CBS News has learned of a threat to attack the U.S. Capitol on the same day Congress is set to count Electoral College votes. The threat cited Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by the U.S. last year. Jeff Pegues has the exclusive report.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden's first calls to foreign leaders went to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbors. Mexico's president said Saturday that Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States.
- The Telegraph
Exclusive: Notorious Albanian gangster smuggles mobile phone into British prison cell to post birthday wishes to family
An Albanian gangster jailed for 27-years for smuggling huge quantities of heroin and cocaine into Britain has been making a mockery of justice by running a social media account from his prison cell. Posing with fellow gang members, Valjet Pepaj, has even used Instagram to flirt with women on the outside, boasting that he expects to be free in four years. The 31-year-old was given a lengthy sentence in April 2018 after admitting three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was jailed alongside two other men following a six month undercover police operation which resulted in the seizure of 50 kilograms of heroin and cocaine, worth in excess of £2 million.
America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.
A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said on Sunday, at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concern in Washington. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defence identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.
- The Week
President Biden reeled in a record-breaking $145 million in so-called dark money from anonymous donors during his presidential campaign, topping the $113 million that went to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) before his failed presidential bid in 2012, Bloomberg reports.It's not surprising that Biden set the mark given that the $1.5 billion he hauled in overall was the most ever for a challenger to an incumbent president, but it's notable in large part because Democrats have been at the forefront of a movement to ban dark money in politics since it means that supporters can back a candidate without scrutiny. Plus, Bloomberg notes, anonymous donors "will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield." As Meredith McGehee, the executive director of campaign finance reform advocacy group Issue One, told Bloomberg, "the whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit."Still, it seems the Democratic Party was willing to embrace the strategy in the hopes of defeating former President Donald Trump, who only brought in $28.4 million from anonymous donors. Read more at Bloomberg.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 'No way' McConnell has had a post-Trump 'epiphany,' political scientist says
- The Telegraph
The alleged ringleader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Netherlands, with Australian authorities pushing for his extradition to face trial. Police had been chasing alleged drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop, 57, for years until his arrest by Dutch police on Friday acting on a request from Australia’s federal police. In a statement on Sunday, Australian authorities said a man "of significant interest" to law enforcement agencies had been detained. A police spokeswoman confirmed his name as Tse Chi Lop. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. "He was already on the most-wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received," Aling said. The Chinese-born Canadian citizen has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. He has been named by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the suspected leader of the Asian mega-cartel known as "Sam Gor", a major producer and supplier of methamphetamines globally. Sam Gor is believed to launder its billions in drug money through businesses springing up in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region – including casinos, hotels and real estate. Australia’s federal police said Friday’s arrest followed an operation that in 2012-2013 nabbed 27 people linked to a crime syndicate spanning five countries. The group were accused of importing "substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine" into Australia, long a lucrative market for drug traffickers. "The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime," the Australian police said. As part of the 2012-2013 raids across Melbourne, police seized AUS$9 million (US$7 million) worth of assets, including cash, designer handbags, casino chips and jewellery. The arrest of Tse Chi Lop almost a decade after that operation’s launch is a major breakthrough for Australian authorities. The country’s attorney-general will now begin preparing a formal extradition request for the alleged drug lord to face trial. Most of Asia’s meth comes from "Golden Triangle" border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southwest China which are pumping unprecedented quantities of synthetic drugs into global markets. A study by the UNODC says Southeast Asia’s crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year. The production of methamphetamine – either in tablet "yaba" form or the highly potent crystallised "ice" version – as well as ketamine and fentanyl, take place primarily in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state, but much of the precursor chemicals needed to cook them flows across the border from China. Thailand in 2018 netted more than 515 million yaba tablets, 17 times the amount for the entire Mekong region a decade ago, said the UNODC. Drug hauls feature near daily in headlines across the region, with traffickers finding more creative ways to ship out their illicit products.
"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.These were the biggest takeaways from our first Engagious/Schlesinger swing-voter focus groups on governance in the Biden era. * The two Jan. 21 sessions included 13 women and men who voted for Trump in 2016 but Biden in 2020, from a mix of the most competitive swing states, * While focus groups are not statistically significant samples like polls, the responses show how some voters in crucial states are thinking and talking about national priorities, expectations for Biden, and Trump's future.By the numbers: Ten of the 13 said their vote was more anti-Trump than it was pro-Biden, and nine said Trump should be barred from holding office again. * Eight support Trump's impeachment, but only one would would criminally charge him with inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. * None believes the election was stolen from Trump.Between the lines: Coronavirus was not the reason most turned against Trump. * Ten had made up their minds before last March; some had buyer's remorse almost immediately after the 2016 election. * Rather than one tipping point, voters mentioned his moral failings, weaponizing social media, acting unpresidential, bullying, firing Cabinet members for sport, antagonizing racial and partisan divisions in society and separating children and parents at the Mexico border. * Some felt duped for thinking he was a savvy businessman who could get things done that career politicians hadn't. * "I was just so over it," said one voter, Matt S. from Georgia."Joe Biden’s main value was to spare them four more years of Donald Trump," said Engagious president Rich Thau, who moderated the focus groups.What's next: Every member of the focus groups said they want the unity Biden called for in his speech. The most important things he can do, they said, are to get the virus under control, make the vaccine accessible and heal national divisions. * Biden said a lot of the "soothing" things "that needed to be said," said Kristi H. from Texas. * "It was so good to see everyone in masks," Lawrence G. from Florida said of the optics at the swearing-in. "It's just good to see people, maybe, taking it seriously."Details: All 13 want the $1,400 stimulus checks Biden is calling on Congress to pass. “I have friends and family who need that money,” said Jennifer C. of Texas. * All want Biden to embrace a moderate rather than liberal path. * Most favor the U.S. return to the Paris climate deal, but they split over a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage and revoking Trump's so-called Muslim travel ban. * Most expressed excitement or optimism around Vice President Kamala Harris. * Some worry Biden is too old, could be pulled too far to the left or could hurt the economy by increasing spending too much or raising taxes. Be smart: These voters aren't writing off the entire Republican Party for enabling Trump. Most said they'll make voting decisions on a case-by-case basis. * "Trump does not represent the entire Republican Party," said Matthew S. from North Carolina. "Overall, the Republican Party, it’s made up of people who are trying. They make mistakes just like the Democrats make mistakes."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Chinese rescuers pulled 11 gold miners to safety on Sunday with most of them in good condition after 14 days trapped underground after an explosion, but 10 colleagues were still unaccounted for, state media reported. Rescue workers wrapped the barely responsive man in a blanket and took him to hospital by ambulance. Over the next few hours, 10 miners from a different section of the mine, who had been getting food and medical supplies down a shaft from rescue workers last week, were brought out in batches.
- Associated Press
Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which is the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The winning numbers for Friday night’s drawing were 4, 26, 42, 50 and 60, with a Mega Ball of 24. The winning ticket was purchased at a Kroger store in the Detroit suburb of Novi, the Michigan Lottery said.
- National Review
Tulsi Gabbard, the former Democratic representative from Hawaii, on Friday expressed concern that a proposed measure to combat domestic terrorism could be used to undermine civil liberties. Gabbard’s comments came during an appearance on Fox News Primetime when host Brian Kilmeade asked her if she was “surprised they’re pushing forward with this extra surveillance on would-be domestic terror.” “It’s so dangerous as you guys have been talking about, this is an issue that all Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians should be extremely concerned about, especially because we don’t have to guess about where this goes or how this ends,” Gabbard said. She continued: “When you have people like former CIA Director John Brennan openly talking about how he’s spoken with or heard from appointees and nominees in the Biden administration who are already starting to look across our country for these types of movements similar to the insurgencies they’ve seen overseas, that in his words, he says make up this unholy alliance of religious extremists, racists, bigots, he lists a few others and at the end, even libertarians.” She said her concern lies in how officials will define the characteristics they are searching for in potential threats. “What characteristics are we looking for as we are building this profile of a potential extremist, what are we talking about? Religious extremists, are we talking about Christians, evangelical Christians, what is a religious extremist? Is it somebody who is pro-life? Where do you take this?” Gabbard said. She said the proposed legislation could create “a very dangerous undermining of our civil liberties, our freedoms in our Constitution, and a targeting of almost half of the country.” “You start looking at obviously, have to be a white person, obviously likely male, libertarians, anyone who loves freedom, liberty, maybe has an American flag outside their house, or people who, you know, attended a Trump rally,” Gabbard said. The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021 was introduced in the House earlier this week in the aftermath of rioting at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that left five dead. “Unlike after 9/11, the threat that reared its ugly head on January 6th is from domestic terror groups and extremists, often racially-motivated violent individuals,” Representative Brad Schneider (D., Ill.) said in a statement announcing the bipartisan legislation. “America must be vigilant to combat those radicalized to violence, and the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act gives our government the tools to identify, monitor and thwart their illegal activities. Combatting the threat of domestic terrorism and white supremacy is not a Democratic or Republican issue, not left versus right or urban versus rural. Domestic Terrorism is an American issue, a serious threat the we can and must address together,” he said.
- The Independent
Sean Hannity denounces Biden’s first week as ‘disastrous’ before the president completed a full day of work
‘The Biden administration is off to a very rocky start,’ Fox News host says
A billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that has been building for four months will be up for grabs on Friday, available to whoever can beat the one-in-302 million odds. "We generally see a lot of the sales occur on the day of the drawings," Mega Millions spokesman Seth Elkin, of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said by telephone. The selection of the six numbers will be the 37th semi-weekly drawing since the last grand prize winner was picked on Sept. 15, the longest jackpot dry spell Mega Millions has ever had, Elkin said.
- The New York Times
It’s been less than two weeks since Reps. Peter Meijer, Tom Rice and Liz Cheney broke with nearly all of their Republican colleagues in the House and voted to impeach President Donald Trump, but in their home states, the backlash is already growing. In Michigan, a challenger to Meijer received a boost when Steve Bannon promoted him on his podcast. In South Carolina, a local Republican is getting so many calls urging him to run against Rice that he can’t keep his phone charged. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times And in Wyoming, a state senator called Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, “out of touch” with her home state as he announced his primary campaign against her. The 10 House Republicans who voted for impeachment are already facing a fleet of primary challengers, censures and other rebukes from their hometown Republican Party organizations, an indication that the battle over Trump will play a defining role in shaping the direction of the party during the next two years. “Trump might be gone, but Trumpism is virtually guaranteed to be a part of the 2022 elections,” said Ken Spain, a former senior official at the National Republican Congressional Committee. “The tectonic plates have shifted within the GOP, and now members are trying to figure out how to straddle the fault lines.” The impeachment votes are not only being framed as a loyalty test to Trump, they are also being used to tie the incumbents to Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who for more than a decade has been the central bogeywoman in Republican congressional campaigns, with mixed results. While some senior Republican officials in Washington, like Sen. Mitch McConnell, now the minority leader, have begun trying to create some distance between the party and Trump, there is little indication that would-be Republican primary voters are interested in a political divorce. Nearly all of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have either already been formally censured by local branches of the GOP, face upcoming censure votes or have been publicly scolded by local party leaders. Efforts across the country to punish these lawmakers offer vivid illustrations of the divisions cleaving a party that has been shut out of power. There are already multiple Republicans in South Carolina angling to challenge Rice, a conservative from a Trump-friendly district whose vote to impeach shocked his colleagues and drew a rebuke from the chair of the South Carolina Republican Party. “I am 100% sure that Tom Rice is going to be primaried,” said Ken Richardson, school board chair in Horry County, who is leaning toward running against Rice himself. He said he has had to charge his phone three times a day to keep up with the nonstop calls and texts urging him to enter the race. “I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m sure he’s got his reasons for why he voted the way he voted,” Richardson added. “If there’s ever been a Trump country, we live in Trump country.” Another potential challenger to Rice, former Mayor Mark McBride of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, said he believed Trump was the rightful winner of the 2020 election (he is not), and has collected several hundred signatures on a petition calling for Rice’s resignation. “The president didn’t instigate it,” McBride said of the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6. “The idea of the impeachment trial going to the Senate, Tom Rice created a foundation for it to continue on.” Tom Norton, a Michigan businessman and Army veteran who lost a 2020 primary to Meijer, said the congressman called him to give him a heads-up the day he voted to impeach Trump. Norton immediately filed paperwork to mount another campaign against Meijer in 2022. Norton said he believed Meijer made a mistake in blaming Trump for inciting the riot. “We have a lot of people with a lot of passion, and we can’t control everybody,” he said, before going on to exaggerate the pockets of unrest that took place alongside last year’s largely peaceful protests for racial justice. “Blaming President Trump is the same thing as blaming Kamala Harris and Joe Biden for all the riots that antifa did last summer.” Rep. John Katko of Central New York, who was the first GOP lawmaker to back impeachment, is one of the few remaining Republicans who represents a Democratic-leaning district. Some Republicans in his district were outraged by his vote. “‘Not very happy’ would be the politest way to say it,” said Fred Beardsley, chair of the Oswego County Republican Committee. “We’re very upset. I’m tremendously upset.” “I think Mr. Katko crossed a line,” he continued. “He double-crossed us.” For Katko and Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, David Valadao of California, and Fred Upton and Meijer of Michigan, all Republicans who voted for impeachment and hail from states likely to lose seats in this year’s redistricting process, the shapes of the districts they may seek to represent in 2022 have yet to be determined. Democratic state legislators in New York and Illinois could draw Katko and Kinzinger into districts represented by fellow incumbent Republicans, potentially cutting off a path for a Trumpian insurgent, while commissions will determine district lines in California, Michigan and Ohio. Gene Koprowski, a conservative filmmaker who filed to run against Kinzinger, said he did so to start raising money but he is waiting for the Illinois Legislature to redraw its congressional district maps before formally beginning a campaign. Challengers to Cheney, who represents the single at-large Wyoming district, don’t face the same calculation. Anthony Bouchard, a state senator, announced his campaign Wednesday as President Joe Biden was being inaugurated. By Thursday night, he was a guest on Newsmax TV and Laura Ingraham’s program on Fox News. “Liz Cheney’s longtime opposition to President Trump and her most recent vote for impeachment shows just how out-of-touch she is with Wyoming,” Bouchard said in his announcement. “Wyoming taxpayers need a voice in Congress who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, and not give them cover.” Many of the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment have survived challenging races before. In California, Valadao won his 2016 race by 13 percentage points while Hillary Clinton carried his district by 16 points. He lost to a Democrat by less than 1,000 votes in 2018 before winning the seat back in November, even though Biden won the district by 10 points. Indeed, a number of those Republicans have strong personal brands at home, which may complicate the efforts of potential primary challengers. Gonzalez, for example, was a star on the Ohio State University football team. And at least some party leaders, shaken by the violence at the Capitol, say the lawmakers who voted to impeach should be granted leeway. “If he was here with us now I’d probably shake his hand and congratulate him for his conviction,” Jim Dicke, Republican national committeeman for Ohio, said of Gonzalez. “There’s a lot to criticize in the process, but if you’re an elected official and you’re asked to vote, you can either say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or abstain. You’re not allowed to say, ‘Wait, I don’t like the process.’” In New York, Katko has twice survived being the target of Democrats trying to oust him from a Democratic-leaning district. “We can’t be doing our own form of ‘cancel culture,’ whether it’s Liz Cheney or Katko,” said former Rep. Peter King, a moderate Republican who represented a Long Island district for 28 years before retiring last year. King floated the idea that Katko run for governor. “It would be so foolish to go after John Katko,” he said. “He’s one of the best we have. And if we can’t accept difference of opinion, then we’re no different than the other guys.” In fact, Republicans have long battled one another over perceived purity tests, and in recent years the most powerful litmus test in the eyes of primary voters has centered on fealty to Trump. “President Trump enjoys a high approval rating within the Republican Party, and his supporters are loyal,” said Joel Mattila, Republican chair in Clark County, Washington. His committee has already issued a warning to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who voted to impeach. “She’s going to face a primary challenge, based on what I’m hearing,” he said. “It seems like, as people are stewing on it and as time is passing, the intensity level is definitely increasing.” Spain, the former House Republican campaign official, said it would fall to the corporate donors that typically support Republicans to provide financial support to the 10 who voted to impeach Trump. Michael McAdams, the NRCC’s communications director, said that the committee does not engage in primaries. That applies to incumbents in contested races, too. “I would hope,” Spain said, “that members of the business community who are standing on principle and refusing to support Republicans who voted against certifying the election results would focus their energy and resources toward helping those members who did stand up on behalf of the American democratic process.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Architectural Digest
“The materials and colors took center stage,” said David Lucas when it came to the design of the home.Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden is considering turning to Hollywood for his next British ambassador, according to UK officials who are working the phones to closely monitor his selection. Two top businessmen with a TV background are thought to be in contention for the London job, one of the plum assignments in the US diplomatic circuit. One is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former chairman of Walt Disney Studios who is considered one of the most powerful men in the Los Angeles film scene. At Disney, Mr Katzenberg helped make hits like Aladdin and The Lion King. He later co-founded DreamWorks Animation, which produced Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Mr Katzenberg hosted an event for Mr Biden during the presidential election campaign and gave $617,800 to the Biden Victory Fund. The second is David Cohen, who stepped down as senior executive vice-president of the telecoms giant Comcast this month, when the switch in US president took place.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney, told Axios that the lawsuit is likely to fail at fully reinstating deportations because a judge cannot force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove any particular person. * The executive branch has broad authority over immigration enforcement, as was seen in both President Obama and President Trump's administrations. What they're saying: In the announcement of the moratorium on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said the pause on deportations would "allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces." * In Paxton's request for a temporary restraining order, he claims, "Without emergency relief, Texas faces irreparable harm from having to provide costly educational, social, welfare, healthcare, and other services to illegal aliens who remain in Texas because Defendants have ceased removing them."The White House has not yet responded to Axios' request for comment.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
During a White House briefing on Friday, press secretary Jen Psaki announced the Biden administration’s plans to fight violent extremism in the U.S.
- NBC News
A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th
- The Independent
Priest who attended pro-Trump rally ahead of Capitol insurrection is suspended from post and may be defrocked
Reverend Mark Hodges described event as ‘joyful, positive and orderly’
Freshman Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is facing calls to resign after a resurfaced Facebook post revealed that she agreed with a 2018 Parkland shooting conspiracy. The tragic shooting, which occurred in Parkland, Fla., at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, including 14 schoolchildren. Screenshots provided by liberal watchdog Media Matters for America reveals Taylor Greene, who was elected in November to represent Georgia’s 14th congressional district, agreed with a comment that called the shooting a “false flag,” a long-peddled conspiracy theory that the shooting was set up or that it was carried out by another individual or group, CNN reports.