The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 4,239 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 54 more deaths in the state on Monday.
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The latest updates from the White House and beyond on 17 January 2021
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Donald Trump will leave office with his approval rating at an all-time low, according to a new poll. Mr Trump is now likely to complete his term in the White House with Mike Pence, the vice president, refusing to invoke the 25th amendment to remove him from office and an impeachment hearing due to begin after Joe Biden is inaugurated. The storming of Capitol Hill and Mr Trump’s refusal to accept that Mr Biden won the election has caused considerable damage to his reputation, a poll by Pew Research has found. His approval rating has slumped to 29 per cent – a fall of nine points since last August. Ominously for Mr Trump, who is said to be planning to run for the White House in 2024, his rating among Republicans has plummeted even more spectacularly.
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The U.S. Justice Department said on Sunday that it had arrested an elected official from New Mexico who had vowed to travel to Washington with firearms to protest the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. According to documents posted on the Justice Department's website, Couy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of a group called "Cowboys for Trump," was arrested in Washington on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Griffin was among the thousands who stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Biden's victory over President Donald Trump, according to charging documents. Authorities say he returned to New Mexico after the riot, where he said at a Jan. 14 meeting of the Otero County Council that he planned to drive back to Washington with a rifle and a revolver to protest Biden's inauguration this Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether Griffin was carrying firearms when he was arrested on Sunday. He has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
A Russian judge remanded Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in pre-trial detention for 30 days on Monday for violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence, ignoring calls from Western countries to free the opposition politician immediately. The ruling, a day after police detained him at the airport as he returned home for the first time since being poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent, may be the prelude to him being jailed for years. Moscow's prison service has applied to convert a suspended 3.5 year embezzlement sentence in the same case, which he says was trumped up, into real jail time later this month.
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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.”
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Shortly after police detained Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny upon his return to Moscow from Germany, where he was recovering from a poisoning allegedly carried out by Russia's FSB spy agency, President-elect Joe Biden's incoming National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called for the anti-corruption activist's immediate release.Sullivan said the Kremlin's actions were a "violation of human rights" and "an affront to the Russian people who want their voices heard."The forceful statement quickly drew attention from members of the U.S. media, who compared it to the Trump administration's generally more lax approach to Moscow.> The Biden team, taking a different approach to Russia than Trump did: https://t.co/EMkPT3Ln7T> > -- Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) January 17, 2021Sullivan also beat the current White House to the punch -- there's been no word on the Navalny situation from President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, or National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien as of yet. > Biden's incoming national security advisor comments on @navalny's detention in Moscow today, saying the Russian opposition leader should be immediately released. The urgency of this statement tells you something about how the Biden admin will be. The Trump admin is still mum. https://t.co/tIsS3sl9yq> > -- Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) January 17, 2021More stories from theweek.com Statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico only needs 50 votes 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious
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So what does a 50-50 Senate get President-elect Joe Biden? Washington has barely had time to process the implications of Democratic control after two Georgia runoff elections that are delivering the Senate to Democrats. The unexpected new balance of power giving Democrats only the barest control of Congress has big consequences for the president-elect — easy confirmation of his Cabinet most importantly — but the road ahead for his ambitious legislative agenda remains complicated and murky.
- The Guardian
Jeffrey Yass, Club for Growth donor, told associate he did not foresee senator’s role in attempt to overturn US democracyJamie Raskin: ‘I’m not going to lose my son and my republic’ Josh Hawley speaks at the US Capitol on 6 January, the day of the Capitol attack. Photograph: AP A secretive billionaire supporter of Josh Hawley and other rightwing lawmakers suggested he had been “deceived” by the Republican senator from Missouri, who led the effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Jeffrey Yass is a co-founder of Susquehanna International Group – headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a critical swing state – who has donated tens of millions of dollars to hardline Republican groups who supported Donald Trump’s effort to invalidate his defeat at the polls by Joe Biden. Yass privately told a longtime associate he had not foreseen how his contributions would lead to attempts to overturn US democracy. “Do you think anyone knew Hawley was going to do that?” Yass wrote to Laura Goldman, a former stockbroker who has known him for more than three decades. “Sometimes politicians deceive their donors.” Yass, who does not give interviews and generally avoids publicity, also told Goldman he did not believe the 2020 election had been “stolen”, even though he has directly and indirectly supported rightwing Republicans who have repeatedly – and falsely – sought to discredit the results. The latest fallout of the 6 January attempt to invalidate the election, in which 147 Republicans in Congress objected to electoral college results in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol, comes as both Hawley and his donors face pressure and criticism for his role. Hawley has said he objected to the counting of electoral votes in order to instigate a “debate” on the issue of election integrity. He has denied that his actions helped to incite the violent outburst and breach of the Capitol in which five people died, including a police officer. Goldman told the Guardian she emailed Yass because she was upset to learn about his support for Hawley and other Republicans, especially since the lawmakers were seeking to invalidate the election results in their home state, Pennsylvania, which helped Biden clinch the White House. “I approached Jeff Yass upset after reading the Guardian’s article [about his involvement in donations] because I was shocked he would allow my vote and the vote of his neighbors to possibly be invalidated by politicians to whom he gives millions of dollars,” she said. She added: “Yass lives here. He knows local politicians … he could simply call them and ask questions if he thought the election results were funky, which they absolutely were not. He doesn’t need Josh Hawley, a senator from Missouri, or Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, to question the election results in the state that he has lived almost 40 years.” Goldman published snippets of Yass’s private remarks to her on Twitter. The Guardian was able to verify the authenticity of the statements. Yass, a trader and poker aficionado who is an active Republican donor and has been a force in Pennsylvania elections, donated about $30m to conservative Super Pacs in the 2020 election cycle, making him the eighth-largest donor in the election, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of those donations were made to the Club for Growth, an anti-tax group that in 2018 and 2020 supported 42 Republican hardliners who ultimately voted to overturn election results even after insurrectionists stormed the US Capitol. The Club for Growth has been a major back of both Hawley and Cruz, his partner in seeking to invalidate the election. Yass has not responded to requests for comment from the Guardian. Nor has he responded to questions about whether he will continue to donate to the Club for Growth or whether he discussed issues with Hawley and others. Goldman said she sought out a discussion with him in part because she knows he is a “hands on” political donor. The Club for Growth did not respond to a request for comment. The group’s president, David McIntosh, has been an avid supporter of some of most anti-democratic lawmakers elected in 2020, including Lauren Boebert, a QAnon follower and gun rights advocate from Colorado who has been criticized for tweeting the location of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, during the riot in the Capitol, against the advice of police. In an endorsement of Boebert in July 2020, McIntosh lauded the the restaurant owner and political novice for her understanding of the “irreparable harm” caused by “government overreach” and said he had no doubt Boebert would be a “conservative firebrand” in Washington. Yass told Goldman he donated to the Club for Growth a year ago and suggested he could not have anticipated what Hawley and others might do. But public records show Yass also donated $2.5m to the Protect Freedom Pac on 10 November 2020, a week after the US election. The Protect Freedom Pac, affiliated with the Kentucky Republican senator Rand Paul, ran advertisements against Democrats ahead of two January runoff elections in Georgia, including ads that claimed Democrats were seeking to defund the police, institute “socialist healthcare” and raise “trillions in new taxes”. The Protect Freedom Pac’s website currently – and falsely – states that Democrats “stole” the 2020 election and used the Covid-19 crisis to illegally change election laws. It has also endorsed an in-person voter ID law, a policy that would disproportionately block minority voters. Yass has received far less attention than other billionaire donors, such as Mike Bloomberg or the late Sheldon Adelson, but has been known to get involved in local politics, donating money to candidates who support charter schools. Goldman told the Guardian Yass has been a longtime supporter of the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania legislature that led the fight to stop mail-in ballots from being counted until election day. Pennsylvania’s final results were not known until days after the election and Biden’s victory was clinched in large part because of hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots that were counted after in-person ballots. Hawley’s office did not respond to a request for comment. Got a tip? Please email Stephanie.Kirchgaessner@theguardian.com
- The Week