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To check the score on the GOP civil war, look to this new Senate candidate

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Josh Mandel
Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel speaks at the Ohio Republican Party election night celebration in Columbus on Nov. 4, 2014.Tony Dejak / AP file

WASHINGTON — As Republican senators consider the evidence that Democrats have presented in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial — a former president who sought to overturn the election results and who incited a violent mob — it’s worth studying the platform and rhetoric of a GOP candidate who wants to join them in the Senate.

“In Washington, I will pulverize the Uniparty — that cabal of Democrats and Republicans who sound the same and stand for nothing,” said Republican Josh Mandel in announcing his Senate bid to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

“My candidacy is about standing up for working people, economic freedom and individual liberty. We must stop the far left’s assault on American values,” he added.

“I'm all in to advance the America First Trump Agenda and to oust Anthony Gonzalez!” Mandel also tweeted yesterday, referring to the Ohio GOP congressman who voted to impeach Trump.

"If I was a United States senator, I would have been standing with Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rick Scott in holding up the certification of the election," he told Politico.

All of these comments came on the same day that U.S. senators and the American public viewed never-before-seen footage showing just how violent the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection was — and just how much worse it could have been.

Now Mandel isn’t exactly a new Senate candidate. He lost to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in 2012 and pulled out of a possible rematch with Brown in 2018.

But when we ask whether Trumpism is winning or losing within the Republican Party — even after the events of Jan. 6 — the direction of Mandel’s candidacy tells you everything you need to know.

Tweet of the day

The last day of Democratic arguments

The Senate impeachment trial reconvenes at noon ET, with House Democratic impeachment managers having up to eight hours for their final day of arguments — before Donald Trump’s lawyers take their turn on Friday.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

66 percent: The share of Americans who said in a new Gallup poll that they’re not satisfied with the vaccine rollout

More than 90 percent: The share of viral particles that can be blocked by wearing two masks, according to a new CDC study.

27,402,186: The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 105,762 more than yesterday morning.)

473,725: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 3,472 more than yesterday morning.)

76,979: The number of people currently hospitalized with coronavirus in the United States.

328.2 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

42,400,656: Total vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

9,900,221: People fully vaccinated.

77: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

Mum’s the word

As the impeachment trial of former President Trump continued on Wednesday, President Biden and his team made it clear the current president will be staying quiet.

Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, was asked several times why Biden hadn’t issued any statement regarding the trial on Wednesday. First, she said it was because Biden had spoken about the events of Jan. 6 many times:

“The president has spoken repeatedly to the events of January 6th. On January 6th, he called the insurrection at the Capitol “an unprecedented assault” on our democracy, bordering on sedition. He called — said it was ‘unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.’”

And when asked what the American people should make of Biden’s lack of statement, Psaki said, “The American public should, should read it as his commitment to delivering on exactly what they elected him to do, which is not to be a commentator on the daily developments of an impeachment trial, but to push forward an American Rescue Plan.”

On Tuesday, here’s what Biden said when asked if he was watching the trial:

“I am not. Look, I told you before: I have a job. My job is to keep people — we've already lost over 450,000 people. We're going to lose a whole lot more if we don’t act, and act decisively and quickly. A lot of people, as I said, are going — a lot of children are going to be hungry. A lot of families are food insecure. They're in trouble. That’s my job.”

Biden Cabinet Watch

State: Tony Blinken (confirmed)

Treasury: Janet Yellen (confirmed)

Defense: Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin (confirmed)

Attorney General: Merrick Garland

Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas (confirmed)

HHS: Xavier Becerra

Agriculture: Tom Vilsack

Transportation: Pete Buttigieg (confirmed)

Energy: Jennifer Granholm

Interior: Deb Haaland

Education: Miguel Cardona

Commerce: Gina Raimondo

Labor: Marty Walsh

HUD: Marcia Fudge

Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough (confirmed)

UN Ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines (confirmed)

EPA: Michael Regan

SBA: Isabel Guzman

OMB Director: Neera Tanden

U.S. Trade Representative: Katherine Tai

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

NBC’s Jonathan Allen writes that the House managers’ case for impeachment also asks Republicans to think of their own personal and political safety.

Republican senators have shown some emotion after yesterday’s presentation, but it doesn’t seem to have budged votes.

What’s up with Sen. Bill Cassidy?

The White House may target mailing masks to schools and the most vulnerable.

Should a $15 minimum wage go in the Covid relief bill? Dems are split.

Biden raised “fundamental concerns” in his first phone call with the Chinese president since taking office.

But Biden has not spoken yet with Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Everglades Foundation is launching a campaign to convince the Biden administration and Congress for support in restoring that ecosystem.

And the Biden administration has announced new sanctions on military leaders in Myanmar.