WASHINGTON, DC — Two Army National Guard members have been removed from the inauguration security mission after vetting found they had ties to far-right fringe groups, a U.S. official told ABC News Tuesday.
“We don’t allow extremism of any type in our organization,” Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Tuesday morning.
The two Guard members are among the 25,000 National Guard troops who have been sent to Washington to augment security at the inauguration in the wake of the violent Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
The two Guardsmen were removed from the mission after vetting conducted by the FBI determined they had ties to far-right extremist groups, the official said.
No details were immediately available about which State Guard units the two belonged to or about the nature of of the alleged ties“
Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration,” said a National Guard statement that referred additional questions to the U.S. Secret Service.
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.
To show their appreciation for the civil rights icon on the federal holiday, ICE tweeted an image of a King statue, with the text: “Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of hope, justice and equality.”
Without addressing King directly, Ocasio-Cortez retweeted the text and called for the agency to be abolished.
Ocasio-Cortez has called for dismantling the agency for years, even in moments when her Democratic colleagues appeared to back away from the idea.
Though Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter feed on Monday was filled with references to King and his legacy, King’s niece, Alveda King, told Fox News that the congresswoman ought to “take a page out of Martin Luther King Jr.’s book.”
The suggestion came in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments during a virtual town hall last week in which she referred to President Donald Trump as the “poison of White supremacy.”
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.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil a sweeping immigration bill on Day One of his administration, hoping to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status, a massive reversal from the Trump administration’s harsh immigration policies.
The legislation puts Biden on track to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years, but it fails to include the traditional trade-off of enhanced border security favored by many Republicans, making passage in a narrowly divided Congress in doubt.
The CIA’s decision to declassify more than three decades worth of UFO documents is a “real-life X-Files,” according to one expert.
Nick Pope, a former employee and UFO investigator for Britain’s Ministry of Defense, said there are some “fascinating” documents in the files, which are more than 2,700 pages. However, the odd manner in which they were released and difficulties searching them will “fuel conspiracy theories.”
“There’s an irony in the UFO community expecting to find a smoking gun in material released by an organization they believe is part of a cover-up, and recent revelations about the Pentagon’s AATIP program and the [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena] Task Force suggest anyone looking in CIA files for the answer to the UFO mystery is looking at the wrong agency,” Pope said in an email to Fox News. “Perhaps these are the documents the government wants people to see, a bit like a magician who does something flamboyant with one hand, to draw people’s attention, while the important thing is going on in his other hand, behind his back.”
The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was formed in 2007 at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid, Fox News previously reported. It reportedly ceased operations in 2012, but in 2017 The New York Times reported the Department of Defense was still investigating potential episodes of unidentified flying objects.
The funerary temple of Queen Neit was also discovered near the pyramid of her husband, King Teti of Egypt’s 6th dynasty which dates back 4200 years, said famed archaeologist Zahi Hawass, who headed the archaeological mission.
The coffins include the first dating back to the New Kingdom to be found at Saqqara, a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to the Step Pyramid, the tourism and antiquities ministry said in a statement. Carved in human form and painted in bright colors, many of them are still intact.
Ancient games, statues, and masks were also found.
“All these discoveries will rewrite the history of Saqqara and the New Kingdom,” said Hawass.
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.
(CNN)President Donald Trump’s expected batch of 100 pardons and commutations on the penultimate day of his presidency won’t be the highest of his recent predecessors. But his record of clemency could very well be the most controversial.Unlike past presidents, Trump has shown little interest in using the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney system for assessing requests for executive clemency. Instead, petitioners are approaching the White House directly, calling or emailing senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief of staff Mark Meadows or White House counsel Pat Cipollone — when they can’t get a hold of Trump himself.Many of the people Trump has chosen to pardon so far fall along predictable lines: associates such as Roger Stone and Michael Flynn who remained loyal to him through their legal troubles; criminals with friendly or familial ties to the administration, such as Jared Kushner’s father Charles; celebrities or people connected to celebrities, such as Rod Blagojevich; and those whose cause was taken up by conservative media, such as Blackwater security guards who massacred Iraqi civilians.He has pardoned or commuted the sentences of some people serving lengthy prison terms for low-level offenses, such as Alice Johnson, who spoke at the Republican National Convention.
But by and large, Trump’s pardon record has broken with historical norms. Many of the high-profile criminals he has pardoned have shown little contrition or remorse for their crimes and few have argued they were wrongfully convicted.He is expected to adhere to that record on Tuesday when he issues around 100 pardons or commutations. 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. White collar criminals, high-profile rappers and a prominent eye doctor from Palm Beach, Florida, who is in prison after being convicted on dozens of counts of health care fraud, are expected to be on the list.
Because this is a situation we’ve never seen before, many people, understandably, have questions about what it all means for President Trump’s political future. We took those questions to our ABC Action News Political Analyst, Dr. Susan MacManus, to help clear some things up:
An impeachment alone does not prevent President Trump from running for public office again. The Senate would have to conduct an impeachment trial and first convict the president on an article of impeachment.
“Then another vote would have to be taken which would only require a simple majority to, in language that says, they can no longer run for office, but even that’s being debated at the moment,” said Dr. MacManus.
Another question being raised is if the Senate moves to try and convict the president, what happens to his benefits?
“His pension stays intact unless he is actually convicted and removed from office,” said Dr MacManus.
And his future lifetime secret service protection is another topic up for debate.Constitutional lawyers are trying to define exactly who counts as a “former president.”
The Former Presidents Act makes it clear that the term “former president” means a person who served as President of the United States of America “whose service in such office shall have terminated other than by removal pursuant to section four of article II of the Constitution of the United States of America.”
But another law, the Former Presidents Protection Act, authorizes lifetime secret service protection for former presidents, but the act does not define exactly who falls under “former president.”
The unfortunate conclusion, according to Dr. MacManus, “Clear as mud, and it’s very frustrating to people who just want to know what’s going to happen next.”
All decisions Congress, or potentially the Supreme Court, may have to make.
By Margaret Renkl
contributing opinion writer
NASHVILLE — For at least a week before Election Day, I was too anxious to focus. Donald Trump was running a re-election campaign founded in lies, and I had no faith that my fellow Americans would throw him out. The polls were reassuring, but I wasn’t reassured. Polls were reassuring in 2016, too, and this country still ended up in an abusive relationship with the most corrupt and dangerous president of my lifetime.
I had no faith, but I held out hope. The ubiquity of the anti-Trump ads created by The Lincoln Project, a group of Republican operatives endorsing Joe Biden, gave me hope. A change of heart in so many of my conservative friends — disgusted by Mr. Trump’s greed and deception and boorish behavior, disgusted by his inexplicable subservience to foreign despots, his encouragement of outrageous conspiracy theories, his loyalty to his own interests and no one else’s — gave me hope. Above all, the massive registration and get-out-the-vote effort in Black communities across the country gave me hope. Change was in the air — I could feel it. An uprising was upon us. A great repudiation was at hand.
A plan for containing the pandemic was finally coming. A serious reckoning with climate change, a fair approach to immigration, criminal justice reform, a strong health care safety net, a renewed emphasis on voting rights — all suddenly possible.
On election night I was quadruple-screening the coverage — The Times on my laptop, PBS on our television, Twitter on my iPad, half a dozen text threads going with friends on my phone — and the news kept getting grimmer and grimmer. “This is exactly the way I felt four years ago,” my brother texted as early results came in.
But it wasn’t the way I felt four years ago. This time I felt far, far worse.
People have had four years now to find out just how truly terrible Mr. Trump is. How indifferent he is to the norms of civil discourse and to the responsibilities of democracy itself. How transparently racist he is, how divisive, how selfish. We know he’s a chronic liar who, when caught out, simply doubles down on the lie. We know that he is using the levers of government to enrich himself. We know he delights in and urges on the most violent impulses of his most dangerous followers. We know he has let 237,000 Americans die on his watch and still has no plan for saving the rest of us.
Yes, there’s immense relief in knowing that Mr. Biden has won the presidency and that reclaiming the Senate is still possible. And, yes, there are hopeful signs of change, even here in the American South. In Georgia the count continues, but voters there appear to have flipped their red state to blue. And last week, Alabama voters approved an amendment that would begin the process of removing racist language from the state Constitution. Mississippi voters approved a new state flag, one that no longer features the Confederate battle emblem. And for the first time ever, lawmakers from the L.G.B.T.Q. community — one Democrat and one Republican — will serve in the Tennessee General Assembly.
I don’t discount for one instant the progress such news represents, and I celebrated as joyfully as anyone when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. I celebrated their win, and I celebrated the resilience of our democracy. I celebrated the chance to right so many of the wrongs that have been done during the last four years. Mr. Biden can do an enormous amount of good, even if he ends up having to do it without the Senate.
But the 71 million people who voted for Donald Trump despite his incompetence, despite his lying, his bullying, his cheating, his racism, despite all the moral failings he proudly flaunts as virtues? Those people aren’t going anywhere, the poison-spewing right-wing media that created them isn’t going anywhere, and Donald Trump himself isn’t going anywhere. And it’s not remotely clear what the rest of us can do about any of that.
Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South. She is the author of the book “Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss.”
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Shortly before the FBI used his dossier to secure a surveillance warrant targeting the Trump campaign, Christopher Steele met with State Department officials and relayed information suggesting Moscow was running an operation out of the Russian consulate in Miami.
There was just one problem with his intelligence: The Russians didn’t have a consulate in Florida’s largest city.
The anecdote, captured in contemporaneous memos and newly released testimony, illustrates just how bad some of Steele’s intelligence reporting was and how widely that was known inside the FBI, even as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was being assured by the bureau that Steele was deemed credible and there was no derogatory information about his work.
Kenneth Laycock, the FBI’s current Executive Assistant Director, was a section chief for Eurasian intelligence in fall 2016 when Steele made a visit to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec at the State Department.
During the October 2016 meeting, Steele admitted he was leaking to the news media while working as an FBI informant, a violation of his confidential human source agreement. (He later was terminated for it.) And he also relayed the anecdote about the Russian operation out of the Miami consulate, which officials immediately flagged as false, according to Kavalec’s own notes of the meeting.
“It is important to note that there is no Russian Consulate in Miami,” Kavalec wrote.
Laycock said Kavalec relayed her concerns to the FBI and that others working on the now-discredited Russia collusion investigation codenamed Crossfire Hurricane were also aware of Steele’s mistake.
“Do you recall — just trying to jog your memory here in case you do recall — Ms. Kavalec conveying information to you that Steele conveyed to her information about a Russian consulate being located in Miami and that was an inaccurate assessment on Steele’s part?” a Senate investigator asked Laycock in testimony taken last year but made public on Friday by the Senate Judiciary Committee,
“I recall a conversation about a consulate in Miami independent of what she had mentioned regarding what Mr. Steele said to her,” Laycock answered.
Biden’s stimulus plan, which includes the increased payments, would cost $1.9 trillion. According to The Washington Post, most people would end up with a total of $2,000 in stimulus, including $600 checks dispensed in recent legislation.
But that wasn’t enough for Ocasio-Cortez, who appeared to want the latest checks to reach $2,000 as she and others have repeatedly requested. “$2,000 means $2,000. $2,000 does not mean $1,400,″ she told the Post.Biden pledged before the Georgia runoffs this month that a Democratic Senate would pass $2,000 stimulus checks.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The family of former Pittsburgh Steeler Sam Davis is suing a personal care home in McKeesport, claiming negligence in connection with his death.
A lawsuit was filed against New Life Personal Care Home, Inc. in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
The lawsuit says in 1991 during his football career, Davis sustained a significant head injury that worsened over time. According to the lawsuit, Davis lived on the second floor of the facility and had access to a private staircase, though he was legally blind and “had difficulty ambulating.”
He was reported missing in September when he failed to show up for breakfast, the lawsuit says, and was found 14 hours later, dead at the bottom of the stairs.
“During the entire 14-hour time that Sam was missing, the Defendant facility failed to discover Sam’s body in this stairwell. Sam was alive and capable of being saved after his fall down the staircase, but Defendant’s delay caused or contributed to his death,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit is claiming damages pursuant to the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Act.
Davis was a four-time Super Bowl champion.
By Charlie Deitch
Pittsburgh Current Editor
As this issue goes to press, the United States Congress just voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time.
Trump is the first President in history to be impeached twice. At this point, everyone is well aware of how we got to this place.
On Jan. 6, as Congress gathered to certify Joe Biden’s win for President of the United States, Donald Trump was down the street at the Washington Mall. Trump gave a speech that continued to feed his followers several false narratives that led to the Capitol insurrection:
The Election was stolen
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump said.
Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reverse the results of a fair election.
“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. … All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people. And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen. Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.”
The 56-year-old Democrat, who was first elected in 2013, revealed his bid for a third term in a pre-recorded video posted to his Facebook page, in which he fielded questions from a video grid of 10 community leaders. It’s “not really the brick and mortar of the development,” he told the activists, but “more about the people who call these neighborhoods home that is Pittsburgh.”
Parler expected President Donald Trump would join its service after his Twitter account was suspended last week — a possibility that Amazon was trying to block by forcing it offline, the company told a federal judge.
In a Thursday hearing at a federal court in Washington state, Parler attorney David Groesbeck said that the site, which saw a surge of new users after mainstream social media sites blocked Trump and others who had posted incendiary content around the Jan. 6 riots, would have been a logical destination for the president. Executives thought “he would move over to Parler,” Groesbeck said.
In the company’s court filing, Parler’s chief executive argued that possibility was behind Amazon Web Services decision to stop hosting its content.”
I believe AWS’s decision to terminate service to Parler was based, not on expressed concerns about Parler’s compliance with the AWS Agreement, but in part on a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service,” John Matze said. Parler stresses that it does little to limit what its users can post and has become popular among conservatives.
Key context: After his Twitter suspension, Trump was considering other options and other conservatives either angry at Twitter or that have been booted from the site have pushed Parler as the new destination. If the company had succeeded on getting Trump to sign up it would have been a major boon for a site which has long been a niche platform.
At the hearing: Groesbeck also flatly denied that Parler was involved in the attack on Capitol Hill last week and urged Judge Barbara J. Rothstein to order Amazon Web Services to reinstate its web hosting service.
“AWS is alleging without evidence that Parler was used to incite the riots,” Groesbeck said. “There is no evidence other than some anecdotal press references that Parler was involved in the riots of Jan. 6.”“Millions of Americans have had their voices silenced by AWS,” Groesbeck said.How we got here: Late on Friday, Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s account, citing concerns that he might incite further violence. Conservatives angry with what they called censorship of the president abandoned the platform for alternatives like Parler that have less moderation.
Parler, which had 15 million users at the time it was cut off Sunday, was adding about 1 million new users each day, lawyers said at the hearing.
Westmoreland County elections officials Wednesday morning started counting more than two dozen provisional ballots cast in November but just recently discovered by staff during routine inspections of voting equipment.
Elections bureau staffers, serving as appointed members of a reconstituted provisional board, reviewed and qualified 20 ballots cast in North Huntingdon and one from Avonmore. Four ballots were rejected for being submitted by unregistered voters.
The North Huntingdon ballots, cast at the United Methodist Church on Coulterville Road, were discovered Dec. 28. Four additional ballots were found last week that were cast in Avonmore Borough, according to Elections Bureau Director JoAnn Sebastiani.
“They were inadvertently not reviewed (in November),” Sebastiani said of the Avonmore ballots.