Wednesday morning news – February 3, 2021

Biden immigration executive orders » President Biden signed multiple executive orders on Tuesday related to immigration. 

One of them will create a task force charged with trying to reunite any immigrant children still separated from their families at the southern border.

Biden is also ordering a review of the asylum process at the border. 

Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters…

PSAKI: We want to put in place an immigration process here that is humane, that is moral, that considers applications for refugees, applications for people to come into this country at the border in a way that treats people as human beings. 

The review includes a policy to make asylum-seekers wait in Mexican border cities for hearings in U.S. immigration courts. 

The president has now signed nine executive actions on immigration through his first two weeks in office. 

Senate confirms two Biden nominees to Cabinet posts » Meantime, on Capitol Hill, the Senate confirmed the man who will oversee much of Biden’s immigration agenda.  

The chamber approved Alejandro Mayorkas as Department of Homeland Security Secretary, but not without a fight. 

The vote was 56 to 43 with Republican leader Mitch McConnell urging lawmakers to vote “no.” He said experience is not the problem. Mayorkas held senior DHS and immigration posts in the Obama administration. 

MCCONNELL: The problem is when he’s chosen to pull those levers and for whose benefit.

McConnell said some former DHS employees who worked under Mayorkas felt he put the interests of immigrants ahead of law enforcement and national security concerns. 

Democrats argued that was not the case. 

But another of President Biden’s nominees sailed through the Senate Tuesday. 

Former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is the nation’s new Transportation Secretary. 

AUDIO: The yeas are 86, the nays are 13. The nomination is confirmed.

The 39-year-old will be tasked with advancing President Biden’s infrastructure and climate change plans. 

Democrats, Trump legal team file impeachment briefs » House Democrats filed a legal brief Tuesday ahead of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. 

They charged that Trump aimed a mob of supporters—quote—“like a loaded cannon” at the U.S. Capitol. And Democrats made their most detailed case yet for why they believe he should be convicted and permanently barred from office. 

The House Article of Impeachment accuses him of inciting insurrection following the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill. 

Trump’s legal team also filed a legal brief challenging the constitutionality of trying to impeach a president who has already left office. 

Trump lawyer David Schoen told Fox News…

SCHOEN: I think it’s also the most ill advised legislative action that I’ve seen in my lifetime. It is tearing the country apart at a time when we don’t need anything like that. 

Democratic leaders say accountability is an important part of healing divisions in the country. 

The Senate impeachment trial begins next week. 

Moscow court sentences Navalny to prison » A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to prison for more than 2 1/2 years. The court claimed Navalny violated the terms of his probation while recuperating in Germany after being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more on the ruling. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Tuesday’s sentence stems from an earlier ruling. In 2014, Russian courts convicted Navalny of embezzlement and sentenced him to a three-and-a-half year suspended sentence, plus five years probation.  

The U.S. government and much of the Western world considered the conviction a politically motivated farce. 

As the court read yesterday’s ruling, Navalny smiled and pointed to his wife Yulia in the courtroom. He traced the outline of a heart on the glass cage where he was being held and told her “everything will be fine” as guards led him away.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption investigator said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is behind the ruling. He said—quote—“I have deeply offended him simply by surviving the assassination attempt that he ordered.”

But as tens of thousands continue to protest in Russian city streets, Navalny added, “You can’t jail the entire country.”

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

State Dept. says Myanmar takeover is a coup, Biden orders review » The Biden administration says the Myanmar military’s government takeover was a coup. And the State Department is vowing to hit top military generals with sanctions and other measures. 

State Department officials say they’re satisfied that the power grab meets the legal definition of a coup. That designation sets the stage for sanctions and other measures against those responsible. 

Those commanders claimed the move was necessary because the civilian government failed to protect the last election. 

Analyst Larry Jagan told the Associated Press there’s a kernel of truth there…

JAGAN: There is of course some doubt about the election. There were cases of fraud. There were cases of irregularities. To what extent the 10 million cases the military says it has evidence of is legitimate is difficult to know. 

The United States and much of the world believe that was merely a pretext for the military to seize full control of the government. 

President Biden has ordered a review of U.S. policy regarding Myanmar. That could impact future humanitarian assistance to the nation.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Joe Biden signs an executive order on immigration, in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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