Jan 15, 2021

Axios Sneak Peek

Welcome to Sneak Peek, anchored by Alayna Treene, Hans Nichols and Kadia Goba.

Situational awareness: Sen. Bernie Sanders is a guest tonight on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" (check the listings for your local CBS station).

Today's newsletter — edited by Glen Johnson — is 790 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Biden tucks liberal wish list in COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and Joe Biden, emboldened by Democratic Senate victories in Georgia, signaled in his speech tonight he has no intention of wasting this one, writes Felix Salmon, author of Axios Capital.

Why it matters: The president-elect rolled out a $1.9 trillion package headlined for its coronavirus relief but including billions in spending for cybersecurity, transit, wages, health care and other progressive programs.

What they're saying: Trumpian economist Stephen Moore calls it "a $2 trillion wish list of social programs that the left has been trying to advance for 30 years."

  • He's correct in that, although he's wrong when he adds that "almost none of this has anything to do with the health emergency."

Go deeper.

2. Be careful what you wish for

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios' Alayna Treene.

Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack, but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.

What we’re hearing: The general view among Senate Democrats and Biden officials is that it’s in both parties’ interest not to have a drawn-out trial. They hope Republicans agree.

  • Democrats, who will soon control the White House, Senate and House, want to get back to legislating and focus on Biden's plans — like the massive COVID-19 rescue package he introduced tonight.
  • Republicans, they bet, don’t want to spend weeks litigating the attack, or draw more attention to their attempts to overturn the election results that helped fuel the riot.

Go deeper.

3. ⏱️ Impeachment tick-tock

Chief Justice John Roberts swears in senators for President Trump's first impeachment. Photo: Senate Television via Getty Images

Here’s your guide to Trump’s second impeachment trial, compiled by Alayna. Remember, his first began almost exactly a year ago, on Jan. 16, 2020.

Assuming the House sends the article of impeachment to the Senate on or before Jan. 19 (the day the Senate returns from recess):

  • Once the Senate’s impeachment rules are launched, the secretary of the Senate will alert the House that the Senate is ready to receive its impeachment managers, either immediately or at a mutually agreed time.
  • The managers will then walk the article and the resolution appointing them to the Senate and read the article aloud.
  • The Senate will then notify Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and invite him to preside.

Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day):

  • Senate Impeachment Rule III provides that, once the article is exhibited by the managers, “The Senate shall, at 1 o’clock afternoon of the day (Sundays excepted) … or sooner if ordered by the Senate, proceed to the consideration" of the article.
  • During both Trump and President Clinton’s trials, the Senate unanimously agreed the trial would begin immediately after the House managers exhibited the articles, rather than the next day.
  • That could mean Trump’s impeachment trial would begin at 1 pm on Jan. 20 — one hour after Biden is sworn in to replace him.
  • On the day and time of the trial, the chief justice will be sworn in by the president pro tempore of the Senate to serve as the presiding officer.
  • The chief justice then swears in the senators as members of the Court of Impeachment.  If the chief justice does not preside, the president pro tempore would perform the function.
  • The Senate then summons the person who is being impeached — by this point, former President Trump — to appear before the body, and to file an answer to the articles of impeachment.
4. Scoop: Pelosi endorses McAuliffe

Terry McAuliffe. Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is endorsing Terry McAuliffe's campaign in a very crowded Democratic primary that will winnow the field of those seeking to be the next governor of Virginia, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.

Why it matters: McAuliffe, who already served one term as governor, faces competition from four other Democrats. He's looking to Pelosi to help burnish his credentials with female and progressive voters in this year's contested race.

What they are saying: "Terry's progressive record as Virginia's 72nd governor is second to none," Pelosi said in a statement. "His bold vision and inclusive leadership are exactly what Virginia needs at this critical time, and I am proud to endorse him for governor."

The backdrop: McAuliffe, a 63-year-old white man, has mainstream party credentials as a longtime Clinton associate and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He's facing two women, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, as well as Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

  • Del. Lee Carter, a Bernie Sanders supporter who is trying to occupy the party's progressive lane, is also in the race.

Go deeper.

5. Clyburn: Assault had big effect on Black Americans

Rep. James Clyburn. Photo: Cheriss May/Getty Images

Last week's assault on the Capitol felt personal to Black Americans, who found the violence similar to what they experienced during the civil rights riots of the 1960s, Rep. James Clyburn told Axios' Alexi McCammond.

Why it matters: Clyburn said the pitched assault by Trump supporters, some of whom have ties to white supremacist movements, has prompted an important question for him and many African Americans: "Are we getting ready to repeat some history that we thought we'd successfully gotten behind us?"

The answer is not what some might expect.

  • The South Carolina Democrat said impeaching Trump for helping trigger the mayhem represents a "renewal" for the country after four years of questioning "whether democracy is on the wane" because of the president's unchecked actions. 

Go deeper.

6. Pic du jour

Photo: Erin Scott/Reuters

Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro carries a memento away from the White House.

Editor's note - This newsletter has been updated to note McAuliffe's age and race.

😮‍💨 Whew! What a week -- after an especially upsetting one, and before what's usually an inspiring one. We'll be back Sunday to help you navigate the two i's: impeachment and inauguration.