Jake Sherman brings the latest from Capitol Hill where protestors have breached steps, says people in the Senate are receiving messages warning of "an external security threat," prohibiting entry and exit to the building.
- Yahoo News
- The Independent
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
- Associated Press
President Donald Trump has commuted the prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has served about seven years of a 28-year sentence for corruption. The announcement Wednesday morning was part of a flurry of clemency action in the final hours of Trump's White House term that benefited more than 140 people, including rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of Trump and his family. A White House statement said that prominent members of the Detroit community had supported the former Democratic mayor's commutation and it noted: “During his incarceration, Mr. Kilpatrick has taught public speaking classes and has led Bible Study groups with his fellow inmates.”
Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken said at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday that it was “extraordinary how frightened Vladimir Putin seems to be of one man” — Alexey Navalny.Why it matters: Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, Navalny, returned to Russia on Sunday and was swiftly arrested. He spent the previous five months recovering in Germany after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. His detention poses an early foreign policy challenge for the Biden administration.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What he’s saying: Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Navalny served as a voice for millions of Russians, “and their voice needs to be heard in Russia.” * “The attempts to silence that voice by silencing Mr. Navalny is something that we strongly condemn,” Blinken added, noting that Navalny's arrest and other points of tension with Russia would be “very high on the agenda for an incoming administration.” * Incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan previously called for Navalny's immediate release.The latest: Navalny was ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days. He was officially arrested for violating the conditions of a suspended prison term by missing an appointment in December.Worth noting: Blinken praised Sen. Mitt Romney, who serves on the committee, for being “prescient” on Russia. Romney was mocked for referring to Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe” in a 2012 presidential debate with Barack Obama, including by Obama himself.Go deeper: Bill Browder on Russia-U.S. relations after Alexei Navalny's arrestGet smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
- The Telegraph
Drug kingpins are to be targeted by the Government in a £148 million bid to “cut the head off the snake” and combat addiction in an operation dubbed “Project Adder". Boris Johnson announced that £68 million of the extra money will be used to take on county lines gangs which have grown into a £500 million criminal industry distributing illegal drugs from cities to suburban and rural towns throughout the UK. A further £80 million will be invested in drug treatment services to try to halt re-offending, and slash demand from addicts who are fuelling the gangs and the violence they use to stake out their territories. Part of the money will go to “Project Adder” – an acronym for Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery – which will direct money into policing and treatment in five drug blackspots. The Prime Minister said: “It is clear that drugs are a serious driver of the violence which devastates communities and robs young lives. That is why we must take action to cut off supply and cut the head off the snake by tackling the criminal gangs which exploit young people. “We must also help people to get off drugs in the first place and that is why we are launching Project Adder, a new, targeted approach which will ramp up local enforcement, while at the same time diverting more people into recovery, backed up by the largest investment in treatment in 15 years.” The cash injection follows a damning report by Prof Carole Black for the Home Office that warned the heroin and crack retail market has been transformed by county lines gangs driving increased violence and the exploitation of young people and vulnerable drug users. She also warned that funding for drug treatment had fallen dramatically in recent years and in some local authorities by as much as 40 per cent, denying many drug users the support they needed to escape their habit. Some £40 million of the new money will go to police and other law enforcement agencies to take down county lines gangs and drug kingpins. It brings the total invested to £65 million since November 2019. The Home Office said the funding had already seen more than 3,400 people arrested, more than 550 county lines closed, drugs with a street value of £9 million, and £1.5 million cash seized, and more than 770 vulnerable people safeguarded. The extra £28 million for Project Adder will run for three financial years in five areas with some of the highest rates of drug misuse: Blackpool, Hastings, Middlesbrough, Norwich and Swansea Bay.
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
- Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
Already facing allegations of stealing more than $600,000 in federal funds from a health care school she directed, a Tennessee state senator has been charged in a new fraud case, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said Tuesday.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
A British prosecutor hired by the Hong Kong government to lead a case against democracy activists has pulled out after coming under pressure in Britain including 'disgraceful' comments by its foreign minister, city authorities said on Wednesday. David Perry, a Queen's Counsel, was due to lead the case against tabloid media magnate Jimmy Lai and several others, including veteran democracy activists Martin Lee and Margaret Ng. But Hong Kong's Department of Justice noted "growing pressure and criticism" of Perry in Britain for taking the case, adding in a statement that he had "concerns about such pressures and the exemption of quarantine" and "indicated that the trial should proceed without him".
- Associated Press
French President Emmanuel Macron hoped on Tuesday that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will show a greater military commitment to fight against Islamic extremists in several theaters of conflict and especially in the Middle East. Macron, who made his New Year’s speech to the French military in Brest, in western France, said “I am certain that in the coming weeks, the new administration (Biden) will need to make key decisions that will mark a greater commitment and awareness in the fight against terrorism" in Syria and Iraq. Macron stressed that France has maintained its efforts to fight against the Islamic State group in the region.
Retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl's and Wayfair have stopped selling My Pillow products after Trump-supporting CEO Mike Lindell pushed baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.Driving the news: Lindell told NBC News Tuesday the retailers phoned him to say they could face "a boycott" if they didn't take the action. But Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl's have both said the decision was related to a lack of demand for My Pillow's products.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Lindell insisted to Fox9 that "leftists" on social media were behind the moves, which he claimed also resulted in HEB dropping My Pillow products.What they're saying: Axios has contacted all of the retailers for comment. Bed Bath & Beyond told the New York Times in a statement: "We have been rationalizing our assortment to discontinue a number of underperforming items and brands." * Kohl's told USA Today in a statement: "There has been decreased customer demand for MyPillow. We will sell our current inventory and not buy additional/future inventory in the brand."Of note: The retailers' action comes a day after Dominion Voting Systems sent a cease and desist letter to Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Week
Anthony Scaramucci was right: The White House appears to be having trouble rounding up a sizable crowd for President Trump's official send-off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday."In what looks like a desperate attempt to build a crowd for the crowd-obsessed president, an email has been making the rounds to current and former White House officials inviting them, and as many as five plus-ones, to Trump's elaborate exit ceremony," Politico reported Tuesday morning. "The go-to excuse for skipping out has been the 6 a.m. call time at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. But truly, many just don't want to be photographed sending off their former boss."Trump's current staffers have a good reason to avoid their outgoing boss. "Former White House officials and campaign staffers who would typically land plum jobs in corporate America after serving their time are now out in the cold," Politico says. One former White House official who got out early put it this way: "No one wants to touch them, they're just toxic." Another former Trump aide, pointing to the fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection, was more blunt, telling Politico: "They're f---ed."Trump will be the first president since Andrew Johnson, another member of the tiny impeached president club, to skip the inauguration of his successor. "Johnson snubbed Ulysses S. Grant in 1869," The Washington Post notes. More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Lindsey Graham seemed very pleased with Biden's secretary of state nominee Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments
- The Independent
‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors...traitors get shot,' he told his children
A Japanese politician from the Liberal Democratic Party is spearheading the push for a bill that would give workers a three-day weekend without affecting job security. About the bill: House of Councilors member Kuniko Inoguchi, who represents a district of Chiba Prefecture, saw the potential to introduce the bill after the successful implementation of four-day workweeks by a few Japanese companies in the past, according to Sankei Shimbun via SoraNews24. “We have seen that Japan has a latent ability to create flexible work environments and workstyles,” the politician said.
- The Guardian
Decision would mean US could assign blame for death on to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, left, with journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a scene from the recent documentary The Dissident. Photograph: AP The Biden administration will declassify an intelligence report into the murder by the Saudi government of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Avril Haines, who has been nominated to serve as director of national intelligence. The decision means that the US is likely to officially assign blame for Khashoggi’s brutal murder to the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and US resident who wrote critical columns about the Saudi crown prince, was murdered by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018. While media reports have said that the US intelligence community determined with a medium to high degree of confidence that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing, that assessment has never officially been stated. The crown prince has denied he ordered the murder. Since then, Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz and other human rights activists have called on Biden to release the classified report into the murder, saying that doing so was the first step towards seeking accountability. During Haines’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday, the Oregon senator Ron Wyden said that, if confirmed as the new DNI, she would have the opportunity to “immediately” turn the page on the “excessive secrecy” and “lawlessness” of the Trump administration, and submit an unclassified report on “who was responsible” for Khashoggi’s murder, as required under a February 2020 law that the Trump administration in effect blocked. Asked whether she would release the report, Haines replied: “Yes, senator, absolutely. We will follow the law.” In a statement, Wyden praised the move, saying it was “refreshing to hear a straightforward commitment to follow the law” from Haines. Biden's Director of National Intelligence nominee Avril Haines says, if confirmed, she will provide Congress with an unclassified report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. pic.twitter.com/ocPUsJUeti— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 19, 2021 Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and director at the Brookings Institution, said: “It is a useful way to put the question of accountability for Khashoggi’s murder in the public domain early in the new administration.” One of the most outspoken advocates for justice for the murder, Agnès Callamard, also praised the move, saying the information would provide the “one essential missing piece of the puzzle of the execution of Jamal Khashoggi”. Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, said she hoped other information would also come to light, such as any new details about the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains, and whether a risk assessment had ever been done by the US about whether Khashoggi was in danger before his trip to Turkey. Callamard, who will be named the new head of Amnesty International later this year, also pointed to other threats that have reportedly been lodged against human rights defenders and former Saudi officials in Canada and Norway by Prince Mohammed’s agents, who have been called a “death squad” in media reports. “At some point, if the US intelligence has information about those operatives, then I think they should really make that information publicly available,” Callamard said. The release of the Khashoggi report will also raise a host of new questions for both the US and Saudi Arabia. “If the document fingers MBS as responsible for the murder it will raise the question what is Biden going to do to hold him accountable?” said Riedel. During the 2020 election campaign, Biden issued scathing attacks against the crown prince, saying Saudi Arabia needed to be treated as “a pariah”. It is expected that the Biden administration would seek to curb weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, but it could also take more targeted actions against Prince Mohammed, including financial sanctions.
Secretary of State designate Tony Blinken said in his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the Biden administration is "a long way" from executing its plan to return to the Iran nuclear deal, and plans to consult with Israel and the Gulf states before doing so.Why it matters: America's partners in the Middle East have been publicly raising their concerns about a possible return to the 2015 agreement and calling on the Biden administration to consult with them first.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.The state of play: President-elect Biden's plan is to return to the deal, by lifting sanctions, if Iran returns to compliance with the restrictions on its nuclear program. In the next stage, Biden wants to negotiate a broader and longer-lasting agreement. * Blinken said those negotiations would include Iran’s missile program and regional activity.What they're saying: Blinken said Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal left Iran closer to obtaining a nuclear weapon because Tehran began to breach its terms. “Iran’s breakout time, which was a year under the nuclear deal, is only 3-4 months today," Blinken said in the hearing. * Yes, but: While Blinken stressed that the U.S. would live up to its commitments if Iran did, he said the new administration wouldn't rush back into the deal before assessing whether Iran was prepared to return to full compliance.Worth noting: Blinken said he “didn’t shed tears” about the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassim Soleimani by the U.S. one year ago, but added that he believes it made America less safe.Go deeper: * Netanyahu aides fret that "Obama people" will shape Biden's Iran policy * Netanyahu may appoint envoy to Biden administration on Iran * Israel to push Biden to take it easy on Saudi Arabia, UAE and EgyptBe smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.