The church released a statement on Tuesday, saying their goal is to "preserve the historic and beloved landmark and to keep it from closing."
- LA Times
Column: You thought McConnell was tough as majority leader? Wait until you see him as minority leader
Get ready for the same tough-as-nails obstructionist we saw when Obama was in office.
- Associated Press
A 34-year-old grizzly bear captured in southwestern Wyoming has been confirmed as the oldest on record in the Yellowstone region, Wyoming wildlife officials said. Grizzly bear 168 was captured last summer after it preyed on calves in the Upper Green River Basin area. Biologists learned of the bear’s longevity after euthanizing the bruin, which had preyed on cattle and then finally, calves.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- 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 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Biden foolishly low-balls America's COVID response 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit
- Associated Press
A federal judge on Sunday blocked the release of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell for the District of Columbia set aside an order by a judge in Tennessee concerning the release of Eric Munchel of Nashville. After testimony at a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley for the Middle District of Tennessee determined Friday that Munchel wasn’t a flight risk and didn’t pose harm to the public.
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment.
- NBC News
The Biden administration aims for 100 million vaccinations within his first 100 days as president.
- Associated Press
A Federal Aviation Administration employee and QAnon follower from California who had been on the FBI's radar is facing federal charges after he confessed to taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents released Friday. Kevin Strong, 44, of Beaumont, surrendered to authorities on Friday and appeared in a federal court in Riverside, where a judge ordered him held on $50,000 bond, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles. It wasn't immediately clear whether Strong had raised the bond.
Iran may cooperate with the United States on oil and security in the Gulf, but not on Israel, the Iranian foreign minister said in remarks published on Saturday. Ties between Tehran and Washington worsened under the administration of former President Donald Trump, who in 2018 withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled its economy.
- The New York Times
Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, conceded Friday night that an associate had sent an email to campaign officials asking that Giuliani be paid $20,000 a day for his work after the Nov. 3 election, but he insisted he was unaware of it at the time. Giuliani acknowledged in a brief phone interview that his associate, Maria Ryan, had sent the email shortly after Election Day. But he maintained that she consulted with another associate, Larry Levy, about what Giuliani should ask for from the campaign while Giuliani was out of town. A copy of the email, reviewed by The New York Times, showed that she sent it from a Giuliani Partners email account. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times “Mr. Giuliani began working the case in the wee hours of the morning on November 4,” Ryan wrote. “He has a team in Washington working out of rented hotel rooms.” She wrote that the company was working on an engagement letter, and that instead of $2,000 an hour, “we will contract for $20,000 a day which will include all of the expenses for Mr. Giuliani and his staff.” The request was sent to at least three campaign officials at a time when the campaign was raising large sums of money for a legal fund to fight the election results. When the Times asked about the fee request in November, Giuliani denied it. He had maintained it was a “lie” that he requested such a fee from the president, even as recently as Friday afternoon on his radio show. “I did not do that,” he said. In the phone interview Friday night, after the Times asked his spokesperson about Ryan’s email, Giuliani said that he told the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Trump, of the $20,000 amount, “It’s ridiculous, I don’t want to be paid.” Giuliani said he did not recall precisely when he had that conversation. And it was unclear whether he was aware that Ryan had sent the email when the Times first asked him about the fee request. “I never had a single expectation of being paid a penny,” Giuliani said, adding that he’s had a few expenses reimbursed but nothing more. He faulted Trump’s other advisers and blasted them as “incompetent” leading up to the election. “I feel extremely bad that I’m portrayed as some kind of money-grubbing ambulance chaser,” Giuliani said. “I represented him out of my sense of commitment,” he continued. “I didn’t see anything about this that was going to lead to great wealth. I did see a lot about this that was going to lead to great torture.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
- Associated Press
Four Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers have died of COVID-19, three within the past two weeks, highlighting a resurgence of the disease that is sweeping through this southern African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the coronavirus is reaping a “grim harvest” in the country. Then came the death of the transport minister.
- The Telegraph
Israel will ban passenger flights in and out of the country from Monday for a week as it seeks to stop the spread of new coronavirus variants. "Other than rare exceptions, we are closing the sky hermetically to prevent the entry of the virus variants and also to ensure that we progress quickly with our vaccination campaign," said Benjamin Netanuahu, the Israeli prime minister. It came as a study in Israel reported a 60 per cent drop in over-60s being hospitalised with coronavirus three weeks after being vaccinated, in the latest sign that the jabs are effective. According to Maccabi, an Israeli healthcare provider, there was a significant decrease in hospitalisations from day 23 onwards, which was two days after patients received their second jab. Also on Sunday, Israel expanded its rapid vaccination drive to include 16-18 year-olds in an effort to get them back in schools to take their winter examinations. The winter matriculation certificate is a significant part of university and military admissions. At least one dose has been administered to around a quarter of Israel’s 9 million-strong population. The vaccine is generally available to over 40s or, with parental permission, those aged between 16 and 18. Israel struck a deal with Pfizer at the beginning of January that allowed them to expedite delivery of the vaccine, in return for sharing extensive data on their vaccination campaign with the rest of the world. Yuli Edelstein, the Israeli health minister, told The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the data from their vaccination programme suggests a first dose offered around 30 per cent protection from coronavirus.
- NBC News
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," the woman said of the assault in Harlem.
- 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
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration next week will release more policies it believes are needed to tackle climate change and is urging China to toughen one of its targets on greenhouse gas emissions, his top climate advisers said on Saturday. Gina McCarthy, the White House's national climate adviser, did not say what policies would be released. A memo seen by Reuters on Thursday showed Biden will unveil a second round of executive orders as soon as Jan. 27 that include an omnibus order to combat climate change domestically and elevate the issue as a national security priority.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said that they seized an Iranian tanker and Panamanian tanker suspected of carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in their country's waters Sunday. The tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea — were seized in waters off Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, said Wisnu Pramadita, a spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency.
- The Telegraph
A missing Australian man has been found alive after surviving on wild mushrooms and dam water for three weeks. Robert Weber, 58, was last seen on January 6, leaving the Kilkivan Hotel Motel in Queensland in his car with his dog. Search efforts were called off earlier this week, but he was discovered by a local politician and his wife on Sunday morning. Police reported that Mr Weber was safe and well, despite “suffering exposure to the elements”. He had become disorientated in the heat, but managed to stay close to a dam. “He left on foot and became lost and remained at a dam where he survived by sleeping on the ground, drinking dam water and eating mushrooms,” Queensland police said in a statement. Mr Weber ran into trouble when his white Ford Falcon became bogged down on an unfamiliar road. Mr Weber waited in his car for three days, but was forced to abandon the vehicle when water ran out. The car was found by search and rescue teams on January 17, but Mr Weber and his dog had long since moved on. Mr Weber was discovered 3km away from his vehicle by the local MP for Gympie Tony Perrett and his wife, who told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC): “We'd been past this dam on numerous occasions over the last week and when we saw him there it was just quite extraordinary.” Mr Perrett had decided to continue searching for Mr Weber, despite police calling off the extensive ground and air hunt a few days prior. “He said he was trying to get to Caboolture and he got disorientated … he became lost and didn't know where he was,” Mr Perrett added. Mr Weber became separated from his dog at an unknown point and the canine has yet to be found.
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.