U.S. Senator Ben Sasse in an interview with CBS This Morning on Friday said he would be open to considering articles of impeachment against fellow Republican Donald Trump after the president encouraged supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol, where a riot ensued and five people died.
- NBC News
Election experts have uniformly declared that the 2020 election was conducted fairly.
- The Week
U.S. prosecutors have imposed the first conspiracy charge against a person who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, The Washington Post reports.Thomas Edward Caldwell was arrested early Tuesday morning on four federal counts pertaining to the riot, including conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, per the Post. He allegedly organized a group of militia members who attacked the Capitol building, praising their actions in Facebook posts after the event.Caldwell's group of "eight to 10 individuals" wore "helmets and military-style gear and were seen moving purposefully toward the top of the Capitol steps and leading the move against police lines," the Post reports. He had been planning the siege at least a week earlier, sending a Facebook message on Jan. 1 that showed he was scouting hotels near the Capitol that "would allow us to go hunting at night if we wanted to," the charging affidavit says. He allegedly sent the message to Jessica Watkins, the founder of the "Ohio State Regular Militia" who was arrested last week after participating in the attack.Caldwell seemingly didn't try to hide his involvement at the Capitol, allegedly sharing video of the attack in the evening of Jan. 6. "We need to do this at the local level. Lets [sic] storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!" Caldwell wrote on Facebook, the FBI says in its charging documents.Caldwell was allegedly a member of the Oath Keepers, an extremist group that, along with the Three Percenters and Proud Boys, is being investigated for its role in sparking the Capitol attack.More stories from theweek.com Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff The most alarming thing about the Trump presidency 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- National Review
A Honduran migrant worker claimed that a migrant caravan was headed to the U.S. because incoming president Joe Biden would give migrants “100 days” to arrive at the country, in an interview with CNN. Biden may seek to enact a 100-day moratorium on deportations, however transition team officials have cautioned that the president-elect will not be able to overhaul immigration policy immediately upon taking office. Even so, a group of about 3,000 migrants from Honduras clashed with Guatemalan security forces on Sunday during their trek north to the U.S.-Mexico border. One migrant claimed the caravan was heading north because Biden had promised to help them, in a CNN interview later reposted by The Hill. Honduran migrant: President-elect Biden is "going to help all of us." pic.twitter.com/LkrVCsXcSb — The Hill (@thehill) January 18, 2021 “I just want patience and prayers that we can get to the U.S. because they [will] have a new president, Biden,” the migrant said. “He’s going to help all of us, he’s giving us 100 days to get to the U.S. and give us [legal] papers, so we can get a better life for our kids, and for our families.” Meanwhile, Guatemala deemed the attempted crossing illegal. “Guatemala’s message is loud and clear: These types of illegal mass movements will not be accepted, that’s why we are working together with the neighboring nations to address this as a regional issue,” the office of Guatemala’s president said in a statement on Sunday.
- Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
A series of shootings in a community in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains that left four people wounded led to charges against five people, authorities said. The shootings occurred Monday night in different areas of Coolbaugh Township, and authorities said some of the people injured apparently were victims of mistaken identity. All four victims remain hospitalized in stable condition.
The National Guard Bureau is taking extra precautions on Inauguration Day. As security is being vetted for the ceremony, two members of the Army National Guard were discovered to have ties with far-right extremist groups. The FBI is screening about 25,000 National Guard service members that are being sent to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration.
- 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 The most alarming thing about the Trump presidency 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump tried to act like a mob boss. Instead he's just a thug.
- NBC News
His emotional speech Tuesday came on the eve of his inauguration.
The company's comments come after California's top epidemiologist on Sunday issued a statement recommending providers pause vaccination from lot no. 41L20A due to possible allergic reactions that are under investigation. The vaccine maker said it was unaware of comparable cases of adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot or from other lots of its vaccine.
- National Review
- 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 Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff The most alarming thing about the Trump presidency 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
- The Independent
President-elect celebrates his hometown: ‘You were with me my whole career, through the good times and the bad’
- The Telegraph
A valuable 16th century copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Saviour of the World has been recovered by Italian police in a cupboard in a flat in Naples. The museum from which it was stolen had no idea it was missing. The copy of Salvator Mundi, which depicts Christ with one hand raised in a blessing and the other holding a crystal orb, is believed to have been painted by a pupil of Leonardo. It was stolen some time in the last few months from a collection of art works inside the Basilica di San Domenico Maggiore in Naples. The painting was of “inestimable value”, Italian police said in a statement. It was found “hidden in a bedroom” in an apartment in Naples. The owner of the flat, a 36-year-old man, was arrested not far from the property on charges of receiving stolen goods, police said. The oil painting, which dates to the early 1500s, is believed to be by artist Giacomo Alibrandi, a member of the artistic school of Leonardo. The museum had not noticed its theft because it had been closed for three months as a result of Italy’s coronavirus lockdown measures. Police are trying to ascertain how it was stolen, said Giovanni Melillo, a Naples prosecutor. “It is plausible that it was a theft commissioned by an organisation working in the international art trade," he said.
- National Review
Arizona Republicans are proposing a ban on the use of local resources to assist in any federal activity that could be seen as oppositional to the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment Firearm Freedoms Act, introduced by State Representative Leo Biasiucci last week, would make Arizona the fifth state — joining Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Wyoming — with a policy of keeping state resources from enforcing any federal law or executive rule that runs contrary to the right to bear arms. “This state and all political subdivisions of this state are prohibited from using any personnel or financial resourced to enforce, administer, or cooperate with any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the United States government that violates Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States,” the bill reads. Any “act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the United States government that violates Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in this state,” the bill adds, though federal laws override those at the state level. The law would effectively make the Grand Canyon State a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” a term first used by a southern Illinois state’s attorney in 2010. Similar “sanctuary” policies are in place in hundreds of towns and counties nationwide. The Arizona Republicans’ move comes ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat who has vowed to enact gun control measures, including instituting universal background checks and an assault weapon and high-capacity magazine ban. While campaigning in Texas, Biden said that failed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke — who famously promised voters, “hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15” — would “lead” his administration’s gun control policy. “I’m going to guarantee you, this is not the last you’ve seen of this guy,” Biden told a his arm on O’Rourke. “You’re going to take care of the gun problem with me. You’re going to be the one that leads this effort.”
Rwanda has re-introduced tough lockdown measures in its capital Kigali after a surge in coronavirus cases. The government has also banned movement into and out of the city, except for essential services and for tourists, it said, citing a jump in the number of cases found in a given sample of tests, known as the positivity rate. "All employees, public and private, shall work from home, except for those providing essential services," the government said in a statement.
- Yahoo News Video
A former Florida Department of Health employee who was fired for insubordination after repeatedly violating the agency's policy about communicating with the media turned herself in to sheriff's officials on Sunday night on charges of accessing computer equipment without authority.
- The Conversation
Militia members associated with the Three Percenters movement conducting a military drill in Flovilla, Ga., in 2016, days after Trump's election. After his 2020 defeat, Three Percenters were involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty ImageThousands of police and soldiers – people professionally trained in the use of violence and familiar with military protocols – are part of an extremist effort to undermine the U.S. government and subvert the democratic process. According to an investigative report published in the Atlantic in November into a leaked database kept by the Oath Keepers – one of several far-right and white supremacist militias that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 – 10% of Oath Keepers are current police officers or military members. Another significant portion of the group’s membership is retired military and law enforcement personnel. The hate group – founded by a former Army paratrooper after Barack Obama’s 2008 election – claimed “an improbable 30,000 members who were said to be mostly current and former military, law enforcement and emergency first responders” in 2016, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Three Percenters, another militia present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, also draws a substantial portion of its members from law enforcement, both military and civilian. Larry Brock, a pro-Trump rioter arrested with zip-tie handcuffs, allegedly for taking hostages, is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who posted content from the Three Percenters online. The militia movement is a militarized stream of the American far-right. Its members promote an ideology that undermines the authority and legitimacy of the federal government and stockpile weapons. When militia members have a professional background with the military or police, it enhances the ability of these groups to execute sophisticated and successful operations. It also helps them convey a patriotic image that obscures the security threat they present. A member of the Oath Keepers at a rally to overturn the 2020 election results at the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 5, 2021. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images Longstanding ties The day before the Biden inauguration, two National Guardsmen deployed to Washington, D.C. were removed from that duty after an investigation found ties to right-wing militias. Far-right elements have always had some presence in U.S. security forces. Throughout the 20th century, many local police departments were heavily populated with Ku Klux Klan members. The connections between terror groups and law enforcement enabled discrimination and violence against African Americans, Jews and other minorities. In 1923, all the Black residents of Blandford, Indiana were forced out of town to an unknown location following accusations that an African American man assaulted a young girl. The unlawful “deportation” was conducted and organized by the local sheriff, a Klansman, with the assistance of local Klan chapters. Wade Michael Page, the U.S. Army veteran who killed six Sikh worshipers in 2014. FBI via Getty Images Many U.S. military bases have also had cells of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups throughout the 20th century. In 1995, three paratroopers from Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, were arrested and charged in the killing of a Black couple in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Two were sentenced to life in prison for the murders. The Army initiated an investigation at the base, which was known for being a hub of the National Alliance, then the country’s most influential American neo-Nazi group. The Army identified and discharged 19 paratroopers for participating in hate activities. One went on to kill six worshipers in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012. He died in a police shootout. Growing convergence Concerns about the penetration of far-right elements into the military and law enforcement have become acute in the last decade with the emergence of militias like the Oath Keepers, which was founded on the principle of recruiting police and military. Oath Keepers pledge to disobey orders on the job which they deem contradict the Constitution. The militias’ success secretly infiltrating police departments contributed to the emergence of new far-right associations that openly recruit law enforcement, like the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers of America. Founded in 2011 by former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, the group promotes the notion – contrary to the Constitution – that the federal government authorities should be subordinated to local law enforcement. It has more than 500 sheriffs nationwide. Just over half are currently in office. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers of America has pushed its members not to enforce gun control laws and pandemic-related mask regulations that they believe infringe on civil liberties. Skilled insurrectionists When members of far-right groups are also professionals sworn to protect the nation or their communities, it makes those groups seem more legitimate. Authorities may be less likely to treat them as domestic security threats, a categorization that would limit their access to firearms and sensitive locations. Yet military and police members actually make American militias more effective, according to my research on the violent practices of the American far-right. A Texas Militia member at the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images A data set I manage with my team at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and used for my recent book on right-wing terror shows that militia attacks are more lethal than those of other far-right groups. The perpetrators are experienced with weapons and ammunition, and have at least some military training. Attacks by other far-right groups are, in large measure, initiated by people with limited operational experience, who act spontaneously. Militias are also more likely to attack secured, high-value targets like government facilities. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, is a prime example. He was a Gulf War veteran associated with the Michigan Militia whose bomb killed 168 people at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995. The penetration of far-right militants into the ranks of police and the military seems to be driving an increase in direct attacks on police and military targets. Between 1990 and 2000, 13% of U.S. of militia attacks and plots were aimed at military or police installations or personnel, our data set shows. The proportion jumped to 40% by 2017. And with their training in surveillance, intelligence collection and public safety, the dangerous activities of militias are generally harder for federal agencies to monitor and counter. When militias recruit professionals, they are better at waging their radical crusade. [Get our most insightful politics and election stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s Politics Weekly.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. It was written by: Arie Perliger, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Read more:Plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor grew from the militia movement’s toxic mix of constitutional falsehoods and half-truthsMilitias evaluate beliefs, action as president threatens soldiers in the streets Arie Perliger receives funding from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense.
- The Independent
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- Associated Press