A scathing report released by New York State Attorney General Letitia James found serious fault with the way nursing homes in the state handled the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The Independent
The new subpoena replaces the one sent earlier that expired in January with the new administration
- The Independent
John Brennan says ‘there are so few Republicans in Congress who value truth, honesty, and integrity’
- The Independent
Dr Reiner said, ‘without [Trump’s] very visible assent to vaccines, it has devastating result on acceptance of vaccines in people who doubt it right now’
- Business Insider
The Trump administration didn't take any actions against Russia over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, who is President Vladimir Putin's top critic.
The UN said it had "credible information" that this weekend's crackdown on protesters in Myanmar left at least 18 dead and 30 wounded.
- Business Insider
Apple has had to adapt to the pandemic, closing stores and adapting them into "express" shops focuses on order pick-ups.
- The Independent
President’s warm tone towards Mexico has translated to substantial policy changes
- The Telegraph
Buckingham Palace is to investigate claims that the Duchess of Sussex bullied several members of her staff, it has been announced. A spokesman said they were “clearly very concerned” about allegations that Meghan, 39, had forced out two PAs and undermined the confidence of a third during her time as a working royal. Aides had expressed concerns about how such matters were handled by the palace, expressing concern that nothing was done at the time to investigate the situation, and that nothing had been done since to protect staff against the possibility of bullying by a member of the Royal Family. Buckingham Palace confirmed that its HR team would now look into the circumstances outlined in various allegations leaked to The Times. It said: “Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace.” While the palace did not reveal a timetable for its investigation, it is understood that HR staff hope to begin soon. Any resulting change in policy or procedure will be shared in its annual Sovereign Grant report, which highlights significant changes in operations. The provenance of the leaked allegations caused the battle between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Royal Household to escalate as palace aides branded allegations they had leaked the claims as “untrue” and “disingenuous”. The revelation that Meghan faced several complaints of bullying from members of her own staff also thwarted hopes of a reconciliation between Prince Harry and Prince William. Instead, the disclosures about the Duchess’s behaviour provoked another bitter war of words, as palace aides sought to distance themselves from the leak and staff on both sides scrambled to establish who was responsible. The claims are thought to have been carefully and deliberately collated, with multiple sources briefing against her. Jason Knauf, the Sussexes’ communications secretary at the time, submitted a formal complaint in October 2018, describing her treatment of one employee as “totally unacceptable.” He added: “ The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights.” The Sussexes are convinced that senior Buckingham Palace aides leaked the allegations as part of an orchestrated defence because they are “nervous” about revelations made in their forthcoming Oprah Winfrey interview, to be broadcast in the US on Sunday. A source close to the couple said they had “no doubt” it was part of an orchestrated smear campaign. They added: “It’s not possible for this to have happened without the acknowledgement or understanding, perhaps a gentle nod or a wink, from someone pretty central or senior at the palace. “How could a junior member of staff have pulled this altogether? This was a clear collaboration. There is a motive and it is connected to Sunday.” One source noted: “There are very few people who would have had all of the information that is in this story.” The Duchess, while not denying that she did face bullying complaints, was said to be “devastated” by the revelations. Aides said that although there was no desire to deny how other people felt, the fact that former colleagues felt compelled to compile “a whole list of terrible things” that took place over two years, was understandably distressing. As furious briefings and counter briefings were made, a senior palace aide branded the allegation that Buckingham Palace had been “pedalling a wholly false narrative” as “untrue and disingenuous.” They said: “There are far more important things we have been focused on than the circus around a media interview.” The source pointed out that the leak did not reflect well on the palace, adding: “It made uncomfortable reading and we can’t deny that.” Questions were also being asked about palace employees being asked to sign non disclosure agreements. The atmosphere at Kensington Palace was said to be so "febrile" that the Cambridges chose to accelerate the planned split between the two households. One member of the Sussexes’ staff acknowledged that life at Kensington Palace at the time was “frantic” and “a bit of a pressure cooker”. In a statement released in response to the allegations, a spokesman for Meghan said: “The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. "She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good." The Duchess has vowed to donate the damages from her recent legal victory against the Mail on Sunday to an anti-bullying charity. The amount she will receive has not yet been decided but, in respect of the breach of copyright claim, will be linked to the newspaper’s “account of profits” made from the publication of extracts of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. However, it will now create a dilemma for whichever charity is chosen as the recipient will be forced to decide whether it could accept the money from someone who had herself been the subject of such accusations.
- The Week
During the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. After they did, the administration argued that $2,000 really meant $1,400 in addition to the $600 that had already gone out in the December rescue package. Whether that is true or not, now Biden is inarguably breaking his promise. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. In the previous packages, the amount started phasing out at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and vanished entirely at $100,000 and $200,000 respectively (as of 2019). Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples. The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. But now singles making between $80,000-100,000 and couples making between $160,000-200,000 will get nothing. The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reports that roughly 17 million people who previously got checks now will not. The supposed justification here is that moderates want the aid to be more "targeted." In fact this formula is horribly inaccurate, because the income data the IRS uses is from the year before the pandemic (unless people have already filed their taxes — and by the way, if your income decreased in 2020, you should do that immediately). This formula is therefore doubly wrong — there are no doubt millions of people who have lost jobs and should qualify but won't, and a smaller number that have gotten raises and shouldn't qualify but will. And this change will only save a pitiful $12 billion. The survival checks are one of the most popular government programs in American history. Polls have them at something like 4-1 approval. "Moderation," for Senate Democrats, apparently means breaking their party's promises in the service of unpopular, pointless actions that make their president seem less generous than Donald Trump. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceMike Pence comes out of hiding to nod towards Trump's election liesThe biggest jazz star you've never heard of
- Business Insider
The Trumps are trying to sell a Florida home for $49 million after buying it from the former president's sister for $18 million in 2018
Eric Trump tweeted a listing for a home that the family is trying to sell through a limited liability company for more than twice its 2018 value.
- Miami Herald
The arrest of Paul Nicholas Miller by FBI agents at his Fort Lauderdale home Tuesday morning on a pedestrian charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon seems a minor thing for the feds to make a point of announcing.
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex wore earrings given to her by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, against advice from palace aides, The Telegraph understands. The Duchess, 39, had been given the Butani earrings as an official wedding present from the Saudi Royal Family. When she wore them to a formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018, during a royal tour, the media were told that they were “borrowed” but unusually, declined to offer further information or guidance. The dinner took place three weeks after Mr Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Duchess’s lawyers insisted that at the time of the dinner, she was unaware of speculation that the crown prince was involved in the murder of the journalist. However, a royal source claimed that palace staff had advised the Duchess not to wear the jewellery. “Members of Royal Household staff sometimes advise people on their options,” one said. “But what they choose to do with that advice is a very different matter.” The earrings were accepted as a wedding gift by the prince, known as MBS, in March 2018, when he had lunch with the Queen during a three-day visit to London. They were among a series of wedding gifts that were then transferred to Kensington Palace in June, the month after the wedding, which was when the Sussexes first knew of their existence. A source close to the Duchess said members of her staff were aware that the earrings had been chosen as part of the Duchess’s tour wardrobe. Saudi Arabia admitted on October 20, three days before the dinner in Fiji, that its officials were responsible for Khashoggi’s death. Staff in London were concerned when they saw the Duchess’s earrings in the media and alerted Kensington Palace, according to The Times. But it was claimed they decided not to take it up with the Sussexes while they were on tour “for fear for what their reaction would be." The following month, the Duchess wore them again to the Prince of Wales's 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace and at that point, an aide is said to have confronted the Duke about the issue. He reportedly looked "shocked" when approached about the concerns. Lawyers for the Sussexes’ denied he was questioned about their provenance, which they said was well known.
- CBS News
The Senate majority leader said that the Senate will take up President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill as early as Wednesday night.
- Associated Press
Capitol Police say they have uncovered intelligence of a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory. The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4. The announcement comes as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot.
Buckingham Palace is investigating claims that the duchess bullied royal staff ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah.
In some of his most extensive remarks since Jan. 6, former Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed Wednesday condemning House Democrats' sweeping election and anti-corruption proposal as an "unconstitutional power grab" by "leftists."Why it matters: Pence has largely stayed quiet since the Capitol insurrection, during which rioters were heard chanting "hang Mike Pence" after former President Trump promoted the claim that the vice president could block the certification of the Electoral College.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.The big picture: Writing in The Daily Signal, Pence repeated dubious claims that the 2020 election was "marked by significant voting irregularities."Be smart: While some irregularities occur in every election, state and federal officials have vouched for the election's security and integrity.Lawsuits challenging election results have been rejected by courts across the country, including the Supreme Court.What they're saying: "Polling shows that large numbers of Democrats did not trust the outcome of the 2016 election and that large numbers of Republicans still do not trust the outcome of the 2020 election," Pence wrote.Pence called the Democrats' reform bill, which the House will pass on Wednesday, "an unconstitutional, reckless, and anti-democratic bill that ... could permanently damage our republic." "Leftists not only want you powerless at the ballot box," wrote the former vice president, "they want to silence and censor anyone who would dare to criticize their unconstitutional power grab."Details: The Democrats' "For the People Act" first introduced in 2019, has provisions to restore voting rights for felons, expand early and absentee voting, set national standards for early voting and voter registration, allow voters to register online or on Election Day and prevent voter purges.Pence argued that the bill would undercut efforts to reform elections at the state and local levels. He wrote that the bill "mandates the most questionable and abuse-prone election rules nationwide, while banning commonsense measures to detect, deter, and prosecute election fraud."The bottom line: Pence called the events of Jan. 6 "tragic" and said they "deprived the American people of a substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity in America." He did not once mention the name "Trump."Go deeper: Democrats' sweeping reform bill Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
- The Daily Beast
Susan Walsh-Pool/GettyThis week, the campaign committee for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), received ten notices from the Federal Election Commission flagging discrepancies on its books totaling nearly $3 million dollars, and dating back over two years. The campaign claims that the errors slipped through the cracks amid a record fundraising surge, and that it actually has more money on the books now, but experts say that the dollar amount — errors totaling some $2.87 million — may trigger an FEC investigation.The errors also appear connected to newly developed, largely hidden payment systems in the murky world of Republican digital advertising, where vendors not only receive direct spending, but take cuts from fundraising as well.The notices, sent in batches between Feb 28 and March 2, come in reply to more than a dozen amended reports correcting errors that the campaign caught in a sweeping review of filings, going as far back as 2018. One of the filings discloses errors in spending and raising totalling $1,470,286.48.The commission gave the campaign until early April to reply, and the letters say that a failure to “adequately respond” could draw an audit or enforcement action.Campaign spokesperson Kevin Eichinger provided the Daily Beast with a statement spinning the corrections as a positive sign and laying the blame on the campaign’s longtime treasurer, Ohio-based tax and business law specialist James Kordik, who was replaced when Jordan hired Datwyler last July.“The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018. There was never any money missing from the account,” Eichinger said. “In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently double-reported certain fundraising expenses. When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an outside expert to conduct a comprehensive audit and file the appropriate amendments.”Kordik did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The campaign did indeed ramp up its fundraising in 2020. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump was elected, the Jordan campaign received a little over $733,000 and spent about $423,000, according to FEC records. Jordan’s congressional district has long been considered solidly Republican, a seat he has won by at least 60 percent for several cycles. But his profile rose in the Trump years as Jordan regularly appeared in conservative media to burnish his brand as a fierce critic of the Democratic agenda, a strategy that opened the fundraising floodgates.His numbers increased for the 2018 cycle, pulling in $1.24 million and paying out about $1.8 million. But in 2020, they soared: he raked in $18.6 million and spent $13.2 million, and now sits on a $6 million stash. Jordan shelled out more than $12.4 million to finance his own operation, transferring only $180,000 to other committees, mostly to the Ohio GOP.Campaign finance experts say that the errors are significant enough that, if the rising conservative star can’t offer a sound explanation, the FEC will likely refer the matter to its enforcement arm. Such a move would not be publicly disclosed.“Jordan's campaign appears to have had systemic reporting problems over multiple years, and these amendments represent substantial shifts in the campaign's disclosed fundraising and spending,” Brendan Fischer, director of reform at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Daily Beast. “I suspect that the FEC will closely review discrepancies of such a significant amount.”Brett Kappel, campaign finance attorney at Harmon Curran, said that the reports appear “so substantially incorrect” that the FEC may order an audit.“The legal standard to trigger an FEC audit is high: Whether filings meet the threshold for ‘substantial compliance’ with the law,” Kappel explained. “Jordan’s FEC reports were so substantially incorrect over such a long period of time that they may meet the standard.”Jenna Grande, press secretary for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a DC-based nonprofit watchdog, said, “This is a very large amount of money in discrepancies. While there is still much to learn about this situation, Rep. Jordan’s campaign needs to provide a full accounting of what happened and why."The campaign’s current explanation is incomplete, and somewhat contradictory. For instance, it mentions spending errors, but doesn’t explain significant errors in the campaign’s fundraising, which the FEC says was off by a total $1,280,852.36 — nearly half of it in the campaign’s July 2020 quarterly report, Kordik’s final filing. Some amendments show increases in receipts, and some show decreases.Jim Jordan Refuses to Admit Biden Won, Gets Blasted by House ColleagueThe statement also doesn’t appear to account for the appearance of a $20,000 transfer to the Ohio Republican Party made in October 2018, according to one of the amended reports.The confusion may be tied to backdoor vendor payments in GOP digital fundraising setups. On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that shady consulting firms have been taking payments out of fundraising. It amounts to a sort of royalty arrangement: The more money that candidates raise, or the more viral they go, the bigger the cut for the media vendor who made that happen.Those fees were hidden via payments to WinRed, according to the report, which features consulting firm Olympic Media, a vendor that would get a portion of fundraising proceeds collected via the WinRed platform. Some campaigns only reported the WinRed fees, but didn’t separately itemize Olympic’s “royalties” on that fundraising.The report specifically mentions Jordan, who, according to WinRed, “misreported expenses paid to vendors." Indeed, one of Jordan’s amended reports details more than $200,000 in payments to Olympic Media which the original report had not itemized. The campaign’s statement to the Daily Beast points out that Kordik had double-counted “certain fundraising expenses.”According to that statement, Jordan’s massive digital marketing push overwhelmed the 65-year-old Kordik, who appears to have filed a number of erroneous reports in his final two years with Jordan. Those errors appear to overlap directly with the hiring of two firms — WinRed, and Campaign Solutions, a Republican-aligned consulting firm based out of Arlington, Va., also specializing in digital strategy and fundraising. Founded in 2003, the firm pulled in nearly $37 million from Republicans last year, with Jordan accounting for about a third of that amount — that’s about two-thirds of his own fundraising totals.Campaign Solutions also accounts for a number of spending discrepancies.For instance, Jordan tapped Campaign Solutions in the 2018 cycle, paying a total of about $279,000 over about six months, according to OpenSecrets. The FEC flagged around $253,000 combined in two of Jordan’s amended reports from that year: one of them, coverings the weeks after the 2018 election, introduces an extra $109,000 in disbursements to the firm; the other, which accounts for the last five weeks of the year, says that the campaign had actually paid Campaign Solutions $130,000 less in that period than originally reported. That amended year-end report also adds the $20,000 transfer to the Ohio Republican Party.At the time, Datwyler worked at Campaign Solutions as an accountant. He appears to have left sometime in early 2020, before he took up with Jordan, but while he was employed at the fundraising firm he also acted as treasurer for dozens of political committees. His current portfolio comprises 165 committees, nine formed this year, including groups backing high-profile conservatives Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rep. Mike Lee of Utah. In 2020, Datwyler’s firm, 9Seven Consulting, pulled in more than $1 million for FEC compliance services.Notably, Datwyler joined the campaign last July, and was there to receive an FEC notice flagging a number of inconsistencies in Kordik’s final filing. The letter told the campaign that it risked an audit if the FEC did not get a reply by September 8, but fillings indicate that Datwyler never responded. The amended version of that report ended up being by far the most egregious of the bunch, with raising and spending errors of more than $1.47 million.It’s possible that the prospect of that review was too much to undertake at the time, but that would not explain why the campaign appears to have failed even to reply. Datwyler was singled out in a report about so-called “pop-up PACs,” fundraising groups created in the weeks before an election, allowing them to avoid disclosing their donors to the public until the election is over.Caleb Burns, a campaign finance specialist at Wiley Rein, explained that the mistakes can stack up over time. “FEC reports carry-forward financial information to subsequent reports,” he said. “An error detected in an old report can require a fuller accounting and amendments to numerous additional reports.”The FEC regained its quorum — and its ability to take enforcement action — in December. “The FEC commissioners themselves must, ultimately, approve any enforcement action,” Brown said. “The lack of a quorum of commissioners until the end of last year meant that FEC enforcement had stalled. That is no longer the case, though the commissioners have a significant backlog of enforcement matters to address.”An FEC spokesperson declined to comment for this article, citing its policy of not publicly addressing specific matters “for the potential that they may come before the agency in an enforcement capacity.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
On March 10, Gov. Greg Abbott’s mask mandate will be lifted and businesses can operate at 100% capacity.
- Business Insider
Texas isn't the only state lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Here's how 11 other states and cities are easing lockdowns, despite the CDC insisting that 'now is not the time.'
As Texas ended its mask mandate, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Michigan - as well as Chicago and San Francisco - all eased some COVID-19 restrictions.
- The Telegraph
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s autumn 2018 tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga was “stressful” for staff, with at least one aide visibly upset after a discussion with the Duchess. One engagement in particular has long been shrouded in mystery, with no credible explanation given as to why the Duchess was abruptly whisked from a market in Fiji’s capital Suva, cutting short the visit. At the time, even palace aides appeared confused about what had happened, with a succession of contradictory briefings. The engagement was organised to allow Meghan to learn more about a UN Women's project called Markets for Change, which promotes women's empowerment in marketplaces throughout the Pacific. Sources have now claimed that the Duchess was upset when she saw branding for UN Women, an organisation she had worked with before. Meghan had allegedly said she would only go to the market if there was no branding for the organisation, a source told the Times, although the reason behind it is unknown.