By Keith Coffman COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - The 57-year-old man with a bushy white beard who is suspected of killing three people in a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado has a history of brushes with the law, including a "peeping Tom" complaint in his home state of South Carolina. Robert Lewis Dear, named as the suspect in the Friday shooting in Colorado Springs, was in jail on Saturday awaiting an initial hearing on Monday, police and jail records showed. Police have not discussed a motive for the attack at the clinic, which offers a range of health services, including abortions. Those killed were a police officer and two civilians, and nine people were wounded. After a standoff lasting several hours, the suspect surrendered to law enforcement officers, authorities said. The shooting was believed to be the first fatal attack at an abortion provider in the United States in six years, although it was not known if the attack was related to the clinic's abortion services. The Colorado Springs center has been repeatedly targeted for protests by anti-abortion activists. It was not immediately clear if Dear had retained an attorney. An online court record search in South Carolina did not immediately show records of any criminal convictions for Dear, but law enforcement officers were called in on several occasions after complaints about him. He was born in South Carolina and lived in Walterboro during the 1990s and early 2000s. He was married in 1995 to Pam Dear and records of his contact with sheriff's deputies show he had a son, Taylor Dear. According to incident reports provided by the Colleton County Sheriff's Office, Dear's wife called police and accused him of assaulting her in 1997 at their home. She said he pushed her and shoved her to the floor, but declined to file charges, according to the sheriff deputy's report. In 2002 he was accused by a neighbor of shooting the neighbor's dog with a pellet gun, and that same year he was arrested on accusation of hiding in the bushes at his neighbor's house and leering her and making unwanted advances. Court records show he was charged with peeping to invade someone's privacy in that case, but the charge was dismissed by a judge and a restraining order was issued against him. The Colleton County Sheriff's Office also said he was arrested for animal cruelty in 2003 but no court record was available online for that case. Dear, who most recently was living in the small community of Hartsel, Colorado, about 60 miles (100 km) west of Colorado Springs, had moved there from the rural Swannanoa-Black Mountain area of western North Carolina. Records showed that Dear purchased an isolated property in rural Hartsel for $6,000 in October of 2014. Dear was still living in Swannanoa in July 2014, according to the Buncombe County Sheriffs Office, which said he was issued a civil citation at that time for allowing his dogs to run at large. Court records in North Carolina were not searchable online. Friday's attack was the latest in a series of mass shootings around the country that have galvanized supporters of tighter gun control. It is a polarizing issue in the United States, where the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution. Expressing frustration, President Barack Obama said the United States needs to make it harder for criminals and the mentally unstable to get guns, a theme that he has sounded repeatedly. "We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough," Obama said in a statement on Saturday. The nine people wounded on Friday - five police officers and four civilians - were listed in good condition at area hospitals. POLICEMAN WAS A FORMER FIGURE SKATER The dead policeman was Garrett Swasey, 44, a campus police officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who joined city police in responding to the first reports of shots fired, authorities said. The dead civilians were not named. Swasey, married and the father of two young children, was a former figure skater who served as an elder at Hope Chapel, the Colorado Springs church said on its website. Planned Parenthood in recent years moved its Colorado Springs clinic to new quarters on the city's northwest side - a facility that opponents of abortion had called a "fortress." "We don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack," said Vicki Cowart, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, after the shooting. However, she suggested a climate of rancor surrounding abortion had set the stage for such violence. "We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country," she said in a statement. The national non-profit group, devoted to providing a range of reproductive health services, including abortions, has come under renewed pressure this year from conservatives in Congress seeking to cut off federal funding for the organization. At least eight workers at clinics providing abortions have been killed since 1977, according to the National Abortion Federation - most recently in 2009, when doctor George Tiller was shot to death at church in Wichita, Kansas. Clinics have reported nearly 7,000 incidents of trespassing, vandalism, arson, death threats, and other forms of violence since then, according to the federation. As in much of the rest of the country, abortion is a divisive issue in Colorado. Colorado Springs is a hub for conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose abortion. (Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago, Daniel Wallis in Denver, Frank McGurty in New York, Roberta Rampton in Washington and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by Frances Kerry)
- NBC News
"The situation at the border isn't going to be transformed overnight," a senior Biden transition official told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
- The Telegraph
Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, was arrested immediately after returning to the country for the first time since he was poisoned with a nerve agent. The plane carrying Mr Navalny from Germany, where the 44-year-old had been recovering from a poisoning he blames on Russian authorities, landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport around 8:15 pm. The pilot had told passengers there was a delay for "technical reasons" and then that the flight had been diverted from Vnukovo, another Moscow airport where Mr Navalny's supporters and media had gathered for his return. President Vladimir Putin's most well-known opponent was returning to Russia for the first time since the poisoning in August, in defiance of warnings from officials that they would arrest him for breaking the terms of a suspended prison sentence. Mr Navalny is defying the Kremlin’s threats to jail him under one of several active criminal cases, which are widely regarded as politically motivated.
- National Review
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) warned Friday that one-third of Republican voters could leave the party if GOP senators vote in impeachment proceedings to convict President Trump. Paul made the comments in an interview on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle. The senator’s remarks come amid an increasing divide between congressional Republicans who oppose impeaching the president and a smaller number who support the measure following the riots at the Capitol on January 6. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly hopeful that Republicans can use impeachment to purge Trump from the GOP, although he would need the support of at least 16 additional Republican senators to vote to convict. “Look, I didn’t agree with the [Capitol] fight that happened last week, and I voted against overturning the election, but at the same time, the impeachment is a wrongheaded, partisan notion, [and] if Republicans go along with it, it’ll destroy the party,” Paul said during the interview. “A third of the Republicans will leave the party,” Paul continued. “This isn’t about, anymore, the Electoral College, this is about the future of the party, and whether you’re going to ostracize and excommunicate President Trump from the party. Well, guess what? Millions of his fans will leave as well.” While a majority of Americans believe Trump should be removed from office immediately, just 17 percent of Republicans support expelling Trump from the presidency, according to an Axios–Ipsos poll released on Thursday. Support for Trump among Republicans has fallen since the Capitol riots; however, 60 percent believe the party should continue to follow Trump once he leaves office, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
After a probe found "significant errors of judgment and procedure" in the termination of the employee, GitHub's head of human resources resigned, GitHub Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said on Sunday. "In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said in a blog https://bit.ly/2KnkVhI, adding that the company apologized to that employee.
- The Week
Israel has vaccinated at least 25 percent of its population against the coronavirus so far, which leads the world and makes it "the country to watch for herd effects from" the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, says infectious disease expert David Fishman. Recently, the case rate in Israel appears to have declined sharply, and while there could be a few reasons for that, it's possible the vaccination effort is beginning to play a role.> Israel's reproduction number appears to have declined rather sharply in recent days, with around 25% of the country vaccinated, and some additional percentage having at least partial immunity via prior infection. pic.twitter.com/sVyCYYd9dj> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021One study from Clalit that was published last week reports that 14 days after receiving the first Pfizer-BioNTech shot, infection rates among 200,000 Israelis older than 60 fell 33 percent among those vaccinated compared to 200,000 from the same demographic who hadn't received a jab.At first glance, Fishman writes, that might seem disappointing since clinical trials suggested the vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. But he actually believes the 33 percent figure is "auspicious." Because vaccinated and non-vaccinated people are mingling, there could be "herd effects of immunization." In other words, when inoculated people interact with people who haven't had their shot, the latter individual may still be protected because the other person is. On a larger scale, that would drive down the number of infections among non-vaccinated people, thus shrinking the gap between the two groups' infection rates.> Estimated vaccine efficacy is a function of relative risk of infection in the vaccinated...when there is indirect protection via herd effects, we expect efficacy estimates to decrease because the risk among unvaccinated individuals declines.> > — David Fisman (@DFisman) January 17, 2021More data needs to come in, and Fishman thinks "we'll know more" this week, but he's cautiously optimistic about how things are going.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment Trump's vaccine delay is getting suspicious The pandemic windfall
- NBC News
She displayed "a round metallic object later identified as a Military Police Challenge Coin" and said she was part of law enforcement, police said.
Kevin McCarthy warned members to not call out colleagues by name, citing potential political violence
Members of the House Republican Conference ignored leader Kevin McCarthy last week when he warned them against criticizing colleagues by name based on intelligence that doing so could trigger more political violence. Why it matters: McCarthy made clear that name-dropping opponents, instead of spelling out complaints in more general terms, can put a literal target on a politician, especially with tensions so high following the events of Jan. 6.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.That's what happened to Rep. Liz Cheney, the GOP conference chairperson, after she said she would support impeaching President Trump. * She and several other members had to increase their security and take extra precautions because of death threats and other alarming warnings after their colleagues singled them out in their complaints.What McCarthy said: The House minority leader issued his warning during a conference call last Monday. He said his concern was driven by the FBI briefings he receives. * "It doesn’t matter which side of the position you were: I respect it, I respect why you did what you did. But what we are saying on television, when we say a member’s name. ... This is not the moment in time to do it." * "You can incite something else. The country is very divided and we know this. Let’s not put any member, I don’t care who they are Republican, Democrat or any person not even in Congress. Watch our words closely. I get these reports on a weekly basis. I’ve seen something I haven’t seen before.”Several minutes later, McCarthy repeated the message: “Emotions are high. What you say matters. Let’s not put other people in danger. Let’s watch what words we’re using and definitely not be using other members' names in any media.”Days later, some GOP members ignored him and openly criticized their colleagues * Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted that the name of his Republican colleague, Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, "will be one forgotten by next January." * Rep. Lauren Boebart (R-Colo.) mocked Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the House's new mask fines.One of the most blatant attacks, leading to a media firestorm, was when several members of the House Freedom Caucus went after Cheney for voting to impeach Trump. * On the day of the vote, the members circulated a petition to remove her from her leadership role. * Cheney is now fielding a series of threats against her, many from fiery Trump supporters angered by her vote, a source with direct knowledge of the threat said. * “We don’t comment on security matters,” Cheney’s communications director, Jeremy Adler, told Axios.What we’re hearing: McCarthy's team told Axios he isn't looking for repercussions. Spokesman Matt Sparks said the leader wants to lower the temperature and is encouraging members to be mindful of the current environment.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- Associated Press
When Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday outside a wounded U.S. Capitol, he will begin reshaping the office of the presidency itself as he sets out to lead a bitterly divided nation struggling with a devastating pandemic and an insurrection meant to stop his ascension to power. Biden had campaigned as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, a singular figure whose political power was fueled by discord and grievance. The Democrat framed his election as one to “heal the soul” of the nation and repair the presidency, restoring the White House image as a symbol of stability and credibility.
The U.S. Army has identified a 1st Armored Division staff sergeant from Fort Bliss, Texas found dead at his home Thursday.
- NBC News
Couy Griffin, a county commissioner in New Mexico, planned to return to the Capitol with guns on Jan. 20, the FBI said.
- Yahoo News Video
The spokesman for Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has quit less than two weeks after she was sworn into office, saying he felt like he need to due to the insurrection at the nation's Capitol.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on his Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.Why it matters: Many of the mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * Several Republicans who ran for Congress last year publicly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets — something Sasee noted in his op-ed, headlined "QAnon is Destroying the GOP From Within." * Sasse blames the violence on "the blossoming of a rotten seed that took root in the Republican Party some time ago and has been nourished by treachery, poor political judgment, and cowardice."Driving the news: Sasse wrote in his op-ed that "until last week, many party leaders and consultants thought they could preach the Constitution while winking at QAnon." * "They can't," he added. "The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about." * Sasse criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for not denouncing QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) when she was running for Congress in 2020. * "She's already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president," Sasse wrote. "She'll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party."Worth noting: Sasse said before the House impeached President Trump for a second time he'd consider "definitely consider" any articles of impeachment against him over his conduct and comments at a rally before the riots. * The Nebraska senator criticized Trump's embrace of QAnon supporters last August, warning that Democrats could "take the Senate" this "will be a big part of why they won." * Months later, the Democrats went on to win control of the Senate.The bottom line: Sasse wrote that his party faces a choice when Trump leaves office: "We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories."Go deeper: * The Capitol siege's QAnon roots * House freshmen at war after Capitol siegeSupport safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
U.S. President Donald Trump at this point is opting not to issue a pardon for himself as he prepares an expansive list of more than 100 pardons and commutations for release on Tuesday, a source familiar with the effort said. White House advisers have said Trump has privately debated with advisers whether to take the extraordinary step of issuing a pardon for himself but some administration officials have cautioned Trump against a self-pardon because it would make him look guilty. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-led House of Representatives last week on charges of inciting the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by pro-Trump protesters.
- Associated Press
Michael White's long-anticipated trip to Iran was already a disappointment. At one point, he writes, he fabricated a tale about being tasked to gather intelligence by an acquaintance he said was with the National Security Agency, figuring that interrogators wanted to hear something like that before setting him free.
- The Telegraph
Scientists say Colombia must cull its so-called “cocaine hippos” that roam the Magdalena river basin as they are breeding voraciously and are an increasing menace. The marshlands of Colombia have been home to these giant mammals since they were illegally imported in the late 1980s by the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. When he was shot dead in 1993, the Colombian government took control of his extravagant estate, including his personal zoo. Most of the animals were shipped away, but four hippos were left to fend for themselves in a pond, and now there are dozens of them living in the wild. Although nobody knows exactly how many there are, estimates put the total number between 80 and 100, making them the largest invasive species on the planet. Scientists forecast that the number of hippos will swell to almost 1,500 by 2040. They conclude, that at that point, environmental impacts will be irreversible and numbers impossible to control. “Nobody likes the idea of shooting a hippo, but we have to accept that no other strategy is going to work,” ecologist Nataly Castelblanco-Martínez told The Telegraph.
- Miami Herald
A man who did prison time for aggravated stalking and has convictions for domestic violence and violating a restraining order has an 18-year-old girl he has kidnapped at gunpoint, Pembroke Pines police said.
- National Review
Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Sunday advised the president not to grant presidential pardons to the rioters who stormed the Capitol this month, warning that doing so would “destroy” Trump. “Mr. President, your policies will stand the test of time. You’re the most important figure in the Republican party. You can shape the direction of the party. Keep your movement alive,” Graham said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people urging the president to pardon folks who participated in defiling the Capitol, the rioters,” Graham continued. “I don’t care if you went there and spread flowers on the floor, you breached the security of the Capitol, you interrupted a joint session of Congress, you tried to intimidate us all, you should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and to seek a pardon of these people would be wrong. I think it would destroy President Trump and I hope we don’t go down that road.” On Wednesday, a large group of Trump supporters overpowered Capitol Police and forced their way into the halls of Congress. Pence and the assembled lawmakers evacuated the Senate floor, where a joint session of Congress was being held to certify the presidential election results. The violence followed a rally outside the White House earlier in the day where President Trump addressed the “Save America March” and repeated his claims that November’s election was rife with voter fraud that threatened to deprive him of his rightful second term. The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then, dozens of criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot. Graham defended Trump’s rhetoric at the rally, which received bipartisan condemnation and sparked a second impeachment against the president by House Democrats. “President Trump never said, ‘Go into the capitol and try to interrupt a joint session of Congress.’ That was the choice they made and they need to live with that choice,” Graham said. Graham added that there were “irregularities in mail-in voting,” but said “the election is over,” noting that the electoral votes have been certified.” “It is now time to move on,” the South Carolina Republican said. Graham also had a message for incoming president Joe Biden, calling on him to stand up against the second impeachment of Trump, which the Senate is expected to take up after he leaves office.
- Associated Press
China on Saturday finished building a 1,500-room hospital for COVID-19 patients to fight a surge in infections the government said are harder to contain and that it blamed on infected people or goods from abroad. The hospital is one of six with a total of 6,500 rooms being built in Nangong, south of Beijing in Hebei province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. China had largely contained the coronavirus that first was detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019 but has suffered a surge of cases since December.
Moderna will deliver 7.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Switzerland in batches in the months ahead, putting the country among the world leaders in inoculating its population, the head of Moderna's European business said. Staner said Switzerland would not get privileged treatment because it was the first country to chose Moderna as a supplier. Swiss regulators have approved vaccines from Moderna and from Pfizer with partner BioNTech.
- The Telegraph
Small groups of right-wing protesters - some of them carrying rifles - gathered outside heavily fortified statehouses around the country on Sunday, outnumbered by National Guard troops and police brought in to prevent a repeat of the violence that erupted at the US Capitol. Crowds of only a dozen or two demonstrated at some boarded-up, cordoned-off statehouses, while the streets in many other capital cities remained empty. Some protesters said they were there to back President Donald Trump. Others said they had instead come to voice their support for gun rights or decry government overreach. "I don't trust the results of the election," said Michigan protester Martin Szelag, a 67-year-old semi-retired window salesman from Dearborn Heights. He wore a sign around his neck that read, in part, "We will support Joe Biden as our President if you can convince us he won legally. Show us the proof! Then the healing can begin." As the day wore on with no bloodshed around the US, a sense of relief spread among officials, though they were not ready to let their guard down. The heavy law enforcement presence may have kept turnout down. In the past few days, some extremists had warned others against falling into what they called a law enforcement trap.