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January 21, 2022

White House in Damage Control Mode After Biden’s Press Conference ‘Disaster’

President Joe Biden gave a nearly two-hour press conference, wherein he gave multiple comments that caused the White House to enter damage control mode.

After nearly a year of media complaints about their lack of access to the president, Biden’s lengthy conference received widespread criticism.

The most vocal critics called it a “disaster,” but even mainstream outlets like The Washington Post reported that it “wound up reinforcing why he generally has been kept out of such lengthy back-and-forths.”

First, Biden said that a “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukraine might merit a lesser response.

“I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does,” Biden said. “It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, etcetera.”

“But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing, with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine. And our allies and partners are ready to impose severe cost and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy,” he added.

The White House quickly swooped in, with press secretary Jen Psaki issuing a statement hours later.

“President Biden has been clear with the Russian president: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our allies,” Psaki said.

Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a direct rebuttal to Biden’s remarks.

“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” Zelensky tweeted. “Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”

Biden’s comments on the integrity of the upcoming 2022 midterm elections also raised eyebrows.

When asked if he believes the election would be fair if Congress doesn’t pass voting rights legislation, Biden said: “Well, it all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election.”

Later, when asked again about election outcomes, Biden said the midterms could “easily be illegitimate.”

Psaki took to Twitter to address the president’s words, saying he “was not casting doubt on the legitimacy in the 2022 election.”

She echoed similar sentiments on Thursday morning, during a rare appearance on Fox News.

“The point he was raising was both that in 2020, even amongst challenging circumstances, efforts to suppress the vote and the midst of a pandemic, there was record turnout, [among] Democrats and Republicans record turnout to go to the polls,” Psaki said.

When asked if the Ukrainian government had been in touch with the White House, Psaki said: “Our national security team has been in touch.”

“[Secretary of State] Tony Blinken is in Europe right now. Also, I would note the foreign minister conveyed just this morning that he is confident in the support of the United States, and he should be, because we are supportive, and we have their backs.”

Biden sought to clarify his remarks, offering a much different sentiment than before.

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,” he said. “Let there be no doubt at all that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called Biden’s comments “bizarre.”

“President Biden needs to clean up his remarks he needs to clearly state American resolve and clearly demonstrate American leadership,” McConnell said.


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Biden’s marathon Q&A forces White House to play cleanup — twice

January 21, 2022

Security Guard Tackles Gunman Armed with AR-15

A security guard tackled a gunman armed with an AR-15, thwarting a would-be robbery at a poker club in Houston, Texas.

“The reason why the bullets are in the wall and not in anybody is because I lunged towards him the moment he pointed the gun towards me,” said Trelynn Robinson, the 21-year-old security guard.

“The guy came directly and pointed straight towards me. I was the first person he pointed that gun to.”

Robinson said the suspect entered Legends Poker Room and started screaming, “give me the money,” and pointed his weapon at him.

At that point, “I leaped towards him, and we wrestled with the gun for about a good minute, and then it went off, and upon it going off, I threw him inside a trophy case with the glass breaking and disarmed him,” Robinson said.

Houston Police said about 50 people were inside the poker club at the time, and roughly 15 shots were fired. The suspect is now in custody.

“People call me a hero but I ain’t no hero, I did my job I signed up for it,” Robinson said.


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Texas security guard tackles man armed with AR-15 during attempted robbery: ‘I ain’t no hero’

January 21, 2022

University of Michigan Reaches $490M Sexual Abuse Settlement

The University of Michigan reached a $490 million settlement with 1,050 people who say they were victims of sexual assault by a sports doctor who worked at the decade for nearly four decades.

“It has been a long and challenging journey, and I believe this settlement will provide justice and healing for the many brave men and women who refused to be silenced,” said Parker Stinar, an attorney representing about 200 victims.

The University of Michigan had been in mediation to resolve multiple lawsuits by mostly men who alleged Dr. Robert Anderson sexually abused them during medical examinations.

The individuals and their lawyers will determine how to split $460 million with no input from the university, the school said in a statement. The remaining $30 million will be set aside for future claims.

“We must support healing and restoration of trust in an environment where safety is paramount,” said Board of Regents Chair Jordan Acker.

“This agreement is an important step in that direction.”

The settlement is the latest from a university following a sexual abuse scandal. Notably, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to settle claims from more than 300 women and girls who say they were abused by sports doctor Larry Nassar.


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U. of Michigan reaches $490M settlement over sexual abuse

January 21, 2022

Jan. 6 Panel Requests Interview with Ivanka Trump

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot requested a sit-down interview with former President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

“The Select Committee wishes to discuss the part of the conversation you observed between President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of January 6,” the committee wrote in an eight-page letter to Ms. Trump.

“Similarly, the Select Committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the president’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes.”

The committee cited information from other interviews with former Trump administration officials, including text messages from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s phone records.

“Testimony obtained by the Select Committee indicates that members of the White House staff requested your assistance on multiple occasions to intervene in an attempt to persuade President Trump to address the ongoing lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill,” the letter read.

The request comes after the panel reportedly successfully subpoenaed phone records from Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée.

The committee asked Ivanka Trump to sit for an interview as soon as early February.


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Jan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to sit for interview

January 21, 2022

Report: Migrant Encounters Increased in December

According to new data from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP), migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border increased in December for the third consecutive month.

The CBP provided the information as part of a January 14 court filing, showing 178,840 migrant encounters in December, 173,620 in November, and 164,753 in October.

The numbers mark a sharp increase from 2020, where there were 72,113 in November and 73,994 in December.

Fox News reported that the CBP has yet to officially release its monthly operational update and told the outlet that it does not provide preliminary data or comment before the update posts. A spokesperson said that the CBP should publish its official data in the coming days.

Of the nearly 179,000 apprehensions last month, 78,589 were expelled via the Trump-era public health order Title 42.

Additionally, the filing revealed that the CBP released 55,626 migrants into the country.


Source:

Migrant encounters increased again at the southern border in December: court docs

January 21, 2022

Biden Says 2022 Midterms ‘Could Easily Be Illegitimate’ [Video]

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
2008: Black Monday in worldwide stock markets. FTSE 100 had its biggest ever one-day points fall, European stocks closed with their worst result since 9/11, and Asian stocks drop as much as 15%.

During a press conference at the White House, President Joe Biden cast doubt on election integrity, saying the upcoming 2022 midterms could “easily be illegitimate” without passing voting reforms.

When asked if he believes the election would be fair if Congress doesn’t pass voting rights legislation, Biden said: “Well, it all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election.”

Later, when asked again about election outcomes, Biden said the midterms could “easily be illegitimate.”

“The prospect of an illegitimate [election] is in direct proportion to us being able to get these reforms passed, but I don’t think … you’re going to see the Democratic Party give up on coming back,” he said.

“I’m not going to say it’s going to be legit. It’s — the increase and the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these — these reforms passed.”

Critics said Biden’s remarks casting doubt on election integrity were “irresponsible.”

“Democrats have been highly critical of those Republicans who refused to accept the results of the last election and use the word ‘rigged’ to say that elections weren’t fair. They’re using the exact same language and casting doubt on elections,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) told Fox News. “It’s irresponsible.”

“I think it was shocking, to be honest with you. Just shocking. To have the president of the United States trying to undermine the results of an election before there’s actually an election is a stunning manifestation,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “was not casting doubt on the legitimacy in the 2022 election.”

“He was making the opposite point: In 2020, a record number of voters turned out in the face of a pandemic, and election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted,” Psaki tweeted.

“He was explaining that the results would be illegitimate if states do what the former president asked them to do after the 2020 election: toss out ballots and overturn results after the fact. The Big Lie is putting our democracy at risk. We’re fighting to protect it.”


Source:

Biden on midterms: “I think it could easily be illegitimate”

January 20, 2022

NCAA Reviewing Its Policy on Transgender Athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) board is set to review its transgender athlete policy amid various studies showing that its current rule requiring male-to-female athletes to undergo one year of testosterone suppression therapy may not be sufficient to ensure fairness in women’s sports.

The issue has gained national attention as Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania, has made headlines for smashing records at women’s swim meets.

Thomas, who switched to the women’s team in 2020 after spending three years on the men’s team, has received testosterone suppression therapy for more than two years.

An NCAA spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the NCAA’s board of governors is expected to review the policy during a meeting this week and issue a statement at that time.

A recent study by the Macdonald–Laurier Institute found that “there is neither a medical intervention nor a clever philosophical argument that can make it fair for trans women to compete in women’s sport.”

“For trans women who have successfully suppressed testosterone for 12 months, the extent of muscle/strength loss is only an approximately (and modest) -5% after 12 months,” the researchers wrote. “Testosterone suppression does not remove the athletic advantage acquired under high testosterone conditions at puberty, while the male musculoskeletal advantage is retained.”

Joanna Harper, a transgender competitive runner and medical physicist at Britain’s Loughborough University, said there’s “absolutely no question” that trans women will maintain strength advantages over cisgender women, even after testosterone suppression.

“That’s based on my clinical experience, rather than published data, but I would say there’s zero doubt in my mind,” Harper said in an interview last July.


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Trans women athletes hold competitive edge, even after testosterone suppression, scientists say

January 20, 2022

White House’s Website for Free COVID Tests Goes Live

Amid criticism for widespread shortages, the White House launched a new federal website to increase the accessibility to COVID-19 rapid tests.

Americans can order free tests at covidtests.gov or usps.com/covidtest. The first shipments are slated for the end of January. According to the White House, “tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering.”

The Biden administration says that “to promote broad access,” shipments will initially be limited to four tests per household.

Additionally, the Biden administration has required private insurers to reimburse the cost of up to eight at-home rapid tests per month per insured individual.

According to AP, the White House estimates the cost of purchasing and distributing the first 500 million tests at about $4 billion, funded by the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Biden signed into law last March.


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Website for free virus tests is here. How does it work?

January 20, 2022

Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot has subpoenaed former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and three other campaign attorneys: Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, and Boris Epshteyn.

“The Select Committee is looking into the causes that contributed to the violence on January 6, including attempts to promote unsupported claims of election fraud and pressure campaigns to overturn the 2020 election results,” Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement.

“The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.”

In Giuliani’s subpoena, the committee cited the former New York City mayor’s public promotion of election fraud claims.

“You actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former President Trump and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results,” the committee wrote.

The subpoena also alleged that Giuliani “urged President Trump to direct the seizure of voting machines around the country after being told that the Department of Homeland Security had no lawful authority to do so.”

Epshteyn, a strategic advisor to the Trump campaign, responded to his subpoena in a statement posted on Twitter.

“It is no surprise whatsoever that the illegitimate Jan. 6 unselect committee would attempt to subpoena attorneys as it continues its Stalinist witch hunt against President Trump and his supporters,” he wrote.


Source:

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell

January 20, 2022

‘I Am Not a Racist’: Tension on the Senate Floor During Voting Bill Debate

Emotions ran high on the Senate floor during a debate on ill-fated voting legislation, which was deemed DOA as President Joe Biden failed to persuade two Democrat holdouts, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (W.VA), to change filibuster rules.

“The majority of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus have changed their minds. I respect that. They have a right to change their minds. I haven’t. I hope they respect that too. I’ve never changed my mind on the filibuster,” Manchin told reporters on Tuesday.

When asked about his party’s current priorities, Manchin said people are most worried about inflation and the coronavirus. He added that he’d welcome a primary challenge over his filibuster position if he seeks reelection.

“I’ve been primaried my entire life. That would not be anything new for me,” he said.

The legislation is known as the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, which combines earlier bills into one measure that would make Election Day a national holiday, ensure access to early voting and mail-in ballots, and enable the Justice Department to intervene in states with a history of voter interference, among other changes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced the Senate would vote on a more specific rules change for a “talking filibuster” on this one bill — requiring senators to stand at their desks and exhaust the debate before holding a simple majority vote.

Ahead of the voting, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), a Navy veteran and retired NASA astronaut, announced he would support the limited Schumer plan to pass the voting bill.

“If NASA functioned like the United States Senate, they would never get the rocket off the launchpad,” Kelly tweeted.

Emotions were palpable as the debate began.

Sen. Dick Durbin (R-IL) asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to pause for a question, but he left the chamber without responding.

Durbin said he would’ve asked McConnell: “Does he really believe that there’s no evidence of voter suppression?”

“I am not a racist,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said at one point.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said the debate had declined to a troubling point.

“You’re either a racist or a hypocrite. Really, really? Is that where we are?”


Raw Senate debate in fight to end voting bill filibuster

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