Honor for fallen officer, impeachment trial, Groundhog Day: 5 things to know Tuesday

Fallen Capitol Police officer will lie in honor at US Capitol

Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, will lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday. The 42-year-old officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the hours-long fight for control of the Capitol after it was violently breached by an angry mob that aimed to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for then-President-elect Joe Biden. The tradition of using the Capitol Rotunda to pay tribute to distinguished Americans began in 1852, but historically that honor has been given to military officers and elected officials who have “lain in state.” More recently, Congress has allowed pre-eminent citizens to “lie in honor.”  A ceremonial arrival will take place Tuesday, and several private viewings will commence before a congressional tribute and departure ceremony is held.  Sicknick will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Written arguments to be filed in Senate impeachment trial

On Tuesday, House Democrats who are prosecuting former President Donald Trump in the Senate impeachment trial are scheduled to file written arguments in the case. The House filing will outline the case against Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, a violent incident that resulted in five deaths. The lawyers on Trump’s team are expected to use an argument at his trial that is already supported by the majority of Senate Republicans in charge of his fate: That the trial is unconstitutional because Trump is no longer the commander in chief. Trump is due on Tuesday to issue an official answer to the House’s impeachment article charging him with inciting an insurrection, a filing that could offer some insight into the former president’s defense strategy when the trial starts Feb. 9. A conviction would require at least 67 votes from the Senate.

New CDC rule requiring masks for travelers goes into effect

When travelers wake up Tuesday, a new rule issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require masks covering the nose and mouth for travelers over two years old on airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares, plus those in waiting areas such as airports and subway stations. Refusal to wear a mask is a violation of federal law and will be enforced by the Transportation Security Administration and other federal, state and local authorities. People with a disability that makes it unsafe to wear a mask and those under two years of age are exempt – and masks may also be removed while eating or drinking. The new rule “will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,” Dr. Marty Cetron, a CDC official who signed the order, said. Airlines already require masks and have banned more than 2,000 passengers for refusing to mask up.

Heavy snowfall to continue in the Northeast 

With over 1,600 flights canceled on Monday and at least 500 scrubbed for Tuesday, it’s safe to say the winter storm that’s been lumbering about the Northeast will continue to cause problems this week. The densely populated Interstate 95 corridor remained in the thick of heavy snowfall as major cities like Philadelphia, New York City and Boston deal with power outages and shut down vaccination sites throughout the region.  The heaviest accumulations are yet to come in some places. Parts of New England are forecast to see more than a foot of snow by the time the storm tapers off Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service said. Although the heaviest parts of the storm had moved through New York’s metropolitan area by Monday evening, lighter snow showers were forecasted to continue all day Tuesday. “We’re looking at a long two days here,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a virtual news conference Monday. The powerful storm could generate blizzard conditions possible as winds gust from 35-50 mph, reducing visibility with drifting snow and leading to danger of falling tree branches and power lines.  

Groundhog Day: Will Punxsutawney Phil bring us some good news?

The eyes of a pandemic-stressed nation will turn to western Pennsylvania on Tuesday to see if the Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, predicts an early spring or six more weeks of winter. According to legend, if it’s sunny and Phil sees his shadow, the scared groundhog returns to his burrow and bleak winter resumes. But there’s hope: Tuesday’s forecast calls for cloudy conditions, meaning Phil will probably not see his shadow and, thus, an early spring will be the result. As with everything else during the pandemic, there will be no in-person guests at this year’s festivities, but the event will be streamed live on Groundhog.org. 

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