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Three weeks after a deadly riot, one party turns a blind eye

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.
Image: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) leaves the floor of the Senate following a vote
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) leaves the floor of the Senate following a vote on Jan. 26, 2021.Samuel Corum / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — We are just 22 days removed from the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, and just look at what’s happening:

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy today is breaking bread with Donald Trump (after saying just two weeks ago that the former president bears responsibility for the attack).
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is helping lead Trump’s impeachment defense (three weeks after his "All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough" speech on the GOP effort to challenge the election results).
  • The GOP is largely sitting on its hands in dealing with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. (after a report that she appeared to support the executions of Dem members before she ran for Congress).

Most Republicans — though not all — have done nothing significant to hold Trump accountable for Jan. 6.

They’ve also decided to stay silent on the subject of political violence, whether it was the insurrection three weeks ago or Marjorie Taylor Greene’s apparent past support for executing Democratic politicians.

As a society, this country has concluded to never forget the Holocaust and what happened on 9/11.

But what happens when one political party suggests — by its actions — that it’s tried to forget what happened on 1/6? (If you don’t want to impeach and convict, fine. But what instead do you plan to do? Nothing?)

And when that same party hasn’t taken action against its own member who has apparently supported political violence in the past?

It certainly doesn’t have the high ground to demand bipartisanship and unity from a new administration.

A hard habit to break

As we wrote yesterday, the GOP hasn’t tried to hold Trump accountable since he first criticized John McCain back in 2015, or after the “Access Hollywood” video. And every time, they’ve ended up having to defend more and more transgressions.

The longer they have put off dealing with Trump, it’s become harder and harder to detach themselves from the former president.

And if you’re McCarthy or another GOP leader, you might be thinking, “What choice do I have? This is a party that didn’t even espouse a party platform in 2020.”

But if you want the party to be defined by someone — or something — else, you’ve got to take some kind of action.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

25,703,676: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 153,003 more than yesterday morning.)

430,760: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 4,174 more than yesterday morning.)

107,444: That’s the number of people currently hospitalized from Covid-19 in the United States.

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

At least 21.1 million: The number of Americans who have received one or both vaccine shots so far.

979,175: The average number of individual shots per day since January 20.

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

Up to 10,000: The number of U.S. servicemembers expected to be requested by FEMA to help administer Covid vaccines.

3 months: How long the Biden administration will reopen Obamacare insurance marketplaces to address hardship from Covid.

Around 8000 percent:How much GameStop stock prices have gone up over the last six months. (Confused? Here’s a great explainer of what’s happening on Wall Street.)

Tweet of the day

Rockier Road

All four of President Biden’s confirmed Cabinet picks so far have easily passed through the Senate. But Department of Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas could be the first Cabinet nominee to require a more party-line vote.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture (meaning, place a time limit on the Senate considering the nomination) on Wednesday to bypass the Republican filibuster on Mayorkas’ nomination. It’s the first time Schumer has had to use cloture to circumvent Republicans on a Biden Cabinet pick vote. NBC’s Hill team reports that Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee requested for Mayorkas to have a second confirmation hearing – which committee Chair Dick Durbin declined.

Mayorkas was confirmed by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on Tuesday by a 7-4 vote.

The Senate will vote on the cloture motion tomorrow afternoon. If the motion passes — and it likely will since only 50 votes are needed — Mayorkas can be confirmed as early as Monday.

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

HHS: Xavier Becerra

Agriculture: Tom Vilsack

Transportation: Pete Buttigieg

Energy: Jennifer Granholm

Interior: Deb Haaland

Education: Miguel Cardona

Commerce: Gina Raimondo

Labor: Marty Walsh

HUD: Marcia Fudge

Veterans Affairs: Denis McDonough

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

Biden’s day

At 1:30 p,.m. ET, President Biden signs executive actions on health care, including one that reopens the Affordable Care Act’s markets for those who need coverage due to the pandemic. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki briefs reporters at 2:30 p.m. ET.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

In a new report, DHS says that domestic extremists emboldened by the Capitol attack pose a growing threat.

It turns out that the leader of the Proud Boys cooperated with the FBI and even went undercover in Miami.

Biden wants to expand Medicaid. It could be a lot harder in the wake of policies encouraged by the Trump administration.

The Biden administration is likely to delay promised executive orders on immigration and family reunification for at least a few days.

Biden is phasing out federal contracts with private prisons. Here’s what that means — and why activists want more action.

A federal agency intended to prepare for health crises has been being used as a slush fund, the New York Times reports.

Here’s what new Secretary of State Tony Blinken promised on his first full day on the job.

Trump isn’t planning on appearing at his impeachment trial, but he may submit a written letter.

Here are some of the alternatives Democrats are considering as conviction of Trump fades into a longshot.

Can Democrats beat Marco Rubio in 2022? They’re not feeling optimistic, Politico writes.