Trump Investigations

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Donald Trump | The Guardian: Biden to sign new executive orders on his racial equity agenda – live

President will give address on racial equality on Tuesday afternoon after senators are sworn in for Trump impeachment

We were expecting Joe Biden to speak at 2pm EST today about his racial equity agenda, and to sign executive orders which will address policing, housing and prison conditions. Another event has just been added to his public schedule – a 4:45pm address on the fight against the Covid pandemic.

Add to President Biden’s schedule today –

4:45 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks on the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

A strange story about Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler emerging from the weekend, as the Washington Post report:

On Sunday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was walking outside a craft brewery on the Oregon city’s southwest side when a man walked up to him and shouted, “Thanks for ruining the city!”

Moments later, the Democratic mayor blasted the man in the eyes with pepper spray.

Senator Bernie Sanders says the widespread suffering caused by the pandemic-induced economic crisis has made it “morally imperative” to increase the US’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. And in an interview with the Guardian, Sanders and other lawmakers pushing for a higher minimum wage say the chances of enacting a $15 minimum are better than ever before now that President Joe Biden has called for a $15 federal minimum as part of his emergency Covid legislative package.

Raising the minimum to $15 would more than double the current $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage, but many Republicans oppose the move, saying it would hurt business.

Related: Sanders in new push for $15 minimum wage under Biden: ‘For me, it’s morally imperative’

President Joe Biden is up and tweeting. Or, at least someone from his campaign is anyway. The first Biden tweet of the day doesn’t have quite the same feeling that he’s hunched over his phone while watching a news network that the last White House incumbent always seemed to have.

Biden’s @POTUS account is setting the scene for today’s expected announcements on the administration’s racial equity agenda, saying that “America has never lived up to its founding promise of equality for all.”

America has never lived up to its founding promise of equality for all, but we’ve never stopped trying. Today, I’ll take action to advance racial equity and push us closer to that more perfect union we’ve always strived to be.

About 150 people have now been charged in connection with the 6 January Capitol riot. Authorities have had quite a bit of help tracking people down – in fact in dozens of cases, supporters of Donald Trump downright flaunted their activity on social media on the day of the deadly insurrection. Later, apparently realizing they were in trouble with the law, they deleted their accounts only to discover their friends and family members had already taken screenshots of their selfies, videos and comments and sent them to the FBI.

Even with the help from the rioters themselves, investigators must still work rigorously to link the images to the vandalism and suspects to the acts on 6 January in order to prove their case in court. And because so few were arrested at the scene, the FBI and the US Marshals Service have been forced to send agents to track suspects down.

Akin Olla, political strategist and organizer who hosts the This is The Revolution podcast, writes for us this morning, arguing that the FBI can’t investigate white extremism until it first investigates itself:

The FBI has a long history of fulfilling the function of white supremacy in the United States. While the Tulsa Massacre was ongoing, the FBI’s predecessor was busy investigating Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association. The FBI’s first director, J Edgar Hoover, waged war on the Civil Rights Movement from its onset. The war was ramped up in the age of Cointelpro, an FBI program designed to surveil, dismantle, and destroy any movement working to end racism or capitalist exploitation in the United States. The FBI occasionally investigated white supremacists during this era (1956 to 1971),but spent the vast majority of its resources fighting those committed to Black and Indigenous liberation.

Related: The FBI can’t investigate white extremism until it first investigates itself | Akin Olla

Also on the foreign policy front, one of the Biden administration’s most pressing task will be to develop a relationship with China. Joe McDonald and Paul Wiseman have written for Associated Press today how they think that might play out.

They report that economists say Biden won’t confront Beijing right away because he wants to focus on the coronavirus and the economy. But he looks set to renew pressure over trade and technology grievances that prompted Donald Trump to hike tariffs on Chinese imports in 2017.

A quick foreign policy snap from Reuters here, that Iran has threatened to block short-notice inspections of its nuclear facilities by the United Nations atomic agency as it presses Joe Biden’s new administration to reverse the economic sanctions imposed on Tehran by Donald Trump.

Trump pulled Washington out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear pact with world powers in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions that had been lifted under it, prompting Tehran to violate its conditions. Biden has said he will rejoin the pact if Tehran resumes strict compliance.

In July 2015, Iran and a six-nation negotiating group reached a landmark agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that ended a 12-year deadlock over Tehran’s nuclear programme. The deal, struck in Vienna after nearly two years of intensive talks, limited the Iranian programme, to reassure the rest of the world that it cannot develop nuclear weapons, in return for sanctions relief.

Dalroy Connell has worked as a stagehand for the Portland Trailblazers since 1995 when the basketball team began playing games at the Rose Garden Arena. When the pandemic hit the US in March 2020, public events were shut down and NBA games were briefly suspended before the season moved to a “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, and the season recommenced without fans in July 2020.

Connell and his colleagues have been on unemployment ever since, but when the 2020-2021 NBA season began in December 2020, instead of bringing back several of these workers, the Portland Trailblazers replaced most of the unionized crew who work their games with non-union workers, even as their jobs running the sound and lighting equipment are required whether or not fans are in attendance.

Related: US companies using pandemic as a tool to break unions, workers claim

Avril Haines, who now oversees all 16 US intelligence agencies, is unlike any of the spies who came before her, and not just because she is the country’s first female director of national intelligence.

She is also the first intelligence chief to have to make an emergency landing while trying to cross the Atlantic in a tiny plane; the first to take a year out in Japan to learn judo; and surely the first anywhere in the world to have owned a cafe-bookstore that staged frequent erotica nights.

Related: Avril Haines’s unusual backstory makes her an unlikely chief of US intelligence

“Their socialism and cancel culture will not heal America” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders yesterday when launching her bid to be the next Governor of Arkansas. She wasn’t that keen to divorce herself from her legacy of working with the Trump administration – her launch video had plenty of references to the former president.

However, it is likely that her campaign will be dogged by reminders of her time in the White House. Mehdi Hasan overnight did a TV sport ranking her “worst lies” while fronting the Trump press operation.

“It was the lying – the brazen, relentless… lying – that defined her tenure in the office.”

My mini-rant on new gubernatorial candidate and ex-White House press secretary, @SarahHuckabee, plus a countdown of her top 5 lies, via the

Igor Vamos writes for us today on how Facebook is bombarding rightwing users with ads for combat gear:

On 16 January, Facebook announced that it will be “banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective equipment in the US at least through January 22”. To those of us who have been observing the world of Trump-supporting social media, this announcement is a manipulative piece of whitewashing that obscures how Facebook’s algorithms continue to divide people the world over.

Related: Facebook is bombarding rightwing users with ads for combat gear. See for yourself | Igor Vamos

Google said last night it will no longer make contributions from its political action committee this election cycle to any Congress member who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, report Reuters

Earlier this month, following the violent storming of the US Capitol, the tech giant had paused all political contributions to reassess its policies toward political contribution.

An expanded no fly list. New crimes put on the books. Increased use of the death penalty. These are some of the ways that politicians, pundits and law enforcement want to head off a repeat of the 6 January attack on the Capitol. But a renewed national security push aimed at addressing domestic terrorism has civil liberties groups steeling themselves, concerned that moves to combat far-right extremism will instead redound against communities of color and leftwing activists.

Last summer’s racial justice protests jump-started a national conversation over the endurance of racism within America’s law enforcement and security apparatus. But despite campaigning on the need to reform those institutions, some mainstream Democrats are now taking the lead on calls to expand them.

Related: Fears grow that efforts to combat US domestic terrorism can hurt minorities

Business owners have unsurprisingly hailed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to lift stay-at-home orders across California in response to improving coronavirus conditions, but local health officials have expressed concern that it may cause residents to let down their guard.

Kathleen Ronayne reports from Sacramento for the Associated Press that the lifting of the stay-at-home order allows restaurants to serve diners outdoors and places of worship to offer services outside. Hair and nail salons and other businesses may reopen and retailers can have more shoppers in their stores.

Yesterday there were 151,112 new coronavirus cases and 1,915 further deaths in the US. According to the figures from Johns Hopkins university, the total US caseload stands at 25,275,706, with an overall death toll of 420,800.

There was some better news from the nation’s hospitals. For the first time since 13 December, the number of people in hospital with Covid in the US dipped below 110,000. Hospitalizations have been above 100,000 since 2 December.

“We’ve seen what happens in other countries that have actually had coronavirus under relatively good control, then these variants took over and they had explosive spread of the virus, and then overwhelmed hospitals,” emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Officials in Minnesota announced Monday they detected the P.1 variant of the virus in a traveler from Brazil. The variant is one of four being closely watched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and appears to be more easily transmissible. CDC officials have also said another variant — called B.1.1.7 and first spotted in the UK — has been detected in more than 20 states.

My Pillow chief Mike Lindell has become the latest high profile person to be permanently suspended by Twitter for repeated violations of the company’s policy on election misinformation, report Reuters.

Lindell, a devout supporter of former president Donald Trump, financed post-election protest movements in a bid to overturn the election win of president Joe Biden.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite charged with recruiting teenage girls for the US financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse in the 1990s, has asked a judge to dismiss the case on multiple grounds, including that a deal years ago not to prosecute Epstein and others should shield her from prosecution.

Lawyers for Maxwell said the indictment against her was obtained unjustly and did not allege crimes specific enough to bring before a jury.

Related: Ghislaine Maxwell asks to throw out case over Epstein plea deal

Joe Biden has frequently cited racial equity as one of the crises that his incoming administration promises to tackle. Today the new president will attempt to take further concrete steps to addressing it, with a speech at 2pm EST (7pm GMT) and some executive orders. Stephen Collinson at CNN runs down what is expected:

Biden on Tuesday will sign executive actions establishing a commission on policing, partly in response to the death of Minnesota man George Floyd with a policeman’s knee on his neck last year.

He is also expected to order improvements in prison conditions and to mandate the Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote equitable housing policies.

Hi, welcome to our live coverage of US politics for Tuesday. There won’t be anything like the high drama of yesterday’s delivery of the article of impeachment to the Senate, but there’s still plenty going on. Here’s a catch up on where we are, and what we might expect to see

Related: US House delivers article of impeachment against Donald Trump to Senate

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Donald Trump | The Guardian

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)