Rachel Maddow reviews the case of a contractor awarded tens of millions of dollars in contracts with the Trump administration to procure N95 masks without anyone checking into whether he could fulfill that charge (he couldn't) or even if his claims of having been a U.S. Marine were true (they weren't).
- National Review
White House Press Sec Dodges When Asked Why Hunter Biden Still Has a Stake in Chinese Investment Firm
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday punted on a question about why President Biden’s son Hunter Biden still holds an investment in a Chinese company. Asked during a press conference at the White House whether she had an update on Hunter Biden’s divestment from his ten percent stake in the Chinese private equity firm BHR Partners, Psaki referred a reporter to the younger Biden’s lawyers. “He has been working to unwind his investment,” Psaki said, adding, “as a private citizen, I would point you to him or his lawyers on the outside on any update.” In December, Biden assured voters that he and his family would not be involved in any business dealings that appear to conflict with the office of the president. “My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict with the appropriate distance from the presidency and government,” Biden said during a CNN appearance. Hunter Biden was reportedly in the process of divesting from his equity stake in BHR in late December, but as of last week, he appears to have retained his investment through his company, Skaneateles LLC. BHR, whose largest shareholder is the Chinese government-controlled Bank of China, has invested about $2.1 billion. Hunter Biden came under scrutiny last year for his lucrative position on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma. In leaked emails from 2014, Biden appears to try to leverage his influence with his father, then-vice president Joe Biden, who was heavily involved in U.S. policy on Ukraine, referring to the elder Biden as “my guy.” He also attracted criticism for entering into a consulting contract with China’s largest private energy company that initially earned Hunter Biden $10 million a year “for introductions alone,” according to leaked emails. Hunter Biden’s memoir, “Beautiful Things,” is scheduled to come out on April 6. The book will focus on the younger Biden’s well-documented drug abuse issues, according to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
- The Independent
Campaign finance filings follow concerns among watchdogs over former president’s self-dealing while in office
- The Telegraph
A 95-year-old woman has been charged as an accessory to the murder of 10,000 people because she worked as a secretary at a Nazi concentration camp, German prosecutors announced on Friday. The woman has not been named under German privacy laws but has been partially identified by local media as Irmgard F, a German pensioner living in a retirement home in Pinneberg, north of Hamburg. From June 1943 and April 1945 she worked as a secretary and typist for the commandant of Stutthof concentration camp, in present day Poland. She is charged with “assisting those responsible for the systematic killing of Jewish prisoners, Polish partisans and Soviet prisoners of war at the camp”. It is not the first time a woman has been charged over the Holocaust, but the decision to bring charges against a former secretary is the latest in a series of recent attempts to widen prosecutions beyond those directly involved in sending prisoners to their deaths.
An unidentified assailant was caught on surveillance camera pushing a 91-year-old man to the ground in a recent unprovoked attack in Oakland Chinatown. The incident happened outside the Asian Resource Center at the corner of Harrison and 8th streets on Jan. 31, according to ABC7. The suspect reportedly approached two other victims shortly after the first attack, resulting in one of them losing consciousness, according to the Oakland Police Department’s statement.
- The Week
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Friday declared she's been "freed" after being removed from her House committee assignments, claiming continuing to serve on them would have been a waste of time. The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to remove the controversial Georgia lawmaker from her committee assignments over a string of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim comments and support for baseless conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric. In a press conference Friday, Greene said it was freeing to admit she "believed things that were wrong" in a speech the day before, during which she did not apologize but rather expressed regret for being "allowed to believe things that weren't true." "Going forward, I've been freed," Greene said Friday. "I do, I feel freed." Greene went on to claim that "I'd be wasting my time" by continuing to serve on House committees "because my conservative values wouldn't be heard," even though she also asserted removing her from them "stripped my voters of having representation to work for them." "I'm fine with being kicked off my committees because it'd be a waste of my time," she insisted. Greene went on to celebrate that she now has "a lot of free time on my hands," but she ended the press conference after refusing to address a question about her liking a Facebook post in 2019 calling for violence against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). More stories from theweek.com5 scathing cartoons about the GOP's Marjorie Taylor Greene problemSenate votes down $15 minimum wage during vote-a-rama. Bernie Sanders seems unfazed.House investigators are compiling Trump allies' pre-riot plans — and have video of Roger Stone hanging with a militia group
- Associated Press
On President Joe Biden's weekend to-do list? Biden flew aboard Air Force One for the first time as president on Friday, but not on a trip to sell his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan or to confer with a U.S. ally. Biden's son Hunter also turned 51 on Thursday.
- Architectural Digest
Let there be lightOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Conservative Newsmax guest says Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was chosen 'probably for his skin colour'
New appointment is a four-star general and commanded US forces in Iraq
- The Telegraph
Barely two weeks after leaving office, the former US vice president Mike Pence has switched his attention to “attracting new hearts and minds to the conservative cause” as the host of a podcast directed at American youth. Mr Pence will become the first Ronald Reagan presidential scholar at the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a group set up in the 1960s to promote conservative values among a generation of high school and college students and those just embarking on their working lives. Hosting a podcast will be familiar territory for Mr Pence, who was a prominent conservative radio voice in the Midwest for several years before his election to Congress in 2000. Billing himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” a milder version of the firebrand right-wing radio personality beloved by Donald Trump's supporters, Mr Pence hosted discussions on conservative and religious themes. “The Vice-President will certainly be focused on the conservative accomplishments of the last four years and projecting those accomplishments and lessons learned forward,” a Pence spokesperson said of the podcast, according to Politico.
- The Week
Marjorie Taylor Greene tells lawmakers she regrets being 'allowed to believe things that weren't true'
Controversial lawmaker Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) acknowledged Thursday afternoon the 9/11 terrorist attacks really happened while insisting inflammatory remarks she's made "do not represent me." Greene, who has been under fire for past racist and anti-Semitic remarks and support of conspiracy theories including QAnon and the false assertion that school shootings are hoaxes, spoke on the House floor ahead of a vote to remove her from committee assignments, saying she regrets being "allowed to believe things that weren't true." The Georgia representative described at the end of 2017 becoming "very interested" in QAnon, which involves the false belief in a satanic cabal made up of prominent Democrats, but said that she later "started finding misinformation" in these online posts and then "stopped believing it." "You see, school shootings are absolutely real," Greene said, adding that "9/11 absolutely happened" and "I do not believe that it's fake." She previously questioned in 2018 if the Pentagon was actually hit by a plane on Sept. 11. Greene went on to assert that her "words of the past" don't "represent me" or "my values," even though she's under fire for comments made just within the past few years, while at the same time drawing an equivalence between QAnon and the news media. "Will we allow the media, that is just as guilty as QAnon of presenting truth and lies, to divide us?" she asked. Greene did not offer a direct apology during her remarks. A floor vote to remove her from her committee assignments is set to take place later on Thursday. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: "A lot of Americans don't trust our government...I was allowed to believe things that weren't true...and that is absolutely what I regret because if it weren't for the Facebook posts & comments that I liked in 2018, I wouldn't be standing here today." pic.twitter.com/TLfVmvbvqn — CSPAN (@cspan) February 4, 2021 More stories from theweek.com5 scathing cartoons about the GOP's Marjorie Taylor Greene problemGreene claims 'I'm fine with' getting kicked off her House committees: 'It'd be a waste of my time'Senate votes down $15 minimum wage during vote-a-rama. Bernie Sanders seems unfazed.
- NBC News
"They're choosing to keep a parent and child separated that they had already separated before and traumatized," said the attorney for Fernando Ochoa's dad.
- Associated Press
A New York judge ruled Friday that Republican Claudia Tenney defeated U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in the nation's last undecided congressional race. The ruling by Judge Scott DelConte could clear the way for Tenney to be sworn in as the representative for central New York's 22nd Congressional District, barring emergency intervention by a state appeals court. DelConte's ruling came after he spent three months reviewing ballot challenges and trying to fix a myriad of problems with vote tabulation.
- Yahoo News Video
A white Columbus, Ohio, police officer was charged with murder Wednesday in the latest fallout following the December shooting death of 47-year-old Andre Hill, a Black man, the state's attorney general said.
- The Independent
QAnon Shaman pictured without horns and face paint in mugshot, as he’s moved to jail with organic food
Jacob Anthony Chansley was transported to Virginia facility on Thursday evening
A 61-year-old man was on his way to work on the L subway train when he got into a dispute with another man and was slashed across the face on Wednesday morning. What happened: Noel Quintana claimed the man was kicking his backpack during the commute, according to ABC7. When Quintana asked him to stop, the man attacked him and ran away when the train stopped at First Avenue and 14th Street.
- The Week
The Senate slogged through a long series of votes late Thursday and early Friday, with the Democrats voting down most of the theoretically limitless series of amendments to their budget resolution. "The endurance run known as the 'vote-a-rama' is a time-honored tradition of the reconciliation process — the budget tool Democrats will likely use to expedite passage of [President] Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan without any GOP support," Politico explains. Most of the vote-a-rama involved "Republicans forcing Democrats into tedious and uncomfortable votes on a variety of issues as Democrats inflicted maximum pain by dragging out the legislative torment," Politico reports. But some amendments did pass with bipartisan support. By a voice vote, for example, the senators approved an amendment from Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to "prohibit the increase of the federal minimum wage during a global pandemic." Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is one of the heavy lifts in Biden's proposal. "A $15 federal minimum wage would be devastating for our hardest-hit small businesses at a time they can least afford it," Ernst argued on the Senate floor. The measure's biggest proponent, Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), shrugged off the vote, noting that his plan raised the minimum wage over five years, starting after the pandemic. "We need to end the crisis of starvation wages in Iowa and around the United States," he said, adding that he "will do everything that I can" to make sure the measure "is included in this reconciliation bill." The minimum wage hike may be stymied by other factors: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is opposed, and it may run afoul of so-called Byrd Rule limits on what can be included in reconciliation bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said if it doesn't make it in this bill, Democrats will include it in other legislation. The Senate also approved amendments to keep America's Israeli embassy in Jerusalem, prevent undocumented immigrants from getting direct stimulus checks, and — by a 99-1 vote — restrict Biden's $1,400 checks from going to "upper-income taxpayers." That proposal, from Manchin and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), did not specify any income thresholds, and Biden's proposal already includes phasing out the checks up to $300,000-a-year households. Congress and the White House are negotiating the phase-out and cutoff points, and Biden is meeting with Democratic leaders and committee chairs Friday morning to discuss the COVID-19 relief bill. More stories from theweek.com5 scathing cartoons about the GOP's Marjorie Taylor Greene problemGreene claims 'I'm fine with' getting kicked off her House committees: 'It'd be a waste of my time'House investigators are compiling Trump allies' pre-riot plans — and have video of Roger Stone hanging with a militia group
The findings concluded the high tempo of the unit's deployment cycle "placed remarkable stress on the soldiers in the unit."
- NBC News
Their plans to vaccinate Elbert County have been "laid to waste," a doctor from the raided medical center says.
- Associated Press
Judge Bruce Schroeder on Friday scheduled the hearing for Thursday afternoon for Kyle Rittenhouse, who's accused of shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz, killing Rosenbaum and Huber and wounding Grosskreutz during protests in Kenosha in August. Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, contends the protesters attacked him and he fired in self-defense. Prosecutors allege Rittenhouse moved out of the Antioch, Illinois, apartment he shared with his mother after he posted a $2 million cash bond in November and hasn't given the court his new address.
The United States expects Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record, including releasing women's rights activists and other political prisoners, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday. Pskai's comments underscored U.S. President Joe Biden's intention to make human right a key issue in U.S.-Saudi relations, which he pledged during the 2020 campaign to reassess. Biden on Thursday unveiled a first step in taking a firmer line with the kingdom, announcing an end to U.S. support for offensive operations by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement in Yemen.