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Chaos in Congress over border security; 'None of the above' wins Nevada's primary

Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.
Jose Luis Magana
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AP
Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Congressional Republicans are regrouping after a chaotic evening. The House failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on charges of failing to enforce border policy. Four Republicans joined Democrats to reject the measure. Additionally, a bipartisan Senate package that pairs border security policies with foreign aid for Israel and Ukraine could fall apart because Republicans now oppose the border policy they previously demanded.

  • Election-year politics play a big role in what's happening, NPR's Claudia Grisales tells Up First. Republicans would lose a major campaign talking point if Congress were to fix the border crisis through legislation.


Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley lost the Nevada primary yesterday despite her opponent, former President Donald Trump, not being on the ballot. Nevada voters opted for the "none of the above" option on their primary ballots. Trump will compete in Nevada's Republican caucus tomorrow. Because the party uses the caucus to award delegates, a primary win would have been purely symbolic for Haley. Still, the loss is a setback for her campaign.

  •  A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that immigration is the top issue for Republicans this year, while Democrats prioritize preserving democracy.


Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Oxford High School shooter, was found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter yesterday. Ethan Crumbley, who killed four people at the Michigan high school in 2021, is currently serving a life sentence for the mass shooting. Ethan Crumbley's father, James Crumbley, has yet to go to trial.

  • NPR's Martin Kaste says it's not clear whether this verdict makes gun-owning parents more criminally liable for their children's actions. Experts tell him this case is less about how Crumbley got the gun and more about how the parents ignored clear warning signs that their son was a danger and failed to stop him.


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Israel to work out terms to negotiate a Gaza cease-fire. Yesterday, Hamas leaders responded in a "positive" manner to the ongoing proposal talks, according to the Qatari mediator who helped draw up the plan. In Gaza, people took to the streets to call on Israel to accept the deal, chanting, "The people want peace right now."

  •  NPR's Michele Kelemen says the deal comes in phases. The first phase of calm would allow for the release of women, children and elderly hostages held by Hamas and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Blinken spoke with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who said he wanted an end to the Gaza conflict and a "clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state." He's expected to discuss all of this with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his trip.

Picture show

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up an image of Handala, a symbol of Palestinian struggle, on Jan. 27 during a protest in Madrid in support of Palestinians and to demand a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Demonstrators shout slogans and hold up an image of Handala, a symbol of Palestinian struggle, on Jan. 27 during a protest in Madrid in support of Palestinians and to demand a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

A cartoon created in 1969 is a symbol for Palestinian resistance. But who is this spiky-haired boy? His name is Handala, and he was created by Palestinian newspaper cartoonist Naji al-Ali, two years after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. "This character represents insurgency, refusal and struggle," says Egyptian columnist Nadi Hafez of al-Qabas newspaper, where al-Ali worked for a long time.

See some versions of Handala here.

From our hosts

Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer report on election night in 1984.
/ NPR
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NPR
Cokie Roberts and Linda Wertheimer report on election night in 1984.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition radio show and Up First podcast. Today, he reflects on one of NPR's founding mothers: Linda Wertheimer. She announced her retirement yesterday after more than 50 years of service.

When I first encountered Linda Wertheimer, I was a broke freelance reporter who occasionally got to file for NPR. Once, I filed a feature about a tiny West Virginia town with a rich history. It was for All Things Considered, which she co-hosted. It was thrilling to hear her great voice saying a line I had written for the introduction: "A handful of people live amid the ruins of another age."

Years later, we crossed paths in presidential election seasons and shared the airwaves on September 11, 2001. Years after that, she sometimes guest hosted alongside me on Morning Edition. It was a joy to share the studio with her because we talked when the microphone was off. She knew everybody in politics — or at least knew people who knew them — and had insights and observations about them all.

In a farewell interview, She told me something she had learned from delivering breaking news, which often was disturbing: "One of the things that live radio teaches you is that you just forget [what] you're terrified by. And you keep talking, and you acquire information and convey that information. That's the job." It struck me as a metaphor for life: you figure out the situation you're in, then you face it and go on.

3 things to know before you go

View of an embroidered sheet of music from the piece <em>Organ2/ASLSP</em> by John Cage. Artist Sabine Groschup expands the embroidery with each change of sound. After two years, the sound of the slowest piece of music in the world, has changed for the 16th time. This means that the six-sound piece that has been played in the Burchardi Church since February 2022 has become a seven-sound piece.
picture alliance / dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
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dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
View of an embroidered sheet of music from the piece Organ2/ASLSP by John Cage. Artist Sabine Groschup expands the embroidery with each change of sound. After two years, the sound of the slowest piece of music in the world, has changed for the 16th time. This means that the six-sound piece that has been played in the Burchardi Church since February 2022 has become a seven-sound piece.

  1. Play this piece as slowly as possible. That was the challenge composer John Cage leftto those performing his piece Organ2/ASLSP. A group of music scholars, art professors and theologians decided that playing the piece for 639 years would be slow enough. 
  2. Lauryn Valladarez was five months pregnant and her fiancé couldn't swim when they got too far away from the beach shore. Luckily, a surfer noticed them struggling. The unsung hero rescued them and left without introducing himself.
  3. Can't figure out if that's an AI-generated image? Don't worry; Facebook and Instagram say they will start labeling images generated by AI as part of a broader mission to sort out what's real and what's fake.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Mansee Khurana contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.