Today’s In Crisis headlines


(NEW YORK) — Here are today’s In Crisis headlines:

Senate votes Trump impeachment trial is constitutional, can proceed
The historic second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump began Tuesday morning with presentations by House impeachment managers and Trump’s legal defense team, and ended with a 56-44 vote affirming that the trial was constitutional, clearing the way for it to proceed.  Only six Republicans joined with all 50 Senate Democrats in that vote, again signaling that it’s unlikely that Trump will be convicted, since that will require 17 Republican senators to join the Democratic majority.

Democratic House impeachment managers began Tuesday’s hearing by playing a 13-minute video that shows Mr. Trump telling supporters prior to the January 6 Capitol attack, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol.”  People in the crowd then shout, “Let’s take the Capitol.”  Afterward, Democratic congressman and impeachment manager Jamie Raskin declared, “That’s a high crime and misdemeanor. If that’s not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing.”

The former president’s attorney, Bruce Castor, sidestepped the Capitol mob violence and instead argued that the impeachment is a Democratic political vendetta. “We are really here because the majority in the House of Representatives does not want to face Donald Trump as a political rival in the future,” he said.  Co-defense attorney David I. Schoen argued that prosecuting the former president would damage the country.  Both attorneys insisted the trial itself was unconstitutional.

House impeachment managers today were required to file all motions, except those related to witnesses, by 9:00 a.m. ET, and the Trump legal team must respond to the House managers’ motions by 11:00 a.m.  The trial will resume at noon on Wednesday with arguments and a vote for any motions made by either side.  After that, opening arguments begin. The House impeachment managers have up to 16 hours over two days to present their case, though both sides are limited to eight hours of arguments each day.

The trial comes just shy of a month after the House impeached Trump for a second time, on January 13, on a single article of “incitement of insurrection” pertaining to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on January 6, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including an officer of the Capitol Police.  The attack occurred the same day Congress was formally certifying President Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, an election that Trump, his supporters and many congressional Republicans continue to declare was fraudulent, despite a lack of evidence and over 60 failed court challenges.

COVID-19 numbers
Here’s the latest data on COVID-19 coronavirus infections, deaths and vaccinations.

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers globally per Johns Hopkins University
Global diagnosed cases: 106,993,984
Global deaths: 2,343,277.  The United States has the most deaths of any single country, with 468,217.
Number of countries/regions: at least 192
Total patients recovered globally: 59,843,328

Latest reported COVID-19 numbers in the United States per Johns Hopkins University
There are at least 27,193,850 reported cases in 50 states + the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.  This is more than in any other country.
U.S. deaths: at least 468,217.  New York State has the greatest number of reported deaths in the U.S., with 45,140.
U.S. total people tested: 323,442,507

The greatest number of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is in California, with 3,442,672 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 39.51 million.  This ranks second in the world after England, which has 3,480,147 cases.  Texas is third, with 2,518,701 confirmed cases out of a total state population of 29 million.

Latest reported COVID-19 vaccination numbers in the United States
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports a total of 62,898,775 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S.  Of those, 43,206,190 doses have been administered, with 32,867,213 people receiving one or more doses, and 9,840,429 people receiving two doses. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, which are the two most prevalent in the U.S., each require two doses to be effective.

Biden administration to expand COVID-19 vaccine distribution to underserved communities next week
The Biden administration will send some COVID-19 vaccines directly to community health centers across the U.S. as early as next week.  “Equity is core to our strategy,” President Biden’s COVID coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Tuesday, “and equity means that we’re reaching everyone, particularly those in underserved and rural communities and those who have been hit hardest.”  White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients said delivery of vaccines has increased to 11 million doses a week, what the Biden administration says is a 28% percent increase since the president took office.

Meanwhile, pharmacies have begun taking vaccine appointments under a new federal program. Walgreens began scheduling appointments Tuesday for shots as early as Friday in 15 states under a new federal program that’s sending vaccines directly to 6,500 pharmacies that are part of 13 national chains.  A Walgreens spokesperson tells ABC they believe their COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling website crashed Tuesday morning due to an influx of people trying to book an appointment, but that the issue was resolved within an hour.  CVS will begin taking appointments Thursday in 11 states, also for vaccinations as early as Friday.  Some pharmacies have already been vaccinating people with doses received from states.

COVID-19 didn’t originate in a laboratory, WHO declares
The World Health Organization’s investigation into COVID-19’s origins has all but ruled out a controversial hypothesis that the disease was leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the outbreak was first reported in December 2019.  WHO scientists said cases were detected earlier than at the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, where the virus was first discovered, but there’s no conclusive evidence of widespread transmission in China before December 2019.  It’s still unclear how the virus was introduced to the seafood market and how it spread among the vendors.  The WHO team said it has so far failed to pinpoint an animal source.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.