Good morning from Augusta. A third day of hearings on Gov. Janet Mills’ supplemental budget starts at 10 a.m. Here’s the schedule.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I just think about if one of those folks called my mom, and my mom would say, ‘Thank goodness, I can’t wait, what do I need to do, here’s my social security number — whatever I need to do, I will do.’ And so, you know, there’s a special place in hell,” said Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah, referring on Tuesday to reports of phone scams targeting older Mainers promising them coronavirus vaccine appointments. Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
A second impeachment trial seems unlikely to end in a conviction after only a handful of Republicans voted against dismissing it on Tuesday. The second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump over allegations he incited the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol will resume in early February — though most Republicans indicated they would prefer it did not happen at all.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was one of only five Republicans to side with Democrats and vote against dismissing the trial entirely on the grounds that it could not be conducted with Trump no longer in office. That could be the upper limit on the number of senators potentially willing to vote for Trump’s conviction, well short of the 67 votes necessary to sanction him. Only if he is convicted can senators take another vote barring him from running for federal office.
Collins and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, are privately floating a resolution to censure Trump for his actions related to the Jan. 6 riots, Axios reported Tuesday night. A censure resolution would still require 60 votes in the Senate to overcome the filibuster, and it remains uncertain whether Collins and Kaine could find at least five more Republicans who voted against allowing the impeachment trial to proceed but might still condem the former president.
Such a resolution would be a formal rebuke of Trump, though it would not prevent him from running for future office. While lacking teeth, it would be a harder vote for Republicans in a way because they would have to weigh in directly on the president’s conduct with no legal or constitutional argument against censuring a former president, as there is with impeachment.
The senators have a bit of time to figure it out. Trump’s trial is now on pause until Feb. 8 to give his lawyers time to prepare, while the Senate will resume confirming President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees and may contemplate stimulus legislation.
The Maine politics top 3
— “Rural Mainers face hourslong drive to nearest COVID-19 vaccine clinic,” Jessica Piper, Bangor Daily News: “With the exception of a few practices, most sites currently offering vaccinations to older Mainers do not require a pre-existing relationship with the provider. While Mainers who have the time and transportation can travel to a different hospital for a vaccine, Shah said people were generally advised to seek vaccines close to home, noting that they will be expected to seek a second vaccine dose at the same place they receive their first.”
One of the state’s biggest providers will open a large vaccination clinic. The location of Northern Light Health’s clinic, said by officials to be able to process 2,000 vaccinations a day, will be announced today at a 1 p.m. press conference. The Cross Insurance Center is a likely site, according to Bangor city officials. Of course, the wider supply issues facing the U.S. are the largest factor in getting the site running and up to full speed.
Maine could soon see more vaccines. The administration of President Joe Biden is promising to send 16 percent more vaccines as early as next week as part of a push to purchase more doses and speed up vaccination efforts. Such a move would lift the state’s weekly allocation from 17,575 doses to 20,375 doses at least through mid-February.
— “Canada’s worst mass shooting was committed with guns from Maine,” Alexander MacDougall, BDN: “Gabriel Wortman crossed the border from Woodstock, New Brunswick, into Houlton, Maine, on April 25, 2019. Several days later, he returned into Canada, having managed to smuggle a semi-automatic Colt AR-15-style gun with him. A year later, he would use it and other guns to commit the worst mass-shooting in Canadian history.”
— “Maine added only 400 jobs in December amid virus surge,” Christopher Burns, BDN: “Overall, Maine saw 7.6 percent fewer jobs across most sectors in December, compared with February 2020, before virus transmission took hold in the state. In specific sectors: Leisure and hospitality have 29 percent fewer jobs, information 14 percent, private education services 13 percent, state government 11 percent and local government 10 percent.”
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Caitlin Andrews, Jessica Piper and Michael Shepherd. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, you can sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning here.
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