The Rundown for February 5, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 26,673,780 and the nation’s death toll stands at 455,657, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Senate voted overwhelmingly yesterday to exclude upper-income Americans from a new round of direct stimulus payments that could amount to $1,400 for individuals. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone dissenter in the 99-1 vote.

BIDEN POLICY CHANGES… President Joe Biden announced two major policy actions yesterday in freezing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany and ending U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen. Biden emphasized during a speech at the State Department that diplomacy will drive “all” of his plans. He said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will lead a global force posture review “so that our military footprint is appropriately aligned with our foreign policy and national security priorities.”

HOUSE STRIPS CONGRESSWOMAN FROM COMMITTEES… The House voted yesterday to remove Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments over her spreading of bizarre conspiracy theories and endorsement of violence against Democrats. A resolution stripping Greene from her seats on the budget and the education and labor committees passed by a 230-199 vote, with 11 House Republicans joining Democrats in voting for Greene’s removal. Greene was elected to the House in November despite her support of QAnon and a long history of making racist comments.

TRUMP WON’T TESTIFY AT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL… Lawyers representing former President Trump have rejected a request from House Democrats to testify at next week’s Senate impeachment trial. Trump is accused of inciting the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by urging supporters to “fight” his election defeat. Democrats would need he votes of 17 Republicans to reach the two-thirds majority they need to convict. The trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

SMARTMATIC FILES LIBEL SUIT OVER FRAUD CLAIMS… The voting technology company Smartmatic has filed a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit against Fox News, several of its star hosts, along with Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Defendants are accused of putting Smartmatic in the forefront of their baseless claims of election fraud during the 2020 presidential election. The suit outlines how Powell and Giuliani “created a story about Smartmatic” and frequently appeared across Fox News programming “to defame and disparage Smartmatic and its election technology and software.” Fox hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro were among others named as defendants.

… The late Chadwick Boseman leads the field of actors with four nominations for the 27th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Boseman, who died of cancer in August, was recognized for Best Actor in a Film and Best Supporting Actor in a Film for his performances in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods.” He was also nominated as part of the casts of both for Best Ensemble in a Film. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Minari” received three nominations apiece to lead all films. The TV comedy “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Crown” each earned five nominations, while “Ozark” earned four and “Dead to Me” picked up three. The SAG Awards will air Sunday, April 4, on TBS and TNT.

ZELLWEGER TAKES ON MURDER SERIES… Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger has signed on to star in and executive produce NBC’s six-episode series, “The Thing About Pam.” The 51-year-old Zellweger is known for her work in the films “Judy,” “Chicago,” “Cold Mountain,” “Nurse Betty,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Jerry Maguire.” The “Thing About Pam” is inspired by the real-life 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. Her husband was found guilty of the killing, but he insisted he did not take her life until his conviction was overturned.

Utah 112 – ATLANTA 91… Jeremy Clarkson came off the bench to knock down five 3-pointers on his way to 23 points in leading the Jazz past the Hawks. Bojan Bogdanovic added 21 points.

Golden State 147 – DALLAS 116… The Warriors blew away the Mavericks in the second half after trailing by two at the break. Kelly Oubre Jr. poured in 40 points. Stephen Curry tossed in 28 points.

Portland 121 – PHILADELPHIA 105… The short-handed Trail Blazers pulled away in the third quarter to thrash the 76ers. Gary Trent Jr. scored 24 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Carmelo Anthony added 22 points.

Houston 115 – MEMPHIS 103… The Rockets took control with an 18-4 run before halftime and coasted past the Grizzlies. They got 22 points from John Wall and 20 from Eric Gordon.

L.A. LAKERS 114 – Denver 93… The Lakers erased a 12-point halftime deficit in upending the Nuggets. LeBron James scored a game-high 27 points to go with his 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Dennis Schroder added 21 points.

New Orleans is at Indiana…
Orlando hosts Chicago…
Toronto is at Brooklyn…
Cleveland hosts Milwaukee…
Utah is at Charlotte…
Miami hosts Washington…
Minnesota is at Oklahoma City…
Phoenix hosts Detroit…
Boston is at the L.A. Clippers

N.Y. RANGERS 4 – Washington 2… Ryan Strome found the net twice as the Rangers doubled up on the Capitals. Artemi Panarin assisted on three goals.

Nashville 6 – FLORIDA 5 (OT)… The Predators came from two goals down with two minutes left in regulation to outlast the Panthers. Filip Forsberg netted the game-winner four minutes into overtime and finished with two goals and three assists. Matt Duchene’s second goal tied the game with 57 seconds left in regulation.

COLUMBUS 4 – Dallas 3… Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jack Roslovic scored first-period goals and each had an assist as the Blue Jackets held off the Stars.

Ottawa 3 – MONTREAL 2… Tim Stutzie scored a power-play goal and had an assist to push the Senators past the Canadiens. Goalie Matt Murray stopped 36 shots.

TORONTO 7 – Vancouver 3… Jason Spezza scored three goals and Auston Matthews found the net twice as the Maple Leafs outshot the Canucks. Mitchell Marner added a goal and two assists.

CHICAGO 6 – Carolina 4… Alex DeBrincat netted back-to-back goals in the third period as the Blackhawks put away the Hurricanes. Patrick Kane had a goal and three assists.

Arizona 4 – ST. LOUIS 3… The Coyotes took a three-goal lead into the third period and hung on to top the Blues. Conor Garland scored a goal and set up another. Jordan Oesterle had two assists.

WINNIPEG 4 – Calgary 1… Mason Appleton lit the lamp twice as the Jets skated past the Flames. Mathieu Perrault set up three goals.

Boston is at Philadelphia…
Tampa Bay hosts Detroit…
Nashville is at Florida…
Vegas hosts Los Angeles…
San Jose is at Anaheim

No. 1 Gonzaga 76, PACIFIC 58…
No. 7 Ohio State 89, No. 8 IOWA 85

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY… The Kansas City Chiefs will try to repeat at NFL champions when they take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55 Sunday in Tampa. Kansas City went 14-2 on the regular season and earned the AFC’s top seed, returns to the Super Bowl following postseason wins over Cleveland and Buffalo. Tampa Bay, which entered the playoffs as a wild-card after an 11-5 season, has defeated Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay in the postseason. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

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