He never told them to do it. Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in a pretrial brief Monday that his supporters “rioted of their own accord” and made plans prior to the speech he gave shortly before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Today bipartisan Senate leaders, who have agreed to a swift trial, will debate the constitutionality of trying a former president. The trial will finish early next week if no witnesses are called. With all but five Republicans opposing impeachment, conviction is unlikely — even as Democrats accused Trump of committing the “most grievous constitutional crime ever.”
What do you think? Is the trial necessary, or does it just deepen divisions? Reply to this email, including your first name, last initial and city or state, and we may share your response in the PDB.
2. Hackers Try to Poison Water Supply
It’s chilling. Hackers were able to increase — by a factor of 100 — the amount of sodium hydroxide, or lye, injected into the water supply of the Tampa suburb of Oldsmar, Florida. Normally used in small amounts to control acidity, it could have poisoned the town’s water supply, but a supervisor quickly noticed and reversed it. One cybersecurity expert said attacks aiming to harm people are “exactly what folks worry about,” while local officials reassured residents that even if the hack hadn’t been spotted, monitoring systems would have protected their drinking water. The FBI is investigating.
They’re not going anywhere. Police in Naypyitaw fired rubber bullets today as thousands of protesters opposing the Feb. 1 military coup refused to comply with bans on gatherings of more than five people. It’s the fourth day of mass resistance to the military regime, and also saw authorities unleash water cannons at demonstrations in the second-largest city, Mandalay. Last night, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing addressed the nation, ignoring the protests and decrying voter fraud, which was used to justify the takeover. State television also broadcast a curious message: “Democracy can be destroyed if there is no discipline.”
They aren’t day traders. Hot on the heels of the GameStop boom, Bitcoin has shot up in value after Tesla snapped them up to the tune of $1.5 billion. As often happens, the mother of all cryptocurrencies has brought others along with it as investors have taken cues from Elon Musk, Tesla’s mercurial founder and world’s richest man. And while these levels may not hold as investors take profits, digital money is becoming more and more practical, with Tesla and a growing number of other firms accepting bitcoin for purchases.
New York’s highest court has upheld a ruling that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort can’t be prosecuted in a state mortgage fraud case under double jeopardy rules, after receiving a presidential pardon for related federal offenses. A space probe from the United Arab Emirates is set to enter Mars orbit today. And in India, 2,000 rescuers are looking for survivors after a broken Himalayan glacier caused a torrent that killed at least 18 people Sunday.
Coronavirus Update: The U.S. reported a second day of under 100,000 new cases, indicating the virus is retreating for now. And China’s top health official says none of the bats and other animals tested around the Wuhan area have been infected, casting doubt on theories about the origin of the virus.
Carlos is joined by the youngest member of Congress, Rep. Madison Cawthorn. The 25-year-old firebrand gives his take on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the car accident that opened his eyes to feeling invisible and his Moneyball approach to winning his campaign. What does the North Carolina Republican hope to work on with President Biden? Watch now to find out.
TikTok is a place for everyone, from Gen Z to grandparents. This Safer Internet Day, TikTok is focusing on tools to support parents. Families have access to a robust set of features and controls to help create the experience that's right for them. TikTok’s Family Pairing tools let parents manage their family's content and privacy settings, such as search and message controls, and screen time management. For all the parents out there, now is the time to start the conversation about online safety and privacy with your family.
Detroit and the world won’t forget her. The co-founder of the group synonymous with the 1960s Motown sound died unexpectedly at her Nevada home Monday night, the 46th anniversary of "Stop! In the Name of Love." Wilson launched the band initially knows as The Primettes in 1959 with fellow Detroit natives Florence Ballard, Betty McGlown and Diana Ross. They went on to conquer the music industry, and Wilson sang on all 12 Supremes No. 1s, including “Where Did Our Love Go.” Motown Records founder Barry Gordy described her as “a trailblazer, a diva” and “a star in her own right.”
It’s a shot in the arm for truth. The platform announced Monday that as part of its crackdown on COVID-19 misinformation it will no longer allow false claims, hoaxes and conspiracies related to any vaccines. After letting anti-vaxxers build huge networks of followers for years, Facebook will now remove posts and repeat-offender accounts promoting misleading content. The company pledged to boost official advice from health authorities, noting, “Misinformation thrives in the absence of good information." The policy change also applies to Instagram, but it will take more platforms following suit to reach herd immunity against vaccination conspiracies.
It’s a tragic first. But in the pandemic’s politically charged discourse, it’s debatable. What’s certain is Rep. Ron Wright, a second-term Texas Republican, died Monday after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. He was 67. Wright’s family and a spokesperson confirmed the cause of death, making him the first sitting member of Congress to die of COVID-19 — but he was also battling lung cancer, which could have been a factor. Of 27 million cases nationwide, more than 60 congressional lawmakers have had confirmed or suspected cases, exacerbated by sheltering in close quarters during the Capitol attack.
Hyunjung Lee says getting into the NBA won’t be a slam dunk. But it might be a 3-pointer, since that’s what the South Korean is known for, working to perfect a Steph Curry-style step-back jumper, OZY reports. Lee’s a product of the NBA’s Global Academy, not to mention a dad who coaches high school hoops and mom who won an Olympic silver in basketball. Now averaging 13.7 points per game at Davidson — Curry’s alma mater — he’s the caliber of athlete the NBA hopes can elevate the league in the hearts of Lee’s countrymen.
It’s hot, but maybe not red hot. Thousands of the invitation-only social media phenomenon’s users couldn’t connect yesterday. Instead of the app’s voice-only chat rooms — where one might hobnob with the likes of Drake or Oprah — they found red banners warning of a web connection error. Users took to WeChat to complain, saying they couldn’t reliably connect even via virtual private networks and they couldn’t get verification codes on Chinese phones. While Clubhouse users have mushroomed in China of late, they must have known an unrestricted means of communication would enjoy a short honeymoon.