Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an emotional tribute to his longtime friend and colleague Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who then gave a farewell speech on the Senate floor after 18 years of service.
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
- Associated Press
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he was prompted to by the insurrection at the nation's Capitol. Ben Goldey confirmed his departure to The Colorado Sun after it was first reported on Saturday by Axios. The Sun reported that Goldey did not respond to additional questions, but he told Axios he was leaving in the wake of a deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- Reuters Videos
The protesters had gathered on a square in front of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries, carrying signs reading "Freedom: stop this siege" and chanting "What do we want? Freedom!". None wore masks, which are not mandatory, and few respected social distancing rules. Authorities had declined an application for the protest to be held on Museum Square. The demonstrators refused to leave when police told them to do so, and some threw fireworks.
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
- The Telegraph
Miners trapped underground in eastern China for more than a week after a blast at a gold mine have managed to send up a note to rescuers, the local government said on Monday. The blast occurred eight days ago on Sunday afternoon at a mine near Qixia city in eastern Shandong province, leaving 22 miners trapped underground more than 600 metres from the mine’s entrance. After a long period without any contact, rescuers were able to drill through the mine on Sunday afternoon and said they heard "knocking sounds". A note was then sent up from the trapped miners saying that 12 were still alive, the local government said in a statement Monday. "We are in urgent need of cold medicine, painkillers, medical tape, external anti-inflammatory drugs, and three people have high blood pressure," the note read.
- The Independent
SLC’s ‘Save America’ rally also saw a defiant teenage protester and an attack on a local media member.
Kevin McCarthy warned members to not call out colleagues by name, citing potential political violence
Members of the House Republican Conference ignored leader Kevin McCarthy last week when he warned them against criticizing colleagues by name based on intelligence that doing so could trigger more political violence. Why it matters: McCarthy made clear that name-dropping opponents, instead of spelling out complaints in more general terms, can put a literal target on a politician, especially with tensions so high following the events of Jan. 6.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.That's what happened to Rep. Liz Cheney, the GOP conference chairperson, after she said she would support impeaching President Trump. * She and several other members had to increase their security and take extra precautions because of death threats and other alarming warnings after their colleagues singled them out in their complaints.What McCarthy said: The House minority leader issued his warning during a conference call last Monday. He said his concern was driven by the FBI briefings he receives. * "It doesn’t matter which side of the position you were: I respect it, I respect why you did what you did. But what we are saying on television, when we say a member’s name. ... This is not the moment in time to do it." * "You can incite something else. The country is very divided and we know this. Let’s not put any member, I don’t care who they are Republican, Democrat or any person not even in Congress. Watch our words closely. I get these reports on a weekly basis. I’ve seen something I haven’t seen before.”Several minutes later, McCarthy repeated the message: “Emotions are high. What you say matters. Let’s not put other people in danger. Let’s watch what words we’re using and definitely not be using other members' names in any media.”Days later, some GOP members ignored him and openly criticized their colleagues * Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the name of his Republican colleague, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, "will be one forgotten by next January." * Rep. Lauren Boebart (R-Colo.) mocked Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House's new mask fines.One of the most blatant attacks, leading to a media firestorm, was when several members of the House Freedom Caucus went after Cheney for voting to impeach Trump. * On the day of the vote, the members circulated a petition to remove her from her leadership role. * Cheney is now fielding a series of threats against her, many from fiery Trump supporters angered by her vote, a source with direct knowledge of the threat said. * “We don’t comment on security matters,” Cheney’s communications director, Jeremy Adler, told Axios.What we’re hearing: McCarthy's team told Axios he isn't looking for repercussions. Spokesman Matt Sparks said the leader wants to lower the temperature and is encouraging members to be mindful of the current environment.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the gap between the two groups' infection rates.> Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More 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
- 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
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on his Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.Why it matters: Many of the mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Several Republicans who ran for Congress last year publicly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets — something Sasee noted in his op-ed, headlined "QAnon is Destroying the GOP From Within." * Sasse blames the violence on "the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice."Driving the news: Sasse wrote in his op-ed that "until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon." * "They can't," he added. "The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about." * Sasse criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for not denouncing QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) when she was running for Congress in 2020. * "She's already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president," Sasse wrote. "She'll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party."Worth noting: Sasse said before the House impeached President Trump for a second time he'd consider "definitely consider" any articles of impeachment against him over his conduct and comments at a rally before the riots. * The Nebraska senator criticized Trump's embrace of QAnon supporters last August, warning that Democrats could "take the Senate" this "will be a big part of why they won." * Months later, the Democrats went on to win control of the Senate.The bottom line: Sasse wrote that his party faces a choice when Trump leaves office: "We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories."Go deeper: * The Capitol siege's QAnon roots * House freshmen at war after Capitol siegeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Britain's vaccine rollout is limited by a "lumpy" manufacturing process with production changes by Pfizer and a delay by AstraZeneca that could lead to brief supply disruption, Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday. The United Kingdom, which has the world's fifth worst official COVID-19 death toll, is racing to be among the first major countries to vaccinate its population - seen as the best way to exit the pandemic and get the economy going again. The United Kingdom has vaccinated 3,857,266 people with a first dose and 449,736 with a second dose.
The U.S. Army has identified a 1st Armored Division staff sergeant from Fort Bliss, Texas found dead at his home Thursday.
- The Independent
The latest updates from the White House and beyond on 17 January 2021
- 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
- Miami Herald
A man who did prison time for aggravated stalking and has convictions for domestic violence and violating a restraining order has an 18-year-old girl he has kidnapped at gunpoint, Pembroke Pines police said.
Guatemalan security forces on Sunday used sticks and tear gas to beat back a large migrant caravan bound for the United States, just days before the advent of a new U.S. administration, which urged travelers to abandon the journey. Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants, including families with young children, have entered Guatemala since Friday, authorities say, fleeing poverty and violence in a region hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November. "Guatemala's message is loud and clear: These types of illegal mass movements (of people) will not be accepted, that's why we are working together with the neighboring nations to address this as a regional issue," the Guatemalan president's office said in emailed comments.
- The Telegraph
The coronavirus was found on ice cream produced in eastern China, prompting a recall of cartons from the same batch, according to the government. The Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, adjacent to Beijing, was sealed and its employees were being tested for the coronavirus, a city government statement said. There was no indication anyone had contracted the virus from the ice cream. Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold, the government said. It said 390 sold in Tianjin were being tracked down and authorities elsewhere were notified of sales to their areas. The ingredients included New Zealand milk powder and whey powder from Ukraine, the government said. The Chinese government has suggested the disease, first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, came from abroad and has highlighted what it says are discoveries of the coronavirus on imported fish and other food, though foreign scientists are skeptical. Chinese officials have blamed cluster outbreaks on frozen food products imported from countries including the US, EU, New Zealand, Canada, India, Germany and Ecuador. And recently, China blamed an infection in a current cluster outbreak on an imported virus strain that had supposedly contaminated a package of steamed buns. The World Health Organisation has said that cases of live viruses being found on packaging appeared to be “rare and isolated". Other health experts have cautioned against drawing causal links between food packaging and outbreaks – finding traces of virus indicates it is present on a surface, but does not mean it can cause infections. The report came as China confirmed 109 new Covid-19 cases, two-thirds of them in a northern province that abuts Beijing, and no deaths. There were 72 new cases in Hebei province, where the government is building isolation hospitals with a total of 9,500 rooms to combat an upsurge in infections, according to the National Health Commission. The Health Commission on Saturday blamed the new infections on travellers and imported goods it said brought the virus from abroad. China's death toll stands at 4,653 out of 88,227 total cases.
- Associated Press
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that his government has agreed with a U.N. proposal to delay shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to countries like Mexico that had exiting purchase agreements, in order to get more doses to poorer countries quicker. López Obrador said the delayed shipments would be made up later. “Anyway, that won't change our plan, because we are already seeking out other vaccines,”' López Obrador said, referring to the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as the Chinese CanSino and Russian Sputnik V vaccines, neither of which has been approved for use yet.