Ellicott City falconer gets Christmas miracle
- The Independent
The president is ready to deal a final blow to tradition, writes Griffin Connolly
- The Week
U.S. prosecutors have imposed the first conspiracy charge against a person who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, The Washington Post reports.Thomas Edward Caldwell was arrested early Tuesday morning on four federal counts pertaining to the riot, including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, per the Post. He allegedly organized a group of militia members who attacked the Capitol building, praising their actions in Facebook posts after the event.Caldwell's group of "eight to 10 individuals" wore "helmets and military-style gear and were seen moving purposefully toward the top of the Capitol steps and leading the move against police lines," the Post reports. He had been planning the siege at least a week earlier, sending a Facebook message on Jan. 1 that showed he was scouting hotels near the Capitol that "would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to," the charging affidavit says. He allegedly sent the message to Jessica Watkins, the founder of the "Ohio State Regular Militia" who was arrested last week after participating in the attack.Caldwell seemingly didn't try to hide his involvement at the Capitol, allegedly sharing video of the attack in the evening of Jan. 6. "We need to do this at the local level. Lets [sic] storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!" Caldwell wrote on Facebook, the FBI says in its charging documents.Caldwell was allegedly a member of the Oath Keepers, an extremist group that, along with the Three Percenters and Proud Boys, is being investigated for its role in sparking the Capitol attack.More stories from theweek.com Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff The most alarming thing about the Trump presidency 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- National Review
Dozens were arrested Monday night in New York City when Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with police outside City Hall during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. Hundreds of demonstrators marched peacefully from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to City Hall in Manhattan, where they were met with a heavy police presence. The demonstration turned violent around 8:30 p.m. in City Hall Park, and police began making arrests after demonstrators started throwing projectiles, blocking traffic, and vandalizing property. Videos posted on social media show police urging the crowd to disperse before starting to make arrests. At least 29 people were arrested near Chambers and Centre streets and eleven officers were injured, including a captain who was hit in the head with a glass bottle. None of the officers are in serious condition. It is unclear how many protesters were injured during the clashes. In another video, police can be seen shoving several protesters as well as wrestling one person to the ground. Protesters can be heard shouting obscenities at officers. Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the New York Police Department over the “excessive enforcement” used against protesters calling for racial justice over the summer, including using pepper spray and batons on protesters and “kettling” or trapping demonstrators. James is calling for federal oversight of the NYPD. The federal government is already monitoring the NYPD to ensure that it retires its stop-and-frisk policy, which was found in 2013 to have been used in an unconstitutional manner. Last summer, riots broke out in New York City following the police custody death of George Floyd in May. About 450 businesses across the city were damaged and in many cases looted over May and June, according to the city’s Department of Small Business Services. More than 2,000 people were arrested at those demonstrations over the same period.
Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The letter also orders Lindell to "preserve and retain all documents relating to Dominion and your smear campaign against the company." * Lindell also must preserve all communications with any member of the Trump campaign, in addition to communications with Rudy Giuliani, Powell, Jenna Ellis and Lin Wood. The big picture: Lindell met with Trump last week and was caught by photographers with notes referencing martial law and Sidney Powell. The CEO has become known for pedaling election-overturning conspiracies and last year promoted a fake cure to the coronavirus. What they're saying: Dominion's letter reads... "Despite knowing your implausible attacks against Dominion have no basis in reality, you have participated in the vast and concerted misinformation campaign to slander Dominion ... Litigation regarding these issues is imminent."A spokesperson for My Pillow did not immediately return a request for comment. Read the full letter here: Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
Nancy Pelosi called pro-Trump rioters ‘Putin puppets’ and the Capitol siege a ‘gift’ to the Russian president
- Architectural Digest
- National Review
A Honduran migrant worker claimed that a migrant caravan was headed to the U.S. because incoming president Joe Biden would give migrants “100 days” to arrive at the country, in an interview with CNN. Biden may seek to enact a 100-day moratorium on deportations, however transition team officials have cautioned that the president-elect will not be able to overhaul immigration policy immediately upon taking office. Even so, a group of about 3,000 migrants from Honduras clashed with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday during their trek north to the U.S.-Mexico border. One migrant claimed the caravan was heading north because Biden had promised to help them, in a CNN interview later reposted by The Hill. Honduran migrant: President-elect Biden is "going to help all of us." pic.twitter.com/LkrVCsXcSb — The Hill (@thehill) January 18, 2021 “I just want patience and prayers that we can get to the U.S. because they [will] have a new president, Biden,” the migrant said. “He’s going to help all of us, he’s giving us 100 days to get to the U.S. and give us [legal] papers, so we can get a better life for our kids, and for our families.” Meanwhile, Guatemala deemed the attempted crossing illegal. “Guatemala’s message is loud and clear: These types of illegal mass movements will not be accepted, that’s why we are working together with the neighboring nations to address this as a regional issue,” the office of Guatemala’s president said in a statement on Sunday.
- Associated Press
A series of shootings in a community in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains that left four people wounded led to charges against five people, authorities said. The shootings occurred Monday night in different areas of Coolbaugh Township, and authorities said some of the people injured apparently were victims of mistaken identity. All four victims remain hospitalized in stable condition.
Global equity benchmarks jumped and safe-haven currencies such as the U.S. dollar dipped on Tuesday as Janet Yellen used a confirmation hearing on her appointment as Treasury secretary to bolster the case for additional fiscal stimulus. Risk assets such as oil and emerging market stocks also rallied. Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee that the government must "act big" with its next coronavirus relief package.
- The Telegraph
Israeli Covid czar says first Pfizer jab not as effective as hoped and blames spike in cases on British strain
Israel’s coronavirus czar has warned that the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine offers less protection than expected, as he blamed the country’s surge in Covid cases partly on the new British variant. Nachman Ash said many Israelis had caught Covid in between their first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine, suggesting that the first jab is “less effective than we thought,” according to Army Radio. His remarks underline the importance of receiving a second vaccine dose, which according to recent studies is more than 90 per cent effective in protecting against coronavirus. Israel has already given the first of two jabs to nearly 30 per cent of the population and on Tuesday announced it would extend eligibility to those aged 40 and over. But Mr Ash is said to have warned at a cabinet meeting that a new strain of Covid originating in Britain was hampering efforts to tackle the pandemic, as it was responsible for nearly 40 per cent of new cases. It comes after two studies by Israeli healthcare providers found that the first dose of the vaccine reduced the risk of infection by between 30 and 60 per cent. And according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, a survey by the health ministry found that around six per cent of 189,000 citizens who had received the first jab tested positive for Covid within two weeks. It also stated that 69 people from the sample had tested positive for coronavirus after receiving their second dose of the vaccine. Another study of a hundred people in Israel found that 98 per cent were protected from the disease once the second dose was administered. That research, carried out by the Sheba Medical Center, also said that a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine significantly refused the risk of spreading the virus to others. In Britain, there is a gap of up to 12 weeks between receiving the first and second dose, whereas the WHO recommends the second dose of Pfizer is administered within 21-28 days. Israeli health experts have stressed that it is too early to draw any concrete conclusions from the data.
- NBC News
Election experts have uniformly declared that the 2020 election was conducted fairly.
- The Week
Feds arrest Capitol rioter who allegedly broke into Pelosi's office, stole laptop, wanted to sell it to Russia
A woman who participated in the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol surrendered to authorities in Pennsylvania on Monday night, the Justice Department said. Riley Williams, 22, was charged with illegally entering the Capitol, violent entry, and disorderly conduct, but the FBI said it is also investigating a tip from the suspect's former "romantic partner" that Williams broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office during the siege, stole a laptop, and "intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia's foreign intelligence service."The transfer of the laptop to Russian intelligence "fell through for unknown reasons," the former partner, identified only as Witness 1, told the FBI, "and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it." Williams was captured on video urging fellow rioters to go upstairs in the Capitol, toward Pelosi's office, the FBI said. Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed after the siege that "a laptop from a conference room was stolen," but said "it was a laptop that was only used for presentations."Williams lived with her mother, who identified her as the woman in an ITV video of the Capitol raid, the FBI said. The mother also told authorities that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Trump's politics and "far-right message boards." Williams had traveled to the pre-riot protest with her father, but he said they were separated before the Capitol siege, the FBI said, and after they returned to Pennsylvania, Williams deleted her social media accounts, changed her phone number, and fled.More stories from theweek.com Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff The most alarming thing about the Trump presidency 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- National Review
Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) warned on Tuesday that the U.S. is not taking China’s actions against Uyghur Muslims seriously enough. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier in the day that the U.S. will classify China’s treatment of Uyghurs as a “genocide.” China operates a network of internment camps where over a million Uyghurs are imprisoned, and the Chinese government has implemented a program of forced sterilizations for Uyghur women. Sasse said that the genocide designation came “late,” and implied that both the Trump administration and incoming Biden team have not done enough to confront China. “This decision is good and right, but it’s late. The United States isn’t taking the Uyghur genocide seriously.” Sasse said in a statement. “A lot of folks in the Trump Administration wanted to talk about China primarily in terms of a trade deficit, and a lot of folks in the Biden Administration want to talk about China as merely a competitor.” Sasse added, “The Chinese Communist Party is a genocidal dictatorship and Chairman Xi [Jinping] is evil. The United States has an obligation to meet this challenge head on and take the side of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang who are raped and tortured.” China also reportedly uses Uyghurs and other Muslims for forced labor, including harvesting cotton in Xinjiang Province. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol banned the importation of cotton from Xinjiang last week. The province is the source of 20 percent of the world’s supply of raw cotton. Earlier on Tuesday, Biden’s nominee for Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told senators that she supported an “aggressive” stance toward China. “Our approach to China has to evolve and essentially meet the reality of the particularly assertive and aggressive China that we see today,” Haines said. “I do support an aggressive stance, in a sense, to deal with the challenge that we are facing.”
Police stopped a car of Black men and confiscated two of their guns at Virginia's annual "Lobby Day" on Monday while white gun rights activists defied local laws unimpeded in the state capital of Richmond. In a day with racial tensions on display, Black protesters denounced what they called a double standard in a state where people are free to openly carry firearms. Virginians converge on the capitol each Lobby Day to petition state legislators on issues of public interest, but the day has been dominated by gun rights activists in recent years.
- The Independent
The officer who may have saved the life of Vice President Mike Pence could now be giving him the side-eye. The cop hailed as a hero for leading a crowd of insurrectionists away from the Senate floor and potentially saving hundreds of lawmakers’ lives has, perhaps, left the vice president on read. Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly reached out to thank Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman for his heroism on Jan. 6, but they have yet to connect.
- Yahoo News Video
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- The Conversation
Militia members associated with the Three Percenters movement conducting a military drill in Flovilla, Ga., in 2016, days after Trump's election. After his 2020 defeat, Three Percenters were involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImageThousands of police and soldiers – people professionally trained in the use of violence and familiar with military protocols – are part of an extremist effort to undermine the U.S. government and subvert the democratic process. According to an investigative report published in the Atlantic in November into a leaked database kept by the Oath Keepers – one of several far-right and white supremacist militias that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 – 10% of Oath Keepers are current police officers or military members. Another significant portion of the group’s membership is retired military and law enforcement personnel. The hate group – founded by a former Army paratrooper after Barack Obama’s 2008 election – claimed “an improbable 30,000 members who were said to be mostly current and former military, law enforcement and emergency first responders” in 2016, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Three Percenters, another militia present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, also draws a substantial portion of its members from law enforcement, both military and civilian. Larry Brock, a pro-Trump rioter arrested with zip-tie handcuffs, allegedly for taking hostages, is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who posted content from the Three Percenters online. The militia movement is a militarized stream of the American far-right. Its members promote an ideology that undermines the authority and legitimacy of the federal government and stockpile weapons. When militia members have a professional background with the military or police, it enhances the ability of these groups to execute sophisticated and successful operations. It also helps them convey a patriotic image that obscures the security threat they present. A member of the Oath Keepers at a rally to overturn the 2020 election results at the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 5, 2021. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images Longstanding ties The day before the Biden inauguration, two National Guardsmen deployed to Washington, D.C. were removed from that duty after an investigation found ties to right-wing militias. Far-right elements have always had some presence in U.S. security forces. Throughout the 20th century, many local police departments were heavily populated with Ku Klux Klan members. The connections between terror groups and law enforcement enabled discrimination and violence against African Americans, Jews and other minorities. In 1923, all the Black residents of Blandford, Indiana were forced out of town to an unknown location following accusations that an African American man assaulted a young girl. The unlawful “deportation” was conducted and organized by the local sheriff, a Klansman, with the assistance of local Klan chapters. Wade Michael Page, the U.S. Army veteran who killed six Sikh worshipers in 2014. FBI via Getty Images Many U.S. military bases have also had cells of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups throughout the 20th century. In 1995, three paratroopers from Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, were arrested and charged in the killing of a Black couple in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Two were sentenced to life in prison for the murders. The Army initiated an investigation at the base, which was known for being a hub of the National Alliance, then the country’s most influential American neo-Nazi group. The Army identified and discharged 19 paratroopers for participating in hate activities. One went on to kill six worshipers in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012. He died in a police shootout. Growing convergence Concerns about the penetration of far-right elements into the military and law enforcement have become acute in the last decade with the emergence of militias like the Oath Keepers, which was founded on the principle of recruiting police and military. Oath Keepers pledge to disobey orders on the job which they deem contradict the Constitution. The militias’ success secretly infiltrating police departments contributed to the emergence of new far-right associations that openly recruit law enforcement, like the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers of America. Founded in 2011 by former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, the group promotes the notion – contrary to the Constitution – that the federal government authorities should be subordinated to local law enforcement. It has more than 500 sheriffs nationwide. Just over half are currently in office. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers of America has pushed its members not to enforce gun control laws and pandemic-related mask regulations that they believe infringe on civil liberties. Skilled insurrectionists When members of far-right groups are also professionals sworn to protect the nation or their communities, it makes those groups seem more legitimate. Authorities may be less likely to treat them as domestic security threats, a categorization that would limit their access to firearms and sensitive locations. Yet military and police members actually make American militias more effective, according to my research on the violent practices of the American far-right. A Texas Militia member at the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images A data set I manage with my team at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and used for my recent book on right-wing terror shows that militia attacks are more lethal than those of other far-right groups. The perpetrators are experienced with weapons and ammunition, and have at least some military training. Attacks by other far-right groups are, in large measure, initiated by people with limited operational experience, who act spontaneously. Militias are also more likely to attack secured, high-value targets like government facilities. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, is a prime example. He was a Gulf War veteran associated with the Michigan Militia whose bomb killed 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. The penetration of far-right militants into the ranks of police and the military seems to be driving an increase in direct attacks on police and military targets. Between 1990 and 2000, 13% of U.S. of militia attacks and plots were aimed at military or police installations or personnel, our data set shows. The proportion jumped to 40% by 2017. And with their training in surveillance, intelligence collection and public safety, the dangerous activities of militias are generally harder for federal agencies to monitor and counter. When militias recruit professionals, they are better at waging their radical crusade. [Get our most insightful politics and election stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s Politics Weekly.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Arie Perliger, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Read more:Plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor grew from the militia movement’s toxic mix of constitutional falsehoods and half-truthsMilitias evaluate beliefs, action as president threatens soldiers in the streets Arie Perliger receives funding from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense.
- The Telegraph
A valuable 16th century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Saviour of the World has been recovered by Italian police in a cupboard in a flat in Naples. The museum from which it was stolen had no idea it was missing. The copy of Salvator Mundi, which depicts Christ with one hand raised in a blessing and the other holding a crystal orb, is believed to have been painted by a pupil of Leonardo. It was stolen some time in the last few months from a collection of art works inside the Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. The painting was of “inestimable value”, Italian police said in a statement. It was found “hidden in a bedroom” in an apartment in Naples. The owner of the flat, a 36-year-old man, was arrested not far from the property on charges of receiving stolen goods, police said. The oil painting, which dates to the early 1500s, is believed to be by artist Giacomo Alibrandi, a member of the artistic school of Leonardo. The museum had not noticed its theft because it had been closed for three months as a result of Italy’s coronavirus lockdown measures. Police are trying to ascertain how it was stolen, said Giovanni Melillo, a Naples prosecutor. “It is plausible that it was a theft commissioned by an organisation working in the international art trade," he said.