By Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Loretta Lynch, the head federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, is emerging as a leading candidate to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, according to people familiar with the matter, after another top contender withdrew her name from the running last week. Lynch, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez are among those being considered, said the people, who declined to be named about the private deliberations. Lynch, 55, has stirred little controversy during two tenures as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and supporters say she could be easily confirmed. She would also be the first black woman to lead the U.S. Department of Justice, which could help counter complaints that the Obama administration is dominated by men. The White House declined to comment on the search to replace Holder, who announced on Sept. 25 that he planned to step down. "We don't have any personnel updates, and are certainly not going to speculate on any decisions before the president makes them,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. Holder, the first black U.S. Attorney General who came into office in 2009, has said he will stay in the post until the Senate confirms a successor. A spokeswoman for Lynch, Zugiel Soto, also declined comment. The administration of President Barack Obama has considered multiple candidates and the White House is not expected to announce a nominee until after the midterm elections next week, so a dark horse candidate could still emerge. Former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler pulled out of consideration for the job amid concerns that her involvement in controversial White House decisions could make it difficult to get her confirmed by the Senate. Solicitor General Verrilli and Labor Secretary Perez both have an advantage of having had a working relationship with Obama. Lynch does not but she is one of several candidates Holder has encouraged the White House to look at, two sources said. Vetting inquiries into Lynch have been underway, sources said. Lynch has developed a close relationship with Holder from the New York City borough of Brooklyn while keeping a much lower profile than her counterpart across the East River, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for Manhattan who built his name on a string of big insider-trading cases and prosecutions of politicians for corruption. Lynch's office did indict Republican Congressman Michael Grimm in April for fraud, and has worked with Justice Department headquarters on several big cases. Her office helped investigate Citigroup Inc over shoddy mortgage securities the bank sold, which led the bank to enter into a $7 billion settlement in July. Her office was also involved in the December 2012 $1.2 billion accord with HSBC over the bank's lapses in its anti-money laundering controls. Lynch, who grew up in North Carolina and attended Harvard University for college and law school, has chaired the attorney general's advisory committee since the beginning of 2013. She served previously at the Justice Department, starting as a drug and violent crime prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney's office in 1990. She also previously headed the office in Brooklyn between 1999 and 2001, when she left for private practice at the law firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) and then served as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Holder had a rocky tenure as the nation's chief law enforcement officer. He has been one of Obama's closest allies and frequently battled with Republicans over gun control, same-sex marriage, and a desire to try terrorism suspects in civilian instead of military courts. The next attorney general will likely serve a two-year term and would take over counter-terror initiatives aimed at Islamic State militants and challenges balancing privacy rights against government surveillance efforts. Holder's successor will also have to decide how far to continue pushing his priorities, including civil rights and fewer prosecutions of nonviolent drug offenders. (Additional reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Grant McCool)
- Yahoo News
NBA player turned conspiracy theorist stages one-man pro-Trump protest amid inaugural security prepared for thousands
The extra security measures appeared to have kept many protesters away from the Capitol and inaugural activities, but not one man.
- National Review
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) vowed that any Congressman found to have aided rioters who breached the Capitol on January 6 would be prosecuted, in remarks to reporters on Thursday. Pelosi’s comments came several days after Representative Steve Cohen (D., Tenn.) implied that Representative Lauren Boebert (R., Fla.) may have aided rioters, saying he saw her giving a tour of the Capitol about two days prior to the event. Boebert has received criticism for her support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, however no evidence has emerged that she aided rioters. Speaker Pelosi on House lawmaker involvement in the 1/6 Capitol insurrection: "Everything has to be based on evidence … There will be prosecution, if they aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died." pic.twitter.com/OxtZLBAomy — The Recount (@therecount) January 21, 2021 “Everything has to be based on evidence, and that remains to be seen,” Pelosi said on Thursday. “If people did aid and abet [the riots], there will be more than just comments from their colleagues here: there will be prosecution, if they aided and abetted an insurrection in which people died.” However, Pelosi added, “that is something you have to collect evidence for as you proceed.” Rioters managed to overrun Capitol police and forced lawmakers to evacuate the building or shelter in place, interrupting the certification of the Electoral College results. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) blamed former President Trump for provoking the riots in a floor speech on Tuesday. “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government that they did not like,” McConnell said. However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) told reporters on Thursday that he does not think Trump incited the riot. “I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,” McCarthy said. The comments appear to contradict remarks made by McCarthy last week, in which he said Trump “bears responsibility” for the riots.
- Yahoo News
The inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris was splashed across the front pages of newspapers in the United States and around the world on Thursday, a day after they were sworn into office.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Austria introduces measures to fight rising anti-Semitism 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
- Yahoo News Video
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Transgender kids would be banned from playing on school sports teams for the gender with which they identify under a GOP-backed bill that advanced Thursday in Montana, one of more than a dozen states where lawmakers are proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors this year. The order immediately sparked a backlash from conservative groups, a split that reflects the deep divisions in the U.S. around transgender youth. Proponents of the Montana bill say allowing transgender athletes to compete can create an unfair playing field in middle and high schools, especially in girls' sports.
The European Union and Turkey pressed each other on Thursday to take concrete steps to improve relations long strained by disagreements over energy, migration and Ankara's human rights record. Turkey, which remains an official candidate for EU membership despite the tensions, is facing the threat of EU economic sanctions over a hydrocarbons dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, but the mood music between Brussels and Ankara has improved since the new year.
- The Telegraph
Donald Trump spent his first hours as a private citizen scrambling to find lawyers to represent him in his upcoming impeachment trial, as he settled into his new home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. One of Mr Trump’s first calls after leaving office was to Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator and staunch ally, telling him he was now “looking for some lawyers” for the imminent Senate hearing. "[Trump] said, 'I really don't know the lay of the land here,' and he's looking for some lawyers," Mr Graham told Punchbowl News. "I'm trying to help him there, and he's just trying to put together a team." Mr Trump will not be drawing on his usual litigators: Rudy Giuliani, his longtime personal lawyer, is likely to step aside as he could be called as a witness, while attorneys who represented him at the first impeachment hearing have declined.
- CBS News
The vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory, where Harris will live, is undergoing repairs.
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- National Review
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, refuted a claim by the Biden administration that the outgoing Trump administration left no plan for distributing coronavirus vaccines. President Biden said at a White House press conference on Thursday that the Trump administration’s distribution of coronavirus vaccines has been a “dismal failure,” and set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans by the end of April. Meanwhile, sources in the Biden administration claimed that the previous administration left no vaccine distribution plan. “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch,” one source told CNN on Thursday. However, Dr. Fauci directly refuted this claim after Biden left the press conference. “We certainly are not starting from scratch,” Dr. Fauci told reporters. Regarding the Trump administration’s vaccination effort, Dr. Fauci said, “You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all.” The seven-day rolling average of coronavirus vaccines administered to Americans is 914,000, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker, with 1.6 million doses administered on Wednesday alone. Biden’s plan calls for a million Americans to be vaccinated each day. When asked by a reporter whether the goal to vaccinate one million people per day is not ambitious enough, Biden said that the goal was a “good start.” “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden said.
Capt. Scott Moss, who led the NOSC in Knoxville, was relieved of command by Capt. Dale Maxey.
Returned Honduran migrants are directing anger against their president this week after their U.S.-bound caravan was blocked by the region's security forces, accusing him of making their county unlivable while thwarting their escape to a better life. Honduras is reeling from two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated Central America in November, as well as an historic economic contraction on the back of coronavirus pandemic. President Juan Orlando Hernandez has also been under fire from U.S. prosecutors that have accused him of having ties to drug cartels, an allegation he has strongly denied.
- NBC News
A GoPro camera was found inside a bathroom and changing area at a Premier Athletics facility, which trains young cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers in Franklin.
- The Week
One of former President Donald Trump's last acts in office was issuing a directive extending free Secret Service protection to his four adult children and two of their spouses for the next six months, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.It's not just his adult children benefiting — Trump also directed that former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien continue to receive Secret Service protection for six months, two people familiar with the matter told the Post. This 24-hour security, funded by taxpayer money, is expected to cost millions.Under federal law, only Trump, former first lady Melania Trump, and their 14-year-old son, Barron, are entitled to Secret Service protection now that they have left the White House; while Donald and Melania can receive protection for the rest of their lives, Barron is only entitled to it up until his 16th birthday.The Post notes that presidents have the ability to order Secret Service protection for anyone they want, but it is extremely unusual for an outgoing president to order this type of security for their children who are well into adulthood. It is also unclear if there is precedent for ordering security for former aides. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush requested security extensions for their daughters, who were in college when their presidencies ended. Once former President Barack Obama was out of office, his daughters — one in high school, the other on a gap year from college — received a short extension of security.During Trump's presidency, his adult children took more than 4,500 trips, including vacations and business travel for the Trump Organization, the Post reports. Taxpayers paid millions of dollars for Secret Service agents to accompany them on those jaunts.More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office Austria introduces measures to fight rising anti-Semitism 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
The estimated COVID-19 reproduction number in Israel has dipped below 1 for the first time since the country launched the world's fastest vaccination drive, suggesting the pandemic may be starting to recede, the government said on Thursday. An "R" number above 1 indicates infections will grow at an exponential rate, while below 1 points to their eventual halt. Israel's "R" number hit 1.3 on Dec. 11.
- Associated Press
A prominent Chicago family law attorney who was charged last summer with sexually assaulting a colleague has been charged with doing the same thing to two other women, including a client who says he told her that if he didn't have sex with him, she'd lose custody of her children. Prosecutors outlined the new charges against David Pasulka, 61, during a court hearing on Wednesday that ended with Judge Susana Ortiz setting his new bail amount at $100,000 on charges of sexual assault, aggravated sex assault and criminal sexual abuse. Pasulka, who was already out on bond in the initial case, was released from custody after posting the new amount, according to the Cook County Jail.
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
- Yahoo News 360
Recent history shows the opportunity to pass major bills can disappear quickly. What should Democrats’ top priority be?