A drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility will close at the end of January so the health department can focus on mass vaccination.
- The Independent
Republicans ‘increasingly irritated’ by Marjorie Taylor Greene’s repeated efforts to disrupt work of Congress, report says
Reps Cheney, Issa, and Kinzinger were among GOP who voted against adjournment
- The Daily Beast
Greg Nash/ReutersBureaucratic restrictions and public-relations concerns from the Army and top Trump administration Pentagon appointees unreasonably restrained the D.C. National Guard from responding to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, its commander testified to the Senate in a dramatic Wednesday session.The Guard commander, Major General William Walker, described receiving a “frantic” phone call from the then-head of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, shortly before 2 p.m., as the breach was underway.Yet because of the restrictions from Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, and the “best military advice” of senior Army officers, Walker and his 155 Guardsmen could not respond to the scene of the insurrection for another three hours and 19 minutes—restrictions Walker pointedly noted were not placed upon him during the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C.Had Walker been able to deploy to the Capitol “immediately,” as he testified he wanted, around 2 p.m.—a process he said took less than 20 minutes—“that number could have made a difference,” Walker said. “We could have helped extend the perimeter and pushed back the crowd.”FBI Director Shoots Back, Insisting Bureau Shared Intel Ahead of Capitol InsurrectionIt was perhaps the most intense moment thus far in a series of Senate hearings on Jan. 6 that have prompted dueling claims of irresponsibility, recriminations that have focused overwhelmingly on security and intelligence failures, rather than the politicians who spread the inciting lie that the Democrats stole the presidential election and hailed the violent protest called for by President Donald Trump.Army and Pentagon officials have heard this critique from Walker in the press and pushed back on it. Yet it was clear at the hearing that even senior Republican senators considered the Pentagon’s restrictions on the D.C. National Guard unacceptable.Walker described pre-insurrection letters from McCarthy, relaying instructions from Miller—whom Trump installed atop the Pentagon shortly after losing the election—that withheld from Walker the issuance of “weapons, ammunition, batons, ballistic protection equipment, to include body armor.” He did not have preapproval to mobilize a quick-reaction force of 40 Guardsmen and found it “unusual” to be denied a typical commanders’ authority to protect his own forces.As well, Walker described an instruction that afternoon from McCarthy to provide a “concept of operations” for the Guard before getting approval to shift from backing up the D.C. police and relieving beleaguered Capitol Police officers. “In 19 years, I never had that before happen,” Walker told senators. In several instances that day, Walker acted on his own initiative to muster the quick-reaction force at the D.C. Armory and get his Guardsmen protective gear, ahead of the belated approval to deploy to the Capitol.Neither Miller nor McCarthy testified. Instead, a senior Pentagon civilian, Robert Salesses, was left to effectively testify that Walker was wrong.Walker testified that two Army three-star generals, Charles Flynn and Walter Piatt, told him on Jan. 6 afternoon phone calls that they advised against sending the Guard to the Capitol because it was a poor “optics” and “could incite the crowd.” Salesses stoically said that Piatt, who is not in the chain of command, told him he never “used the word ‘optics,’” which represents the second revision in Piatt’s story, as the Army general recently acknowledged he may have indeed used that word.Walker shot back: “There were people in the room with me on that call that heard what they heard.”But Salesses’ broader point was that the restrictions Miller placed on Walker were political. “There was a lot of things that happened in the spring the department was criticized for,” Salesses said, referring to the Pentagon’s use of the National Guard to suppress the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington.Yet Salesses, questioned by Republican senators, could not explain all the Pentagon restrictions on the National Guard.The National Guard was on the streets of D.C. on Jan. 6 to support the D.C. police, in an unarmed and unarmored fashion, at 30 city traffic-control points and six Metro stations. Walker said he had to seek approval from the Pentagon to accompany the police in moving a traffic point over by a single block. The quick-reaction force, stationed initially at Joint Base Andrews just outside the district, was “not [designed] to respond to the events of the Capitol,” Salesses pleaded. “I don’t know if that’s true,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) replied, quickly prompting Walker’s agreement.Salesses also had to concede that over a half-hour passed between his account of Miller finally authorizing the Guard deployment, at 4:32 p.m., and notifying Walker of that decision at 5:08 p.m. Asked what accounted for that delay by an incredulous Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Salesses said only, “Senator, it’s an issue.”“That’s a significant problem for the future,” Blunt said.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
'Star Wars' actress Kelly Marie Tran left social media after racist and sexist trolls drove her to therapy
"If someone doesn't understand me or my experience, it shouldn't be my place to have to internalize their misogyny or racism," Tran said.
- The Independent
‘Everything is made in China,’ said a business partner behind the six foot replica
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- Business Insider
A succession of communication blunders about the vaccine has led some Europeans to see it as second rate.
The Kremlin on Wednesday played down the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over Moscow's treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, but said it would retaliate with reciprocal measures. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
Prince Harry's wife Meghan has accused Buckingham Palace of "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her spouse, saying the royal couple would not be silent in telling their story. Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made the comments to American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview about why they quit their royal roles that is due to be broadcast on U.S. television on Sunday. An advance excerpt of the interview was released on Wednesday, hours after Buckingham Palace said it was "very concerned" about reports in the Times newspaper that assistants working for Meghan two years ago had been bullied by her.
The comic legends told Jimmy Kimmel that Louie Anderson was cast in the classic 1980s comedy because he was one of three names given to them.
- USA TODAY
It's unclear how many QAnon supporters believe the March 4 inauguration theory. The House canceled its Thursday session as a precaution.
The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent last year, in President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin. The sanctions against seven senior Russian officials, among them the head of its FSB security service, and on 14 entities marked a sharp departure from former President Donald Trump's reluctance to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- LA Times
Op-Ed: It's official. Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Hold him accountable
President Biden's failure to punish the Saudi crown prince defies justice and weakens the rule of law everywhere.
- Business Insider
10 Senate Democrats tell Biden to implement recurring stimulus checks after $1.9 trillion bill is passed
A group of senators thinks direct payments should be sent out regularly as the US economy gets back on its feet.
- The Independent
5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week
QAnon followers believe that on 4 March, which was once the inauguration date of US presidents, Donald Trump will become president again
- Reuters Videos
*PLEASE NOTE - THIS VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES*It was an attack that shocked the world - killing 1,400 people. The images were extremely distressing.And Western intelligence services concluded that Syrian government forces did use chemical weapons on its own people, a charge denied by the government.Now a group of survivors from the attack in 2013 on the Eastern Ghouta region just south east of the capital Damascus are seeking justice in French courts.Lawyers representing about a dozen survivors have filed a criminal complaint against Syrian officials whom they blame for the deaths of hundreds of civilians in a rebel-held area.France is home to thousands of Syrian refugees, and its investigating judges have a mandate to determine whether crimes against humanity were committed anywhere in the world.The case follows a similar one opened in Germany last year, and it's expected another case will be opened in Sweden in the coming months.It offers a rare legal avenue for action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.Attempts by Western powers to set up an international tribunal for Syria have been blocked by Russia and China at the U.N. Security Council.The complaint is based on what the lawyers say is the most comprehensive body of evidence on the use of substances such as sarin gas in Syria.They include testimonies from survivors and defectors, an analysis of the Syrian military chain of command, and hundreds of items of documentary evidence, including photos and videos.
- Associated Press Videos
Texas, where the coronavirus has killed more than 42,000 people, is becoming the largest state to end its mask mandate. Gov. Greg Abbott says all limits on indoor dining are also being lifted starting next week. (March 2)
- Associated Press
A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed optimism that vaccination timelines could be sped up. The current protocol is an interval of three to four weeks between doses for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.
During a recent interview on Good Morning America with host Robin Roberts, former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up about how she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have open communications with their two young-adult daughters. “I always have wanted them to start practicing the power of their voices very early on,” Mrs. Obama shared of Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22.
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex wore earrings given to her by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, against advice from palace aides, The Telegraph understands. The Duchess, 39, had been given the Butani earrings as an official wedding present from the Saudi Royal Family. When she wore them to a formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018, during a royal tour, the media were told that they were “borrowed” but unusually, declined to offer further information or guidance. The dinner took place three weeks after Mr Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Duchess’s lawyers insisted that at the time of the dinner, she was unaware of speculation that the crown prince was involved in the murder of the journalist. However, a royal source claimed that palace staff had advised the Duchess not to wear the jewellery. “Members of Royal Household staff sometimes advise people on their options,” one said. “But what they choose to do with that advice is a very different matter.” The earrings were accepted as a wedding gift by the prince, known as MBS, in March 2018, when he had lunch with the Queen during a three-day visit to London. They were among a series of wedding gifts that were then transferred to Kensington Palace in June, the month after the wedding, which was when the Sussexes first knew of their existence. A source close to the Duchess said members of her staff were aware that the earrings had been chosen as part of the Duchess’s tour wardrobe. Saudi Arabia admitted on October 20, three days before the dinner in Fiji, that its officials were responsible for Khashoggi’s death. Staff in London were concerned when they saw the Duchess’s earrings in the media and alerted Kensington Palace, according to The Times. But it was claimed they decided not to take it up with the Sussexes while they were on tour “for fear for what their reaction would be." The following month, the Duchess wore them again to the Prince of Wales's 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace and at that point, an aide is said to have confronted the Duke about the issue. He reportedly looked "shocked" when approached about the concerns. Lawyers for the Sussexes’ denied he was questioned about their provenance, which they said was well known.
- NBC News
All federal government agencies have until noon Friday to download the latest software update to block the perpetrator.