresident BidenJoe BidenBiden to hold moment of silence for 500K COVID-19 deaths Publix offers employees who get COVID-19 vaccine a 5 store gift card Schumer says he’s working to find votes to confirm Biden’s OMB pick MORE’s pick for attorney general, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

Why this is big: Garland, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by former President Obama in 2016, was never given a confirmation hearing.


The morning session: And the afternoon session:


Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels:

Susan says ‘nah dog’:

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchumer says he’s working to find votes to confirm Biden’s OMB pick On The Money: What’s next for Neera Tanden’s nomination Manchin to oppose Biden’s pick of Neera Tanden MORE (R-Maine) announced this morning that she will vote against Neera Tanden, President Biden’s choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

Why: “Congress has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent …  Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.”  

Tanden’s deleted tweets also didn’t help: Collins slammed Tanden’s “decision to delete more than a thousand tweets in the days before her nomination was announced raises concerns about her commitment to transparency.” 

For context: Collins is the second moderate senator to oppose Tanden’s nomination. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSchumer says he’s working to find votes to confirm Biden’s OMB pick Democrats face unity test on Biden’s .9T bill Progressive caucus chair: I think minimum wage will be included in COVID-19 aid package MORE (D-W.V.) is the first, also citing her tweets as the reason.

How this could play out for Tanden:

^ And now, so does Mitt:

Moderate Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIs Nikki Haley morphing into a presidency-losing Mitt Romney? Lee after Romney’s impeachment vote: There’s enough room in GOP ‘for both of us’ Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors MORE (R-Utah) will also oppose Tanden’s nomination.

His office released a statement: “Senator Romney has been critical of extreme rhetoric from prior nominees, and this is consistent with that position. He believes it’s hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets.”


This bill is up for a rousing game of congressional hopscotch!:

House Democrats are planning to vote on the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill this week, hoping to send the measure to the Senate for a vote as soon as next week. 

The time pressure: Democrats want to have this bill signed by March 14 when enhanced unemployment benefits expire. 

Timing in the House: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats face unity test on Biden’s .9T bill Progressive caucus chair: I think minimum wage will be included in COVID-19 aid package Enough is enough: It’s time to impose term limits on Congress MORE (D-Calif.) is hoping to have the bill on the floor by Friday, but it must first go through the Budget Committee and the Rules Committee. 

Happening today — budget!: “The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet on Monday, where it will condense the various pieces of the package into one bill. The panel is expected to need to tweak the package, which is currently estimated to cost more than the $1.889 trillion allowed under a budget resolution that included the instructions for crafting the coronavirus bill.”  

What about the Rules Committee?: “The House Rules Committee hasn’t yet said when it will take up the coronavirus bill. It already has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday to set up for the debate for two other unrelated bills on the House floor this week.”  

Assuming it passes in the House — the Senate is a bigger challenge: Democrats are skirting around with 60-vote minimum by using reconciliation to pass the package with a simple majority. Because of the tight margins in the 50-50 Senate, Democrats would need all 50 members on board — or to convince as many Republicans needed to reach the 50-vote threshold.

What to expect, via The Hill’s Jordain Carney and Juliegrace Brufke:


The GOP’s reasoning, via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda:


Jan. 6 attack: “The Senate Rules and Homeland Security committees will have their first public hearing as part of their probe into the January 6 attack on Tuesday.” Who will testifyPaul Irving, the former House sergeant at arms, Steven Sund, the former Capitol Police chief, and Michael Stenger, the former Senate sergeant at arms.   

Nominations — other than Merrick Garland: Including Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldChina central to GOP efforts to push back on Biden Senate panel advances Biden’s pick for United Nations ambassador New Uighur abuse claims spark call for UN investigation MORE’s nomination to be U.N. ambassador on Monday night, Neera Tanden to be OMB director, Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: US officially rejoins Paris climate agreement | Biden Energy Dept orders sweeping review of Trump energy rules | Texas power grid was ‘seconds and minutes’ from total failure, officials say OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Five things to know about Texas’s strained electric grid | Biden honeymoon with green groups faces tests | Electric vehicles are poised to aid Biden in climate fight Overnight Energy: Biden administration reverses Trump changes it says ‘undermined’ conservation program | Biden administration delays Trump rule allowing companies to pay less money for drilling on federal lands MORE (D-N.M.) to be Interior secretary, California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraBiden picks Obama health veteran to run Medicare, Medicaid agency Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement — now the real work begins Confirm Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary now MORE to be secretary of Health and Human Services and William BurnsWilliam BurnsThis week: House to vote on Biden’s .9 trillion coronavirus bill Senate Intelligence panel sets hearing for Biden CIA pick Biden makes inroads with progressives MORE for CIA director.

Equality Act: “The House is slated to take up the Equality Act — led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) — which aims to extend federal discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.”  

Context and details for each:



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Interesting read — Israel will a good test for the world:

Via The Wall Street Journal’s Felicia Schwartz, “Israel lifted restrictions on most commerce and public activity, opening malls, markets and museums—and requiring the use of a pass to document vaccination status for some activities.”

Why we’re closely watching Israel: “Sunday’s moves illustrate how Israel, which rolled out the world’s fastest Covid-19 vaccination campaign, is combining incentives and threats to get the rest of its population vaccinated—and how it learned from missteps.”


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 28,138,103

U.S. death toll: 499,075 

Breakdown of the numbers:

Tidbit — what a weird time capsule:

In October, The Washington Post’s Dave Jorgenson tweeted a photo, “Just a yellowed newspaper someone left on their desk seven months ago.” Photo of the yellowed newspaper from March: 

That newspaper’s headline reads, “Virus cases top 500 in U.S.”  

And then last night: Jorgenson compared that headline to the latest Post headline, “U.S. COVID DEATH TOLL NEARS 500,000.” It’s pretty striking to see the headlines side-by-side — the first in a yellowed newspaper before quarantining began:


Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 63.1 million shots have been given. 

Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.33 million doses 

For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.

Breakdown of the numbers:






Well, is there!?

Over the weekend — how terrifying!:

This video has nearly 13 million views. 




Back story: Shortly after takeoff from Denver International Airport, United Airlines Flight 328’s engine exploded midair. Debris hit the ground and miraculously, no one was hurt. The full story is pretty wild, via CNN: 

A car’s dash cam footage of the engine explosion: Watch:

And a photo of the debris landing in a residential yard:

WHAT, Biden’s dogs are perfect. All dogs are perfect, SIR.:

That is low. 





The Senate is back today. The House is out until tomorrow. President Biden is in Washington, D.C. and Vice President Harris is returning today from California. 

Today: Vice President Harris returns from Los Angeles. 

9:45 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.

3 p.m. EST: The Senate meets. 

5:30 p.m. EST: The Senate holds a cloture vote on Biden’s nominee to be the representative to the United Nations. The Senate’s full agenda today:


12:05 p.m. EST: President Biden makes an announcement related to small businesses. Livestream: 

12:30 p.m. EST: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSunday shows – COVID-19 dominates as grim milestone approaches Psaki sidesteps questions on Cuomo’s leadership during pandemic Sunday shows preview: CDC school reopening guidance stirs debate; Texas battles winter freeze MORE holds a press briefing. Livestream:

3 p.m. EST: The White House COVID-19 Response Team holds a press briefing. Livestream:

6 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks on the lives lost to the coronavirus. Livestream:

6:15 p.m. EST: President Biden holds a moment of silence for the lives lost to COVID-19. Livestream:


Today is National Margarita Day! To celebrate, here’s a list of margarita deals across the country today:

And to brighten your Monday, here are two golden retrievers enjoying a spa day:

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