President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, according to people familiar with the decision.
Rice, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was vetted to serve as Biden’s vice president and was a contender to be secretary of State, a position that went to Antony Blinken.
President-elect Joe Biden’s pandemic’s economic fallout, it could be months until the payments arrive, analysts say.proposes a third round of stimulus checks of $1,400 for most Americans. Yet while that could extend a helping hand to millions of households still suffering from theThe price tag of the relief package, called the American Rescue Plan, is likely to face pushback from Republican lawmakers, who last year resisted Democratic efforts to pass a $2 trillion bill. Heights Securities analyst Hunter Hammond expects the ultimate package to be trimmed to $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion. But most analysts think lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will back the $1,400 direct payments, which economists view as a lifeline for many cash-strapped workers who lost their jobs or seen their income plummet during the pandemic.
Support for another stimulus package may gain steam given several developments that point to widening economic distress as the pandemic worsens, according to Ed Mills, an analyst with investment bank Raymond James. A weaker outlook for the labor market, with a bigger-than-expectedduring the first week of January, as well as record number of COVID-19 infections and deaths could push lawmakers to support Mr. Biden’s plan for additional stimulus, analysts say.
Officials with Dominion Voting Systems have sent Mike Lindell, the C.E.O. of MyPillow, a legal letter warning of pending litigation over his baseless claims of widespread fraud involving their machines.
“You have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign,” the letter said, referring to his continued false claims that their systems were rigged by someone to effect the outcome.
“Litigation regarding these issues is imminent,” the letter said. Mr. Lindell is only the latest to get a warning letter from Dominion officials about potential litigation, after he and Sidney Powell, the right-wing lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani and others have continued to spread false claims about the integrity of the results the machines showed.
Mr. Lindell visited Mr. Trump at the White House briefly on Friday, before the national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, and the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, steered him away.
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump will not be in attendance Wednesday to watch as his successor Joe Biden is sworn into office, but his absence will have little impact on what may be one of the most important moments of Inauguration Day, the handing off of the “nuclear football.”The “football,” which contains the equipment that Trump would use to authenticate his orders and launch a nuclear strike, is carried by a military aide who accompanies the President at all times — up to the second he officially leaves office on January 20.Typically, the football would be handed off to another military aide standing on or nearby the inauguration viewing stand as Biden takes his oath of office.
But on Wednesday, that exchange will happen a bit differently as Trump is currently expected to depart Washington, DC, for Florida before Biden’s inauguration ceremony.
The nuclear football will likely travel with him, experts say, meaning there will be at least two briefcases in different locations, presenting a unique challenge of ensuring the transfer of authority goes smoothly.
While that process may play out slightly differently than it has in years past, there are safeguards in place to ensure a seamless transition of nuclear control from one president to the next, regardless of circumstance, according to Stephen Schwartz, a nonresident senior fellow at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter.Four years ago, Fox News headed into the Trump presidency with an unprecedented opportunity. It was not only the primary source of news for the Republican Party, but also the primary source for President Trump himself. The network could have used the opportunity to act responsibly. It could have leveraged its contacts within Trump’s inner circle and the GOP to double down on reporting and break some real news. It could have — at the very least — delivered the cold hard truth to the millions who relied on it for accurate, reliable information.But it did none of those things. Instead, Fox chose to run in the opposite direction. The propagandists on the network were empowered like never before while the so-called “straight news” hours became Trumpier and Trumpier. Its hosts scored dozens of Trump interviews, but, in most cases, instead of pressing him with tough questions, they egged on his worst tendencies. Even when not talking directly with him, the hosts were speaking directly to him. And they egged on those poor tendencies by feeding him a steady diet of hyper-partisan stories and outright disinformation. While it is officially called the “Trump presidency,” there is a good case to be made that it should be referred to as the “Fox News presidency.”Now, that is all coming to an end.
This story was originally published by PublicSource, a news partner of NEXTpittsburgh. PublicSource is a nonprofit media organization delivering local journalism at publicsource.org. You can sign up for their newsletters at publicsource.org/newsletters.
The country is on edge after a mob incited by the president overtook the U.S. Capitol last week, resulting in the death of five people and a sense that the security of American democracy is at risk.
The Washington Post reported that right-wing groups are planning additional armed marches leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, according to Alethea Group, which analyzes and combats disinformation online. The report by Alethea Group’ showed plans for activity in all 50 state capitals as well as some other cities, including Pittsburgh.
In a Jan. 12 statement, the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office said the agency is aware of reports of possible “protests in our area,” and that FBI agents interviewed a “Pittsburgh-based individual” cited in the report. “At this time, we are not aware of any related threats in our region which includes Western Pennsylvania and the State of West Virginia,” the FBI said in the statement.
The national FBI director, according to the New York Times, told a number of police chiefs from around the country in a call Wednesday to be on high alert, even without verified threats, and warned of attacks on government buildings and businesses.
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol caught authorities off guard despite being planned on the open internet. Could a fresh round of dangerous conflicts take authorities by surprise?
A new challenge for local authorities
Jillian Snider, an adjunct lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York Police Department officer, said last week’s riot in Washington will cause law enforcement across the country to take more precautions than normal.
“I don’t think anyone would have predicted something as vile as what had occurred last week,” Snider said. “I think agencies are definitely going to step it up in terms of making sure they have more than sufficient personnel on scene to try and counteract anything that might be planned.”
The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety did not answer questions about preparation, and FBI Pittsburgh did not answer questions related to threats beyond its Jan. 12 statement.
In a vote of confidence for the city’s ability to handle any situations that may arise, he referenced the G20 summit held in the city in 2009 and “a number of peaceful protests and walks this summer with very little incidents.”
The G20 and summer 2020 protests, though, were not without controversy, including allegations of inappropriate force used against demonstrators.
John Sicilia, the president of the Allegheny County Chiefs of Police Association, said he is not aware of any credible threats in the region. He said federal, state and city law enforcement have been “very transparent” with sharing any intelligence that has come up.
“However, we’re always preparing for that worst-case scenario,” said Sicilia, who is also the chief of police of the Northern Regional Police Department, which serves several municipalities north of Pittsburgh. “Our reaction is always based on the action and how much people escalate a situation. If it’s peaceful protest, we certainly allow that to happen as long as it’s done legally. But once property is being destroyed or people are harmed, we obviously have to escalate our tactics and prevent people from being injured.”
The violent riot that took place in Washington last week was unlike any protest seen in Western Pennsylvania in 2020, or any time in memory. Sicilia said cooperation between agencies will be crucial if similar situations arise in the region.
“I don’t think agencies independently could ever be prepared for something like that,” Sicilia said. “But we have a very unique dynamic in the region here in Western Pennsylvania where law enforcement partners from across the region work together … I think collectively as a group we would have a very good handle on a situation like that.
“But for any one agency, a situation like we saw in Washington, D.C., would be overwhelming. But like I said, as a group, I feel that we would be able to keep the residents of this region safe and the property of this region from being destroyed.”
Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said in a statement on Monday that the Department of Defense has not received any intelligence indicating a potential insider threat to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
However, Miller added that the department is “leaving no stone unturned in securing the capital,” noting that all National Guardsmen deployed to Washington, D.C. will be vetted.
“This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique,” Miller said. “The D.C. National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in D.C. that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command. We appreciate the support of the FBI in assisting with this task and for each of the more than 25,000 Guardsmen who answered their Nation’s call and rapidly deployed to the [North Capital Region].”
The announcement comes after defense officials expressed concerns over the potential for an insider attack, following a riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by pro-Trump protesters that left five dead and resulted in dozens of arrests.
The FBI warned in a memo earlier this month of potential plans for protests staged in all 50 state capitals which could occur before, on and after Inauguration Day.
The Trump-appointed director of the U.S. Census Bureau is stepping down close to a week after whistleblower complaints about his role in attempting to rush out an incomplete data report about noncitizens became public.
In an internal email announcement on Monday, Steven Dillingham said he is retiring from the bureau on Wednesday, more than 11 months before his term expires at the end of this year, according to a Census Bureau employee who spoke to NPR and asked not to be named for fear of retaliation at work.
Dillingham later confirmed his plans, which were first reported by Talking Points Memo, in a blog post on the bureau’s website.
The bureau’s current deputy director and chief operating officer — Ron Jarmin, a career civil servant who served as acting director before Dillingham was appointed — is set to temporarily fill the top post again after Dillingham is out at noon ET on Wednesday, the bureau’s chief spokesperson Michael Cook tells NPR.
Dillingham’s departure clears the entire slate of Trump appointees at the federal government’s largest statistical agency as its civil servants continue to toil over 2020 census records and prepare for the release of the first results from last year’s national head count, which has been delayed until March 6 at the earliest.
SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) — The Giant Eagle on the South Side was a meeting spot for family members of William Casale, 62. Casale’s cousin Kathleen Beltz said they will do whatever they can to find him. KDKA spoke to her right before the search got underway.
“Some of us are going to stay there, some of us are going into the Strip District and we’re also going to try and check the warming and homeless shelters,” said Beltz.
CNN “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter (Dennis Van Tine/AP)
CNN is making no mistake about it: It wants to censor and close Newsmax from broadcasting as a cable news channel.
Apparently jolted by the fact Newsmax has skyrocketed to become the 4th highest-rated cable news channel in the country, the liberal CNN is decrying what it calls Newsmax’s “election denialism” and is seeking to have it “deplatformed” from cable and satellite systems across the nation.
Oliver Darcy, CNN’s leftwing media critic, has been demanding cable operators drop Newsmax, which is currently carried by every major system in the nation. Newsmax is also streamed free by most OTT platforms and devices.
In a CNN column in early January, Darcy falsely claimed conservative media caused the protests at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“After all, it was the very lies that Fox, Newsmax, and OAN spread that helped prime President Trump’s supporters into not believing the truth: That he lost an honest and fair election,” Darcy wrote.
Darcy’s demands have been echoed on CNN’s shows, including their Sunday media show “Reliable Sources” hosted by liberal media analyst Brian Stelter.
On this week’s Sunday show, Stelter’s guests focused on deplatforming Newsmax.
Parler’s website looks like it’s under construction:
“Now seems like the right time to remind you all — both lovers and haters — why we started this platform. We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both.
We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!”
This message is posted on the main screen of Parler.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says that if all politicians who are ever linked to rioting are to be removed from office, it might be time to start with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
In a Saturday interview with the Fox Business Network, Huckabee said that President Donald Trump’s comments on Jan. 6 prior to the Capitol incursion might not have been well-chosen, but he said Trump is not alone.
Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield congressman who is the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been one of the most loyal and consistent of President Trump’s toadies, tying himself as closely as possible to the president through four years of lies, partisan attacks, petty cruelties, temper tantrums and abuses of power.
Since Trump’s election, McCarthy has served as senior sucker-upper and enabler, helping empower and normalize the most divisive president of our lifetimes at each step. At last year’s Republican convention McCarthy said that “no one has done more to protect and advance” our “great nation” than Trump.
A migrant caravan moving from Honduras toward the U.S. border is calling on the incoming Biden administration to honor what it says are “commitments” to the migrants moving north, amid fears of a surge at the border when President-elect Joe Biden enters office.
More than 1,000 Honduran migrants moved into Guatemala on Friday without registering, The Associated Press reported. That is part of a larger caravan that left a Honduran city earlier in the day.
The outlet reported that they are hoping for a warmer reception when they reach the U.S. border, and a statement issued by migrant rights group Pueblo Sin Fronteras, on behalf of the caravan, said it expects the Biden administration to take action.
Rose Ryan-Douglas, a KDKA Radio afternoon news anchor with 45 years of experience, announced her retirement earlier this week. Her last day on the air will be Feb. 26, according to KDKA Radio.
“Rose is the ultimate news professional,” Michael Spacciapolli, senior vice president and market manager for Entercom Pittsburgh (which owns KDKA), said in an emailed statement. “We have been so fortunate to have her in our newsroom for so many years delivering the news that matters to the city. I know she will be greatly missed by our listeners.”
Ms. Ryan-Douglas is a New Kensington native and a graduate of Valley High School in New Kensington and Clarion State College (now Clarion University). She began her radio career in the 1970s as a disc jockey and newscaster at WKPA/WYDD in New Kensington before moving over to WFFM in Braddock.
After a year at WFFM, she spent another year at 96KX before landing a job at 3WS, where she stayed for almost 20 years, mostly as a morning news anchor. Ms. Ryan-Douglas began working at KDKA Radio in 2002 before becoming an afternoon news anchor in 2003, a position she held for the next 17 years.
“Ultimately, we are grateful for all of her work over the years to help make KDKA the news source [in] Pittsburgh,” Mr. Spacciapolli said.In 1982, Ms. Ryan-Douglas married sportscaster Tab Douglas. The couple have two children together, a son and daughter. Ms. Ryan-Douglas is an avid gardener and also enjoys sewing, hobbies she will have a lot more time to pursue come Feb. 26.