Yesterday was anything BUT a formality. Congress was set to confirm the Electoral College Vote count that certified Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. President Trump called for Vice President Mike Pence to step in, but earlier today the Vice President stated in a letter to lawmakers that he could not: "It is my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not" After the first objection to Arizona's vote count, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell gave this viewpoint during the debate: "If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever. If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again." Following these proceedings, protesters stormed the capitol, stopping the count, and forcing lawmakers into hiding. What happens now? Ben Hall was joined by Dr. Thomas Schwartz to discuss what will follow the events at the Capitol.
- NBC News
Analysis: Biden had nothing to gain and everything to lose from fighting a quixotic war over the filibuster just days into his presidency.
- The Telegraph
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been unmasked as a "prolific" former FBI informant. Enrique Tarrio, 36, worked undercover exposing a human trafficking ring, and helped with drug and gambling cases, according to court documents. Tarrio's documented involvement with law enforcement related to the period 2012 -2014. There was no evidence of him cooperating after that. But the revelation raised further questions over why police did not take further steps to secure the US Capitol ahead of the riots on Jan 6. At least half a dozen members of the Proud Boys were arrested over involvement in the riots. Tarrio denied ever being an informer, telling Reuters: "I don’t know any of this. I don’t recall any of this."
- Associated Press
One day after the deadly insurrection in Washington, a Pennsylvania school district announced it was suspending a teacher who, the district asserted, “was involved in the electoral college protest that took place at the United States Capitol Building.” Three weeks later, Jason Moorehead is fighting to restore his reputation and resume teaching after he says the Allentown School District falsely accused him of being at the Capitol during the siege. The district says Moorehead’s social media posts about the events of Jan. 6, and not just his presence in Washington that day, are a focus of its probe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom as he prepares to visit Scotland on Thursday to confront growing support for another independence referendum. The bonds holding together the United Kingdom have been severely strained over the last five years by Brexit, the government’s handling of the pandemic, and repeated calls by the Scottish National Party for a new referendum on independence. Ahead of his visit, Johnson said that Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom gained access to a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and they are being administered by their shared armed forces, who are creating 80 new vaccine centres in Scotland.
President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Keenan spent 14 years writing for Obama, including working alongside Biden for eight of those years. He acknowledged being embittered by his own experience, especially after Sen. Mitch McConnell pledged to make his former boss a one-term president. * "Until the Republican Party steps up and tells their own voters what's really happening with the truth, it's going to be elusive," Keenan said. "It's not up to (President Biden) alone to deliver. He can't."Keenan helped Obama with the first volume of his memoir, "A Promised Land." He stopped working with the former president on New Year's Eve and has taken a full-time role at Fenway Strategies. The firm is run by another ex-Obama speechwriter — Jon Favreau — and presidential aide, Tommy Vietor. * "It just seemed like a natural spot after the book and the elections and, you know, [Obama] is not going to do a ton, especially with Biden in office," Keenan said.Keenan is also writing a book, titled "Grace," about the 10 days from the 2015 shooting at a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, to the eulogy Obama delivered for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. * Obama ended by singing "Amazing Grace." * The title also nods to Keenan's newborn daughter, named Grace.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore have detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to carry out “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, the Internal Security Department said Wednesday. The teen detained in December was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was progressing well with minimal symptoms of COVID-19, a senior health official said on Wednesday. Lopez Obrador, 67, was experiencing brief episodes of fever and a minor headache, but "virtually no other discomfort," Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said during a regular government news conference. "He is still very active, not only with minimal symptoms, but he continues to carry out his functions," Lopez-Gatell said.
The move could save the service millions of dollars and provide wearers with better protection in the field.
- Associated Press
The Biden administration on Wednesday paused or put under review a wide swath of Trump-era foreign policies as America’s new top diplomat took the helm of the State Department. The administration placed at least temporarily holds on several big-ticket arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, while newly installed Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is looking urgently at a terrorism designation against Yemen’s Houthi rebels that his predecessor enacted shortly before leaving office. On his first full day on the job, Blinken said the administration has initiated a comprehensive review of the U.S. relationship with Russia and is examining details of a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed nearly a year ago.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
Weeks after other Latin American countries began inoculating their citizens against coronavirus, Brazil finally administered its first shot on Jan. 17 using China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd vaccine. With efficacy of just over 50% - barely above Brazil's threshold for regulatory approval - the Chinese shot was not the government's first choice. The country's principle strategy - to manufacture 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine locally - has been plagued by repeated delays.
- The Telegraph
A doctor with terminal cancer killed a female paediatrician and then himself after taking hostages at a children's clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr Bharat Narumanchi held hostages in a five-hour siege before killing Dr Katherine Lindley Dodson. Narumanchi had applied for a volunteer position at the clinic a week ago and was declined. He later came back carrying a pistol, a shotgun and two duffel bags. Police spokesman Jeff Greenwalt said Narumanchi had recently been given "weeks to live" after a cancer diagnosis. He said: "The case as far as who did this is closed. We know who did it. And we know that there's no longer a threat to the public. But we really, really want to answer the question of why." Dr Lindley Dodson, 43, was beloved by patients and their families. Karen Vladeck, whose two children were among her patients, told the Austin American-Statesman: "You saw her at your worst when your kid was sick, and she just always had a smile on her face. "She made you feel like you were the only parent there, even though there was a line of kids waiting." During the siege a SWAT team used a megaphone to communicate with the armed doctor. A hostage negotiator shouted: "Your life is very important to me. And I know life is very important to you. "You don't deserve to go through this. For all you have done for others. That is why I want to help you work through this. You have saved a lot of lives." Police first sent in a robot and then officers went into the medical office where they found two bodies. They did not comment on how the two doctors died. A police spokesman said: "The SWAT situation has ended. Two subjects have been located and were pronounced deceased."
- Yahoo News Video
China toughened its language toward Taiwan on Thursday, warning after recent stepped-up military activities near the island that "independence means war" and that its armed forces were taking action to respond to provocation and foreign interference.
- National Review
White House climate czar John Kerry on Wednesday recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies. During a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Kerry, who is serving as the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, was asked what his message is to workers who are “seeing an end to their livelihoods” as a result of President Biden’s plan to move away from traditional fuels and towards renewable energy. “The president of the United States has expressed in every comment he has made about climate the need to grow the new jobs that pay better, that are cleaner,” Kerry responded, emphasizing that Biden intends to “do what needs to be done to deal with this crisis.” “What President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they can be the people to go to work to make the solar panels,” Kerry said. Kerry noted that jobs in clean energy, such solar power technician and wind turbine technician, were growing rapidly before the pandemic hit. “The same people can do those jobs,” the former secretary of state said, adding that, “coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years.” Kerry also lamented that workers in traditional fuel industries have been a “false narrative.” “They’ve been fed the notion that somehow dealing with climate is coming at their expense. No, it’s not,” he said, adding that the tribulations of oil and gas workers are due to “other market forces already taking place.” Biden signed several executive orders on climate change on Wednesday aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Last week, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017. Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers. “Today is climate day at the White House, which means today is jobs day at the White House,” Biden said at a White House ceremony. “In my view, we’ve already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis and we can’t wait any longer. It is time to act.” Also on Wednesday, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm testified at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and promised to focus on creating U.S. jobs in clean energy while moving away from fossil fuels. She cited her time as Michigan governor, saying that “when we focused on providing incentives for job providers to locate in Michigan in clean energy, they came.” However, she added, “I think it is important that as we develop fossil fuels that we also develop the technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
- The Independent
Grandmother ‘overjoyed’ to be outside after receiving Covid-19 vaccine killed in Portland vehicle attack
Police have not released a motive in the attack
Delays to COVID-19 vaccine shipments have forced authorities in Madrid to halt inoculations and are threatening supplies in Catalonia, Spanish officials said on Wednesday. The Madrid region has ceased first vaccinations for at least this week and next and was using the few doses it has to administer second shots to those who have had the first one, said deputy regional government chief Ignacio Aguado. "We need more doses and we need them now," he told reporters on Wednesday, urging newly appointed Health Minister Carolina Darias to act quickly to secure the shots.
- Associated Press
The bureau reported that about 5,300 survivors of the World War II-era mass murder of European Jews and other groups by the Nazis were infected in 2020 with the coronavirus. About 17% of those Holocaust survivors died of the virus, similar to the percentage of others of the same age. All Holocaust survivors are at least 75 years old and COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, is especially lethal to seniors.
- FOX News Videos
Former New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez says the Biden administration's border agenda is 'very wrong.'