DeSantis Pours Salt in Wound
It seems as if that rascally Gov. Ron DeSantis always finds a way of causing the heads of Progressive Democrats to explode. Always.
Over the weekend, when most Democrats were curled up on the couch watching reruns of Saturday Night Live or binge-watching the Nature Channel, Gov. DeSantis released a video of him making the case for why “lockdowns do not work” and why Florida is open for business, and schools are open for in-person teaching.
The video clip was taken from his budger roll out from last week.
And NO! “Magic Marco” is not a take from the movie “Magic Mike,” so all of you out there (Shev, Carlitos, and others) don’t get all in a tizzy for it.
The Magic City, (Miami), is where Marco Rubio lives. Let’s just put that out there.
How popular is Rubio these days? Well, Trumpsters still take issue with him over the whole “small hands” incident from 2016, but considering how the senior senator from Florida has backed the American First Agenda, expect many of these Trump Republicans to start looking at Rubio in a different light. READ MORE
Rick Scott @SenRickScott–50 years ago today, #Apollo14 launched from @NASAKennedy with the crew of astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa and #Floridian Edgar Mitchell. It was the third mission to successfully land on the Moon – a major and historic victory for @NASA, the U.S. and Florida’s Space Coast.
.We need more of this to beat the establishment in both parties.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy @RepStephMurphy–After the House passed a historic minimum wage increase, Florida voted to raise the state minimum wage. Now it’s time for Congress to get it over the finish line.
Congressman Byron Donalds @RepDonaldsPress–From the streets of inner-city Brooklyn, to the halls of Congress. This wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunity to succeed through education. In Congress, I will continue to be a proud champion of #SchoolChoice and educational freedom.
DeSantis : ‘Lockdowns do not work. School closures have been disastrous’ by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres
Democrats put up fence to protect themselves, but cancel fence to protect America by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres
“Cuomo on NY AG Nursing-Home COVID Deaths Miscount Report: ‘Who Cares, They Died!’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – In his first public remarks since a bombshell New York Attorney General report found that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) administration vastly underreported COVID-19 deaths of nursing-home residents, the governor callously dismissed the report, saying “who cares” where thousands of senior citizens died and pivoted to blame the Trump Administration for bringing national attention that led to the probe. “If you look at New York state, we have a lower percentage of deaths in nursing homes than other states. A third of all deaths in this nation are from nursing homes,” Cuomo said. “New York State we’re only about 28 percent only. But we’re below the national average in the number of deaths in nursing homes.” “But who cares — 33 [percent], 28 [percent] — died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died,” Cuomo added. Cuomo refused to offer some sort of apology as he deflected questions on the damning report, pointing fingers at the former federal government and its guidance the led to nursing home deaths. In his lengthy response, Cuomo called the entire investigation a politically motivated effort, specifically citing former Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo, whom he called a protege of Roger Stone. “Where this starts is frankly a political attack from prior federal administration HHS, their great spokesperson Michael Caputo who is Roger stone protege, who said, we have more nursing home deaths in New York because of something that the state health department did. This report firms everything the commissioner said for the past year,” Cuomo said.
“Q Link Wireless Giving Away Data” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – Soon enough, having free wireless internet may be available for almost all South Floridians. The most recent COVID bill extends free internet service to one-third of South Florida residents, but Q Link Wireless announced they will provide free service immediately to new customers. Q Link Wireless is a phone service company based out of Dania Beach, Florida. The service will entail many great features, such as unlimited mobile data, talk, and texting. This will only be available to Miami-area residents with no hidden fees. Previous regulations put a cap on the amount of data allowed to be allotted, but the new legislation will permit Q Link Wireless to go fully unlimited. “Access to the internet is more crucial right now than ever before,” said Q Wireless founder and CEO, Issa Asad. The executive added, “More than 46 million Americans are recently unemployed and looking for work, millions of parents have taken on responsibility as their children’s teacher, and elderly residents or their caregivers need the internet to access critical healthcare resources. With such an urgent need, Q Link is excited to immediately extend this service to eligible Americans, including so many in our home community.”
“Capitol Police chief wants ‘permanent fencing’ placed around U.S. Capitol” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Congressional Democrats have painted President Donald Trump’s border security fence (The Wall) as a symbol of “hate and racism” and even a ‘monument to white supremacy,’ but now some of these same Democrats are refusing to say they support permanent fencing to be erected around the U.S. Capitol. The acting chief of the US Capitol Police, Chief Yogananda D Pittman, has announced she wants the current and temporary security fence surrounding the Capitol to be made permanent. “In light of recent events, I can unequivocally say that vast improvements to the physical security infrastructure must be made to include permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol,” said chief Yogananda D Pittman in a statement. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (D) mocked the idea of a permanent fence around the Capitol, tweeting that this fence was “the first wall the Democrats support.” During the 2020 presidential election cycle, then-vice president Joe Biden promised to stop the building of the border security wall. Biden won the election, and no sooner than he took the oath of office, Biden signed an executive order to halt the construction of Trump’s border wall.
“Sen. Book Pushes Reforms To Baker and Marchman Acts” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – This week, State Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation), filed SB 828, a measure that would act as a revision to the long-standing Baker and Marchman Acts. SB 828, also called the “Mental Health and Substance Abuse” Act, would be the first comprehensive reform of the civil commitment system in the last 50 years. Sen. Book, the author of the bill believes, says ‘It’s long past time the State of Florida modernized the Baker and Marchman Acts.” “adding that the changes must “reflect advances in case law and best practices in medicine and psychology.’ SB 828’s end goal stands to “compassionately and effectively providing care for individuals in crisis.’ While the bill was filed just this week, this will be Book’s second attempt at getting this legislation behind her. Fortunately, it appears that the Senator may be greeted with success this time around, as Mental Health Court Judge, Steven Leifman, reinforced the ambitions of SB 828. “As the Baker Act turns 50, it’s time to modernize the law to reflect today’s science and medicine,” said Judge Leifman contributed.
“Deutch Grills Rubio on HEROES Act” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D) and Senator Marco Rubio (R) involved themselves in a verbal spar this week over the HEROES Act. While the former argued that Americans would have benefitted from the bill, the latter argued that it wasn’t the proper move to make at the time. According to the National Taxpayers Union, “the HEROES Act contains hundreds of billions of dollars in provisions that are superfluous, unnecessary, wasteful, or unhelpful in fighting the current public health and economic emergencies.” Furthermore, included in the bill are “a multiemployer pension bailout, a suspension of the $10,000 limit on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, and a $25 billion Postal Service bailout.” Senator Rubio sent out a tweet that questioned that the “Fed warned the economy showing weakness concentrated in sectors most hurt by the pandemic which poses considerable risks to the economic outlook but the Senate is going to spend weeks on impeachment trial of a President no longer in office?” In response, Deutch commented that “the Heroes Act would have helped. House Democrats passed it. Twice. You blocked it. Twice.” The HEROES Act remains a controversial issue because, as expressed by the National Taxpayers Union, “economic relief measures from Congress should be as targeted and fiscally responsible as possible, especially given Congress has already added $3 trillion to the national debt to fight these crises.”
“Gaetz Rallies Massive Crowd Against Liz Cheney” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – This week, Florida Rep. Matt Getz (R) voiced his support for ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R) from her House Republican Conference chairmanship, saying that she does not represent the “competing vision for America that puts America and American people first.” Cheney voted to impeach President Donald Trump (R), and the infighting in the GOP comes at a time when lawmakers are trying to steer forward after wins in the House but crucial losses in both the Senate and the Presidency. In making a distinction between himself and Rep. Cheney, Gaetz, who staunchly supports President Trump, called Cheney an “America Last” politician. Yesterday, the Florida lawmaker took a trip to Wyoming to speak to about 800 people, making his case as to why Cheney should not hold a leadership position within the Republican party. On social media, the Sunshine State lawmaker updated his supporters by sharing a POLITICO article that noted just how much tension has increased against Cheney. “Honestly, it was hard to find anyone who would defend Cheney… I stopped at a biker bar, a gun shop, a vape shop, a hardware store, a steakhouse, a diner, a dentist’s office, and a pawn shop” Gaetz stated in the article. “I’ve been here for about an hour and I feel like I already know the place a lot better than your misguided representative, Liz Cheney,” Gaetz said in his opening remarks. Gaetz also remarked on Twitter that it would be “impossible to stalk Liz Cheney in Wyoming” because “she never leaves Washington.”
“Florida Health Official Says Patients are Missing Calls to Schedule Second Vaccine Dose” by NBC Miami’s Laura Rodriguez and Daniela Flamini – Florida health officials confirmed that those who were turned away from Hard Rock Stadium when they went to receive their second coronavirus vaccine dose on Friday may come back to get the shot. At a press conference Sunday in Miami Gardens, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health explained that officials had been having difficulties with people not answering their phone to schedule the second dose appointment. “It’s a 786 area code for the Hard Rock Stadium site,” said Public Information Officer Mike Jachles. “It may come up as spam risk, it may come up as something else depending on how your phone is set up.” Jachles assured that three attempts are made to reach the patient, and a voicemail is left with instructions for what to do if the call is missed. “People will fall through the cracks, and we acknowledge that,” Jachles said. Another major factor causing delays, the spokesperson said, is people showing up hours before their scheduled appointment. Patients should arrive no more than thirty minutes ahead of their time slot, Jachles said.
“Condo board suing Florida woman over feeding of stray cat” by Associated Press – A condominium association in Florida is suing a 78-year-old woman over the feeding of a stray cat. A lawsuit filed earlier this month in Tampa accuses Joan P. Hussey of breaking the rules by attracting and feeding “stray cats/animals” in and around the common areas of the Tampa Racquet Club Condominium, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The lawsuit doesn’t specify the number of cats or other animals Hussey is alleged to be feeding. “The continued presence of the stray cats may also induce unwanted health issues to those surrounding neighbors and/or tenants and could cause unwarranted damage to the Association’s common elements,” the lawsuit says. Hussey told the newspaper she only feeds a black-and-white cat she had fixed years ago and calls Cleo. She said she puts a bowl of dry cat food under her car in its covered parking space, picks up the bowl after Cleo eats. “I’m terribly surprised‚” said Hussey. “I’ve had cats all my life, and I do it respectfully.” However the condo association contends that Hussey has continued to feed strays even after numerous requests for her to stop. The lawsuit wasn’t their first legal action against her, the Times reported. Last year, the condo association took its case to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for arbitration, which is a process required before this kind of condo dispute can go to court, the newspaper reported.
“Vaccination demand remains high as new COVID-19 strain cases grow in South Florida” by Local 10’s Liane Morejon – The race to vaccinate South Floridians continues as a highly transmissible strain of COVID-19 continues to spread across the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are now 125 cases of the B117 strain, also known as the UK variant. That variant has been detected in Florida, with more than half of the cases in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Researchers at the University of Miami are actively searching for variant cases by looking at the virus in patients at Jackson Memorial Hospital. With Floridians having trouble making appointments since vaccine distribution began, the state is hoping to make things easier with a centralized website: myvaccine.fl.gov. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday on This Week in South Florida the county will also unveil a similar registration site this week.
“Kicking off Black History Month, Lakeland to declare May 20 as Florida Emancipation Day” by The Ledger’s Sara-Megan Walsh – Lakeland commissioners are set to kick off February as Black History Month by highlighting May 20 as an important date to remember. The City Commission is expected to approve a resolution Monday that would declare May 20 as Florida Emancipation Day, marking the anniversary of when slavery became illegal in the state. It has been championed by Commissioner Phillip Walker. “It’s something I think needed to be done some time ago,” he said. Lakeland often has large community celebrations every year on Juneteenth, or June 19, celebrating the day slavery ended in the United States. The city’s resolution makes clear June 19, 1865, was when slaves in Texas were finally informed the the Civil War was over and those enslaved were free. While Juneteenth is important, the city’s resolution notes it “does not comprehensively and accurately represent Florida’s historical emancipation record.” In Florida, slavery ended earlier on May 20, 1865, when Union Brigadier Gen. Edward McCook formally announced President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation from the steps of the Knott House in Tallahassee.
“After renovation, historic Florida lighthouse to reopen” by WCTV/Associated press – After a much-needed renovation, a historic lighthouse in Florida is ready to reopen. The Cape St. George Lighthouse was in need of numerous repairs, including extensive painting and replacement of all windows in the lantern room. The 72-foot lighthouse on St. George Island is set to formally set to re-open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday. There have been lighthouses on the island off the Florida Panhandle since 1833 but three were destroyed by hurricanes or erosion. The current light was erected in 2008. The Panama City New Herald reports that the recent repairs, completed in mid-January, were in part assisted by a $24,000 grant from the Florida Lighthouse Association. The total cost of the work was pegged at about $100,000. Officials say the non-profit St. George Lighthouse Association funded most of the rest.
“Family of Florida teen body-slammed by school officer demands his firing” by NBC News’ Gab Gutierrez – The family of a 16-year-old girl in Florida who was body-slammed this week by a school resource officer is demanding the deputy be fired and arrested. Cell phone video of the incident has been shared widely on social media, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, has now taken on the case. “The person who’s supposed to protect her is the person who brutalized her,” Crump said. “This is an issue especially in the African-American community because oftentimes we see them using this excessive use of force with our children.” Taylor Bracey is a junior at Liberty High School in Osceola County, Florida. Her mother, Jamesha Bracey, told NBC News her daughter had previously told school administrators that other students had threatened her. “She’s very traumatized at this moment,” her mother said, adding that her daughter has been suffering from headaches, blurry vision and memory loss since the incident. “(We’re) just angry and want justice to be served.” As seen in the video, other students were shocked as Bracey’s head audibly hit the concrete floor. The deputy is then seen pulling her hands behind her back and handcuffing her. Bracey’s mother said her daughter was knocked unconscious and doesn’t remember hitting the ground. She told NBC News that school administrators were initially reluctant to tell her what had happened. She doesn’t believe she would have gotten a full account if other students had not recorded the altercation. “Why did you do that to my daughter?” she said. “She’s a very sweet girl, she loves to journal…She’s a good kid.”
“Florida launches statewide preregistration system for Covid-19 vaccinations” by CNN’s Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt – Florida has launched a statewide preregistration system to schedule Covid-19 vaccine appointments for people 65 and older and frontline healthcare workers, the state’s health department said Friday. Individuals can preregister for vaccine appointments and be notified when appointments are available in their area, according to a Florida Department of Health news release. The department’s website will also allow those who are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine to be contacted when vaccine appointments are available at state-supported vaccination sites. The move comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis opened up access to the vaccine to anyone 65 and older, which led to overwhelming demand and little organization as to how to distribute the vaccine. Thousands of seniors have waited in long lines for hours, some even sleeping overnight in lawn chairs for the chance to get vaccinated. Under Executive Order 20-315, only long-term care facility residents and staff, as well as people 65 and older and health care personnel with direct patient contact, will be able to preregister for vaccine appointments on the new system. Florida last week issued new guidelines stipulating that only permanent and seasonal residents can get the vaccine — an attempt to cut down on “vaccine tourism.” The directive comes after tens of thousands of people from out of state were vaccinated, according to data from the state health department. The state reported 10,976 new coronavirus cases and 229 Covid-19 related deaths on Friday. In total, Florida has witnessed almost 1.7 million cases and 26,685 deaths, according to the health department’s data.
“McCarthy to meet with Trump in Florida” by The Hill’s Brett Samuels – Former President Trump is expected to meet this week with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in Florida, a source familiar with the meeting confirmed to The Hill. The rendezvous, which was first reported by Punchbowl News, comes as McCarthy attempts to manage simmering tensions within the House GOP caucus amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol and Trump’s ensuing impeachment for his role in the mayhem. McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment. The House GOP leader spent the last four years projecting unflinching loyalty to Trump while he was in the White House, positioning himself to take the Speaker’s gavel if the Republicans had taken back control of the House. But the relationship between Trump and McCarthy showed cracks in the wake of the Capitol riots, which left a police officer and four others dead after a pro-Trump mob stormed the complex to halt the certification of electoral votes affirming Joe Biden as president. McCarthy still voted that night to reject electors from Pennsylvania, but he later said Trump bore some responsibility for the violence. In a private phone call, McCarthy told Trump left-wing protesters were not to blame for the violence, something the former president and some close allies have claimed.
“Democratic Party tweet accused of contradicting Biden’s original promise for third, $2000 stimulus check” by Fox News’ Lucas Manfredi – The Democratic Party’s official Twitter account has sparked backlash Saturday after tweeting that President Biden will “build on the $600 down payment provided by Congress last year, sending an additional $1,400 to households across America, totaling direct payments to $2,000 per person.” The Democratic Party’s official Twitter account has sparked backlash Saturday after tweeting that President Biden will “build on the $600 down payment provided by Congress last year, sending an additional $1,400 to households across America, totaling direct payments to $2,000 per person.” Some replied directly to the tweet, including one user who accused the party and Biden of “gaslighting the very people who trusted & voted for you” while another chimed in, writing “Good luck in the midterms with this incredible strategy.”
“LIVE UPDATES: Trump just announced his new impeachment trial legal defense team” by Fox News’ Brie Stimson – Former President Donald Trump on Sunday announced a new legal defense team after he parted ways with five of his impeachment lawyers just over a week before his Senate trial is set to begin, Fox News has confirmed. South Carolina lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier and former federal prosecutors Greg Harris, Johnny Gasser and Josh Howard had left the defense team by Saturday, a source said, calling it a mutual decision. The source said the lawyers left over a difference of opinion on the direction of the defense’s argument. Another anonymous source told the Associated Press Bowers and Barbier left because Trump wanted them to make election fraud allegations during the trial. Trump will now be represented by trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr. The changes come with little time before the former president faces charges that he incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, leaving the exact members of his defense team and their approach up in the air at a crucial moment. Trump was all but certain to be acquitted, however, because 45 out of 50 Republicans in the Senate voted earlier this month to dismiss the trial on a point of order brought forward by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The remaining five Republicans voted with Democrats to end debate on Paul’s motion that argued Trump’s impeachment trial is unconstitutional because he’s no longer in office.
“New Republican stimulus proposal would cost $600B, include more direct checks: What to know” by Fox Business’ Evie Fordham – A coronavirus stimulus package proposed by a group of Senate Republicans as an alternative to President Biden’s would cost $600 billion and include direct payments “targeted” to families in need, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., said Sunday. Biden unveiled his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package earlier in January. Cassidy claimed that Biden did not even try to work with his bipartisan group of senators, colloquially known as the “sweet 16.” “The President’s team did not reach out to anybody in our group, either Democrat or Republican when they fashioned their proposal,” Cassidy told “Fox News Sunday.” “So if you want unity, if you want bipartisanship, you ought to start with a group that’s shown it’s willing to work together for a common solution. They did not.” Cassidy and nine other Senate Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Todd Young of Indiana, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Thom Tillis of North Carolina – sent Biden a letter on Sunday with some information about their $600 billion plan. Per the senators’ letter and Cassidy’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” their proposal includes:
· $160 billion toward public health (vaccines, personal protective equipment, support for health care providers)
· $4 billion for behavioral health and substance abuse services
· $20 billion for schools
“Republican operatives sweat Trump’s role in upcoming Senate primaries” by CNN’s Dan Merica – Republicans tasked with taking back the Senate in 2022 are preparing for a contentious primary season, fearful that former President Donald Trump could use his popularity inside the party to back candidates who could struggle in statewide races. Trump has long been drawn to backing candidates who have shown unending allegiance to him and Republican operatives believe that desire, especially after losing the presidential election in 2020, will be unchanged two years later. But the fear among some operatives is that Trump will be even more of a free agent outside of the White House, less willing to bow to pressure that party leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put on him to back candidates they believed have better chances to win statewide races. Compounding this issue is a Senate map that is shaping up to test the Republican Party. Of the 34 Senate races in the country next year, Republicans will be tasked with defending 20 seats, compared to 14 for Democrats. And of those 20 seats, two will be in states where President Joe Biden won — Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and four will be in traditional battleground states — Florida, Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina. Democrats’ most endangered seats will be in Georgia and Arizona, two states where the party won special elections in 2020. The Trump dynamic, operatives said, could play out in very dramatic ways: While the party apparatus may subtly back certain candidates in key Senate primaries, Trump could weigh in to back candidates who have been openly loyal to him, creating a clear rift between party leaders and the former President.
“Silver surges as Reddit army targets precious metals” by CNN Business’ Matt Egan – Move over GameStop, Reddit mania is spreading to the precious metals market. Silver futures surged as much as 8.5% above $29 Sunday evening, touching five-month highs. That follows a 6% rally last week. Meanwhile, retail sites warned customers over the weekend they could not meet skyrocketing demand for silver bars and coins. And “#silversqueeze” is trending on Twitter.
In more recent trading, silver futures were up 6.5%. The moves provide another example of the power of a group that has captivated Wall Street and Main Street: WallStreetBets. The Reddit forum sent GameStop (GME), AMC (AMC) and other heavily shorted stocks skyrocketing last week, roiling markets and crushing some hedge funds that had bet against those stocks. Robinhood, the free-trading app, came under fire after restricting trades in GameStop and other stocks. People on WallStreetBets set their sights on silver and the iShares Silver Trust ETF (SLV) last week, with some suggesting it could be a way to hurt big banks they believe are artificially suppressing prices. “SLV will destroy the biggest banks, not just some little hedge funds,” one WallStreetBets user wrote. Another claimed JPMorgan Chase has been “suppressing metals for a long time. This should be epic. LOAD UP.” Several noted that JPMorgan (JPM) paid a record $920 million fine last year to settle charges that it engaged in manipulative trades of futures tied to precious metals as well as Treasuries. The Winklevoss twins, who famously sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and were early backers of bitcoin, both tweeted support for the push by WallStreetBets into silver.
“GOP senator calls on Republican leaders to ‘stand up’ against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s comments” by CNN’s Chandelis Duster and Daniella Diaz – Republican Sen. Rob Portman on Sunday said his party’s leaders “ought to stand up” against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and that there should be “a strong response” to her controversial actions and recently resurfaced incendiary comments amid calls for her expulsion from Congress. “I think Republican leaders ought to stand up and say it is totally unacceptable what she has said,” the Ohio senator told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “I saw a couple videos over the weekend and one had to do with violence as I see it. There is no place for violence in our political dialogue. By the way there is no place for violence in our country. I mean, this is something we got to get away from. So yeah. I think people ought to speak out clearly.” Asked if Greene, who has been appointed to the House Education and Labor Committee, should she be stripped of her committee assignments, Portman said the move could “send a message.” “I assume that is something they’re looking at and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens. And you know, I think that is the way to send a message,” he said. “The voters who elected her in her district in Georgia, you know, ought to be respected. On the other hand when that kind of behavior occurs there has to be a strong response.” The comments from Portman, a longtime GOP lawmaker who announced early last week that he will not seek reelection after his term ends in 2022, come amid continued fallout over Greene’s past comments. CNN’s KFile reported last week that Greene had repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress. The congresswoman has a track record of incendiary rhetoric, including past remarks using Islamophobic and anti-Semitic tropes, as well as ties to the baseless and thoroughly debunked QAnon conspiracy theory.
“Frank Biden, President’s Brother, Draws Scrutiny for Work With Law Firm” by WSJ’s Brody Mullins, Alex Leary and Ken Thomas – An advertisement touting a law firm’s ties to President Biden’s brother prompted the White House on Friday to state that Mr. Biden is committed to overseeing an ethical administration. The statement, by press secretary Jen Psaki, came as scrutiny increases of one of Mr. Biden’s two brothers, Frank, who works at a Florida law firm specializing in personal-injury cases and class-action lawsuits. Berman Law Group drew attention by taking out an advertisement on Inauguration Day trumpeting its relationship with the president’s brother. The Jan. 20 newspaper ad involved a suit the Berman firm has filed against Florida sugar producers. The ad used Frank Biden’s picture and had quotes comparing his efforts to help the environment with those of Joe Biden, according to CNBC, which first reported the ad. “My brother is a model for how to go about doing this work,” Frank Biden says in the ad. “The president is committed to ensuring we have the most ethically vigorous administration in history and that includes restrictions on how his image can be used and that is something he has conveyed publicly and privately as well,” Ms. Psaki told reporters. She had been asked about a Politico article that included a quote attributed to Joe Biden by a person with knowledge of the conversation in which he warned his brother at some point during the campaign to “watch yourself.” The words from Joe Biden were attributed to a “person with knowledge of the conversation.”
“U.S. Says It Is Alarmed by Reports Myanmar Military Arrested Officials” by WSJ’s Sabrina Siddiqui – The White House said it is alarmed by reports on Sunday that political leaders in Myanmar have been detained by the military. In a statement late Sunday, the White House said that the reports say that the Myanmar military “has taken steps to undermine the country’s democratic transition.” It cited the reported arrests of Aung San Suu Kyi, a state counselor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and other civilian officials. President Biden, the statement said, has been briefed by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the situation in Myanmar, also known as Burma. The White House said the U.S. wants the Myanmar military to release those detained and to adhere to the rule of law and threatened unspecified action if corrective steps aren’t taken. “The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed,” the statement said.
“New York Attorney General’s Nursing-Home Probe Puts Cuomo on Defense” by WSJ’s Jimmy Vieldkind – New York state Attorney General Letitia James’s report on how the coronavirus hit nursing homes in the state struck a sore spot for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has faced criticism from state lawmakers over that aspect of his management of the pandemic. The report said the coronavirus death toll attributed to nursing homes was understated by roughly 50%. It prompted state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to say after its release that in addition to the 8,914 people the Health Department believes died from Covid-19 at nursing homes, another 3,829 nursing-home residents died from the disease after they were taken to hospitals. The document, released Thursday, reinvigorated the legislative push for an inquiry into the fatalities. Republicans and some Democrats said the state’s monthslong refusal to say how many nursing-home residents died at hospitals left them with an incomplete picture as to what happened and how policies might need to change. Dr. Zucker said the health department accurately logged deaths where they occurred, and was ensuring data on hospital transfers were accurate. Republicans said the state was engaging in a cover up, and they have used the point to attack Mr. Cuomo. Republicans have criticized a March 25 health department directive which said nursing homes couldn’t turn away patients simply because they had tested positive for coronavirus. Ms. James’s report said the admission of such residents may have contributed to increased risk of infection and subsequent fatalities, but additional data analysis is needed. The report recommends standardized public reporting of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes, setting required staffing levels at nursing homes and repealing a liability shield covering nursing-home operators that was enacted in April.
“Secretive Ethics panel will judge Hawley and Cruz” by Politico’s Burgess Everett – Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial will be conducted on the Senate floor, live on TV. The Senate investigation into Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley will take place behind closed doors by one of the most secretive committees in Congress. After multiple leading Democrats called for the two Republicans to resign, Cruz and Hawley’s challenge to President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win is now tied up in the opaque Senate Ethics Committee. And while Trump’s impeachment trial will conclude quickly, the probe into whether the two senators played a role in inciting the violent Capitol attack will unwind over an interminable timetable with little hint of where it is going. The committee says nothing about its business until actions are taken. And it has a lot of business before it: Seven Democratic senators filed a complaint against the two GOP senators who led the effort to object to the election results, arguing that they ‘lent legitimacy” to the cause of those who invaded the Capitol. Hawley fired back with a counter complaint alleging “improper conduct” for partisan gain. The panel is led by Chair Chris Coons (D-Del.), who called for Cruz (R-Texas) and Hawley (R-Mo.) to resign, and Vice Chair James Lankford (R-Okla.), who planned to challenge the election results himself before backing away after the invasion of the Capitol. Coons and Lankford speak frequently to each other and have a warm relationship, just as Coons did with former Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
“Senate delays Mayorkas vote to Tuesday” by Politico’s Marianne Levine – The Senate will postpone a final vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, because of inclement weather. The vote, which was originally scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, will now be moved to Tuesday, according to a notice from the Senate cloakroom. The Senate will also hold a confirmation vote Tuesday on Pete Buttigieg’s nomination for Transportation secretary. The delayed vote comes as Washington, D.C., is expected to see more snow on Monday. The Senate voted to move forward on Mayorkas’ nomination on Thursday afternoon. He received support from Republican Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Mayorkas, who served as DHS deputy secretary during the Obama administration, is a Cuban-born lawyer and one of the chief architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program. Biden on Tuesday is set to announce immigration-related executive actions, including the introduction of a task force aimed at reuniting migrant families separated at the border by the Trump administration. Mayorkas is set to lead the task force. Rollout of the task force was originally set for Friday but was delayed over objections from Senate Republicans to his nomination. It’s unclear whether the delay will affect timing for Biden’s announcement.
“Trump stocks new PAC with tens of millions as he bids to retain control of GOP” by Politico’s Zach Montellaro and Elena Schneider – Former President Donald Trump amassed $31.2 million in his new political operation by the end of 2020, giving him a powerful tool to keep the Republican Party in his grip as he left office. Save America, a leadership PAC created in the aftermath of the 2020 election, is set to play a key role in Trump’s plans to keep a strong hand in party politics — both to boost loyalists and also to seek retribution against Republicans he believes have wronged him, such as the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in mid-January. Trump cannot spend the PAC funds directly on any future campaign of his own, but he can use it to wield influence in campaigns in the midterm elections, pay his political advisers and travel the country. “The more money [Trump] stacks up in his committee, the greater his grip will remain on many elected Republicans who will fear those resources could be turned against them,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican consultant. Stutzman said that it “should be no surprise” that Trump “has continued to fundraise well during this period.” The money in Trump’s PAC, detailed in a new financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday evening, was largely raised via grassroots fundraising appeals pleading for help with legal challenges aimed at the 2020 election results. But Save America spent little money at the end of last year, reporting only $218,000 in merchant fees to Republican online donation processor WinRed. An affiliated joint fundraising committee — the Trump Make America Great Again Committee — has also filed its report. Recent fundraising calls from that group have said that it is splitting donations between Save America and the Republican National Committee, with 75 percent going to Trump’s leadership PAC and 25 percent going to the RNC.
“No prison sentence for ex-FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty in Russia probe fallout” by Reuters’ Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball – A U.S. judge on Friday declined to impose a prison sentence for a former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty to falsifying a document during the agency’s investigation of contacts between former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. Judge James Boasberg ordered Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted to altering an email used to justify a government wiretap of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, to serve one year’s probation and 400 hours of community service. Special Counsel John Durham had sought up to six months in prison, suggesting Clinesmith acted out of “political or personal bias” against Trump. Defense lawyers asked the judge for no prison time, saying his action was a mistake. They noted that he and his wife are expecting their first child in March. Boasberg said an extensive investigation by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found that Clinesmith had not acted with any political bias. The judge said he saw “no reason to disagree with that.” A previous investigation by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller found that Page had communicated with Russian contacts while advising Trump’s campaign. That investigation did not prove that Page worked with the Kremlin as it sought to influence the outcome of the election but said his activities “were not fully explained.” Trump called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt” and sought to portray the 2016 FBI investigation as part of a scheme to harm him politically.
“CDC orders sweeping U.S. transportation mask mandate as COVID-19 rages” by Reuters’ David Shepardson – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping order late Friday requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation Monday as the country continues to report thousands of daily COVID-19 deaths. The order, which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday (0459 GMT Tuesday), requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares and at transportation hubs like airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 ordered government agencies to “immediately take action” to require masks in airports and on commercial aircraft, trains and public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and all public transportation. Under Donald Trump, who was president until Jan. 20, a CDC push to mandate masks in transit was blocked and the agency instead only issued strong recommendations for mask use. Trump also rejected efforts by Congress to mandate mask use. “Requiring masks on our transportation systems will protect Americans and provide confidence that we can once again travel safely even during this pandemic,” said the 11-page order signed by Marty Cetron, director for CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.