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Read lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin’s closing remarks in the House’s case against Trump

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By CNN
Updated 6:37 PM ET, Thu February 11, 2021

(CNN) — House impeachment managers on Thursday concluded their case against Donald Trump, urging senators to convict the former President for inciting the insurrectionists that attacked the US Capitol on January 6, with lead manager Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, delivering the team’s closing argument.

Read his remarks below:
Mr. President, Members of the Senate, first of all, thank you for your close attention and seriousness of purpose that you’ve demonstrated over the last few days. Thank you also for your courtesy to the House Managers as we have come over here, strangers in a strange land, to make our case before this distinguished and august body.
We are about to close, and I am proud that our Managers have been so disciplined and so focused. I think we are closing somewhere between five and six hours under the time you have allotted to us but we think we’ve been able to tell you everything we need to say. We will obviously have an opportunity to address questions and to do a final closing when we get there.
    I just wanted to leave you with a few thoughts and, again, I’m not going to re-traumatize you by going through the evidence once again. I just wanted to leave you with a few thoughts to consider as you enter upon this very high and difficult duty that you have, to render impartial justice in this case, as you have all sworn to do.
    I wanted to start simply by saying that in the history of humanity, democracy is an extremely rare and fragile and transitory thing. Abraham Lincoln knew that when he spoke from the battlefield and vowed that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.
    He was speaking not long after the Republic was created, and he was trying to prove that point, that we would not allow it to perish from the Earth.
    For most of history, the norm has been dictators, autocrats, bullies, despots, tyrants, cowards who take over our governments. For most of the history of the world, and that’s why America is such a miracle.
    We were founded on the extraordinary principles of the inalienable rights of the people and the consent of the governed and the fundamental equality of all of us.
    When Lincoln said government of the people, by the people, and for the people and he harkened back to The Declaration of Independence when he said four score, seven years ago, he knew that wasn’t how we started. We started imperfectly. We started as a slave Republic.
    Lincoln knew that but he was struggling to make the country better. However flawed the Founders were as men in their times, they inscribed in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution all the beautiful principles that we needed to open America up to successive waves of political struggle and constitutional change and transformation in the country so we really would become something much more like Lincoln’s beautiful vision of government of the people, by the people and for the people–the world’s greatest multiracial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic constitutional democracy, the envy of the world.
    Tom Paine said “an asylum for humanity” where people would come. Think about the Preamble, those first three words pregnant with such meaning: “We the People” and then all of the purposes of our government put into that one action-packed sentence: “We the People, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of liberty” do hereby ordain and Establish.
    Then right after that first sentence, the mission statement for America in the Constitution, what happens? Article One: the Congress is created, All legislative power herein are reserved to the Congress of the United States. You see what just happened? The sovereign power of the people to launch the country and create The Constitution flowed right into Congress and then you get in Article One, Section Eight, comprehensive vast powers that all of you know so well. The power to regulate commerce domestically and internationally, the power to declare war, the power to raise budgets and taxes and to spend money, the power to govern the seat of government and on and on and on.
    Then even in Article One, Section Eight, Clause 18, “and all other powers necessary and proper to the execution of the foregoing powers”. That’s all of the power we have essentially.
    Then you get to Article Two: The President, four short paragraphs. And the fourth paragraph is all about what? Impeachment. How do you get rid of a president who commits high crimes and misdemeanors. But what is the core job of the President? To take care that the laws are faithfully executed.
    Our Framers were so fearful of presidents becoming tyrants and wanting to become kings that they put the Oath of Office into The Constitution. They inscribed it into the Constitution to “preserve, protect and defend” The Constitution of the United States.
    We’ve got the power to impeach the President, but the President doesn’t have the power to impeach us. Think about that.
    The popular branch of government has the power to impeach the President, the President does not have the power to impeach us.
    As I said before, all of us who aspire and attain a public office are nothing but the servants of the people and the way the Framers would have it, is: the moment that we no longer act as servants of the people but as masters of the people, as violators of the people’s rights, that is the time to impeach, remove, convict, disqualify, start all over again. Because the interests of the people are so much greater than the interests of one person, any one person, even the greatest person in the country. The interests of the people are what count.
    When we sit down and we close, our distinguished counterparts, the defense counsel who have waited very patiently and we thank you, will stand up and seek to defend the President’s conduct on the facts, as I think they will. It has already been decided by the Senate on Tuesday that the Senate has constitutional jurisdiction over this impeachment case brought to you by the United States House of Representatives.
    We’ve put that jurisdictional constitutional issue to bed. It is over. It’s already been voted on. This is a trial on the facts of what happened. And incitement as we said is an inherently fact-intensive investigation and judgment that each of you will have to make. We’ve made our very best effort set forth every single relevant fact that we know in the most objective and honest light.
    We trust and we hope that the defense will understand the constitutional gravity and solemnity of this trial by focusing like a laser beam on the facts and not return to the constitutional argument that has already been decided by the Senate.
    Just as a defense lawyer who loses a motion to dismiss on a constitutional basis in a criminal case must let that go and focus on the facts which are being presented to the prosecutors in detail, they must let this constitutional jurisdictional argument go. Not just because it’s frivolous and wrong, as nearly every expert scholar in America opined, but because it’s not relevant to the jury’s consideration of the fact of the case.
    So our friends must work to answer the overwhelming, detailed, specific, factual and documentary evidence we’ve introduced of the President’s clear and overwhelming guilt in inciting violent insurrection against the union.
    Donald Trump last week turned down our invitation to come testify about his actions and therefore we have not been able to ask him any questions directly as of this point.
    Therefore, during the course of their 16-hour allotted presentation, we would pose these preliminary questions to his lawyers, which I think are on everyone’s minds right now and which we would have asked Mr. Trump himself if he had chosen to come and testify about his actions and inactions when we invited him last week:
    One, why did President Trump not tell his supporters to stop the attack on the Capitol as soon as he learned of it?
    Why did President Trump do nothing to stop the attack for at least two hours after the attack began?
    As our constitutional Commander-in-Chief, why did he do nothing to send help to our overwhelmed and besieged law-enforcement officers for at least two hours on January 6th after the attack began?
    On January 6th, why did President Trump not, at any point that day, condemn the violent insurrection and insurrectionists?
    I’ll add a legal question that I hope his distinguished counsel will address: if a President did invite a violent insurrection against our government, as of course we allege and think we have proven in this case, but in general, if a president incited violence against our government, would that be a high crime or misdemeanor? Can we all agree at least on that?
    Senators, I’ve talked a lot about common sense in this trial because I believe that’s all you need to arrive at the right answer here.
    When Tom Paine wrote Common Sense, the pamphlet that launched the American Revolution, he said that common sense really meant two different things.
    One, common sense is the understanding that we all have without advanced learning and education. Common sense is the sense accessible to everybody.
    Common sense is also the sense that we all have in common as a community.
    Senators, America, we need to exercise our common sense about what happened. Let’s not get caught up in a lot of outlandish lawyers’ theories here. Exercise your common sense about what just took place in our country.
    Tom Paine wasn’t an American, as you know, but he came over to help us in our great revolutionary struggle against the kings and the queens and the tyrants.
    In 1776 in the great revolutionary crisis, he wrote these beautiful words. It was a very tough time for the country. People didn’t know which way things were going to go. Were we going to win, against all hope? Because for most of the rest of human history, it had been the kings and the queens and the tyrants and the nobles lording it over the common people. Could political self-government work in America was the question?
    Paine wrote this pamphlet called “The Crisis” and in it, he said these beautiful words, and with your permission I’m going to update the language a little bit pursuant to the suggestion of Speaker Pelosi so as not to offend modern sensibilities. He said: “these are the times that try men and women’s souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will shrink at this moment from the service of their cause and their country but everyone who stands with us now will win the love and favor and affection of every man and every woman for all time. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered but we have this consolation: the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious in the end will be our victory.”
      Thank you. Good luck in your deliberations.
      ###

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      Politics

      Biden to take first limited steps on gun control, including on ‘ghost guns’ and pistol braces

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      By Kevin Liptak, CNN
      Updated 10:57 PM ET, Wed April 7, 2021

      (CNN) — President Joe Biden will take his first, limited actions on gun control Thursday, directing his administration to tighten restrictions on so-called ghost guns and pistol stabilizing braces that allow the weapons to be used more accurately, according to a senior administration official.

      The steps — which also include nominating a gun control advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — fulfill a commitment Biden made in the aftermath of two deadly shootings last month to take “common sense” steps right away to address gun violence.
      But they fall short of the sweeping actions Biden promised as a candidate that must be passed by Congress, including a ban on assault weapons or enacting universal background checks. Senior administration officials framed the upcoming announcements as initial steps that would be followed by additional actions later on, including applying pressure on lawmakers to act.
        Biden said last month following a mass shooting in Colorado, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future.” But he has acknowledged that passing a massive new infrastructure plan — and not new gun laws — is his top legislative priority.
          Biden will make the announcements Thursday from the White House alongside his attorney general, Merrick Garland, whose Justice Department will be responsible for drafting the proposed rules.
              The announcements will come as the President is expected to nominate David Chipman as the next director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a White House official told CNN. Chipman is a former ATF agent who serves as senior policy adviser at Giffords, the organization led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who became a gun control advocate after being shot in 2011.
              The ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015.
              Biden also plans to announce new investments in intervention programs in violence-prone communities; a directive to the Justice Department to publish model “red flag” laws for states that allow the temporary removal of guns from people deemed at high risk of harming themselves or others; and a comprehensive report on firearms trafficking.
              Taken together, the actions amount to the first real steps by Biden’s administration to combat gun violence. Inside the White House, efforts to devise executive actions have been led by White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and Office of Public Engagement Director Cedric Richmond, administration officials and gun safety advocacy groups told CNN.
              That included meeting with some of those groups and fielding ideas for steps that Biden could take on his own. Some advocates had been clamoring for steps earlier in the administration, pointing to Biden’s pledge to prioritize gun control during his campaign.
              But initial reaction from gun safety advocacy groups Wednesday evening was positive.
              “Each of these executive actions will start to address the epidemic of gun violence that has raged throughout the pandemic, and begin to make good on President Biden’s promise to be the strongest gun safety president in history,” John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement.
              “These much-needed executive actions will start saving lives right away, and our grassroots army of nearly 6 million supporters looks forward to standing behind President Biden as he urges the Senate to follow his lead and act,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said in a statement.
              While campaigning, Biden had said he would task his attorney general with instituting better enforcement of existing gun laws as a means of slowing gun violence. He also made a campaign pledge to send $900 million for community programs meant to combat violence, something the administration is sorting out how to fulfill.
              Following last month’s shootings, Biden called on Congress to take steps like reenacting an assault weapons ban, with Vice President Kamala Harris, who argued for executive actions on the campaign trail, telling “CBS This Morning” that “if we really want something that is going to be lasting, we need to pass legislation.”
              The Democratic-controlled House passed gun legislation that would expand background checks on all commercial gun sales last month, but the bills face tougher paths in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim 50-50 majority and would need significant Republican support to overcome a legislative filibuster.
              Biden acknowledged during a news conference that his main legislative priority was passing an infrastructure package and that he believed careful timing was key to the success of any proposed bills.
              And he has acknowledged that his political capital is limited.
              “I haven’t done any counting yet,” he said in March when asked whether he believed he had enough votes to pass significant reforms.
              As the nation’s posture on guns has evolved, Biden has been front-and-center at most every stop along the way for more than three decades, from the triumph of a 10-year ban on assault weapons in 1994 to the disappointment of a failed push for universal background checks in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.
                Recent shootings in Georgia and Colorado had raised the question inside the West Wing over how much political capital Biden should expend on the matter, which has so often ended in frustration.
                This story has been updated with details about Biden’s executive actions and reaction to them.

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                Virginia lawmakers OK marijuana possession starting July 1

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                By Paul LeBlanc and Kay Jones, CNN
                Updated 9:45 PM ET, Wed April 7, 2021

                (CNN) — The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill legalizing simple possession of marijuana, becoming the latest state to modify its laws around cannabis use and possession that disproportionately jailed Black people for nonviolent offenses.

                The new law, which goes into effect July 1, allows anyone in the state 21 or older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. The law also “modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses,” according to a summary posted to the Legislature’s website.
                “Virginia led and made history once again today,” Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who cast the tie-breaking vote in the state Senate, said in a tweet.
                  “I was proud to cast the tie-breaking vote to legalize marijuana and bring long overdue justice, fairness, equity and opportunity to the people of our great Commonwealth.”
                    The bill had originally passed in late February, but Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam sent it back to the Legislature with a series of revisions, including a proposal to accelerate the timeline of its enactment to this July instead of 2024.
                        Still, the measure was met with fierce opposition from state GOP lawmakers Wednesday, including Del. Chris Head, who called it a “train wreck” during a virtual House floor speech.
                        “If this policy change is to be undertaken, it has to be undertaken prudently, and I understand the enormous pressure on the majority party to make this change right now. I understand that opposing immediate legislation and legalization is going to anger many of your constituents. And I understand that taking the time to do this right might possibly even lead to charges of racism,” he said.
                        “But we have to do this right. And doing it right takes time.”
                        Legalization advocates have long touted the righting of past criminal justice wrongs, eliminating illegal market activity and generating additional tax revenue when they’ve pushed for overhauling state cannabis laws.
                        “At the end of the day, economics talk and jobs talk,” Jessica Billingsley, chief executive officer of Akerna, which makes regulatory compliance software that helps states track cannabis sales from seed to sale, previously told CNN.
                          “I truly believe we’re going to see some very meaningful and important movement coming out of this as states and governors look for a way to bolster their economy.”
                          Cannabis sales in states that have legalized the plant for medical and recreational purposes totaled about $15 billion in 2019, and are expected to top $30 billion by 2024, according to data from BDS Analytics, which tracks dispensary sales.

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                          Biden’s planned pick for ATF director a fierce advocate for gun control

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                          By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
                          Updated 9:30 PM ET, Wed April 7, 2021

                          Washington (CNN) — David Chipman, President Joe Biden’s planned nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, has a long history at the agency and sports credentials in gun control advocacy sure to excite firearm safety groups.

                          If confirmed, Chipman will lead the agency that enforces gun laws at a critical point in Biden’s early tenure, as the President looks to take fresh action on the issue in the wake of two deadly shootings last month.
                          “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said last month. The President plans to announce new executive actions on guns Thursday, a person familiar with the plans said.

                            Longtime ATF special agent

                              Chipman, if confirmed, would return to the agency where he worked for 25 years as a special agent.
                                He lists “Violent Crime Reduction Strategist,” “Certified Explosives Specialist” and “Interagency Liason Specialist” among his specialties on his Linkedin profile, and Giffords notes his expertise includes ghost guns, the gun industry, law enforcement and assault weapons.
                                In the President’s first, limited actions on gun control Thursday, Biden will direct his administration to tighten restrictions on so-called ghost guns and pistol stabilizing braces that allow the weapons to be used more accurately, according to a senior administration official. Ghost guns are handmade or self-assembled firearms that don’t have serial numbers, and some can be fabricated in as little as 30 minutes using kits and parts purchased online.
                                The ATF has been without a permanent director since 2015.
                                In recent years, the bureau has become most visible in the aftermath of mass shootings around the US and at other crimes involving firearms. But the agency has a broader scope than just guns.
                                According to its website, ATF “protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.”
                                “We partner with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research, and use of technology,” the bureau’s website states.

                                Gun control advocacy

                                After leaving the ATF in 2012, Chipman became a senior adviser at Everytown for Gun Safety, where he was “consulted frequently” by lawmakers considering gun control legislation, according to his Linkedin.
                                Chipman then served as senior vice president of Public Safety Solutions for almost three years before arriving at Giffords as a senior policy adviser in 2016.
                                It’s in these roles that Chipman’s voice as a fierce advocate for gun control was elevated, as he frequently wrote op-eds and made media appearances to advance the cause.
                                “As a former ATF special agent with more than 24 years of experience at the bureau, I know all too well how serious our gun violence problem is and how desperately the agency lacks for the law enforcement tools that are necessary to help curb this national epidemic,” Chipman wrote in a 2013 Politico op-ed.
                                The country’s gun safety laws, he wrote at the time, “make it all too easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands — and since Congress has failed to address these gaps legislatively, ATF must chart a new course to combat the scourge of gun violence. This requires strong leadership.”
                                More recently, Chipman voiced support for limiting high-capacity magazines in a 2019 interview with PBS NewsHour.
                                “Talking to any gun owner, a 100-round magazine is just not traditional. It’s not normal. And I can’t think of a purpose, beyond killing a lot of people, for having it,” he said. “So if the debate is, should it be 10 or what have you, it can’t be 100. And so I think there’s room where we can have progress, although we will not have perfection.”
                                  And in light of FBI records last summer showing US firearm background checks having skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Chipman told CNN at the time: “My biggest concern involves the potential number of first time gun buyers who, before March, did not think they needed a gun.”
                                  This story has been updated with additional details Wednesday.

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                                  Andrew Giuliani, former Trump aide and son of Rudy Giuliani, says he plans for to run for governor of New York

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                                  By Devan Cole, CNN
                                  Updated 12:16 PM ET, Wed April 7, 2021

                                  Washington (CNN) — Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, says he’s planning to run for governor of the heavily Democratic state next year.

                                  “I plan to run,” Andrew Giuliani, who served as an aide to former President Donald Trump, told the Washington Examiner in an interview published Wednesday.
                                  Giuliani’s gubernatorial bid could set up a high stakes, headline-grabbing showdown with Andrew Cuomo, should the embattled incumbent Democratic governor decide to seek a fourth term. But Giuliani would face a steep uphill battle in the heavily Democratic state, and his candidacy could help hand another win to the party as his proximity to Trump would likely be seen as a liability in a state where the former President is widely unpopular.
                                    “I believe I can win the race,” Giuliani told the Examiner. “I think I’m the right candidate, and this is the right time to help change New York State, and we’ve got a playbook that works.”
                                      “Outside of anybody named Trump, I think I have the best chance to win and take the state back, and I think there’s an opportunity in 2022 with a wounded Democratic candidate, whether it’s going to be Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo, whether it’s going to be a radical (attorney general), Letitia James, whether it’s going to be a no-name lieutenant governor, I think there’s a very, very real chance to win,” he said, according to the magazine.
                                            Asked if he expected Cuomo to seek reelection to a fourth term next year, Jay Jacobs, the state party chair and a close ally of the governor, demurred.
                                            “I honestly don’t know the answer to that question. I think that he’s more focused on getting through his current troubles, then seeing where he’s going to go,” he said. “These investigations are going to be critical in all of that. It’s hard to tell. I’m sure that, given his druthers, he’d like to run for reelection.”

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                                            Stephen Breyer worries about Supreme Court’s public standing in current political era

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                                            By Joan Biskupic, CNN legal analyst & Supreme Court biographer
                                            Updated 9:07 PM ET, Tue April 6, 2021

                                            (CNN) — Justice Stephen Breyer, who may be nearing the end of his Supreme Court tenure, expressed concern on Tuesday about the standing of the high court and the possible erosion of public confidence in its decisions.

                                            In an expansive, two-hour lecture at Harvard Law School, Breyer bemoaned the common practice — by journalists, senators and others — of referring to justices by the presidents who appointed them and of describing the nine by their conservative or liberal approach to the law.
                                            “These are more than straws in the wind,” the 82-year-old Breyer said. “They reinforce the thought, likely already present in the reader’s mind, that Supreme Court justices are primarily political officials or ‘junior league’ politicians themselves rather than jurists. The justices tend to believe that differences among judges mostly reflect not politics but jurisprudential differences. That is not what the public thinks.”
                                              Breyer also warned against proposals to expand the size of the Supreme Court from its current nine members. Public trust was “gradually built” over the centuries, he said, and any discussion of change should take account of today’s public acceptance of the court’s rulings, even those as controversial as the 2000 Bush v. Gore case that settled a presidential election.
                                                “The public now expects presidents to accept decisions of the court, including those that are politically controversial,” he said. “The court has become able to impose a significant check — a legal check — upon the Executive’s actions in cases where the Executive strongly believes it is right.”
                                                  Some of Breyer’s most compelling opinions, it should be noted, have been written in dissent. In 2007, for example, he objected to an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts rejecting school integration plans in Seattle and Louisville. Roberts said districts could not consider a student’s race when making school assignments to reduce racial isolation throughout the school district.
                                                  “This is a decision that the Court and the Nation will come to regret,” wrote Breyer, whose father, Irving Breyer, was a long-serving school board member in San Francisco. Breyer still wears the wristwatch his father received upon his retirement from the district. Breyer said the Roberts opinion threatened “the promise of” the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.
                                                  Breyer said Tuesday that differences with his colleagues were based on their distinct views of the structure of the Constitution or how they interpreted statutes. He did not refer to instances in which his colleagues themselves have publicly questioned each other’s motives.
                                                    Breyer did allow that sometimes justices weigh public opinion or the future ramifications of a decision. And he acknowledged that the nine are products of their individual backgrounds and experiences.
                                                    Still, he said, “judicial philosophy is not a code word for ‘politics.'”

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