In our news wrap Wednesday, one of six men charged in plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty, President Biden’s COVID-19 team warns another 90,000 Americans could die from the virus over the next four weeks, the U.S. Homeland Security Department says there's potential for new violence over Biden’s election, and Russian lawmakers approve nuclear treaty with the U.S.
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In the day's other news: President Biden's COVID-19 team warned that another 90,000 Americans could die from the virus over the next four weeks. The national death toll is already near 430,000 out of 25.5 million confirmed cases.
We will turn to the struggle over vaccinations later in the program.
The U.S. Homeland Security Department is warning of potential new violence over President Biden's election. The department issued a terrorism advisory today focusing on domestic threats, a rarity. It suggested the storming of the U.S. Capitol could embolden extremists. The advisory did not cite any specific threat.
A leading Democrat in the U.S. Senate floated an alternative today to putting former President Trump on trial for allegedly inciting the Capitol assault, the charge made in the impeachment article. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine suggested censuring Mr. Trump instead.
Kaine cited Tuesday's test vote, when only five Republicans supported a trial. He said it's clear there are not 67 votes for a conviction.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.:
To do a trial knowing you will get 55 votes at the max seems to me to be not the right prioritization of our time right now. Obviously, if we do a trial, maybe we could do it fast, but my top priority is COVID relief and getting — I'm going in for this U.N. hearing — getting the Biden Cabinet approved.
It's unclear how much support the Kaine proposal has.
But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted today there will be a trial, starting the week of February the 8th.
A second police officer who responded to the assault on the Capitol has committed suicide. The head of the Washington, D.C., police has reportedly told Congress that one of his officers took his own life. A U.S. Capitol Police officer also took his life days after the attack.
One of six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer pleaded guilty today. Ty Garbin admitted his role during a federal court hearing in Grand Rapids. The FBI says that the conspirators talked of targeting Whitmer over coronavirus regulations.
In Russia, lawmakers approved extending the last remaining nuclear treaty with the U.S. just days before a deadline. New START limits both sides' nuclear arsenals. The Trump administration had argued that the treaty disadvantaged the U.S.
President Biden reversed that stance, and Moscow welcomed the shift.
Sergei Ryabkov (through translator):
We had to act under heavy time pressure. The previous administration connected the extension to the conditions which were unacceptable for us. With Biden, the situation was adjusted. And we need to give proper respect to the new White House team and its pragmatic approach.
The extension runs five years.
The Biden administration has halted a major arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, for now, pending a review. The deal was announced by the Trump administration in November. It let the UAE buy 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets worth $23 billion. Until now, only Israel was allowed to buy the high-tech planes.
The U.S. Federal Reserve confirms that the latest COVID surge has done more economic damage. As a result, the Central Bank pledged again today to keep interest rates near zero. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said how long the pandemic's effects will linger is unknown, partly because of vaccination problems.
One of the reasons why is the slowness of the rollout. The other — another reason why is just the arrival of these new virus strains. We don't know how to model that. We can have a base case, but we realize no one knows how this new vaccine will roll out, how successful it will be.
The U.S. labor market is still some 10 million jobs below where it was before the virus hit.
On Wall Street, new worries about the economy pushed major indexes down 2 percent or more, their worst day since October. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 633 points to close at 30303. The Nasdaq fell 355 points, and the S&P 500 slid 98 points.
We will take a closer look, after the news summary.
And award-winning actress Cloris Leachman died today at her home in Southern California. She won eight Emmys on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and other TV programs and received an Academy Award for her role in "The Last Picture Show." Cloris Leachman was 94 years old.