1. says

    For the convenience of readers, here are some links back to the previous chapter of this thread.
    Follow-up to SC’s comment 497.
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Sunday took great pains to hammer into the GOP’s new line of ludicrously calling for unity […] he expressed his vehement opposition to the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.
    Here is another excerpt from “Among the Insurrectionists”
    A Reporter’s Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege
    “‘We’re inheriting a huge mess here’, Ron Klain, Biden’s WH chief of staff says on @CNNSotu of vaccines.
    Says expects US to hit 500,000 covid deaths in February.”
    Alexey Navalny detained on return to Moscow five months after being poisoned

  2. says

    Impeachment Manager Pays Moving Tribute To Late Son: ‘Not Going To Lose My Son And Country’

    or Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), there’s more than meets the eye in taking on the role of the House’s lead impeachment manager after President Trump incited the deadly insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month — a violent scene that occurred the day after Raskin laid his late son to rest.

    […] A day before the pro-Trump mob breached Capitol amid the joint session of Congress to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory, Raskin laid his 25-year-old son to rest. On New Year’s Eve, Raskin announced the death of his son, Tommy, who took his own life after suffering from depression in his 20s.

    […] While honoring his son as a “radiant light in this broken world,” Raskin said that he wanted to to take on the role of the House’s lead impeachment manager with his “son in my heart and helping lead the way.”

    “I feel him in my chest. When we went to count the electoral college votes and it came under that ludicrous attack, I felt my son with me and I was most concerned with our youngest daughter and my son-in-law is married to our other daughter — who were with me that day, who got caught in a room off of the House floor,” Raskin said. “In between them and me was a rampage in armed mob that could have killed them easily and was banging on the doors where they were hiding under a desk with my chief of staff.”

    Raskin stressed that the “events are personal to me” in describing the gravity of the attack on the Capitol, before going on to share a moving message in the midst of his family’s loss and the upcoming second impeachment trial of Trump.

    “I’m not going to lose my son at the end of 2020 and lose my country and my republic in 2021,” Raskin said. “It’s not going to happen. The vast majority of American people Democrats, Republicans and independents reject armed insurrection and violence as a new way of doing business in America. We’re not going to do that.”

    Raskin emphasized that Trump’s incitement of his supporters who stormed the Capitol was “the most terrible crime ever by a president of the United States against our country.”

    “I want everybody to feel the gravity and the seriousness of those events,” Raskin said.

    […] “I know that (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) also considers the President a clear and present danger to the republic,” Raskin said.

  3. says

    The first political ads of the next cycle are already here … and Republicans aren’t happy

    […] While the idea that ads are already showing up for the 2022 election cycle might be enough to generate howls, there’s a reason that these ads should be welcomed. Because these ads are all about holding Republicans accountable for what they’ve done over the last four years.

    That starts with ads that are going on the air in Wisconsin to detail the explicit connection between Sen. Ron Johnson and the violent attempt to overthrow the government. Voters to the south might not be catching those ads, but they could still run across a Josh Hawley billboard from MeidasTouch. [Photo of the billboard is available at the link] It’s all just part of the move to clear the halls of Congress … of the people who promoted a violent attack on the halls of Congress.

    During Wednesday night’s impeachment hearing, newly seated St. Louis Rep. Cori Bush took down white supremacy in 30 seconds flat. Just a day before, she filed a resolution calling for the expulsion of 100 or more House Republicans who didn’t just vote against certifying the results of the Electoral College, but promoted the idea that the election had been “stolen”—the big lie that drove rioters into the Capitol on Jan. 6.

    It’s unlikely that House members will garner the necessary votes to discharge a quarter of their members. However, if the investigation into members who actively assisted in planning the insurrection turns up definitive evidence, there is a very good chance that some members might not just be expelled, but indicted. […]

    More at the link.

  4. says

    Deplatforming Trump Is Already Having a Huge Impact

    A new report finds election misinformation online has fallen 73 percent since Twitter banned Trump.

    It’s been nine days of relative calm since Twitter cut off a major spigot of election misinformation from President Donald Trump’s account—setting off a chain of suspensions across Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch, and other platforms that affected the president, his allies, and others who stoked violence in the lead up to the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

    Now, a new report reveals just how consequential these platforms’ decision has been since @realDonaldTrump went quiet. Since January 8, when Twitter banned Trump, online misinformation about election fraud has plummeted 73 percent, according to research from analytics firm Zignal Labs, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. Hashtags and terms associated with the Capitol riot—including #FightforTrump, #HoldTheLine, and “March for Trump”—fell 95 percent or more. […]

  5. says

    Inauguration TV special to feature Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee announced on Sunday that celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will make appearances on a primetime TV special planned for Inauguration Day. [Wednesday, January 20, 2011]

    The committee said Miranda will “recite a classic work during the program.”

    Newly announced participants also include philanthropist José Andrés; and Kim Ng, the first female Major League Baseball general manager. Other well-known performers who are expected to appear are musicians Bruce Springsteen, John Legend and the Foo Fighters.

    The special, titled “Celebrating America,” is set to air on all major cable and news channel as well as Biden’s inauguration website beginning at 8:30 p.m.

    Previously announced performers include Justin Timberlake, Tom Hanks and Demi Lovato.

    Inauguration events will be significantly more subdued than in previous years due to the pandemic as well as heightened security in response to the violent Capitol breach earlier this month. The inaugural ball that normally takes place will not take place, for example.

    […] Biden has also chosen 22-year-old Amanda Gorman as the youngest inaugural poet in history. She was also the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.

  6. says

    From Wonkette:

    It’s that time of year when Republicans insult our intelligence and Dr. Martin Luther King’s memory with nonsensical statements about the civil rights leader. Let them tell it, Dr. King was a supply-side loving, promoter of color-blind “unity,” hardly revolutionary at all. […]

    South Carolina Republican House Rep. Nancy Mace got a head start on the annual hypocrisy when she invoked Dr. King as part of her BS rationale for not voting to impeach Donald Trump.

    Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” And if we’re serious about healing the divisions in this country, Republicans and Democrats need to acknowledge this is not the first day of violence we’ve seen.

    This is what happens when a white woman buys a MLK Quote of the Day calendar. The Capitol hasn’t been attacked since 1814, but Mace compared some stupid kid burning a CVS to Trump’s attempted insurrection. That’s just pathetic. […]

    Mace takes King grossly out of context. He said, “The time is always right to do right” during an address to Oberlin College in 1965 when he denounced a conservative approach to the race problem in America.

    Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out. Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. That is a myth, and it is a myth because time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation — the extreme rightists, the forces committed to negative ends — have used time much more effectively than the people of good will.

    It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic works and violent actions of the bad people who bomb a church in Birmingham, Alabama, or shoot down a civil rights worker in Selma, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

    Somewhere we must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals. Without this hard work, time becomes an ally of the primitive forces of social stagnation. So we must help time and realize that the time is always right to do right.

    Dr. King would have opposed burning buildings or destroying private property, but he wouldn’t have accepted Republicans using the violence as an excuse to delay or avoid change. […]

    Mace represents a conservative district in a conservative state that fought against integration and racial justice with everything it had. Blood was spilled in pursuit of equality. Mace and “respectable” conservatives like her play the same game as their 1960s antecedents. They sympathized in theory with Dr. King’s cause but questioned his tactics. He was considered “divisive” at the time, because he demanded nothing less than a complete overhaul of the existing racial hierarchy. […]

    Republicans, including Mace, have argued that it’ll only divide Americans more if we impeach Trump or otherwise personally inconvenience him. After the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing that killed four Black girls, Governor George Wallace believed some “first class funerals” could settle things down and also preserve the racist status quo. Dr. King eulogized the four children movingly but he didn’t hold back in his condemnation of the racism that took their lives. Damn right, he politicized their deaths. He could do nothing less, because he wasn’t about to let them die for nothing.

    […] Republicans want us to believe that Dr. King was a harmless Uncle Remus who hosted a children’s show where he encouraged black and white kids to share, separately, from their less than equal neighborhoods. Dr. King didn’t change the world by making white people comfortable. No one ever has.

  7. says

    Republicans call for unity but won’t acknowledge Biden won fairly.

    Washington Post link

    The call for unity came from one of President Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress, nearly a week after a pro-Trump mob rampaged the U.S. Capitol in a riot that left five people dead.

    “What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was as wrong as wrong can be,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told colleagues during a virtual committee meeting about Democrats’ demands that Trump be removed from office. Now was the time for “healing,” and in Jordan’s opinion, that meant allowing the president to finish out his term.

    The committee chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), pressed him on one point. Hadn’t Jordan and more than 140 other Republicans given oxygen to the false conspiracy theory pushed by Trump that motivated the Capitol rioters — that the election had somehow been stolen — when they had voted to object to certifying the electoral college results?

    […] “So my question for you is: Will you admit that Joe Biden won fair and square, and the election was not rigged or stolen?”

    McGovern’s question was met with 17 seconds of silence before Jordan said Biden would indeed be inaugurated president — a clear dodge of the question about the nature of Biden’s victory. […]

    […] the bulk of elected Republicans continue to follow Trump’s lead in refusing to acknowledge that Biden’s win was legitimate and fair.

    […] “I really do believe that you pushing [impeachment] is going to further divide our country, further the unrest and possibly incite more violence,” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), who voted against certifying the election results, said on Tuesday. “Please, let’s just move on and heal the country.”

    [Lindsey] Graham also briefly suggested House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the Capitol breach — “It’s her job to provide Capitol security. We’ll get to the bottom of that,” he said — prompting a swift rebuke from Pelosi’s office.

    “He need only look in the mirror if he wants to start pointing a finger,” Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted, citing Graham’s repeated suggestions there was fraud in the election.

    […] The allegation of widespread election fraud has been debunked over and over again. Trump’s lawyers have lost or had tossed out dozens of court cases challenging the results of the election. [more than 60 cases] Dozens of state and local election officials from both parties have affirmed the integrity of their voting processes
    Attorney General William P. Barr said there was no evidence of widespread fraud. (He has since stepped down.)

    […] “Mississippi and the nation must hold U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Reps. Trent Kelly, Steven Palazzo and Michael Guest accountable for their complicity in the lies that Donald Trump has used to foment fear, doubt and, ultimately, insurrection,” stated a Jackson Free-Press editorial this week. […]

  8. says

    U.S. pundits keep comparing Washington to a war zone. People who know war disagree.

    Washington Post link

    A massive security operation is underway in Washington ahead of President-elect Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, two weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

    As images of National Guard troops circulate online, some in the United States have compared the capital to a war zone. The commentary has drawn pushback from people who have lived or worked in areas actually beset by conflict, who say such remarks are misleading and trivializes the reality of war.

    “It’s extremely degrading to people who have actually lived through war and foreign occupation and have actually seen tanks rolling down their streets and foreign soldiers occupying their land or their own soldiers deployed against them,” said Jasmine el-Gamal, a former Pentagon adviser who worked in Iraq as a translator following the U.S. invasion in 2003. “That’s a conflict situation. That’s a war zone.”

    […] “Why, did your family get shot to pieces inside your car before you took this photo,” asked Patrick Osgood, an analyst who focuses on Iraq.

    […] Faysal Itani, an adjunct professor of Middle East politics at George Washington University, called conditions in Washington “qualitatively different” from conflicts in places like Lebanon, where he is from, and elsewhere in the Middle East. […]

  9. says

    Calls Grow For Biden To Cut Off Trump’s Intel Briefings When POTUS’ Term Ends.


    […] On Friday, former Trump principal deputy director of national intelligence Sue Gordon responded to Trump’s incitement of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month in an op-ed published in The Washington Post. Gordon wrote that Trump “might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent” upon departing the White House.

    “He leaves, unlike his predecessors who embraced the muted responsibilities of being a ‘former,’ with a stated agenda to stay engaged in politics and policy,” Gordon wrote. […]

    [Adam] Schiff, who served as the House’s impeachment manager when Trump was impeached last year, said he agreed with Gordon’s assessment during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

    “There’s no circumstance in which this president should get another intelligence briefing, not now, not in the future,” Schiff said. “I don’t think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future he certainly can’t be trusted.”

  10. says

    White House getting a historical deep clean to be rid of the Trump residue—literally.


    […] “After three COVID-19 breakouts within the White House in recent months, the federal government is sparing no expense to clean and disinfect the building before President-elect Biden moves in Jan. 20.”

    That means more than $200,000 in contracts for janitorial services at the White House, “including $127,249 on ‘2021 Inaugural Cleaning’ and another $44,038 on ‘Inaugural carpet cleaning.'” They’ve even taken care of the drapes, at $29,523. Rather than making the regular White House staff do it, the Government Service Administration has contracted out for the work, for a super-duper deep clean, which like absolutely every other disaster wrought by Trump, has no precedent.

    “We’ve never seen this before,” Kate Andersen Brower, a presidential historian and former White House reporter. “The Government Services Administration has said they’re going to do this very deep cleaning—cleaning every surface of the 55,000 square foot mansion. There’s always been a deep clean between administrations, but we’ve never seen anything like this.” For its part, GSA says it “will thoroughly clean and disinfect the building spaces between the administrations and ensure that everything is up to standard.” What that means: “all furniture, flooring, window treatments, handrails, door knobs, light switches, countertops, elevator buttons, restroom fixtures and dispensers, door handles and push plates, and lighting fixtures.”

    Trump reportedly doesn’t intend to depart until January 20, just before President-elect Joe Biden moves in. The transition says Biden intends to move in “on a traditional timeline,” which doesn’t give crews a great deal of time to deal with the residence, where Trump has been holed up with his fast food, hair dye, spray tan, coronavirus, and god knows what else for four years.

    Former White House usher Gary Walters says traditionally “a very well-organized ballet choreography” of dozens of residence staff would sweep in during the 5-6 hours of inauguration ceremony, before the new occupants are in the building. They would presumably clean and bring in the Bidens’ personal belongings. But the COVID-19 safety protocols the Biden team has set might prevent that many staff from working and also Trump will have just left the residence. It’s going to take a minimum of 6 hours to deal with all that. The Bidens have both been vaccinated, so there’s that, but it still might be prudent for the Blair House to remain open to them for a few extra days, just in case.

  11. says

    CNN – “In a last-minute move, NSA installing Trump loyalist as general counsel”:

    The National Security Agency said Sunday it was installing Trump NSC staffer Michael Ellis as its general counsel, after acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller ordered NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone to place the Trump loyalist into the role.

    “Mr. Ellis accepted his final job offer yesterday afternoon. NSA is moving forward with his employment,” an NSA spokesperson said in a statement.

    Ellis, who was a lawyer for the National Security Council, had been named to the position in November, but the NSA had yet to move him into the role. The Washington Post and CNN reported Saturday that Miller, who was installed as acting defense secretary as part of a purge of agencies after the election, had ordered Nakasone to install him into the position, giving him a Saturday evening deadline.


    Within days of Ellis’ being picked for the job in November, which came shortly after President Donald Trump fired then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper via Twitter, Sens. Mark Warner and Jack Reed requested an investigation from the Pentagon’s acting inspector general, saying in a letter, “The combination of timing, comparative lack of experience of the candidate, the reported qualifications of the other finalists, and press accounts of White House involvement create a perception that political influence or considerations may have played an undue role in a merit-based civil service selection process.”

    Before joining the Trump administration, Ellis served as the head counsel to California Rep. Devin Nunes, one of Trump’s staunchest supporters. Ellis then became a lawyer with the National Security Council, refusing to testify as part of the House’s 2019 impeachment inquiry. In March 2020, Ellis became the senior director for intelligence on the NSC, joining other Trump loyalists in key intelligence positions.

    When reached by The Washington Post on Saturday, Ellis said: “I don’t talk to the press, thank you,” and hung up. CNN has been unable to reach Ellis for comment.

    Susan Hennessey, a former NSA attorney and CNN legal and national security analyst, ripped the decision to install Ellis in the Trump administration’s last weekend in power. “At this point, no one should extend this selection process the benefit of the doubt. By all indication, the Trump admin is violating civil service rules and politicizing an apolitical role. If Ellis is installed tonight, Biden should remove him on Day One,” she wrote on Twitter….

  12. says

    “Inside the U.S. Capitol at the height of the siege”:

    At 2:12 p.m. on Jan. 6, supporters of President Trump began climbing through a window they had smashed on the northwest side of the U.S. Capitol. “Go! Go! Go!” someone shouted as the rioters, some in military gear, streamed in. It was the start of the most serious attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. The mob coursed through the building, enraged that Congress was preparing to make Trump’s electoral defeat official. “Drag them out! … Hang them out!” rioters yelled at one point, as they gathered near the House chamber.

    Officials in the House and Senate secured the doors of their respective chambers, but lawmakers were soon forced to retreat to undisclosed locations. Five people died on the grounds that day, including a Capitol police officer. In all, more than 50 officers were injured.

    To reconstruct the pandemonium inside the Capitol, The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and hundreds of videos, some of which were exclusively obtained. By synchronizing the footage and locating some of the camera angles within a digital 3-D model of the building, The Post was able to map the rioters’ movements and assess how close they came to lawmakers — in some cases feet apart or separated only by a handful of vastly outnumbered police officers.

    Harrowing 15-minute video at the (YouTube) link.

  13. says

    Follow-uo to comment 20.

    Confirmation That Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) Gave Tour of Capitol to Insurrectionists, January 5th.

    Boebert is the less intelligent, less well-spoken, further to the looney-right Sarah Palin.

    And I think her arrest is imminent.

    We have confirmation from an unnamed source. [references the Winslow tweet in comment 20]

    […] That’s one confirmation.

    They’re zeroing in on Boebert. She’d better serve herself to resign. The problem is, that along with a growing number of the Democratic House and Senate caucuses, Ms. Boebert is still denying it. But these Trumpists think they’re invincible, like Trump always has. […]

  14. says

    Players locked down due to positive tests ahead of season’s first major tennis tournament”

    Australia has quarantined an additional 25 tennis players after another passenger on a charter flight carrying them tested positive for the coronavirus.

    The passenger was not a member of the Australian Open’s playing contingent, but the test will force all 58 of the flight’s passengers who arrived in Melbourne this weekend to quarantine for the next 14 days, according to The Associated Press. The tennis major’s organizers had announced earlier that 47 players would have to quarantine after four people on two other charter flights had tested positive.

    The move has sparked some pushback from players, who argue they are being held responsible for others’ actions. Sorana Cirstea of Romania tweeted “If they would have told us this rule before I would not play Australia … I would have stayed home. They told us we would fly at 20% capacity, in sections and we would be a close contact ONLY if my team or cohort tests positive.”

    Local health officials have said that players were warned of the risks ahead of time, according to the AP. Any players violating the quarantine risk fines or the possibility of being transferred to a guarded complex.

    Emma Cassar, the quarantine commissioner for Australia’s Victoria state, said she had already observed cases of people “testing” quarantine protocols but no one had yet actively attempted to escape.

    “There’ll be zero tolerance for that behavior,” she said. “This is designed to make people safe. We make no apologies for that.”

    If you’re on a plane 16-24 hours, with air that circulates throughout the plane, you are a close contact,” she added. “This was made very clear and nothing has changed.”

  15. John Morales says

    Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) issued a scathing critique of President Donald Trump, right-wing media, and the influence of the QAnon conspiracy theory among mainstream conservatives in an essay published Saturday in the Atlantic, arguing that the January 6 storming of the US Capitol should be a warning sign that something has gone deeply awry in Republican politics.

    “The violence that Americans witnessed—and that might recur in the coming days—is not a protest gone awry or the work of ‘a few bad apples,’” Sasse wrote. “It is 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.”

    Sasse’s blunt criticism of his own party, which extended to House leadership as well as incoming pro-Trump freshmen, is reflective of the emerging factioning of the Republican Party as Trump prepares to leave office. As the new Congress settles in, GOP members are splitting — and sparring — over whether to embrace Trump’s legacy or repudiate it.

  16. says

    A very personal thread about this story and why I increasingly believe addressing the rot caused by QAnon will be one of the Biden administration’s most important and most difficult tasks….”

    I know someone whose (wealthy, educated) husband is in this. I’ll once again recommend the Leah Remini series, and particularly the AMA and “Merchants of Fear” episodes.

  17. says

    Sen. Schatz (alluding to Cruz):

    If someone who tried to overthrow the government invoked my name on the Senate Floor as he rifled through my papers, saying I was “cool with it,” I would put out a statement.

    Also I would do it quickly because I wouldn’t need to assemble a bunch of political and communications strategists on a conference call to discuss the pros and cons of sedition in the context of 2024.

  18. Tethys says

    I’m assuming that some of the lawyers that work for various social media sites have suddenly realized that there are liability issues to hosting propaganda, and civil suits are probably going to follow to the criminal trials.

    Marjorie “Word Salad” Taylor Greene (GA) has a severe case of alt-reality. I’m hoping she gets Twitter permabanned and maybe charged with sedition for her efforts to impede certifying the election.

  19. tomh says

    Trump to issue around 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, sources say
    By Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak, Jamie Gangel, Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins, CNN

    (CNN)President Donald Trump is preparing to issue around 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, according to three people familiar with the matter, a major batch of clemency actions that includes white collar criminals, high-profile rappers and others but — as of now — is not expected to include Trump himself.

    The White House held a meeting on Sunday to finalize the list of pardons, two sources said.

    Trump, who had been rolling out pardons and commutations at a steady clip ahead of Christmas, had put a pause on them in the days leading up to and directly after the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, according to officials.

    Aides said Trump was singularly focused on the Electoral College count in the days ahead of time, precluding him for making final decisions on pardons. White House officials had expected them to resume after January 6, but Trump retreated after he was blamed for inciting the riots…

    The final batch of clemency actions is expected to include a mix of criminal justice reform-minded pardons and more controversial ones secured or doled out to political allies.

    The pardons are one of several items Trump must complete before his presidency ends in days. White House officials also still have executive orders prepared, and the President is still hopeful to declassify information related to the Russia probe before he leaves office. But with a waning number of administration officials still in jobs, the likelihood that any of it gets done seemed to be shrinking.

    The January 6 riots that led to Trump’s second impeachment have complicated his desire to pardon himself, his kids and personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. At this point, aides do not think he will do so, but caution only Trump knows what he will do with his last bit of presidential power before he is officially out of office at noon on January 20…

    One White House official said paperwork had not yet been drawn up for a self-pardon. Still, Trump is expected to leave the White House on January 20 and could issue pardons up until noon on Inauguration Day.

    The expectation among allies is that Trump will issue pardons that he could benefit from post presidency.

    “Everything is a transaction. He likes pardons because it is unilateral. And he likes doing favors for people he thinks will owe him,” one source familiar with the matter said.

  20. says

    Not sure what to make of this, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out:

    The FBI is investigating evidence that a woman who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 stole a laptop or hard drive from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and intended to sell it to Russians.
    The bizarre claim, which the FBI emphasized remains under investigation, was included in an affidavit describing the criminal case against Riley June Williams, a Pennsylvania woman who was seen in footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection in area of the Capitol near Pelosi’s office.

    According to the affidavit, a witness who spoke to authorities claimed to have seen a video of Williams “taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Speaker Pelosi’s office.””[Witness 1] stated that WILLIAMS intended to send the computer device to a friend in Russia, who then planned to sell the device to SVR, Russia’s foreign intelligence service,” the agent noted. “According to [Witness 1], the transfer of the computer device to Russia fell through for unknown reasons and WILLIAMS still has the computer device or destroyed it.”
    “This matter remains under investigation,” the agent concludes.

    A few more details at the link.

  21. says

    Politico – “Biden taps Warren ally Chopra to lead Consumer Bureau”:

    President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to four sources familiar with the decision, choosing a strong consumer advocate aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

    If confirmed, Chopra, now a member of the Federal Trade Commission, would be returning to helm an agency he helped Warren set up after its establishment by the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010.

    The selection of Chopra signals that the Biden administration plans to return the CFPB to the more-muscular posture of its early days following three years of Trump administration appointees curbing the agency’s reach. Biden also plans to nominate Gary Gensler, a former financial regulator known for aggressive bank oversight, as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a source familiar with the matter said.

    The Biden transition team declined to comment.

    Chopra’s confirmation process will likely be difficult, with Democrats only narrowly in control of the Senate….

    Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling last year, Biden can fire current CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger on Day One. But erasing President Donald Trump’s industry-friendly imprint on the bureau, which has pulled back on enforcement and watered down Obama-era rules, may take years.

    One of Chopra’s first likely priorities, restoring the agency’s focus on enforcing fair lending laws, will be relatively easy to achieve. The other two big-ticket items former officials expect to see on the new director’s agenda — cracking down on payday lenders and building up robust case law on what counts as an “abusive act or practice” under the Dodd-Frank law — couldn’t be accomplished until well into Biden’s term as president….

  22. says

    Politico – “Biden to yank Keystone XL permit on first day of presidency”:

    President-elect Joe Biden will rescind the cross-border permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, three sources confirm to POLITICO.

    The move is billed as one of Biden’s Day One climate change actions, according to a presentation circulating among Washington trade groups and lobbyists, a portion of which was seen by POLITICO. The decision was not included in incoming chief of staff Ron Klain’s Saturday memo outlining Biden’s planned executive actions during the first days of his presidency.

    Two lobbyists confirmed that Biden plans to yank the project’s permit on Inauguration Day, a development first reported by CBC News. It’s the latest development in a decade-long fight over the controversial pipeline and solidifies a campaign promise the Canadian government had hoped was negotiable….

  23. says

    AP – “Records: Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot”:

    Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.

    A pro-Trump nonprofit group called Women for America First hosted the “Save America Rally” on Jan. 6 at the Ellipse, an oval-shaped, federally owned patch of land near the White House. But an attachment to the National Park Service public gathering permit granted to the group lists more than half a dozen people in staff positions for the event who just weeks earlier had been paid thousands of dollars by Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. Other staff scheduled to be “on site” during the demonstration have close ties to the White House.

    Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally.

    Women for America First, which applied for and received the Park Service permit, did not respond to messages seeking comment about how the event was financed and about the Trump campaign’s involvement. The rally drew tens of thousands of people.

    In a statement, the president’s reelection campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event.” No campaign staff members were involved in the organization or operation of the rally, according to the statement. It said that if any former employees or independent contractors for the campaign took part, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.”

    At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month. Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign’s director of operations into January 2021. She did not respond to a message seeking comment.

    The AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles, removed tweets that referenced the rally and blocked a reporter who asked questions….

    More atl.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Watching MSNBC. The problem appears to have been identified as a fire in a homeless encampment under the I-295.

  25. says

    Here’s a link to the January 18 Guardian coronavirus world liveblog.

    From there:

    The world is on the edge of a “catastrophic moral failure” in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, with just 25 doses administered across all poor countries compared with 39m in wealthier ones, the head of the World Health Organization has said.

    It was the sharpest warning so far from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about the dangers of vaccine hoarding since inoculations started being administered in 49 mostly high-income countries.

    Guinea is the sole low-income country to have delivered any shots so far, last week providing doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine to a mere 25 people, including its president.

    Tedros told an annual meeting of the WHO’s executive board on Monday that it was wrong to see people at low risk in wealthy countries being vaccinated while most of the world still did not have access to the jabs

  26. says

    Karen Attiah:

    This week feels dark.

    Decades after Martin Luther King’s murder, our country is *still* under massive threat from white violence and terrorism.

    A desire for white power so great, not even a lethal virus will stop those determined to undo America’s multi-ethnic democracy.

  27. says

    SC @26, holy crap!

    In other news:

    As Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) faces intra-party criticism for her vote to impeach Donald Trump, the Casper Star-Tribune published an op-ed yesterday praising the congresswoman, written by three former Republican governors of Wyoming, among others.

    Casper Star-Tribune link


    […] Rep. Cheney’s challenge to the President, his supporters, and lawyers to produce evidence to support their claims was entirely correct. Her further challenge to him, and them, to support the sanctity of our electoral process was both proper and courageous.

    […] The Congresswoman went to the effort of preparing a lengthy memorandum reviewing all of the litigation that had debunked the “allegations” of fraud and illegality to convince her Republican colleagues that the election was over and that they had a duty under the Constitution and federal law to uphold the right of all states, including Wyoming, to control and determine their own electoral college vote. In response to her actions, she was personally targeted by the President, who told the angry partisans he had summoned to Washington on January 6th: “The Liz Cheneys of the world…we have to get rid of them.”

    We are proud of Rep. Cheney’s courage. In the face of calls to lawlessness from high places she adhered to her solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Whatever political differences any may have with her, in connection with the election and the events of January 6th, all Wyomingites should applaud her understanding of her constitutional duties and her willingness to perform them, irrespective of the personal or political cost she might pay. […]

  28. says

    Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will officially give up her Senate seat today. Her successor, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) will reportedly be sworn into office on Wednesday.

  29. says

    Just Security recently explained, ‘President Donald Trump apparently holds the misguided belief that his pardon power is ‘absolute.’ But while the pardon power is expansive in scope, that power is nevertheless constrained by the Constitution and federal criminal laws, including anti-bribery and obstruction laws.”

    Comments like those are popping up all over as Trump reportedly plans to pardon more than 100 people tomorrow.

  30. says

    Guardian world liveblog:

    The World Health Organization has raised “concerns” about the unequal distribution of Covid vaccines in Israel, which has given shots to more than a fifth of its population, and the occupied territories, where Palestinians have yet to receive any, an official said Monday.

    Rights groups say Israel has a duty as an occupying power to provide vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Israel claims it has no such obligation, arguing that its own population — including Arab citizens — is the priority, but that at some stage it may consider sharing its supplies.

    How utterly shitty.