There needs to be deeper conversation about the future of the Republican party, a former US national security council member under President George W Bush has said. “I think there is blame to go around including on Capitol Hill,” Jamie Fly told BBC World News. “You had 70% of House Republicans vote against certifying the election results, you had most major figures in the party go along with this fantasy that the president tried to propagate since the election that there was widespread fraud, that somehow he had actually won the election,” he added. President Trump is facing impeachment over his role in the storming of Congress last week. Five people died. Mr Trump has rejected any responsibility for the violence. After the Senate vote the president released a video calling on his supporters to remain peaceful but did not mention his impeachment.
- Associated Press
- NBC News
Jacob Fracker, an off duty police officer charged in connection with the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol, is a member of the Virginia National Guard, an official said on Thursday, becoming the first known person currently in the military to be arrested over last week's events. President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers to flee the inner chambers of the building, fearing for their lives. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice said Fracker, along with another off duty police officer, Thomas Robertson, were charged after they were photographed inside the Capitol "making an obscene statement in front of a statue of (Revolutionary hero) John Stark."
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- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
- The Telegraph
- Associated Press
- Charlotte Observer
An Army private first class was arraigned on sexual assault charges before a military judge.
- The Week
GOP officials are reportedly privately worried controversial pro-Trump House members could launch Senate, governor campaigns in 2022
Georgia and Arizona were two of the most crucial states in this election cycle, and it looks like they'll remain at the forefront of the coming battle within the Republican Party, The New York Times reports.Things have grown tense in the Sun Belt states, where mainstream Republicans are hoping to fend off President Trump's allies. In Arizona, for instance, the state GOP is trying to censure Republican Gov. Doug Ducey — as well as former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Cindy McCain — in part because he has been "deemed insufficiently beholden to Trump," Politico reports. In Georgia, there's a faction on the right that wants to defeat Gov. Brian Kemp (R), who has faced Trump's wrath for not supporting his election conspiracy theories, in a gubernatorial primary in 2022.Both situations reportedly have the more traditional half of the Republican Party concerned — privately, the Times reports, GOP officials are concerned some high-profile members of the House that are considered staunch Trump loyalists who have "propagated fringe conspiracy theories," like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), as well as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), could launch campaigns for Senate seats and governorships in their states in 2022. So, even as, per USA Today, Republican senators ponder whether to vote to convict President Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial, and then potentially vote to bar him from future public office, their fight against him is seemingly far from over. Read more at The New York Times, Politico, and USA Today.More stories from theweek.com Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment The worst-case scenario for America's immediate future
- The Telegraph
A powerful earthquake killed at least 42 people and injured hundreds on Indonesia's island of Sulawesi on Friday, trapping several under rubble and unleashing dozens of aftershocks as authorities warned of more quakes that could trigger a tsunami. The quake and aftershocks damaged more than 300 homes and two hotels, as well as flattening a hospital and the office of a regional governor, where authorities told Reuters several people have been trapped under the rubble. "Praise be to God, for now OK, but we just felt another aftershock," said Sukri Efendy, a 26-year-old resident of the area.
- The Guardian
Critics condemn ‘callous betrayal’ after Trump officials set in motion transfer of Oak Flat to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton Protesters in Oak Flat in June 2015. Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP As one of its last acts, the Trump administration has set in motion the transfer of sacred Native American lands to a pair of Anglo-Australian mining conglomerates. The 2,422-acre Arizona parcel called Oak Flat is of enormous significance to the Western Apache and is now on track for destruction by what is slated to be one of the largest copper mining operations in the United States. Steps for the controversial land transfer from the US government, which owns the land, to the miners were completed on Friday morning, when a final environmental assessment was published. The government must soon transfer title to the land. Native Americans in the area have compared it to historical attacks on their tribes. “What was once gunpowder and disease is now replaced with bureaucratic negligence,” said Wendsler Nosie, founder of activist organization Apache Stronghold and a member of the Apache band descended from Geronimo. “Native people are treated as something invisible or gone. We are not. We don’t want to be pushed around any more.” The move comes after the administration sped up the environmental approval process for the transfer by a full year. During a meeting with environmental groups, regional Forest Service officials attributed the accelerated timeline to “pressure from the highest levels” of the US Department of Agriculture, though the government says it is only because the work was finished more quickly than expected. The recipient of the land is a firm called Resolution Copper, which was set up by the miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. “The Forest Service is clearly jumping through flaming hoops to get this done for Rio Tinto before Trump leaves office,” said Randy Serraglio, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. He called it “a callous betrayal of Native people who value the land as sacred.” Last May, Rio Tinto blasted a sacred Aboriginal site in western Australia’s Juukan Gorge. The widespread public outcry and investor revolt over the destruction led the Rio Tinto chairman, Simon Thompson, to promise that the company would “never again” destroy sites of “exceptional archaeological and cultural significance” during mining operations. The Resolution Copper east plant near Superior in Arizona. Photograph: Nancy Wiechec/Reuters Called Chi’chil Bildagoteel in Apache, Oak Flat is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its spiritual and cultural significance to at least a dozen south-west Native American tribes. It contains hundreds of indigenous archaeological sites dating back 1,500 years and is a place where Apache tribes have performed ceremonies for centuries. Yet thousands of feet beneath Oak Flat is a copper deposit estimated to be one of the largest in the world and worth more than $1bn. If the mine goes forward as planned, it will consume 11 square miles, including Apache burial grounds, sacred sites, petroglyphs and medicinal plants. Unbeknown to tribes and environmental groups who had long opposed mining Oak Flat, the land transfer was passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama in December 2014 as a last-minute rider to a Department of Defense spending bill. The legislation calls for giving Oak Flat to Resolution Copper in exchange for 5,736 acres of its privately held land across Arizona that are desirable for recreation or conservation. While conducting its environmental review, the Forest Service acknowledged that the mine will destroy sites sacred to Native Americans but claimed the loss was an unavoidable consequence of the land exchange mandate. The San Carlos Apache Tribe filed a lawsuit in US district court in Phoenix on Thursday alleging, among other things, that by moving forward with the land exchange the Forest Service is violating the National Historic Preservation Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and an 1852 treaty between the United States and Western Apache tribes. On Friday, the judge denied a request to delay publication of the environmental assessment, and ruled that the transfer could take place in 55 days. In a separate action this week, Apache Stronghold filed a lien on Oak Flat claiming that the land was owned by the Apache according to the 1852 treaty – under which Oak Flat was deemed a part of the Apache homeland – and the Forest Service did not have legal title to the property. The Arizona representative Raúl Grijalva and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders also plan to introduce the Save Oak Flat Act in Congress to repeal the land exchange. Tribes and environmental groups are hopeful Oak Flat can still be preserved. “There are plenty of things an incoming Biden administration can do to stop this,” said Serraglio of the Center for Biological Diversity. Even if Oak Flat ends up in the hands of Resolution Copper through title transfer “there is no guarantee they will be able to get any of the other federal permits to actually do the mine”.
- Associated Press
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday blamed an inadequate education in American civics as “the root cause” of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, while making no mention of President Donald Trump's role in the attack that sent Congress into hiding. Since Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, Noem has tried to deflect blame from the president while calling for an end to political violence.
A chunk of stimulus payments are missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What's going on: The newest COVID-19 relief bill — signed in the final days of 2020 — mandated the $600 payment to those making up to $75,000 per year (or 150,000 for joint filers) get out by Jan. 15. * The fast turnaround meant “some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar,” according to the IRS website.To get a sense of the speed: It took 19 days to distribute half the first-round payments last spring, but two-thirds of payments were out the door just a week after the latest bill became law, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. * Billions of those dollars are in the process of being returned to the IRS by tax preparers because of the error, though the IRS would not say how many payments were incorrectly deposited. * Jackson Hewitt estimates funds were deposited in 13 million accounts that were no longer open.How it works: These accounts are typically set up by tax prep companies, most often used by financially constrained taxpayers to get their refunds faster. * Some tax preparers told CNBC that the money would be deposited starting Feb. 1. What’s next: It’s up to those whose payments haven’t been disbursed by today to claim what’s owed on their tax return. * “You can wait until the money shows up, or you’re going to file your return and claim your money there,” Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former official at the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Analysis, tells Axios. * “There’s going to be confusion” about which option to pick.Of note: Any refunds that also claim the earned-income tax credit — which offsets tax bills for lower income workers — can’t be issued before mid-February, prolonging the delay as the Washington Post points out.What to watch: The incoming Biden administration wants to issue another round of direct payments. Depending on the timing, the IRS could be juggling those checks at the height of tax season. * “I can never say with IRS that things are impossible, but it's going to be a challenge to get those payments out during filing season,” Holtzblatt says.You can check the status of your stimulus payment — and whether you can expect it by paper check, debit card or direct deposit — here.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Miami Herald