During a pandemic where Black Americans are dying at a greater rate, Historically Black Colleges and Universities presidents say their students need to be prioritized. The White House Office of Public Engagement is listening. (Feb. 1)
- The Week
West Virginia's GOP governor supports big pandemic relief bill: 'If we throw away some money, so what?'
West Virginia's Republican governor and Democratic senator are on two different sides of the pandemic relief debate — but not necessarily the sides you'd expect. Gov. Jim Justice (R) spent the past four years as a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, and leads a state that voted for Republicans two to one in its 2020 statewide elections. But in a Monday interview with CNN, Justice not only recommitted to working with President Biden; he voiced support for a position even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) won't take. While Justice would like senators on both sides of the aisle to come together on COVID-19 relief, he indicated support for Biden's $1.9 trillion bill over Republicans' more conservative option. It's not worth "trying to be ... fiscally conservative at this point in time," Justice told CNN's Poppy Harlow, saying that "if we actually throw away some money right now, so what? We have really got to move and get people taken care of." **Republican** Governor of West Virginia @WVGovernor to me on Stimulus: “Trying to be per se fiscally responsible at this point in time with what we’ve got going on in the country, if we actually throw away some money right now, so what?” Has he talked to @Sen_JoeManchin? I ask. pic.twitter.com/s93QMWze3m — Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) February 1, 2021 Manchin has meanwhile called for a more targeted relief bill that only extends stimulus checks to Americans who aren't getting paychecks. Montana Sen. Jon Tester (D) also made it clear Sunday that he supports the Democrats' bill. Montana voted for Trump over Biden by about 16 points in November, and also declined to elect former Gov. Steve Bullock (D) to replace its Republican senator. But despite his precarious position, Tester affirmed he doesn't think $1.9 trillion is "too much money" right now. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) on the coming COVID relief bill vote: "I don't think $1.9 trillion, even though it is a boatload of money, is too much money. I think now is not the time to starve the economy ..." pic.twitter.com/XGyNOdUehk — The Recount (@therecount) January 31, 2021 More stories from theweek.comRochester police seen pepper spraying handcuffed, screaming 9-year-old girl in body camera videoRise of the Barstool conservativesEric Trump reportedly wagered Election Day that his father would win 320 electoral votes
- The State
“About 20 years ago, this story might have been dismissed as fantasy.”
- The Telegraph
Thousands are rallying across Russia as nationwide protests in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny continue to grow. For the second straight weekend, Russians took to the streets on Sunday in the Far East and Siberia as Moscow geared up for the rally with a strict security lockdown. Defying minus 20 degrees temperatures, more than 6,000 people marched across Russia’s third-largest city of Novosibirsk on Sunday, chanting “Down with the czar!” after riot police sealed off the main square. In Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, police pushed the crowds on the frozen Amur Bay where officers chased protesters in the snow. More than 500 arrests were reported across the country by Sunday morning.
Six Chinese fighter aircraft and a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft entered the southwestern corner of Taiwan's air defence identification zone on Sunday, the island's defence ministry said, in an unusual admission of U.S. military activity. Tensions have spiked over the last week or so after Taiwan reported multiple Chinese fighters and bombers flying into the zone last weekend, in an area close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands in the northern part of the South China Sea.
- FOX News Videos
The Biden administration wants to use the Agriculture Department money to tackle climate change, support restaurants and kickstart other programs without waiting for Congress; Fox Business Network's Charles Payne reacts.
- The Week
As states were formulating plans to vaccinate their residents against COVID-19 last fall, top Trump administration officials pushed Congress to deny the state governments any extra funding for the vaccine rollout, Stat News reported Sunday. The officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and White House Office of Management and Budget chief Russ Vought, disregarded "frantic warnings from state officials that they didn't have the money they needed to ramp up a massive vaccination operation," focusing instead on $200 million the states had not yet spent, Stat reports. Vought was "obsessed" with the fact that states hadn't already spent the allocated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a Republican Senate aide told Stat, adding that even staunch fiscal conservatives in Congress knew states needed more than $200 million to inoculate 300 million Americans. But "much of the lobbying push came from Paul Mango, the former deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services," Stat reports, citing a Democratic congressional aide and Mango himself. "A lot of them had shut down their economies and they weren't getting tax revenue," Mango told Stat. "I'm sure they could use money — that's not in dispute — what's in dispute is whether they needed money given all they hadn't used to actually administer vaccines." The National Governors Association and the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) both warned the Trump administration last fall that more funding was needed to prepare for the soon-to-be-approved vaccines, and former CDC Director Robert Redfield had asked Congress for $6 billion for the states' efforts. Mango told Stat that Redfield was "lobbying Congress for money behind our back" to "help their friends at the state public health offices." State health departments note they were not vaccinating anyone in October and said they were drawing down sources of money that were set to expire before tapping the $200 million, especially because it wasn't certain Congress would allocate anymore. Congress did approve $4.5 billion in December, but the funds didn't start arriving in states until January. Read more about the lobbying effort, what effect it may have had on the slow rollout, and the schism between the Trump political appointees and public health officials at Stat News. More stories from theweek.comRochester police seen pepper spraying handcuffed, screaming 9-year-old girl in body camera videoRise of the Barstool conservativesEric Trump reportedly wagered Election Day that his father would win 320 electoral votes
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“I see this all the time ... and never knew what it was!”
- Associated Press
Moscow braced for more protests seeking the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who faces a court hearing Tuesday after two weekends of nationwide rallies and thousands of arrests in the largest outpouring of discontent in Russia in years. Tens of thousands filled the streets across the vast country Sunday, chanting slogans against President Vladimir Putin and demanding freedom for Navalny, who was jailed last month and faces years in prison. Over 5,400 protesters were detained by authorities, according to a human rights group.
Hong Kong media tycoon and Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, the most high-profile person charged under the national security law, will remain in custody after the city's top court said it would announce its verdict on his bail application at a later date. Lai had been in custody since Dec. 3, except for when he was released on bail for about a week late last year. His return to custody was related to Article 42 of the security law, which says that "no bail shall be granted to a criminal suspect or defendant unless the judge has sufficient grounds for believing that the criminal suspect or defendant will not continue to commit acts endangering national security".
- NBC News
Part of Highway 1 in the Big Sur area collapsed after heavy rains and slid into the Pacific.
- The Week
Former President Donald Trump and those closest to him believed before Election Day that he would win a second term, "their views swayed by the assurances of pro-Trump pundits and the unscientific measure of the size and excitement of the president's rally crowds," The New York Times reports. Trump had laid the groundwork for a Plan B, arguing that he lost only because of a vast conspiracy of fraud, but he and his close circle didn't think he would need it, the Times reports: Flying home on Air Force One from the final campaign event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the early hours of Nov. 3., Mr. Trump's son Eric proposed an Electoral College betting pool. He wagered that the president would win at least 320 electoral votes, according to a person present for the exchange. "We're just trying to get to 270," an adviser more grounded in polling and analytics replied. [The New York Times] The Times did not report how much Eric Trump bet or whether he ever paid up. But watching returns come in on election night, Donald Trump "fell into enraged disbelief as his lead inexorably dissipated, even in formerly red states like Arizona," the Times reports. "Eric Trump goaded him on — a dynamic that would play out in the weeks to come." Read more about Trump's post-election machinations at The New York Times. More stories from theweek.comRochester police seen pepper spraying handcuffed, screaming 9-year-old girl in body camera videoRise of the Barstool conservativesThe Jan. 6 rally that fed the deadly Capitol siege was reportedly a Trump White House production
- The Telegraph
France and Germany threatened legal action against AstraZeneca on Sunday as they scrambled to explain their shortages in vaccine supplies and warned that any firm which favoured UK orders for the jabs would be penalised. Clement Beaune, the French Europe minister, threatened sanctions against the Anglo-Swedish firm, which produces the Oxford vaccine, if it emerged that Britain had been given priority. "If there is a problem and that other countries have been favoured - for example the UK over us - then we will defend our interests," Mr Beaune said on Sunday. "Contracts are not moral commitments, they are legal commitments. Penalties or sanctions can be triggered in every contract." It came as Berlin and Rome issued similar threats to vaccine providers, in the latest stage of a bitter row in Europe over delays in the production and delivery of Covid jabs. "If we find out that individual companies are not maintaining their side of the bargain then we'll have to make a decision on legal measures," Peter Altmaier, the German economy minister, told Die Welt newspaper. Mr Altmaier, a close confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel, also warned vaccine producers that "it is in no way acceptable that another country is retrospectively favoured over the EU." AstraZeneca says it will deliver 4.6 million doses to France by the end of March, which is half the amount that was initially agreed upon. It has also significantly reduced its delivery targets for the EU for the first quarter of the year, leading to a furious response from Brussels, which accuses the company of offering preferential treatment to the UK. Among the sanctions being considered by France include withholding payments, cancelling subsequent orders and seeking compensation for a breach of contract. Mr Beaune said an investigation into vaccine deliveries to Britain by EU-based factories was already underway. As the third wave of coronavirus spreads across the continent, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, is resisting calls to impose a third lockdown and has instead tightened existing restrictions. "When you're French, you have everything you need to succeed providing you dare to try," he is said to have told ministers on Friday, though the refusal to declare a full lockdown went against his own scientific advisers' recommendations. Polish police launched tear gas and stun grenades over the weekend as they shut down illegal discos and parties in the cities of Wroclaw and Rybnik. As in other European cities, some businesses have opened for trade in defiance of the rules while protests over Covid restrictions have broken out in the Netherlands, Spain, France and Denmark. Dutch police arrested at least 30 people in Amsterdam on Sunday as they struggled to prevent a fresh outbreak of anti-lockdown rioting. Thousands of protesters also took to the streets of Vienna over the weekend, taking part in an anti-lockdown demonstration organised by a far-Right group. Similar scenes unfolded in Hungary where a group of 100 restaurants said they would reopen despite facing threats of heavy government fines. It also emerged over the weekend that Boris Johnson forced the EU into making two u-turns on vaccines after Brussels tried to prevent doses in a Belgian factory from reaching the UK, and moved to impose a hard border in Northern Ireland for the same purpose. During two phone calls with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, Mr Johnson is said to have persuaded the EU chief to abandon both proposals, the Mail on Sunday reported. Micheál Martin, the taoiseach (Irish prime minister), told the BBC on Sunday that they were "blindsided" by the EU threat to seal off the frontier. "The problem is the commission took the wrong mechanism in revoking Article 16 of the protocol to deal with it," he said, adding that there were "a lot of lessons to be learned" over vaccine supplies. On Sunday night, Ms von der Leyen announced on Twitter that the EU would ramp up vaccine supplies this week. "[AstraZeneca] will deliver 9 million additional doses in the first quarter (40 million in total) compared to last week’s offer & will start deliveries one week earlier than scheduled. The company will also expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe," she wrote.
- Associated Press
Iranian state TV on Monday aired the launch of the country's newest satellite-carrying rocket, which it said was able to reach a height of 500 kilometers (310 miles). The rocket, named Zuljanah for the horse of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, did not launch a satellite into orbit. The satellite carrier is 25.5 meters (84 feet) long and weighs 52 tons.
Environmentalists and labor unions that threw their support behind U.S. President Joseph Biden now find themselves on the opposite sides of a battle over the construction of big pipeline projects between Canada and the United States. The United States is the world's largest producer of oil and gas. Biden's administration aims to transition the U.S. economy towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and his initial moves towards that goal included cancelling a permit for the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline (KXL) and reducing oil-and-gas leasing.
- The Independent
Health officials told The New York Times that morale was at an ‘all-time low’ in the state’s Health Department
- The Week
Trump's impeachment defense is out. Bannon is reportedly encouraging him to go to the Senate himself.
Five attorneys who were prepared to defend former President Donald Trump in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial have departed his legal team, people familiar with the situation confirmed to CNN and The New York Times. Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are out, as are Josh Howard, Johnny Gasser, and Greg Harris. No other attorneys have announced they were involved with the case, so it appears that, for now, Trump is defenseless. The lawyers reportedly left because of a disagreement over legal strategy. Trump reportedly wanted them to push his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in last year's presidential election rather than focus on whether convicting a former president after he's out of office is constitutional, an argument that appears to be the consensus among Republicans and the reason he'll likely be acquitted. Bowers, a source said, lacked chemistry with Trump and the decision to leave was reportedly mutual. It's unclear where Trump will go from here — his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly wants to take the case, but he's a potential witness in the trial because he spoke at the rally preceding the deadly Capitol riot Trump is accused of inciting, and the Times notes "almost all" of Trump's advisers blame Giuliani for the impeachment in the first place. Considering GOP senators have signaled they won't vote to convict, some are wondering why Trump would even bother spending money on attorneys at all at this point. And here is a statement Trump has made to advisers almost verbatim > https://t.co/zktWOIrUD6 — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 31, 2021 Stephen Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, thinks the former president should go the Senate himself because "he's the only one who can sell it." However, aides are reportedly against the idea. Read more at The New York Times and CNN. More stories from theweek.comRochester police seen pepper spraying handcuffed, screaming 9-year-old girl in body camera videoRise of the Barstool conservativesEric Trump reportedly wagered Election Day that his father would win 320 electoral votes
- Associated Press
Trial lawyer Robert Fisher is handling one of America’s most prominent counterintelligence cases, defending an MIT scientist charged with secretly helping China. The new rules for filing sensitive documents are one of the clearest ways the hack has affected the court system. It's also not clear that the intrusion has been stopped, prompting the rules on paper filings.
- National Review
Republicans in Georgia have had just about enough of Stacey Abrams it seems. The Democratic activist and media darling has been lauded by liberal leaders for helping President Joe Biden turn Georgia blue in November and following that up by electing two left-wing U.S. senators in January, giving Democrats control of all elected levers of power in Washington D.C. On Monday, a group of Republican strategists in Georgia and elsewhere announced the formation of Stop Stacey, which they describe as a “national, grassroots organization of engaged conservatives” that will “stand up to the left and prevent a complete left-wing takeover of Georgia – and America – in 2022.” According to a menacing video on the website StopStacey.org, the group’s intent is to: “Stop higher taxes. Stop government healthcare takeover. Stop the assault on election integrity. Stop the radical left. Stop the new DC swamp. Stop Stacey Abrams.” Biden has said that “nobody in America has done more” to help Democrats in 2020. “Stacey Abrams is trying to claim total control of America – which is why it’s so critical for Republicans across Georgia and across the country to have a dedicated, well-funded outside organization to stop her,” according to a Stop Stacy press release. The existence of the new organization, and its seeming focus on a single un-elected activist, shows how concerned Republicans are about Abrams’ efforts heading into 2022. After losing her race for Governor to Republican Brian Kemp in 2018 (though she didn’t concede, claiming the election was stolen from Georgia voters), Abrams’ Fair Fight political action committee raised about $95 million dollars from 550,000 donors to benefit Democratic candidates. Abrams’ New Georgia Project, a voter registration group, claims to have registered “over 500,000 Georgians and counting,” according to its website. That group is under investigation by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for allegations that it and other groups aggressively attempted to register ineligible, out-of-state and deceased voters. “I have issued clear warnings several times to groups and individuals working to undermine the integrity of elections in Georgia through false and fraudulent registrations,” Raffensperger said in an early-December news release. New Georgia Project leaders have called the allegations nonsense. Georgia has a lot at stake next year. Abrams is expected to make another run for governor against Kemp, who has been attacked by former President Donald Trump for not doing enough to overturn the November election. Republicans also will have a shot to unseat Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who won a special election in January.
LONDON (Reuters) - - About 1,500 of the initial volunteers in a late-stage clinical trial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine were given the wrong dose, but weren't informed that a mistake had been made after the blunder was discovered, documents obtained by Reuters show. Instead, the dosing mishap was presented to the trial participants in a letter dated June 8 as an opportunity for University of Oxford researchers to learn how well the vaccine works at different doses. The letter was signed by the trial's chief investigator, Oxford professor Andrew J. Pollard, and sent to the trial subjects.
- The Week
White House allies secretly wrote the Texas lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to overturn Biden's win
By Nov. 12, former President Donald Trump's team of election lawyers knew he had lost his re-election bid, that despite Trump's tweets and public comments, "there was no substantial evidence of election fraud, and there were nowhere near enough 'irregularities' to reverse the outcome in the courts," The New York Times reports. But their protestations just made Trump turn to allies telling him what he wanted to hear, so Nov. 12 was also the day "Trump's flimsy, long-shot legal effort to reverse his loss turned into something else entirely — an extralegal campaign to subvert the election, rooted in a lie so convincing to some of his most devoted followers that it made the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol almost inevitable." Trump's experienced legal team either quietly faded away or was sidelined by Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and other lawyers "ready to push forward with propagandistic suits that skated the lines of legal ethics and reason," the Times reports. That eventually included "the vast majority of Republican attorneys general, whose dead-on-arrival Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to discard 20 million votes was secretly drafted by lawyers close to the White House." Before Thanksgiving, Trump's allies — including Kris Kobach, a voting restrictions activist who previously led Trump's "election integrity" commission; former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin; and Lawrence Joseph, a lawyer who had worked to shield Trump's tax returns — started working on a new lawsuit that while "short on legal or factual merit" was "rich in the sort of sensational claims" sure to spread across conservative media, the Times reports. The argument was that Trump states could ask the Supreme Court to throw out 20 million votes in certain states President Biden won because, they claimed, those Biden states effectively cheated. "Only one type of lawyer can take a case filed by one state against another directly to the Supreme Court: a state attorney general," the Times reports. "The president's original election lawyers doubted that any attorney general would be willing to do so," but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton jumped at the chance. When the Texas solicitor general refused to be involved in the suit, Paxton hired Joseph as a special outside counsel, not disclosing to the court that Joseph and other outside Trump advisers had written the brief. Read more about Trump's extralegal campaign at The New York Times. More stories from theweek.comRochester police seen pepper spraying handcuffed, screaming 9-year-old girl in body camera videoRise of the Barstool conservativesEric Trump reportedly wagered Election Day that his father would win 320 electoral votes