Weekly Update: Impeachment, January 6th Investigations, NYS Suing the NYPD
As you know, the House of Representatives, in a bipartisan vote, impeached President Trump for the second time on Wednesday. Now, I am calling on the Senate to fulfill its duty and vote to convict Trump for inciting a violent insurrection on January 6th.
As we work to investigate the events of January 6th, I reached out to travel businesses, requesting their help in identifying and preventing ongoing and extreme threats of further violent attacks and received my first briefing from the FBI. Today, I introduced the Insurrection Financial Transparency Act which would give law enforcement agencies important abilities to “follow the money.”
More on these and other updates below.
Impeaching President Trump – Again
On Tuesday, the House voted on a resolution urging Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. Like all of us who serve in Congress, the Vice President and the Cabinet swore, in their oaths of office, to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic. By refusing to invoke the 25th Amendment, they have clearly failed to fulfill that oath.
The House fulfilled our obligation by voting 232-197 to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday.
Donald Trump’s reckless actions on and leading up to January 6th underscore that he is a clear and present danger to our democratic traditions. This vote was about protecting our nation, preserving Democracy, and the rule of law.
The facts are clear and undisputed: he repeatedly and blatantly lied, spouting baseless claims of a stolen election and fraud. He called on his supporters to come to Washington, DC on January 6th for a day which he said “will be wild,” and willfully incited an armed and deadly insurrection against another branch of our government. He attacked not just the Capitol, not just Congress – he attacked Democracy itself.
President Trump must be held accountable and now the Senate must vote to convict.
FBI Briefing on the Events of January 6, 2021
On Tuesday, I, along with the Chairs of the Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security, Intelligence, and Armed Services were briefed by the FBI and D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office on the deadly assault on the Capitol. They deemed this event a “siege of the U.S. Capitol.”
Based on Tuesday’s briefing, we have grave concerns about ongoing and violent threats to our democracy. It is clear that more must be done to preempt, penetrate, and prevent deadly and seditious assaults by domestic violent extremists in the days ahead. While I will not discuss specific security measures under consideration, I have and will be working closely with our leadership in Congress and all appropriate federal, state, and local authorities.
We are also troubled by reports about warnings received by law enforcement authorities and the actions taken to share those warnings and respond to them prior to the attack. This is a moment when our entire national security and law enforcement apparatus must be working in complete lockstep. This was not a peaceful protest that got out of hand, it was an attempted coup to derail our Constitutional process and intimidate our duly elected leaders through violence.
Officials in Tuesday’s briefing confirmed that they will prosecute every individual associated with this act, including anyone who entered restricted areas outside the Capitol, as well as those who breached the Capitol itself. We are demanding full accountability not only to hold those perpetrators responsible, but to send a strong signal that future seditious activity will not be tolerated and will be met with the full force of the law.
Asking Private Travel Companies to Help Prevent Future Attacks, Preserve Evidence
Yesterday, sent letters to two dozen bus, car rental, and hotel companies requesting their help in identifying and preventing ongoing and extreme threats of further violent attacks in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere over the coming days.
While the inciters and attackers bear direct responsibility for the siege on the Capitol and will be held fully accountable, they relied on a range of companies and services to get them there and house them once they arrived—companies that law-abiding Americans use every day, but whose services were hijacked to further the January 6th attacks. We need these companies to put in place additional screening measures to ensure that their services are not being used to facilitate violence or domestic terrorism, and have asked that that they produce copies of these policies and procedures to the Committee. I also requested that they preserve all records regarding service requests and reservations from January 1—31 for potential use, if necessary, in future law enforcement or Congressional investigations.
Read more here.
Insurrection Financial Transparency Act
Today, I introduced the Insurrection Financing Transparency Act. This bill would provide law enforcement agencies investigating the attack on the Capitol Building with the authority to immediately require a company to disclose its beneficial owners if it is the subject of an investigation in relation to the events of January 6. Just as important as it is to prosecute the rioters, it is equally important to investigate the financing behind this mob attack. If we are to fully understand how these riots occurred, we must follow the money. This bill will give law enforcement the ability to do just that. Read more here.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan
President-elect Biden’s American Rescue Plan is the urgent, bold action we need to address the health and economic crises wrought by COVID-19. This plan will fund vaccinations, contain the virus, support struggling communities, and deliver direct, immediate relief to those hit hardest by the pandemic.
This ambitious $1.9T plan is a way to move us forward – by providing the immediate relief we need now and setting us on a course to build back better, and I look forward to working with President Biden to make it happen.
You can read more about the plan, and what it delivers for New York, here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Access for At-Risk Populations
This week, I called on the City of New York to establish a COVID-19 vaccination site on Roosevelt Island and to expedite COVID-19 vaccine access for World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) participants.
Roosevelt Island is home to 11,500 New Yorkers, including a significant number of elderly and disabled residents who are part of the high-risk demographic for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19. The closest vaccination site is more than a mile away, on Vernon Boulevard in Queens, which requires public transportation and puts seniors and people with disabilities at an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Including a vaccination distribution site on Roosevelt Island is a vital step towards achieving this goal and to ensuring an equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. You can read my letter to the Mayor here.
9/11 responders and survivors who, because of their 9/11 injuries, have medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 both need and deserve expedited access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The pre-existing conditions they live with because their exposure to the toxins in the air at and around Ground Zero have led to the types of health conditions that experts have warned put them at higher risk for severe outcomes should they contract COVID-19. New York City must ensure that our heroes have immediate access to the COVID-19 vaccine, and that their vaccination registration process is simple, user-friendly, and swift.
Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act
Abuses by Trump Administration officials over the last four years have highlighted the need to strengthen ethics laws and so, this week, I joined with Congressman Jimmy Gomez to reintroduce the Executive Branch Conflict of Interest Act. This legislation reduces the influence of industry lobbyists on senior government officials and addresses the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government by strengthening and enhancing ethics requirements for federal employees. Read more here.
Criminal Charges Brought Against Former Michigan Government in Flint Water Crisis
Governor Rick Snyder must be held accountable for his role in poisoning the people of Flint. He made the choice to put money over the lives of children, who will suffer the impacts of his decisions for the rest of their lives. Our former Chairman Elijah E. Cummings worked tirelessly to find the truth of what happened in Flint. Governor Snyder, instead of taking responsibility, blamed others and obstructed our investigation. His being charged with “willful neglect of duty” is long past due, but, unfortunately, it will still not bring justice for the families impacted.
IG Report on Trump’s Child Separation Policy
The Department of Justice Inspector General issued a new report this week that sheds new light on the chaos, cruelty, and reckless disregard for vulnerable children in our nation’s custody. The House Oversight Committee and Judiciary Committee and multiple independent Inspectors General have now uncovered shocking evidence that the Trump Administration sought to intentionally harm children and families as a deterrent to migration, and did not care to plan for the consequences. This dark chapter in our history must never be repeated. I look forward to Inspector General Horowitz appearing before Congress in the coming weeks to discuss this report in more detail.
You can read more about this and previous reports here.
HHS Rule Undermining Nondiscrimination Protections
On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a far-reaching rule that would expand discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, and women in its federal grant programs.
This eleventh-hour rule from the Trump Administration directly undermines civil rights protections in federally funded programs, specifically for LGBTQ+ people, religious minorities, and women. As the coronavirus pandemic escalates to unprecedented and grim new levels, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should be serving and protecting all Americans—regardless of who they love, who they are, or how they practice their faith. Instead, the Administration is doubling down on an abhorrent track record of discrimination in its final days. Secretary Azar needs to rescind it immediately.
Trump Administration Attempted to Gut Civil Rights Act
I have serious concerns about the Trump Administration’s last-minute attempt to repeal anti-discrimination protections by working to finalize a draft rule that would dramatically weaken the enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can read more about my concerns, and the letter I sent to Office of Management and Budget Director Vought here.
CBP Must Stop Shielding Officers Who Engaged in Racist and Sexist Facebook Groups
On Monday, I sent a letter calling on acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) head Mark Morgan to fully comply with the Oversight Committee’s subpoena for documents relating to dozens of employees who participated in secret Facebook groups that posted racist, sexually violent, dehumanizing, and abhorrent material. Since that subpoena expired at the end of last Congress, the I warned that a new subpoena would be issued this Congress if CBP continues to refuse to comply. You can read more here.
NYS Lawsuit Against NYPD
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit yesterday against eh NYPD for excessive use of force and making false arrests during this summer’s peaceful protests. I am hopeful that this case will expose the shortcomings of our law enforcement organizations, begin to repair trust within our communities, and ensure that the undue use of violence by officers never happens in our city again. You can read more about the lawsuit here.
Census Director Dillingham Must Resign
Today, I called on Dr. Dillingham to immediately resign from his position as Director of the Census Bureau because I no longer have faith that he can lead the Bureau to produce a fair, accurate, and complete 2020 Census count as required by the Constitution. Rather than ensure an accurate count, Dr. Dillingham appears to have acceded repeatedly to the Trump Administration’s brazen efforts to politicize the Census. He has failed to be open and transparent with Congress, and recent events indicate he has lost the confidence of Census Bureau staff. If he does not resign, I urge President-elect Biden to remove Dr. Dillingham after taking office on January 20 and to replace him with someone who will follow the Constitution, respect the expertise of the career Census Bureau staff, and work with Congress to protect the integrity of the Census.
NY-12 COVID-19 UPDATE
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 23,314,521
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 1,193,453
Testing Positivity: 4.21%
New York City
(Last 7 days)
Total Cases: 37,890
Confirmed Deaths: 349
New York City Updates
A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is now available in New York City. It will be easily available to all New Yorkers at no cost.
Starting Monday, January 11, certain groups in Phase 1B are now eligible to get the free COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people 65 and older, select groups of at-risk New Yorkers, and a range of frontline essential workers (ie. teachers and education workers – including childcare staff, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, food and grocery store workers, and New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who reside in congregate settings as well as staff).
Phase 1A priority groups continue to be eligible for vaccines, including healthcare workers and staff with direct patient contact, emergency responders, staff at COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations, home health aides, and long-term care staff and residents, among others.
If you are eligible in Phase 1A or 1B, you can make an appointment now to get your vaccine. Use the NYC Vaccine Finder to find a location near you — you must reserve your vaccine appointment in advance! Additional COVID-19 vaccine sites will be added as they are available. You can also make an appointment by phone by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC.
Learn more about the vaccines and how they are being distributed in NYC:
While the vaccination process is underway, every New Yorker should continue to wear a mask, social distance and avoid small and large gatherings. COVID-19 is now spreading rapidly in New York City and throughout the United States. This is a vital time to follow the recommended prevention guidance and do your part to stop the spread.
Vaccine Command Center
The NYC COVID-19 Vaccine Command Center is a dedicated interagency effort created by Mayor de Blasio’s office to coordinate vaccine distribution throughout the city.
The Center will ensure all New Yorkers have up-to-date information about the vaccine and its benefits. To build trust in a safe and effective vaccine, the Center will deploy outreach teams to provide science-based facts and address misinformation. These teams also will coordinate with elected officials and community leaders on neighborhood vaccination drives.
The Center will provide rapid response for public and private partners, including urgent care centers, private pharmacies, hospitals and community vaccination sites.
New York State Updates
COVID Alert NY
As a reminder, New York State has launched COVID Alert NY, an app to provide COVID-19 exposure alerts to help protect your community while maintaining your privacy. More information here.
The State is strongly encouraging eligible and healthy New Yorkers to donate blood. During this crisis, we have seen severe blood shortages across NYS. Your donation could save a life. More information here. As I make this request, I am aware of and working to reverse the antiquated three-month deferral policy for MSM who wish to donate blood. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and I were successful in getting the FDA to decrease the 12-month deferral period to three months, but we need to completely get rid of this policy that is not based on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation’s blood supply as we grapple with the coronavirus crisis.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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