Video courtesy: Charlie Nguyen
Video courtesy: Charlie Nguyen
Since he changed his legal address from Trump Tower in New York City to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., some have assumed that’s where he'll go after leaving Washington. There’s just one problem.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suggested Wednesday that politicians who impose lockdowns or curfews to limit COVID-19 are acting like dictators. The comments came as López Obrador once again fended off questions about why he almost never wears a face mask, saying it was a question of liberty. The Mexican leader said pandemic measures that limit people’s movements are “fashionable among authorities ... who want to show they are heavy handed, dictatorship.”
As Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) bid farewell to his colleagues on the Senate floor Wednesday, the retiring lawmaker received a standing ovation from the rest of the upper chamber.In an emotional speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Alexander is "leaving this body and those of us in it, and the nation it exists to serve, stronger and better because you were here."> WATCH: Sen. Mitch McConnell gets emotional while speaking on Sen. Lamar Alexander: "You're leaving this body and those of us in it and the nation it exists to serve stronger and better because you were here." pic.twitter.com/JKqBpefAM5> > -- The Hill (@thehill) December 2, 2020Veteran Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), also heaped praise on Alexander. Schumer, referring to Alexander as his friend, said he "will leave this chamber with a legacy that every senator should be proud of," emphasizing instances in which he's reached across the aisle despite potential personal political cost.Feinstein, meanwhile, said "I truly have come to appreciate Sen. Alexander's fairness, interest in solving problems, and his bipartisanship. Most of all, I so appreciate your friendship."In his final address, Alexander said the Senate needs "a change of behavior" resulting in lawmakers ceasing to block each other's amendments. > Not something you see often -- bipartisan standing ovation on Senate floor for retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander after he wraps up farewell address, which featured a heavy emphasis on his cross-aisle relationships and bipartisan accomplishments, especially on education issues> > -- Deirdre Walsh (@deirdrekwalsh) December 2, 2020More stories from theweek.com The naked corruption of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Freshly pardoned Michael Flynn shares message telling Trump to 'suspend the Constitution' to hold a new presidential election
Adam Laxalt, the co-chair of the Trump campaign in Nevada, is fighting ferociously against his state’s decision to reward its six electoral votes to President-elect Joe Biden, alleging widespread voter fraud and hyping litigation to overturn Biden’s victory.But a nonprofit ethics and transparency group affiliated with Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general, has already conceded Biden’s victory and is looking ahead to the new administration.“It’s become clear that we’re going to be having a Biden team and a Biden administration in 2021,” said Caitlin Sutherland, the executive director of Americans for Public Trust, in an interview on Tuesday. The new administration is “what we will remain focused on going into next year.”Sutherland stressed that Laxalt’s work with the Trump re-election campaign, and his efforts to invalidate Biden’s win in Nevada, were entirely separate from his work with APT, a tax-exempt nonprofit that’s barred by law from engaging in political or partisan activity. “That is something he does in a personal capacity outside his role in APT,” Sutherland said. “As a 501c3, we, and Adam when he works with us, do not engage in anything with a partisan or political bent.”Nevada Gov. Calls Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Retweet ‘Unconscionable’ But Laxalt maintains his position as APT’s outside counsel and frequent spokesman even as he works with the Trump team in a personal capacity. And the fact that the group he works with is planning for a reality he refuses to concede underscores just how great a divergence has developed within the broader conservative movement. One faction appears unable to acknowledge the reality of Joe Biden’s win—perhaps for fear of offending Trump. Another doesn’t want to get caught flat-footed for when that reality comes about.Illustrating the political complications that these two pulls can create for the president’s political allies, Sutherland followed up on her initial interview with The Daily Beast to clarify her statement—and hedge her view on the outcome of the election. “As Biden is working to build out his team, APT will provide transparency and scrutiny, even as litigation on the election results are ongoing,” she wrote.As a leading Trump campaign official in Nevada, Laxalt has been a face of the campaign’s efforts to overturn the state’s presidential contest. Last month, he appeared at a news conference in North Las Vegas—alongside former Trump intelligence chief Ric Grenell and GOP lobbyist Matt Schlapp—to level allegations of widespread voter fraud and preview a lawsuit demanding that a state court declare Trump the winner, despite trailing by more than 33,000 votes.The Shady Ex-Cop Behind Trump’s Nevada Voter-Fraud FarceAs part of that lawsuit, the campaign submitted a list of thousands of voters who it said had cast ballots in Nevada despite living out of state. Many of those voters turned out to be military servicemen and their families stationed outside of Nevada, but who are permitted by law to cast ballots in the state.Like nearly all of the Trump campaign’s election-related lawsuits over the past month, the Nevada effort has so far fallen short. Last week, Nevada’s Supreme Court certified Biden’s win in the state. The campaign’s efforts persist nonetheless, and the president and his attorneys continue to gripe about a nonexistent conspiracy against him perpetrated by high-level government officials—including Republicans—and voting machine companies with nebulous ties to foreign dictators.Those voting machine conspiracy theories, which largely focus on the company Dominion Voting Systems, have not extended to Nevada, or Laxalt's efforts there. But on Tuesday, the president hailed a Nevada court ruling allowing both presidential campaigns to inspect voting machines used in the state’s largest county. In a tweet on the ruling, Trump tagged Grennell, Schlapp, and Laxalt.Founded this year, APT uses open records requests and other transparency tools to root out apparent conflicts of interest and ethical breaches among government officials and interest groups. APT is a conservative-leaning group, though Sutherland, a former research director at the National Republican Congressional Committee, said it has and will continue to investigate Republicans and Democrats alike.“We have demanded accountability and transparency from a variety of groups and politicians from both sides of the aisle. That momentum will not change as we head into a Biden administration,” she said.APT has already begun to file open records requests for documents related to incoming Biden administration officials, Sutherland said. “We are taking a look at each individual that will be nominated to the cabinet, and who President-elect Biden is surrounding himself with, what that network has done in the past, and what they would mean in a Biden administration.”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.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday expressed his opposition to a bill approved by parliament the previous day to suspend U.N. inspections and boost uranium enrichment, saying it would be “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions. The tug-of-war over the bill, which gained momentum after the killing of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist last month, reflects the rivalry between Rouhani, a relative moderate, and hard-line lawmakers who dominate parliament and favor a more confrontational approach to the West. The bill would suspend U.N. inspections and require the government to resume enriching uranium to 20% if European nations fail to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions on the country's oil and banking sectors.
From a private island to a tiny Vermont tree houseOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
An Alabama soldier was charged with reckless murder after allegedly forcing his girlfriend's unruly 5-year-old son to get out of a car at night along a road where the boy was hit and killed by another vehicle, authorities said.
Mask-wearing will persist indefinitely in Britain despite the roll-out of a Covid vaccine, the deputy chief medial officer has indicated. Professor Jonathan Van Tam warned on Wednesday evening that the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in the UK did not herald the end of the virus, telling a Downing Street press conference: "I don't think we're going to eradicate coronavirus ever. I think it's going to be with humankind forever." Prof Van Tam hinted at the prospect of annual winter inoculations against Covid becoming the norm in years ahead. Comparing it to flu, he said: "I think we may get to a point where coronavirus becomes a seasonal problem." He suggested face coverings would remain a staple of daily life, saying: "Do I think there will come a big moment where we have a massive party and throw off masks and hand sanitiser and say that's it, it's behind us, like the end of the war? No I don't." Habits learned during the pandemic which "clearly stopped the spread of other respiratory viruses" as well as coronavirus "may perhaps persist for many years and that may be a good thing if they do", he said. Since July, face coverings have been mandatory in England when on public transport, visiting shops and inside hospitality venues, but not while seated at a table to eat or drink. People who refuse to wear one and have not been granted a medical exemption can be fined up to £6,400.
Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, narrowing Republican control of the chamber and underscoring his state's shift from red to blue. Kelly, 56, defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally in last month's election, making her one of only three incumbents to lose. Kelly was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence, and both men wore masks and bumped arms in congratulations when the oath was over.
This year is on track to be the second hottest on record, behind 2016, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday. "2020 is very likely to be one of the three warmest years on record globally," the Geneva-based U.N. agency said in its State of the Global Climate in 2020 report. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a speech at Columbia University in New York that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are to blame and policies have yet to rise to the challenge.
Attorney General William Barr revealed Tuesday that he had secretly given U.S. Attorney John Durham special counsel status in October, explaining that the designation assured Durham and his team "that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election." The decision was news to President Trump, The New York Times reports. But Trump wasn't satisfied, Axios adds.Trump and his allies are "piling extreme pressure" on Barr to release Durham's findings on the FBI's investigation of Trump and Russia, and they view Durham's special counsel designation "as a smokescreen to forestall the release of the so-called Durham report, which senior administration officials believe is already complete," Axios says. "Trump has been ranting about the delay behind the scenes and mused privately about replacing Barr with somebody who will expedite the process."Democrats view Durham's criminal investigation as motivated entirely by politics and revenge, and Barr's move was widely seen as a way to ensure it will continue after President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20. Trump abruptly pushed out all U.S. attorneys appointed by his predecessor soon after he took office, but special counsels can only be removed by an attorney general under a narrow set of documented criteria. Barr used a work-around with Durham, though, and that would apparently make it much easier for Biden to end the investigation.> This is a very good point from @steve_vladeck. The appointment itself does not comply with the regs. If Barr can appoint someone pursuant to his general statutory appointment authority and apply the regs, it is very likely that the next attorney general can rescind the order. https://t.co/UTOWOt7MZH> > — Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) December 1, 2020A Justice Department official told The Washington Examiner that "attorneys general have often appointed prosecutors to act as special investigators, either under the special counsel regulations or outside them," so Durham's appointment wasn't so unusual. But because Durham, the current U.S. attorney for Connecticut, "was not appointed pursuant to the special counsel regulation, it is possible the next attorney general could rescind Mr. Barr's directive that special counsel rules would apply to him, then end his inquiry without any finding of misconduct," the Times reports."I suppose the calculation is that there is a political cost" for doing so, Duke University law professor Samuel Buell told the Times. But Barr's move is an "odd" use of the special counsel provision.More stories from theweek.com The naked corruption of Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead. Freshly pardoned Michael Flynn shares message telling Trump to 'suspend the Constitution' to hold a new presidential election
A photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from the prosthetic leg of a dead Taliban fighter emerged on Tuesday, as the Chinese and Australian governments continued to trade blows over alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. The photograph of the soldier drinking from an apparent “war trophy” in an unauthorised bar in Afghanistan in 2009 was one of several obtained by Guardian Australia. Another shows two soldiers dancing with the leg. The bar, known as the Fat Lady’s Arms, was set up inside Australia’s special forces base in Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan province. Some soldiers claimed in the Guardian that the practice was widely tolerated by officers at high levels, and even involved some of them. Taking property without the consent of the owner may be classified as pillaging, a war crime which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. The revelations came as China hit back at the Australian government, which had criticised a social media post by senior official Zhao Lijian featuring a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. The post was a reference to the findings of the Brereton inquiry which implicated Australian forces in the alleged murder of prisoners or civilians in Afghanistan. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra said the Australian Government was attempting to deflect attention from war crimes committed by Australian forces, to stoke the fires of “domestic nationalism”, and to pin the blame for the deteriorating relationship between the countries on China. While the Brereton inquiry largely absolved the Australian military’s top brass of responsibility for the alleged crimes, the report noted that a “warrior culture” had developed in the special forces which contributed to offences, a culture of which senior officers could not have been unaware. Australian historian and lecturer on asymmetrical warfare and counter-insurgency, Dr Philip Chilton, told The Telegraph that Australia’s special forces “are bred to have a warrior culture”, and that it is “problematic” that the report appeared to “exonerate the higher command for responsibility for any of this”. While the Department of Defence has not confirmed the authenticity of the photographs, in June 2018 Fairfax Media reported that Australian troops had been using the prosthetic leg taken from an Afghan man as a drinking vessel. The Department of Defence said in a statement that all credible allegations of wrongdoing will be investigated. “The report has been redacted to remove names and details that could identify individuals against whom the Inquiry has found credible information to support allegations of criminal wrongdoing or other misconduct... Where there is information provided to Defence not addressed as part of the Afghanistan Inquiry [headed by Justice Brereton], these matters will be investigated thoroughly and acted on,” a spokesperson said. “It is critical that all matters are considered carefully, and any actions are undertaken according to the ADF’s longstanding and well-established processes, ensuring the rights of individuals to due process and fair hearing are protected.”