No Bull With Raging Robert.

Robert Massimi.

Impeachment Trial Begins

The Senate voted 56–44 to proceed with the trial of former President Donald Trump yesterday, following four hours of debate over the constitutionality of the process. Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE), Pat Toomey (PA), Mitt Romney (UT), and Bill Cassidy (LA) joined all 50 Democrats in supporting the procedural vote.

The defense’s primary arguments are that the process is unconstitutional, Trump didn’t drive the crowd to insurrection during a Jan. 6 speech, and the trial violates the former president’s First Amendment rights. See the pretrial brief here.

The Constitution does not specify whether an official can be tried after leaving office, and there is no legal consensus — though many experts have noted such an interpretation hypothetically means a president has near-free rein near the end of their term. As a precedent, Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached and tried after resigning in 1876 (the Senate fell short of the two-thirds needed to convict).

Democratic impeachment managers appear likely to rely on video evidence from the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol. Their opening argument yesterday included a 13-minute montage (warning: language) with some new footage.

The trial will move on to 16 hours of arguments per side. Democrats have retained the option to hold a vote to call witnesses; in the absence of any new testimony, the trial is expected to conclude early next week.

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we said former President Trump was the first to be impeached after leaving office — the House impeaches (which occurred Jan. 13), while the Senate holds a trial.

Martian Madness

The United Arab Emirates’ Hope space probe successfully entered the Martian orbit yesterday, the first of three separate missions from different countries expected to arrive before the end of next week. The achievement makes the UAE the fifth space agency — and first Arab nation — to successfully reach the red planet, behind the US, Soviet Union, European Union, and India.

A notoriously difficult feat of engineering, placing the spacecraft in orbit required a precisely timed 27-minute deceleration from 75,000 mph to 11,000 mph; mission control then had to wait for another (very tense) 11 minutes for a success signal to reach Earth. The probe will spend the next two years measuring the Martian atmosphere at varying elevations.

China’s Tianwen-1 rover arrives tomorrow (see a photo from its approach). NASA’s highly anticipated Perseverance rover — which will look for past signs of microbial life — lands next week.

Florida Water Hack

Officials are searching for a hacker accused of taking control of a water treatment facility’s computer system in Oldsmar, Florida, in an effort to poison the town’s water supply. The suspect attempted to elevate the amount of sodium hydroxide — also known as lye — in the water to dangerous levels Friday. The chemical can cause burns at high concentrations and may be fatal if ingested.

The effort was reportedly thwarted when a plant operator noticed two instances of the system being commandeered and was able to correct the change.

The incident is the latest warning that critical infrastructure in the US, particularly under local jurisdiction, is vulnerable to cyberattacks. There are no suspects identified as of this morning; investigators are looking at whether the attack was US-based or international. It is unknown why the town of 15,000 was targeted. Officials say the water system is no longer capable of remote access.

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HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES — YUM!

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IN THE KNOW

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Founding member of The Supremes and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mary Wilson dies at 76 (More) | Marty Schottenheimer, legendary NFL head coach, dies at 77 after battle with Alzheimer’s (More)

> Officials conclude pilot error caused helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others (More)

> Super Bowl LV brings in 96.4 million viewers, the lowest television ratings since 2007, but was most live-streamed NFL game of all time (More) | The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces shortlist in nine categories for 2021 Oscars (More)

Science & Technology

> COVID brain, a side effect seen in some COVID-19 patients characterized by confusion and loss of short-term memory, linked to inflammatory molecules present in the cerebrospinal fluid (More)

> Toyota teams with autonomous vehicle startup Aurora with the goal of developing and testing self-driving minivan taxis by the end of 2021 (More)

> Archeologists find 120,000-year-old carvings in cattle bones near Israel’s Nesher Ramla; the artifact may be the oldest known use of symbols (More)

Business & Markets

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> President Biden hosts business leaders including CEOs of Walmart and JPMorgan to build support for stimulus package (More)

> Quaker Oats officially retires Aunt Jemima, renaming the pancake brand Pearl Milling Company (More) | Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to launch $250M SPAC targeting socially driven consumer businesses (More)

> Jeff Bezos (more than $10B), MacKenzie Scott ($5.7B), Michael Bloomberg ($1.6B) top list of largest American philanthropists in 2020 (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> World Health Organization drops investigation into theory the pandemic was the result of a Chinese lab leak (More) | US records 468,203 total COVID-19 deaths, with 3,130 reported yesterday, as cases continue to drop; see rolling averages (More)

> One dead, three critically injured after man opens fire at a Minnesota health clinic; motive unknown, officials say the attack is believed to be an isolated incident (More)

> Crowds protest military coup in Myanmar despite ban on demonstrations; at least two injured as police use water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse protesters (More)

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ETCETERA

Nashville, Tennessee’s newest museum chronicles 400 years of Black music.

Utah snowmobilers make a daring avalanche escape. (w/video)

The spillover benefits of learning a second language.

How to know whether you’re about to be dumped.

The Arctic is getting greener. ($$, Wired)

A koala causes a five-car pileup in Canberra, Australia.

Get ready for this 3D-printed rib eye steak.

Water bears playing with microscopic balls.

Clickbait: Epic Zoom fail traps lawyer as a sad kitten.

Historybook: French and Indian War ends (1763); Ron Brown elected chair of Democratic National Committee, first African American to head a major American political party (1989); RIP “Roots” author Alex Haley (1992); RIP American playwright Arthur Miller (2005); RIP Hollywood legend and diplomat Shirley Temple (2014).

“Don’t forget to tell your favorite people that you love them.”

  • Shirley Temple
  • JP Morgan, Shirley Temple, Myanmar, Stimulus Package. Zoom, Tik Toc, Instagram, WHO, NATO, U.N., Facebook.