Newsroom

‘He has an obligation to them’

Attorney for ‘QAnon shaman’ asks Trump to pardon rioters

The lawyer for the “QAnon shaman” who was part of the deadly siege of the Capitol last week publicly petitioned President Donald Trump on Thursday to pardon his client.

$20,000 a day

Donald Trump 'refusing to pay' Rudy Giuliani's legal fees

Donald Trump has fallen out with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and is refusing to pay the former New York mayor’s legal bills, it was reported, with the president feeling abandoned and frustrated during his last days in office. Giuliani played a key role in Trump’s failed attempts to overturn the results of November’s presidential election through the courts. The lawyer mounted numerous spurious legal challenges, traveling to swing states won by Joe Biden, and spread false claims the vote was rigged.

Capitol attack

The five people who died

Family members and law enforcement have confirmed more details on the now five people who died in an attempted insurrection against the United States on Wednesday, including a Capitol police officer who died from his injuries.

Civil War

America shaken after pro-Trump mob storms US Capitol building

America woke up stunned on Thursday after a mob of Donald Trump supporters staged an insurrection at the US Capitol building in Washington DC the day before, storming the debating chambers and clashing with armed police. Four people died in the unrest that rocked the capital on Wednesday, Washington DC police said, including a woman who was shot dead by the US Capitol police. Three others died in “medical emergencies”, the DC police chief, Robert Contee, said.

Wikileaks: Julia Assange

Julian Assange refused bail despite judge ruling against extradition to US

Julian Assange has been refused bail by a judge who this week rejected a US request to have him extradited to face espionage and hacking charges. The co-founder of WikiLeaks has been held at Belmarsh prison in south-east London for the past 18 months after he was evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy, where he sought asylum for seven years.

Black Live Matter

Wisconsin governor slams decision to not charge offices in Jacob Blake shooting

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) slammed the decision by the Kenosha County District Attorney to not charge any of the officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Misinformation about the vaccines

Pharmacist who tried to ruin Covid vaccine doses is a conspiracy theorist

A Wisconsin pharmacist convinced the world was “crashing down” told police he tried to ruin hundreds of doses of coronavirus vaccine, because he believed the shots would mutate people’s DNA, according to court documents released now.

Another one bites the dust

Breaking News: Bill Barr to step down as attorney general

Attorney General William Barr will step down from his position in the coming days, leaving the Trump administration about a month before Joe Biden's inauguration. President Trump announced Barr's decision on Twitter after a meeting with him at the White House, saying that the two had a "very good" relationship and praising Barr for doing an "outstanding job." Trump had sharply criticized Barr in recent days, prompting talk that he could be fired.

"Free Julian Assange"

Snowden urges Trump to grant Assange clemency

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor charged with espionage in 2013, on Thursday urged President Trump to pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

COVID-19: USA

Now, that dark winter looks to have arrived

The United States’ leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned in a Sunday Meet the Press interview that another surge of Covid-19 cases “super-imposed on that surge that we’re already in” might be coming, in large part due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

340 Million Dollars

Deutsche Bank seeking to offload three Trump loans

Deutsche Bank is aiming to end any financial ties to President Trump after the United States elections due to negative attention the bank has received as a result of the relationship, Reuters reported Tuesday.

"Fire Fauci"

Trump hints that he’ll fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Election Day

President Donald Trump signaled early Monday morning that he may fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, after Election Day.

Texas

Judge rejects GOP attempt to toss 127K drive-thru ballots in Texas

A federal judge on Monday ruled against Republican plaintiffs who sought to throw out 127,000 ballots cast by drive-thru voting in a Democratic-leaning Texas county.

COVID-19: Florida

Atlas push to 'slow the testing down' tracks with dramatic decline in key state

Shortly after joining the White House as President Donald Trump's pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas launched a quiet effort that seemed counterintuitive to some of his colleagues - encouraging officials to limit Covid-19 testing mainly to people experiencing symptoms.

Genuine hostility

Barack Obama, Trump battle in new wrinkle for 2020 campaign

Former President Obama appears to be getting under President Trump’s skin as he returns to the campaign trail to try to end the Trump presidency and win Democrat Joe Biden’s election. Obama has traveled to the swing states of Pennsylvania and Florida to stump for his former vice president, to the apparent annoyance of Trump — who is zeroing in on his predecessor more than ever. Trump criticized Fox News for airing an Obama speech from Florida on Tuesday, just the latest incident of him lashing out at Obama.

Rape

US judge rejects DoJ bid to shield Trump from rape defamation lawsuit

A federal judge denied Donald Trump’s request that he be replaced as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit alleging he raped a woman in a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. The decision came after the justice department argued that the United States – and by extension US taxpayers – should replace Trump as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by the columnist E Jean Carroll. The government’s lawyers contended that the United States could step in as the defendant because Trump was forced to respond to her lawsuit to prove he was physically and mentally fit for the job.

Amy Coney Barrett

Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg

The Senate confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, providing President Trump with a last-minute political victory just days before Nov. 3. The 52-48 Senate vote on Barrett's nomination capped off a rare presidential election year Supreme Court fight sparked by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18. GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to oppose Barrett, saying she doesn’t believe a nomination should come up before the election.

Alexander Hillel Treisman a.k.a “Alexander S. Theiss”

19 year old North Carolina man had plans to assassinate Joe Biden

A North Carolina man who was indicted last month on charges of child pornography also had plans to commit a mass shooting during the holidays and assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. A federal grand jury indicted 19-year-old Alexander Hillel Treisman a.k.a “Alexander S. Theiss” in September on charges of knowingly possessing an image that contained child pornography, according to the Daily Beast. When authorities investigated Treisman’s electronic devices, they discovered a bounty of disturbing information.

“anarchist jurisdiction”

NYC, Seattle and Portland sue Trump over 'anarchist' designation

New York and its fellow cities branded anarchist jurisdictions by the Trump administration will file a lawsuit challenging a move to pull their federal funds. The Justice Department last month slapped the label on New York, Seattle, and Portland, saying they could lose federal funding because the administration believes they have failed to rein in “violence and destruction of property” on their streets. The “anarchist jurisdiction” designation came after President Trump ordered the DOJ to identify cities that, in his view, were not responding aggressively enough to protests and crime.

Trumps personal attorney

Rudy Giuliani plays at his balls in the new Borat movie

The reputation of Rudy Giuliani could be set for a further blow with the release of highly embarrassing footage in Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to Borat.

Supreme Court justice

Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett

The Senate will vote Monday on confirming President Trump's nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to the Supreme Court. "With regard to the Supreme Court justice ... we'll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a weekly press conference, confirming the timing of a final vote on her nomination.

'It is serious and intense'

White supremacist domestic terror threat looms large in US

On 6 October Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, released his department’s annual assessment of violent threats to the nation. Analysts didn’t have to dig deep into the assessment to discover its alarming content. In a foreword, Wolf wrote that he was “particularly concerned about white supremacist violent extremists who have been exceptionally lethal in their abhorrent, targeted attacks in recent years. [They] seek to force ideological change in the United States through violence, death, and destruction.”

Shortnews

Ali Alexander

Facebook bans 'Stop the Steal' organizer

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

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Ali Alexander

Facebook bans 'Stop the Steal' organizer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Capitol attack

Security concerns: Theft of two computers

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

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Capitol attack

Security concerns: Theft of two computers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Barr

Trump's behavior 'betrayal of his office'

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

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Bill Barr

Trump's behavior 'betrayal of his office'

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

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

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

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

Civil War

Trump adviser resigns

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

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Civil War

Trump adviser resigns

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

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

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

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

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

Senior Republican figures have also indicated splits from the president.

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

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

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

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

New York City

Spike in coronavirus infection rate

New York City is seeing a “very worrisome” sustained increase in Covid-19 infections across the five boroughs, Mayor Bill de Blasio and public health officials said Thursday. The city’s positive test rate hit 1.92 percent based on a seven-day average, the highest number in weeks and the first time the metric has seen a "meaningful jump" since the city began tracking it in September, de Blasio said. The one-day rate was even higher, at 2.7 percent.

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New York City

Spike in coronavirus infection rate

New York City is seeing a “very worrisome” sustained increase in Covid-19 infections across the five boroughs, Mayor Bill de Blasio and public health officials said Thursday. The city’s positive test rate hit 1.92 percent based on a seven-day average, the highest number in weeks and the first time the metric has seen a "meaningful jump" since the city began tracking it in September, de Blasio said. The one-day rate was even higher, at 2.7 percent.

The city reported 532 new coronavirus cases — a number that has been hovering around the city’s 550 threshold for keeping the pandemic under control, which it breached earlier this week. While previous spikes were driven by outbreaks confined to certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, officials now say new cases are increasing across the city.

“We do see a slow and steady rise throughout many, many parts of the city,” said public health adviser Jay Varma.

The city plans to shut down its school system, which has reopened in fits and starts, if the positive test rate on a seven day average hits 3 percent. The mayor has called for shutting down indoor dining if it hits 2 percent, though the final decision would rest with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.