The decision to go against the Electoral college results on a Biden win is looming over GOP lawmakers as they battle against their fear of alienating President Trump and his supporters or upending democracy and their career.
- The Independent
- Associated Press
Police have arrested a man with a handgun and 500 rounds of ammunition at a checkpoint in Washington set up ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Wesley Allen Beeler of Front Royal, Virginia, was charged with carrying a pistol without a license after being stopped at the checkpoint near the U.S. Capitol on Friday. Court documents say Beeler approached the checkpoint but did not have a valid credential for that area.
- The Telegraph
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to country watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the rate gap between the two groups. > Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
Police detained prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on arrival at a Moscow airport on Sunday after he flew home to Russia from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned last summer. The move, which could see Navalny jailed for 3.5 years for allegedly flouting the terms of a suspended prison sentence, is likely to spark a wave of Western criticism of President Vladimir Putin. In a case that drew wide international attention, Navalny was poisoned last summer by what German military tests showed was a Novichok nerve agent, a version of events the Kremlin rejects.
- The Guardian
John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for identity leak, said his pursuit of a pardon came up in a meeting with Giuliani last yearUS politics – live coverage Rudy Giuliani reportedly rejected Kiriakou’s version of events and said he did not work as a pardon broker because he already represented Trump. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images An associate of Rudy Giuliani told a former CIA officer a presidential pardon was “going to cost $2m”, the New York Times reported on Sunday in the latest bombshell to break across the last, chaotic days of Donald Trump’s presidency. The report detailed widespread and in some cases lucrative lobbying involving people seeking a pardon as Trump’s time in office winds down. The 45th president, impeached twice, will leave power on Wednesday with the inauguration of Joe Biden. The former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was jailed in 2012 for leaking the identity of an operative involved in torture, told the Times he laughed at the remark from the associate of Giuliani, the former New York mayor who as Trump’s personal attorney is reportedly a possible pardon recipient himself. “Two million bucks – are you out of your mind?” Kiriakou reportedly said. “Even if I had two million bucks, I wouldn’t spend it to recover a $700,000 pension.” An associate of Kiriakou reported the conversation to the FBI, the Times said. Meant to reward offenders who show contrition, presidential pardons do not imply innocence. Presidents often use them to reward allies but Trump has taken the practice to extremes. Among recent recipients of pardons or acts of clemency are Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia; the political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who did not turn on Trump during the Russia investigation in which he was convicted of obstructing Congress; Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager convicted in the Russia investigation; and Charles Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner who was convicted of tax fraud and witness retaliation. The Times report detailed an “ad hoc” White House system for approving pardons which it said was run by the younger Kushner, bypassing the usual “intensive justice department review process intended to identify and vet the most deserving recipients from among thousands of clemency applications”. The report also identified lobbyists it said were seeking pardons on behalf of fee-paying clients. It is not illegal to do so. Margaret Love, who was the United States pardon attorney at the Department of Justice for seven years, told the paper: “This kind of off-books influence peddling, special-privilege system denies consideration to the hundreds of ordinary people who have obediently lined up as required by justice department rules, and is a basic violation of the longstanding effort to make this process at least look fair.” Trump will lose legal protection once he leaves office and faces threats both potential and already in train. He has reportedly discussed issuing pre-emptive pardons to himself, Kushner, Giuliani and other family members and close aides. It is not clear whether a self-pardon would work. Pardons issued as the president leaves the White House are not uncommon. Infamously, Bill Clinton pardoned the fugitive financier Marc Rich on his last day as president in 2001. Kiriakou told the Times his pursuit of a pardon came up during a meeting with Giuliani on another subject, at the Trump International Hotel in Washington last year. During the meeting, which reportedly “involved substantial alcohol”, Giuliani went to the bathroom. It was then, Kiriakou said, that Giuliani’s unnamed associate told him: “It’s going to cost $2m – he’s going to want two million bucks.” The Times said Giuliani rejected Kiriakou’s version of events and said he did not work as a pardon broker because he already represented Trump. “It’s like a conflict of interest,” he was quoted as saying, adding that though he had heard large fees were being offered for pardons, “I have enough money. I’m not starving.” It was reported this week that Trump, angry with Giuliani over the failure of almost all lawsuits mounted against election results, had told staff not to pay his legal fees. Ken Frydman, Giuliani’s press secretary in the 1990s, said: “Lay down with dogs. Wake up with fleas and without $20,000 a day.”
- Yahoo News Video
A white military veteran shot and wounded a 15-year-old girl when he fired his gun into a car carrying four Black teens during a tense confrontation at a Trump rally near the Iowa Capitol last month.
- Associated Press
Guatemalan soldiers blocked part of a caravan of as many as 9,000 Honduran migrants Saturday at a point not far from where they entered the country seeking to reach the U.S. border. The soldiers, many wearing helmets and wielding shields and sticks, formed ranks across a highway in Chiquimula, near the Honduras border, to block the procession of migrants. Guatemala’s immigration agency distributed a video showing a couple of hundred men scuffling with soldiers, pushing and running through their lines, even as troops held hundreds more back.
- The Telegraph
- NBC News
- The Week
President Trump is known for going off script, but his premature presidential election victory declaration in the early hours of the morning on Nov. 4 wasn't a completely spur-of-the-moment decision, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.In the first installment of a reported series on Trump's final two months in office, Swan writes that Trump began "choreographing election night in earnest" during the second week of October following a "toxic" debate with President-elect Joe Biden on Sept. 29 and a bout with COVID-19 that led to his hospitalization. At that point, Trump's internal poll numbers had reportedly taken a tumble, Swan notes.With that in mind, he reportedly called his first White House chief of staff, a stunned Reince Priebus, and "acted out his script, including walking up to a podium and prematurely declaring victory on election night if it looked like he was ahead." Indeed, in the lead up to Election Day, Trump reportedly kept his focus on the so-called "red mirage," the early vote counts that would show many swing states leaning red because mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. Trump, Swan reports, intended to "weaponize it for his vast base of followers," who would go to bed thinking he had secured a second-term, likely planting the seeds of a stolen election. Read more at Axios. > As I've been writing, the plan was to steal the election all along. Fantastic reporting here. https://t.co/k8C73o8vH7> > -- Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) January 16, 2021More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
- Associated Press
From “emaciated” refugees to crops burned on the brink of harvest, starvation threatens the survivors of more than two months of fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The first humanitarian workers to arrive after pleading with the Ethiopian government for access describe weakened children dying from diarrhea after drinking from rivers. A local official told a Jan. 1 crisis meeting of government and aid workers that hungry people had asked for “a single biscuit.”
- The Independent
- The Week
India on Saturday began what is likely the world's largest coronavirus vaccination rollout when the country's first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. All told, more than 190,000 people received a shot on day one, which fell short of the initial target, but there were no reports of large-scale problems, The Washington Post reports.The government of the world's second most populous nation, which the Post notes has a "long track record of mass-producing vaccines at affordable prices," is hoping to inoculate 300 million people against the coronavirus by the summer, beginning with 30 million frontline health care workers, followed by 270 million people who are either over 50 years old or have illnesses that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.New Delhi has granted emergency approval to the vaccine produced by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which also received a green light in the United Kingdom, as well as one developed by Bharat Biotech, an Indian pharmaceutical company. The latter has gone through early stage trials, but Bharat Biotech has yet to provide any data, which concerns medical experts in India, but some of the country's top doctors reportedly received it without hesitation. Read more at The Associated Press and The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment How 'bewildered' Trump campaign aides would reportedly discreetly escape election challenge meetings New Yorker reporter's footage provides 'clearest view yet' of Capitol rioters inside Senate chamber
- Associated Press
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard conducted a drill Saturday launching anti-warship ballistic missiles at a simulated target in the Indian Ocean, state television reported, amid heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program and a U.S. pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic. Footage showed two missiles smash into a target that Iranian state television described as “hypothetical hostile enemy ships” at a distance of 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles). Iranian state television described the drill as taking place in the country’s vast central desert, the latest in a series of snap exercises called amid the escalating tensions over its nuclear program.
The company that bought the ammonium nitrate which exploded in Beirut last August had possible links to two Syrian businessmen under U.S. sanctions for ties to President Bashar al-Assad, according to a report by a Lebanese journalist and London company filings. Savaro Ltd, the trading firm which procured the chemicals in 2013, shared a London address with companies linked to George Haswani and Imad Khoury, according to the report by documentary film-maker Firas Hatoum, which aired on Lebanon's al-Jadeed TV station this week. Haswani, Khoury and his brother Mudalal Khoury have all been sanctioned by Washington for supporting Assad's war effort.
The earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi on Friday, injuring hundreds and destroying a hospital.
- The Independent
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