U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said Thursday she would resign, citing the invasion of the U.S. Capitol by violent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump, becoming the first cabinet member to do so. Conway G. Gittens reports.
- Yahoo News
President Joe Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- The Week
President Trump's last big batch of pardons will get most of the attention, but he also issued an executive order in his last few hours in office that seeks to free all current and former hires from the ethics agreements they signed to work in his administration. Trump revoked his January 2017 "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees" order, the White House announced early Wednesday, so "employees and former employees subject to the commitments in Executive Order 13770 will not be subject to those commitments after noon January 20, 2021."Those commitments included not lobbying the federal agencies they served under for five years after leaving government. The executive order, Yashar Ali notes, was the backbone of Trump's "drain the swamp" pledge.> Forget about draining the swamp...President Trump just filled it up.> > He has revoked his own executive order (13770) which had the following provisions (among others). > > The drain the swamp stuff was all smoke and mirrors anyway but here's Trump walking back his own EO... pic.twitter.com/ZvuW0CwszQ> > — Yashar Ali (@yashar) January 20, 2021President-elect Joe Biden takes office at noon on Wednesday, and presumably he could just issue a new executive order reversing Trump's.Norm Eisen, "ethics czar" to former President Barack Obama, said in a Politico column Tuesday that Obama's clear ethics rules led to "arguably the most scandal-free presidency in memory," but "Trump greatly watered down the standards with scandalous results" and "Biden has done the opposite, restoring the Obama rules and expanding them."Biden's planned executive order, Eisen wrote, "restores the fundamentals of the Obama plan, closing loopholes Trump opened—but going further, including new crackdowns on special interest influence. If implemented rigorously (always a big if) Biden's plan promises to go further to 'drain the swamp' than either of his predecessors."More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Harris swears in 3 new Democratic senators A lone man knelt at Beau Biden's grave as President Biden gave his inauguration speech
- Associated Press
China imposed sanctions on nearly 30 former Trump administration officials moments after they left office on Wednesday. In a statement released just minutes after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, Beijing slapped travel bans and business restrictions on Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and U.N. ambassador, Kelly Craft. Others covered by the sanctions include Trump’s economic adviser Peter Navarro; his top diplomat for Asia, David Stilwell; health and human services secretary, Alex Azar; along with former national security adviser John Bolton and strategist Stephen Bannon.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Map: Axios VisualsPresident-elect Joe Biden is calling to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is nearly double the current $7.25. The move would be the first change to the federal minimum wage since 2009. Why it matters: The pandemic exposed the ugly ways in which America treats low-wage employees — even when they're doing essential jobs. Raising the federal minimum wage would put more money into the pockets of many of these same essential workers who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What to watch: $15 an hour would have a massive impact in smaller cities and in the middle of the country. * Lots of larger metros, including San Francisco and New York, already have $15 or higher minimum hourly wages. In those places, the cost of living is so high that $15 feels more like $12 (see map above). * But in smaller cities, where the minimum wage is much closer to $7.25 and the median wage is closer to $15, the federal bump would make a huge difference.All told, "hiking the national minimum to $15 an hour by 2025 would lift 1.3 million workers above wages that put them below the poverty line," CBS reports, citing an analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. * Yes, but: The CBO also estimates that the hike could cost $1.3 million jobs, as small businesses unable to pay their workers $15 an hour lay people off or go out of business.Go deeper: Government minimum wage hikes pay off for low-wage workersBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
Inauguration Day is a time of great expectancy and transformation. There are reports of at least 12 National Guard members being removed from the inauguration patrol duties. There are 25,000 troops in D.C. to protect attendees at the inauguration after the deadly and unprecedented Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
- Yahoo News Video
The District of Columbia was prepared for violence as President Biden was inaugurated on Wednesday. Following the riotous insurrection staged by supporters of then-President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, much of the downtown area in the nation's capital was turned into a fortified "red zone" patrolled by thousands of members of the National Guard. However, the anticipated large pro-Trump demonstrations did not take place, but one man did take to the streets to protest Biden's victory: former NBA player David Wood. Clothed in religious and patriotic paraphernalia, Wood told Yahoo News that he is confident that Biden will resign or be arrested for committing voter fraud shortly after taking office — though he does not personally subscribe to the QAnon conspiracy that makes similar baseless claims.
- The Week
Melania Trump was reportedly "emotionally checked out" long before boarding Air Force One to leave D.C. on Wednesday, going as far as to outsource writing her "thank you" notes to the White House residence staff, The New York Times and CNN report.Traditionally, the first family of the United States will write short cards to their household staff, thanking them for taking care of them over the past four to eight years. The cards tend to be intimate and "much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become 'cherished keepsakes' for the residence staff," such as the butlers, cooks, and housekeepers, who do not tend to turn-over between administrations, CNN writes.Melania Trump, however, reportedly did not personally write the cards for the approximately 80 staff members charged with caring for her, her husband, and her teenage son, Barron, while they lived in the White House. Instead, she is said to have instructed a "lower-level East Wing staffer" to write the type-written notes "in her voice," and then signed her name."I think she was a reluctant first lady and she did it for her husband," society publicist R. Couri Hay, who knows Trump from New York, told The New York Times. He added that after she departs Washington, "I think that you will find that she will be even less visible, and less available."More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Harris swears in 3 new Democratic senators A lone man knelt at Beau Biden's grave as President Biden gave his inauguration speech
- The Telegraph
Eric Trump says he will 'never forget Buckingham Palace' as family seen in tears at farewell ceremony
Eric Trump said he will "never forget Buckingham Palace" as he looked back on his father's four years in office after a tearful farewell ceremony. The president's second eldest son said it had been the honour of his life to have had a "front row seat to the most remarkable and consequential presidencies in American history". He went on to enumerate his father's achievements in office, listing his tax cuts, support for the second Amendment and Middle East peace deals. He singled out his visit to the UK, which included a State banquet hosted by the Queen in 2019. "I will never forget Buckingham Palace and the beaches of Normandy," he said in a tweet. "It's truly a journey I will never forget," he said.
Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the Navy destroyer The Sullivans will deploy as part of the strike group.
Incoming U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden should quickly fulfill campaign promises to launch an immigration plan, including giving dual nationality to Mexicans working in the United States, Mexico's president said on Wednesday. Immigration has become a priority issue for Biden, who is planning to roll back his predecessor's harsh measures and enact sweeping reforms that would put 11 million people living illegally in the U.S on a path to citizenship. "I hope that today or in the coming days he presents the migration plan," Lopez Obrador said.
China's foreign ministry announced Wednesday it would sanction 28 "anti-China" U.S. politicians, including a slew of top officials from the outgoing Trump administration such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton and former chief strategist Steve Bannon. Between the lines, via Axios China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Chinese government officials have traditionally decried the use of unilateral sanctions by Western countries, even though China regularly blocks foreign companies and individuals from its markets for perceived political slights.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * But as its tit-for-tat battle with Washington has drawn on, Beijing has adopted the use of traditional sanctions in direct response to U.S. sanctions of Chinese government officials. * The sanctions also come one day after Pompeo announced the U.S. government has determined China's repression of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region amounts to genocide, a decision that has infuriated Beijing.What they're saying: "[S]ome anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people, have planned, promoted and executed a series of crazy moves which have gravely interfered in China's internal affairs, undermined China's interests, offended the Chinese people, and seriously disrupted China-U.S. relations," the foreign ministry said in a statement. * "The Chinese government is firmly resolved to defend China's national sovereignty, security and development interests. China has decided to sanction 28 persons who have seriously violated China's sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues."Details: The sanctions will restrict the named individuals from entering the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao. The officials and companies they are "associated" with will also be restricted from doing business with China, though whether and to what extent this prohibition will be enforced isn't clear.Other noteworthy names in the sanctions list include: * Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro * National security adviser Robert O'Brien * Former deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger * Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar * United Nations ambassador Kelly Craft * Assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs David Stilwell * Under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment Keith KrachThe big picture: This is not the first time Beijing has targeted China hawks in the U.S., whom they accuse of meddling in domestic affairs. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) were among those sanctioned last year for their criticisms of China's human rights abuses.Go deeper ... Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformationSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Week
President Trump has spent the last few days asking his friends, aides, and associates if they would like pardons — even those who are not facing any charges, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.In one case, the official said, Trump offered a pardon to a person who declined the chance at clemency, saying they weren't in any legal trouble and hadn't committed any crimes. "Trump's response was, 'Yeah, well, but you never know. They're going to come after us all. Maybe it's not a bad idea. Just let me know,'" the official recounted.Trump has taken a great interest in pardoning people, the Post reports, even calling families to personally let them know he granted a pardon. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump was talked out of pardoning himself, family members, and controversial figures like Rudy Giuliani. An aide said there was also a brief discussion about possibly issuing pardons related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but that idea went nowhere.While Trump has held a few ceremonial events in recent weeks, journalists have been kept away from the White House, largely because the president is "just not in a place where they would go well," one official told the Post. Trump is constantly flip-flopping, another administration official said, talking about his future but uncertain of where he will be. "He goes between, 'Well, I'm going to go to Florida and play golf, and life is honestly better,' and then in the next moment, it's like, 'But don't you think there's a chance to stay?'" the official said. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Bernie Sanders steals the inauguration with his grumpy chic outfit Only a sprinkling of Trump supporters showed up at state capitols to protest Biden's inauguration QAnon believers are realizing their entire conspiracy was a hoax as Biden is sworn in
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- The Telegraph
China is using 'lavish' PPE contributions to quash concerns about Covid-19 origins, Defence Select Committee chief warns
China is using "lavish" PPE contributions to try and quash concerns about the origins of Covid-19, the Defence Select Committee chief has warned. The delay in allowing WHO inspectors into China has allowed space for a “ferocious internal propaganda campaign” suggesting the US military is to blame for planting the virus, say Tobias Ellwood and chemical and biological weapons-expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon. Chinese handling of the crisis has been characterised by “denial, hesitation, cover up, refusal of outside help and punishment for all who dare speak out,” they told the Telegraph. “Any international voices of concern have been quashed with lavish and sizable contributions of PPE and more recently vaccination programmes.” China defended its handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, saying the hard lockdown on Wuhan weeks after the virus was detected had "reduced infections and deaths". Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the country would "strive to do better".
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump leaves the White House for the last time as president
- Associated Press
A pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves and their seven pups have been sent from a zoo in New Mexico's largest city to Mexico as part of conservation efforts in that country. Officials at the ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque confirmed Tuesday that the wolves were loaded up in separate crates and trucked south last week. The zoo is among others in the United States that have partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for decades on Mexican gray wolf breeding and recovery efforts.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies. Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What they're saying: The actions are the first of many, Psaki said in a news release, as Biden works "to address the four crises that he's laid out" — COVID-19, the economic crisis, racial injustice and climate change. * "In the coming days and weeks we will be announcing additional executive actions that confront these challenges and deliver on the President-elect's promises to the American people," Psaki said, "including revoking the ban on military service by transgender Americans, and reversing the Mexico City policy." Highlights * Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement * Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief * An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit * Rejoining the World Health Organization * Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions * Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries * Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge * An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymakingGo deeper: See the full listSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
South Korean president under fire for saying adoptive parents should be able to 'change' their child
Children’s rights groups in South Korea have condemned comments by President Moon Jae-in suggesting that adoptive parents who do not get along with a child should be able to “change” it for another one. Mr Moon was responding to a question at a press conference on Monday about the government’s efforts to prevent child abuse in light of the death late last year of a 16-month-old girl, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive parents. The case has provoked outrage in South Korea, with the adopted mother of Jung-in charged with murder on January 13. The woman, identified only by her family name, Jang, was originally charged with fatal child abuse and neglect in December. Commenting on the case, Mr Moon said, “Even after adoption, the adoptive parents need to check if the adoption is working out for them. So there should be measures allowing them to cancel the adoption or, if they still want to adopt a child, then they should be able to change the child." The press conference, which was being broadcast live on national television, triggered an immediate response, with critics saying the president was suggesting that children were “goods” that could be returned for a refund. Groups representing adoptees and parents who have given homes to children staged a protest in front of the presidential Blue House the same day, demanding an apology from the president and changes to the system of adoptions in Korea. “Mr Moon’s comments are no different from those of adoption agencies, who treat adoption as a business," Jeon Young-soon, head of an association of parents, told The Korea Herald. Na Kyung-won, a member of the opposition People Power Party, also condemned the president’s comments, saying, “For adopted children, the horrific ordeal is being abandoned again by their adoptive parents. Mr Moon has made a serious error." A petition has also been started on the president’s website, stating, “Adoption is not like shopping for a child. When people have made up their minds to care for a child for his or her whole life, they adopt the child with love that is beyond comparison”. Government officials insist the president’s comments have been misunderstood and taken out of context. South Korea traditionally has low levels of domestic adoption, in part due to the importance of blood relations and the stigma attached to children born out of wedlock. Many Korean children find adoptive parents overseas.