Biden refuses to answer reporters’ questions, asks them to leave

AP21103692347823 315x210 1

President Joe Biden speaks as he and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden speaks as he and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:55 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Joe Biden has drawn criticism yet again. This time for refusing to take questions from reporters who were then asked to leave the Oval Office.

During his Oval Office meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday, Biden delivered a two-and-a-half minute statement to the press, which some criticized as incoherent and uninformative.

Reporters asked Biden to explain how he would support black communities, but he blatantly refused to answer.

Critics have pointed out that Biden has never given unscripted answers to reporters and has often refused to address the press directly.

MORE NEWS: CNN’s Gupta breaks from network stance, says COVID could come from lab

Original Article Oann

Sen. McConnell reacts to President Trump’s fiery remarks at Mar-a-Lago

AP21103550998484 315x210 1

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., right arrive with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., for a ceremony to honor slain U.S. Capitol Police officer William "Billy" Evans at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., right arrive with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., for a ceremony to honor slain U.S. Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:05 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has attempted to end his public feud with President Trump. On Tuesday, a reporter asked the Kentucky lawmaker about the 45th president’s fiery remarks following his comments after Trump’s acquittal by the Senate.

Over the weekend, President Trump called the senator a “stone cold loser” in front of Republican donors while behind closed doors at the Mar-a-Lago resort. McConnell also took a hit in February when in a statement President Trump called him “one of the most unpopular politicians in the United States” and a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.”

Despite this, McConnell is now making it clear that he understands the need to unite with the 45th president to challenge the radical left’s attack on American values.

“Well what I’m concentrating on is the future and what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration with a slight majority in the House,” stated the Republican senator. “A 50-50 Senate trying to transform America.”

McConnell added, the Biden administration’s actions don’t reflect the will of American voters in the 2020 election.

While also speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), his top deputy, confirmed the Senate minority leader does not bear ill will toward the 45th president. Thune noted, McConnell plans to work with President Trump to regain a GOP Senate majority.

While it isn’t clear whether the rift between President Trump and Mitch McConnell will continue, it seems the growing threat of the radical left may be enough to keep the Republican Party united.

MORE NEWS: Mich. attorney DePerno says Democrats are threatening, obstructing election fraud lawsuit

Original Article Oann

Mexico to deploy 12K officials near U.S.-Mexico border

bord 315x210 1

Migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Mission, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Migrants walk on a dirt road after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in Mission, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:27 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Amid continued inaction from the White House, the Mexican government is working to put an end to the Biden border crisis.

On Tuesday, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the country has deployed at least 12,000 officials to the southern border to help deal with the surge in migrant arrivals. He also confirmed they are also sending security personnel to the country’s border with Guatemala.

Ebrard went on to voice concern for minors reportedly being used by human smugglers to facilitate their passage while calling the practice a “major human rights violation.”

“There is an agreement with the United States and there will be an investment in Central America; there is no way we can regulate this phenomenon if there are no options in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, mainly,” stated the Mexican official. “The other thing we agreed on is that we have to go after these traffickers because this is something we had not seen in the whole of history, we’ve never seen trafficking of minors on this scale.”

This comes as the U.S. continues to face the biggest migrant surge in 20 years with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holding more than 15,000 undocumented minors in custody.

MORE NEWS: Fmr. Trump officials launch ‘America First Policy Institute’

Original Article Oann

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell takes heat after admitting economy is rigged

AP21101829589261 315x210 1

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell listens during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. During an interview broadcast Sunday, April 11, 2021, on CBS' "60 Minutes," Powell said the U.S. economy is poised for an extended period of strong growth and hiring, though the coronavirus still poses some risk. (Al Drago/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

FILE – In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell listens during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. During an interview broadcast Sunday, April 11, 2021, on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Powell said the U.S. economy is poised for an extended period of strong growth and hiring, though the coronavirus still poses some risk. (Al Drago/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:13 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro recently blasted Jerome Powell as “the worst chair of the Federal Reserve in modern history.”

On Tuesday, Navarro reacted to Powell’s interview on 60 Minutes in which he admitted the system is rigged against every day Americans. He said Powell’s interview is the inside joke of all of corporate media as he blames the country’s money problems on blue collar workers.

Navarro asserted that Powell is doing nothing to help Americans compete in the global economy and is, instead, helping push American jobs overseas.

“The people who control this government think that whenever your wages go up, they’re going to ship our jobs overseas so people can have cheap crap at Walmart,” stated the former trade advisor. “Even though they don’t have a paycheck, they’ve got cheap crap at Walmart.”

Navarro went on to emphasize President Trump’s efforts to support blue collar Americans while suggesting he’s the only modern president to actually care.

MORE NEWS: Fmr. Trump Official: Biden policies making government complicit in human trafficking

Original Article Oann

Mich. attorney DePerno says Democrats are threatening, obstructing election fraud lawsuit

MIC 373x210 1

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, Nikki Schueller inserts her absentee voter ballot into a drop box in Troy, Mich. Just days before the presidential election, millions of mail-in ballots have still not been returned in key battleground states. Many of those are due in county offices by Tuesday, Nov. 3, but the latest Postal Service delivery data suggests it’s too late for voters to drop their ballots in the mail. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, file photo, a voter inserts an absentee voter ballot into a drop box in Troy, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:45 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Michigan attorney Matthew DePerno said he’s facing threats and obstruction by authorities over his lawsuit detailing evidence of fraud and meddling in last year’s elections.

“This is the state’s top law enforcement officer who comes forward and threatens legislators that if they do their job and act on behalf of their constituents that she will charge them criminally,” he explained. “”They’re scared of that, so they have no courage.”

Among the defendants in his lawsuit, DePerno named Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson who is backed by George Soros and was allegedly involved in the cover-up of election fraud. The attorney also noted, Democrat officials destroyed some of the election data in violation of federal law.

“And the issue really primarily related to the idea that Sheryl Guy, the clerk in Antrim County, had deleted information off of the Antrim County system on November 4th at 11:03 p.m.,” he explained. “So a lot of the data that we had been looking for in this case was deleted by by her…we felt that substantial detriment to our case.”

DePerno said his office has filed additional subpoenas in nine counties across Michigan seeking election records in line with the law, but Democrat officials are fighting it every inch of the way.

MORE NEWS: Fmr. San Diego Mayor Faulconer decries Dem proposal to breach privacy of petition signers in Calif.

Original Article Oann

Republicans unveil bill to block federal funding of vaccine passports

AP21097764245241 316x210 1

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale listens during a roundtable discussion with veterans and other community members on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at Fort Harrison in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale listens during a roundtable discussion with veterans and other community members on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at Fort Harrison in Helena, Mont. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:45 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R) is moving to block state and local governments from implementing vaccine passports. The Montana lawmaker and 24 other Republicans introduced a bill Tuesday that would prevent the use of federal funds to pay for such systems.

Earlier this month, the Biden administration said it was not considering plans to mandate vaccine passports, but GOP lawmakers want to ensure that federal money does not go to jurisdictions that propose the idea.

Rosendale said the idea of vaccine passports is terrifying, adding that individuals should make their own health care decisions.

MORE NEWS: Senate GOP campaign arm announces $23M fundraising haul in Q1

Original Article Oann

Biden refuses to answer reporters’ questions, asks them to leave

AP21103692347823 315x210 2

President Joe Biden speaks as he and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Joe Biden speaks as he and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:55 AM PT – Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Joe Biden has drawn criticism yet again. This time for refusing to take questions from reporters who were then asked to leave the Oval Office.

During his Oval Office meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus on Tuesday, Biden delivered a two-and-a-half minute statement to the press, which some criticized as incoherent and uninformative.

Reporters asked Biden to explain how he would support black communities, but he blatantly refused to answer.

Critics have pointed out that Biden has never given unscripted answers to reporters and has often refused to address the press directly.

MORE NEWS: CNN’s Gupta breaks from network stance, says COVID could come from lab

Original Article Oann

Ex-Cop Charged With 2nd-Degree Manslaughter in Wright Shooting

getfile.aspxguid449FE9AF 3CEC 41C9 BC5E 0B02824EC2B2

Ex-Cop Charged With 2nd-Degree Manslaughter in Wright Shooting Angie Golson, grandmother of Daunte Wright, cries as she speaks during a news conference Angie Golson, grandmother of Daunte Wright, cries as she speaks during a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Tuesday in Minneapolis. (John Minchillo/AP)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 12:57 PM

Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter will be charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright, 20, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced Wednesday.

Potter will be charged 3 days after Wright was killed during a traffic stop. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

An attorney for Potter did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

The former police chief has said Potter, a 26-year veteran and training officer, had intended to use her Taser on Wright but fired her handgun instead. However, protesters and Wright’s family members say there is no excuse for the shooting and it shows how the justice system is tilted against Blacks, noting Wright was stopped for expired car registration and ended up dead.

Potter, 48, resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Tuesday as did Police Chief Tim Gannon.

Gannon had released Potter's body camera video the day after Sunday's shooting. It showed her approaching Wright as he stood outside of his car as another officer was arresting him for an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. Police said he was pulled over for having expired registration tags.

As Wright struggles with police, Potter is hearing shouting "I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!" before firing a single shot from her handgun.

The charging decision was announced as the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin progresses in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott had said he hoped Potter's resignation would "bring some calm to the community," but he would keep working toward “full accountability under the law.”

"We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that. His family deserves that," Elliott said.

Police and protesters faced off again after nightfall Tuesday, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering again at Brooklyn Center's heavily guarded police headquarters, now ringed by concrete barriers and a tall metal fence, and where police in riot gear and National Guard soldiers stood watch.

About 90 minutes before a 10 p.m. curfew, state police announced over a loudspeaker that the gathering had been declared unlawful and ordered the crowds to disperse. That quickly set off confrontations, with protesters launching fireworks toward the station and throwing objects at police, who launched flashbangs and gas grenades, and then marched in a line to force back the crowd.

"You are hereby ordered to disperse," authorities announced, warning that anyone not leaving would be arrested. The state police said the dispersal order came before the curfew because protesters were trying to take down the fencing and throwing rocks at police. The number of protesters dropped rapidly over the next hour, until only a few remained. Police also ordered all media to leave the scene.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis, has seen its racial demographics shift dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white. Today, a majority of residents are Black, Asian or Hispanic.

Elliott said he didn't have at hand information on the police force's racial diversity but that "we have very few people of color in our department."

Potter was an instructor with the Brooklyn Center police, according to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. She was training two other officers Sunday when they stopped Wright, the association's leader, Bill Peters, told the Star Tribune.

In her one-paragraph letter of resignation, Potter said, "I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately."

Pelosi Considers Dropping 9/11-Style Commission for Jan. 6 Investigation

getfile.aspxguid5F8E8F5F 9747 47AF 9A48 40B398DA600A

Pelosi Considers Dropping 9/11-Style Commission for Jan. 6 Investigation nancy pelosi speaks at press conference Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks during a press conference on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act at the U.S. Capitol on April 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

By Elizabeth Stauffer | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 12:19 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,who says she feared a mob would kill her during the violence at the capitol on Jan. 6, may examine a House select committee, rather than a 9-11 style commission, to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Currently at an impasse in negotiations, Pelosi on Tuesday told USA Today that this type of committee is "always an option. It’s not my preference in any way. My preference would be to have a commission."

The Democrats have proposed a group that would include seven members from their caucus and only four Republicans, however House GOP members are not pleased with that structure.

Pelosi and other Democrats are also hoping to expand the scope of the probe beyond a review of what led to the riot. In February, The Hill reported Pelosi saying any investigation needs to answer questions "relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region."

In a Feb. 24 speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed back against Pelosi's plan, saying, "The Speaker of the House proposes even more investigation through a new commission. She cites the precedent of the 9/11 Commission. But her draft bill fails to track with that precedent in key ways. This time, Speaker Pelosi started by proposing a commission that would be partisan by design."

Democrat Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, asked by The Hill about the seven to four makeup of the proposed commission, said, "We do not owe delusional deniers a role or a platform in a commission designed to try to ferret out extremism and violence to prevent its recurrence. They’re denying that the Trump mob was the Trump mob.

"These people are dangerous," Connolly added.

Connolly's remarks were aimed at Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin who said in March that he had not been frightened on Jan. 6, but he "may have been a little concerned" if the protestors has been members of Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

Democrats immediately pounced on Johnson's remarks saying they were racist.

In an interview on Fox News' Primetime, Johnson defended his remarks, saying, "It’s completely been blown out of proportion. There’s nothing racial in my comments whatsoever. The left is happy to use the race card whenever they can. This is about riots and rioters and leftist activists and anarchists."

Original Article

$50K Student Loan Plan Would Wipe Out Debt for 36 Million Americans

getfile.aspxguid1CF04B14 9DBF 4C04 A30B 715FB9184428

$50K Student Loan Plan Would Wipe Out Debt for 36 Million Americans $50K Student Loan Plan Would Wipe Out Debt for 36 Million Americans Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Monday, March 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 12:09 PM

There are 36 million Americans who would have their federal student loans completely erased if progressives get their way on a program providing $50,000 of debt forgiveness, according to the Education Department.

That represents roughly 80% of the 45 million federal student loan holders, the data released Tuesday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., shows.

"The COVID-19 crisis is worsening the massive inequities in our economy and society, but even before the pandemic the student loan debt crisis was already crushing millions of Americans," Sen. Warren said in proposing the plan right after President Joe Biden took office. "By canceling up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers, President Biden can take the single most effective executive action available to provide a massive stimulus to our economy, help narrow the racial wealth gap, and lift this impossible burden off of tens of millions of families."

There is an estimated $1.5 trillion active in federal student loans and 10.3 million borrowers were either in default or more than 3 months behind on debt payments at the end of 2019, before the global coronavirus pandemic even hit, Politico reported.

Under the $50K giveaway proposal, 9.8 million of those in default or delinquent would be bailed out, according to the report.

"Republican and Democratic presidents have a long history of using their statutory authority to cancel student loan debt," Warren said at a hearing Tuesday. "President Obama used this authority to cancel all debt for tens of thousands of students, and President Trump used this authority to cancel some debt — accrued interest — for 37 million federal borrowers.

"Canceling $50K in student loan debt would also help close the Black/White wealth gap among borrowers by 25 points and ensure that millions of borrowers can fully participate in our economy. For Latinos, the gap would close by 27 points. This is the single most powerful executive action President Biden could take to advance racial equity and give everyone in America a chance to build a future."

Opponents of the loan forgiveness plan say it’s a mass bailout that favors an elite group of graduates with more than $25,000 in loans.

"I think getting the economy back working again is the best way of moving forward on how to deal with anyone's debt," Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said regarding the issue.

"We need to stop pretending that student loan debt is actually a 'crisis.' The average monthly payment is $200-$299. If you can't pay that, as a college graduate, it's your own fault," Brad Polumbo, fellow at the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) think tank, wrote in 2020 regarding the issue, Newsweek reported.

The Biden administration is reviewing the proposal to bail out student debtors.

"Student loan debt is weighing down millions of families in New York and across this country," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "During a time of historic and overlapping crises, which are disproportionately impacting communities of color, we must do everything in our power to deliver real relief to the American people, lift up our struggling economy and close the racial wealth gap.

"Democrats are committed to big, bold action, and this resolution to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt is one of the strongest steps the president can take to achieve these goals."

Biden's campaign had weighed a $10,000 forgiveness plan, which would completely wipe out debts for 15 million, including 4.6 million who were in default or delinquent at the end of 2019, according to the Education Department.

Warren's data also noted more than 10.6 million have carried federal student loan debt for more than a decade, while 4.4 million have been in repayment for more than 20 years, Politico reported.

Original Article

Wisconsin Senate Set to Approve Republican Election Changes

getfile.aspxguid177FD14A 94C4 425C 9EC6 08EAB8699B83

Wisconsin Senate Set to Approve Republican Election Changes Wisconsin Senate Set to Approve Republican Election Changes Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis., a member of Wisconsin's Electoral College, casts his vote for the presidential election at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 12:06 PM

The state Senate was set Wednesday to pass a host of Republican-authored changes to Wisconsin elections, including a prohibition on accepting private grants to aid election administration.

The proposals are part of a larger package of GOP-authored measures addressing issues former President Donald Trump and his supporters raised following Joe Biden's narrow win in battleground Wisconsin.

Gov. Tony Evers, D-Wis., who has complained about Republican attempts to make absentee voting more difficult, is almost certain to veto every one of them.

The bills up on the Senate floor on Wednesday don't make major changes to the absentee system. The most prominent measure would prohibit the state elections commission and local governments from applying for or accepting private grants to aid election administration.

The bill comes after Republicans accused Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich of handing over control of the November election in that city to partisan Democrats funded by a grant from the nonprofit Center for Tech and Civic Life. The nonprofit's grants were funded by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.

Another proposal would allow recount observers to watch from an area not more than 3 feet from workers and wear campaign logos. An election worker who obstructs an observer would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine. That bill comes after Trump supporters complained they weren't given close enough access to watch Wisconsin's presidential recount.

Two other bills would allow the state elections commission to order municipal clerks to follow state law and allow anyone who violates election law to be prosecuted in a county in the area covered by the office involved.

Original Article

US Intelligence Chief: Spy Agencies Do Not Know Exactly When COVID-19 First Transmitted

getfile.aspxguid4D28AAFE ABD2 4A1F 9EA7 D7B2437B9A15

US Intelligence Chief: Spy Agencies Do Not Know Exactly When COVID-19 First Transmitted US Intelligence Chief: Spy Agencies Do Not Know Exactly When COVID-19 First Transmitted Director Avril Haines of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.,Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:55 AM

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies do not know exactly when or how COVID-19 was initially transmitted.

"The intelligence community does not know exactly where, when or how the COVID-19 virus was transmitted initially," Haines told a Senate hearing. She noted two theories, that it emerged from human contact with infected animals or the result of a laboratory accident.

"We're continuing to work on this issue and collect information," Haines said in response to questioning by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the top Republican on the Senate intelligence panel, about the virus's early spread in China.

Many U.S. lawmakers have denounced China for failing to be more transparent about the early threat from the coronavirus. Former President Donald Trump was criticized for calling it the "China virus," amid a rise in anti-Asian violence in the United States.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in March that data was withheld from WHO investigators who traveled to China to research the origins of the coronavirus.

U.S. intelligence agency directors at the hearing were asked how much of their workforces had been vaccinated against COVID-19. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said 80 percent of his agency had received at least one vaccine, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Scott Berrier said 40-50 percent, but that was expanding quickly.

FB Director Christopher Wray said he could not provide the committee with an approximate percentage because its workforce is spread across so many states.

Original Article

Schumer Intends to Move Forward With Early Infrastructure Bill Next Week

getfile.aspxguidFC58E6A5 7BDF 44D9 A4A7 87F0E68A2537

Schumer Intends to Move Forward With Early Infrastructure Bill Next Week Schumer Intends to Move Forward With Early Infrastructure Bill Next Week Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during a news briefing after a weekly Senate Democratic Policy Luncheon at Hart Senate Office Building April 13, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:45 AM

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday that he intends to move forward next week on a water resources bill, calling the measure an initial bipartisan component of President Joe Biden's sweeping $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.

"The water infrastructure bill is a small but important part of that overall effort," the top Senate Democrat said in a floor speech, adding that the measure has unanimous bipartisan support from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

"It will authorize tens of billions of dollars to make sure American families, especially low-income families, have access to safe and clean drinking water," he said.

Schumer's comments suggest that Biden and his Democratic allies, who narrowly control the House of Representatives and the Senate, could begin to move forward on his infrastructure package with measures that are most likely to win support from Republicans who otherwise oppose Biden's sweeping package.

The Biden package would not only repair America's roads and bridges but seek to rechart the course of the U.S. economy by also tackling climate change and boosting social programs such as eldercare.

Republicans say the plan is dominated by spending unrelated to traditional infrastructure and reject a proposal to finance the initiative by raising taxes on U.S. corporations.

Biden has begun to host bipartisan groups of lawmakers at the White House to discuss infrastructure in an effort to win Republican support. But Democrats have said they will move forward without Republicans through a legislative process called reconciliation if their opposition continues.

"If Republicans let us get on the bill, we can work out a process to have bipartisan debate and amendments," Schumer said. "But if the Republican minority prevents the Senate from even debating some of these common-sense proposals, we'll have to try to move forward without them."

Original Article

Fauci: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Will Be Short-Lived

getfile.aspxguid010CA21F 156C 43BA AB54 84CF2C75DFA9

Fauci: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Will Be Short-Lived Fauci: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Will Be Short-Lived Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:04 AM

The decision to pause the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because of reports 6 women suffered blood clots most likely will be short-lived, and it actually could stop people from hesitating to get their shots, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made the decision to pasue the vaccine.

"The very fact that you have an organization, two organizations, the CDC and the FDA, looking so carefully at this, making safety the primary concern, in my mind, confirms or underscores the situation that we take safety very seriously," Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser and heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC's "Today" show.

"So I would think, at the end of the day, it could actually diminish hesitancy by saying, boy, those people there, they're looking at that really carefully. When they say something is safe, you can believe it is safe. So it goes both ways."

Fauci said he believes the pause will only take "days to weeks, as opposed to weeks to months" and called it a "rare occurrence. The pause is just an abundance of caution to scope out the situation a little bit more closely."

However, he acknowledged there "certainly could be" a connection between the clotting issues observed with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and Astra Zeneca's vaccine overseas, as there are "a lot of similarities."

Fauci said people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should not "worry very much" because the clotting issue is "very, very rare."

Also, since the reactions occurred between 6 and 13 days after the 6 women affected got their shots, people who received their vaccines several weeks ago are less likely to have any concern

"If you've had [the shot] within a few days, just stay heads-up for symptoms, severe headache, abdominal pain, chest pain, things like that," Fauci said. "But again, underscoring, it is a very, very rare event. You don't want people who have just received the vaccine to be overly worried about this. This is a rare occurrence. The pause is just an abundance of caution to scope out the situation a little bit more closely."

Fauci, also appearing on CNN, slammed comments made by Fox News' Tucker Carlson, while discussing vaccine hesitancy, saying that there is no reason for people who have been vaccinated to wear a mask, and that maybe the vaccine doesn't work.

"That's just a typical crazy conspiracy theory," Fauci said. "Why wouldn't we tell people it works? Look at the data. The data is overwhelming in the 3 vaccines used in an emergency use and emergency use authorization, the J&J, Pfizer, and Moderna, you had 30,000, 44,000, and 40,000 people in the clinical trial with an overwhelming signal efficacy. So I don't have any idea what he's talking about."

He added that he didn't want to get into arguments about Carlson, but added comments such as his run "counter to trying to protect the safety and health of the American public."

Fauci said it is "understandable" why some people want to wait to see how the vaccine rolls out, and that's natural, but people should look at the data.

"Right now, we have close to 120 million, 130 million people who have already received at least one dose of this," he said. "That's a lot of people. How long do you want to wait and see? You have almost half the country who has received at least one dose. I think we've had enough wait and see."

Still, there is a race to get as many people vaccinated as possible while the vaccine is trying to surge again, as the numbers are creeping up again to around 80,000 new infections a day.

"That's a very high number," he said. "As we get more and more people, 3 million to 4 million people per day vaccinated, the vaccine component of this is going to get stronger and then you're going to see the cases come down."

Original Article

Leniency With Portland Protesters Could Affect Jan. 6 Defendants

getfile.aspxguidBE63F44F E9E6 4221 82EB 39DB76AAA269

Leniency With Portland Protesters Could Affect Jan. 6 Defendants portland police arrest man at protest Portland police arrest a protester in front of the North police precinct during a protest against racial injustice and police brutality on September 6, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 10:03 AM

Leniency shown to defendants charged in last summer's Portland rioting could impact the cases of those similarly charged after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach, legal analysts say.

Prosecutors have approved resolution agreements in at least half a dozen federal felony cases stemming from the unrest and violence of anti-police protesters in Portland, according to Politico.

Defense attorneys and court records show the deals would give defendants a clean criminal record if they stay out of trouble for a specified period of time and complete a certain amount of community service.

The government's willingness to resolve the cases without criminal convictions is attributed to the transition from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden and related changes at the Justice Department under the new administration, according to lawyers.

In contrast, Trump and then-Attorney General William Barr took a hard line with accused lawbreakers involved in unrest and violence that spawned from protests alleging racial injustice after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.

"Obviously, there was a change in direction from Washington, and once they changed the U.S. attorney, that seemed to change the tone," said John Kolego, a defense attorney based in Eugene, Ore., who handled one of the Portland cases. "They had their marching orders from Barr before, but the tone is definitely changed."

Five cases in which deals were struck recently involved a felony charge of interfering with police during civil disorder.

Some defendants were accused of punching or jumping on police officers, with one person alleged to have shined a high-powered green laser into the eyes of officers trying to disperse a rioting crowd outside a police union building.

As with the Portland cases, prosecutors are citing interference with police in dozens of the criminal cases involving the Capitol breach.

The felony anti-riot charge has been employed in the Washington D.C. cases along with other charges, such as obstructing an official proceeding or assaulting police officers.

Violence in Portland and Washington, D.C., have been described similarly. For example, a woman in Portland used a wooden shield and hoses to strike a Portland police officer in the head while he was trying to make an arrest.

During the Capitol attack, suspects have been accused of using shields to shove police or obstruct their efforts to secure the building.

A woman in Portland received a deferred resolution agreement settlement after being indicted on a federal felony charge of pointing a laser at a small plane that the Portland Police Bureau flew during the unrest. The case against the woman will be dismissed if she complies with terms of the agreement.

A U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman in Portland said the resolutions reached were not being approved by Washington officials.

"There is no across-the-board standard being used to rule our protest cases in or out of consideration for a deferred prosecution agreement, and our office does not consult with Main Justice on when to use them," spokesman Kevin Sonoff said.

Sonoff added that Portland prosecutors were acting under the authority that former President Barack Obama's attorney general, Eric Holder, granted to assistant U.S. attorneys to craft resolutions considered appropriate in criminal cases.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general, revoked that policy in 2017. But the Justice Department returned to the Holder standards days after Biden’s inauguration.

"Undoubtedly, defense lawyers will point to everything they can to get the most favorable resolution for their clients," said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who's now a law professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. "Now, one thing they can point to will be the deferred prosecutions in Portland."

Prosecutors in Washington, D.C., however, will likely argue the events there were more serious even if the actions of the defendants were comparable.

"Attacking the Capitol is sui generis — it’s in a category of its own,” Levenson said. "One is the seat of government and the other is not."

Original Article

DeSantis: Florida Continuing With Lawsuit Over Biden ICE Policy

getfile.aspxguidD710F914 FC0F 439B BD7B 38BF194F11F4

DeSantis: Florida Continuing With Lawsuit Over Biden ICE Policy ron desantis speaks to media outside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 09:35 AM

The state of Florida is moving forward with its legal action against the Biden administration over its policy that allows illegal immigrants who commit crimes to be released into the United States after they serve their prison sentences rather than sending them back to their home countries, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

"We had a great agreement with the Trump administration where if their term was up, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would pick them up and remove them and bring them back to their home country," the Republican governor said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."

But under President Joe Biden, the administration is "refusing to do these requests, so when someone finishes a term, a criminal alien, ICD is allowing them to be released back into our community," said DeSantis. "We think it is reckless. It will absolutely put the American people in danger, and we are doing other things to work with local communities, doing the best they can to protect other people."

The federal lawsuit was filed last month by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, reports The Miami Herald, and says that the administration's actions "will allow criminal aliens to be released into and move freely in the state of Florida, and their resulting crime will cost the state millions of dollars on law enforcement, incarceration, and crime victim’s assistance. It will also cause unquantifiable harm to Florida’s citizenry and will force the state to expend its own law enforcement resources to pick up the slack."

The legal action focuses on memos that were issued on Jan. 20 and Feb. 18 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about immigration enforcement.

DeSantis on Wednesday also discussed the halt placed on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration called for a pause for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots after six women were affected.

"We had no indication this was coming," said DeSantis. "We had success with Johnson & Johnson."

However, he said the pause will not mark a "major interruption" in his state's vaccination campaign, but there is a huge demand for the one-dose vaccine.

Meanwhile, Florida has had "more success" in following advice from some doctors who have gone against some of the narratives about COVID-19, said DeSantis, speaking out against big tech companies like YouTube that have pulled down videos that show different viewpoints.

"The narrative is a lockdown, mask a 2-year-old kid, and all these different things we kept hearing, and when people counteract that their instinct is to pull it down," said DeSantis. "It is very troubling because that is not what science is about. It is about asking questions, raising concerns, and getting to the right answer.

"A year ago there were people offering strong critiques of lockdowns at the beginning and that was across all the tech platforms, but you look and some of these experts would agree lockdowns caused immense damage in many states," said the governor. "The most important debates our society ever had and they suffocated it at the outset … in Florida, we have schools that have no masks, private schools."

The governor also continued his opposition to a "60 Minutes" report that painted his efforts on vaccination in a bad light, continuing to call it biased after his responses to a reporter were heavily edited.

The show on Sunday aired viewer responses to the piece, but DeSantis said that did not constitute an apology over the program's coverage.

"They issued a lot of mealy-mouthed statements since the episode aired," said DeSantis. "They knew what they were putting on the air was false and that is the problem they have, they talked to the people, refused to put people on the air who were explaining what happened, edited the explanation out," he said. "They have so much contempt for viewers … they had a political mission to smear me."

Original Article

Major Corporations Join Together to Oppose New Voting Rights Laws

getfile.aspxguid2C90413B 6031 4594 976E 9579414563DF

Major Corporations Join Together to Oppose New Voting Rights Laws kenneth chenault speaks onstage Kenneth I. Chenault speaks onstage at The New York Times 2017 DealBook Conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 08:58 AM

Major companies including Amazon, Google, and Netflix signed a statement released Wednesday opposing "any discriminatory legislation" that makes it harder for people to vote.

Warren Buffett, BlackRock, Starbucks, and hundreds of other corporations and executives signed the statement, which appeared in advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The released statement came after the efforts in many states to enact new election laws were labeled discriminatory and racist by liberal activists.

Former President Donald Trump, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republican lawmakers have called for companies to remain out of politics.

Not all major corporations signed the statement. Coca-Cola and Delta, Atlanta-based companies that came under fire after condemning Georgia's new voting law, declined to participate, according to Times sources.

Kenneth Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck, organized putting together the statement. They led a group of Black executives last month in calling on companies to get more involved in opposing legislation similar to Georgia’s new law.

"It should be clear that there is overwhelming support in corporate America for the principle of voting rights," Chenault said.

The released statement did not address specific election legislation in states such as Texas, Arizona, and Michigan.

"We are not being prescriptive," Chenault said. "There is no one answer."

Frazier stressed the statement was intended to be nonpartisan.

"These are not political issues," said Frazier, adding that protecting voting rights should be supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

"These are the issues that we were taught in civics."

Late last month, Gov. Brian Kemp, R-Ga., signed a voting law that included new restrictions on voting by mail, and greater legislative control over how elections are run.

Republicans said the law will help assure elections are run legally and efficiently. Democrats and voting rights groups claimed the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.

Since companies began speaking out against the Georgia law and similar legislation in other states, Republicans have accused corporations of siding with Democrats.

Georgia lawmakers threatened to rescind a tax break that saves Delta Air Lines millions of dollars a year. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called Delta and Coca-Cola, “woke corporate hypocrites” for criticizing the Georgia law.

Major League Baseball moved its annual All-Star Game, originally scheduled to be played in Atlanta in July, to Denver. Several GOP lawmakers now are looking into revoking baseball's antitrust exemption.

Trump joined calls for a boycott of companies that speak out against the voting laws. Last week, McConnell said companies should "stay out of politics."

Another company that did not sign the statement was Home Depot. Although co-founder Arthur Blank told other business executives Saturday he supported voting rights, company co-founder Ken Langone is a vocal Trump supporter.

On Tuesday, Home Depot said in a statement that "the most appropriate approach for us to take is to continue to underscore our belief that all elections should be accessible, fair and secure."

Many companies do not want to be pressured into taking stands on specific legislation.

JPMorgan Chase declined to sign the statement despite a personal request from senior Black business leaders to chief executive Jamie Dimon, according to sources.

Dimon, who publicly has supported Black Lives Matter, previously issued a statement on voting rights saying, "We believe voting must be accessible and equitable."

Coca-Cola and Delta declined to comment on why they did not sign the statement. Sources said the companies perhaps refrained because of the blowback received after earlier statements on voting rights.

Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, chose to sign the statement personally while keeping his company's name off. He has contended businesses should not be involved in politics.

Some companies, including ones that signed the statement, asked for the removal of a sentence committing them "to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot."

The line remained after Chenault and Frazier said it was crucial.

Original Article

Problem Solvers Caucus, Biden Officials Meeting on Infrastructure Bill

getfile.aspxguid97E98883 0790 42C7 A80E 90871C8FBFF8

Problem Solvers Caucus, Biden Officials Meeting on Infrastructure Bill josh gottheimer speaks to press outside capitol Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) (C), co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, speaks during a news conference to highlight the need for bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 relief legislation outside the U.S. Capitol on December 03, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 08:13 AM

Leaders of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus will meet with key White House officials Wednesday while the administration continues its push to enlist moderate support of President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and counselor Steve Ricchetti are to receive the caucus' co-chairs, Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., reports Axios.

A White House official said Republican Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Dusty Johnson of South Dakota will attend the meeting, as well as Democrat Reps. Abigail Spanberger of New Jersey, Dean Phillips of Minnesota, and Tom Suozzi of New York.

"The American people want us to work together across party lines," Gottheimer told Axios. "We actually have to use our bipartisan muscles or they will continue to atrophy."

Biden's "American Jobs Plan" though, has come under fire from Republicans because it reaches further than covering traditional infrastructure and reaches into areas like clean energy and features corporate tax hikes as its funding source.

The Problem Solvers Caucus wrote a letter to Biden last month outlining its priorities, which include work on COVID-19, infrastructure, broadband expansion, small business and innovation incentives, immigration reform and border security, debt and the deficit, health care, labor and the workforce, police reform, energy and the climate, and election security.

Wednesday, the members are expecting to discuss, in addition to the president's infrastructure bill, other topics including immigration reform, mental health, and veterans issues.

Over the weekend, several representatives from the group visited the southern border, and Fitzpatrick told Axios the group intends to make immigration one of its priority issues after progress is made concerning the infrastructure bill.

The report did not indicate that Biden will attend the meeting. According to a White House statement, the president early Wednesday will accompany first lady Jill Biden to an appointment for a "common medical procedure" at a Washington, D.C., outpatient center, after which both will return to the White House to resume their normal schedules. The nature of the first lady's procedure has not been disclosed, reports The Associated Press.

Later on Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to address the nation on plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. He then plans to visit Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, where many U.S. service members who died in Afghanistan and Iraq are buried, according to the White House.

The president on Monday met with another bipartisan group of eight lawmakers, four from each party, in the Oval Office, telling them he's willing to negotiate on his infrastructure plan and how it would be funded.

The lawmakers at Monday's meeting included, on the Democrat side, Sens. Maria Cantwell of Washington and Alex Padilla of California and Reps. Donald M. Payne Jr. of New Jersey and David E. Price of North Carolina, reports The New York Times. Republicans who attended were Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Reps. Garret Graves of Louisiana and Don Young of Alaska.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is pushing to pass the bill in her chamber by July 4.

Original Article

Biden Rushes to Protect Power Grid As Hacking Threats Grow

getfile.aspxguidB8A61192 EC9B 49F6 8569 0E0D8B203158

Biden Rushes to Protect Power Grid As Hacking Threats Grow power plant in brooklyn A Con Edison power plant stands in a Brooklyn neighborhood across from Manhattan on March 15, 2018 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Shaun Courtney and Michael Riley Wednesday, 14 April 2021 07:15 AM

A White House plan to rapidly shore up the security of the U.S. power grid will begin with a 100-day sprint, but take years more to transform utilities’ ability to fight off hackers, according to details of a draft version of the plan confirmed by two people.

The plan is the policy equivalent of a high-wire act: it provides incentives for electric companies to dramatically change the way they protect themselves against cyber-attacks while trying to avoid political tripwires that have stalled previous efforts, the details suggest.

Among its core tenets, the Biden administration’s so-called “action plan” will incentivize power utilities to install sophisticated new monitoring equipment to more quickly detect hackers, and to share that information widely with the U.S. government.

It will ask utilities to identify critical sites which, if attacked, could have an outsized impact across the grid, according to a six-page draft of the plan, which was drawn up by the National Security Council and described in detail to Bloomberg News. And it will expand a partially classified Energy Department program to identify flaws in grid components that could be exploited by the country’s cyber-adversaries, including Russia, Iran and China.

The plan marks the first step in a broad push to protect utilities from cyber-attacks that could leave millions without power, water, or gas. A final version of the plan could be released as soon as this week, according to a person familiar with the timing.“It makes sense in a plan like this to start with grid operations,” said Christopher Painter, who was the highest ranking cyber official in the State Department during the Obama administration.

“Everything goes down if you don’t have power: the financial sector, refineries, water. The grid underlies the rest of the country’s critical infrastructure,” Painter, now with the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, added.

Experts say initiatives to enhance the security of the U.S. electrical grid are years behind better-known efforts to improve the security of data centers and corporate computer systems. At the same time, hackers from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are launching increasingly aggressive attacks on U.S. power companies, hoping to pre-position malware that could leave U.S. cities and towns in the dark.The recent weather-related outages in Texas, while not the result of a cyber-attack, were a stark demonstration of the potential for devastation. People froze in their homes, struggled to access drinkable water and lost communications because their mobile phones couldn’t charge as grid operators struggled for days to restore power.

The White House plan lays out the need for a broad effort to secure the highly specialized computers used not just by electric companies, but also municipal water utilities, gas pipeline operators, and others.

Two people familiar with the administration’s thinking said power companies were chosen to begin with because they already have a strong record of working with the U.S. government on security threats. While private companies are usually loath to share computer network data widely with the government, some power companies already do so as part of existing pilot programs, one of the people said.

Participation Incentives

The White House plan, which is voluntary, lays out a series of possible incentives to get power companies to sign on, a less politically precarious route than mandating their participation through regulation. Smaller utilities such as rural co-ops may get government funding to cover the cost of new security equipment and software, for example. The government will explore whether participation could be covered under the Safety Act, which provides liability protection for anti-terrorism products and services, according to the plan — although it’s far from clear that services provided by an electric utility would qualify.

Many of the details around budgets and incentives will be worked out later, through a process coordinated by the National Security Council and others, according to the draft.

Utilities’ decisions to participate will hinge on how those details eventually get resolved, cybersecurity experts said. For example, the plan addresses long-standing concerns over sharing details about cyber-attacks automatically with the government by prohibiting “sensitive data” from being collected or stored outside the utilities. But the plan doesn’t yet define what counts as sensitive data, and it makes clear that any data collected must be widely sharable across the federal government.

The plan will also expand the role of an Energy Department program that scans grid equipment for flaws or hidden components that hackers could use to attack utilities. Aspects of that program, known as CyTRICS, are classified because they involve efforts by foreign intelligence agencies to intentionally weaken grid technology, according to a person familiar with it. (CyTRICS stands for Cyber Testing for Resilient Industrial Control Systems.) While utilities have supported similar efforts in the past, the creation of an approved vendor list could increase costs for equipment manufacturers that would be required to make their products more secure — a proposal likley to draw resistence from U.S. and foreign manufacturers, one person familiar with the industry said.

Turf Wars

In order to succeed, the plan will have to overcome challenges that have derailed earlier efforts, including interagency turf wars and questions over how much of a role U.S. intelligence agencies should have in protecting the country’s critical infrastructure.

The power sector effort will be led by the Energy Department rather than the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, according to the summary. That could raise concerns about CISA losing its existing authorities and possibly ceding the program entirely to the Energy Department, according to current and former DHS officials, as well as an aide on the House Homeland Security Committee. That panel approved a bipartisan bill in March to solidify CISA’s lead role in protecting the country’s industrial control systems (H.R. 1833). “The risk you take in not having CISA do everything is that information doesn’t get where it needs to be,” according to Suzanne Spaulding, who led CISA’s predecessor, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, under the Obama administration and now works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

As the White House plan was quietly circulated to officials recently, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reiterated what he believed was CISA’s primary role in a policy speech in late March.After lauding the administration’s cybersecurity plans, he added, “As some have said, the government needs a quarterback on its cybersecurity team. CISA is that quarterback.”

Wisconsin Treasurer Godlewski Launches US Senate Bid

getfile.aspxguidAB48916F F330 4C61 B6F5 977348FC1B8D

Wisconsin Treasurer Godlewski Launches US Senate Bid Wisconsin Treasurer Godlewski Launches US Senate Bid In this Jan. 22, 2019 file photo, Wisconsin State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski works in her office at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wis. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

SCOTT BAUER Wednesday, 14 April 2021 07:05 AM

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski joined the growing ranks of Democrats running for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, launching her bid for the seat in the battleground state currently held by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson who has yet to say whether he will seek a third term.

Godlewski, a native of Eau Claire who was elected treasurer in 2018, announced her candidacy in a video where she also lambastes Johnson as a conspiracy theorist more loyal to former President Donald Trump than the citizens of Wisconsin. She was not made available for interviews.

Godlewski said she will help bolster small businesses, fight climate change, lower prescription drug costs, reform the criminal justice system, and get rid of the Senate filibuster.

“Ron Johnson has spent his time covering up for Donald Trump, denying climate change, and catering to the super wealthy,” Godlewski said in the video. “Instead of conspiracy theories, we can focus on actually helping families.”

Godlewski, 39, joins other Democrats Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson already in the race. Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is among others also considering a run.

The race is expected to be one of the hardest fought in the country with the evenly divided Senate at play and Wisconsin narrowly split between Democrats and Republicans. Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 by less than 23,000 votes and lost the state in November by just over 20,000 votes.

Both Godlewski and Lasry have personal wealth they can tap for the race. Godlewski is married to Max Duckworth, a multimillionaire investor from Maryland. She loaned herself $290,000 in her 2018 campaign for treasurer.

Lasry, the son of a billionaire hedge fund manager, has not said how much of his family’s personal wealth he will invest in the campaign. Lasry loaned his campaign $50,000 at the start. Lasry said he raised more than $1 million in just the first six weeks of the race.

Nelson, a former state lawmaker, does not have personal wealth to tap for the race. Instead, he is positioning himself as more of a folksy progressive, cutting a video where he holds a garage sale to help raise money for the race.

Godlewski launched her campaign just two days after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that several publications and websites had said Godlewski had a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, even though she does not. She has an undergraduate degree in peace and conflict resolution from George Mason University and has said in the past that she intended to finish her graduate work but has not yet.

Godlewski formerly worked on Hillary Clinton's campaigns for president in both 2008 and 2016.

Before running for treasurer in 2018, Godlewski led a bipartisan coalition that worked against a measure on the ballot that spring that would have eliminated the treasurer's office. Voters rejected it, leaving the state treasurer's office in place but with few official duties. She chaired a task force on retirement savings that earlier this year released a set of recommendations.

Johnson is one of the biggest targets for Democrats nationally as well as in Wisconsin.

Johnson emerged as one of Trump’s most ardent supporters toward the end of his term. Johnson held a Senate committee hearing on Dec. 16 to look into election fraud complaints largely perpetuated Trump’s claims. And on Jan. 6, just before the U.S. Capitol attack, Johnson objected to counting the Electoral College votes from Arizona.

Johnson has denied charges recently that he's racist after saying he wasn't worried about predominantly white protesters who stormed the Capitol, but he would have been concerned had they been Black Lives Matter supporters.

Johnson received the endorsement of Trump last week, who issued a statement urging Johnson to run again in 2022. He has repeatedly said he does not feel like he needs to make a decision any time soon.

Original Article