Trump impeachment article to be sent to Senate Monday, triggering trial

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

franckreporter/iStockBy BENJAMIN SIEGEL and KATHERINE FAULDERS

(WASHINGTON) — The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement comes after a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the trial until February and give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

The senate majority leader said members would be sworn in on Tuesday and the trial would begin on Feb. 8.

“Leader McConnell is glad that Leader Schumer agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase,” Doug Andres, McConnell’s spokesman, said in a statement. “Especially given the fast and minimal process in the House, Republicans set out to ensure the Senate’s next steps will respect former President Trump’s rights and due process, the institution of the Senate, and the office of the presidency. That goal has been achieved. This is a win for due process and fairness.”

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

On Friday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Schumer’s comments in a letter sent to her House Democratic caucus, saying Trump will have had plenty of time to prepare for his upcoming Senate trial and responding to Republicans complaints that the House impeachment was rushed.

“The House has been respectful of the Senate’s constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process,” Pelosi said in the letter. “When the Article of Impeachment is transmitted to the Senate, the former President will have had nearly two weeks since we passed the Article. Our Managers are ready for trial before the 100 Senate jurors,” she wrote.

ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Trump impeachment article to be sent to Senate Monday, triggering trial

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

franckreporter/iStockBy BENJAMIN SIEGEL and KATHERINE FAULDERS

(WASHINGTON) — The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement comes after a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the trial until February and give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

The senate majority leader said members would be sworn in on Tuesday and the trial would begin on Feb. 8.

“Leader McConnell is glad that Leader Schumer agreed to Republicans’ request for additional time during the pre-trial phase,” Doug Andres, McConnell’s spokesman, said in a statement. “Especially given the fast and minimal process in the House, Republicans set out to ensure the Senate’s next steps will respect former President Trump’s rights and due process, the institution of the Senate, and the office of the presidency. That goal has been achieved. This is a win for due process and fairness.”

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

On Friday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Schumer’s comments in a letter sent to her House Democratic caucus, saying Trump will have had plenty of time to prepare for his upcoming Senate trial and responding to Republicans complaints that the House impeachment was rushed.

“The House has been respectful of the Senate’s constitutional power over the trial and always attentive to the fairness of the process,” Pelosi said in the letter. “When the Article of Impeachment is transmitted to the Senate, the former President will have had nearly two weeks since we passed the Article. Our Managers are ready for trial before the 100 Senate jurors,” she wrote.

ABC News’ Mariam Khan contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Italy takes action against TikTok following girl’s death

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Italy’s data protection authority says it is imposing an immediate block on TikTok’s access to data for any user whose age has not been verified

Italy takes action against TikTok following girl’s death

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Italy’s data protection authority says it is imposing an immediate block on TikTok’s access to data for any user whose age has not been verified

Austin makes history as first African American to lead Pentagon

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Sarah Silbiger/Getty ImagesBy MATT SEYLER, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Retired U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin on Friday took over as the first black Pentagon chief shortly after being confirmed 93-2 by the Senate.

Austin was greeted outside the Pentagon with an elbow bump by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley before heading inside to be sworn in and begin his first day as defense secretary, leading a military that is now nearly 17 percent African American.

“I look forward to working with you, see you around campus,” Austin said to reporters, ignoring questions.

After being confirmed by the Senate, Austin was administratively sworn by Tom Muir, acting director of the Washington Headquarters Services.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden signed a waiver approved by Congress allowing Austin to take the job even though it’s been fewer than seven years since he retired in 2016.

The rule for former military leaders taking over at the Pentagon was instituted to address concerns about keeping civilian control of the military and worries someone recently retired might be too wedded to policies and to people he or she worked with during their time in the military.

A similar waiver was granted in 2017 for President Donald Trump’s first defense secretary, retired U.S. Marine Gen. Jim Mattis.

“If you confirm me, I am prepared to serve now — as a civilian — fully acknowledging the importance of this distinction,” Austin said at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I understand and respect the reservations some of you have expressed about having another recently retired general at the head of the Department of Defense,” he said. “The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces, the subordination of military power to the civil.”

He pledged to surround himself with experienced civilians whom he said he would empower to “enable healthy civil-military relations, grounded in meaningful oversight.”

On Friday afternoon, Austin sent out a day-one message to the force.

“The way I see it, my job as Secretary of Defense is to make you more effective at doing yours. That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies. It means establishing sound policy and strategy and assigning you clear missions. It means putting a premium on cooperation with our allies and partners. And it means living up to our core values, the same ones our fellow citizens expect of us,” Austin said in he written message.

Austin said he planned to include the under secretary of defense for policy in top decision-making meetings “ensuring strategic and operational decisions are informed by policy.”

He said his first major challenge would be dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and said that if confirmed he will quickly review the Pentagon’s contributions to the nationwide distribution of vaccines.

Another top priority, Austin said, would be to ensure Defense Department employees have “a working environment free of discrimination, hate and harassment.”

“If confirmed, I will fight hard to stamp out sexual assault, to rid our ranks of racists and extremists, and to create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity,” said Austin. The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”

The former commander of U.S. Central Command — with jurisdiction over military activities in the Middle East — Austin retired after more than 40 years of military service, including a stint leading U.S. forces in Iraq and the campaign against the Islamic State.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, the 67-year-old Austin finished his career in 2016 as the commander of U.S. Central Command, where he was in charge of all American troops in the Middle East.

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki, noting his historic confirmation, said Austin “has been breaking barriers all his life.”

ABC News Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

Austin makes history as first African American to lead Pentagon

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Sarah Silbiger/Getty ImagesBy MATT SEYLER, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Retired U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd Austin on Friday took over as the first black Pentagon chief shortly after being confirmed 93-2 by the Senate.

Austin was greeted outside the Pentagon with an elbow bump by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley before heading inside to be sworn in and begin his first day as defense secretary, leading a military that is now nearly 17 percent African American.

“I look forward to working with you, see you around campus,” Austin said to reporters, ignoring questions.

After being confirmed by the Senate, Austin was administratively sworn by Tom Muir, acting director of the Washington Headquarters Services.

Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden signed a waiver approved by Congress allowing Austin to take the job even though it’s been fewer than seven years since he retired in 2016.

The rule for former military leaders taking over at the Pentagon was instituted to address concerns about keeping civilian control of the military and worries someone recently retired might be too wedded to policies and to people he or she worked with during their time in the military.

A similar waiver was granted in 2017 for President Donald Trump’s first defense secretary, retired U.S. Marine Gen. Jim Mattis.

“If you confirm me, I am prepared to serve now — as a civilian — fully acknowledging the importance of this distinction,” Austin said at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“I understand and respect the reservations some of you have expressed about having another recently retired general at the head of the Department of Defense,” he said. “The safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces, the subordination of military power to the civil.”

He pledged to surround himself with experienced civilians whom he said he would empower to “enable healthy civil-military relations, grounded in meaningful oversight.”

On Friday afternoon, Austin sent out a day-one message to the force.

“The way I see it, my job as Secretary of Defense is to make you more effective at doing yours. That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies. It means establishing sound policy and strategy and assigning you clear missions. It means putting a premium on cooperation with our allies and partners. And it means living up to our core values, the same ones our fellow citizens expect of us,” Austin said in he written message.

Austin said he planned to include the under secretary of defense for policy in top decision-making meetings “ensuring strategic and operational decisions are informed by policy.”

He said his first major challenge would be dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and said that if confirmed he will quickly review the Pentagon’s contributions to the nationwide distribution of vaccines.

Another top priority, Austin said, would be to ensure Defense Department employees have “a working environment free of discrimination, hate and harassment.”

“If confirmed, I will fight hard to stamp out sexual assault, to rid our ranks of racists and extremists, and to create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity,” said Austin. The job of the Department of Defense is to keep America safe from our enemies. But we can’t do that if some of those enemies lie within our own ranks.”

The former commander of U.S. Central Command — with jurisdiction over military activities in the Middle East — Austin retired after more than 40 years of military service, including a stint leading U.S. forces in Iraq and the campaign against the Islamic State.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, the 67-year-old Austin finished his career in 2016 as the commander of U.S. Central Command, where he was in charge of all American troops in the Middle East.

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki, noting his historic confirmation, said Austin “has been breaking barriers all his life.”

ABC News Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of a state lawmaker in Oklahoma

Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of a state lawmaker in Oklahoma

Mega Millions jackpot reaches $1 billion becoming 2nd-largest ever

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

The Mega Millions jackpot has increased to $1 billion for Friday night’s drawing.

Mega Millions jackpot reaches $1 billion becoming 2nd-largest ever

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

The Mega Millions jackpot has increased to $1 billion for Friday night’s drawing.

For GOP firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert, anger and suspicion linger after Capitol riot

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesBy MATTHEW MOSK and BENJAMIN SIEGEL, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Gun control advocate Eileen McCarron faced blowback last year when she quipped that newly-elected Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert would be heading to Washington to lead the “nut-job caucus.”

Afterward, McCarron said she wondered if she had gone too far. But then she saw Boebert rail about the 2020 elections, demand to carry a handgun onto the House floor, and send incendiary tweets about 1776 ahead of the U.S. Capitol violence on Jan. 6. Now, McCarron told ABC News, she thinks Boebert “may actually be worse” than she feared.

“I think it’s become clear she is a menace to our country,” said McCarron, the president of Colorado Ceasefire.

Boebert, 34, is just days into her first term as a member of Congress, and already the fast-talking, gun-toting tavern owner is proving to be a provocative and disruptive force — a reputation she says she relishes.

“I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be for this moment,” Boebert told ABC News. “I’m proud to be here. I’m not slowing down. I’m not backing down.”

The Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol served as a signal event for the Donald Trump presidency, and it has proven both defining and perilous for some of his staunchest supporters — of which Boebert is one. In the weeks since the attack, Boebert has faced suspicion from many of her new colleagues in Washington. She has endured death threats and a flood of ridicule on social media. And she has seen strong reactions from critics and even some supporters back home in Colorado.

Some of Boebert’s Colorado constituents hosted a rally calling for her expulsion from Congress last week. Democrats promoted an aggressive recruiting drive to field an opponent to run against her in 2022. And a group of 60 elected officials from the Western Colorado region Boebert represents wrote an open letter to congressional leaders calling for an investigation into Boebert’s conduct during the Jan. 6 insurrection, which they described as “irresponsible and reprehensible.”

“We have heard overwhelmingly from our constituents, therefore her constituents, that there is deep concern about her actions leading up to and during the protests that turned into a violent and deadly mob,” the letter said.

Exactly what Boebert did leading up to and during the Capitol siege remains a subject of rumors, dispute and continued controversy.

On the morning of the siege, Boebert tweeted, “Today is 1776.” She was speaking on the House floor against certifying Arizona’s election results as rioters swarmed the Capitol, saying “The Constitution makes it necessary for me to object to this travesty.” And as extremists poured into the Capitol, she tweeted: “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

Some of the most combustible claims leveled by her critics — that she secretly gave reconnaissance tours of the Capitol to extremists, that her mother was a rioter, or that her tweet about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intended to guide the mob — appear to be entirely unsupported and have been met with sharp denials from Boebert herself.

“We are getting death threats over these slanderous claims,” Boebert told ABC News. “This is complete malice. They know that this is not true and they are still running with it.”

But there are reasons that the otherwise obscure freshman congresswoman has remained a focus of attention both in Washington and at home.

One of the militants arrested for participating in the riot posted a photo online last week in which he posed, in military attire, in front of the restaurant Boebert owns in her home town of Rifle, Colorado. Authorities said the man, Robert Gieswein, is aligned with a militia group known as the “Three Percenters,” which anti-government and pro-gun views. The Southern Poverty Law Center says some members are dangerous “anti-government extremists” and the Anti-Defamation League has flagged members pushing white supremacist dogma.

Another image, taken at a pro-gun rally shortly after Boebert launched her campaign in 2019, showed her posing with local members of the Three Percenters, which was one of two organizations credited with providing security at the rally, according to published reports.

Photos of the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol showed some participants waving the Three Percenters flag during the riot.

In June, Boebert tweeted the provocative statement: “I am the militia.”

When asked about her views on anti-government militia groups, Boebert said their activity is sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution — but she stopped short of offering a full-throated endorsement of their efforts. She said she doesn’t know Robert Gieswein, the Colorado man who had posed in front of her restaurant and who was later charged with participating in the Capitol siege. She said the photos she has taken with Three Percenters should not be viewed as an endorsement of their actions.

“Lots of people attend my campaign events,” she said. “I’m not affiliated with any groups. Lots of people come out. Lots of people take photos with me. I’m not vetting every person that comes to my events.”

A recent FBI report notes that simply espousing anti-government rhetoric is not against the law, but that these types of militias represent a security threat because of their efforts to “advance that ideology through force or violence,” which is illegal.

Boebert took to Twitter on Jan. 6
to condemn the attack on the Capitol, which has been proven to involve large numbers of militia members from around the country. And she refuted many of the claims circulated about her as false — telling ABC News, for instance, that her mother did not participate in the siege and was locked in Boebert’s office the entire time.

Democrats have continued to question whether any Republican members took steps to aid the rioters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that “if people did aid and abet, there will be more than just comments from colleagues here — there will be prosecutions.”

“We should have a full investigation,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., adding that the conduct of members of Congress should “absolutely” be looked at by the FBI.

Bryson Morgan, a former investigative counsel to the House Office of Congressional Ethics, said nothing revealed so far would indicate that Boebert could face discipline.

“But we keep learning more and more about the events of Jan. 6,” Morgan said. “I would expect if a member was shown to be supporting an attack on the Capitol in any way, there would be swift action.”

Groups that monitor militia activity said they are increasingly concerned by what they have been learning about Boebert. Scott Levin, director of the Colorado chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, said his group has not been able to tie Boebert directly to any extremist or hate groups — but he said the events of Jan. 6 generated heightened suspicion.

“The language she uses is something that people will take cues from, and that will empower them and embolden them to act,” Levin said. “And that’s where the real danger is.”

Back in Colorado, people in Boebert’s district have been following her first days in Congress with a range of reactions. Boebert said she has received positive feedback from her constituents.

“My supporters who sent me to Washington, D.C., are happy with me,” she said. “My base is growing.”

Matt Scherr, a commissioner in Eagle County, said Boebert is probably correct that her conduct is not likely to siphon away support — even though he was upset by it. He said he does believe she needs to conduct herself with more care, now that she holds elective office.

“She is clearly passionate and a patriot,” Scherr said. “We were not calling for her resignation or for her to be expelled. But we would hope she learns from this and shows some contrition about what happened from the Capitol.”

Others say they are increasingly concerned by what they see as combustible rhetoric.

“I know she has a lot of supporters,” said John Clark, the mayor of the town of Ridgway in Boebert’s district.

“I just know my friends and acquaintances aren’t happy at all about what occurred on Jan. 6 and her ensuing behavior,” Clark said. “So many people are believing radical misinformation and it’s really hard to convince them otherwise — and unfortunately, Lauren Boebert is doing everything she can to spur them on.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

For GOP firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert, anger and suspicion linger after Capitol riot

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesBy MATTHEW MOSK and BENJAMIN SIEGEL, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Gun control advocate Eileen McCarron faced blowback last year when she quipped that newly-elected Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert would be heading to Washington to lead the “nut-job caucus.”

Afterward, McCarron said she wondered if she had gone too far. But then she saw Boebert rail about the 2020 elections, demand to carry a handgun onto the House floor, and send incendiary tweets about 1776 ahead of the U.S. Capitol violence on Jan. 6. Now, McCarron told ABC News, she thinks Boebert “may actually be worse” than she feared.

“I think it’s become clear she is a menace to our country,” said McCarron, the president of Colorado Ceasefire.

Boebert, 34, is just days into her first term as a member of Congress, and already the fast-talking, gun-toting tavern owner is proving to be a provocative and disruptive force — a reputation she says she relishes.

“I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be for this moment,” Boebert told ABC News. “I’m proud to be here. I’m not slowing down. I’m not backing down.”

The Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol served as a signal event for the Donald Trump presidency, and it has proven both defining and perilous for some of his staunchest supporters — of which Boebert is one. In the weeks since the attack, Boebert has faced suspicion from many of her new colleagues in Washington. She has endured death threats and a flood of ridicule on social media. And she has seen strong reactions from critics and even some supporters back home in Colorado.

Some of Boebert’s Colorado constituents hosted a rally calling for her expulsion from Congress last week. Democrats promoted an aggressive recruiting drive to field an opponent to run against her in 2022. And a group of 60 elected officials from the Western Colorado region Boebert represents wrote an open letter to congressional leaders calling for an investigation into Boebert’s conduct during the Jan. 6 insurrection, which they described as “irresponsible and reprehensible.”

“We have heard overwhelmingly from our constituents, therefore her constituents, that there is deep concern about her actions leading up to and during the protests that turned into a violent and deadly mob,” the letter said.

Exactly what Boebert did leading up to and during the Capitol siege remains a subject of rumors, dispute and continued controversy.

On the morning of the siege, Boebert tweeted, “Today is 1776.” She was speaking on the House floor against certifying Arizona’s election results as rioters swarmed the Capitol, saying “The Constitution makes it necessary for me to object to this travesty.” And as extremists poured into the Capitol, she tweeted: “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”

Some of the most combustible claims leveled by her critics — that she secretly gave reconnaissance tours of the Capitol to extremists, that her mother was a rioter, or that her tweet about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was intended to guide the mob — appear to be entirely unsupported and have been met with sharp denials from Boebert herself.

“We are getting death threats over these slanderous claims,” Boebert told ABC News. “This is complete malice. They know that this is not true and they are still running with it.”

But there are reasons that the otherwise obscure freshman congresswoman has remained a focus of attention both in Washington and at home.

One of the militants arrested for participating in the riot posted a photo online last week in which he posed, in military attire, in front of the restaurant Boebert owns in her home town of Rifle, Colorado. Authorities said the man, Robert Gieswein, is aligned with a militia group known as the “Three Percenters,” which anti-government and pro-gun views. The Southern Poverty Law Center says some members are dangerous “anti-government extremists” and the Anti-Defamation League has flagged members pushing white supremacist dogma.

Another image, taken at a pro-gun rally shortly after Boebert launched her campaign in 2019, showed her posing with local members of the Three Percenters, which was one of two organizations credited with providing security at the rally, according to published reports.

Photos of the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol showed some participants waving the Three Percenters flag during the riot.

In June, Boebert tweeted the provocative statement: “I am the militia.”

When asked about her views on anti-government militia groups, Boebert said their activity is sanctioned by the U.S. Constitution — but she stopped short of offering a full-throated endorsement of their efforts. She said she doesn’t know Robert Gieswein, the Colorado man who had posed in front of her restaurant and who was later charged with participating in the Capitol siege. She said the photos she has taken with Three Percenters should not be viewed as an endorsement of their actions.

“Lots of people attend my campaign events,” she said. “I’m not affiliated with any groups. Lots of people come out. Lots of people take photos with me. I’m not vetting every person that comes to my events.”

A recent FBI report notes that simply espousing anti-government rhetoric is not against the law, but that these types of militias represent a security threat because of their efforts to “advance that ideology through force or violence,” which is illegal.

Boebert took to Twitter on Jan. 6
to condemn the attack on the Capitol, which has been proven to involve large numbers of militia members from around the country. And she refuted many of the claims circulated about her as false — telling ABC News, for instance, that her mother did not participate in the siege and was locked in Boebert’s office the entire time.

Democrats have continued to question whether any Republican members took steps to aid the rioters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Thursday that “if people did aid and abet, there will be more than just comments from colleagues here — there will be prosecutions.”

“We should have a full investigation,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., adding that the conduct of members of Congress should “absolutely” be looked at by the FBI.

Bryson Morgan, a former investigative counsel to the House Office of Congressional Ethics, said nothing revealed so far would indicate that Boebert could face discipline.

“But we keep learning more and more about the events of Jan. 6,” Morgan said. “I would expect if a member was shown to be supporting an attack on the Capitol in any way, there would be swift action.”

Groups that monitor militia activity said they are increasingly concerned by what they have been learning about Boebert. Scott Levin, director of the Colorado chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, said his group has not been able to tie Boebert directly to any extremist or hate groups — but he said the events of Jan. 6 generated heightened suspicion.

“The language she uses is something that people will take cues from, and that will empower them and embolden them to act,” Levin said. “And that’s where the real danger is.”

Back in Colorado, people in Boebert’s district have been following her first days in Congress with a range of reactions. Boebert said she has received positive feedback from her constituents.

“My supporters who sent me to Washington, D.C., are happy with me,” she said. “My base is growing.”

Matt Scherr, a commissioner in Eagle County, said Boebert is probably correct that her conduct is not likely to siphon away support — even though he was upset by it. He said he does believe she needs to conduct herself with more care, now that she holds elective office.

“She is clearly passionate and a patriot,” Scherr said. “We were not calling for her resignation or for her to be expelled. But we would hope she learns from this and shows some contrition about what happened from the Capitol.”

Others say they are increasingly concerned by what they see as combustible rhetoric.

“I know she has a lot of supporters,” said John Clark, the mayor of the town of Ridgway in Boebert’s district.

“I just know my friends and acquaintances aren’t happy at all about what occurred on Jan. 6 and her ensuing behavior,” Clark said. “So many people are believing radical misinformation and it’s really hard to convince them otherwise — and unfortunately, Lauren Boebert is doing everything she can to spur them on.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Schumer announces Trump impeachment article to be sent to Senate Monday

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

franckreporter/iStockBy BENJAMIN SIEGEL and KATHERINE FAULDERS, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement comes after a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the trial until February and give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Schumer announces Trump impeachment article to be sent to Senate Monday

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

franckreporter/iStockBy BENJAMIN SIEGEL and KATHERINE FAULDERS, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement comes after a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the trial until February and give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

GOP lawmaker with gun sets off House chamber metal detector

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Capitol Police are investigating an incident in Congress involving a Republican lawmaker and a gun

GOP lawmaker with gun sets off House chamber metal detector

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Capitol Police are investigating an incident in Congress involving a Republican lawmaker and a gun

Biden’s first 100 days live updates: Pelosi expected to send impeachment article Monday

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ, MEREDITH DELISO, LAUREN KING, MICHELLE STODDART and CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — This is Day Three of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 22, 11:11 am
Senate confirms Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense

By a vote of 93-2, the Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense on Friday.

He is the second Senate-confirmed Biden appointee and now becomes the first African American to lead the Department of Defense.

Jan 22, 11:07 am
Senate Finance Committee unanimously advances Yellen’s nomination

Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, had her nomination unanimously advanced by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday.

Her nomination will now go to the full Senate floor for final confirmation.

Yellen is the former chair of the Federal Reserve and, if confirmed by the Senate, would become the first woman to lead the Treasury.

Jan 22, 10:51 am
Photos of National Guardsmen resting in the parking lot sparks outrage

Lawmakers expressed outrage on Twitter Thursday night after photos of National Guardsmen allegedly being booted out of the congressional grounds and sequestered into a parking garage for their breaks went viral.

The images were first reported by Politico, which stated that thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds and take rest breaks in a parking garage.

Tens of thousands of guardsmen were originally summoned to the nation’s capital to assist with security for Biden’s inauguration after the deadly mob attack earlier this month at the Capitol building.  

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle responded to the reports on Twitter.

“If this is true, it’s outrageous,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote. “I will get to the bottom of this.”

The verified Senate Republicans Twitter handle called it “unacceptable” and said the guardsmen “should be welcomed back inside the Capitol ASAP.”

Military veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, called the news “unreal.”

“I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers we’ve been asking to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building,” Duckworth said. “I am demanding answers ASAP. They can use my office.”

On Friday morning, the Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman issued a statement assuring that, “with the exception of specific times on Inauguration Day itself while the swearing-in ceremonies were underway, the United States Capitol police did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities.”

Pittman said that the Capitol Police has worked tirelessly to identify accommodations for the guardsmen and that on Friday, “the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Office Building reached out directly to the National Guard to offer use of its facilities.”

“As of this morning, all Guardsmen and women have been relocated to space within the Capitol Complex,” Pittman added. “The Department is also working with the Guard to reduce the need for sleeping accommodations by establishing shorter shifts and will ensure they have access to the comfortable accommodations they absolutely deserve when the need arises.”

Jan 22, 10:18 am
Article of impeachment will be delivered to Senate on Monday: Schumer

The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement follows a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay the trial until February to give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

Jan 22, 7:57 am
‘We’re not packing our bags at 100 million shots,’ Psaki says

While White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that Biden’s goal of getting 100 million Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 within the first 100 days of his presidency “was bold at the time” it was set and “continues to be,” she insisted their efforts won’t stop there.

“When we reach that goal, and we’re confident we will, we’re going to build from there. So we’re not packing our bags at 100 million shots in the arms of Americans,” Psaki told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.

“We want to make sure that people know that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable and we’re going to do everything to make sure we’re getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” she added.

Addressing the criticism from some congressional Republicans on Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, Psaki said the emergency relief plan “is big because the crises are big” but that it’s really just an opening offer and the president believes they can get a bipartisan package.

“This is exactly how it should work,” she said, “and it feels maybe unfamiliar to many people.”

“The president of the United States laid out his agenda, laid out his bold vision. There’s going to be a discussion with members of congress of both parties about where we go from here,” she continued. “They’ll like some pieces, they won’t like some pieces, we’ll see what the sausage looks like when it comes out of the machine.”

“He’s an optimist by nature, I can confirm for the American public,” she said of Biden. “But also he’s a believer, having spent 36 years in the Senate, that when the country is facing a crisis — and we’re facing multiple right now, not just health, the pandemic — that Democrats and Republicans are going to have to come together to agree on a package to address this crisis.”

When asked whether the Biden administration favours a delay on Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate in order to get more cabinet members confirmed, Psaki dodged the question and instead emphasized the urgent need for the confirmation process to move quickly.

“We want it to be expedited,” she said. “Again, you know, the president is somebody who’s focused on working with both parties to get both his cabinet through, address the crises we’re facing, and that’s what we’re going to work to do everyday. We’ll see if we’re successful.”

Jan 22, 7:25 am
Harris to stay at Blair House while Naval Observatory undergoes repairs

Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, will stay at Blair House while repairs at the vice president’s official residence, the Naval Observatory, are underway, a spokesperson told ABC News.

Blair House, which was built in 1824, is located just steps from the White House and is the oldest of four connected townhouses that comprise the president’s guest house.

An aide had previously confirmed that Harris will not immediately move into the Naval Observatory to “allow for repairs to the home that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.” The repairs are to replace the liners in the chimneys “and other household maintenance,” the aide said.

Jan 22, 1:30 am
Biden to outline response to US economic crisis

On his third day in office, President Joe Biden will tackle one of the country’s biggest issues: the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden will deliver remarks on his administration’s response to the economic crisis in the U.S. Friday afternoon, according to the White House.

His announcement will come as so many Americans (at least 900,000) continue to battle with unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Biden will also continue to sign executive orders, the White House said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden’s first 100 days live updates: Pelosi expected to send impeachment article Monday

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ, MEREDITH DELISO, LAUREN KING, MICHELLE STODDART and CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — This is Day Three of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 22, 11:11 am
Senate confirms Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of defense

By a vote of 93-2, the Senate confirmed Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense on Friday.

He is the second Senate-confirmed Biden appointee and now becomes the first African American to lead the Department of Defense.

Jan 22, 11:07 am
Senate Finance Committee unanimously advances Yellen’s nomination

Janet Yellen, Biden’s pick for treasury secretary, had her nomination unanimously advanced by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday.

Her nomination will now go to the full Senate floor for final confirmation.

Yellen is the former chair of the Federal Reserve and, if confirmed by the Senate, would become the first woman to lead the Treasury.

Jan 22, 10:51 am
Photos of National Guardsmen resting in the parking lot sparks outrage

Lawmakers expressed outrage on Twitter Thursday night after photos of National Guardsmen allegedly being booted out of the congressional grounds and sequestered into a parking garage for their breaks went viral.

The images were first reported by Politico, which stated that thousands of National Guardsmen were forced to vacate congressional grounds and take rest breaks in a parking garage.

Tens of thousands of guardsmen were originally summoned to the nation’s capital to assist with security for Biden’s inauguration after the deadly mob attack earlier this month at the Capitol building.  

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle responded to the reports on Twitter.

“If this is true, it’s outrageous,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote. “I will get to the bottom of this.”

The verified Senate Republicans Twitter handle called it “unacceptable” and said the guardsmen “should be welcomed back inside the Capitol ASAP.”

Military veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, called the news “unreal.”

“I can’t believe that the same brave servicemembers we’ve been asking to protect our Capitol and our Constitution these last two weeks would be unceremoniously ordered to vacate the building,” Duckworth said. “I am demanding answers ASAP. They can use my office.”

On Friday morning, the Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman issued a statement assuring that, “with the exception of specific times on Inauguration Day itself while the swearing-in ceremonies were underway, the United States Capitol police did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities.”

Pittman said that the Capitol Police has worked tirelessly to identify accommodations for the guardsmen and that on Friday, “the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Office Building reached out directly to the National Guard to offer use of its facilities.”

“As of this morning, all Guardsmen and women have been relocated to space within the Capitol Complex,” Pittman added. “The Department is also working with the Guard to reduce the need for sleeping accommodations by establishing shorter shifts and will ensure they have access to the comfortable accommodations they absolutely deserve when the need arises.”

Jan 22, 10:18 am
Article of impeachment will be delivered to Senate on Monday: Schumer

The House will deliver the impeachment article against former President Trump to the Senate on Monday, formally launching trial proceedings next week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor Friday.

Schumer’s announcement follows a request from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to delay the trial until February to give Trump and his still-forming legal team time to prepare a defense.

Trump will be the first former president to face an impeachment trial. Some Senate Republicans have argued that the trial would be unconstitutional because the 45th president is no longer in office, a stance that could trigger a Senate debate and vote on the validity of the trial in the coming weeks.

“I have spoken to Speaker Pelosi who informed me that the articles will be delivered to the Senate on Monday,” Schumer said.

“The Senate will conduct a trial of the impeachment of Donald Trump. It will be a full trial, it will be a fair trial,” he added, without details on the length or format of the proceedings.

Jan 22, 7:57 am
‘We’re not packing our bags at 100 million shots,’ Psaki says

While White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that Biden’s goal of getting 100 million Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 within the first 100 days of his presidency “was bold at the time” it was set and “continues to be,” she insisted their efforts won’t stop there.

“When we reach that goal, and we’re confident we will, we’re going to build from there. So we’re not packing our bags at 100 million shots in the arms of Americans,” Psaki told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.

“We want to make sure that people know that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable and we’re going to do everything to make sure we’re getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” she added.

Addressing the criticism from some congressional Republicans on Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, Psaki said the emergency relief plan “is big because the crises are big” but that it’s really just an opening offer and the president believes they can get a bipartisan package.

“This is exactly how it should work,” she said, “and it feels maybe unfamiliar to many people.”

“The president of the United States laid out his agenda, laid out his bold vision. There’s going to be a discussion with members of congress of both parties about where we go from here,” she continued. “They’ll like some pieces, they won’t like some pieces, we’ll see what the sausage looks like when it comes out of the machine.”

“He’s an optimist by nature, I can confirm for the American public,” she said of Biden. “But also he’s a believer, having spent 36 years in the Senate, that when the country is facing a crisis — and we’re facing multiple right now, not just health, the pandemic — that Democrats and Republicans are going to have to come together to agree on a package to address this crisis.”

When asked whether the Biden administration favours a delay on Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate in order to get more cabinet members confirmed, Psaki dodged the question and instead emphasized the urgent need for the confirmation process to move quickly.

“We want it to be expedited,” she said. “Again, you know, the president is somebody who’s focused on working with both parties to get both his cabinet through, address the crises we’re facing, and that’s what we’re going to work to do everyday. We’ll see if we’re successful.”

Jan 22, 7:25 am
Harris to stay at Blair House while Naval Observatory undergoes repairs

Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, will stay at Blair House while repairs at the vice president’s official residence, the Naval Observatory, are underway, a spokesperson told ABC News.

Blair House, which was built in 1824, is located just steps from the White House and is the oldest of four connected townhouses that comprise the president’s guest house.

An aide had previously confirmed that Harris will not immediately move into the Naval Observatory to “allow for repairs to the home that are more easily conducted with the home unoccupied.” The repairs are to replace the liners in the chimneys “and other household maintenance,” the aide said.

Jan 22, 1:30 am
Biden to outline response to US economic crisis

On his third day in office, President Joe Biden will tackle one of the country’s biggest issues: the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden will deliver remarks on his administration’s response to the economic crisis in the U.S. Friday afternoon, according to the White House.

His announcement will come as so many Americans (at least 900,000) continue to battle with unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Biden will also continue to sign executive orders, the White House said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden takes steps to require federal contractors pay $15 minimum wage

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy MOLLY NAGLE and BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden plans to sign a pair of executive orders Friday aimed at expanding food assistance for tens of millions of Americans and launching a process that will require federal contractors to pay their workers a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave.

The moves come on Biden’s second full day in office, and continue a string of executive actions he’s taken to jumpstart his agenda and set the tone for his administration amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has left families struggling economically.

“We’re at a precarious moment in our economy. We saw again today 900,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, another week at a level above any week during the Great Recession,” White House National Economic Director Brian Deese said on a call Thursday night previewing the orders. “More than …10 million Americans are out of work, 14 million Americans are behind on their rent and nearly 30 million adults and as many as 12 million children are experiencing food insecurity.”

Biden plans to sign an executive order that will expand protections for federal workers, including putting federal agencies on a path to require a $15 minimum wage for contractors.

But that minimum wage won’t come right away. Instead, Biden plans to direct the federal government “to start the work that would allow him to issue” an order “within the first 100 days” that would require federal contractors to pay at least $15 per hour, according to the White House.

The eventual executive action would also provide emergency paid leave to workers, the White House said.

The order Biden plans to sign Friday will also restore collective bargaining power and other protections to workers by revoking several of former President Donald Trump’s executive orders.

The actions echo policy steps Biden advocated on the campaign trail, and were included in the joint recommendations from the Biden-Sanders unity task forces created shortly after Biden secured Sen. Bernie Sanders’ endorsement in the 2020 race.

It will also reverse a move Trump made in October to reclassify a portion of federal workers in a way that made them easier to fire by the politically appointed leaders of agencies, the White House said. The order will eliminate “Schedule F,” the name of the classification that Trump’s order created.

Biden also plans to sign an additional order asking various agencies to take action during the pandemic to increase federal food assistance programs, and assist families in receiving economic aid they qualify for during the pandemic.

Biden’s executive order would address the 29 million Americans struggling with hunger by asking the Department of Agriculture to expand food assistance for school children missing meals due to school closures by 15%, increase emergency SNAP benefits to the lowest income homes in the country and revise the amount of benefits provided by the program to better cover the cost of a healthy diet, according to the White House.

Biden will also ask the Treasury Department to ensure all Americans receive their direct stimulus payments by creating an online tool to allow recipients to claim the payment, and ask the Department of Labor to clarify rules for federal workers to allow them to apply for unemployment insurance if they refuse a job due to health concerns.

The order will set up coordinated benefit delivery teams to work with small businesses and workers to navigate how to receive benefits available to them through state and federal resources as well.

Deese stressed that the actions Biden planned to take would offer some assistance, but were far from comprehensive, urging Congress to pass Biden’s ambitious $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package he introduced last week.

“We hope that Congress will move quickly to consider this important plant,” he said. “But … the American people can’t afford to wait. And so many are hanging by a thread, they need help, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that help as quickly as possible.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden takes steps to require federal contractors pay $15 minimum wage

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy MOLLY NAGLE and BEN GITTLESON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden plans to sign a pair of executive orders Friday aimed at expanding food assistance for tens of millions of Americans and launching a process that will require federal contractors to pay their workers a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave.

The moves come on Biden’s second full day in office, and continue a string of executive actions he’s taken to jumpstart his agenda and set the tone for his administration amid a COVID-19 pandemic that has left families struggling economically.

“We’re at a precarious moment in our economy. We saw again today 900,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, another week at a level above any week during the Great Recession,” White House National Economic Director Brian Deese said on a call Thursday night previewing the orders. “More than …10 million Americans are out of work, 14 million Americans are behind on their rent and nearly 30 million adults and as many as 12 million children are experiencing food insecurity.”

Biden plans to sign an executive order that will expand protections for federal workers, including putting federal agencies on a path to require a $15 minimum wage for contractors.

But that minimum wage won’t come right away. Instead, Biden plans to direct the federal government “to start the work that would allow him to issue” an order “within the first 100 days” that would require federal contractors to pay at least $15 per hour, according to the White House.

The eventual executive action would also provide emergency paid leave to workers, the White House said.

The order Biden plans to sign Friday will also restore collective bargaining power and other protections to workers by revoking several of former President Donald Trump’s executive orders.

The actions echo policy steps Biden advocated on the campaign trail, and were included in the joint recommendations from the Biden-Sanders unity task forces created shortly after Biden secured Sen. Bernie Sanders’ endorsement in the 2020 race.

It will also reverse a move Trump made in October to reclassify a portion of federal workers in a way that made them easier to fire by the politically appointed leaders of agencies, the White House said. The order will eliminate “Schedule F,” the name of the classification that Trump’s order created.

Biden also plans to sign an additional order asking various agencies to take action during the pandemic to increase federal food assistance programs, and assist families in receiving economic aid they qualify for during the pandemic.

Biden’s executive order would address the 29 million Americans struggling with hunger by asking the Department of Agriculture to expand food assistance for school children missing meals due to school closures by 15%, increase emergency SNAP benefits to the lowest income homes in the country and revise the amount of benefits provided by the program to better cover the cost of a healthy diet, according to the White House.

Biden will also ask the Treasury Department to ensure all Americans receive their direct stimulus payments by creating an online tool to allow recipients to claim the payment, and ask the Department of Labor to clarify rules for federal workers to allow them to apply for unemployment insurance if they refuse a job due to health concerns.

The order will set up coordinated benefit delivery teams to work with small businesses and workers to navigate how to receive benefits available to them through state and federal resources as well.

Deese stressed that the actions Biden planned to take would offer some assistance, but were far from comprehensive, urging Congress to pass Biden’s ambitious $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package he introduced last week.

“We hope that Congress will move quickly to consider this important plant,” he said. “But … the American people can’t afford to wait. And so many are hanging by a thread, they need help, and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that help as quickly as possible.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden’s first 100 days live updates: President to outline response to US economic crisis

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ, MEREDITH DELISO, LAUREN KING and MICHELLE STODDART, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — This is Day Three of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 22, 1:30 am
Biden to outline response to US economic crisis

On his third day in office, President Joe Biden will tackle one of the country’s biggest issues: the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden will deliver remarks on his administration’s response to the economic crisis in the U.S. Friday afternoon, according to the White House.

His announcement will come as so many Americans (at least 900,000) continue to battle with unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Biden will also continue to sign executive orders, the White House said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden’s first 100 days live updates: President to outline response to US economic crisis

Posted on: January 22nd, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesBy LIBBY CATHEY, ADIA ROBINSON, JACK ARNHOLZ, MEREDITH DELISO, LAUREN KING and MICHELLE STODDART, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — This is Day Three of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 22, 1:30 am
Biden to outline response to US economic crisis

On his third day in office, President Joe Biden will tackle one of the country’s biggest issues: the economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden will deliver remarks on his administration’s response to the economic crisis in the U.S. Friday afternoon, according to the White House.

His announcement will come as so many Americans (at least 900,000) continue to battle with unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Biden will also continue to sign executive orders, the White House said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Biden to seek 5-year extension of last nuclear arms pact with Russia

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

rusm/iStockBy CONOR FINNEGAN

(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration is working to extend the last nuclear arms control pact between the U.S. and Russia for five years, the White House announced Thursday, seeking to stave off a nuclear arms race with Moscow even as President Joe Biden promises to be tougher than his predecessor Donald Trump.

The decision to extend the pact, which expires on Feb. 5, was hailed by many arms control experts as important to stabilizing the relationship between the two largest nuclear-armed powers. But critics, including Trump’s envoy for arms control who spent months negotiating with Russian officials, denounced it as a concession to Vladimir Putin.

Biden is looking to put Russia on notice in other areas, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, by ordering the intelligence community to issue a full assessment on recent Russian aggression, including the massive SolarWinds hack and the alleged bounties offered to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.

“This extension makes more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial, as it is at this time,” Psaki said during a briefing, calling the pact the “only remaining treaty constraining Russian nuclear forces” and “an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries.”

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a 2010 pact signed by Biden’s former boss Barack Obama and known as New START, limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and includes verification measures like on-site inspections and data sharing.

Russia had been asking the U.S. to extend the treaty for five years — a move allowed under the treaty’s provisions. In a statement published while Biden was inaugurated Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the Trump administration for ultimately refusing to extend the treaty and called for its immediate extension while the two sides negotiated a more expansive framework for nuclear arms control.

Trump’s envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea said the prior administration also sought that wider framework, but pursued a shorter-term freeze on both countries’ nuclear weapons programs in the meantime, including caps on so-called “non-strategic” nuclear arms. Those are smaller-range or less advanced weapons, which are not covered under New START or other past nuclear arms-control treaties and of which Russia has a much larger stockpile.

“We are getting nothing for extending,” tweeted Billingslea, accusing the Biden administration of “a stunning lack of negotiating skill.”

Russia had rejected Billingslea’s offer of a shorter-term extension or any freeze that included a verification regime.

With just two weeks until New START expires, arms control advocates welcomed Biden’s decision, arguing it allows the administration to now use that five-year window to strike a larger deal and push to bring China into talks — something Billingslea fought to do, but that Beijing repeatedly rebuffed.

Extension “sustains a stable U.S.-Russian nuclear balance and provides predictability as the U.S. modernizes its nuclear forces. Russia and the U.S. must stay within New START limits, avoiding an arms race,” tweeted Rose Gottemoeller, the former deputy secretary-general of NATO and the top arms control official under the Obama administration who helped negotiate New START.

Predictability would be helpful, given the turmoil in the rest of U.S.-Russian relations, sinking even lower during Trump’s term even as he called for “getting along” with Putin’s government. Biden ordered the intelligence community to provide a full assessment of Russia’s aggressive activity in the last year.

“Even as we work with Russia to advance U.S. interests, so too we work to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” Psaki said at the White House, intending to show a harder line on Russia early.

The assessments will cover the SolarWinds hack that affected dozens of government agencies and private companies, any interference in the 2020 elections, the use of chemical weapons attack to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the possible bounties offered the Taliban to killed U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

ABC News’s Patrick Reevell contributed to this report from Moscow.

Biden to seek 5-year extension of last nuclear arms pact with Russia

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

rusm/iStockBy CONOR FINNEGAN

(WASHINGTON) — The Biden administration is working to extend the last nuclear arms control pact between the U.S. and Russia for five years, the White House announced Thursday, seeking to stave off a nuclear arms race with Moscow even as President Joe Biden promises to be tougher than his predecessor Donald Trump.

The decision to extend the pact, which expires on Feb. 5, was hailed by many arms control experts as important to stabilizing the relationship between the two largest nuclear-armed powers. But critics, including Trump’s envoy for arms control who spent months negotiating with Russian officials, denounced it as a concession to Vladimir Putin.

Biden is looking to put Russia on notice in other areas, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, by ordering the intelligence community to issue a full assessment on recent Russian aggression, including the massive SolarWinds hack and the alleged bounties offered to the Taliban for killing U.S. troops.

“This extension makes more sense when the relationship with Russia is adversarial, as it is at this time,” Psaki said during a briefing, calling the pact the “only remaining treaty constraining Russian nuclear forces” and “an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries.”

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a 2010 pact signed by Biden’s former boss Barack Obama and known as New START, limits each side to 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads and includes verification measures like on-site inspections and data sharing.

Russia had been asking the U.S. to extend the treaty for five years — a move allowed under the treaty’s provisions. In a statement published while Biden was inaugurated Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the Trump administration for ultimately refusing to extend the treaty and called for its immediate extension while the two sides negotiated a more expansive framework for nuclear arms control.

Trump’s envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea said the prior administration also sought that wider framework, but pursued a shorter-term freeze on both countries’ nuclear weapons programs in the meantime, including caps on so-called “non-strategic” nuclear arms. Those are smaller-range or less advanced weapons, which are not covered under New START or other past nuclear arms-control treaties and of which Russia has a much larger stockpile.

“We are getting nothing for extending,” tweeted Billingslea, accusing the Biden administration of “a stunning lack of negotiating skill.”

Russia had rejected Billingslea’s offer of a shorter-term extension or any freeze that included a verification regime.

With just two weeks until New START expires, arms control advocates welcomed Biden’s decision, arguing it allows the administration to now use that five-year window to strike a larger deal and push to bring China into talks — something Billingslea fought to do, but that Beijing repeatedly rebuffed.

Extension “sustains a stable U.S.-Russian nuclear balance and provides predictability as the U.S. modernizes its nuclear forces. Russia and the U.S. must stay within New START limits, avoiding an arms race,” tweeted Rose Gottemoeller, the former deputy secretary-general of NATO and the top arms control official under the Obama administration who helped negotiate New START.

Predictability would be helpful, given the turmoil in the rest of U.S.-Russian relations, sinking even lower during Trump’s term even as he called for “getting along” with Putin’s government. Biden ordered the intelligence community to provide a full assessment of Russia’s aggressive activity in the last year.

“Even as we work with Russia to advance U.S. interests, so too we work to hold Russia to account for its reckless and adversarial actions,” Psaki said at the White House, intending to show a harder line on Russia early.

The assessments will cover the SolarWinds hack that affected dozens of government agencies and private companies, any interference in the 2020 elections, the use of chemical weapons attack to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the possible bounties offered the Taliban to killed U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

ABC News’s Patrick Reevell contributed to this report from Moscow.

Vaccinating America is easier said than done: 5 things to know about Biden’s plan

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesBy ANNE FLAHERTY and CHEYENNE HASLETT, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is out with a new 200-page COVID-19 national strategy aimed at turning around the pandemic, including an ambitious new effort to boost supply and set up vaccine storefronts across America.

But vaccinating America in record time amid a fast-moving pandemic is easier said than done. Here’s what to know about Biden’s pledge of 100 million shots in 100 days.

There’s been 1 million shots per day in recent days, and it’s still not enough

If President Donald Trump overpromised on the vaccine, it appears Biden might be under-promising with his pledge to administer 100 million doses in 100 days.

In the final few days of the Trump administration, officials said they estimated some 1 million doses were being injected per day in recent days — the same pace Biden is promising now. So while Biden and his team are insisting this goal is ambitious, that pace is already mostly on track.

Worth noting too that public health experts say 1 million shots a day isn’t nearly fast enough to wrest the virus under control any time soon. That’s because two doses are needed for a person to be considered immunized, or protected.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and now Biden’s chief medical adviser, estimated 70 to 85% of the country’s 325 million population will need to become immune for the pandemic to die out. So to get there anytime soon, Biden would need to think bigger — more like 2 million shots per day.

Biden rejected the suggestion that his goal was too low, telling reporters on Thursday “come on, give me a break, man. It’s a good start.”

Mobile vaccine vans will help, but what’s needed now is supply

Among Biden’s ideas: vaccination storefronts run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and mobile vans that can carry vaccine doses into rural areas or neighborhoods without a pharmacy.

But what many states and mayors say they need is simply more supply to tap into to fill the nation’s estimated 40,000 to 50,000 pharmacies that insist they have the capacity to administer vaccines.

CVS, for example, said in a statement this month that it is ready to administer 1 million shots a day if it had the supply.

“I saw some of this stuff Biden’s putting out, that he’s going to create these FEMA camps, I can tell you, that’s not necessary in Florida,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an ally of former President Donald Trump, in a press conference this week.

“All we need is more vaccine. Just get us more vaccine,” DeSantis said.

Likewise, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said more vaccine is what’s needed now.

“Once we have more, we can take these numbers to a whole new place,” he told reporters on Thursday. “We can vaccinate vast numbers of New Yorkers quickly, so long as there is the supply.”

Boosting supply is easier said than done.

Both Moderna and Pfizer use vaccines that rely on a relatively new method that prompts cells to make proteins that will trigger an immune response to the virus. It’s a new type of vaccine that has never before been manufactured on such a massive scale.

Currently, there are only about 10 million doses rolling off production lines between Pfizer and Moderna.

To boost supply, Biden has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would refocus U.S. factories in the interest of national security. But it’s not as simple as flipping a switch — for example, instructing a factory that currently makes antacids to suddenly start churning out raw ingredients or finished doses of this new type of vaccine.

And it’s still not clear what raw materials and supplies the vaccine makers need to scale up production beyond what the Trump administration has done.

Under Trump, the federal government has already given six vaccine developers, including Pfizer and Moderna, “priority ratings” under the DPA extensive assistance to put them first in line for supplies and helped the companies acquire any scarce supplies and equipment.

Biden’s team said they still want to know if more can be done, including opportunities to obtain a specific type of needle that makes it easier to extract a sixth dose out of each vial of Pfizer vaccine, increasing the supply by about 20%.

Jeff Zients, Biden’s coordinator on the federal COVID-19 response, told reporters on Wednesday that the Trump administration wasn’t forthcoming on information.

“We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations,” he told reporters.

The Trump administration denies it held back information and insists it used the DPA to the extent that it made sense, including invoking the law 18 times to apply “priority ratings” for all six vaccine developers, including Pfizer and Moderna.

An Health and Human Services spokesperson said Thursday that the government has helped with “expedited delivery” of such raw materials as sucrose and lipids, consumable supplies such as bio-reactor bags and equipment to expand production capacity for vials, needles and syringes.

He said the government also has “embedded” employees at key manufacturing facilities to identify bottlenecks in production.

Biden’s plan relies on industry cooperation

The DPA comes with restrictions that some companies might not want. So it’ll be up to Biden to strike a balance between strong-arming industry and ensuring cooperation.

Invoking the law with a particular company means that business can’t export the supplies it makes overseas. The purpose is to “address the need at home,” said Nick Vyas, the executive director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California.

And if the resource is considered essential, companies also can’t decline the request from the government under the DPA. They are compensated, however, and once their contract with the U.S. government is fulfilled, could use excess supply to tap into an overseas need, Vyas said.

Vyas, who urged the Trump administration to tap into the DPA, said he’s not worried about an industry backlash.

“My view is we will secure enough to capacity while not isolating the rest of the world,” he said.

The real test, Vyas said, will be executing down to the last mile of delivery, ensuring everything reaches its destination on time and for the right place.

“I’ve spoken to over 150 national health care systems over the last 11 months. They’re crying for help, resources, guidance,” he said. “So hopefully, we do this flawlessly, smartly, and hopefully, we don’t fail in our execution of this responsibility.”

There’s still no good way to track vaccinations nationwide in real-time.

While officials are estimating the number of shots in arms based on data provided by the states, the nation doesn’t have a clear picture of exactly how many people have gotten the vaccine and where.

One Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows 36 million doses distributed, but only 16.5 million doses administered, even though many states and large cities say they are out of doses to give.

Federal officials say the number of shots in arms is likely as much as three days behind because states have 72 hours to input the data. But some state officials also insist the numbers are off or wrongly suggest that they have doses sitting around when some doses are reserved for people’s second shots.

The information needs to flow better to the states too so they can plan, particularly if supply availability ramps up.

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, said his commitment to transparency will be a big step.

“Some of these strategies he’s planning — I think they’re good. I think they needed to be coordinated with states,” she said. “But the bottom line is you need an increase in doses to do that. And right now it’s unclear whether we have an increase in doses or not.”

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Vaccinating America is easier said than done: 5 things to know about Biden’s plan

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesBy ANNE FLAHERTY and CHEYENNE HASLETT, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is out with a new 200-page COVID-19 national strategy aimed at turning around the pandemic, including an ambitious new effort to boost supply and set up vaccine storefronts across America.

But vaccinating America in record time amid a fast-moving pandemic is easier said than done. Here’s what to know about Biden’s pledge of 100 million shots in 100 days.

There’s been 1 million shots per day in recent days, and it’s still not enough

If President Donald Trump overpromised on the vaccine, it appears Biden might be under-promising with his pledge to administer 100 million doses in 100 days.

In the final few days of the Trump administration, officials said they estimated some 1 million doses were being injected per day in recent days — the same pace Biden is promising now. So while Biden and his team are insisting this goal is ambitious, that pace is already mostly on track.

Worth noting too that public health experts say 1 million shots a day isn’t nearly fast enough to wrest the virus under control any time soon. That’s because two doses are needed for a person to be considered immunized, or protected.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and now Biden’s chief medical adviser, estimated 70 to 85% of the country’s 325 million population will need to become immune for the pandemic to die out. So to get there anytime soon, Biden would need to think bigger — more like 2 million shots per day.

Biden rejected the suggestion that his goal was too low, telling reporters on Thursday “come on, give me a break, man. It’s a good start.”

Mobile vaccine vans will help, but what’s needed now is supply

Among Biden’s ideas: vaccination storefronts run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and mobile vans that can carry vaccine doses into rural areas or neighborhoods without a pharmacy.

But what many states and mayors say they need is simply more supply to tap into to fill the nation’s estimated 40,000 to 50,000 pharmacies that insist they have the capacity to administer vaccines.

CVS, for example, said in a statement this month that it is ready to administer 1 million shots a day if it had the supply.

“I saw some of this stuff Biden’s putting out, that he’s going to create these FEMA camps, I can tell you, that’s not necessary in Florida,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, an ally of former President Donald Trump, in a press conference this week.

“All we need is more vaccine. Just get us more vaccine,” DeSantis said.

Likewise, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said more vaccine is what’s needed now.

“Once we have more, we can take these numbers to a whole new place,” he told reporters on Thursday. “We can vaccinate vast numbers of New Yorkers quickly, so long as there is the supply.”

Boosting supply is easier said than done.

Both Moderna and Pfizer use vaccines that rely on a relatively new method that prompts cells to make proteins that will trigger an immune response to the virus. It’s a new type of vaccine that has never before been manufactured on such a massive scale.

Currently, there are only about 10 million doses rolling off production lines between Pfizer and Moderna.

To boost supply, Biden has vowed to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would refocus U.S. factories in the interest of national security. But it’s not as simple as flipping a switch — for example, instructing a factory that currently makes antacids to suddenly start churning out raw ingredients or finished doses of this new type of vaccine.

And it’s still not clear what raw materials and supplies the vaccine makers need to scale up production beyond what the Trump administration has done.

Under Trump, the federal government has already given six vaccine developers, including Pfizer and Moderna, “priority ratings” under the DPA extensive assistance to put them first in line for supplies and helped the companies acquire any scarce supplies and equipment.

Biden’s team said they still want to know if more can be done, including opportunities to obtain a specific type of needle that makes it easier to extract a sixth dose out of each vial of Pfizer vaccine, increasing the supply by about 20%.

Jeff Zients, Biden’s coordinator on the federal COVID-19 response, told reporters on Wednesday that the Trump administration wasn’t forthcoming on information.

“We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations,” he told reporters.

The Trump administration denies it held back information and insists it used the DPA to the extent that it made sense, including invoking the law 18 times to apply “priority ratings” for all six vaccine developers, including Pfizer and Moderna.

An Health and Human Services spokesperson said Thursday that the government has helped with “expedited delivery” of such raw materials as sucrose and lipids, consumable supplies such as bio-reactor bags and equipment to expand production capacity for vials, needles and syringes.

He said the government also has “embedded” employees at key manufacturing facilities to identify bottlenecks in production.

Biden’s plan relies on industry cooperation

The DPA comes with restrictions that some companies might not want. So it’ll be up to Biden to strike a balance between strong-arming industry and ensuring cooperation.

Invoking the law with a particular company means that business can’t export the supplies it makes overseas. The purpose is to “address the need at home,” said Nick Vyas, the executive director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California.

And if the resource is considered essential, companies also can’t decline the request from the government under the DPA. They are compensated, however, and once their contract with the U.S. government is fulfilled, could use excess supply to tap into an overseas need, Vyas said.

Vyas, who urged the Trump administration to tap into the DPA, said he’s not worried about an industry backlash.

“My view is we will secure enough to capacity while not isolating the rest of the world,” he said.

The real test, Vyas said, will be executing down to the last mile of delivery, ensuring everything reaches its destination on time and for the right place.

“I’ve spoken to over 150 national health care systems over the last 11 months. They’re crying for help, resources, guidance,” he said. “So hopefully, we do this flawlessly, smartly, and hopefully, we don’t fail in our execution of this responsibility.”

There’s still no good way to track vaccinations nationwide in real-time.

While officials are estimating the number of shots in arms based on data provided by the states, the nation doesn’t have a clear picture of exactly how many people have gotten the vaccine and where.

One Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map shows 36 million doses distributed, but only 16.5 million doses administered, even though many states and large cities say they are out of doses to give.

Federal officials say the number of shots in arms is likely as much as three days behind because states have 72 hours to input the data. But some state officials also insist the numbers are off or wrongly suggest that they have doses sitting around when some doses are reserved for people’s second shots.

The information needs to flow better to the states too so they can plan, particularly if supply availability ramps up.

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, said his commitment to transparency will be a big step.

“Some of these strategies he’s planning — I think they’re good. I think they needed to be coordinated with states,” she said. “But the bottom line is you need an increase in doses to do that. And right now it’s unclear whether we have an increase in doses or not.”

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Georgia Black women leaders on ‘saving democracy’ by helping flip Senate, fueling Biden-Harris win

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

The New Georgia ProjectBy MARIYA MOSELEY, ABC News

(ATLANTA) — As the Biden-Harris administration officially begins, Georgia organizers reflect on the historic moment after Black voters in the state not only helped solidify their win but also shifted power in Washington.

Among the many grassroots organizations that have put in yearslong efforts to turn the state blue was The New Georgia Project, which has registered roughly 700,000 people in the state.

The group, founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, has stood at the forefront of helping register voters of color – who turned out in record numbers during both the 2020 presidential election and the two runoffs earlier this month.

Nsé Ufot, who serves as the group’s chief executive officer, said that she’s proud of the work organizers put in, especially young people, who made this moment possible.

“It feels really, really good to have your hypothesis born out in real-time for the entire world to see. … and to have people thank you for saving our democracy,” Ufot told ABC News.

Hours after being sworn in on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris also ushered in three other historic firsts: Alex Padilla, who filled her vacant U.S. Senate seat and became California’s first Latino senator; and Georgia’s newest senators, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, became the first Black senator from Georgia. Ossoff is now the first Jewish senator from the state and the youngest Democrat elected to the Senate since Biden in 1972.

Another group that helped fuel historic voters in the state was Women on the Rise, an organization founded about a decade ago and focuses on informing women of color impacted by the criminal justice system on their voting rights.

“We knew that we needed to educate our folks to get out and vote and make a difference. … and that it was urgent,” Marilynn Winn, co-founder and executive director of Women on the Rise, told ABC News.

Winn, a 69-year-old native of the Peach State, has been advocating for voting policy changes after spending about 40 years in and out of the criminal justice system.

She says that although time will ultimately tell what will come out of the Biden administration, the new change in leadership already feels like a “new day” and a “brighter day.”

“It’s almost like someone has wiped the darkness away and given us new light,” Winn said.

In addition to putting up billboards in low-income communities, Winn and her staff members also assisted with getting hundreds of voters registered across the state –– many of whom were unaware that they had the right to vote following their incarceration.

Two years ago, Winn not only got a chance to meet then-Sen. Harris during a conference on criminal justice reform, but she also got to interview her alongside Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. in Philadelphia.

Ufot, who was born in Nigeria and raised in southwest Atlanta, says that a part of helping tip the scale in favor of Democrats was activists’ voices being “louder with accurate information” despite baseless widespread voter fraud claims being spewed by former President Donald Trump.

“What we learned is that disinformation is dangerous and it needs to be treated as such,” Ufot said.

Now, she’s hopeful for the future and believes that this outcome only proves the power of Americans exercising their right to vote.

“I think that we are going to be able to build upon this moment for years to come…and I’m super pumped about it,” Ufot said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Georgia Black women leaders on ‘saving democracy’ by helping flip Senate, fueling Biden-Harris win

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

The New Georgia ProjectBy MARIYA MOSELEY, ABC News

(ATLANTA) — As the Biden-Harris administration officially begins, Georgia organizers reflect on the historic moment after Black voters in the state not only helped solidify their win but also shifted power in Washington.

Among the many grassroots organizations that have put in yearslong efforts to turn the state blue was The New Georgia Project, which has registered roughly 700,000 people in the state.

The group, founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, has stood at the forefront of helping register voters of color – who turned out in record numbers during both the 2020 presidential election and the two runoffs earlier this month.

Nsé Ufot, who serves as the group’s chief executive officer, said that she’s proud of the work organizers put in, especially young people, who made this moment possible.

“It feels really, really good to have your hypothesis born out in real-time for the entire world to see. … and to have people thank you for saving our democracy,” Ufot told ABC News.

Hours after being sworn in on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris also ushered in three other historic firsts: Alex Padilla, who filled her vacant U.S. Senate seat and became California’s first Latino senator; and Georgia’s newest senators, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

Warnock, the senior pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, became the first Black senator from Georgia. Ossoff is now the first Jewish senator from the state and the youngest Democrat elected to the Senate since Biden in 1972.

Another group that helped fuel historic voters in the state was Women on the Rise, an organization founded about a decade ago and focuses on informing women of color impacted by the criminal justice system on their voting rights.

“We knew that we needed to educate our folks to get out and vote and make a difference. … and that it was urgent,” Marilynn Winn, co-founder and executive director of Women on the Rise, told ABC News.

Winn, a 69-year-old native of the Peach State, has been advocating for voting policy changes after spending about 40 years in and out of the criminal justice system.

She says that although time will ultimately tell what will come out of the Biden administration, the new change in leadership already feels like a “new day” and a “brighter day.”

“It’s almost like someone has wiped the darkness away and given us new light,” Winn said.

In addition to putting up billboards in low-income communities, Winn and her staff members also assisted with getting hundreds of voters registered across the state –– many of whom were unaware that they had the right to vote following their incarceration.

Two years ago, Winn not only got a chance to meet then-Sen. Harris during a conference on criminal justice reform, but she also got to interview her alongside Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. in Philadelphia.

Ufot, who was born in Nigeria and raised in southwest Atlanta, says that a part of helping tip the scale in favor of Democrats was activists’ voices being “louder with accurate information” despite baseless widespread voter fraud claims being spewed by former President Donald Trump.

“What we learned is that disinformation is dangerous and it needs to be treated as such,” Ufot said.

Now, she’s hopeful for the future and believes that this outcome only proves the power of Americans exercising their right to vote.

“I think that we are going to be able to build upon this moment for years to come…and I’m super pumped about it,” Ufot said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Facebook passes final decision to ban Trump to oversight board

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Facebook said Thursday it was deferring its decision to indefinitely suspend Donald Trump’s account to its Oversight Board.

Facebook passes final decision to ban Trump to oversight board

Posted on: January 21st, 2021 by ABC News No Comments

Facebook said Thursday it was deferring its decision to indefinitely suspend Donald Trump’s account to its Oversight Board.