Live politics updates: Wyoming GOP votes to censure Rep. Liz Cheney for her vote to impeach Trump – USA TODAY

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Rep. Liz Cheney censured by Wyoming GOP

The Wyoming Republican Party voted to censure Rep. Liz Cheney Saturday for her vote last month to impeach then-President Donald Trump.

The vote to censure Cheney – first reported by the Casper Star-Tribune – comes days after House Republicans voted down an effort to remove Cheney from her leadership post over her impeachment vote. 

In a statement Saturday responding to her censure, Cheney said that her vote to impeach trump “was compelled by the oath I swore to the Constitution.” 

“I will always fight for Wyoming values and stand up for our Western way of life,” she continued. “We have great challenges ahead of us as we move forward and combat the disastrous policies of the Biden Administration.”  

Cheney is one of several congressional Republicans who have been censured by their state GOP committee. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., was censured by the Nebraska Republican Party State Central Committee Thursday due to his severe criticism of Trump.

The state GOP called on Cheney to “immediately” resign in their motion of censure. They also said that they intend to “withhold any future political funding” and asked that she repay her 2020 campaign donations. 

The Arizona Republican Party censured Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain in January.

Ducey was censured because he imposed emergency COVID rules that the party said restricted personal freedoms and forced people to comply with unconstitutional orders.

The GOP censured Flake because it said he condemned the Republican party and “rejected populism.”

McCain, who along with Flake endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 election, was accused of supporting “globalist policies and candidates.”

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

New York Rep. Jefferies rips freshman GOP Rep. Owens’ call for ‘unity’

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jefferies tore into freshman Rep. Burgess Owens during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee after the Utah Republican called for the committee to “be the example of what unity looks like” during a debate about the Pledge of Allegiance. 

“It’s not about words, it is but actions. Fifteen seconds we show our kids that we’re adults, that we can agree to disagree we love our country enough to at least stand and represent our flag,” Owens said referring to Rep. Matt Gaetz’s, R-Fla., effort to say the pledge at the beginning of each committee meeting. Democrats called the motion unnecessary since the House begins each session with it already.

Jefferies fired back with stinging criticism of Owens’ baseless insistence that President Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election, even after a mob attacked the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of his victory. 

Owens was one of more than 100 Republican House members who voted to reject the electoral college votes during the joint congressional session on Jan. 6. The freshman representative said in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune that he’d challenge the vote because there was “no question” former President Donald Trump won.

The New York congressman repeated Owens’ statement “it’s not about words, it’s about actions” before calling on him to “explain your actions” in objecting to the Electoral College results and “when you supported an insurrection.”

Jeffries said he wanted to ask Owen “how he voted after a violent mob attacked the Capitol to hunt down members of Congress, to hang Mike Pence, to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, to stop us from undertaking our constitutional responsibilities as part of the peaceful transition of power.” 

“You want to sit here and lecture us about patriotism when you voted to object to an election that you know Joe Biden won and perpetrated the big lie?” the New York congressman asked. He also called Owens’ actions “unpatriotic.”

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

GOP governors declare Feb. 6 “Ronald Reagan Day” in honor of the former president

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared Saturday “Ronald Reagan Day” in honor of the former president on what would have been his 110 birthday.

“Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents our nation has ever had and left an iconic legacy that continues to inspire,” DeSantis tweeted Saturday. “I’m pleased to proclaim today, Feb. 6, as Ronald Reagan Day in Florida in honor of The Gipper.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine also announced that his state would recognize Saturday as “Ronald Regan Day” in a tweet Saturday.

“On the 110th anniversary of the birth of our nation’s 40th President, @LtGovHusted and I are proud to recognize today as Ronald Reagan Day,” DeWine tweeted.

Saturday is also recognized as “Ronald Regan Day” in several other states, including California, where Reagan served as governor.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Trying to avoid sanctions, Sidney Powell team doubles down on conspiracy claims

In a pleading filed in a Detroit federal court on Friday, Sidney Powell and other attorneys behind a Michigan election lawsuit filled with conspiracies argued they should not face sanctions for their unfounded allegations because, among other reasons, they claim the allegations are provable.

Powell and her team have not provided any credible evidence to support any of their incorrect claims that the Michigan election results were fraudulent, instead presenting false reports that rely on conjecture, inaccurate information or misleading testimony.

In the filing, the attorneys repeat many of the allegations that have prompted widespread ridicule and multiple billion-dollar defamation lawsuits. They also include inaccuracies, such as a claim the city of Detroit does not operate local elections it does  and that Powell did not sign the original lawsuit. 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson want attorneys tied to the Powell team’s efforts in Michigan to be sanctioned and disbarred. 

In addition to Powell, those attorneys include Stefanie Lambert Junttila, Gregory Rohl and Scott Hagerstrom. Rohl, Hagerstrom and an attorney representing Powell all blasted these efforts when reached for comment recently by the Detroit Free Press, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. 

Dominion Voting Systems, which provided the voting machines used in Antrim County and many other districts throughout the state, recently filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Powell. 

– Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press

Poll: Americans split 47%-40% over whether Trump should be convicted

WASHINGTON – A majority of Americans say former President Donald Trump bears at least some blame for the Capitol insurrection, and about half say the Senate should vote to convict him at the end of his impeachment trial.

That’s according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that also finds many Republicans continue to believe – contrary to all evidence – that President Joe Biden’s election was illegitimate.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that Trump bears at least a moderate amount of responsibility for the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including half who say he bears a great deal or quite a bit. Just over a third say he bears little to no responsibility.

Most Republicans absolve him of guilt, but about 3 in 10 think he bears at least a moderate amount of blame for the events.

Fewer Americans, 47%, believe the Senate should vote to convict Trump after his impeachment trial, which begins next week. Another 40% say he should not be convicted, and 12% aren’t sure. Trump last month became the first president in the nation’s history to be impeached twice by the House, but it appears unlikely Democrats will have enough votes to convict him in the upper chamber.

Opinions on the trial fall along partisan lines, with more than 8 in 10 Democrats saying the Senate should convict, versus only about 1 in 10 Republicans. 

–  Jill Colvin and Emily Swanson, The Associated Press

$15 minimum wage unlikely to be in COVID relief bill, Biden says

President Joe Biden conceded Friday that a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is unlikely to remain in the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that he is asking Congress to approve.

“Apparently, that’s not going to occur,” he said in an interview with CBS Evening News With Norah O’Donnell.

Biden called for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour as a candidate for president and included the increase in his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Congressional Republicans, however, have raised objections to raising the minimum wage.

Biden told O’Donnell that he still believes the minimum wage should be raised and said he is prepared to negotiate a separate proposal to boost it to $15 per hour.

“Look, no one should work 40 hours a week and live below the poverty wage,” he said. “And if you’re making less than $15 an hour, you’re living below the poverty wage,” he said. 

CBS’ full interview with Biden will air before the Super Bowl on Sunday. The network broadcast portions of it on Friday.

– Michael Collins

Supreme Court blocks enforcement of some California COVID-19 rules for churches

WASHINGTON – A divided Supreme Court late Friday blocked enforcement of California’s prohibition on indoor church services during the coronavirus pandemic, the latest case in which the justices have been asked to assess measures intended to slow the spread of the virus in light of religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.

South Bay United Pentecostal Church, a 600-seat congregation near San Diego, had filed an emergency request asking the high court to block enforcement of some COVID-19 provisions, including a prohibition against all indoor services in some parts of the state as well attendance limits in others. The 1,250-seat Harvest Rock Church had filed a similar challenge to the state’s rules.  

A 6-3 majority blocked the state from prohibiting indoor services in counties with the greatest spread of COVID-19, but it allowed attendance caps based on the size of the building to stand. The state may also continue to prohibit singing and chanting during those services, the court said. 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that federal courts owe “significant deference” to politically accountable officials in public health matters, but said that deference has its limits. 

“The state’s present determination – that the maximum number of adherents who can safely worship in the most cavernous cathedral is zero – appears to reflect not expertise or discretion, but instead insufficient appreciation or consideration of the interests at stake,” Roberts wrote. 

The court’s three liberals dissented.  

“Justices of this court are not scientists,” Associate Justice Elena Kagan wrote. “Nor do we know much about public health policy. Yet today the court displaces the judgments of experts about how to respond to a raging pandemic.”

– John Fritze

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