"It's heartbreaking for me because I know that I needed to be able to finish my career. Wrestling was something that gave me solace, an escape from the real world."
President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services. Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What they're saying: "President Biden is ensuring that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts," the White House said in a fact sheet.The big picture: Biden’s action kick offs another week in which the president will seek to undo many Trump policies with executive actions, while signaling the direction that he wants to take the country. * Biden will also reaffirm his support for the Jones Act, which requires maritime shipments between American ports to be carried on U.S. vessels. * Last week, Biden signed an order to attempt to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.The bottom line: Former President Trump also attempted to force the federal government to rely on U.S. manufacturers for procurement with "buy American" provisions. * But supply chains — with some parts and components made outside of the U.S. — require long and complicated efforts to boost domestic manufacturing. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
- The Week
What the Biden administration's first call with South Korea's defense secretary says about the countries' relationship
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had his first call with his South Korean counterpart, Minister of National Defense Suh Wook, this weekend. It sounded like things went pretty well, with the United States government's readout explaining the conversation "underscored the U.S. commitment to defend" South Korea. But Duyeon Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security noticed South Korea's description of the exchange differed slightly.In a Twitter thread on Monday, Kim explained that she wasn't surprised by what South Korea left out in its own readout. For example, there was no mention of two of the Pentagon's key takeaways, including the promise of "U.S. extended deterrent" and the necessity of maintaining a "rules-based international order." Kim's hunch is that South Korean President Moon Jae-in likely expects extended deterrence would upset North Korea and jeopardize his vision of a peace process with his neighbor. The international order detail, meanwhile, could interfere with Seoul's "strategic ambiguity" approach toward China.> DOD's press release: https://t.co/vZrmCQdX2F > MND's press release (in Korean): https://t.co/8yUcdg4bgT> > The alliance isn't doomed, but coordination will require a delicate dance. This time (vs w/Trump), Moon carries the burden of proof to meet alliance expectations../end> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 25, 2021Kim thinks there's time and room for the U.S. and South Korea to find their footing as the Biden administration settles in, but it may not be as easy as either side anticipated, as she explained in a separate thread last week. > SKorean prez Moon, in new year's presser just now, seems to have very high expectations about Biden's Korea policy & may be in for some surprises. My upcoming Foreign Affairs article (stuck in their editing queue since before Christmas) goes into detail, but here's a teaser..1/> > -- Duyeon Kim (@duyeonkim) January 18, 2021More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing Trump must be prosecuted 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push
- National Review
President Biden will sign a fresh round of executive orders during his first full week in office, including actions loosening restrictions around abortion and immigration. Biden will issue and order to rescind the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The administration also dodged last week on whether Biden plans to scrap the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions under Medicaid. On immigration, Biden plans to establish a task force focused on reuniting migrant families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a memo outlining the upcoming executive actions obtained by The Hill. Biden will order an immediate review of the public-charge rule, which denies U.S. entry to migrants considered likely to become dependent on the government. The president also plans to roll back Trump administration policies on asylum and take “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.” At the same time, Biden will take a page from the Trump administration’s playbook and sign an order directing federal agencies to tighten requirements on buying goods and services made in America from American businesses. Trump signed a similar directive during his first months in office. The president will also sign orders related to racial equity, including establishing a commission on police and bringing back Obama-era rules on transferring military-style equipment to local law enforcement. Another order will direct the Justice Department to improve prison conditions and begin the process of eliminating private prisons. Biden may also sign an order reversing a ban on transgender troops serving in the military. On climate change, Biden is expected to sign an order installing regulations to “combat climate change domestically and elevate climate change as a national security priority.”
- NBC News
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
- Associated Press
Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler said Monday the ongoing criminal destruction and violence occurring in his city, which has been the epicenter of protests against racial injustice for eight months, is “unacceptable.” At a news conference Monday, Wheeler also said he had filed a police report about an “incident” that happened to him, but he did not elaborate. Later, his office said in a statement that the mayor filed a police report over something that happened Sunday evening.
- The Telegraph
Fourteen multinationals went on trial on Monday accused of causing grievous harm to a French-Vietnamese woman by selling Agent Orange to the US whose military used millions of tons of the toxic chemical in the Vietnam War. Lawyers for the plaintiff and NGOs have hailed the trial in France as potentially “historic” as a guilty verdict would be the first time a Vietnamese civilian was deemed a victim of the defoliant, which contains harmful dioxins. As part of American’s Ranch Hand military campaign to halt the advance of Communist North Vietnamese troops, the US military sprayed an estimated 76 million litres (20 million gallons) of Agent Orange between 1961 and 1971. The stated aim was to deprive enemy combatants of cover and destroy crops. But NGOs say that as well as destroying plants, polluting the soil and poisoning animals, it also caused health problems such as cancer and malformations in up to three million humans in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The US officially ended the use of defoliant chemicals in the war in 1971, and withdrew from Vietnam in 1975, defeated by the Viet Cong after 20 years of conflict. To date, only military veterans - from the US, Australia and Korea - have won compensation for the after-effects of the chemical whose toxicity is estimated to be around 13 times that of herbicides in civilian use such as glyphosate. In 1984, seven chemical companies settled with US veteran plaintiffs to the tune of $250 million after 16,000 complained exposure had caused rare forms of cancers, nerve damage, liver disorders and skin problems. They also claimed it resulted in miscarriages by their spouses and birth defects in their children. However, civilian lawsuits have so far failed.
Bangladesh will buy 100,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar, putting aside a rift over the Rohingya refugee crisis as the government races to overcome a shortage of the staple food for the country's more than 160 million people. High rice prices pose a problem for the Dhaka government, which is ramping up efforts to replenish its depleted reserves after floods last year ravaged crops and sent prices to a record high. Muslim-majority Bangladesh and mostly Buddhist Myanmar have been at odds over the more than 1 million Muslim Rohingya refugees in camps in southern Bangladesh.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- The Independent
Biden news: Experts find major ‘gaps’ in Trump pardons as White House scrambles to rollout vaccine plan
Latest developments from Washington DC and beyond
- Associated Press
A West Virginia woman who once served in the Air Force was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison Monday for planning to offer top-secret information from the National Security Agency to the Russian government. Elizabeth Jo Shirley, 47, pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea agreement to one count each of willful retention of national defense information and international parental kidnapping. “Shirley held a position that required the highest level of trust,” U.S. Attorney Bill Powell of West Virginia's northern district said in a statement.
The United States often sends ships and aircraft into the South China Sea to "flex its muscles" and this is not good for peace, China's Foreign Ministry said on Monday, after a U.S. aircraft carrier group sailed into the disputed waterway. The strategic South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade flows each year, has long been a focus of contention between Beijing and Washington, with China particularly angered by U.S. military activity there. The U.S. carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt and accompanied by three warships, entered the waterway on Saturday to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said, just days after Joe Biden became U.S. president..
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced Monday he will not run for a third term in the U.S. Senate in 2022, citing "partisan gridlock."Why it matters: It's a surprise retirement from a prominent Senate Republican who easily won re-election in 2016 and was expected to do so again in 2022, creating an open Senate seat in a red-leaning swing state.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.Between the lines: Portman was one of the Republican senators who said that former President Trump "bears some responsibility" for the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. His decision not to seek re-election will free him from the political constraints of voting to convict Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial, though it's not yet clear whether he will choose to do so.What they're saying: "I don’t think any Senate office has been more successful in getting things done, but honestly, it has gotten harder and harder to break through the partisan gridlock and make progress on substantive policy, and that has contributed to my decision," Portman said in a statement. * “We live in an increasingly polarized country where members of both parties are being pushed further to the right and further to the left, and that means too few people who are actively looking to find common ground." * "This is not a new phenomenon, of course, but a problem that has gotten worse over the past few decades."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.
- The Telegraph
A Texan teenager who tipped off the FBI about his father's alleged involvement in the Capitol riots said he would "do it again", despite claiming his father threatened to shoot him for being a "traitor". Jackson Reffitt, 18, said he felt a moral obligation to report his father to the authorities after watching him participate in the violent riots on live TV. His father, Guy, 48, was arrested at his home in Wylie, Texas on January 16 and faces charges of obstruction of justice and knowingly entering a restricted building. According to court documents, Mr Reffitt had allegedly threatened his wife and children, saying: “If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors … traitors get shot”. The younger Mr Reffitt said he was "afraid" of what his father might think of him, but told local station Fox 4 that he had acted according to his "moral compass".
South Korean reports say that Run Hyun-woo - an acting ambassador - fled to South Korea in September.
Thousands of people were expected to defy public health concerns and protest against the mistreatment of Australia's Indigenous people as the country marked its national day on Tuesday on the anniversary of the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788. For many Indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, the Australia Day holiday is known as Invasion Day symbolising the destruction of their cultures by European settlers. In Sydney, Indigenous groups have called for protests to demand the national day be changed, although state health officials have refused to make an exemption to social distancing rules to allow for crowds of more than 500 people.
The will-he-or-won't-he speculation surrounding a possible gubernatorial run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is destined to continue at least a bit longer.What he's saying: Lindell told Axios that his focus is currently on proving his (baseless) claims of election fraud. He won't make a decision until that fight is resolved.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * "Why would anybody want to run if they had the same machines with the election fraud?" Lindell said Friday. * "It will all get out there, and when it does, we'll see what elections are going to have to be done with paper ballots and no machines. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to put in everybody's resources and time."Between the lines: While he's leaving the door open, Lindell's comments create a path for bowing out.Why it matters: If Lindell runs, name recognition and his ties to Trump could give him an edge among GOP voters. * Many top Republican officials and consultants think having the unpredictable pillow salesman at the top of the ticket would spell disaster for their efforts to win statewide in 2022.How we got here: Lindell has been flirting with a bid for months, but his commitment to promoting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election — including a much-covered White House visit — has triggered legal backlash and trouble for his business. * Last fall, Lindell said he'd run if Trump won another term. Then, in early January, he told the Star Tribune he was "90-95%" sure he'd jump in and would decide "once we know Donald Trump is our president."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans’ hospital has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient that he misdiagnosed.