The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.
A top aide to Donald Trump was secretly re-engaged by a leading political strategy firm after being forced to step down after a social media scandal, the Guardian can reveal. The company, Washington-based Teneo, wanted access to top Republicans in the then president’s inner circle, and to conceal his ongoing work. Jason Miller – a senior adviser to the former president – also later appears to have misled a Florida court about this employment status, asserting in a sworn statement that he could no longer comply with a court order requiring him to pay child-support payments.
The Oath Keepers militia has seen better days. Members of the far-right group’s leadership are facing conspiracy charges for their alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors are reportedly considering rare sedition charges against those members, and Oath Keepers’ fundraising efforts have stalled after companies like Amazon banned the group from their charity programs.
The suspect accused of opening fire inside a crowded Colorado supermarket was a 21-year-old man who allegedly purchased an assault weapon less than a week earlier, it has emerged. Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa bought the weapon on 16 March, six days before the attack at a King Soopers store in Boulder that killed 10 people, including a police officer, according to an arrest affidavit. It was not immediately known where the gun was purchased.
The US has fallen to a new low in a global ranking of political rights and civil liberties, a drop fueled by unequal treatment of minority groups, damaging influence of money in politics, and increased polarization, according to a new report by Freedom House, a democracy watchdog group. The US earned 83 out of 100 possible points this year in Freedom House’s annual rankings of freedoms around the world, an 11-point drop from its ranking of 94 a decade ago. The US’s new ranking places it on par with countries like Panama, Romania and Croatia and behind countries such as Argentina and Mongolia.
Vice President Kamala Harris will be the White House's point person on immigration issues at the nation's southern border, President Joe Biden announced, tasking her with stemming the rising tide of migrants, many of them unaccompanied children, arriving in the U.S. Harris’ main focus will be two-pronged: working to slow the flow of “irregular migrants” by addressing “the root causes” that prompt them to leave their home countries as well as strengthening relationships with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries where the bulk of the migrants arriving at the U.S. border come from.
A U.S. Army reservist charged with storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 who was subsequently identified by numerous military colleagues as an overt white supremacist has been ordered detained pending trial. Federal district court Judge Trevor McFadden said he wrestled with whether Timothy Hale-Cusanelli’s “odious” beliefs were enough to justify pretrial detention, given that he isn’t charged with committing violence at the Capitol.
Authorities on Tuesday identified the suspect in the shooting deaths of 10 people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, a 21-year-old with a history of violence whose brother said was deeply disturbed. Alissa, who is from Arvada, has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder for the mass shooting. He was taken into custody after being shot during apprehension. Ali Aliwi Alissa, the suspect’s 34-year-old brother, told The Daily Beast that authorities searched his house all night after the shooting.
A federal judge on Monday blasted the West Virginia man accused of attacking Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 siege, calling his actions 'an assault on our nation.' “I’m very aware that my rulings affect the person in front of me and everyone who loves them,” Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi said as he ordered George Tanios to be detained pending trial. “It is hard for me to look at this as anything other than an assault on this nation’s heart.”
The Democratic congressman Henry Cuellar has brought more pain for the Joe Biden administration on its border policy by releasing pictures of an overcrowded immigration facility in Texas where he said more than 400 male minors were being held in a section meant for 250. The White House is under growing pressure over conditions at the southern border, where federal authorities are trying to cope with an increase in migrant crossings from Mexico, many by unaccompanied minors, while staying true to Biden’s promise to implement a more humane policy than that pursued by Donald Trump.
Michael Sherwin, the departing acting US attorney for the District of Columbia, confirmed that the former president is still under investigation over the 6 January putsch in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes on Sunday. “Maybe the president is culpable,” he said. Sherwin also said there were now more than 400 cases against participants in the riot and said that if it is determined Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died, did so because he was hit with bear spray, murder charges would likely follow.
Joe Biden has joined European leaders in condemning Turkey’s withdrawal from a landmark international accord designed to protect women from violence. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree early on Saturday annulling Turkey’s ratification of the Istanbul convention, a landmark European treaty protecting women from violence that it was the first country to sign 10 years ago and that bears the name of its largest city. The convention requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.
The Biden administration is facing mounting pressure over a surge of unaccompanied migrant children crossing into the US, with the numbers seeking asylum at a 20-year high that is placing federal facilities and shelters under immense strain. The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, took to the political talk show circuit on Sunday to press the administration’s case that it is doing all it can. He continued to refer to the problem as a “challenge” not a “crisis”, attempting to put blame squarely on the previous incumbent of the White House, Donald Trump.
Supporters of Joe Biden were tempting fate when they claimed he had not put a foot wrong during his first two months in office. The US president managed to fall not once, not twice but three times on his way up a staircase to the Air Force One presidential aircraft on Friday. A White House spokesperson blamed windy weather.
Richard Grenell, a former acting director of national intelligence turned potential Republican candidate for governor of California, gleefully seized on an error by Google on Saturday, promising “a plethora of executive orders” after the search giant listed him as “President of the United States since 2021”.
Allegations that the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, improperly used the power of his office to shield political donors from Covid-19 lawsuits have reportedly become the subject of an FBI investigation. Federal investigators are said to be looking into how a provision granting immunity to hospital and nursing home executives became a late addition to the state’s budget before it was passed last spring. The Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), a lobbying group that represents a network of healthcare operators, and which donated more than $2m to Cuomo’s campaign.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) on Friday formally introduced a resolution to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) from Congress over her past indications of support for violence against prominent Democrats. "I believe some of my Republican colleagues, and one in particular, wish harm upon this legislative body. And I'm not saying this for shock value. It's the conclusion I drew after a member of Congress advocated violence against our peers, the Speaker and our government," Gomez said on the House floor.
The Senate confirmed Willian Burns as CIA director, marking the first time in decades that a former diplomat will lead the agency. Senators approved his nomination by voice vote. Burns, an ambassador twice over who finished his diplomatic career as deputy secretary of State, has played a key role in major security matters for multiple administrations.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) insisted Thursday that Republicans were not trying to reverse former President Trump's election defeat in challenging the results of November's presidential contest in a testy exchange with CNN's Manu Raju. McCarthy argued that Republicans had formally challenged the results in only two states when Congress met on Jan. 6 to certify President Biden's victory. Those two states — Arizona and Pennsylvania — together did not contain enough electoral weight to reverse the outcome, which requires 270 votes of the Electoral College, he noted.
The Senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed Xavier Becerra as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by a 50-49 vote. Republicans were nearly unanimous in their opposition to Becerra, the current attorney general of California. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to vote in favor of his confirmation. Collins previously cited Becerra's commitment to rural health care, and a shared goal of lowering drug prices among her reasons for supporting him.
Donald Trump's former lawyer will meet with New York prosecutors for the eighth time on Friday, according to reports, as the investigation into potential tax fraud by the former president gathers steam. Michael Cohen, 54, began working for the Trump Organization in 2006, and in 2018 was sentenced to three years for his role assisting tax evasion and campaign finance fraud. Cohen was released in April 2020 and has been speaking to the team led by Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, which is criminally investigating Trump's finances. Letitia James, the New York attorney general, is conducting a civil inquiry into the allegations.
Ex-Astronaut going to prison for 4 years
An ex-astronaut who killed two young Alabama girls while driving under the influence will spend at least four years behind bars after pleading guilty to manslaughter. James Halsell, 64, of Huntsville, was a Space Shuttle commander who flew five missions. Ten years after retirement, he crashed into another car in Tuscaloosa, leaving Niomi Deona James, 11, and Jayla Latrick Parler, 13, dead.
Gasoline demand spikes in several states after pipeline hack
A growing number of gas stations along the East Coast are without fuel as nervous drivers aggressively fill up their tanks following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a critical artery for gasoline. The panic-buying threatens to exacerbate the supply shock."Panicked buying" is "running stations in the region dry," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN Business.
New York AG sues Jacob Wohl for $2.75 million over robocalls
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that her office has filed a lawsuit against bumbling right-wing conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman over robocalls the pair allegedly made to suppress the Black vote ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Police Chief: No apology needed for pepper-spraying
After a video of Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario being pepper-sprayed by Windsor, Virginia cops during a traffic stop went viral last week, Police Chief Rodney D. Riddle said he didn’t feel Nazario was owed an official apology. “My guys missed opportunities to verbally de-escalate,” Riddle admitted of the incident late last year that saw two officers with guns drawn barking at Nazario to get out of his car for allegedly not having a rear license tag.
Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death
Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.