Friday’s top stories

Twitter bans Trump

Twitter announced Friday that the platform will permanently suspend President Trump's account effective immediately.

Driving the news: It's Twitter's strongest action against the president's account and comes in response to the "risk of further incitement of violence," per the social media company. The move follows Wednesday's siege at the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob as Congress was certifying the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

House expected to introduce articles of impeachment next week

Speaker Pelosi. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The House is planning to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump as early as Monday, several sources familiar with the Democrats' plans tell Axios.

What they're saying: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Friday night that if Trump doesn't immediately resign: "I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment."

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How Biden has downplayed a week of crises.

"I want him out": GOP Sen. Murkowski calls on Trump to resign

Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that she wants President Trump to resign, and if the GOP cannot separate itself from the president, she would "sincerely" question her future in the party.

Why it matters: Murkowski’s comments come as some Republicans signal they may be open to the possibility of removing Trump from office over his actions before, during and after Wednesday’s deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol.

Twitter suspends accounts of Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell

Former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn speaking at the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and President Trump's lawyer Sidney Powell on Friday for breaking the platform's "Coordinated Harmful Activity" policy.

Why it matters: The action comes as part of the platform's crackdown on QAnon-related content. Both Flynn and Powell have promoted the far-right conspiracy theory that purports without evidence that the "deep state" is waging war against President Trump.

Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump will skip Biden inauguration

Trump and Biden shake hands at Trump's 2017 inauguration. Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Why it matters: It's a break from tradition that comes as Trump faces massive backlash over the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi threatens second impeachment if Trump does not resign

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members Friday that Congress will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if he does not leave office "imminently and willingly."

Driving the news: House Democrats had a caucus call at noon to discuss the topic of impeachment. Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told CNN that Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the House floor as soon as "mid-next week" if Vice President Pence and Cabinet members do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Biden to release nearly all available COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses when he takes office, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Releasing nearly all doses would allow more people to get vaccinated with at least one dose. At the moment, the Trump administration is withholding half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure recipients receive their second dose, which is required by both the Moderna and Pfizer shots to ensure 95% efficacy.

Feds shielded against insurance claims from Capitol breach

Pockmarks from bullets fired at the doors to the House of Representatives during the Capitol siege. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Families of the people who died in Wednesday's attack on the Capitol — and others who were there — will have a hard time filing suit or recovering damages from the federal government.

Why it matters: That's because the government is self-insured, and thus largely protected from such claims. Normally, a public disturbance of the size and scale seen this week might trigger lawsuits, but that might prove difficult in this case.

Jan 8, 2021 - World

U.K. reports highest daily COVID-19 death toll since start of the pandemic

Photo: Tolga Akmen - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The U.K. reported 1,325 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, marking its highest daily death toll yet.

Why it matters: The massive spike in deaths is in part fueled by a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant that's spreading rapidly throughout the United Kingdom and threatening to overwhelm hospital systems.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

Small business Paycheck Protection Program to restart next week

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The next round of Paycheck Protection Program loans will open on Monday, albeit not for everyone.

Why it matters: As evidenced by this morning's bleak jobs report, many businesses continue to be battered by the surging pandemic.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Energy implications of Biden's latest Cabinet picks

Marty Walsh, Gina Raimondo, Merrick Garland (from L to R). Photos: Paul Morigi, Paul Marotta, and Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden's final burst of Cabinet picks could have important roles to play in the new administration's climate change and energy agenda.

Driving the news: Biden plans to nominate Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for Commerce, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for Labor, and Judge Merrick Garland for attorney general.

Jan 8, 2021 - Technology

The far right's circus of memes

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

So much of Wednesday's assault on the Capitol looked readymade for memes because, for many of today's far-right digital natives, that is the point.

What happened: The outlandishly costumed rioters — among them, shirtless, horned "Q Shaman" Jake Angeli and fur-clad Brooklynite Aaron Mostofsky — had no wish to fade into the crowd.

Dominion sues Sidney Powell for defamation, seeking $1.3 billion in damages

Photo: Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Friday filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $1.3 billion in damages against Sidney Powell, a pro-Trump lawyer who has pushed unfounded conspiracy theories alleging that the company was involved in an international communist plot to rig the election against President Trump.

The big picture: Dominion alleges that Powell acted "in concert with allies and media outlets determined to promote a false preconceived narrative about the 2020 election—caused unprecedented harm." In an interview with the Axios Re:Cap podcast last week, Dominion CEO John Poulos did not rule out suing Trump himself.

Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

U.S. sheds 140,000 jobs in December, halting labor market recovery

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shed 140,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate held at 6.7%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The job market recovery that had been underway for the past seven months ended last month, buckling from the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

U.S. reports over 4,000 new coronavirus deaths for first time

Hospital doctors and nurses treat Covid-19 patients in a makeshift ICU wing on the West Oeste at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Photo: Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 4,000 new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Why it matters: It is the first time the U.S. topped 4,000 new deaths in a single day, a record that comes as hospitals nationwide continue to be overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 patients.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Analysis: 2020 ties 2016 as warmest year on record

Bidwell Bar Bridge surrounded by fire during the Bear fire in Oroville, Calif. on September 9, 2020. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Last year tied 2016 as the warmest year ever recorded, capping the end of the warmest decade on record, according to data released Friday by the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service.

By the numbers: "2020 was 0.6°C warmer than the standard 1981-2010 reference period and around 1.25°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial period," Copernicus said in a summary of their data. The last six years are the six warmest on record, they said.

Disinformation's big win

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The road to yesterday's ransacking of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob began four years ago with the Russian theft of Democratic party emails.

Why it matters: Russia aims to undermine U.S. democracy, and this week's turmoil is another sign of its success.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

America in danger

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Americans, who are used to being winners, now look around and see a country that can't secure its own seat of government... that struggles to distribute a vaccine... that was cyber-looted by Russia... that was half a year late with a stimulus plan both sides wanted... that can't even orchestrate a peaceful transition of power.

Why it matters: This is weakness, not strength. The democracy that President-elect Biden will take over is tattered, archaic, precarious.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Why some experts want to relax vaccine prioritization

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Some political leaders and public health experts are rethinking strict prioritization for coronavirus vaccines, suggesting that it might make more sense to simply try to administer as many doses as possible as quickly as possible.

Why it matters: Especially while supplies are still limited, there's an inherent tension between trying to focus first on the people most at risk from the virus — including those most likely to spread it — and getting shots into arms at maximum speed.

Capitol Police officer dies from injuries suffered during pro-Trump riot

Police spray supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump as they storm the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer Brian Sicknick has died from injuries he sustained while responding to the siege on the Capitol by a mob of President Trump supporters, the department said in a statement late Thursday.

The big picture: The officer's death is the fifth confirmed death stemming from the riot. A Capitol Police officer shot and killed Ashli Babbitt inside the Capitol, one woman died after being crushed during the breach, and two men died because of "medical emergencies," D.C. police said earlier on Thursday.

Data: Black voters propelled Democrats' Georgia victory

Data: Georgia Secretary of State; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden owes his upcoming Senate majority to game-changing turnout Tuesday by African American voters across Georgia, according to Axios’ analysis of state election data.

The big picture: Turnout in runoff elections usually pales in comparison to general elections. This time, in every Georgia county, the number of votes cast Tuesday was at least 80% of the turnout in November. In Randolph County, which is 62% Black, turnout was 96%.

Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol assault reshapes Biden inauguration

A Trump supporter celebrates atop the inaugural platform amid Wednesday's assault on the Capitol. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Authorities are hoping a nightly curfew and far smaller crowd will keep President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration from descending into a repeat of Wednesday's Capitol chaos.

Why it matters: The fact that a crowd of Trump supporters breached the Capitol and scaled the platform where Biden is slated to take the presidential oath has led to criticism by political leaders, calls for investigations and reflection about how it will alter a normally festive day.

Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's one-two stimulus punch

Joe Biden looks on as his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, speaks in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering asking Congress to help suffering Americans in two steps: give them the balance of their coveted $2,000 coronavirus payments, followed by a $3 trillion tax and infrastructure package.

Why it matters: Biden is confident he can get multiple packages through Congress after Democrats won both Georgia Senate elections. The president-elect's team also wants to get cash in Americans' hands as quickly as possible, according to people familiar with the matter.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submits resignation

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the White House in August 2020. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submitted her resignation to President Trump Thursday night, a day after "March for Trump" protesters invaded the U.S. Capitol building, a senior White House official with direct knowledge of her letter tells Axios.

Why it matters: DeVos is the second Cabinet secretary to exit the administration in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot. Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao submitted her resignation this week, effective Monday, Jan. 11.

Senate sergeant-at-arms forced out after deadly Capitol siege

Then-Senate Sergeant at Arms Mike Stenger walks the halls outside the Senate Chamber during a break in President Trump's impeachment trial in Jan. 2020. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he has "requested and received" the resignation of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger.

Driving the news: Capitol Hill law enforcement and security have come under heavy criticism over their response to Wednesday's siege on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

As allies abandon him, Trump says he'll plan for "seamless transition of power"

President Trump in a video on Thursday condemned the mob that violently stormed the U.S. Capitol one day earlier, saying the rioters "defiled the seat of American democracy."

Why it matters via Axios' Alayna Treene: We're only seeing this concession after his fiercest allies have begun to abandon him.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Jan 8, 2021 - World

Countries begin to line up for Chinese and Russian vaccines

Data: Axios research; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Serbia joined Argentina, Belarus and Russia this week to be among the first countries to approve and administer Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

The big picture: Russia has blazed its own course in the vaccine race, relying entirely on a single, state-funded vaccine that was given emergency authorization before much data was available about its effectiveness.