A new monolith that was supposed to be unveiled to the public at a Scripps Ranch shopping center was found destroyed Wednesday.
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From Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders to Judiciary Committee head Dick Durbin, these are some of the new leaders of the Senate’s most powerful panels.
- The Week
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- NBC News
While the Democratic-controlled House could pass the bill again, its chances of clearing the Senate are nil.
A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but could face pushback from the courts.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.The big picture: U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, issued a temporary restraining order blocking the policy for 14 days. * Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration last week, claiming the freeze "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security, per a press release from Paxton’s office. * "The issues implicated by that Agreement are of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to addressing the merits," Tipton wrote in his Tuesday order. * Tipton also said Texas has provided evidence that the freeze would result in "millions of dollars of damage" by spurring an increase in spending on public services for unauthorized immigrants, according to the judge’s order.What they're saying: "Texas is the FIRST state in the nation to bring a lawsuit against the Biden Admin. AND WE WON," Paxton tweeted. "Within 6 days of Biden’s inauguration, Texas has HALTED his illegal deportation freeze." * Neither DHS nor Immigration and Customs Enforcement immediately responded to Axios' request for comment.Of note: Former President Trump was frequently met with injunctions for his immigration policies.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Week
Did the Proud Boys help plan, lead the Capitol siege? Prosecutors are looking, and the video looks damning.
At least six members of the Proud Boys, a group of right-wing nationalist "Western chauvinists," have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 violent siege of the U.S. Capitol. Among those charged is Joseph Biggs, a Proud Boy leader who led about 100 men from former President Donald Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally to the Capitol. Prosecutors and federal investigators are now trying to determine how closely the Proud Boys communicated during the siege and whether they planned the incursion in advance, The New York Times reports. Investigators have recently turned their attention to two Proud Boy organizers on the West Coast, Ethan Nordean of Auburn, Washington, and Eddie Block from Madera, California, the Times reports, citing a federal law enforcement official. Nordean, also called Rufio Panman, has not been charged, and Block, who live-streamed the insurrection, told the Times that federal agents seized his electronic equipment on Friday. Investigator are also scrutinizing the role of Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio, who was not at the riot because he had been banned from Washington, D.C., two days earlier. Still, "despite having launched one of the most sprawling inquiries in American history, investigators have yet to unearth clear-cut evidence suggesting there was a widespread conspiracy to assault the Capitol," the Times reports. The Wall Street Journal made a pretty compelling case Tuesday that the Proud Boys were at least key instigators of the assault, based on a thorough review of video and social media posts. The Proud Boys have publicly downplayed their involvement in the Capitol incursion. Tarrio told the Times a week after the siege that it was misguided and anyone who damaged the Capitol or assaulted police should be prosecuted. The handful of Proud Boys arrested after being filmed breaking into the Capitol, like Dominic Pezzola, "obviously, they didn't help our cause," he added. Federal authorities as of Monday had charged about 150 of the more than 800 people who charged into the Capitol, and "it's likely not everyone will be tracked down and charged with a crime," The Associated Press reports. There were few arrests during the incursion, and "federal prosecutors are focusing on the most critical cases and the most egregious examples of wrongdoing." Some Capitol insurrectionists were turned in to the FBI by friends and family members, AP notes, but in dozens of cases, the rioters themselves "downright flaunted their activity on social media." More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
- National Review
Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he’s saying: Putin said growing inequality and “systemic socio-economic problems” were “splitting the society,” adding: “This pressure shows through even in those countries which seem to possess well-established civic and democratic institutions.” * He said Big Tech firms had established monopolies, and questioned whether their services were serving “the public interest” or further contributing to the divide. * “We have seen all of this quite recently in the United States, and everybody understands quite well what I’m talking about," he said.Between the lines: This could also be read as a self-serving argument from Putin, who has sharply curtailed freedoms online and was only yesterday forced to respond to a viral YouTube video in which Navalny claimed he owned a “billion dollar palace."The other side: Putin’s style diverged sharply from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who addressed the conference on Monday. * Xi appeared polished and camera-ready, breaking his speech into four themes and speaking in sweeping terms about international cooperation. * Putin was late to start, sat in a slouched position and peppered his speech with economic statistics in a tone that alternated between combativeness and disinterest.Worth noting: Putin also contended that countries facing internal divisions were seizing on “external enemies,” particularly “countries that do not agree to become docile, easy to control satellites.” * He argued that the increasing the use of tools like sanctions would only increase the risk of future “military force.”Go deeper: Biden's Russia challengeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters. In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling. Tarrio, in an interview with Reuters Tuesday, denied working undercover or cooperating in cases against others.
- The Independent
Melissa Carone was widely mocked following her court appearance in December 2020
- The Telegraph
Turkish state media accused former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea of "whitewashing terrorists" after they announced they were intending to produce a TV drama based on female Kurdish fighters in Syria. The series will be an adaptation of journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s 'The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice', a book based on interviews with members of Kurdish all-female brigades known as Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). Part of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), they gained international attention for fighting against the Islamic State Group in northern Syria. The series will be produced by the production company HiddenLight, which was founded by Mrs Clinton and her daughter. "We created HiddenLight to celebrate heroes - sung and unsung alike - whose courage is too often overlooked, and we could not be more thrilled to bring this inspiring story to viewers around the world," said Mrs Clinton. Turkey takes a very different view of the YPG, which is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed left-wing group that has fought a guerilla war with Turkey since 1984 over securing greater Kurdish rights. Turkey considers the entire YPG to be terrorists because of their links to the PKK, which was designated a terrorist organisation under Bill Clinton’s administration in 1997. The US designation does not apply to the YPG or YPJ, however. “In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including, women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said. The fighting between Turkey and the PKK has killed at least 40,000 across both sides of the conflict and both have repeatedly committed human rights violations.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is joining the Conservative Partnership Institute, a group run by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint that operates as a "networking hub" for conservative groups, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.Between the lines: Meadows, who is still in frequent contact with former President Trump and has been advising him ahead of his impeachment trial, will now operate behind the scenes to help create more members like Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley — conservative firebrands with strong networks and staffs.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * The House Freedom Caucus founder will also play a key role in gathering grassroots support to oppose Biden nominees and policies in the first 100 days, the sources said. * His first day is on Wednesday.The backdrop: DeMint founded CPI because he felt the conservative movement did a lousy job at helping members of Congress be effective legislators once they get to D.C. * His team has since focused on placing conservatives in prime spots in the Trump administration and Capitol Hill, and has trained staff on strategy and congressional rules and procedure. * Other CPI staff include Wesley Denton, former chief of staff in Trump's Office of Management and Budget; Ed Corrigan, former executive director of the Senate Steering Committee under DeMint, Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions; and Rachel Bovard, former Rand Paul legislative director and a leading conservative voice on Big Tech battles.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
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- The Week
House Democrats will introduce a budget resolution Monday that starts the process for the Senate to use a legislative tool called budget reconciliation to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package with 51 votes, meaning no Republicans would need to support it if the Democratic caucus stuck together. But Democratic leaders also made sure to underscore Tuesday that they would prefer to pass the COVID-19 package with Republican support, through the regular legislative process. "The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues but without them if we must," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a news conference. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis." Biden's package includes $1,400 direct payments, a hike in the child tax credit, an extension of emergency jobless benefits set to expire March 14, billions for vaccine distribution and schools, and a $15 national minimum wage, among other provisions. Ending the legislative filibuster is off the table for now, and using the reconciliation process comes with limitations. Many Democrats, skeptical that any Republicans would support even a smaller stimulus package, see it as the only viable option. But a handful of moderates from both parties are urging Biden to make a deal. One Senate Democrat could thwart the legislation. "I'll guarantee you I can sit down with my Republican friends and find a pathway forward," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who organized a meeting between bipartisan Senate moderates and Biden's team on Sunday. "Let me try first." Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) disagreed. "People can talk to whoever they want to talk to, but this country faces enormous crises," he said. "Elections have consequences. We're in the majority, and we've got to act." Starting the ball rolling for budget reconciliation leaves plenty of time for bipartisan talks. "If we're going to use reconciliation, we have to go forward with it pretty soon, but that doesn't prevent a negotiated package as well," said House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.). "At worst, it's Plan A and at best it's Plan B." More stories from theweek.comMitch McConnell is the GOATSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'
- The Independent
‘She was always having a good time, making people laugh and was generous and kind’