The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 7,110 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, and 90 more deaths.
- Yahoo News
Some of the House Republicans who supported Wednesday’s impeachment of President Trump are providing detailed explanations for their votes in the face of backlash from GOP loyalists.
- Yahoo News
So far, America’s vaccine rollout has been “a dismal failure,” as Biden put it. Yet for all the justified concern over America’s rate of vaccination, signs of hope are starting to emerge.
- Associated Press
- The Independent
- Architectural Digest
- The Week
FBI says over 100 people arrested for Capitol siege, including 'liberal activist,' Confederate flag bearer
FBI Director Christopher Wray, in his first public comments since the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, said Thursday that law enforcement has arrested more than 100 people in connection with the assault and is aware of "an extensive amount of concerning online chatter" ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.Most of those arrested so far have been far-right militants, off-duty police, retired military personnel, GOP officials, QAnon adherents, and white supremacists. For example, the man photographed carrying a Confederate battle flag through the Capitol, Kevin Seefried, and his son, Hunter Seefried, surrendered to the FBI in Delaware on Thursday, the Justice Department said.Embed from Getty ImagesAuthorities also arrested "liberal activist" John Sullivan on Thursday, making him, Politico says, "the first person to be charged who appears to have been active in liberal causes." Sullivan, who filmed the siege, claims he was just following the rioters as a "journalist," but the FBI said his own video showed him to be a booster of the lawlessness and even an active participant.Trump supporters, including Rudy Giuliani, and conservative media outlets pointed to Sullivan's arrest to bolster their counterfactual claim that "antifa" or Black Lives Matter were actually behind the assault on the Capitol. But "even before his arrest, left wing activists had described concerns in that community, going back some time, that Sullivan was a provocateur working with others, including his brother James, who has ties to the Proud Boys and runs a pro-Trump organization," Marcy Wheeler notes at EmptyWheel.> pic.twitter.com/oRri9hyHGv> > — New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) January 7, 2021"Sullivan's presence in the Capitol, and his previous record of anti-Trump activism, has been the focus of frenzied attention in the right-wing media," Robert Mackey reports at The Intercept, while "left-wing organizers have been keen to stress that they ejected Sullivan from their ranks months ago." Since adopting the nom de guerre "Activist John" last summer, Mackey notes, Sullivan has been blacklisted by "left-wing organizers associated with Black Lives Matter and antifascism in Utah, California, and the Pacific Northwest" who say he's "either a right-wing infiltrator or a dangerously naive amateur."More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
The United States stands by Taiwan and always will, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft said following a call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who told her the island would continue to seek access to U.N. meetings. Craft had planned to visit Taipei this week, in the teeth of strong objections from China which views the island as its own territory.
- Associated Press
Pakistani authorities sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a radical Islamist party, police said Friday. The 12 policemen were fired over “acts of cowardice" and “negligence" for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. Another 48 policemen were given various punishments following a probe into the attack, the police statement said.
- The Independent
Karl Racine ‘extremely confident’ US president’s eldest son broke law
- The Week
Federal prosecutors in a new court filing reportedly point to "strong evidence" that rioters who stormed the Capitol building last week aimed to "capture and assassinate elected officials."The prosecutors included this assessment while asking a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, one of the men who was arrested and charged following the deadly Capitol riot, Reuters reports."Strong evidence, including Chansley's own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government," the prosecutors wrote.Supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol building on the day Congress was meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's election win, leaving five people dead. Trump was subsequently impeached for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" after delivering a speech calling on his supporters to march to the Capitol building.The prosecutors in the filing reportedly wrote that the charges against Chansley "involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government," adding that the "insurrection is still in progress." They also revealed that Chansley, who was photographed wearing horns at Vice President Mike Pence's desk, allegedly left a note for Pence that warned, "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming," Reuters reports. The filing, Politico writes, "spells out clearly the government's view of an ongoing 'insurrection movement' that is reaching a potential climax as Biden's inauguration approaches." More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
- Associated Press
President-elect Joe Biden will no longer be taking an Amtrak train to Washington for his inauguration because of security concerns, a person briefed on the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The president-elect’s decision reflects growing worries over potential threats in the Capitol and across the U.S. in the lead-up to Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan received his COVID-19 vaccine in front of TV cameras on Thursday, a move which a spokesman for his AK Party said aimed to alleviate any public doubts about the effectiveness of the shot. Turkey began administering the shots developed by China's Sinovac to health workers on Thursday, rolling out a nationwide vaccination programme against a disease that has killed more than 23,000 people in the country. It has so far vaccinated more than 250,000 health workers.
- Yahoo News Video
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000-kilometer (8,000-mile) Pacific Ocean crossing from the United States to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it.
- Associated Press
A French citizen wanted in his home country in connection with a homicide has been arrested in Colombia, authorities in the South American nation announced Thursday. M‘Naouar was taken into custody at the bus terminal in Colombia’s capital, Bogota, where he had arrived from Cartagena, a port city on the country’s Caribbean coast, according to the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office.
- The New York Times
As old as the Capitol itself, the Capitol Police began in 1801 with the appointment of a single guard to oversee the move of Congress from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. His task, according to a court filing, was to “take as much care as possible with the property of the United States.” Over the years, the force — whose positions were once filled entirely through patronage — was professionalized and expanded, usually in the aftermath of crises like the shooting of five lawmakers by Puerto Rican nationalists in 1954, the killing by a gunman of two officers inside an entrance to the building in 1998, or the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Today, it is in crisis once again, with calls for a full investigation into what lawmakers have called a “severe systemic failure” that allowed an angry mob of Trump loyalists to storm the Capitol last week, an episode that left five people dead, including one Capitol Police officer. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times Three officers have been suspended and 17 more are under investigation, according to a senior congressional aide. The department is accustomed to being shielded from the type of public disclosure that is routine for ordinary police agencies. But since last week’s rampage, the department’s chief and two other top security officials have resigned, and its congressional overseers have pressed for answers. On Wednesday, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, complained that the agency was a “black box.” “We’re having a hell of a time getting information from Capitol Police leadership,” said Ryan, who chairs the House committee that oversees the department’s budget. “We fund the Capitol Police. Congress funds the Capitol Police through the Appropriations Committee. We deserve to know and understand what the hell is going on.” Operating under the protective wing of Congress, the Capitol Police has more than 2,000 officers to defend 2 square miles and a half-billion-dollar budget — bigger than those that fund the police departments in Atlanta and Detroit. But it has long suffered from the same troubles that afflict many other police forces: claims of an old boys’ network, glass ceilings, racial bias and retaliation. There have been complaints, too, of lax discipline and of promotions for white commanders who faced misconduct allegations, but harsh treatment for women and Black officers. A handful of high-profile incidents in recent years — locking down the Capitol but failing to inform Congress; ordering a nearby tactical team not to respond when a gunman opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard; the fatal shooting of a Black woman who made a U-turn at a checkpoint — have raised questions about the department’s procedures and operational paralysis. Many who are familiar with the department now suggest that these long-standing problems contributed to how easily its officers were overrun last Wednesday. “Why was I not surprised?” said Sharon Blackmon-Malloy, the lead plaintiff in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the department that has languished for years, while she and a handful of other retired Black officers have staged regular demonstrations on Capitol Hill. “Because I’m going back to the environment in which I worked in all those years.” While many of the law enforcement agencies that rushed to the scene on Jan. 6 have offered public briefings and comprehensive timelines of what happened, the department that is sworn to protect the building and its occupants has been the quietest. Capitol Police officials have not responded to numerous requests for comment, nor has anyone in the department addressed the widely circulated videos that appear to show some officers allowing the rioters to enter the building, or treating them in a sympathetic manner, while their colleagues were being assaulted with fire extinguishers, flagpoles and hockey sticks. The officers who have been suspended include one who took selfies with members of the crowd and another who put on a “Make America Great Again” hat and directed rioters into the Capitol, according to Ryan. Law enforcement experts noted the apparent absence of commanders and supervisors as the mob breached the building. A memo from members of the department’s Capitol Division, written after last week’s rampage, praised Inspector Thomas M. Loyd, the division commander, for fighting “shoulder to shoulder” with the rank and file, while implicitly criticizing the rest of the leadership. Loyd “did not retreat inside the building to attempt to ‘lead’ from his office,” said the memo, a copy of which was provided by a retired officer. “He did not stay back, away from the line, to avoid any physical conflict, but rather pulled officers off the line and took their place so they could receive medical attention.” In an interview, Jim Konczos, a former head of the officers’ union, said the department suffered from a long-standing failure to hold the upper brass accountable for alleged misdeeds, calling it a “morale killer.” In one instance, a commander who had an affair with a married subordinate was demoted one rank and offered a settlement that would have preserved his earlier, higher pay, according to a decision by the Office of Compliance. At the time, he was leading negotiations on the union contract. In another, an officer assigned to protect high-ranking lawmakers racked up two charges of drunken driving, including one case in which his car struck a Maryland State Police trooper’s unmarked cruiser. The officer continued to climb the ranks, despite an internal investigation for overtime fraud. “You get to the point where you just get so disgusted with everything — you go to the chief, go to the sergeant-at-arms, and nobody cares,” Konczos said. The responsibilities of the Capitol Police are vastly different from those of ordinary police departments. The force protects the Capitol grounds, members of Congress and staff, and it screens millions of visitors a year. Officers are expected to recognize the 535 lawmakers and to avoid offending them. The delicacy of that task was on full display in 1983, when a House inquiry found that the Capitol Police had botched a drug investigation by creating “the impression that the investigation may have been terminated to protect members” — while noting that, to be sure, no members had been implicated. Before last week’s televised scenes of officers attacked and outnumbered, the job of a Capitol Police officer was considered relatively safe and prestigious. The pay, starting at $64,000, is higher than at other departments in the Washington metro area, and the job offers a close-up view of dignitaries and heads of state. Officers occasionally make arrests for minor crimes like smoking marijuana outside Union Station, according to a report by a watchdog group that complained of “mission creep.” “As a rule, you’re not working robberies and homicides and burglaries and disorderly conduct,” said Terry Gainer, who had a long career in other police departments before joining the Capitol Police, where he served as the chief and then, later, as the Senate sergeant-at-arms. For decades, providing security for “the People’s House” has meant facing criticism for being too intrusive or, just as often, too lax. The department is overseen by a board that includes the sergeants-at-arms from each chamber, who must answer to their respective majorities and who often take politics into account, former officials said, resulting in a hamstrung force that is rarely able to take swift unilateral action. “When things started unfolding in an emergency, you want a chief who’s empowered by the sergeant-at-arms to do what needs to be done in an emergency, without playing ‘Mother, May I,’” Gainer said. “Sometimes you had to be prepared to ask for forgiveness instead of permission.” Steven Sund — who resigned his post as chief of the department after last week’s rampage — told The Washington Post that he had asked the sergeants-at-arms for permission to put the National Guard on standby last week, in anticipation of huge, possibly violent, crowds. But the sergeants-at-arms refused, he said, citing concerns about “optics.” The sergeants-at-arms both resigned after last week’s breach; they have not responded to requests for comment. Though police departments across the country can be notoriously opaque, they routinely release basic information about crime, complaints about misconduct and the racial and gender makeup of the force. The Capitol Police does not. And its officers do not wear body cameras, in part out of concerns over lawmakers’ privacy. A bill that would have required the department to report crime statistics and strengthen its disciplinary process was introduced last summer by Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the ranking Republican on the committee that oversees the department. The bill went nowhere. Allegations of gender discrimination have dogged the department for years. In lawsuits, female officers have described a culture of sexual harassment, with commanders rarely punished for lewd remarks or for sleeping with subordinates. At the same time, they say, women have been disciplined harshly for more minor offenses. In one instance, a sergeant was demoted and suspended after she leaked reports that a fellow officer had left a gun in a restroom at the Capitol, according to court papers, while little happened to that officer. The department has also faced repeated complaints of racism. A lawsuit filed in 2001 by more than 250 Black officers, including Blackmon-Malloy, remains unresolved, and current and former officers say the problems persist. There are no Black men on the force with a rank higher than captain. At the same time, many of the officers who have been lauded for heroism, including the two officers who helped stop a shooting in 2017 at a congressional baseball practice, have been Black. So is Eugene Goodman, the officer who was captured on video running up the stairs in the Capitol last week, apparently luring rioters away from the Senate. In 2015, an email from the department’s intelligence office before the Million Man March warned of potential “fireworks,” citing the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and “rabble-rousing rhetoric” by the organizer, Louis Farrakhan. A year later, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is Black, said he had attracted suspicion from the Capitol Police on more than one occasion. The new acting chief, Yogananda Pittman, is both the first African American and the first woman to lead the department. After congressional leaders urged the department to be more communicative, she issued a very brief statement. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Week
A reserve of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines set to be repurposed as first doses is already empty, state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans tell The Washington Post.Both the coronavirus vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. require two doses to be fully effective. So when distribution of first doses began, the Trump administration held back matching second doses to make sure recipients would be fully protected against COVID-19. Amid a massive demand for more doses, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced earlier this week that the department would begin doling out those reserved doses to more people, saying increased production speed would make up for the soon-to-be-depleted reserve.But as officials soon learned, the federal government had stopped stockpiling second dose vaccines weeks ago, they tell the Post. Both first and second doses were instead taken right off the manufacturing line. That meant Azar's announcement reportedly released a stockpile that didn't exist. The U.S. had already reached its maximum distribution capacity, and new doses distributors were expecting next week weren't coming, the Post reports.HHS spokesperson Michael Pratt confirmed in an email to the Post that the last of the reserve had been taken out for shipment this weekend. He didn't acknowledge Azar's comments, but said Operation Warp Speed had "always intended to transition from holding second doses in reserve as manufacturing stabilizes and we gained confidence in the ability for a consistent flow of vaccines." he also said states had only ordered 75 percent of the vaccines available to them. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's second impeachment
- NBC News
- Associated Press
NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. Following one last unsuccessful attempt to hammer itself down over the weekend with 500 strokes, the team called it quits. "We’ve given it everything we’ve got, but Mars and our heroic mole remain incompatible,” said the German Space Agency's Tilman Spohn, the lead scientist for the experiment.