Trump Concedes, Condemns Rioters. Sprowls Follows His Lead with New Anti-Riot Bill
The country is still reeling over the riot in the Capitol that resulted in five American deaths and left President Trump dealing with an unfortunate political black eye.
But as the FBI is vigorously trying to identify all of the criminals that breached the Capitol and bring them to justice, incoming Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) has backed a bill to detour any potential riots in the state of Florida.
“We will not stand for violence and destruction in Florida,” stated Speaker Sprowls. “We’re done playing with criminals who terrorize communities. You’re not welcome here.” READ MORE
While he didn’t directly concede to President-elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump announced that he had exhausted all of his legal efforts to overturn the fraudulent election, and ripped the criminals that “defiled” the U.S. Capitol. READ MORE
Marco Rubio @marcorubio–Biden’s speech just now was a missed opportunity & plays right into the hands of divisiveness Millions of Americans had doubts about the election but didn’t sign up for a riot. Using today to re-litigate the events of the last year forces people back to their respective corners
Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy–The President incited a violent insurrection against our democracy — proof he’s unable to uphold the Constitution. The 25th Amendment should be invoked & the President removed to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Protecting our democracy will always be my top priority.
Byron Donalds @ByronDonalds –@SpeakerPelosi has achieved two things as speaker; tearing apart the State of the Union & handing her party the slimmest majority since WWII. We need a leader who puts the people over politics and who doesn’t answer to the Squad. That is why I proudly voted for @GOPLeader
Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz–Outrageous hypocrisy by Democrats:J ust yesterday, Democrats were telling us we were “seditious traitors” and that they were the vanguard of all democracy. Today, a Democrat member of Congress is saying elected members of Congress should be expelled from the House.
Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL–Someone must not know what they’re doing with the #CovidVaccine. Under your “plan,” seniors are fending for themselves while wealthy donors get vaccines.And it’s Commissioner — not someone, @GovRonDeSantis
“Trump concedes election, says criminal supporters ‘will pay’ for their ‘acts of violence’” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – President Donald Trump has conceded the 2020 presidential race to President-elect Joe Biden, and in the same video release, condemning those criminal supporters and other criminals who breached the Capitol, adding that those who broke the law and “defiled the seat of American Democracy” will “pay” for their crimes. Capitol Police have reported that (5) people have died during the protests, one woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police. “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence lawlessness, and mayhem,” said President Trump. “America is and must always be a nation of law and order the demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay.” President Trump then went on to say that he “vigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results,” and did so to ensure the integrity of the vote in so doing I was fighting to defend American democracy.” “I continue to strongly believe that we must reform our election laws to verify the identity and eligibility of all voters and to ensure faith and confidence in all future elections,” added Trump. “Now Congress has certified the results and a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th, my focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly, and seamless transition of power.”
“Trump’s Twitter, Facebook Gets Shut Down” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – Big tech is already not trusted and ridiculed for monitoring and censoring mostly alleged “right-wing” members. However, Twitter and Facebook extended their powers of censorship to the personal account of President Donald Trump (R). Some who echo the cries of, ‘I wish Trump didn’t tweet so much’ may be happy about this, but the brazen move taken by the media conglomerates has more ramifications than keeping the peace online. Facebook has indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Fox News reported that Mark Zuckerberg spoke on why the politically charged ban occurred, ‘…we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.’ The only enacted a two-week lock of his account, which both companies conveniently picked to end just days after he leaves the White House. Other companies that have vowed to keep strict tabs on Pro-Trump media: Snapchat, Twitch, and Shopify. After the events of January 6th, the consequences are still unfolding. But in the age of technology, it is hard to gauge if these actions carried out were appropriate.
“Wasserman Schultz calls for Trump’s removal from office” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Veteran Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) has called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove President Donald Trump from office, citing the “security of our nation.” Rep. Wasserman Schultz joins the growing chorus of Democratic legislators calling for President Trump’s removal. Fellow Floridian Rep. Stephanie Murphy also recently called for the “bold” decision to boot Trump from office. “Bold decisions must be made to restore our democracy after yesterday’s attempted coup,” tweeted Wasserman Schultz. “For the security of our nation, Vice President Pence and the Cabinet must stand up, invoke the 25th Amendment, and remove Donald Trump from office.” Even though Trump has signaled that may not have a problem throwing Vice President Mike Pence under the proverbial political bus for not supporting him, Pence is fiercely loyal and will most-likely refrain from embracing the Democrat’s 25th Amendment suggestion.
“Murphy, Pelosi call for invocation of 25th Amendment to oust Trump” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Florida’s “centrist” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D) has called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked to remove President Donald Trump from office after the riot that broke out at U.S. Capitol this week left four dead and dozens arrested. Rep. Murphy joins other Democratic members of the U.S. Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in calling on the president to be removed. “The President incited a violent insurrection against our democracy — proof he’s unable to uphold the Constitution,” stated Murphy. “The 25th Amendment should be invoked and the President removed to ensure a peaceful transition of power. Protecting our democracy will always be my top priority.” But Murphy and fellow Democrats could be sounding a bit hypocritical in calling for the amendment to be invoked. Just days ago, Democrats were saying that President Trump and Republicans could not press Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally reject the outcome of the election, citing a Constitutional measure that would authorize him to do so. The 25th Amendment is only in place to specifically allow the president to be removed only if there was some medical impairment where he is unable to perform his duties. Democrats appear to want to use it as a substitute for impeachment. The riot lead to over 50 arrests and 4 deaths, one woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police as she broke into the Speaker’s Lobby in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Rubio and Scott vote against objection to Arizona electoral votes” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Both Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted against Senator Ted Cruz’s objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes in Arizona. The final vote count was 93-6 with Sens. Cruz, Hawley, Hyde-Smith, Kennedy, Marshall, and Tuberville. The vote against the objection could have 2020 mid-term election and 2024 presidential election ramifications. It is expected that those who oppose President Trump will most-likely face primary challenges. The debate is all but over, and Biden will be certified President of the United States. The Republican efforts to contest up to 6 states were thwarted when protestors stormed the Capitol.
“Senator Rubio: “We look like a third world”” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – After the tragic shooting in Washington that left one woman dead after dozens of Trump supporters and some suspected and disguised anarchists stormed the Capitol building, Senator Marco Rubio appeared on Fox News’s “Tucker” show to discuss the unfortunate beginning to the electoral process in the U.S. Congress. “We look like a third world,” said Sen. Rubio. “This is stuff that you see in another country. We’ve got tin pot dictators out there lecturing us and mocking us on their Twitter feeds and online. That stuff can’t happen.” Rubio also questioned the process in which to object to the electoral vote totals, asking why the “Senate can’t do Watergate-style, Titanic-style hearings” to address the issue. “We could take testimony, subpoena records,” added Rubio. “It wouldn’t change the outcome of this race, but it would give people the clarity — the answer. Rubio then went on to point out the 800-pound gorilla in the room — the “brewing and building” sentiment that Americans are concerned they will lose their freedoms and liberties. “I would make of this is at some point everyone has to step back here and realize that this has been brewing and building for a while,” added Rubio. “And it’s all across-the-board. And there are real factors out there that are contributing not just to the erosion of confidence and trust in America, but some of the rhetoric…there is no such thing as a country in which half of us are very happy and the other half is very unhappy. It just can’t work.
“Videos: Moments the Capitol was breached, shots fired, members evacuated” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – I was in the House chamber when the chaos occurred. In speaking to Rep. Michael Waltz (R), who told me that they shut down his office building because of a bomb scare, the House had to be evacuated less than an hour later. Here are the Electoral Votes being brought into the House chamber. Then the Capitol staffers told reporters to stay away from the windows and that they would be locking down the Capitol. Shortly thereafter, we were rushed from the media room to the House chamber and the doors were locked behind us. Police then announced a “security breach” and that tear gas was deployed in the rotunda. Moments later, police told members to grab the tear gas mask that was under their seats, and then distributed masks to the press. Gas mask. Two Shots then rang out. We were told to evacuate but then Capitol Police locked all of the doors leading out of the House chamber because of the rioters had broken through. Police, with guns drawn, barricaded the main entrance onto the House floor as protesters almost broke through. One more shot was then fired. Rioters then reached the gallery where I and at least 20 members of Congress were. Members and staffers were very emotional and rightly so as rioters were trying to break in the doors.
“Greg Steube on 2020 Election: ‘Clear violations of Constitution’” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres spoke to Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), on Capitol Hill in regard to the objections that will take place today. Steube informed the Floridian that he will object. Below is the transcript of the conversation that Steube had with Manjarres on January 6th, 2021: Manjarres: ‘What states will you object to, and why?’ Steube: ‘The bottom line is the Constitution was violated, the fact that the Constitution was clear, the state legislatures in those respective states decide the time manner and place for the elections. And in those four states, there are clear instances or other elected officials assert the will of the state legislatures. Clear violations, and for those reasons, it’s in my belief it was run unconstitutionally and we should object those electors.’
“Florida Rep. Wasserman Schultz Says Capitol Breach Could Have Been Worse” by NBC Miami’s Willard Shepard – Major security updates were underway around the U.S. Capitol Thursday, after protestors sent Congress running Wednesday. DC Mayor Muriel Dowser and the Capitol’s police chief say they are going all out to make sure there’s not any more trouble. Police on Thursday put out images of protestors they say broke the law. They are a few of the President Trump supporters who ended up inside the nation’s Capitol, and now the hunt is on to find them. There’s also a call for a probe into how the protestors were able to overrun Capitol police. “We obviously have had other situations that were unsafe but we try to always maintain a balance and I know we are still going to try to do that but to me this crossed the line,” Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz told NBC 6. Wasserman Schultz said Wednesday’s event could have been worse. “Let me just tell you how much worse it could have been. The reason that we weren’t all in the chamber yesterday, the entire Congress was’t in session, is only because of the pandemic,” Wasserman Schultz said. “The entire Congress would have been in there.”
“Florida Rep. decides to not object to Biden win after Capitol riot” by Fox Orlando’s Matt Trezza – Florida Congressman Mike Waltz said the riots in the U.S. Capitol led him to change his mind on a key vote to certify the presidential ballot. Waltz said he was in the House chamber yesterday when the violence broke out. “When the Capitol Police came in, we heard a ruckus outside, they informed us that on the House floor we’d be on a lockdown,” Waltz recalled. “Others began barricading the doors because these thugs were trying to barge their way into the House floor. At that point, frankly, people were very frightened, very scared.” Waltz said some Congressmen were preparing to defend themselves, stating that “some members were pulling off legs of furniture to be armed in some way. And we were evacuated.” Waltz is a Republican Trump-supporter whose district includes parts of Volusia, Marion, and Lake counties. He said he was concerned about the presidential vote and planned to object to certifying the ballot. However, after what happened, he changed his mind. “I’ve served in countries overseas as a veteran where that doesn’t happen, where disputes are settled in the streets and not through discussion and debate,” Waltz said. “So, that’s a decision I made to the move the country forward.”
“Florida man who financed child sex-trafficking ring in the Philippines sentenced to life in prison” by NBC 2’s Erin O’Brien – A Land O’ Lakes man will spend the rest of his life in prison for sex trafficking a child younger than 14-years-old, officials said. Christopher John Streeter, 63, pleaded guilty in October 2020 for sexually exploiting children in the Philippines. He would produce sex-abuse videos for his own use, court documents said. Streeter confessed to working with Philippines-based facilitators to recruit children to engage in sex acts on camera from September 2018 through June 2019, according to the Department of Justice. The child victims — some who were as young as 12 and 13 years of age — were particularly vulnerable due to poverty and illness. Streeter sent money to the Philippines for videos and images of children involved in various sex acts, according to the DOJ. He would often negotiate and pay a premium for videos and images that showed girls losing their virginity and being harmed by other forms of sexual violence. The list goes on… Streeter would negotiate and pay for images and videos of girls being placed at risk of pregnancy and paid for emergency contraception pills and, occasionally, abortions. One of Streeter’s victims was a 12-year-old girl from Ozamis, Philippines. On multiple occasions, while in the Tampa Bay area, Streeter paid a recruiter to arrange for sex-abuse videos be made of the girl. At one point, Streeter told the recruiter he was unhappy that the videos didn’t show the insemination of the girl and that she would need to take Plan B in future videos.
“WATCH: SpaceX successfully launches first rocket of 2021 from Central Florida’s Space Coast” by WFTV’s Charles Frazier – SpaceX successfully launched its first rocket of 2021 from Central Florida’s Space Coast on Thursday evening. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:15 p.m. and carried a Turkish communications satellite that will provide broadband services over the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. SpaceX will attempt the first rocket launch of 2021 from Central Florida’s Space Coast Thursday evening. The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying a Turkish communications satellite that will provide broadband services over the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. It’s set to lift off Thursday evening from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The four-hour launch window opens at 8:28 p.m. Weather appears to be about 70% favorable for launch, according to the latest update from SpaceX.
“Florida’s lack of proof of residence requirement could be attracting COVID-19 vaccine tourists” by Local 10’s Jeff Weinsier – Amid a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Florida’s lack of proof of residence requirement could be attracting COVID-19 vaccine tourists. Judy Wolff, of Fort Lauderdale, is eager to receive the first dose of the vaccine. The 73-year-old grandmother said she can’t wait to see her grandchildren. Wolff has been trying to get an appointment for nearly two weeks. She is upset because she knows eight people from New York who are flying to South Florida just for the vaccine. Although these are family and friends, Wolff doesn’t think that’s fair. “I feel they are stealing our vaccinations,” she said. Gov. Ron DeSantis said earlier this week that Florida is a transient state, so snowbirds, seasonal travelers who find haven in South Florida to avoid cold winters back home, shouldn’t have a problem accessing the vaccine if they are age 65 or older. Mireille Gaouette thinks that’s great but she also hasn’t been able to have access to the vaccine. The 75-year-old snowbird from Quebec, Canada, considers Broward County to be a second home. She has been traveling back and forth for 23 years.
“Trump supporter who walked off with Pelosi’s lectern identified as Florida man” by SFGATE’s Eric Ting – The man who stormed the Capitol and smiled for a camera while walking away with a lectern that bore the seal of the House Speaker has been identified as 36-year-old Adam Johnson of Florida. According to the Miami Herald, Johnson lives in Parrish on the Gulf Coast with his wife and five children. He apparently posted pictures of himself inside the Capitol building on his Facebook page. Johnson’s identification immediately launched a torrent of “Florida man” jokes on social media. “You’ll be shocked that Florida Man made it here yesterday,” tweeted the Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis. It’s unclear what happened to the lectern after Johnson was seen carrying it, and law enforcement agencies have not announced any arrests. California Rep. Karen Bass — a close Pelosi ally — tweeted a picture of Johnson with the caption, “Arrest this man.” Johnson was also the subject of an internet meme after Politico reporter Ryan Lizza tweeted the image with the caption, “Via Getty, one of the rioters steals a podium from the Capitol.”
“Florida House Targets Vaccination Scams” by CBS Miami – Fraudsters who mislead the public about access to COVID-19 vaccinations could be charged with a third-degree felony and sued in civil court, under a measure championed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls. The proposal (HB 9), released Thursday, would make it illegal to receive compensation for falsely advertising access to COVID-19 vaccinations or any other pandemic-related vaccine. First-time violators would face third-degree felony charges and upward of five years imprisonment. Repeat offenders would face second-degree felony charges, which are punishable by at least 15 years in prison. The bill also authorizes the state attorney general to file a civil action if he or she believes vaccination fraud is occurring, and allows the attorney general to request a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, “or any other appropriate order.” Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, promised to fast track the bill during the 2021 legislative session that begins March 2. The House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee is slated to consider the bill during a Jan. 14 meeting. “It is a priority of the Florida House to protect Floridians who just want to get a COVID vaccine without being fleeced,” Sprowls said in a prepared statement Thursday. “As a former state prosecutor, I know all too well how these operators prey on our consumers, and I will make it our mission to end their practice here.”
“Some Florida court hearings go back on hold as COVID-19 cases surge” by Fox 35 Orlando – In-person court hearings and jury trials have been put on hold again in some Florida counties because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Court business has been anything but normal since the pandemic started. Jury trials were suspended statewide in March. While most other hearings transitioned to a virtual courtroom, those dockets never stopped. By the end of October, many counties were welcoming back jurors with strict precautions requiring temperature screening, social distancing, and face coverings. However, with COVID-19 cases surging, some trials are going back on hold. “People have a right to a speedy trial. If you’re in jail, you get to trial quickly, but that has been waived because of the nature of this pandemic,” Patrick Leduc, a Criminal Defense Attorney, explained to FOX 35. “You can do everything virtually is the way I see it. There isn’t anything that can be done virtually with the exception of a trial by jury.” The legal system cannot function without them. Hundreds of cases are already backlogged from the last suspension, keeping plaintiffs waiting for justice and defendants sitting behind bars for their delayed day in court. Leduc added “I had a criminal defendant who was set for trial on April 2nd. So, he had been in jail eight months. We worked the case. We’re gonna pick a jury and then March came — everything is shut down. That poor guy is still in jail.”
“Scott demands federal probe of Florida’s vaccine distribution” by Politico’s Gary Fineout and Arek Sarkissian – Sen. Rick Scott on Thursday called for a congressional investigation into what he called “vaccine distribution mismanagement,” following multiple reports that a West Palm Beach nursing home and assisted-living facility steered highly sought after vaccine shots to its board members and major donors. Gov. Ron DeSantis already has been under fire for the bumpy rollout of vaccinations in Florida due to the Republican governor’s insistence that those 65 or older be among the first to get inoculated with one of the Covid-19 vaccines. The state has roughly 4.4 million older residents. But Scott’s decision to wade into the controversy, even in a limited fashion, marks yet another instance in which the former Florida governor and his successor in Tallahassee have taken shots — some of them subtle, some of them not so subtle — at each other. Both Republicans are viewed as potential presidential candidates in 2024. News organizations, including The Washington Post, have reported that MorseLife Health System offered vaccine doses to residents and staff of the facility as well as members of its board and wealthy donors. The news broke amid vivid images of senior citizens across the state waiting in long lines — sometimes overnight — to get a vaccine. Registration websites and phone lines have been jammed, prompting the DeSantis administration to scramble to expand access, including setting up distribution sites at a Miami Gardens football stadium and in Publix grocery stores in north Central Florida.
“Florida man among those arrested in siege of US Capitol” by Click Orlando – A Central Florida man was among those arrested Wednesday after Trump supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in what police called “criminal riotous behavior.” Michael Curzio, of Summerfield, was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police on a charge of unlawful entry. According to online records, Curzio served eight years in prison on a charge of attempted first-degree murder. He was released from prison in February 2019, records show. Capitol Police arrested five others, including John Anderson, of St. Augustine, and Matthew Council, of Riverview, Florida. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Thursday defended his department’s response to the violent breach at the Capitol, saying in a statement that officers “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.” Sund said rioters “actively attacked” Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers with metal pipes. He added that the protesters discharged chemical irritants and took up other weapons. Sund’s statement came after lawmakers from both parties vowed an investigation into how law enforcement handled the violent breach at the Capitol and questioned whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalize the building.
“Trump condemns ‘heinous attack’ on Capitol, calls for ‘healing and reconciliation’” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – President Trump on Thursday condemned Wednesday’s “heinous attack” on the Capitol by his supporters and called for healing. “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem,” Trump said, adding that he had “immediately” deployed the National Guard. He tweeted out the video shortly after his account was unlocked by Twitter. Twitter, along with Facebook, suspended the president for his initial response to the riot. “Emotions are high now, but tempers must be cooled and calm restored,” the president continued. “We must get on with the business of America. My campaign rigorously pursued every legal avenue to contest the election results. My only goal was to ensure the integrity of the vote.” “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition,” Trump said, acknowledging that “a new administration” would be inaugurated Jan. 20. “This moment now calls for healing and reconciliation.” He noted the struggles ahead mitigating the coronavirus and rebuilding the economy, calling for unity. “It will require all of us working together. It will require a renewed emphasis on the civic values of patriotism, faith, charity, community and family.”
“Biden joins claims of ‘white privilege’ directed towards U.S. Capitol rioters” by Fox News’ Caitlin McFall – In response to the surprisingly unaggressive reaction to pro-Trump supporters mobbing the U.S. Capitol on bWednesday, President-elect Joe Biden joined lawmakers in questioning whether the reaction would have been the same had the rioters been Black Lives Matter demonstrators. After months of watching BLM protestors met by police in riot gear and batons, some have wondered why the same approach was not used during the first breach of the U.S. Capitol since 1814. “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protestors yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol,” Biden wrote Thursday on Twitter. “We all know that’s true — and it’s unacceptable.” Biden’s comments echoed criticisms by lawmakers, civil rights activists and social media users, calling Wednesday’s attack an example of “white privilege,” as a crowd of what appeared to be most white protestors stormed the Capitol in an attempt to subvert the certification of the Electoral College results. “We would have been shot, had we tried to do all of that,” freshmen Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday night. “Let’s just be real, we would have been shot, tear gas would have been deployed outside, noise munitions, rubber bullets.”
“Several Cabinet secretaries informally discuss invoking 25th Amendment but Pence ‘highly unlikely’ to pursue” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Jim Acosta, Jeremy Diamond and Zachary Cohen – Inquiries about invoking the 25th Amendment have been coming into Vice President Mike Pence’s advisers and those discussions have been under way, a source close to the vice president said Thursday, with several Cabinet secretaries informally discussing the matter. But it is “highly unlikely” that Pence would pursue that path at this point, the source said, given that the effort is expected to be unsuccessful. Pence himself has not discussed invoking the 25th Amendment with any Cabinet officials, an administration official told CNN. However, two Cabinet secretaries have called fellow members of the Cabinet to take their “temperatures” about demanding a Cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump to confront him about his behavior, three senior administration officials told CNN. The two Cabinet secretaries discussed the possibility of demanding the President deliver a public address committing to a peaceful transfer of power, which Trump did Thursday evening in a pre-recorded video. Hanging over the meeting would be the possibility that a majority of the Cabinet could invoke the 25th Amendment and strip Trump of his power as president. Chiefs of staff of federal departments have also been calling each other to discuss the possibility. Some of the secretaries are hesitant to agree to a meeting because of the risk an attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment would run, or that they would draw Trump’s ire.
“Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos submits resignation” by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has submitted her resignation, making her the second Cabinet member to resign over President Donald Trump’s response to the mob breaching the US Capitol on Wednesday, according to an official. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao also resigned after taking “time to absorb” the insurrection on Capitol Hill and the President’s response to it.
“Today, there was a lot of soul-searching and discussion,” a senior administration official said. “It was obviously the right thing to do.” Chao discussed the matter with her staff and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, before deciding by around 11 a.m. Thursday that she would resign, effective Monday.
“Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement of U.S. Probe Into 737 MAX Crashes” by WSJ’s Dave Michaels, Andrew Tangel and Andy Pasztor – Boeing Co. BA 0.80% will pay $2.5 billion to resolve a Justice Department criminal investigation and admit employees deceived aviation regulators about safety issues that led to two deadly crashes of the 737 MAX, authorities said. The settlement, which was filed Thursday in Dallas federal court, would lift a legal cloud that has hung over the aerospace company for about two years since the fatal crashes. Federal prosecutors had been investigating the role of two Boeing BA 0.80% employees who interacted with the Federal Aviation Administration about the design of the 737 MAX and how much pilot training would be required for the new model. The settlement includes a nearly $244 million fine as well as almost $2.3 billion in compensation to airline customers and families of the 346 people who perished in two MAX crashes. The plane maker was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. But it will avoid prosecution on that charge—allowing it to stay eligible for federal contracts—as long as it avoids legal trouble for a period of three years. The deal also calls for Boeing to comply with any ongoing investigations, including probes by foreign law-enforcement and regulatory authorities, and to beef up compliance programs, according to its settlement agreement. Documents in the case reveal that for the first six months of the investigation, Boeing failed to cooperate with the grand jury probe and frustrated efforts by prosecutors delving into the matter. The filings also indicate that following the first MAX crash, one of the Boeing employees at the time misled FAA training experts, as well as some of the company’s own officials, about why certain safety details were withheld from the FAA and MAX pilots before the agency’s approval to carry passengers.
“Actions by Police Before Trump Supporters Attacked Capitol Backfired Spectacularly” by WSJ’s Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman – U.S. officials said they underestimated the potential for Trump supporters to become a mob who quickly seized the U.S. Capitol for hours, making a series of decisions before the attack that backfired spectacularly. “We have a lot of lessons to learn from this,” said the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., Michael Sherwin, at a briefing Thursday. In the days before the Capitol rioting, law-enforcement officials were alerted to a noticeable uptick in online discussions about Wednesday’s pro-Trump protests potentially becoming unruly and targeting the building where Congress would count electoral votes. On Monday, several posters in the chat room boards.4chan.org/pol/ said Trump supporters planned to force an evacuation of the Capitol as lawmakers voted to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Multiple posters on a site created last year—TheDonald.win—also discussed storming the Capitol in the days leading up to Wednesday’s attack. U.S. officials said that while they took it seriously, they believed such language was common and often hyperbole among far-right groups, and didn’t realize the extent of the threat the protesters posed. But Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was in contact with federal law enforcement before the riot and was assured they had the resources and appropriate intelligence to handle the event. “They were flat wrong,” he said. “Yesterday was an embarrassment to their response.”
“Inauguration planners reassessing security after Capitol siege” by Politico’s Christopher Cadelago and Tyler Pager – President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural planning team was already challenged with the unprecedented task of hosting a swearing-in ceremony amid a global pandemic and violent unrest fanned by Donald Trump. Then came the “unprecedented assault on our democracy,” as Biden put it Thursday. Wednesday’s violent melee at the U.S. Capitol is prompting a reassessment of plans for Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Biden’s inauguration team held a leadership call Thursday to discuss safety issues. But neither inauguration officials nor others in government are suggesting they need to overhaul the event, altogether. A spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies said they are organizing with institutional partners on a “thorough assessment of the inaugural platform,” and the other Capitol spaces and grounds traditionally used for inaugural ceremonies. They declined to comment on specifics until that assessment is finished. “The great American tradition of an inaugural ceremony has occurred in times of peace, in times of turmoil, in times of prosperity, and in times of adversity,” Sens Roy Blunt and Amy Klobuchar, of the committee, said in reaffirming their commitment to the ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol.
“How Warnock and Ossoff painted Georgia blue and flipped the Senate” by Politico’s James Arkin and Andrew Desiderio – Three days after he finished behind Republican Sen. David Perdue in Georgia’s November election, Jon Ossoff and his top campaign staff gathered on a call to study their near-defeat — and figure out a way to reverse it in just two months. Perdue had outpaced him by two percentage points, and Ossoff had ground to make up. But the conversation wasn’t about flipping Perdue’s voters to his side. Instead, Ossoff told staffers the campaign needed to focus on outreach to Black and young voters and bet the Senate majority on mobilizing the Democratic base. “If every Black voter who voted in November turns out, we will win,” Ossoff said, according to multiple people familiar with the conversation. The other Democratic Senate candidate, Rev. Raphael Warnock, was making a bet of his own. He had skated through the fall without facing many attacks as Republicans battled among themselves, but the Black preacher-turned-politician could foresee attacks painting him as a radical. In late October, two weeks before those attacks started and before he even knew the identity of his GOP opponent, Warnock readied a humanizing TV commercial to deflect the attacks, featuring a barking beagle and a narrator deadpanning that the Democrat “hates puppies.” Both bets paid off in full two months later, as Warnock and Ossoff mobilized massive turnout among Black voters and other reliably Democratic groups and won enough white suburbanites to flip both of Georgia’s Senate seats this week, giving Democrats control of the Senate by the narrowest of margins — a 50-50 Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.
“Trump faces calls for removal, possible impeachment after Capitol chaos” by Reuters’ Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal – President Donald Trump faced the threat on Thursday of a second impeachment, a day after his supporters breached the U.S. Capitol in a stunning assault on American democracy as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. As Democratic leaders demanded his ouster, Trump came closer than he ever has to a formal concession, acknowledging a new administration would be sworn in on Jan. 20 and vowing to ensure a “smooth transition” in a video released on Thursday evening. The president condemned Wednesday’s violence, saying rioters had defiled the seat of American democracy and must be held accountable. Just a day earlier, Trump had told supporters: “We love you. You’re very special,” as he urged them to go home after they broke into the Capitol. In his remarks on Thursday, the president said: “We have just been through an intense election, and the emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm restored. “We must get on with the business of America,” Trump, a Republican, added, adopting a conciliatory tone seldom seen from the mercurial president. The statement was a stark reversal for Trump, who has spent months insisting he prevailed in the Nov. 3 election, alleging widespread fraud despite no evidence. As recently as Thursday morning, when he issued a statement via an aide, Trump was still claiming the election had been stolen.
“Trump has discussed pardoning himself, source says” https://www.reuters.com/