- The Independent
First family orders sesame bagels with cream cheese
- The Week
Senate Democrats are drawing a line at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) demand that a power-sharing agreement in the 50-50 Senate include a pledge to retain the legislative filibuster. "If we gave him that, then the filibuster would be on everything, every day," Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet the Press. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered McConnell "word for word" the same power-sharing agreement used in the first half of 2001, and McConnell's insistence on adding the filibuster pledge is "a non-starter."But until Schumer and McConnell reach agreement on the Senate's operating rules, Republicans still retain much of the majority they lost last Wednesday."Without an organizing accord, Republicans remain in the majority of most Senate committees," and "veteran Democrats eager to seize the gavels and advance their long dormant agendas can only wait and wonder," The Washington Post explains. "Newly sworn-in Democratic senators cannot get committee assignments until an organizational deal is struck," leaving the old GOP-majority structures in place, and "Democrats can't unilaterally impose an organizing agreement because they would need Republican support to block a filibuster."The filibuster has evolved into a sclerotic de facto requirement for a 60-senator supermajority on all legislation. Frustration with obstruction by the minority led Senate Democrats to end the filibuster for some presidential appointees and lower-court judges in 2013, and McConnell continued eroding the filibuster as majority leader, killing it for Supreme Court nominees and further easing the confirmation of presidential appointees.A handful of Democratic centrists would prefer to keep the filibuster — for now. But there is mounting pressure from inside and outside the chamber. "There is absolutely no reason to give Sen. McConnell months and months to prove what we absolutely know — that he is going to continue his gridlock and dysfunction from the minority," said Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for the anti-filibuster liberal coalition Fix Our Senate.More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
- The Telegraph
The acrimonious split within Republican ranks widened over the weekend as Donald Trump made his foray back into politics, backing the re-election of a hard-line supporter as chair of the party in Arizona. His wholehearted support for Kelli Ward was seen by allies as the former president firing a warning shot across the bows of any Republican senators considering backing his impeachment. Underlining Mr Trump’s grip on the Republican grassroots, the Arizona party also voted to censure John McCain’s widow, Cindy, former senator Jeff Flake and governor Doug Ducey, who refused to back the former president’s claims of election fraud. Mr Trump’s intervention came amid reports that he is considering setting up a “Patriot Party” which would spearhead primary challenges to his opponents in the 2022 mid-term elections. The former president has already amassed a massive war chest with his Save America political action committee declaring last month that it had raked in $207.5 million in donations.
CVS Health Corp has completed the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations at about 8,000 U.S. skilled nursing facilities that were part of a federal program, the drugstore chain said on Monday. CVS said it will complete first vaccinations in the 40,000 long-term care facilities that have contracted with the company by mid-February, and said it has completed the first vaccinations of residents in skilled-nursing facilities. Most states have moved on to begin vaccinations of members of the general public.
- Associated Press
Indianapolis police arrested a 17-year-old boy Monday in the killings of five people, including a pregnant woman, who were shot to death inside a home in what the city's mayor called a “devastating act of violence.” The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the name of the suspect in Sunday's killings was “not being released at this time since the suspect is a juvenile." As officers were investigating, police received information about 4:40 a.m. that led them to a nearby home, where they found multiple adults dead inside from apparent gunshot wounds, Sgt. Shane Foley said Sunday.
- NBC News
The governor ordered a halt to nonessential medical procedures last year, which the attorney general then said applied to "any type of abortions."
California Governor Gavin Newsom's office has decided to lift the orders as ICU availability in the regions that remained under the stay-at-home order, including the Bay area and Southern California are projected to rise above the 15% threshold that triggered the lockdown measures, according https://bit.ly/3sSPOfp to San Francisco Chronicle. California has reported over 3.1 million cases and 36,745 deaths so far, a Reuters tally showed. Strict stay-at-home orders were renewed for much of California in December to avert a crisis in hospitals.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Independent
Biden news: Experts find major ‘gaps’ in Trump pardons as White House scrambles to rollout vaccine plan
Latest developments from Washington DC and beyond
- The Telegraph
Israel has extradited an ultra-orthodox former headteacher accused of committing dozens of child sex offences against her pupils in Australia, ending a six-year legal battle. Malka Leifer was put on an early-morning flight from Tel Aviv to Australia, Israeli media reported on Monday, just hours before Ben Gurion airport was closed due to coronavirus restrictions. "We confirm the deportation," Israel’s justice ministry said, without giving further details. Photographs published by Israeli media showed Ms Leifer being led onto the plane in handcuffs. Ms Leifer faces 74 charges of sexual abuse which she allegedly committed while working as a teacher and headteacher at an ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in Melbourne. She was first accused in 2008 but left Australia with her family for Israel, where she lived in the Emmanuel settlement in the West Bank. Israel attempted to extradite her in 2014 after her arrest, and again in 2016, but this failed as Ms Leifer had been placed in a mental health facility and was deemed unfit for trial by experts. Undercover private investigators then filmed Ms Leifer shopping and depositing a bank cheque, arousing suspicions that she was fit to stand trial. In response Israel launched a further investigation which led to her being re-arrested in February 2018. The Israeli Supreme Court eventually rejected her lawyers' final appeal against extradition. "More than six years have passed since a request was filed in the Jerusalem district court to declare the appellant extradited to Australia," it said, adding that there were no proceedings left which could prevent the extradition. A public campaign by three alleged victims, Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, is said to have played a key role in sending Ms Leifer back to Australia to face justice. The long delay in the extradition process has been critcised by the Zionist Federation of Australia, as well as Australian politicians and activists. "That Leifer was allowed to escape justice for so long was a travesty", said Jeremy Leibler, the Federation's president. "While it's a relief that Israel's justice system has finally prevailed, the time and process that resulted in these delays are completely unacceptable." Nick Kaufman, Ms Leifer’s lawyer, complained during the extradition hearings that the Australian and Israeli media had turned his client into a "monster".
- NBC News
One person suspected of human trafficking was arrested on state charges during "Operation Lost Angels," the FBI said.
The United States often sends ships and aircraft into the South China Sea to "flex its muscles" and this is not good for peace, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway. The strategic South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year, has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington, with China particularly angered by U.S. military activity there. The U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships, entered the waterway on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said, just days after Joe Biden became U.S. president..
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2022, citing "partisan gridlock."Why it matters: It's a surprise retirement from a prominent Senate Republican who easily won re-election in 2016 and was expected to do so again in 2022, creating an open Senate seat in a red-leaning swing state.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.Between the lines: Portman was one of the Republican senators who said that former President Trump "bears some responsibility" for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. His decision not to seek re-election will free him from the political constraints of voting to convict Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial, though it's not yet clear whether he will choose to do so.What they're saying: "I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision," Portman said in a statement. * “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground." * "This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Telegraph
An Icelandic man who got the world's first double shoulder and arm transplant is recovering well after the operation, two decades after the accident that cost him both limbs, doctors said Friday. They said it was still uncertain how much mobility Felix Gretarsson, 48, will eventually recover following the operation earlier this month in the French southeastern city of Lyon. But "giving a little to somebody who was missing so much, that's already a lot" Aram Gazarian, the lead surgeon in the operation, told a news conference. "If he can recover the possibility to actively bend his elbow, that would be a life-changer," he said.
- Yahoo News Video
The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency.
- Associated Press
Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said Sunday.
Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Eugene Stein were found guilty by a jury in the Kansas U.S. district court in 2018 of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and violating the civil rights of Muslims living in the Garden City housing complex. In January 2019, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced Allen to 25 years in prison, Wright to 26 years and Stein to 30 years.
- The Telegraph
China ramped up its pressure on democratic Taiwan over the weekend, with an unusually large number of fighter jets approaching the island in a "test" for the new administration of US President Joe Biden. On Sunday, 12 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, along with a reconnaissance aircraft and two anti-submarine aircraft, Taiwan’s defence ministry said. A day earlier, China sent eight bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons and four fighter jets to the same area to the southwest of the island, as well as one reconnaissance aircraft. On both occasions, Taiwan sent up aircraft, issued radio warnings to the Chinese aircraft, and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor their activity. Beijing claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory, and has been angered by a show of increased US support for Taiwan during Donald Trump’s administration. In recent months, China has carried out frequent, at times daily, incursions aimed at pressuring President Tsai Ing-wen’s government to accept Beijing’s demand that it recognise Taiwan as part of China. These incursions have usually consisted of just one or two reconnaissance planes in recent weeks, rather than the warplanes seen over the weekend.
- NBC News
Since the pandemic began, the court has shifted ground on deferring to state restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus.
- The Week
There could soon be another Huckabee in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion.Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former President Donald Trump's second White House press secretary, is expected to announced on Monday that she will run for governor of Arkansas, two people familiar with the matter told NBC News. Her father, Mike Huckabee, served as Arkansas' governor from 1996 to 2007.Due to term limits, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) will be out of office in 2022, and Sanders has been thinking of throwing her hat into the ring since leaving the White House in 2019, NBC News reports. Her time as press secretary was tumultuous, with Sanders, a Trump loyalist, regularly accusing the media of spreading falsehoods and later admitting to federal investigators that she couldn't back up her assertion that FBI agents told the White House they had no confidence in former FBI Director James Comey.More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push