Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. I’m Brent Griffiths. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. TRUMP’S ENABLERS: Donald Trump’s presidency didn’t happen without help. Insider dove through his business and political life, finding the 125 people and entities most responsible for his rise. He may have declared at the 2016 Republican National Convention that “I alone can fix it,” but like with his father’s business loans, Trump’s always been aided by those around him.
Check out our exclusive database of those who brought him to the edge of that escalator in 2015 and beyond.
- Some regret their actions: “I am the Dr. Frankenstein in that equation and he clearly is the out-of-control monster who unleashed a cascade of destruction and divisiveness during his presidency upon the country and the world,” Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, told my colleagues.
- Others are MAGA till the end: “He’s going to get through this. My prediction is he’s going to have more support,” said former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who received one of Trump’s controversial pardons.
- And several questioned their presence: “As we have chronicled previously, Donald Trump lied to inflate his standing on our lists,” a Forbes spokesman told my colleagues. “There’s no crime to lying to a journalist but doing so does speak to character.” (The magazine helped burnish Trump’s elite image by placing him on its rich lists in the 80s and 90s, and later removed him after finding out he mislead them about his wealth.)
Behind the scenes: Per D.C. bureau chief Darren Samuelsohn, “This started out as an attempt to mark the end of the Trump presidency.” But given that administration’s constantly revolving door, “it felt like an org chart was necessary to see in one place everyone responsible.”
2. Biden marked the grim milestone of 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths: The president implored Americans “to honor the dead, but equally important, care for the living and those left behind,” but added: “Let this not be a story of how far we fell, but of how far we climbed back up.” The White House was later illuminated by candles.
3. Neera Tanden’s tweets are coming back to haunt her: Senators have taken notice of Tanden’s past tweets comparing them to vampires and Voldemort. Now, her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget is seriously imperiled. The White House is sticking by her, but possible replacements are being floated.
Our exclusive report details those names.
- Another contentious nomination looms today: Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Biden’s pick for Interior secretary, is generating opposition over her past criticism of fossil fuels. The key is Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is undecided on Haaland. We have the backstory.
- Two facts to remember: In a 50-50 Senate, no nominee can afford to lose a single Democratic vote. Every president since Reagan has lost at least one nominee from their initial Cabinet picks.
4. The MyPillow CEO says he’s losing $65 million over false election-fraud claims: “I lost 20 retailers,” Mike Lindell told us. Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation suit against both Lindell and his pillow company, seeking $1.3 billion in damages, for his false claims about its machines.
5. Trump lashed out at the Supreme Court for refusing to protect his tax returns: Justices ruled against the former president by allowing the Manhattan district attorney to obtain some of his tax returns and financial records for an investigation into hush-money payments, increasing the possibility of criminal prosecution.
The decision does not mean his tax returns will immediately become public, but they could be introduced as evidence in the future.
6. Merrick Garland faces a spike in anti-Asian hate crimes: There have been nearly 3,000 such incidents over the past year. Read more from our exclusive report on what some cities are already doing.
- Garland seems set for an easy confirmation: Republicans tried to pin him down on the investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, but he refused to give the explicit commitment they were seeking. Garland also said his top priority will be investigating the Capitol riot, and criticized the “arbitrariness and randomness” of the death penalty and its effects on Black Americans. More takeaways from the hearing here.
- An emotional moment: Garland fought back tears as he described why he wanted the job and the journey his grandparents took to flee anti-Semitism in Europe.
7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 9:30 a.m.: Haaland faces her Senate confirmation hearing.
- 10:00 a.m.: Former top security officials testify before a Senate committee about the Capitol riot.
- 12:00 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
- 4:00 p.m.: Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
8. A facility for migrant children is reopening: Government officials say an emergency camp in Texas — a vestige of the Trump era — is needed as the number of migrant children crossing the US-Mexico border continues to rise. January saw more than 5,700 apprehensions of children at the border, the highest in recent years, per The Washington Post. Immigrants activists are questioning why the camp is needed.
9. Houston, we have … video: NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back its first audio and video from Mars, depicting its landing last week. No other spacecraft has captured video of itself descending onto the red planet.
10. Obama’s podcast is a clever troll: The 44th president announced that he and Bruce Springsteen will be co-hosting a podcast entitled “Renegades: Born in the USA.” The first part is a reference to Obama’s Secret Service codename, and the subtitle is both a nod to a Boss classic and a jab at the racist birther conspiracy theory. Here’s how they’ll relive the Glory Days.
One last thing.
Today’s trivia question: Today’s trivia question comes from Eldon Smith. What four US states are actually Commonwealths? Email your response and a suggested question to me at [email protected]