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McConnell: Capitol mob ‘provoked’ by Trump and ‘other powerful people’

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Almost two weeks following the deadly Capitol riot, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that President Donald Trump and others “provoked” the violent mob.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” McConnell said Tuesday on the Senate floor.

McConnell has mostly stood by throughout his presidency and his wife Elaine Chow served his administration as Transportation Secretary. Chao resigned after the riot.

The House of Representatives voted last week to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” and as the Senate prepares to begin his trial. On Tuesday, McConnell mentioned that the House still needs to formally send the article of impeachment to the Senate.

With Trump’s term in office expiring at noon on Wednesday, the same time that President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in, Trump’s looming trial will be the first one for an ex-president. By the time the trial begins, however, McConnell will no longer be the majority leader and current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will have already assumed the role.

January 6 saw rioters violently storm the U.S. Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying the states’ Electoral College votes and Biden’s 2020 election win, resulting in five deaths.

RELATED: Prosecutors: ‘strong evidence’ shows Capitol rioters sought to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials

The riot happened after a rally in front of the White House opposing the certification, where President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and others made spoke . At the rally, the speakers alleged widespread fraud cost the President the election.

Rioters stormed the Capitol after the event and Trump later spoke to supporters, encouraging peaceful protests and denouncing violence.

RELATED: Joe Scarborough calls for arrests of Trump, Giuliani, Trump Jr. for insurrection in fiery speech

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Multiple states launch lawsuit against Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan

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Breaking Thursday, the states of Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, and South Carolina joined together to file a lawsuit against President Biden’s administration in order to stop the student loan-forgiveness program from taking effect.

“In addition to being economically unwise and downright unfair, the Biden Administration’s Mass Debt Cancellation is yet another example in a long line of unlawful regulatory actions,” argued the plaintiffs in their filing.

The attorneys general spearheading the legal challenge also submit that “no statute permits President Biden to unilaterally relieve millions of individuals from their obligation to pay loans they voluntarily assumed.”

Biden, however, has argued that he is able to unilaterally cancel student debt to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, writes National Review, a Department of Education memo released by his administration asserts that the HEROES Act,  which passed in 2003 and allows the secretary of education to provide student-debt relief “in connection with a war or other military operation or national emergency,” provides the legal basis for the cancellation.

But, National Review notes that the plaintiffs point out that Biden declared in a recent 60 Minutes interview that “the pandemic is over.”

The legal brief also adds:

“The [HEROES] Act requires ED [Education Department] to tailor any waiver or modification as necessary to address the actual financial harm suffered by a borrower due to the relevant military operation or emergency… This relief comes to every borrower regardless of whether her income rose or fell during the pandemic or whether she is in a better position today as to her student loans than before the pandemic.”

Moreover, they argue that the HEROES Act was designed to allow the secretary to provide relief in individual cases with proper justification.

The first lawsuit against Biden’s executive order came Tuesday from the Pacific Legal Foundation:

“The administration has created new problems for borrowers in at least six states that tax loan cancellation as income. People like Plaintiff Frank Garrison will actually be worse off because of the cancellation. Indeed, Mr. Garrison will face immediate tax liability from the state of Indiana because of the automatic cancellation of a portion of his debt,” wrote PLF in their own brief.

The state-led lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Missouri, and asks that the court “temporarily restrain and preliminarily and permanently enjoin implementation and enforcement of the Mass Debt Cancellation,” and declare that it “violates the separation of powers established by the U.S. Constitution,” as well as the Administrative Procedure Act.

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