The recent surge in coronavirus cases in major cities is also happening in rural areas in Texas and across the country. Katie Johnston reports.
- NBC News
- 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.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOATThe left's fake Senate majority
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.
- National Review
- The Week
Career officials at the State Department "don't expect huge improvements" under the Biden administration, a U.S. diplomat told Politico. So far, people who stuck it out for four years under the Trump administration feel like they're being snubbed in favor of political appointees as higher-level positions get filled. On the one hand, Politico reports, the fact that not a single career official was named in the first wave of top appointments that require Senate confirmation is seen as "a slight to the hardworking rank-and-file officials," especially after they felt they were not treated well under the previous administration. "The diplomatic corps has been battered and bruised," the diplomat told Politico. "Why not come explain your thinking? I'm prepared for disappointment and under-delivering from this team." But the criticism may not all be personal. Brett Bruen, a consultant who previously served on the Obama National Security Council, suggested that passing over holdovers from the Trump years could hinder policy decisions. "None of the people who were there for the last four years, who understand how the world has changed, will be in the room when the big decisions were being made," he told Politico. A spokesperson for Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried to ease the concerns, telling Politico "career experts will always be at the center of our diplomacy." Read more at Politico. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorMitch McConnell is the GOATThe left's fake Senate majority
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
- NBC News
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.Between the lines: A senior Israeli official who is well-informed of Netanyahu’s thinking draws a clear distinction between the two cases. Obama went behind Israel's back to hold secret talks with the Iranians, the official said, while Biden's team has earned goodwill by saying from day one that they intend to consult with Israel before making any decisions on Iran. * The senior official added that Netanyahu's warm personal history with Biden over four decades could be used as a shock absorber to help overcome difficulties and misunderstandings. * Two other Israeli officials said Netanyahu was hesitant to pick a fight with Biden from the start for another reason: Unlike Obama in 2015, he has Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, which will make it harder to exert pressure.What they're saying: A senior Israeli official close to Netanyahu said that while the prime minister wants to begin with a stance of cooperation and consultation toward the Biden administration, he intends to stand firm in his opposition to a U.S. return to the deal. * “He doesn’t want to tweak it. He thinks the agreement is flawed to its foundations and that the Iranians will agree to compromise only if pressure continues," the official said.Worth noting: On Tuesday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Aviv Kohavi aligned himself with Netanyahu, coming out publicly against any U.S. return to the previous deal or even “a deal with cosmetic changes." * Kohavi said he ordered the IDF to prepare several new plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities should Israeli leadership decide to use that option. * That's a major shift in the position of Israel’s most senior security official. In 2015, then-IDF leader Gadi Eizenkot didn't oppose the deal and Kohavi himself, then chief of military intelligence, thought it had strategic advantages for Israel. * The Obama administration used such arguments from the Israeli defense establishment to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. Now, Netanyahu has the head of the military on his side. * And while former IDF chiefs of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz were opposed when Netanyahu considered striking Iran between 2009 and 2012, Kohavi is now on the record in support.The other side: Now foreign minister, Ashkenazi called on Tuesday for a much more cautious approach. * He said Israel must hold quiet talks with the Biden administration on Iran and avoid the sort of confrontational media campaign it launched in 2015. * Ashkenazi has argued that the past approach only sidelined Israel and can't be repeated if Israel wants to remain relevant to the process.Driving the news: On Saturday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke for the first time with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat. * Israeli officials said the call was very good and were satisfied by the White House readout that stressed the U.S. would consult Israel and enter into a strategic dialogue.What’s next: Israeli officials told me they expect talks with the Biden administration on Iran to start in the very near future, most likely in secured video conferences due to COVID restrictions. * Yes, but: Netanyahu’s willingness to engage with Biden and avoid confrontation could change quickly if he thinks it’s ineffective — or if he decides confrontation could help him in the March 23 elections.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- 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.
Explainer: Why Trump's post-presidency perks, like a pension and office, are safe for the rest of his life
The impeachment proceeding against Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has fueled speculation online that he could lose some of the benefits extended to former presidents. But according to legal experts, under the laws currently in effect, Trump will retain perks including a pension, office space and security detail even in the unlikely event that he is convicted by the Senate in its impeachment trial. Trump can thank a relatively obscure law, the Former Presidents Act.
- Associated Press
The mother of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month can be released from custody, a federal magistrate judge ruled Monday in Tennessee. Lisa Eisenhart is accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol with her son, Eric Munchel of Nashville, during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington. Eisenhart poses no flight risk or danger to the public while awaiting trial, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley ruled.
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.