WTF Just Happened Today

Your essential guide to the daily shock and awe in national politics.


Day 1460: "Indefensible."

Monday, January 18, 2021

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1/ Trump is expected to pardon or commute the sentences of more than 100 people on his final full day in the White House. Trump met with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and other aides Sunday to review a list of pardon requests, including whether to issue preemptive pardons to his adult children, aides, and himself. Trump allies, meanwhile, have reportedly sold their access to the White House to lobby Trump and White House aides for pardons. While there is nothing illegal about Trump associates being paid to lobby for clemency, any explicit offers of payment to Trump in return could be be a possible violations of bribery laws. (Washington Post / New York Times / CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian)

  • LIST: Everyone Trump has pardoned since the election.

2/ The FBI is vetting all 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington tasked with securing the inauguration. U.S. defense officials said they were concerned about an inside threat from service members. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said that the vetting process hasn’t flagged any issues with the troops. (Associated Press / NBC News / Washington Post)

  • Capitol Police warned three days before the Capitol riot that “Congress itself” could be targeted by Trump supporters on Jan. 6. “Supporters of the current president see January 6, 2021, as the last opportunity to overturn the results of the presidential election,” according to the 12-page internal intelligence report. “This sense of desperation and disappointment may lead to more of an incentive to become violent. Unlike previous post-election protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counter-protesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th.” (Washington Post)

  • The FBI is investigating whether foreign governments or groups helped fund the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including payments of $500,000 in bitcoin to key figures in the alt-right. (NBC News)

3/ The director of the Census Bureau resigned after whistleblower complaints warned that political appointees were pressuring staff to release “statistically indefensible” data on the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country by Jan. 15, which could be “misinterpreted, misused, or otherwise tarnish t...

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