Capitol Hill, Mask Guidance, Spring Fashion: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. “We need units. We’re surrounded.”

The House’s prosecution team laid out a sweeping narrative against former President Donald Trump, using detailed videos and never-before-heard audio of radio communications from Capitol Police officers from the day a mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. Listen and watch here.

“You were just 58 steps away” from the mob, Representative Eric Swalwell told the Senate jurors. But Capitol Police officers led them to safety — even as the force was coming under vicious attack from insurrectionists wielding bats, stun guns, bear spray, metal poles and sticks. For hours.

The prosecutors also played one video clip after another showing Mr. Trump falsely claiming that the election was being rigged and calling on his backers to prevent him from losing power. (Our own 38-minute video tracks Mr. Trump’s lies and calls for action that were echoed and amplified by rioters on Jan. 6.)

The trial is expected to continue well into the evening. Follow our live coverage here.

Mr. Trump’s defense team has claimed that he did not want his supporters to storm the Capitol.

Meanwhile, Georgia prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s phone call in January to the Georgia secretary of state asking him to “find” votes.

2. Two days before a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol, the right-wing radio host Glenn Beck, above at bottom right, delivered a message to his flock of 10.5 million listeners: “It is time to fight.”

“The bottom line is this: Masks work, and they work when they have a good fit and are worn correctly,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director.

A year into the pandemic, small U.S. manufacturers have increased their production of the virus-filtering N95 mask. We looked at why they can’t find buyers. (One company in Miami, DemeTech, above, has 30 million sitting on its shelves.)

4. Coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. appear to be dropping steadily, although they still remain high.

The toll had risen sharply beginning in November, hit a peak at an average of more than 3,300 a day a few weeks ago, and has fallen to about 2,800 deaths a day recently.

While that’s good news, it’s worth reflecting just how brutal this winter has been for the country. Of the more than 469,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S., half have come in the 100 days from Nov. 1 through Feb. 8.

5. The officer who killed George Floyd had a plea deal with Minneapolis officials, but it was quashed by William Barr, the U.S. attorney general at the time, law enforcement officials said.

Three days after Mr. Floyd died under Derek Chauvin’s knee, the former officer agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder and go to prison for more than 10 years. The deal was contingent on the federal government’s signing on so Mr. Chauvin wouldn’t face future federal civil rights charges.

But an official told The Times that Mr. Barr worried that such an early plea deal would be perceived as too lenient and could inflame the growing protests. Now, with jury selection in Mr. Chauvin’s trial scheduled to begin March, Minneapolis is consumed with anxiety that the proceedings could provoke more violence.

6. Twitter removed, at the government’s request, 500 accounts that were critical of India’s handling of farmer protests.

After initially holding firm on the demands, Twitter said it had acted after the government issued a notice of noncompliance, a move that put the company’s local employees under threat of prison. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has become increasingly aggressive in stifling dissent. Above, a protest in New Delhi last week.

In other tech news, Facebook is building a competitor to the audio chat app Clubhouse, people close to the matter said, continuing its history of cloning its rivals. Clubhouse, a private invitation-only iPhone app, has gained buzz for letting people gather in chat rooms to talk about various topics.

7. Raymond McGuire wants to go from Wall Street to City Hall. Just don’t call him the next Mike Bloomberg.

In his bid for mayor of New York City, Mr. McGuire and his team are trying to stitch together an unusual Democratic coalition — from affluent Manhattanites to lower-income people — on the message that a trailblazing Black businessman with no government experience is exactly what the city needs to see it through an economic recovery, and he is pledging to deploy his prolific contact list in service of his city.

This is the first in a series of profiles of the major candidates. See who else is running.

Also out of New York: Sports fans could be allowed in stadiums and arenas as early as Feb. 23 with safety and capacity restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

9. Ode to music, in all shapes and forms.

The foot-long conch above is an extremely rare example of a “seashell horn” from the Paleolithic period. And it still works. A musician recently coaxed three notes from the 17,000-year-old shell. Listen here.

We also asked Manfred Honeck, the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and a leading Beethoven conductor, to guide us through the beginning of the end of the mighty Ninth Symphony. In the orchestra’s new interpretation, Honeck has rethought each bar of the music leading into the “Ode to Joy.”

“What makes Beethoven so special is that everything has a purpose,” says Honeck. “The melody starts from piano” — in the sense of “quietly, softly” — “creating a long journey until the full, joyful song.”

10. And finally, the most annoying toys.

“Nobody told me that once I had a child, I’d be held hostage by a deranged assortment of countless toys, each with their own maddening varieties of terrible features,” the comedian and author Jessica Delfino writes. And after chatting with more than 100 mothers in an online parenting group, she learned that many other parents loathed some of the same toys that were driving her crazy.

Among the 10 most infuriating: slime, for its power of destruction; its cousins Play-Doh, the destroyer of nice things, and glitter; creepy talking puzzles; talking baby walkers; and the relentlessly talking Furby, which “screams, flatulates and has no ‘off’ switch.”

Have a fun-loving evening.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Want to catch up on past briefings? You can browse them here.

What did you like? What do you want to see here? Let us know at [email protected].

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