In This Episode
- The House Impeachment managers began to make their case against Trump yesterday, showing graphic and never-before-seen video footage that illustrated the scale and severity of the attack on the Capitol. We talk about our key takeaways from the day.
- The CDC updated its information on masks, saying that double masking can greatly reduce Covid transmission. Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced its plan to organize new mass vaccination sites that are meant to serve communities of color.
- And in headlines: the White House imposes sanctions on the military regime in Myanmar, Britney Spears’s conservatorship case will return to courts, and the NBA finalizes its position on singing the national anthem.
Akilah Hughes: It’s Thursday, February 11th. I’m Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day, where we’ve begun referring to pants as masks for legs.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, just cover my whole body in a mask. Who cares?
Gideon Resnick: It’ll protect me. But also you, from seeing me.
Gideon Resnick: On today’s show, new CDC mask guidance and new vaccination sites, then some headlines.
Akilah Hughes: But first the latest, and we’ll start again today with another impeachment news blast.
[Voice Clip]: Round two.
Gideon Resnick: Unbelievable. Yeah, but seriously, though, yesterday was quite a serious day in the impeachment trial. It was the first day that the House impeachment managers actually got to start making their case against former President Donald Trump, now that the constitutionality question is behind them. And their presentation lasted hours and they went into graphic, step-by-step detail about the attack on the Capitol, which included never before seen video footage and audio of a lot of close calls as rioters broke down windows, some in full tactical gear, and then opened doors to let even more people in. Lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin started off with this preview:
Rep. Jamie Raskin: The evidence will show you that ex-President Trump was no innocent bystander. The evidence will show that he clearly incited the January 6th insurrection. It will show that Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the inciter-in-chief.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, so quite a lot to take in, Akilah. What stood out to you about the day?
Akilah Hughes: I mean, one of the things was just how much video and audio and tweets and security footage was presented. It’s not usually the case in these sorts of incidents. And there’s just so much evidence of what happened that day and what led up to it. And the House managers really did take advantage of that. Some of it was familiar stuff that we’ve seen already on social media. But as you said, there was also new security camera footage. We saw a Capitol Police Officer, Eugene Goodman, directing Senator Mitt Romney to safety in one clip. And we heard dispatch audio of security officers desperately calling for backup and reporting how the mob was spraying them with mace. I think at one point they said it was bear mace even. So, it’s just horrendous. And all of this really told a story of just how violent the day was and how much more violent it could have been. At one point, House manager Eric Swalwell showed security video of senators evacuating the chamber and told them that the mob was just 58 steps away.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it’s all so crazy. And Romney actually told reporters yesterday that he didn’t realize how close to danger he actually was, until seeing that security footage. So a super intense set of evidence and recounting and the impeachment managers really portrayed the Capitol attack as a culmination of events.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, for sure. And they had a whole section that was a timeline of Trump’s tweets and speeches and statements going into the election, saying that the only way he could lose is if it were rigged. And then the next part of the timeline was after the election, with Trump saying that it was stolen and encouraging his supporters to stop the steal, stop the certification, et cetera. So the big point the House managers seem to be making was that President Trump provoked his base and this eventual mob of insurrectionists for months and then he called them to DC on January 6th, told them to, quote “fight like hell” and aimed them directly at the Capitol.
Gideon Resnick: Right. Pretty straightforward sequence of events. And then as all this was unfolding, Trump told the mob they were, quote “special people” which was another major focus from the House managers about what Trump was doing or not doing during the actual attack to stop it.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah. And he also told them that he loves them, which was very weird, at least to me. And then one other thing about the case from the House managers, they were very focused on Trump. I don’t think they ever even mentioned other Republicans who supported him and his lies about the election. So there was nothing about Senators Ted Cruz or Josh Holly, for example. And on top of that, there were several instances where the impeachment managers showed how the Republicans were also under attack that day. There was the clip of Mitt Romney that we mentioned. They also spent a lot of time talking about how Vice President Mike Pence’s life was threatened and what a close call his evacuation was. Here’s a clip from impeachment manager Stacy Plaskett.
Del. Stacy Plastkett: They would have killed Vice President Mike Pence if given the chance. They were talking about assassinating the vice president of the United States. During the course of the attack, the vice resident never left the capital, remained locked down with his family, with his family inside the building. Remember that as you think about these images and the sounds of the attack. The vice president, our second in command, was always at the center of it. Vice President Pence was threatened with death by the president’s supporters because he rejected President Trump’s demand that he overturn the election.
Akilah Hughes: I mean, just damning. Just damning. So, you know, maybe this was a strategic decision to try to appeal to Republican senators and get their votes by pointing out the fact that everyone was actually in danger. It’s not really clear how successful that’s going to be.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and then outside of D.C., there were some other related Trump accountability news pieces yesterday. For one, Twitter announced that he has permanently banned from their platform.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, that was announced yesterday by one of Twitter’s executives during a TV interview, which was pretty interesting timing because yesterday House managers kept referring to Trump’s tweets as evidence. It’s pretty significant because other social media platforms haven’t moved to permanently ban Trump at this point. The other news from yesterday is that prosecutors in Georgia have opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to undermine the election. And that’s according to The New York Times. Fulton County’s newly elected Democratic prosecutor is reportedly looking into phone calls made by Trump and his team to pressure officials to find fraud. The news makes Georgia the second state where Trump faces a criminal investigation. The other is New York. Yet another reason why local prosecutor elections matter. So thank you for voting in them. We’ll keep an eye on this, along with the impeachment trial as it continues today with more arguments from the House managers.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, with that story, he’s seemingly going for the Triple Crown of Impeachment.
Akilah Hughes: Totally. But let’s move on to our next story. So yesterday, the CDC released new guidance on masks. Here is CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky: The CDC is updating the mask information for the public on the CDC website to provide new options on how to improve mask fit. This includes wearing a mask with a moldable nose wire, knotting the ear loops on your mask, or wearing a cloth mask over a procedure or disposable mask.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah. So a year into the pandemic and we have earned ourselves a second mask. But in all seriousness, this is something that we’ve heard public health experts talking about as we confront more contagious variants. The CDC said they had research showing that if a person wears a more tightly fitting surgical mask or doubles up a surgical with a cloth one, virus transmission can be reduced by 96.5 percent. Pretty good. That’s if both an infected person and uninfected person does it. This is based on lab tests that they did with dummies. And so for the single mask option that she was talking about, they’re really emphasizing the fit and knotting the ear loops to make it tighter. Trust me, the visuals make more sense than what I’m saying here so we can link to those in our show notes to kind of help you out. And this move comes after some European countries have actually upped their own mass requirements. According to The Washington Post, Germany and Austria have required people on public transportation or in supermarkets to actually wear more protective masks like N95. And Dr. John Brooks, who was the lead author of this new study from the CDC, also cautioned that because it was in a lab, it’s less clear how this would play out in the real world. But also, according to The New York Times, he said, quote “Any mask is better than none.”
Akilah Hughes: Yes. So please just be wearing some. The administration also released more information about their plans to move forward, building more vaccine sites. So what did we learn?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, so they’re working on five more sites, according to reports: three in Texas and two in New York. And they’re aimed at ensuring that people of color have access and the ability to get vaccinated. So far, there’s this massive data gap on the race and ethnicity of people who are getting vaccinated. And the Biden team is trying to fix that so they can ensure equity and correct [the] disparities. The Texas centers will be in Dallas, Houston and Arlington. They’re set to begin running on February 22nd and will do more than 100,000 shots a day. That’s great. Then in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the sites are going to be open the week of February 24th in Queens and Brooklyn with the ability to administer about 3,000 shots a day each. This comes after the Biden administration said they were planning to set up two similar sites in Oakland and Los Angeles. And it’s all part of a broader national strategy where, beginning next week, the administration plans to ship doses to federally qualified community health centers as a way to reach underserved communities. So we’ll keep an eye out for more on that but that’s the latest for now.
Akilah Hughes: It’s Thursday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check we’re doing another award show check in. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their 16 nominees for 2021 yesterday and they include Jay-Z, Dionne Warwick, Devo, Rage Against the Machine, Mary J. Blige and more. Foo Fighters and Tina Turner are also nominated. If either of them gets in, members of their groups will be entering the Hall of Fame for a second time. Tina is already in as part of Ike and Tina Turner, and Dave Grohl is in there as a drummer for Nirvana. This year’s induction ceremony is set for the fall. So Gideon, my question for you, do you support these picks and are you personally invested in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Gideon Resnick: I’m not personally invested, but I respect that a lot of people still are. It seems very much like a dad thing. But, you know, these picks are pretty, they seem pretty good. I don’t really know how we land on these. Like some of these folks are still doing a lot of stuff. Some of them aren’t. But I, I like these fine. I think it’s cool. I like that, maybe I don’t remember when it was a thing where they weren’t just doing, like, strictly like, “rock”. But I do like that they’re, you know, not doing that anymore because it’s a lot more interesting. Could have been really boring.
Akilah Hughes: For sure. And I just think, you know, it’s a good opportunity for people to discover some of these artists if they still haven’t somehow.
Gideon Resnick: Yes, exactly. If you are just getting acquainted to Jay-Z or Mary J. Blige via the rock and Roll Hall of Fame. God bless you. But that’s, that’s great. Yeah. I mean, I think the only other one that would have been cool would have been MF Doom, just off the top of my head in terms of the timing. But no, this is cool. What do you think?
Akilah Hughes: I mean, I think that these are great picks. I was going to say something a little shady about Devo, but only because I only know one of their songs. So I feel like, you know, all the rest of these are like, yeah, no, I can see the decades of popularity of work. But fair. You know, I think they all deserve to be there. Who am I to say that they don’t? They’ve got some diehard fans. They’ve changed fashion forever. Those masks are still my most coveted thing in [COVID] that I never got. But yeah, I think that these are great picks. I don’t think I’m really that invested in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just because I think, like, you know, music is such a niche thing and the things that people like are so varying that I’m like, who’s choosing? Based on what?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah.
Akilah Hughes: You know, like it’s a, it’s definitely, it’s great to win awards but it also doesn’t bother me that any of my faves haven’t won awards. So, yeah, super shocked that The Weekend didn’t make it in after his [laughing] Super Bowl performance.
Gideon Resnick: He was this close.
Akilah Hughes: [laughing] So they’re saying you need more than five hits. [laugh] Just-.
Gideon Resnick: Maybe.
Akilah Hughes: -want to be clear. I’m sorry if you’re a big fan of The Weekend. I don’t dislike him. I’m just saying, you know, it is weird that he was chosen and Jay-Z still hasn’t done the Super Bowl. But just like that, we’ve checked our temps. Stay safe. Go get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Why don’t you just, like, try it? You know, I bet it’s not that hard. And we’ll be back after some ads.
Akilah Hughes: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Gideon Resnick: President Biden imposed new sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar yesterday following the military coup and the arrest of civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this month. The executive order will prevent Myanmar’s generals from accessing one billion dollars in state funds that are held in the U.S.. Biden says his administration will work on identifying specific targets of the sanctions later this week while finding ways to maintain support for health care, civil groups and other areas that benefit the people of Myanmar. Tens of thousands of people in the country’s largest cities have been participating in protests in recent days, despite frequent Internet outages, violent crackdowns from security forces and restrictions, including a curfew set by the ruling regime. One protester was fatally shot by military police yesterday.
Akilah Hughes: The case of who will control Britney Spears’s money and personal life is set to return to court later this week. This comes just a few days after the release of the New York Times documentary Framing Britney Spears, which has led to a lot of conversations about how Spears was treated as a teen pop star and the issues surrounding her conservatorship. After Spears suffered some highly documented mental health crises in 2008, control of her career, personal life and finances was permanently given over to her father. According to legal documents in recent months, Spears no longer wants her father to have this power. She’s asked previously that an outside financial group called Bessemer Trust take over as her state’s sole conservator. Many celebs and Spears’s current boyfriend have spoken out against her father and her treatment by the media. I know the House impeachment managers are busy, but maybe after the trial ends they can try to pinch hit for #freeBritney.
Gideon Resnick: Seriously, it’s a worthy cause. The NBA has officially weighed in on the topic of singing. They say it is important and cannot be bypassed. The specific song in question is The Star Spangled Banner, and the debate over its inclusion before games began earlier this week when it was reported that Dallas Mavericks owner and famous shark Mark Cuban had directed his team to omit it. In the past, Cuban has been vocal about the right of athletes to kneel in protest during the anthem. At the Mavs game on Monday and all their other games this season, the very scary pro-war proslavery tune was not played. The league said this Tuesday that, because of the unusual nature of this year’s season, teams could run their pregame operations how they wanted. The NBA then reversed its stance the following day, yesterday, with a spokesperson saying that the anthem should be played in keeping with longstanding policy, as fans return to games. The whiplash over the song is frankly exhausting. Someone pass me the aux cord and I will put on the patriotic basketball ballad: That’s How I beat Shaq by Aaron Carter.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, a bop that truly did not get its dues. Original-idea zone, Facebook, is reportedly working on an audio chat room product much like the invite-only app Clubhouse. Clubhouse launched less than a year ago and it raised 100 million dollars on a one billion dollar valuation last month thanks to its wide support base in Silicon Valley and other influential communities. Facebook saw Clubhouse’s success and thought, let’s do that but put our own spin on it, in the sense that we’ll be the ones making all the money now. Facebook’s not the only tech company getting into the audio chat room space. Twitter is also beta testing a similar feature called Spaces. And earlier this week, The Verge published the first reports of an upcoming app called Fireside, backed by none other than anthem-crusher Mark Cuban—the man is everywhere—which will combine the live conversation features of Clubhouse with the ability to record conversations with an eye towards podcasting. Funny enough, the Facebook project is also called Fireside, internally. The innovation in this space is overwhelming and frankly, I think people should step away before someone gets hurt.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, I heard that Facebook was working on a morning news show called WAD.
Akilah Hughes: Oh, God, I hope not. [laughing] Those are the headlines.
Akilah Hughes: One last thing before we go, it’s almost President’s Day weekend. Now through Monday, take 15 percent off site-wide on the Crooked store. We have new merch from all of your favorite shows, including ours. And we’ve added new styles to the sale section. So visit Crooked.com/store to shop now.
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, tell us how you beat Shaq and tell your friends to listen.
Akilah Hughes: And, if you’re into reading and not just text and text chat rooms like it’s the old days like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out. Subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe.
Akilah Hughes: I’m Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
Both: And take a load off, Mark Cuban!
Akilah Hughes: Give it a break.
Gideon Resnick: Play anything that you want before the games. Why the hell not? Who cares? You know.
Akilah Hughes: You just spend more time counting your money, than making apps.
Gideon Resnick: You should host Shark Tank before NBA games, that I would watch.
Akilah Hughes: [laughing].
Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.
Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.
Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon is our assistant producer.
Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producers are Katie Long, Akilah Hughes and me.
Akilah Hughes: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.