ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

March 5, 2021 5:11 p.m.

Congress’ Investigation Into Insurrection Continues

  • Two hearings this week gave us a bit more information on what, exactly, led to the security breakdown ahead of the deadly Capitol insurrection.
  • FBI Director Chris Wray testified on Tuesday, debunking right-wing conspiracy theories that fake Trump supporters or “antifa” were behind the insurrection.
  • He defended the FBI’s report from the Norfolk field office on Jan. 5 warning of potential violence at the Capitol as “more than just an email.” Wray said the missive was shared on a law enforcement database and delivered as part of an in-person briefing.
  • Wray also provided a look at how law enforcement is categorizing the alleged Capitol rioters.
  • At a separate hearing on Wednesday, military and intelligence officials testified on the sequence of events that led to the insurrection getting so out of hand.
  • D.C. National Guard Commander Maj. Gen. William Walker delivered a stunning piece of information during his opening remarks: It took more than three hours to get approval for the National Guard to deploy to respond to the Capitol insurrection.
  • Walker also said that senior military officials were concerned about the “optics” of having a militarized response to the Capitol unrest, especially after coming under intense criticism for the heavy-handed approach used over the summer during racial justice protests.

COVID Relief Marches Forward

  • The Senate is slowly moving forward on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
  • But Democrats have already had to negotiate among themselves to get buy-in from the moderate wing of the party. The Biden administration cut a deal to place a cap on who receives the $1,400 relief checks in the legislation. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was one of the moderate Democratic senators pushing for more targeted direct payments.
  • Later in the week, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) inserted himself into the process. He attempted to slow down the passage of the COVID relief legislation by forcing the Senate clerks to read the sprawling legislation aloud on the floor.
  • After nearly 11 hours, the stunt was over.

Cuomo’s Problems Pile Up

  • The once-untouchable New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) suddenly finds himself fending off multiple scandals.
  • On Monday night, a third woman came forward to accuse Cuomo of sexual misconduct, after two former aides accused the governor of sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • On Thursday night, the New York Times and others reported that Cuomo aides had rewritten a report from state health officials to downplay the number of COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes.
  • Also on Thursday evening, Charlotte Bennett, one of Cuomo’s former aides who has accused the governor of sexual harassment, gave her first TV interview. “The fact is that he was sexually harassing me, and he has not apologized for sexually harassing me. And he can’t even use my name,” Bennett told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
  • To catch up on the swirling scandals, read Zoë Richards’ story on Cuomo’s very bad week.

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