Rain, snow, and fog today.
- The Independent
Kayleigh McEnany leaves White House after final two-minute press briefing following deadly Capitol riot
Trump’s press secretary refused to take questions following the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol earlier this month
President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * A federal mask mandate on government property and for interstate travel — Biden's "100 Day Masking Challenge." * Expand neighborhood access by activating local pharmacies, working directly with both independent drugstores and massive chains. * Reimburse states for deploying the National Guard to support vaccinations, and provide additional FEMA assistance.The plan, Part 2 ... Biden plans a $2 trillion stimulus/coronavirus plan plus the following executive orders to symbolize and solidify a substantial shift here and abroad: * Rescind the travel ban on several predominantly Muslim countries. * Rejoin the Paris climate accord. * Extend pandemic-related limits on evictions. * Order federal agencies to find ways to reunite children split apart from their families after crossing the border.The big picture: Watch for Biden to wrap everything, even tangential ideological priorities, under the banner of the coronavirus, in hopes of speeding up legislative action and picking up some Republican votes. * Biden privately says he has a small window to get the vaccination rollout right and the economy recovering. Otherwise, he'll fall victim to liberals who find his actions too timid, and Republicans who find them too liberal. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Telegraph
Almost a third of recovered Covid patients will end up back in hospital within five months and one in eight will die, alarming new figures have shown. Research by Leicester University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found there is a devastating long-term toll on survivors of severe coronavirus, with many people developing heart problems, diabetes and chronic liver and kidney conditions. Out of 47,780 people who were discharged from hospital in the first wave, 29.4 per cent were readmitted to hospital within 140 days, and 12.3 per cent of the total died. The current cut-off point for recording Covid deaths is 28 days after a positive test, so it may mean thousands more people should be included in the coronavirus death statistics. Researchers have called for urgent monitoring of people who have been discharged from hospital.
A 1st Armored Division soldier at Fort Bliss, Texas has been charged with sexually assaulting three women over the past year, including a fellow soldier who was found dead a year on New Year's Eve.
- Yahoo News Video
A 16-year-old boy has admitted to fatally shooting his newborn daughter and leaving her body inside a fallen tree in the woods in Wisconsin, according to prosecutors.
- 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.”
- The Independent
Biden’s plan to get 100m Americans vaccinated in first 100 days is ‘doable,’ Dr Fauci says
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- NBC News
Alexei Navalny said it had never crossed his mind not to return to Russia in a video message on Wednesday.
- Associated Press
Lottery players have another chance to win big next week since there were no winners of the top prize for both the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in their most recent drawings. The Powerball jackpot grew to an estimated $730 million after no one matched all five numbers and the red ball in the drawing on Saturday night. If a lottery player strikes big in the next Powerball drawing on Wednesday, it would be the fifth-largest jackpot ever in the United States.
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday advised the president not to grant presidential pardons to the rioters who stormed the Capitol this month, warning that doing so would “destroy” Trump. “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You’re the most important figure in the Republican party. You can shape the direction of the party. Keep your movement alive,” Graham said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters,” Graham continued. “I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road.” On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results. The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term. The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then, dozens of criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot. Graham defended Trump’s rhetoric at the rally, which received bipartisan condemnation and sparked a second impeachment against the president by House Democrats. “President Trump never said, ‘Go into the capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’ That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice,” Graham said. Graham added that there were “irregularities in mail-in voting,” but said “the election is over,” noting that the electoral votes have been certified.” “It is now time to move on,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also had a message for incoming president Joe Biden, calling on him to stand up against the second impeachment of Trump, which the Senate is expected to take up after he leaves office.
- The Independent
Man arrested at inauguration checkpoint with gun and ammo says he was lost and did not mean to bring weapon to DC
The man said he got lost driving around Washington DC
- The Telegraph
The US claimed on Saturday that staff at a Chinese virology laboratory became sick with a Covid-like illness in autumn 2019, months before the coronavirus spread widely from Wuhan. In a long-awaited document from the state department, the Trump administration called for an investigation as it published dubious accusations that a possible "laboratory accident" at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) may be the source of the global pandemic. The claims were dismissed by analysts who insist the disease came from a naturally occurring event. In a statement late on Friday claiming to reveal "undisclosed information", the state department said it "has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case, with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The statement also said that the lab had been carrying out research on a bat coronavirus similar to the Sars-CoV-2 strain that spread globally and that the lab had collaborated with China's military on publications and secret projects. Some experts were nonplussed by the announcement. "Zero details given," noted Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at Scripps Research, rating the statement as "an F". The fact that Wuhan was home to the world's leading coronavirus research facility before it became known as ground zero for the pandemic has led to speculation that the virus could have originated in the lab.
- NBC News
Amid frustration and delays of administering current vaccines, Fauci said President-elect Biden's goal of 100 million doses in 100 days is achievable.
Fanny Mergui has no doubt: Moroccan Jews "are already packing their suitcases" to board direct flights to Israel after the kingdom normalised ties with the Jewish state.
- 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
- The Independent
Police announce second arrest at security perimeter set-up to protect Joe Biden’s inauguration
China on Saturday finished a five-day construction project on a 1,500-room hospital as clusters of COVID-19 spread in Beijing and the surrounding provinces.The state of play: The facility is the one of six hospitals with a total of 6,500 rooms in the works in Nangong, the Xinhua News Agency said Saturday per AP reporting. They are all expected to be completed next week.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * China reportedly put roughly 28 million people on lockdown this week in the the Hebei provincial capital of Shijiazhuang.By the numbers: China has reached a 10-month high for COVID cases and on Friday reported 168 cases. * Yes, but: The numbers remain far below the infection levels the nation saw last February, when China reached a record high of approximately 15,000 daily cases. * The country has reported more than 97,000 cases and over 4,700 deaths as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins university data. * It remains possible that China — the site of the original coronavirus outbreak — has been underreporting its cases.What they're saying: The Chinese government has blamed the surge on food imports and travelers visiting the country. * The new cases "are all imported from abroad. It was caused by entry personnel or contaminated cold chain imported goods," the National Health Commission said in a statement, per AP. The big picture: The WHO agreed last May to a call from over 110 countries to lead an independent review of the global coronavirus response after China backed the move following clashes with Australia, which had earlier advocated for a sweeping inquiry.Go deeper... Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-upBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
The white woman caught on tape getting into a physical altercation with a Black female security guard the evening before the Capitol riots lost her job at UMass Hospital. The termination occurred after her daughter went viral for exposing her identity on social media. On January 5th, Therese Duke and a group of pro-Trump protesters that included other family members were filmed harassing Ashanti Smith, a security guard working at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C.
- The Week
Luke Mogelson, a veteran war correspondent and contributing writer for The New Yorker, captured what appears to be the "clearest" footage yet of the deadly riot at the United States Capitol earlier this month.Mogelson attended (in a journalistic capacity) President Trump's rally on Jan. 6, which preceded the pro-Trump mob's march to and breach of the capitol. He followed the rioters into the building and filmed a group that entered the empty Senate chamber. They began taking photos of documents in the room as part of a self-declared "information operation." One man said he was attempting to find something that he could "use against these scumbags," while another said he thought Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) "would want us to do this."> This video from @NewYorker is incredible. > > A man rifles through confidential Senate documents and says, “I think @tedcruz would want us to do this.” pic.twitter.com/GowauKXpaq> > — Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) January 17, 2021In a later scene, Mogelson witnessed Jake Angeli, otherwise known as Q Shaman, sitting in Vice President Mike Pence's chair, as a lone Capitol Police officer tried unsuccessfully to get him to move. He also gathered footage from outside the Capitol, including a large crowd aggressively forcing its way into the building, as well as a man telling people around him to "start making a list, put all those names down" and "start hunting them down one by one."The New Yorker notes that although the footage was "not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson's probing, illuminating" written feature. Read the full report here and watch the complete footage here.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 The pandemic windfall