Amerika

INSURRECTION FALLOUT

Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz

Democrats are requesting an investigation into the pair of senators over their objections to the election results. A group of Senate Democrats filed an ethics complaint Thursday against GOP Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, over their Jan. 6 efforts to object to the 2020 presidential election results.

Inauguration

Joe Biden urges Americans to join together in appeal for unity

Joe Biden on Wednesday made an appeal for unity to Americans across the political spectrum in his inaugural address as the 46th president of the United States, seeking to turn the page on the divisions of the Trump era. Biden described unity as the path forward in order to contain the coronavirus, restore the U.S. economy, address the effects of climate change, deliver racial justice and mend deep divisions that were laid bare over the last four years.

Civil War

Woman reportedly in critical condition after shots are fired at U.S. Capitol

A woman has been shot inside the U.S. Capitol after a crowd of rioters breached the building's entry on Wednesday. The woman was in critical condition after being shot in the chest, according to CNN. Pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the building in the afternoon, following an angry speech delivered by the president ahead of the Electoral College vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win.

Trump’s plans for 20 January

Official plane used by Trump will fly to Scotland just before Biden inauguration

The murk surrounding Donald Trump’s likely whereabouts on his last day as president has thickened considerably with news that an official plane he has used in the past is due to fly to Scotland the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Republicans

Senate GOP opposition grows to Electoral College challenge

The Senate Republicans opposed to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win are heading toward a hefty defeat on Wednesday. The only remaining question is this: how badly do they lose? Just 11 GOP senators have signaled support for separate efforts led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). That makes 13 supporters — and many more have come out swinging against it.

Kelly Loeffler

Georgia Republican senator had ‘no idea’ she posed with neo-Nazi

The campaign of the Georgia Republican senator Kelly Loeffler is disavowing a photo circulating on social media of her posing with a longtime white supremacist at a recent campaign event, with less than a month to go until the runoff elections that will determine the balance of the US Senate.

New York Times

Rudy Giuliani is said to have discussed a pardon with Trump

Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer who has led the most extensive efforts to damage his client’s political rivals and undermine the election results, discussed with him as recently as last week the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon before Mr. Trump leaves office, according to two people told of the discussion.

Election 2020

Joe Biden is projected to win the 2020 presidential election

Joe Biden is projected to win the 2020 presidential election, defeating Donald Trump in a nail-biter of a race sure to remain contentious given the country’s bitter partisan divide and the president’s reckless and unfounded claims voter fraud. Major news networks projected that Biden, a former Delaware senator and vice president during Barack Obama’s administration, would win Pennsylvania, pushing him over the 270 electoral-vote threshold. Counting continues in several states, where Biden is leading or expected to win.

After the election

Democrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins

House Democrats are weighing how to move forward with a flurry of ongoing probes and future investigations if President Trump loses. The big question hanging over Democrats, who are expected to keep the majority in the House, is whether to lean into post-election investigations that could detract from their legislative priorities under a Joe Biden presidency and risk further dividing the electorate.

Corruption

Pompeo's wife and son made personal requests of State Dept staff

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s wife and son reportedly sent personal requests to department officials. The emails come as both Congress and the Office of Special Counsel are overseeing investigations into allegations of personal misuse of government resources by the secretary and his wife. While emails previously indicated that Susan Pompeo, asked top State Department staffers to work the week of Christmas in order to finish their personal holiday cards, the new emails reportedly show additional cases when Susan Pompeo instructed staff to complete personal tasks.

supreme court

Joe Biden plans special commission to suggest reforms

Joe Biden has confirmed he would appoint a special commission to study the US court system over 180 days, if he is elected next month, to provide reform recommendations relating to the supreme court and beyond.

Supreme Court justice

Democrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's nomination

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee will boycott Thursday's committee vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination. The plan comes as the 10 Democratic senators on the panel have been discussing how to protest the GOP plan to confirm Barrett next week to the seat held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Paid propaganda?

Glenn Greenwald slams Schiff over Biden emails on Fox

Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald called Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) "the most pathological liar in all of American politics" accusing the House Intelligence Chairman in an interview on Fox News of fabricating "accusations at the drop of a hat the way other people change underwear."

COVID-19: Donald Trump

Trump says Americans 'tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots'

Donald Trump has once again attacked his top public health expert, using a call with campaign staff on Monday to deride Anthony Fauci as “a disaster” and to claim “people are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots” discuss ways to combat the coronavirus.

Help Biden ‘any way I can’

Andrew Cuomo brushes off AG speculation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted Monday that he was not interested in becoming attorney general under a potential President Joe Biden, but also said he would help the Democratic nominee “any way I can.”

Trump Campaign

Anthony Fauci criticises Trump for using his words out of context

Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious disease expert, has criticised Donald Trump’s reelection campaign for using his words out of context to make it appear as if he was praising the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lincoln Project

Fly on Pence's head 'historically a mark of the devil'

Steve Schmidt, a co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, declared that a fly that landed on Vice President Pence during Wednesday night's debate "is always seen as a mark of the devil," drawing mockery on social media.

1.500 pages and groups down

Finally: Facebook has banned QAnon for all times

Facebook is banning all pages, groups, and accounts associated with QAnon, the company announced on Tuesday, in the most significant action taken against the mass delusion that has seeped into the highest level of American politics. “Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts representing QAnon,” the company said in a press release. “We’re starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks.”

Election 2020

Brad Parscale steps down from Trump campaign

Brad Parscale, President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, is stepping away from the re-election campaign, days after he was hospitalised when Florida law enforcement officials said he threatened to harm himself. Parscale, one of Trump’s closest political aides, served as the campaign manager for the re-election effort until July, when he was demoted by Trump after a much-hyped campaign rally in Tulsa attracted an embarrassingly sparse crowd.

Election 2020

Biden raises record funds as aides jab 'train wreck'

Joe Biden broke fundraising records coming out of Tuesday’s acrimonious presidential debate between the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump. The chaotic and unwieldy debate, in which moderator Chris Wallace, from Fox News, struggled to rein in Trump and the president egged on far-right groups, yielded a large fundraising haul for the Democratic campaign.

former Trump campaign manager

Brad Parscale hospitalised after self-harm threats

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale has been hospitalised after he threatened to harm himself, according to Florida police and campaign officials. Police were called to the home in Desota Drive in the Seven Isles community of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, late on Sunday afternoon. The home is owned by Bradley and Candice Parscale.

Election 2020

Democratic donations skyrocket

The imminent confirmation battle over RBG’s seat has prompted Trump to galvanize supporters from the rally stage—“Fill that seat!” they chanted Saturday—while Biden zeroes in on health care and Democrats open their wallets. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, and the future of the nation’s highest court, quickly moved front and center in an election year marked by a pandemic, protests against racial injustice, and impeachment.

Shortnews

Poll

66 percent approve of Biden’s handling of transition

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office on Wednesday, new surveys report that a majority of Americans approve of the way he has handled the tumultuous transition period — which has been marred by baseless voter fraud claims, a still-raging pandemic and mob violence inside the Capitol.

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Poll

66 percent approve of Biden’s handling of transition

As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office on Wednesday, new surveys report that a majority of Americans approve of the way he has handled the tumultuous transition period — which has been marred by baseless voter fraud claims, a still-raging pandemic and mob violence inside the Capitol. Roughly two-thirds of respondents in a CNN poll conducted this month said they approve of Biden’s performance during the presidential transition. The vast majority of those surveyed, 70 percent, disapprove of President Donald Trump’s handling of the post-election period.

An NBC News poll released on Tuesday also showed that most registered voters, 60 percent, approve of Biden’s handling of the transition, while a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll showed a narrower margin of approval among Americans, 51 percent.

Additionally, Biden’s personal favorability rating in CNN polling has improved by 7 percentage points since October, now resting at 59 percent. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ favorability is 51 percent, its highest ever in CNN polling.

By contrast, Trump’s latest favorability rating is 33 percent, and his job approval rating is 34 percent — both lower than at any other point in his presidency, according to CNN polling.

Respondents appeared mostly optimistic about Biden accomplishing his key policy goals as president, the CNN poll showed, although more than half of those surveyed (53 percent) said it is unlikely the incoming president will be able to cool down the country’s political divisions.

Majorities of respondents said it is at least somewhat likely Biden will sign new coronavirus relief legislation (83 percent), restore relationships with U.S. allies (74 percent), administer 100 million coronavirus vaccines in 100 days (70 percent) and create a public health care option (64 percent).

Most of those polled (61 percent) said Biden will do a good job as president — compared to the 48 percent who said the same about Trump in 2017 and the 79 percent who had high expectations for Barack Obama in 2008. That same percentage of Americans, 61 percent, think the country will be better off after four years of Biden’s presidency.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from Jan. 9-14, surveying 1,003 adults with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Among the respondents, 33 percent identified as Democrats, 26 percent identified as Republicans and 41 percent identified as independents or members of another party.

The NBC News poll was conducted Jan. 10-13, surveying 1,000 registered voters with a margin of sampling error of 3.1 percentage points. The PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll was conducted Jan. 11-13, surveying 1,173 adults with a margin of sampling error of 3.5 percentage points.

Ali Alexander

Facebook bans 'Stop the Steal' organizer

Facebook and Instagram have permanently banned one of the top organizers of the “Stop the Steal” protest that devolved into deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week. Within the last day, the company removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Ali Alexander, a far-right Republican operative who helped organize the event.

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Ali Alexander

Facebook bans 'Stop the Steal' organizer

Facebook and Instagram have permanently banned one of the top organizers of the “Stop the Steal” protest that devolved into deadly riots on Capitol Hill last week. Within the last day, the company removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Ali Alexander, a far-right Republican operative who helped organize the event.

“We removed this account on both Facebook and Instagram for violating our Coordinating Harm policy,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement. He said the removal is part of Facebook’s decision to remove any content referring to “stop the steal” ahead of the inauguration.

Last Friday, according to the Daily Beast, Alexander posted a video on Twitter saying: “I didn’t incite anything. I didn’t do anything.” But in the lead up to the rally, Alexander had not only called for a march on the Capitol but hinted that it could get violent.

At one rally in mid-December in Arizona, he told the crowd, “One of our organizers in one state said, ‘We’re nice patriots, we don’t throw bricks.’ I leaned over and I said, ‘Not yet. Not yet!’ Haven’t you read about a little tar-and-feathering? Those were second-degree burns!”

Alexander also said: “We’re going to convince them to not certify the vote on January 6 by marching hundreds of thousands, if not millions of patriots, to sit their butts in D.C. and close that city down, right? And if we have to explore options after that … ‘yet.’ Yet!”

And in an online video before the rally, he said, “I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea” along with three other members of Congress. He also promised to help find hotel rooms for anyone attending the protest if the hotel they had reserved temporarily closed down.

Asked for comment about being banned by Facebook and Instagram, Alexander said he has “tens of thousands of threats against my life and safety by Democrat activists and Antifa.” He insisted that the violent demonstrations at the Capitol were entirely separate from the event he had organized, warned tech companies that his movement could be hijacked by “bad actors and dark elements” with him off their platforms, and said he’d testify before lawmakers.

“I eagerly look forward to speaking to Congress and testifying about the events that led to and happened on January 6th,” Alexander said.

“I fight for civil rights. I believe this election was stolen. I petitioned my government. I’m being punished for organizing millions of people,” he added in a text message.

In addition to Facebook and Instagram, Alexander has also been banned from Twitter, PayPal, and Venmo since the Jan. 6 events.

In 2007, Alexander pleaded guilty to a felony of property theft in Texas and the next year to a credit card abuse felony, also in Texas.

Alexander, also known as Ali Akbar, worked for the John McCain 2008 presidential campaign and has also worked on various political action committees, including one called Black Conservatives Fund to which Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer gave $60,000 in 2016.

In 2019, he got attention for accusing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris of not being “an American Black” since her dad is from Jamaica, a tweet that got him a retweet by Donald Trump Jr., although he later deleted it. That July, Alexander was invited to a social media summit hosted by the White House.

Capitol attack

Security concerns: Theft of two computers

At least two computers were stolen from the Capitol when a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the building on Wednesday – including one from the office of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi – raising grave information security concerns. An aide to Pelosi confirmed Friday that a laptop was stolen from the speaker’s office, saying it belonged “to a conference room and was used for presentations”, but did not elaborate further on what information it may contain.

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Capitol attack

Security concerns: Theft of two computers

At least two computers were stolen from the Capitol when a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the building on Wednesday – including one from the office of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi – raising grave information security concerns. An aide to Pelosi confirmed Friday that a laptop was stolen from the speaker’s office, saying it belonged “to a conference room and was used for presentations”, but did not elaborate further on what information it may contain.

At least one other computer was stolen, a laptop belonging to the office of the Democratic senator Jeff Merkley, of Oregon. The acting US attorney, Michael Sherwin, said that some of the thefts might have potentially jeopardized what he described as “national security equities”.

The theft of electronic devices from congressional offices has been a persistent worry following the invasion by Trump supporters, who, incited by the president, entered the capitol in an effort to subvert the certification of Joe Biden’s election win.

Staffers were quickly forced to shelter in place, leaving many devices vulnerable to the attackers. Photos posted by rioters from inside the Capitol showed exposed computers, including one in Pelosi’s office with an email inbox in full view. The impact of such a device being taken could be grave, said Brandon Hoffman, the chief information security officer at IT security provider Netenrich.

“Regardless of how much they want to downplay this, the laptop has to have at least access that could be leveraged,” he said. “It’s highly unlikely that this laptop was sitting there with no files, or file access, or any other useful information to somebody looking for leverage or retribution.”

What else might have been taken during the chaos is not yet known. Some information technology experts worry that intruders may have planted malicious software on computers, although it’s not clear that devices were a particular focus of the attack.

The concerns come as the US grapples with the aftermath of the biggest state-sanctioned hack of the government in history, after SolarWinds was breached and government email was accessed. Officials are still working to determine the extent to which government devices were violated in that breach, which is now being attributed to Russia. Nearly 10 agencies were impacted, including the US Treasury and Department of Commerce.

Bill Barr

Trump's behavior 'betrayal of his office'

William Barr, the former attorney general, released a scathing statement about Donald Trump’s behavior yesterday, as a mob stormed the US Capitol. Barr, who left office late last month, described the president’s conduct as a “betrayal of his office and supporters.” In a statement to the AP, Barr said that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

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Bill Barr

Trump's behavior 'betrayal of his office'

William Barr, the former attorney general, released a scathing statement about Donald Trump’s behavior yesterday, as a mob stormed the US Capitol. Barr, who left office late last month, described the president’s conduct as a “betrayal of his office and supporters.” In a statement to the AP, Barr said that “orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable.”

After a pro-Trump stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate, the president praised his supporters as “very special” and told them, “We love you!”

Trump also justified the mob’s actions yesterday by citing his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential election, essentially blaming his opponents for the violence that left four dead.

Twitter removed three of Trump’s tweets about the storming of the Capitol due to a “risk of violence.”

Civil War

Trump adviser resigns

Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, Matt Pottinger, and former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, have resigned. Two other senior White House officials – the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, and the deputy chief of staff, Chris Liddell – are reportedly considering stepping down after a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building.

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Civil War

Trump adviser resigns

Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, Matt Pottinger, and former chief of staff and current special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, have resigned. Two other senior White House officials – the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, and the deputy chief of staff, Chris Liddell – are reportedly considering stepping down after a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building.

Pottinger and Mulvaney’s departures comes amid speculation that others will also quit after the US president incited and praised rioters while continuing to air baseless grievances over his loss of the presidency.

“I called [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo last night to let him know I was resigning from that. I can’t do it. I can’t stay,” Mick Mulvaney told CNBC on Thursday morning.

“Those who choose to stay, and I have talked with some of them, are choosing to stay because they’re worried the president might put someone worse in,” Mulvaney added.

So far seven officials associated with Trump and his inner circle have said they are quitting, including members of Melania Trump’s team, after the deadly violence that surrounded the Congressional vote to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election victory in November.

Senior Republican figures have also indicated splits from the president.

Tweeting from his personal account, O’Brien – a staunch Trump loyalist – praised the behaviour of the vice-president, Mike Pence, who resisted Trump’s pressure to overturn the election certification, while making no mention of Trump.

“I just spoke with Vice President Pence. He is a genuinely fine and decent man,” he tweeted. “He exhibited courage today as he did at the Capitol on 9/11 as a Congressman. I am proud to serve with him.”

In further fallout that underlined the fracturing of the Trump administration’s inner circles, Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, indicated to journalists he had been banned from the White House by Trump after the president “blamed” him for advice he gave to Pence on Trump’s demands he overturn the election result.

According to reports in the US media, some senior administration officials have also begun talking informally about invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president before his term expires on 20 January, while calls are also growing for a second impeachment to ensure Trump cannot run for public office again.