Uncertain Future for Both Florida GOP and Florida Demo Party
After sustaining deep political losses across the state during the 2020 presidential election, not to mention enduring badly bruised egos, Florida Democrats are hoping to turn the tied on Republicans in 2022 with new leadership and by exploiting the January 6 Capitol riot.
Miami’s Manny Diaz is at the helm of the Florida Democratic Party and will have a heavy lift in getting his political party back on track. But with the reelection of Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters, could Democrats still be at a disadvantage?
The answer is maybe.
Gruters had the support of President Donald Trump, but not the full support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Now that America moves into the post-Trump era, Gruters must dig deep and muster all of his political mettle in order to counter an expected and aggressive, not to mention a riot-emboldened Democratic Party that believes it could bounce back from the shellacking they received last year from Gruters and the state GOP.
The Capitol riot created an expected opportunity for Democrats, but like Republicans, expect Democrats to squander this opportunity, but not until they milk the “white supremacist” card as much as they can.
Both political parties are at crossroads.
If Gruters can make it happen with Gov. DeSantis, and together stave off the governor’s reelection challenge and win back the AG Commissioner position, and reelect Senator Marco Rubio to a third term, Democrats are dead in the water.
They can borrow St. Petersburg’s very own “Fake News” liberal blogger Big Boy’s king-size fork to stick it in themselves.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott–This week, I proudly joined my colleagues in fighting for Florida growers and urged the U.S. International Trade Commission to take action addressing Mexico’s unfair produce trading practices. We must ensure fairness for our hard-working growers that protects their livelihoods.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy–Grateful to the Puerto Rico National Guard for joining their fellow guardsmen from Florida and other states to provide security for the presidential inauguration. But it’s unacceptable to me that they cannot vote for the president and commander-in-chief they’re here to protect.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets–Biden’s American Rescue Plan will tackle everything from widespread vaccination and safe school reopenings to direct payments to Americans. Only three more days until we have a POTUS who will work #ForThePeople!
Congresswoman Kat Cammack @RepKatCammack–I stand beside my colleagues from the #Florida delegation in working to protect the state’s produce industry from trade practices that prioritize imports from Mexico. Our strawberry and pepper industries generate economic benefits that must be protected here at home.
“Graham Releases Declassified Trump-Russia Docs, Slams FBI Probe” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham(R-SC) on Friday released a trove of documents, depositions, and interview transcripts related to the origins of the “Russiagate,” slamming the FBI’s Russia Collusion probe that dominated the Trump administration as the “most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ.” “I consider the Crossfire Hurricane investigation a massive system failure by senior leadership, but not representative of the dedicated, hardworking patriots who protect our nation every day at Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice,” Graham said in a statement Friday. “I believe that Crossfire Hurricane was one of the most incompetent and corrupt investigations in the history of the FBI and DOJ,” Graham added. “The FISA court was lied to. Exculpatory information was withheld on those being investigated. The investigators, with some notable exceptions, were incredibly biased and used the powers of law enforcement for political purposes. The subjects of the investigation had their lives turned upside down. It is my hope that counterintelligence investigations will be reined in and this never happens again in America.” Graham noted that “some classified material has still been withheld.” The Judiciary Chairman slammed the leadership of the FBI under former Bureau Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, saying both men were “either grossly incompetent” or “they knowingly allowed tremendous misdeeds.”
“Incident at Roger Stone’s home clarified, Mrs. Stone is home and well” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The Conservative blogosphere was roiled yesterday by reports on Alex Jones’ InfoWars that longtime Trump advisor and recently pardoned Roger Stone’s wife was attacked by a man in front of their home. The report stated that as a result of the politically motivated assault, Mrs. Stone and had to be hospitalized. While Mrs. Stone was attacked by a man on a bicycle, the good news is that these rumors of the assault are inaccurate. We reached out to long-time Fort Lauderdale residence Roger Stone, who’s Coral Way home was raided by 29 SWAT-clad FBI agents on the morning of January 25, 2019. Stone was charged with the first time non-violent crime of lying to Congress and the-over-the- top raid at the Stone residence, costing taxpayers $1.1 million essentially to create a scene for CNN. We learned that media outlets today began to fudge the facts of the incident, and as the story was recycled around, the truth of what happened was distorted. The Floridian reached to Roger Stone himself for comment and clarity.
“DeSantis Activates National Guard Due to Potential Violent Protests” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has just signed Executive Order 21-11, activating the Florida National Guard in advance of potentially violent protests in the days leading up to President Donald Trump’s last day in office, and President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The order also authorizes the state national guard to coordinate and work alongside local and state law enforcement, in particular the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Gov. DeSantis’ order comes less than two weeks after extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and caused a riot that resulted in the deaths of 6 individuals, including two Capitol Police officers. Here is what the order states: I, RON DESANTIS, as Governor of the State of Florida, by the powers vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Florida, do hereby issue the following Executive Order: I hereby order the Adjutant General to activate the Florida National Guard, and I authorize active duty status for those personnel and units of the Florida National Guard, as designated by the Adjutant General, that are needed to assist the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and state and local authorities. I direct the Florida National Guard to coordinate with and support the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in its efforts to support state and local law enforcement for security missions and assignments necessary to maintain peace.
“Pelosi Declines To Say When She Will Send Impeachment Article To Senate” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declined to offer a timeline or commit to when exactly she will send the recent House passing of article of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate to trigger the start of a trial, despite calling on the urgency of his removal with only week left of his presidency. Pelosi was asked if there were “any updates” on when she is planning to send over the Article of Impeachment to the Senate. “No,” Pelosi responded to a reporter’s inquiry during her weekly news conference Friday afternoon. “In terms of the timing, what our – as I mentioned – we, one week ago, on January 6th, there was an act of insurrection perpetrated on the Capitol of the United States, incentivized by the President of the United States. One week later, Wednesday to Wednesday, that President was impeached in a bipartisan way by the House of Representatives, so urgent was the matter,” Pelosi added. “They’re now working on taking this to trial, and when they – you’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there.” However, the Senate is currently on recess and cannot accept the article resolution until they return back in session, currently scheduled a day before the Jan 20th inauguration on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected Democrats’ calls for the Senate to return this week by invoking an emergency reconvene of all 100 members, saying “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial” could be accomplished before the swear-in ceremony of Joe Biden.
“Double Standard? House Democrats Seen Maskless During Capitol Riot” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D), arguably one of the most combative Progressive legislators in the U.S. Congress has just accused House Republicans who did not wear masks during the Capitol riot as criminals who took part in a “chemical warfare” attack on legislators sequestered during the unrest on January 6th. Rep. Pressley told CNN’s Don Lemon, who has been one of the loudest and biased anti-Trump “journalists” on that network, that those Republicans who refused to wear masks were “willfully” committing a crime. “It’s criminal behavior,” said Pressley. “They have been complicit from the very beginning in their willful criminality to carry the water for Donald Trump and these science denials which allowed this pandemic to rage out of control. And then by refusing to wear the masks, this is criminal behavior. That’s chemical warfare so far as I’m concerned.” But what about House Democrats who did not wear masks? Are they just as criminally complicit as their Republican counterparts? While members of Congress were ducking for cover in the House Chamber, many members, both Republican and Democrat were seen maskless, Including Democratic Reps. Val Demings, Pramila Jayapal, Veronica Escobar, Susan Wild, Jason, Crow, Ruben Gallego, and Abigail Spanberger.
“Rick Scott Warns of ‘Blue Bailout’ With Biden Admin” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, the past several months have seen the federal government spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars to keep the US economy, and states economies afloat. On top of the stimulus checks already passed, more legislation to bail out New York is already in the works. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) did not hesitate to publicly broadcast his grievances about funding to the entire country, while governors such as Ron DeSantis (R-FL) attempted to remain self-sufficient. The trend of blue states begging for more money has been deemed the “Blue Bailout” by opposing legislators such as Florida Senator Rick Scott (R). Scott believes that stabilizing a state is not the role of the federal government and that Andrew Cuomo has, ‘…Ought to get his economy open, get his revenues back up, just like what I had to do after a hurricane instead of asking the federal government to bail him out.’ Scott claimed with confidence after he himself was the governor of Florida for 8 years. Now that Joe Biden (D) will assume the presidency in the coming days, we can expect loads of funding to be poured into these states. Biden has already touted his $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, in addition to the bailouts that Sen. Scott claims Biden is already working on with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The alleged deal would consist of giving New York City, and the state at large, $2 billion in additional FEMA emergency funds.
“Cruz Retweets Article Criticizing President Trump” by Texas Politics’ Isabel Webb Carey – In recent months, Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz has risen to prominence as one of the most vocal Trump loyalists. Immediately following the election, he attacked Philadelphia officials for election malpractice. In December, he was prepared to argue the Texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate election results in battleground states. In the run-up to the certification proceedings, he led the charge of Senate Republicans who promised to object on account of election fraud. He dismissed the recording of Trump pressuring a Georgia official and spoke out against impeachment efforts. Cruz’s actions have drawn criticism from both sides, including prominent Trump allies. “Proposing a commission at this late date — which has zero chance of becoming reality — is not effectively fighting for President Trump,” U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC-R) tweeted. “It appears to be more of a political dodge than an effective remedy.” Others have also questioned Cruz’s motives, suggesting that the senator’s support for the president was a matter of political expediency. They note the role of Cruz’s relationship with the president plays in diluting the support for his own supporters. The emphasis of Cruz’s tweet lies on refocusing the Republican Party. He quotes from the article: “The GOP should be America’s blue-collar, populist, outsider party, dedicated to individual and religious freedom. It should be the party that stands up to China. And it should do all this without saying or doing crazy things.”
“Gun sales continue to rise across South Florida” by CBS 12’s Lena Salzbank – Guns and Range Training Center in West Palm Beach is seeing a boom in business as buyers flock to the shooting range looking to buy arms and ammo. Mike Shkop, the owner of the center says the rise in sales nearly doubled since the start of the pandemic. “It is the wave of a first-time buyer,” said Shkop. “So most of the people have never shot a gun so most of the people it is not a hobby they are just looking for protection.” In Florida, background checks for gun sales continue to exceed previous years and according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, more than 1.5 million background checks have been conducted as of Dec 28th. Shkop added, “it is not the election. Usually, it is election driven. This time around it was more pandemic driven, so personal safety.” He explains to CBS12 news that residents in South Florida realize there is only so much local law enforcement can do to protect themselves and their neighbors and tells us the most popular item in his store are handguns. The owner of the shop says he has been working here for seven years and while elections usually push a wave of new buyers his way, this year he has seen a steady increase in sales since March. With inauguration day around the corner and a new presidential candidate ready to take office, the fear of losing the right to carry is something owner Shkop worries about.
“Officers move in to protect Florida Capitol, but no one shows up to protest” by Orlando Sentinel’s Cristobal Reyes, Gray Rohrer and Mario Ariza – State and local law officers poured into the Florida Capitol on Sunday morning in anticipation of a pro-President Trump protest that authorities feared could become violent, but by mid-afternoon, no demonstrators had shown up. Dozens of patrol cars and armored SWAT vehicles could be seen entering the Capitol’s underground parking garage from otherwise quiet downtown Tallahassee streets. Officers were stationed on nearby rooftops, a helicopter flew overhead and at least one drone was put into use. “I hope you’re going to be very bored today,’’ Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commission Rick Swearingen told the Miami Herald as he emerged from meeting with the forces inside the complex. Swearingen said the National Guard was on the scene, but he wouldn’t discuss how many troops had been deployed. Among the agencies involved were the FDLE, Florida Highway Patrol, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Law enforcement officers gather on the roof of Tallahassee City Hall near the Florida Capitol on Sunday, January 17, 2021. A large police presence was deployed for expected protests at the capitol. No additional fencing or other protective measures had been set up overnight. However, officers may have visited some surrounding businesses ahead of protests, with one DoubleTree hotel worker saying they were advised to be wary of anyone bringing weapons into the property. It’s unclear how many protesters, if any, were expected to show up. Law enforcement, reporters, bystanders and a counterprotester were the only people in the streets.
“Florida woman, 18, missing after family robbed, kidnapped at gunpoint” by Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi – An 18-year old woman is missing after she and her parents were kidnapped at gunpoint at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday from their home in Pembroke Pines, Fla. According to police, 37-year-old Jaddier T. Sanchez forced the family of three into their 2007 red Dodge Ram pick-up truck, identified by the license plate PYDC13, before driving them to various banks to withdraw money from ATMs. The parents, who are unidentified in the police report, told authorities that Sanchez knew the family through their daughter, Nicole Martinez. Sanchez then drove to Belle Glade in Palm Beach County, where he left Martinez’s parents on the side of the road, before fleeing with Martinez against her will in the stolen vehicle. Police found Martinez’s parents at approximately 5:30 a.m. Martinez, who was last seen wearing a grey hoodie and orange and black cheetah print shorts, is 5 feet 3 inches and 120 pounds, with tattoos on her right and left forearms. Meanwhile, Sanchez, who is considered armed and dangerous, is described as having large tatoos around his neck. He is charged with armed robbery and kidnapping. “We are working collaboratively with the FBI and other Law Enforcement partners, as this case remains an active investigation,” authorities said in a statement.
“Lone demonstrator at Florida State Capitol spreads message: ‘Share The Love’” by Capitol News Service – A lone demonstrator was the only person to show up at the State Capitol in Tallahassee Sunday. His message — “share the love.” While quiet today following an FBI warning that put all 50 state capitols on alert, snipers and spotters were positioned on rooftops around the complex, helicopters circled and hundreds more police and national guardsmen were quietly out of sight. The giant flag usually flying at the state Vietnam Memorial was removed to prevent damage. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey told reporters Friday’s arrest of a man who planned a violet counter-protest as well as the National Guard troops on hand served to keep people away. “I hope nothing happens. I hope that we continue to have the peaceful days we always do and that we enjoy. But hope alone is not a plan. We are prepared,” said Dailey. “The great men and women of our law enforcement community have been working around the clock, have been working at every level. We are prepared.” The order calling up the National Guard has them activated through Thursday, the day after Joe Biden’s inauguration. State police are also expected to remain at heightened alertness through mid-week. The Capital City canceled its Martin Luther King Day parade set for tomorrow. It has been rescheduled for February 6.
“Florida Vaccine Updates: Hard Rock Testing Site Will Offer Doses by Appointment Only” by NBC Miami – As a limited supply of the coronavirus vaccine has become available across Florida, residents are understandably anxious to know when they will be able to stand in line for a dose. While cars waited for hours just for the chance to get into the newest site in Broward County, Miami-Dade County saw their latest round of appointments fill up in less than an hour after opening up. Hard Rock Test Site Will Offer Vaccinations by Appointment Only
The Hard Rock Testing Site is now offering vaccinations by appointment only. People with appointments are advised not to arrive more than 30 minutes ahead of their scheduled time. The site will be open during normal hours on Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointments are needed for coronavirus testing. Cars must have working windows that fully open and close. Florida added more than 11,000 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, as the state’s virus-related death toll increased by more than 130. The 11,093 new confirmed COVID-19 cases brought Florida’s total to 1,571,279 since the outbreak began, according to figures released by the state’s department of health. One person was taken to an area hospital after suffering a fall Sunday at the stadium site in Miami Gardens.
“Sen. Rick Scott: ‘We should not have Florida taxpayers bailing out New York’” by Fox News’ Talia Kaplan – Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., argued on Sunday that President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan, which calls for a $350 billion “bailout” for state and local governments, “makes no sense.” “We shouldn’t have Florida taxpayers bailing out New York” and other blue states for their prior problems, he stressed. Scott made the comments on “Fox & Friends Weekend” three days after Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal that’s designed to jump-start the nation’s sputtering economy and accelerate vaccine distribution to control the deadly pandemic. Biden wants to provide state, local and territorial governments with $350 billion in emergency funding to help them keep front-line workers employed and aid with vaccine distribution, COVID-19 testing, reopening schools and “maintaining other vital services.” Funding for state and local governments emerged as one of the most contentious issues during nearly a half-year of relief negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, who decried the proposal as a “blue-state bailout.” Unable to compromise on the issue, lawmakers eventually decided to exclude state and local government aid from the $900 billion relief deal they passed in December. Scott called the funding to state and local governments, specifically New York, “liberal payback.” He made the comments after Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reportedly said the state could get as much as $2 billion more in FEMA emergency money for the coronavirus pandemic through Biden’s massive relief plan. Under Biden’s plan, $30 billion will be invested into FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and part of that will cover the cost of a 100% federal reimbursement for COVID-19 emergency responses by state and local governments, Newsday reported, citing the Biden transition team. Therefore, states like New York, which has been declared a COVID-19 emergency disaster area, will reportedly not have to cover 25% of the costs, which is typically the case for most FEMA emergency disaster funding.
“Florida creeps toward 1.6 million COVID-19 infections and 25,000 deaths” by Palm Beach Posts’ Wendy Rhodes – Florida on Sunday added 11,093 COVID-19 infections to the statewide total of 1,571,279 while Palm Beach County added 799 new cases, bringing the total to 97,542. While the state delays reporting on deaths, 135 more were listed on Sunday, bringing the total to 24,515. Palm Beach County reported four more deaths, bringing the total to 2,066. A total of 7,420 people remain hospitalized in Florida, including 427 in Palm Beach County. Remaining COVID-19 bed capacity in the county stands at 26.58%. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties hold three spots in the top 25 counties with the most confirmed cases in the nation. The state also reported Sunday that an additional 22,800 people received the first of two vaccination doses while 1,073 received the second dose. That brings the total number of people in Florida who have had both shots to 91,819. But not everyone who received the first dose of the vaccine got the second one. The state reports that 40,974 people statewide are overdue for their second dose. In Palm Beach County, 3,215 more people received their first shot, and 203 received the second shot, bringing the total number of people who have received both shots to 2,395 and those who have received only their first shot to 80,273. Not all those vaccinated in Palm Beach County or elsewhere in Florida are residents. The state allows people from other states to receive the vaccine. The United States continues to report the most COVID-19 infections with 23,844,928. This represents more than double the No. 2 country, Brazil, which reports 10,557,985 infections, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
“Florida has administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccines, records show” by WFTV’s James Tetten – State records show more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the state. As of Sunday, 1,007,716 shots have been given out, including 91,819 people who have received both recommended doses. Records also show 40,974 people who got their first shot are overdue for their second, which is 2,694 fewer than reported Saturday. Florida reported 11,093 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 2,258 people in Central Florida. Orange County reported the most local cases on Sunday with 741. State records show 1,571,279 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Florida since the start of the pandemic. Florida also reported 135 new virus-related deaths on Sunday, including 36 in Central Florida.
“Florida data scientist in battle with state over Covid dashboard plans to turn herself in” by NBC News’ Doha Madani – The Florida data scientist, who alleged state officials fired her for refusing to change coronavirus numbers, said she plans on surrendering herself to law enforcement a month after authorities raided her home. Rebekah Jones, who helped develop Florida’s Covid-19 dashboard, has been in a monthslong public battle with the state since she alleged officials ousted her from her position for her refusal to “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” She announced on social media Saturday that she planned on surrendering to authorities. “To protect my family from continued police violence, and to show that I’m ready to fight whatever they throw at me, I’m turning myself into police in Florida Sunday night,” Jones said. A search warrant was executed on Jones’ Tallahassee home after she allegedly accessed a Department of Health-run communications platform and sent a Nov. 10 group text warning users that it was “time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead.” She has denied the accusations and filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming the Dec. 7 raid was initiated to “silence” her online speech and curry favor with Gov. Ron DeSantis. Authorities seized Jones’ computer, cell phone and other devices. In her Twitter thread on Saturday, Jones alleged a warrant was made out for her arrest on a charge unrelated to the December raid and that authorities have not found evidence she sent the Nov. 10 message. “However, police did find documents I received/downloaded from sources in the state, or something of that nature… it isn’t clear at this point what exactly they’re saying I had that I shouldn’t have had, but an agent confirmed it has nothing to do with the subject of the warrant,” Jones said. “The raid was based on a lie.”
“FBI arrest Florida ‘hardcore leftist’ who plotted armed attack on pro-Trump protesters at state Capitol” by Fox News’ Danielle Wallace – A self-described “hardcore leftist” was arrested Friday for allegedly issuing a call to arms online to recruit like-minded individuals to join him in violently confronting pro-Trump supporters expected to gather at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee on Sunday, just days before the presidential inauguration. Daniel Alan Baker – an alleged Antifa supporter who participated in several anti-police protests last year around the country, including in Seattle’s CHOP/CHAZ zone – was arrested “without incident” by FBI agents early Friday with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Tallahassee Police Department. Baker, who prosecutors say was kicked out of the Army and was homeless for several years in the Tallahassee-area before choosing to fight alongside a U.S.-designated terrorist group in Syria, is now charged with violating a federal law that makes it a felony to “transmit in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another.” He appeared before Magistrate Judge Charles A. Stampelos on Friday and is scheduled to remain at a federal detention center in Tallahassee until his next court appearance scheduled on Jan. 21, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday granted Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey’s request to have the National Guard brought in to help protect the state Capitol. This comes as an FBI internal memo warned of potential armed protests at state Capitol buildings in all 50 states in the days leading up to the inauguration. The Tallahassee City Hall and the Leon County Courthouse will be closed early this week.
“Josh Hawley’s Florida fundraiser canceled by Loews Hotels after liberal lawyer posts flyer online” by Fox News’ Dom Calicchio – A planned February fundraiser in Florida for U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley was canceled Saturday as hotel chain Loews Hotels decided to pull out of the event. The Loews cancelation was among the latest examples of fallout facing Republicans following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. It came after liberal Florida attorney Daniel Uhlfelder obtained a flyer for the Hawley event and posted it online, referring to Hawley as a “traitor” and asking the hotel chain why it was supporting the Missouri Republican. Uhlfelder praised the Loews decision, saying the company “did the right thing” by canceling Hawley, who was among the GOP lawmakers leading the effort to oppose Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump. Uhlfelder praised the Loews decision, saying the company “did the right thing” by canceling Hawley, who was among the GOP lawmakers leading the effort to oppose Democrat Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump. After Uhlfelder posted the flyer online, Democratic lawmakers and anti-Trump groups put pressure on the hotel chain, the Sentinel reported. The critics included Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani, a Democrat, and The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans, according to the newspaper. Uhlfelder attracted media attention in May when he dressed as the Grim Reaper and visited Florida beaches to shame visitors and criticize Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for not closing the recreational areas amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Blocked from social media, extremists discuss turning to radios to plan attacks, FCC warns” by CNN Business’s David Goldman – The US government is warning that groups could rely on radio equipment as an alternative to social media to plan future criminal activities. In a stark warning Sunday, the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau said people coordinating or conducting criminal activity over radio waves are breaking the law. “The Bureau has become aware of discussions on social media platforms suggesting that certain radio services regulated by the Commission may be an alternative to social media platforms for groups to communicate and coordinate future activities,” the FCC said in its warning Sunday. “Individuals using radios in the Amateur or Personal Radio Services in this manner may be subject to severe penalties, including significant fines, seizure of the offending equipment, and, in some cases, criminal prosecution.” The FCC licenses certain signals for people to broadcast over radio waves. Those messages are generally protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment. But the FCC reminded radio licensees and operators that it is prohibited to transmit “communications intended to facilitate a criminal act.” People are also not allowed to encode their messages to obscure their meaning from law enforcement. The laws governing airwaves apply to amateurs broadcasting with personal ham radios, which can reach long distances. But they also apply to people using Citizens Band (CB) radios commonly used for communication between truckers — or even walkie-talkies.
“New video shows MAGA mob rifling through paperwork in Senate chamber as they hunt down Nancy Pelosi” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – Shocking new footage from the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 shows Trump supporters cramming into the Senate chamber, where they rifled through documents and demanded to know where the lawmakers had fled. The video, first obtained by The New Yorker, was shot by veteran war correspondent Luke Mogelson, a writer for the magazine, who followed the mob as they forced their way into the Capitol. “Where the f— are they?” one rioter can be heard shouting. Others are seen milling around the Senate chamber while others rummage through documents. “There’s gotta be something in here we can f—ing use against these scumbags,” one man says as he flips through a notebook while taking pictures with his phone. Meanwhile, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” – whose real name is Jacob Chansley – can be heard shouting audibly in the rafters above while beating the ground with a spear. He later makes his way down to the floor, telling the other intruders: “Glad to see you guys. You guys are f—ing patriots.” Another clip shows a group of the rioters walking down a hall, banging on lawmakers’ office doors and shouting words like “treason” and “1776.” Other rioters demand to know the whereabouts of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mogelson, who served as a medic with New York Army National Guard for three years, shot the video from the moment the rioters first made their way into the Capitol, where they confronted police officers, telling them: “You’re outnumbered. There’s a f—ing million of us out there! And we are listening to Trump—your boss!”
“Far-Right Affiliations Seen Among Those Recently Charged in Capitol Riot” by WSJ’s Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman – Members of several far-right militant groups were charged or arrested over the weekend for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as investigators examine what kind of organization and planning might have gone into the attack. Adherents of the Proud Boys, Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers have been charged for alleged roles in the riot. Several of the groups used violent rhetoric urging members to attend the D.C. rally the day of the Capitol riot. Since then. some of the groups’ leaders have advised followers to stay away from Washington and other major cities that are preparing for this week with large law-enforcement presence. An Indiana man, Jon Schaffer, identified as a member of the heavy metal band Iced Earth, was arrested on charges of engaging in violence in a restricted building, disorderly conduct and other crimes, and was photographed wearing a baseball cap at the riot bearing the words “Oath Keepers Lifetime Member,” according to an affidavit for his arrest filed on Saturday. The Anti-Defamation League calls the group an “antigovernment right-wing fringe organization.” The affidavit alleged that at the riot Mr. Schaffer used bear spray on police officers. Mr. Schaffer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. According to the affidavit, in a press interview at a pro- Trump march last year, he said: “We’re not going to merge into some globalist, communist system, it will not happen. There will be a lot of bloodshed if it comes down to that, trust me.” The other members of Mr. Schaffer’s band have said they didn’t condone or support the riot.
“Trump to issue around 100 pardons and commutations Tuesday, sources say” by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Kevin Liptak, Jamie Gangel, Pamela Brown and Kaitlan Collins – 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.
days Initially, two major batches had been ready to roll out, one at the end of last week and one on Tuesday. Now, officials expect the last batch to be the only one — unless Trump decides at the last minute to grant pardons to controversial allies, members of his family or himself. 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.
“Pence has tried to reach Capitol Police officer who led rioters away from Senate chambers to offer thanks” by CNN’s Pamela Brown and Paul LeBlanc – Vice President Mike Pence reached out to Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman late last week to thank him for his efforts during the attack on the US Capitol, a person close to Pence told CNN, but they haven’t connected yet. Goodman has been hailed as a hero after video emerged of him guiding the violent mob away from the Senate chamber, where Pence had been conducting the ceremonial counting of the 2020 electoral votes on January 6. The source told CNN that Pence will make some final calls Monday and is “hopeful” they’ll connect. The attempted outreach from Pence is just the latest example of the vice president taking on more of the public-facing role of commander-in-chief as President Donald Trump is holed up in the White House, silenced on social media and refusing to speak to the man who beat him or abandon the baseless election conspiracies that helped incite the rioters. Pence, on the other hand, called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris last week and visited National Guard members guarding the Capitol. Many in Pence’s orbit remain furious at how Trump behaved the day of the insurrection attempt, which brought rioters within seconds of encountering Pence and members of his family in the hallways outside the Senate chamber. Footage from the January 6 insurrection captured by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman being chased up a Capitol staircase by a mob of insurrectionists shortly after they’d broken in. When he reached a landing, he looked to his left, where he noticed the door to the Senate chambers was still unguarded. He then led the rioters to the right, away from lawmakers and toward backup officers. The Senate chambers wouldn’t be secured until one minute later, according to CNN’s timeline of events from the riot.
“Pelosi deputy chief of staff responds after Graham questions House speaker over riot security failures” by Fox News’s Ronn Blitzer – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill fired back at Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., after the Republican seemed to blame the Democratic leader for security failures during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building. During an appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Graham asked, “Where was Nancy Pelosi? It’s her job to provide Capitol security.” Hammill was quick to respond. “This disgraceful attempt to shift blame for the mob attack on the Capitol is absurd & pathetic,” Hammill tweeted Sunday morning. “He need only look in the mirror if he wants to start pointing a finger.” Hammill accused Graham of challenging the results of the election, just as President Trump did when he called for followers to protest outside the Capitol as lawmakers counted and debated objections to electoral votes. “He has repeatedly cast doubts on results of a fair election & dangerously fanned flames of rightwing quackery,” Hammill added. The electoral vote counting process was interrupted by the riot at the Capitol, but ultimately resumed and concluded later. When the Senate resumed its activity, Graham forcefully rejected the objections to votes that were raised by Republican colleagues Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. “Count me out, enough is enough,” he said. As for how protesters managed to get past Capitol Police and into the Capitol building, Committee on House Administration chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said she intends to look into it.
“Biden transition official tells migrant caravans: ‘Now is not the time’ to come to US” by Fox News’ Yael Halon – A migrant caravan moving from Honduras toward the U.S. border called on the incoming Biden administration to honor their “commitments” to the migrants moving north, citing the incoming administration’s vow to ease Trump’s restrictions on asylum. But on Sunday, an unnamed Biden transition official said that migrants hoping to claim asylum in the U.S. during the first few weeks of the new administration “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” NBC News reports. More than 1,000 Honduran migrants moved into Guatemala on Friday without registering as part of a larger caravan that left a Honduran city earlier in the day. The Associated Press 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. The Biden transition official, however, warned migrants against coming to the U.S. during the early days of the new administration, telling NBC that while “there’s help on the way,” now “is not the time to make the journey.” “The situation at the border isn’t going to be transformed overnight,” the official told the outlet. “We have to provide a message that health and hope is on the way, but coming right now does not make sense for their own safety…while we put into place processes that they may be able to access in the future,” the official said.
“Keystone XL Oil Project Pledges Zero Carbon Emissions” by WSJ’s Timothy Puko – The Keystone oil pipeline’s developer plans to announce a series of overhauls—including a pledge to use only renewable energy—in a bid to win President-elect Joe Biden’s support for the controversial project. Aides to Mr. Biden have previously said he plans to revoke the permit, and Canada’s CBC News reported late Sunday that Mr. Biden plans to do so in one of his first actions after taking office this week. Mr. Biden’s team declined to discuss that report, but has said his position on the pipeline hasn’t changed. In a bid to save the project, Canada’s TC Energy Corp. TRP 0.29% is committing to spend $1.7 billion on solar, wind and battery power to operate the partially completed 2,000-mile pipeline system between Alberta, in western Canada, and Texas, company officials say. They also are pledging to hire a union workforce and eliminate all greenhouse-gas emissions from operations by 2030. The company’s plans reflect new realities at a time when Democrats are taking commanding positions in Washington, and in an era of growing environmental and social concerns. “In our view, this is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly pipeline project that is ever been built,” Richard Prior, president of TC Energy’s Keystone XL expansion project, said in an interview. “This is groundbreaking stuff for an energy infrastructure project of the size and scale of Keystone XL.” A company spokesman said Keystone will announce the new measures this week.
“After Stock Surge, Investors Ask Companies What’s Ahead” by WSJ’s Karen Langley – An epic stock rally faces a key test in coming weeks as investors learn what executives expect for profits and revenues in coming periods. Fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off in earnest Friday with better-than-expected profits from some of the nation’s largest banks. Despite a record quarterly profit at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and some bright spots at Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo WFC -7.80% & Co., shares of all three declined, with Wells and Citi each dropping more than 6%. The market reaction highlights the stakes as large firms begin sharing quarterly results and, more important, their outlooks for coming quarters. Though results weren’t terrible, shares were hit hard, reflecting the rise of investor expectations as bank shares climbed more than 10% for 2021 heading into Friday’s trading. The surge of major indexes to new highs this year, despite an accelerating toll from the coronavirus and questions about how that will affect the economic outlook, underscores the pressure on executives at major companies to spell out how they expect results to improve in 2021. Soft earnings during the S&P’s roughly 70% rise from last March’s intraday low have been deemed acceptable by investors because many expect a sharp rebound this year. Firms whose projections fall short can expect to be punished, they say. “Whether they had a good quarter or not, it’s all about what’s next,” said Kimberly Woody, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments, which manages $1.9 billion. “Good future news has been priced into this market.” With the books closed on 2020, analysts estimate that profits for companies in the S&P 500 fell 13% for the year, according to FactSet. Even so, companies in the S&P 500 traded Thursday at 22.65 times their projected earnings over the next 12 months, above a five-year average of 17.84, according to FactSet.
“Biden will wait for recommendation on sharing secrets with Trump” by Reuters Staff – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will wait for a recommendation from his intelligence advisers on whether to share classified information with President Donald Trump after the Republican leaves office, Biden’s top aide said on Sunday. Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff, made the comment after former principal deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, wrote an op-ed arguing against sharing such information with Trump once he has left the presidency. “With this simple act — which is solely the new president’s prerogative — Joe Biden can mitigate one aspect of the potential national security risk posed by Donald Trump, private citizen,” Gordon said in a Washington Post piece headlined “A former president Trump won’t ‘need to know.’ Cut off his intelligence.” Asked about Gordon’s recommendation, Klain told CNN’s “State of the Union” program that Biden would want to hear from his own intelligence professionals before making any decision. “We’ll certainly look for a recommendation from the intelligence professionals in the Biden administration … and we will act on that recommendation,” he said. Gordon, who resigned in 2019, said any former president was a foreign intelligence target but Trump “might be unusually vulnerable to bad actors with ill intent,” citing, among other things, his business interests abroad.
“’It was a non-event’: Pro-Trump protests quiet amid massive police presence across U.S.” by Reuters’ Nathan Layne and Brendan O’Brien – Law enforcement officers far outnumbered protesters at state capitol grounds on Sunday, as few Trump supporters who believe the president’s false claim that he won the 2020 election turned out for what authorities feared could be violent demonstrations. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. Security officials had eyed Sunday as the first major flashpoint, as the anti-government “boogaloo” movement made plans weeks ago to hold rallies in all 50 states. But by Sunday evening, only small gatherings of demonstrators had taken to the streets alongside much larger crowds of law-enforcement officers and media personnel. “It was a non-event today and we are glad it was,” said Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Department of General Services, the agency that protects the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg. Tens of thousands of security personnel from the National Guard and law-enforcement agencies descended in recent days upon Washington, D.C., to bolster security ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony, when Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will relieve departing Republican President Donald Trump. The image of Washington as a fortress has unsettled U.S. pride over the traditionally peaceful transfer of power. It was unclear how much the FBI warning and robust security presence around the country on Sunday led protesters to cancel plans.
“Impeachment managers: Trial is referendum on Trump ever holding office again” by Politico’s Nolan D. McCaskill – A House impeachment manager acknowledged on Sunday that one reason for charging President Donald Trump with incitement of insurrection was to prevent the outgoing commander in chief from trying to become president again. “One of the other purposes of impeachment in this case is to make sure that President Trump is not able to run for federal office again, that he’s not able to seek the presidency,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “The reason for that is that somebody who incited a riot, an attempted coup of the United States government, should not be president again,” he continued. “So it’s not just about making sure that there are consequences to his behavior. Certainly it’s that, but even after he’s left office, it’s also making sure that he can’t run for president again.” Castro is one of the nine impeachment managers House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced last week, shortly before Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president for inciting a deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. Led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the lawmakers will serve as prosecutors in the looming impeachment trial in the Senate, which isn’t expected to begin until after Joe Biden is sworn in as president on Wednesday.
“Biden to yank Keystone XL permit on first day of presidency” by Politico’s ;Lauren Gardner and Ben Lefebvre – 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. “The only question has always been whether labor can stave off the death sentence,” said one oil and gas lobbyist who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the press. “And they never had a chance.” A Biden transition spokesperson declined to comment. Canada’s ambassador to Washington Kirsten Hillman would not confirm reports. “The Government of Canada continues to support the Keystone XL project,” she said in a statement to POLITICO on Sunday evening. “Keystone XL fits within Canada’s climate plan. It will also contribute to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness.”
“Parler’s Website Is Back Online, but App Still Not in Stores” by Newsmax – The chief executive of social media platform Parler, popular with conservative users but which virtually vanished after the U.S. Capitol riot, posted a brief message on the company’s website. Parler’s app, however, remains offline. “Hello world, is this thing on?,” Matze asked in a message dated Saturday, posted above a note from the company saying the platform would be restored after challenges were resolved. A little over a week ago, Apple Inc suspended the Parler from its App Store, shortly after Alphabet-owned Google banned it from Google Play. The app is still unavailable for download on both platforms. Amazon.com Inc then suspended Parler from its web hosting service, effectively taking the site offline unless it can find a new company to host its services. Conservative social media users have flocked to Parler, along with other apps such as Telegram and social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc, which intensified after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“FBI Vetting Guard Troops in DC amid Fears of Insider Attack” by Newsmax – U.S. defense officials say they are worried about an insider attack or other threat from service members involved in securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, prompting the FBI to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops coming into Washington for the event. The massive undertaking reflects the extraordinary security concerns that have gripped Washington following the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. And it underscores fears that some of the very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president and other VIPs in attendance. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press on Sunday that officials are conscious of the potential threat, and he warned commanders to be on the lookout for any problems within their ranks as the inauguration approaches. So far, however, he and other leaders say they have seen no evidence of any threats, and officials said the vetting hadn’t flagged any issues. ”We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy said in an interview after he and other military leaders went through an exhaustive, three-hour security drill in preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration. He said Guard members are also getting training on how to identify potential insider threats.