In Case You Missed It: The Week of January 24

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In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Chapman University law professor John Eastman stands at left as former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani speaks in Washington at a rally in support of President Donald Trump, called the “Save America Rally.” Rudy Giuliani was the target of a massive lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems as a result of the attempts to challenge the presidential election results.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Giuliani Faces 1.3 Billion Lawsuit 

On Monday, former New York City mayor and lawyer for former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, was the target of a massive lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems, a Canada-based company that provides election hardware and software for a number of U.S. states. The lawsuit was the result of the months of lawsuits carried out by Trump’s legal team in an attempt to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In their lawsuit, Dominion accused Giuliani of carrying out “a viral disinformation campaign about Dominion” according to the New York Times. The company has cited statements made by Giuliani claiming the company used its machines to manipulate the votes in favor of President Biden on Twitter, television, and his own podcast. 

From an article on CNN, the claims of fraud, named by many legal experts and broadcasters as “The Big Lie,” include comments made by Giuliani that Dominion was owned by Venezuelan communists, had ignored votes for Trump, or had otherwise “stolen” the election. Giuliani has denounced the lawsuit as “another act of intimidation by the hate-filled left-wing to wipe out and censor the exercise of free speech…” according to CNN

Dominion made clear that the defamation lawsuit was about statements made outside of court by Giuliani, and these were not made during the lawsuits he pursued on behalf of Trump, including those made on Jan. 6 prior to the riot on Capitol Hill. No court date has yet been set. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference following a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Conflict in Senate over Filibuster Rule 

Over the past week, as the Biden administration has moved in alongside an evenly split Senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has conceded on his intentions to maintain the filibuster rule in the Senate. The demand is part of a larger conflict over the transfer of power in senate committees post-inauguration, which has paralyzed the power of the Senate for the past week. According to NBC, the filibuster rule makes it such that any piece of legislation can be delayed in the Senate unless overturned in a three-fifths majority vote. On Monday, two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, sided with McConnell, preventing the rule from being entirely overturned. The situation remained tense until Wednesday morning, when McConnell dropped his demand that the Democrats maintain the filibuster. 

The Senate, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, will abide by the rules established in 2001, which is the last time such a situation occurred. In the event of a tie between the votes in the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris will vote as the tiebreaker.  

“The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001,” said McConnell from an NPR article, indicating that the transfer of power in the Senate will proceed. 

“They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation,” he continued. 

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